By taking a drive on almost any given day, one has seen Jackie running. For the second straight year, Jackie Freeman qualified and completed the Boston Marathon.
Freeman began her training for the 2018 marathon in mid-January. Due to our abnormal winter, she was forced to do a majority of her training on a treadmill. While it is not ideal, it was an only option for many days this winter.
"A typical training week for me during a marathon cycle is running 50-70 miles a week with increasing long runs up to 22 miles," Freeman said.
Weather is concern for runners. At last year's event, Boston had its warmest day that year with temps in the upper 70's.
"I struggled with dehydration through the middle part of the race," she mentioned about last year.
This year was the opposite, with temps in the mid 30's and continuous rain, Freeman also had to battle the winds which were in her face the entire way.
"I stayed hydrated this year, but hypothermia was my area of concern," she said.
While the conditions were tough this year, Freeman improved by 07:19 on her time from last year. Her net time for 2018 was 03:47:24. Several points made this possible she said. "I ran more miles and did my paced workouts at a faster pace. I continue to push my body to be the fittest it can be and I really focused on my nutrition, hydration and tried to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night to allow my body to recover from each day's work out," she explained.
To help overcome the difficulties of completing the 26-mile race, Freeman had hoped to be able to take in her surroundings a little more than her previous year. At times Freeman was able to do this but not as much as she hoped. "I was more focused on steering clear of other runners due to the droplets coming off of ponchos that many of them were wearing and trying to find areas on the road that weren't taken up with huge puddles," she said.
Running for hours at a time gives your mind time to wonder. Freeman sums this up and further explains how she overcomes the difficulties of the marathon. "I thought about my coaches who continuously tell me how tough I am. I thought about our cross country runners and the elements they run in and how they choose to still put a smile on their face and complain very little. I thought about Coach Wilken telling us that if you're thirsty while running in the rain to just open your mouth and I would smile. I thought about my family and friends back home who were following me and cheering for me, I thought of how proud grandma Lucy was of everyone in our family and of being able to run the mileage that I do, and I prayed. A lot," she says.
Completing a marathon is a feat that takes time and dedication. "I would not be able to train and race like I do without my husband on board 100%," Freeman said. She tries to do most of her training in the early morning before her family wakes up. On the weekends, Freeman does her long runs which does cut into family time. Her kids both love to run which she is excited about. Freeman feels that her trip to Boston was a great experience for them as they see their mother and other runners push themselves to complete a goal.
Freeman intends on participating a marathon in Nebraska next year that runs the same month as Boston. She plans on using this race to qualify for the 2020 Boston Marathon.
One of Freeman's goals is to qualify for the New York City Marathon at some point. She plans on training to get faster half and full marathon times as the qualifying for the NYC is almost 20 minutes faster than Boston.
Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to complete the Boston with an official number 51 years ago. Switzer had started a movement for women marathoners that has spanned through the decades. “Duane Wilken has always been one of my running heroes and of course a legend to me. To have the opportunity to coach our athletes alongside him and learn from him has led me to some powerful and smart running,” Freeman said.