Getting to Know – Michelle Chutka, 10/12/17

Location: West Lafayette, IN
Original Hometown: Melbourne, FL and Troy, MI
Professional Career: Product Development/Engineering
Favorite Running Shoe: Brooks
Favorite Race Distance: Half Marathon/Marathon/Sprint or Olympic Triathlon
Favorite Personal Record (PR): 1:52 HM and 4:15 Marathon
Favorite Food: Sushi/Seafood, post-race ginger/turmeric/cayenne recovery drink
Favorite Book or Movie: Dystopian Fiction

Q: Can you give us a little background on your running history?
Although I was pretty late to the competitive running scene, running has spanned my whole life. Here were a few highlights:

On a muggy Florida morning when I was 5 years old, I woke up, got dressed very quietly, meticulously left a note on the kitchen table reading “I went for a run”, and slipped out the back door. While gleefully running through my neighborhood, I suddenly heard a bunch of sirens and saw police cars speeding towards my house. Guess my parents didn’t find my note. Boy, was I in trouble!

I loved having running to learn about places that I went to visit. Every vacation, I always packed my running shoes. I’ve run in the US, Canada, France, Germany, and many islands of the Carribean. My late aunt was a seven-continent marathoner, I’d love to honor her memory by attempting the same.

March 2016, I crossed the finish line with my dad on his first half marathon race in Seneca, SC. He won an age group award. I am so proud of him! I can’t wait for our next race together.

I joined Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics in 2016, and I ran all races (2 fulls/6 halfs) while pregnant with my youngest. I ran the August FM5k and he arrived a week later (not the same day, as many speculated).

For me, every run is about learning a little more about myself, pushing my boundaries a little bit more, and growing as a runner and a person. My favorite running quote goes something like “The only thing we are entitled to is our training”.

Q: What are your top memories from your competitive career?
My pair of PRs on the half marathon and marathon were both set in October 2015, two weeks apart. The HM was a 17 minute PR and the Marathon was a 61 minute PR. They were both very unexpected, which made it that much more special.

Q: Who has had the most influence on your athletic career?
With 3 young children, the support from my husband and family is tremendous. I couldn’t train and compete without their support. I hope to impart the idea to my children that you can maintain a life-long relationship with a competitive sport.
From WRCC, I deeply appreciate all of the support, mentorship and coaching that I’ve received from Joe Ely, Mike Taylor, and countless others who helped me get through my first marathon and beyond.

Q: What races are you preparing for and what are your goals for those races?
I just completed my big races for the season – the Purdue Half Marathon and the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. On a whim, I decided try to run marathons on back-to-back weekends, so I also ran Veteran’s Marathon the weekend after Monumental. It was a great way to cap off the season. Now I get to focus on some half-distance races and trail races as we head into winter.

Q: What are one or two of your favorite workouts that you are looking forward to running this training segment?
I look forward to the rigor, rhythm and discipline of a 20 mile run.

Q: How has the Wabash River Runners Club helped you towards your running goals?
When I see the club around town on the Saturday or Sunday runs, it makes me feel safe and part of the greater running community. The Farmer’s Market 5k series and RITNY are permanent fixtures on my calendar!