My Journey to The 2011 Chicago Marathon Begins!

February 6, 2011

It’s Official, My Journey towards The 2011 Chicago Marathon Begins!

I first have to say that I have the kindest, most hard working, Best Husband there is!!

Well, at least I am officially registered!  I won’t start training specifically for it until like June.  However, I have been dreaming of running that race since I started marathoning  7 years ago!

As of now, I am in my 30’s and have done 6 marathons:

Newport (on the OR coast), 2 Portland Marathons,  Houston, the 2009 Boston Marathon, and the Eugene Marathon. I have 2 favorites: the Houston Marathon – was a flat and fast course and fun running through the great city of Houston, TX – it also helps I had such a great time there that I qualified for Boston! Of course, my other favorite is…the Boston Marathon!

So, why am I so excited about Chicago?

Well, I am actually from that area. I was born in a suburb of Chicago and grew the first 12 years of life over there.  I have relatives there that my family spent a lot of time with when I was growing up so this will be a special and fun homecoming for me!

Secondly, I really want to qualify for Boston again.  I enjoyed being able to run the Boston Marathon so much – it was another race that I dreamt of running for years before finally getting to do it.  So, I want to run Chicago with the first goal of having fun and enjoying the whole Chicago Marathon experience and 2nd goal is to run smart, relaxed, and have such a great race I qualify again for Boston with a time goal of 3:30.  My marathon PR is a 3:35  from Houston- I WOULD LOVE to do that in Chicago!!!

Right now, I am trying to make a bit of a comeback in my running.

So, this time goal and Boston goal is a bit of a mountain for me, but I’ve been there before.  Before I qualified for Boston, my best marathon time was a 4:10.  So, I believe I can do it again and better!  Even if it’s not at Chicago.

The past 4yrs have been a whirlwind for myself, husband & family and that has impacted my running.  Here’s a brief history:  4 yrs ago we moved to Tomball, TX for a new job for my husband. We had baby # 4 born there and bought our 1st home.  Lived there for a year.  Moved to South Florida for new job in construction industry for husband- the one in TX didn’t work out.  We lived there for 4 months.  Construction industry was tanking there because of economy.  Job didn’t  work out.  Moved back to Oregon in the fall of ’08.  Lived at my parents house (very thankful for them) while my husband got situated in his new job – he’s going on 2 yrs now w/this position.  Last March in 2010 we got to move to our new place in Philomath, Oregon.

All the moves were very hard on the fam and me.  I’ve experienced firsthand how hard it is to run and train through heartache.  I lost some of the fitness that I gained while preparing for Houston and Boston.  I’m working towards getting back to that level again- which explains why I’m excited to get ready for Chicago!

So, I am a stay at home mom of 4 kids and running and training for races is one of those things in life that helps to keep me sane and happy. Also working towards challenging goals helps me to realize that I can take on other mountains in my life – like going back to school and becoming a teacher- but that’s for another blog!

Please feel free to leave a comment below! I would love to hear from you about any of your experiences or training tips!

Jeannie Gross
info@jeanniegross.com

21 Responses to “My Journey to The 2011 Chicago Marathon Begins!”

  1. Jasmine says:

    Hi Jeannie!
    Just wanted to say, as of now, YOU are my new hero! I’ve never ran a marathon in my life, but hope to do so within this decade. I’m only 25 yrs. old, and I’m just getting started, so when I see runners like you in their thirties, it let’s me know that the sky is the limit! My present goals are training for, and running in The Atlanta Marathon, and The Disney Marathon. So, if you have any useful tips/advice….feel free to share them, and as always keep up the good work! I’m rooting for you.
    Sincerely,
    Jasmine: )

    • Jeannie Gross says:

      I really appreciate that! When are you running the Atlanta Marathon and Disney? I hope you’re training is going well and that you are enjoying the process of getting ready for your first marathon! Hopefully soon I will be posting some tips for first time marathoners. Good luck, have fun and happy running!

  2. Bongjoo Oh says:

    I read your blog. I am pleased to know that to fulfill your ambition, you’re going to prepare yourself step by step. Although it may be a burden on you, it will make you happy on the process of accomplishing your dreams. Good luck Jeannie! Thanks.

  3. Kari says:

    That is a lot of change you’ve had to go through! It’s great to see that despite all of the change, you retained passion with running, and could come back to it… a lot of people who face life circumstances like that, fall off completely and never go back. Best of luck with training and the race, it sounds like it will be a very fun and meaningful one for you!

