Sunday, May 07, 2006

Anne Marie

In the early eighties, Anne Marie found herself an intelligent and well read woman without a college degree and overweight. The persistance in her character would soon become evident. She began taking night classes and decided to take up jogging to help shed the pounds. After a decade of night classes and two different universities, she received her college degree.

Running started out as a way to loose weight, but soon became a major facet of her life. She joined a local running club (The Lincoln Park Pacers) and attended their monthly meetings. She also joined CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association) and began running in the races on their circuit. Soon she was running in about three races a month of varying distances (5k, 5 mile, 10k). She subscribed to Runners World and Runner magazines. She kept a daily log of her distances. Soon it became her identity. She was a runner, but it didn't stop there.

She decided she would attempt a marathon as the next challenge. Marathon running was not in vogue as has become today, especially for women. Back then it was almost only for people who were seriously into running. Even then you had to have some special drive to think about attempting it. Today it has become a major industry with prescribed training programs everywhere and groups that meet once or twice weekly to help you through your long runs. Back then you were pretty much on you own with a handful of possible training programs to follow. In 1985 she completed the Chicago Marathon in four and a half hours. She had caught the bug.

She ran Chicago again the next year, but there was also the Lake County Marathon in the spring. So she went out and ran that one. She has continued to run Chicago every year, but has completed many others over the years. She had worked herself up to six marathons a year. She even ran the Pikes Peak Marathon. A 7815 foot ascent and descent in addition to the 26.2 miles. In 2001, her finish at the Chicago Marathon marked her 50th marathon. She at one point attempted to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but her times were not getting any better. So she decided to take on another goal.

Ultra-marathons. Now she had completed ultra-marathons before, but they were ONLY 30 miles (a marathon is 26.2). She attempted and finished the Ulmsted 50 miler near Raleigh, NC in 2000. Then she completed it again the following two years. But then there was another goal. The 50 miler at Ulmsted is the shorter of the two races held. The big race is the 100 miler. The runners are given 30 hours to complete the course along the trails in the Ulmsted National Forest. In 2002 she attempted the 100 miler, but came up 10 miles short due to serious blisters and an unlikely finish before the time cut-off. 90 MILES completed in 27 hours. She decided to give it one last try the following year, but had to stop at 70 miles.

Since then she still runs a few marathons a year. She is up to 71 not counting the ultra-marathons more than once. But now she has a new beau and her interest in running is now shared with her interest in Harley Davidson motorcycles. She has a Superglide that her partner converted into a trike (three wheeler). She has logged 15,000 miles on it and takes it out for long rides on the weekends. Her fashion has changed from brightly colored running apparel to jeans and black Harley t-shirts. I mention this because I find it interesting how her outward appearance now shows the strength of character I have always seen in her. And it's just fun to say my mom is an ultramarathon biker chick.


zura said...

Way to go, mom of Frank!

Anonymous said...

Frank, this is a great tribute to Mom. She's always been one that sets a goal and goes for it. We're so proud of what she's accomplished. Her determination and endurance are examples that we need to live up to.

You left out that she's great at trivial pursuit (except for the pink category) and a wiz at all things with soil and roots.

Anonymous said...

You forget to mention her Martha Stewart side: her excellence in sewing, baking, and gardening.