Jessica T.



From “Non-Runner” to Marathon Finisher

My journey with fitness has taken me to a place I never would have imagined.  As a child I played tennis and continued to do so through high school.  I was asked the never ending question….”how tall are you?”  “Are you a basketball player?”  I was sorry to disappoint all of those basketball coaches when I declined their repeated attempts to recruit me to “just stand under the basket!”   Who knew I had a real desire to be a runner…..where was that track/cross country coach back then? 

I have been married to my husband Paul for 13 years.  Over the years Paul has run 3 marathons and put many miles on his bike.  When he would go out to train for his marathons, I thought he was crazy!  We had a treadmill and an elliptical in our basement and I enjoyed a 30 minute workout in the comfort of my own home.  Paul will tell you,“she never worked out in public”. 

As a former IT professional, I decided to be a full time stay-a-home mom after my oldest son Carter was born.  My daughter Emma was born 2 years later and Paul took a job that required a considerable amount of travel.  I found myself in full time “mommy mode” and had very little that I did for myself.  My sister Shannon also lives in Rosemount and we were going through these years together.  She introduced me to a neighbor who wanted to start her own Personal Training business out of her home. She was looking for new people to try out her concept and we were her guinea pigs for 30 days.  (I had no idea what I was getting into.) After I was over the shock of how hard everything was, I strangely developed a love for it.  (Thank you Cara!) I continued with the workouts after the 30 day trial and started going 2-3 days a week.  One fall night we were instructed to run up to the park.  I was in disbelief…..”I DON’T RUN!” I thought.  I let my trainer know that I was not looking to run.  She laughed and told me that our “run” was ¼ mile and it was simply our warm-up. 

Week after week I began to feel like the running was getting easier and I wanted to go longer.  A year later, we decided as a group to sign up for the Reindeer Run 5K.  The night before the run, I was talking to a friend and we were justifying why we shouldn’t do the run.   Paul overheard this conversation (solely based on FEAR) and said, “You are doing that race…. You are not backing out”.  I did it and I was grinning from ear to ear when I was done.  I was thinking “When could I train for something else??” 

I loved the routine of training for a race and the empowering feeling it gave me.  More 5Ks followed, then a 10K, and then the TC 10 Mile.  My sister and I signed up for races and trained together.  We were officially hooked on running!  I found running to be extremely gratifying but I soon learned that I could not do it every day and that I needed to build up some additional strength to help prevent injury. 

Out of pure luck, I met Nickie Carrigan. Our boys were in Kindergarten together and we got together for a play date.  The more we talked, the more we connected! Paul and I started to go to her bootcamp classes on a regular basis and instantly loved them! It was the perfect complement to my running programs and I met some really awesome people as well. I continued to work with Nickie and shared my fitness goals…..she was there as a trainer and cheerleader. Her positive energy and motivation helped me keep on track for the goals I had in mind and helped me believe that some of those stretch goals (a marathon!) were attainable.  Thank you Nickie!! 

As my strength and confidence continued to grow, I ran a few ½ marathons.  People started to ask me if I was going to run a marathon.   It seemed like the next logical step, right?  I talked it over with Nickie about a year ago and didn’t feel in my gut that I was ready.  Running requires putting miles upon miles on your body, developing core strength and endurance, but most importantly, it requires a mental strength unlike any other.  the summer of 2013 approached and I got the email that registration for the Twin Cities Marathon was 90% full.  I registered that day and downloaded a training program for marathon training. This past summer I put in countless hours of running, recovery, fueling, and sleeping. My life became all things marathon!

My sister and I ran our 1st marathon on Oct. 6, 2013.  We ran and whole way together and felt such pride when we were done… fact I think it took days for it to sink in as to what we had just accomplished.  It’s was an amazing experience….I learned so much about myself along this journey and am thankful for the support I got from everyone along the way.

My journey to becoming a runner has taught me so much. I remember what it was like to be a new runner wondering why 1 mile felt so far…..3 miles was an eternity and a marathon was just plain crazy.  I also remember the feeling when I started to think “I think I like this” and waking up thinking “I need to go for a run”.  After all of these years and the races under my belt, I still struggle the first couple of miles when I head out for a run.  I go through a list of things in my head….Did I eat enough? Did I sleep enough? Did I go to the bathroom? Did I wear the right outfit?  Is it too hot or too cold?  I push through these mental hurdles and at some point my mind and body find a rhythm and I feel like I am on cruise control.

I recently helped a group of new runners train for the “Battle Border Bolt-5k”.  For many it was their first 5k and I was extremely proud to watch them through the training process and then eventually to race day.  I truly enjoy encouraging others to do what they thought was impossible so they can change the “I DON’T RUN” mentality into “I AM A RUNNER”.    

~Jessica Theisen