In October of 2004, Jeannette Faber crossed the finish line of her very first marathon. She finished in a respectable 3:28:51 at the Chicago Marathon. She was the 441st female to cross the line that day.
Faber at the 2012 Olympic Trials
Later this year she will stand on the starting line of her 14th marathon wearing the Team USA singlet and lining up against some of the best athletes in the world at the 14th IAAF World Championships marathon.
Knowing where Faber started makes her journey to the 2013 World Championships that much more rewarding.
“Last Monday I received the email,” Faber said of being notified that she made the World Championships team. “My first reaction was just overwhelming happiness because up until a couple of years ago, I really never thought this was something I could aspire to, so it was really just this wave of emotion like ‘Wow, it actually happened!’”
Faber lives and trains in Nashville, Tenn., where she works 20-30 hours a week at a local community college. She continues to train under Terry Shea of the Boston Athletic Association who has been coaching her since 2008.
Faber was a solid runner in high school and in college at Grand Valley State University. She never won an individual state or national title, but she did pick up one Cross Country All-America honor in 2002. After college Faber continued to run, and decided that she would try her hand at the marathon in 2004.
Faber dropped 17 minutes off her time in her second marathon, then another six minutes on her third. The trend continued from there and she went on to run 13 consecutive PR’s in the marathon and run a current PR of 2:32:37 as she won the 2012 Twin Cities Marathon.
While Faber would love to lower her time once more in Moscow, it is not her sole goal.
“Of course my goal is to improve, so I can’t say it isn’t my goal to keep the streak going, because it is,” Faber said. “But I don’t really focus on that. I feel confident that I can continue to improve and that I can go into Moscow and have a great opportunity to run faster than my current PR. It is just not something that I fixate on. I’d much rather go in and have a good experience and feel that I raced well.”
Faber dealt with a nagging injury in February, but has recently returned to a full training load and has her eyes fully set on representing Team USA in Moscow. Faber blogged recently that she added two songs from the “Rocky IV” soundtrack to her iPod to remind her of her focus on Russia.
“Representing Team USA is a big thing. I’ve never worn that jersey before, and that is going to be very exciting,” Faber said. “The thing that most gets my heart pumping is the thought of being on the starting line with only 40 or 50 women. I’m most excited about being in that environment in the race where there should be a stream of women in front of me, because that is really when I lock into race mode when I can feed off of competition and use that to my benefit.”
Faber will step to the starting line on August 10 with her fellow teammates Deena Kastor and Dot McMahan.
“I’m definitely very, very excited, and I’m really happy with the team,” Faber said. “Not only is Dot [McMahan] a friend of mine, but Deena Kastor is such an inspiration that it is awesome to run with her and be her teammate.”
Asked what she would have said when in college if her teammates had ever suggested that she would be a professional athlete running on the same team as Deena Kastor, Faber said the scenario was too ridiculous to be considered.
“I would have laughed, and my teammates would have laughed.”
Follow Jeannette’s blog at www.JeannetteFaber.com
to stay updated on her journey to Moscow.