I got hooked on running after my first cross country race at age 14. Since then, there have been highs, lows, ups, downs, and a retirement or two, but I always seem to find my way back to the sport I find so cathartic. 

After landing in Eau Claire in the fall of 2016 I decided to (again) come out of running retirement and sign up for the 5k of the Eau Claire Marathon. I didn't realize just how much the town comes alive that weekend. I toed the starting line expecting your standard 5k experience, but this race was different. There was a sense of competitiveness in the air, but everyone involved was just genuinely excited to be there. The moment I crossed the finish line, I knew I would come back next year. I initially had my sights set on the half, but ended up making a snap decision to sign up for the full - my first 26.2 right here in Eau Claire.

I had no idea what to expect on race day, but when the gun went off, that magical Eau Claire Marathon Energy was back in full force. Our little city on the river definitely knows how to bring it. The staff and spectators were so kind: rooting for all runners every step of the way, and were genuinely invested in providing a fantastic race experience. I crossed the finish line a bit slower than I hoped, but I don't think I even made it out of the parking lot before I decided to come back in 2019. 

As I prepare to take on the marathon again this year, one of my goals is to run every single street in Eau Claire (#everysinglestreetec). I love Eau Claire and feel very connected to this city. This is a cool way to get out and explore seeing it through a different perspective. I'm running different routes and loops around town and tracking them using heat maps and a giant physical map provided by the city of Eau Claire. This project will make May 5th extra special as I eye up a Boston Qualifying time and feel the energy of an entire city cheering through #everysinglestreetec.