A work in progress.
I started running in 1994, as a freshman in high school. Several of my friends were going out for track and I decided to follow them. I was a sprinter that first season (100m), but decided to give distance running a try and went out for cross country as a sophomore. I ran 3 seasons of cross country (5k) and the next 3 track seasons as a distance runner (800m, 1600m, 3200m). In addition to running for my high school team, I also competed with a local youth track club. Through the club, I went to AAU Cross Country Nationals 3 times, USATF Cross Country Nationals 2 times, and the USATF Track Nationals once.
I planned to walk on to my college cross country team, but I made it through the first week of practice before quitting. I was suffering from a really bad case of over-training, and could tell that the coach was most likely not going to be a good fit. I ran sporadically for the rest of undergrad. After I graduated, I spent the summer between undergrad and grad school at home and joined a gym. One of the trainers ran marathons, and she made it sound like something I’d be able to do. I found a beginner marathon training program, and registered for the 2001 Chicago Marathon. The training program was very low volume, but I was able to have an awesome experience and finish in 4:24.
I continued running after the marathon but ended up taking the winter (and a few more months) off. I decided I want to run the marathon a second time and jumped back into the same program I had used the year previous. I was able to finish in 4:18, despite having only been running for 4 months (following a 6 month break). I had planned to run Med-City and Twin Cities in 2003, but both times real life interrupted training. My now-husband (aka “The Engineer”) and I had started dating in 2002 after being friends for 3 years, and we got married in 2003. Moving from Illinois to Minnesota and planning a wedding were not conducive to marathon training.
I started blogging in 2004, initially with a weight loss focus. I had gained some weight after the wedding, and embarked on a healthy living overhaul. The blog quickly turned to just running, as I’d reached a stable point with my weight and was focusing on my 3rd marathon attempt. I had a great season and training session, but illiotibial band (IT Band / ITB) syndrome flared up for first time at mile 17. I struggled to the finish in 4:31, which was a far cry from the 3:45 I was aiming for.