  4. Al Moody says:

    That is great! I’m 65.11 and just started running last Thanksgiving. I am working on getting ready to run a 10 miler in Chapel Hill, NC with my daughter, who is a professor at UNC Medical School. I would like to run a marathon one day, but these old muscles are coming along slowly. I did 8 miles today, but my time was only 1:48

    My daughter used to live in Chicago and ran in several there and ran in the Boston last year. We went up to watch and I would like to do that someday. Maybe if I live long enough, the qualifying time will get slow enough for me to do so.

    I’m really impressed that you have 4 children and have the discipline to find time to train! We had 3 and could just keep body and soul together. I will look forward to following your progress. I also hope that the economy keeps improving and the construction industry comes back stronger.

    • Jeannie Gross says:

      Thanks so much! Good job on your 8 mi run and I’ll be rooting for you in your 10 miler! That’ll be a great accomplishment! You’re an inspiration to me- I hope I’ll still be running when I’m your age. Good luck with your marathon goal – you can do it!!!

  5. Ro says:

    Even though I do not know you, I feel like I can relate to you so much! Im in my mid-20s and am a full time nanny for 4 boys (5,4,2,10months) and go to school at night for teaching. Oh yea, and in there I try my best to get my training in, but often life gets in the way! I think you are amazing for going after your dreams and goals…good for you! Run Chicago and go back to school for what you want to do. It took me a while to realize that if I don’t go after my dreams then I am not as happy as I could be. Its a struggle to go after dreams and goals but like you said, it helps you realize that you can take on these mountains. You are inspiring, keep it up and good luck!!!
    SoJoRo24

    • Jeannie Gross says:

      Thanks so much! It really is worth is to chase after dreams and goals. There is a verse that says, “without a vision, the people perish.” I feel like that scripture is so true for me. I am a much happier person when I have goals and mountains to climb. Keep training and chasing down your dreams – Best wishes!

  6. stephen says:

    I sympathise. A full life is a challenge but running can be the release we need.

    • Jeannie Gross says:

      I agree! Running and racing for me is kind of like getting to go on mini vacations! Usually I come back from my runs feeling rested and recharged.

  7. Lance says:

    Yeah!! Nice job!! What an encouraging story and journey!

  8. Jean says:

    Jeannie, I just wanted to wish you well in your training! You have had quite a journey, and I am impressed with your goals and determination. All the best, and much success to you!

    And, those ginger cookies in your earlier post look incredible. I must try this recipe! :)

  9. Richard Anderson says:

    Hey Jeannie how do you manage with four kids to look after?
    I imagine they are all young as you are only in your thirties.

    • Jeannie Gross says:

      It’s not too bad really! I run when the kids are in bed, usually! Plus I have a very supportive husband who lets me sign up for these races!
      All the best!

  10. Amanda Stanley says:

    Jeannie, it’s your little! Remember me? Last name used to be Sigworth. Trying to be your friend on facebook to get back in touch, but you don’t have the link to friend request on your page, maybe its a permission? Looks like you are thriving. Before my two children (two and 6 weeks), I ran some marathons too, but nothing as spectacular as the Boston! Big congratulations for all your accomplishments. All the best to you and your family.

    • Wow, 4 kids & you find time for yourself!! Good for you!! I have one 3-yr old boy & he is all I can handle…can’t even imagine having 4! Chicago was the first marathon I ever ran. I had just gotten laid off from my job & was about to turn 30, & thought running a marathon would be a fresh start for me. I absolutely loved it…all the crowds, cheering, support, etc. I just turned 40 & am thinking I should do another one to mark a new decade ;) I usually just run 1/2 marathons…seems to be my favorite distance.

      Big congrats on all your accomplishments & for hanging in there through all of life’s challenges!

  11. Alex says:

    Hi Jeannie,

    I’ve been following your twitter posts for several weeks (I’m BhamAlex) but this is the first chance I’ve had to read your blog.

    First, nice job and keep it up! Secondly, I just had to chime in that I’m running Chicago this year as well and I’m really excited about it. I’m looking forward to following your training progression and hopefully learning some things along the way.

    Good luck with any Spring or Summer races as well!

    Alex

  12. Suman says:

    Hello Jeannie,

    I did the Chicago 10-10-10. I have my story at http://www.mruns.com/?p=586. It goes through city of Chicago and also my struggle to finish.

    If you have never watched the Spirit of the Marathon. You must watch it now, and right before the Chicago http://www.mruns.com/?p=526

    I loved the race. I just sick night before… NO Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza before matathon :-) …My life of running always defined pre-Chicago and post-Chicago.

    Have fun training!!!

    Suman = http://www.mRuns.com

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