My name is Helen Samuelson. I am a wife and mom of 2, and I am a financial analyst working in a fast-paced environment. I have run off and on during my adult life, but never very consistently, especially when kids came along. Apart from 5ks, my longest event was the occasional duathlon (2-mile run, 11-mile bike, 2-mile run) that was held annually in Tinley Park. It was after I completed the duathlon in 2015 that I decided to try a longer running event. I set my sights on a 10K, when a friend of mine said that after all that duathlon training, I should train for a half marathon. I ran my first half in Orlando, FL, the Star Wars Dark Side, in April 2016. It was followed by Naperville Healthy Driven in October 2016, and I found that I really enjoy longer runs. I started running challenges – completing 5k, 10k, and half marathons all in one weekend, racking up over 22 miles. Along the way, I discovered this amazing and supportive group of runners called the Yankee Runners.
In 2017, after my fifth half marathon, I set a new goal – completing a marathon. I entered the Chicago marathon lottery but found out in December that I didn’t make it into the event. One of my best friends suggested an alternative, the Atlantic City Marathon held soon after Chicago. I signed up for that marathon and for CARA summer marathon training, since the running schedule, with only a few adjustments, matched up really well. I trained with all the Yankee Runners through the summer and on October 21, 2018, at the age of 49, I completed my very first marathon. That event was followed by the Disney Marathon in January 2019, right after I turned 50, and another half-marathon challenge in April.
Yes, there were challenges along the way, between balancing training with all of the other items competing for your time and adapting your body to this new, longer distance. But I made it because of this great training program, my fantastic husband and children, and a supportive group of runners. I look forward to running with you this summer!