Local woman qualifies for Boston Marathon

Imagine for a moment that your Saturday mornings for the past three months consisted of getting up at 5 a.m. to do something most people would find unimaginable at any hour of the day – running 20-plus miles.

Now imagine that the point of all that hard work – to prepare to run in the Lewis & Clark Marathon in St. Charles – was wiped away by a hurricane.

Yes, a hurricane.

Welcome to rural Brownstown resident Erin Schaub’s world back on Sunday, Sept. 14, as the remnants of Hurricane Ike turned the Vandalia native and VCHS grad’s first-ever marathon into a rain-soaked, wind-blown trek of frustration and sorrow.

‘It was very disappointing,’ said Schaub of the race, which was shortened from 26.2 miles to 10 miles due to the adverse weather conditions. ‘I was kind of numb, and I didn’t even know what to do with myself afterwards.’

Fortunately, reprieve was just a click of a mouse away.

‘I found this other race online,’ said Schaub of the Quad Cities Marathon, held on Sept. 28 in Moline. ‘It kind of built me back up.’

Reinvigorated, Schaub resumed her rigorous training regimen, running 8-15 miles throughout the week and 20-plus miles on Saturday mornings.

The extra two weeks of training proved to be a blessing in disguise.

Schaub had originally hoped to finish her first marathon in less than four hours. But, suddenly, a much bigger achievement seemed possible.

Schaub found out that the qualifying time for the World Series of distance-running events – the Boston Marathon – was 3 hours, 40 minutes.

Based on her recent training sessions, she knew she was capable of clocking in at such a time, even though she kept it a secret.

By the time the date for Schaub’s second attempt at completing a marathon rolled around, the weather was perfect – and the results couldn’t have been more ideal, either.

Not only did Schaub place 14th out of 279 female runners (and 75th out of 689 runners overall), her time of 3:27.07 easily qualified her for April’s Boston Marathon.

‘For my first time, I was pretty happy with results,’ said Schaub, who was third in the 25-29-year-old female age division at an event that included runners from such far-away locales as Kenya and Ethiopia. ‘It was better than I expected.’

Schaub admits that her first marathon was a physical challenge.

‘The last six miles were really hard,’ said Schaub, who transversed across two states, three bridges, four cities and one island on the marathon course. ‘My legs were hurting, and my feet were aching.’

The emotional toll was great as well. But the emotional payoff – what many refer to as the ‘runner’s high’ – made it all worthwhile.

‘Once I crossed the finish line, I wasn’t thinking of (being sore),’ Schaub said. ‘It felt so good to have done what I was wanting to do.

‘For a runner, completing a marathon is the ultimate goal.’

Schaub’s journey to the Boston Marathon was a long one, both literally and figuratively.

‘I’ve always been a runner,’ said Schaub, who took up track and field in junior high school and went on to run the 1,600-meter run and 3,200 in high school.

‘I did pretty well,’ said Schaub of her high school career. ‘I never made it to state, but I was always competitive in meets.’

It wasn’t until college, however, that Schaub realized that the longer the race, the better she was.

As a freshman, Schaub placed first in her age division at the Mattoon Bagelfest 5K run, and she says her success and interest in running just ‘snowballed’ after that.

She went on to do well in several long-distance races, most ranging from 3-6 miles.

But after running a 26-mile marathon, Schaub says she has found her true niche.

‘I actually would rather run a marathon than a 5K,’ Schaub said. ‘I know most people aren’t like that. But I ran a 5K this summer, and it was torture.

‘I’m better at longer distances, and I think my results reflect that. I guess I have more endurance than I do speed.’

She also seems to have more determination than most, to such a degree that even she doesn’t understand it.

‘It almost takes over your life,’ said Schaub of the commitment needed to be a successful distance runner. ‘It’s kind of a sickness, I think.’

Schaub has tried several times to talk friends into running with her, ‘but it doesn’t seem to be taking,’ she says with a laugh.

She’s also had several friends try to talk her out of running – especially to go out on the weekends – but she has managed to resist thus far.

