Photo: Derek Hebb
Around the time of my last few birthdays, I’ve enjoyed sharing the news about my upcoming training and racing plans. After the Christmas season, it’s a fun and motivational start to a new season, a new year, and a new age.
In 2017 when I turned 40 I had recently joined Speed River with Dave Scott-Thomas in Guelph, and booked my first trip to train at altitude. I would go to Kenya for one month in March to prepare for the London Marathon in April. Leaving my kids for that long was initially very difficult and one of the most difficult things I ever did, AND the race itself did not go well BUT I hit a deeper level of training with my new coach/club and my time in Kenya was absolutely incredible.
In 2018, I was fulfilling a desire to return to the Boston Marathon, in the elite field, thirteen years after racing it for the first time, before we had children. A third place overall and first place masters finish was beyond my wildest dreamsand has been an inspiring story to tell.
In 2019 I was again announcing my plan to return to the Boston Marathon. Not only would my husband go with me again but also our three children. The race was disappointing but at least my family enjoyed the weekend (sigh).
For 2020 I am happy to announce that I will again be returning to run the Boston Marathon.
With the new qualifying system for the Olympic Games, one can be considered for selection if they run 2:29:30, are top 5 at an IAAF gold label (e.g., Ottawa and Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront), top 10 at a world major (i.e., Chicago, Boston, Tokyo, New York, London, Berlin), or top 10 at a world championship. Choosing the Boston Marathon was a fairly straightforward and logical decision for two main reasons: 1. I could aim to place in the top 10 on a familiar course. 2. I could benefit financially to help support our family (and be able to keep calling my running career a job!). I am really looking forward to my return to a race that feels like home, having already completed it 3 times.
If recent odd years (London 2017, Boston 2019) result in disappointing spring marathons and even years (Boston 2018) bring success, this should be another good marathon for me (;
Another fun fact is that the Boston Marathon will be April 20, 2020 and my 20th marathon.
An additional development in my running career is that I am now being coached by 2 x Olympian, Reid Coolsaet. Not only is he also a University of Guelph Alumni but he is a dad, husband, 2:10:28 marathoner and now a masters age athlete. His accolades are very impressive, as the entire Canadian running community knows, and he has a wealth of knowledge and experience from which I will benefit. A few years ago, when I didn’t know if there would be a place for me with Speed River, I had actually considered asking Reid. He has been coaching a handful of athletes the last few years while continuing to train full-time and balance a family. Just this past fall he coached his wife Marie, a mother of two, to a first place finish in 2:56 at the Hamilton Marathon, which was her debut! He understands the need for flexibility in training, can meet my needs as an ageing athlete, and provide stellar guidance. I’ve already started making some changes to my training and am looking forward to more while continuing to be challenged and apply new learnings.
For my race calendar I started the season by completing the Robbie Burns 8 km on Sunday, January 19 with a win and time of 28:12. I know I have much more work to do but am pleased with a solid and strong start to 2020.
In early March I will work on gaining more fitness at the Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington, and complete a final tune-up at another half marathon later that month.