Anna Weber broke down crying as she trudged along the last mile of a 26.2 mile run in early October 2015.
She looked at her coach, Tim Bumber, and knew she had done it. Running in her third road marathon, Weber had finally qualified for the Olympic Trials after failing in her previous two attempts.
This time was different. When she saw Bumber, she knew she had plenty of time to cross the finish line and take another step in her Olympic journey.
Weber finished the Twin Cites marathon in 2:38:39, nearly four minutes under the Olympic Trials qualifying time of 2:43, and fulfilled another step on the journey she had started when she was in sixth grade.
“It was amazing and overwhelming,” Weber said on that last mile. “Qualifying for the Olympic Trials made me feel vindicated for making life changes.”
In the 2015 summer, Coach Bumber said Weber called and asked if he would coach her again after she failed to achieve an Olympic Trials qualifying time at the Pittsburgh Marathon. Bumber was Weber’s high school coach at Michigan City High School.
“It was very exciting for me when she called to be her coach again,” Bumber said. “It shows a lot of trust on her part going back to her high school coach.”
Bumber said since he started coaching her in June, Weber has shown great growth and has been able to adapt to harder workouts and quicker recovery.
“I joined the cross country team in sixth grade because the basketball team’s coach said we would make it past first cut if we ran,” Weber said. “Now, I love running because of the feeling you get when you’ve pushed your body to exhaustion.”
Weber ran both cross country and track at Michigan City High School.
Bumber called Weber a track historian because of her vast knowledge of various records and top runners in the world.
Weber went on to run cross country and track for Marquette University and graduated in 2011.
In 2013, Weber said she began training for marathons.
“Running 10,000K and qualifying for the Olympic Trials wasn’t going to be an option for me,” Weber said. “The longer the distance for me, the better.”
Weber ran in her first marathon in 2013, the Land Between Lakes Trail Marathon. She set a course record.
When she came to IU for a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry, Weber said she failed to balance both training and school.
“I have a really hard time of doing two things well at once,” Weber said. “Both running and chemistry were suffering.”
After running both the Chicago and Pittsburgh marathons and failing to qualify for the Olympic Trials, Weber said she decided to take a leave of absence from graduate school to focus her time solely on training.
“I can always go back to school, but your running career only lasts so long,” Weber said. “I have plans to go get my masters after the Olympic Trials.”
With many different sponsorships from running companies and $6,000 from her GoFundMe page, Weber said she didn’t have to worry about money. Once she reunited with her coach, she began training for the Medtonic Twin Cities Marathon.
In the Twin Cities Marathon, Weber qualified for the Olympic Trials, which take place Feb. 13.
The months following have been intense training, Weber said.
“We have really pushed the envelope and added mileage,” Weber said. “This training has me running 100 miles a week and 115 miles at my peak.”
Weber also said she has been seeing a nutritionist, sports psychologist, massage therapist and a yoga instructor in preparation for the trials.
With the Olympic Trials in Los Angeles fast approaching, Weber said she is excited and prepared. Her goal is to finish in the top ten at the trials. To qualify for the Summer Olympics, she needs to finish in the top three.
“No matter what happens, I’m going to keep training and make a run for the 2020 Olympic team,” Weber said.
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