Christine Iverhouse (Milwaukee ’11) after finishing a marathon.

There’s a lot marathon running and teaching have in common. Both require you to be awake at 5 a.m. Both are based around high expectations and big goals. And, at times, both can feel like impossible tasks.

Just over a month into my first year teaching, I was facing two overwhelming challenges. First, I was feeling that so much of my hard work in teaching wasn’t amounting to anything yet. On top of that, I had registered for the Chicago Marathon, and I’d barely been training. When you’ve got a never-ending to do list of lesson planning, grading, and grad school work, other things easily fall to the wayside. I was freaking out. I had made this commitment before my acceptance into TFA, but there was no way I would bail out. Running a marathon was a longstanding goal of mine, and I refused to let it go.

Last October, I ran those 26.2 miles (and let’s be honest, I walked some). While nothing could compare to the feeling of crossing that finish line, I finished feeling lost in a crowd of 40,000 people.

When marathon time came around again this year, it was going to be different. I would run that marathon, and I would be bringing TFA along with me.