‘It’s hard,’ says Schaub of sticking to a training routine. ‘There were several times where I had to skip going out with friends because I had to get up in the morning and run.

‘It’s almost an addiction.’

Fortunately, Schaub’s husband, Mark, is OK with having a running junky for a wife.

In fact, the couple often goes out in Mark’s truck to plot courses on the country roads north of Brownstown, and ‘he jokes about being my trainer,’ Schaub said.

Schaub has been able to take a little time off since completing her first marathon, something that has been almost as rewarding as completing the marathon in the first place.

‘I was so glad when I finished that I wasn’t going to have to get up at 5:30 next Saturday,’ Schaub said.

Schaub will resume training again in January. She will then head off to Boston in late April for what should be the experience of a lifetime.

‘Up in Moline there were around 2,500 people,’ Schaub said. ‘The Boston Marathon has 25,000 people that run. There’s going to be a ton more people.’

ly qualified her for April’s Boston Marathon.

‘For my first time, I was pretty happy with results,’ said Schaub, who was third in the 25-29-year-old female age division at an event that included runners from such far-away locales as Kenya and Ethiopia. ‘It was better than I expected.’

Schaub admits that her first marathon was a physical challenge.

‘The last six miles were really hard,’ said Schaub, who transversed across two states, three bridges, four cities and one island on the marathon course. ‘My legs were hurting, and my feet were aching.’

The emotional toll was great as well. But the emotional payoff – what many refer to as the ‘runner’s high’ – made it all worthwhile.

‘Once I crossed the finish line, I wasn’t thinking of (being sore),’ Schaub said. ‘It felt so good to have done what I was wanting to do.

‘For a runner, completing a marathon is the ultimate goal.’

Schaub’s journey to the Boston Marathon was a long one, both literally and figuratively.

‘I’ve always been a runner,’ said Schaub, who took up track and field in junior high school and went on to run the 1,600-meter run and 3,200 in high school.

‘I did pretty well,’ said Schaub of her high school career. ‘I never made it to state, but I was always competitive in meets.’

It wasn’t until college, however, that Schaub realized that the longer the race, the better she was.

As a freshman, Schaub placed first in her age division at the Mattoon Bagelfest 5K run, and she says her success and interest in running just ‘snowballed’ after that.

She went on to do well in several long-distance races, most ranging from 3-6 miles.

But after running a 26-mile marathon, Schaub says she has found her true niche.

‘I actually would rather run a marathon than a 5K,’ Schaub said. ‘I know most people aren’t like that. But I ran a 5K this summer, and it was torture.

‘I’m better at longer distances, and I think my results reflect that. I guess I have more endurance than I do speed.’

She also seems to have more determination than most, to such a degree that even she doesn’t understand it.

‘It almost takes over your life,’ said Schaub of the commitment needed to be a successful distance runner. ‘It’s kind of a sickness, I think.’

Schaub has tried several times to talk friends into running with her, ‘but it doesn’t seem to be taking,’ she says with a laugh.

She’s also had several friends try to talk her out of running – especially to go out on the weekends – but she has managed to resist thus far.

‘It’s hard,’ says Schaub of sticking to a training routine. ‘There were several times where I had to skip going out with friends because I had to get up in the morning and run.

‘It’s almost an addiction.’

Fortunately, Schaub’s husband, Mark, is OK with having a running junky for a wife.

In fact, the couple often goes out in Mark’s truck to plot courses on the country roads north of Brownstown, and ‘he jokes about being my trainer,’ Schaub said.

Schaub has been able to take a little time off since completing her first marathon, something that has been almost as rewarding as completing the marathon in the first place.

‘When I finished, I was so glad I wasn’t going to have to get up at 5:30 next Saturday,’ Schaub said.

But she will return to the early-morning weekend grind in January before heading off to Boston in late April for what should be the experience of a lifetime.

‘Up in Moline there were around 2,500 people,’ Schaub said. ‘The Boston Marathon has 25,000 people that run. There are going to be a ton more people.’

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