For Anna Weber, making the choice between running and pursuing higher education was a difficult one, but since focusing specifically on running she has definitely taken her career to the next level.
A Busy 16 Months
Anna has run a lot of marathons in the last 16 months!
Many of the elites that I’ve talked to in the past few years have said that they only race 1-2 marathons per year because of the wear and tear it takes on their bodies, Anna has raced the marathon distance 4 times between October 2014 and February 2016!
The reason for all of this racing was simple: 2016 is an Olympic year and she really wanted to qualify for the Olympic trials.
Spoiler alert, that was marathon #4.
But all that racing has definitely come at a cost.
After the trials, she was hoping to bounce back quickly to get on the track and get into the field for the 10,000 meter Olympic trials, but it just didn’t come to pass.
Cutting the Recovery Short, Even Though She Knew Better
One of the things Anna prides herself in is taking an adequate amount of rest after a marathon to allow her body to recover, but after the trials she only took half of the amount of time off as she usually does.
And it caught up to her.
She was feeling ok, so she got back to running sooner than usual, and she ended up injured and forced to take an extended amount of time off to recover.
The goal was to get ready to take a shot at qualifying for the Olympics in the 10k, and now that goal is out the window.
Choosing to Focus on Her Running
After finishing college in 2011, she was over running competitively.
She applied to grad school and began studying analytical chemistry in the pursuit of a Ph.D.
Running kept coming back into her life, and she couldn’t resist scratching the itch.
It didn’t take her long to realize that balancing her studies while trying to run competitively (with a goal of qualifying for the trials) wasn’t going to work for her.
Something had to give, and it’s hard to fault her for deciding to put her schooling on hold (after completing her Masters) and focus on her running. Schooling and furthering your education will always be there, but trying to chase down an Olympic dream only has a small window and there’s nothing wrong with going all in on a dream that big.
A Misperception About Running as an Elite
Since becoming an elite, Anna has had her eyes opened about the competitiveness of the elite field.
In her experience at the local/regional level, the competition has been very cut throat and not very friendly.
However, at the elite level, that doesn’t seem to be an issue. Anna has found her competitors to be friendly women the the communicates with regularly, and the only time that there is competition is during the actual race. And even then the competition isn’t cut throat or mean spirited, it’s just a race and everyone is out to do their best.
The support of other elite runners has been a pleasant surprise for her, and something she definitely enjoys.
Life Outside of Running
It’s always interesting to me to find out what elite runners do outside of running.
While my job is at least in the running field, I don’t think I’ll ever be in a position of getting paid for my performance as a runner.
When I asked Anna what kinds of things she likes to do outside of running, she talked about how boring her life is outside of running.
She talked about being a foster dog parent (which is awesome!), a love of writing on her blog, relaxing with her boyfriend watching TV, and a joy of getting a good deal at the grocery store (couponer alert!).
We also talked briefly about analytical chemistry, which is what she was pursuing her Ph.D in before deciding to focus specifically on her running career. What can I say, I’m a science nerd and I was curious!
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