Spring is around the corner and about to bring us warmer weather and longer days, which always means the Club gets bigger. This year in addition to the new people who will find us for the first time and all the hibernators who will be back to join the fun, we’ll also welcome a firstborn from Ann Rowley and her husband Jim, who is expected to arrive on March 17th.
Ann relocated to Libertyville from Boston almost two years ago to take a job at Abbvie as a chemist while Jim completed his board exams to become a nurse here in town. She settled on Libertyville in a way that I’ve heard others do and is so typical of runners: she searched for running clubs throughout Lake and Cook counties. Ann and Jim met in their running club in Boston – Sommerville Road Runners – and it was important to them to find a replacement just as fun and social and in a location with plenty of places to run. Ann soon determined that in all of Lake and Cook counties, no other city seemed to have as cool of a running club; our reputation precedes us. Discovering that downtown Libertyville is so lively and has a great restaurant and bar scene sealed the deal.
Running was a means to an end for Ann. She didn’t enjoy it growing up but did see it as a way to stay healthy and in shape for other sports. As grad school later took its toll on her health and her ability to run waned, she re-committed to getting in shape after her thesis was written by signing up for her first marathon – the 2008 Vermont City Marathon.
Though she made every beginner mistake – camped the night before the race, ate a Dunkin Donuts breakfast sandwich on the way to the race, showed up late and overdressed – she finished and was determined to do another one. When Ann’s grandmother fell ill a few years later, Ann sent her the race medals she had earned, hoping she would find strength in these tokens of Ann’s accomplishments. When her grandmother revealed that these medals did in fact give her the will to pull through, Ann vowed to run a marathon in every state for her. A story was planned for her grandmother’s local paper but she passed just as Ann was about to deliver the 3rd medal. That medal now lies with her in her casket. Ann is 20 marathons in and still plans to fulfill that promise.
Discovering that anything is possible, Ann later completed an Ironman in 2014. However, Ann now knows that was not as challenging as completing two marathons while pregnant these past few months. For that, she found inspiration in training with Heidi Greco, who struggled with injury frequently while training for her first marathon (the 2015 Chicago Marathon), and Steve Lorey, who spent much of his last year in Libertyville battling cancer and struggling through chemotherapy treatments (Steve is now doing great and is living in San Antonio). For Ann, any movement was good movement so long as she got outside or to the gym. She has noted that whether training for an Ironman or a marathon while pregnant, her donut consumption peaks at three in one sitting. She thanks the LRC for turning her onto the maple bacon donut.
Ann and Jim did put an interesting spin on another LRC cliche by hosting a baby shower beer mile. They met in a running club, then married on 3/17 and hosted a 3.17-mile run before the wedding (complete with 3.17 stickers for their guests), and now their baby is due on 3/17; it was only fitting that they host a baby shower that involved running. Friends participated in costumes, like onesies, diapers, and baby carriers. The only bad time had was by Christine, Ann’s sister (and only while puking), and by my car which happened to get puked on. That’s what you get for parking near the start/finish, dummy!
Ann isn’t planning to rest too long; she has the Jack & Jill Marathon in North Bend, WA on July 31st to celebrate her 39th birthday. Lucky for her it’s all downhill, right?
She is happy with her choice to move to Libertyville. She notes that the LRC is unique because, even with a plethora of talented, fast runners, no one is braggy or stuck up. Everyone is willing to run with some slower runners if need be and even the fastest runners are always super encouraging. No one seems to get hung up on their pace; everyone seems more focused on having fun.
I’ll leave you with this fun fact: Ann and I discovered one day that we both grew up loving these two somewhat obscure bands in the 90s, ergo, Ann is cool. Enjoy!