Instructing a group of elementary school children is likely to leave anyone on her toes.
But Madelyn Blue, a second grade teacher at St. Francis School and marathon runner, is in prime shape to keep up with her high-energy pupils.
Already having tackled the Louisville Marathon and the Ford Ironman, among other races across the nation, Madelyn next heads to New England on April 16 to run the Boston Marathon.
The Voice-Tribune caught up with the seasoned triathlete to find out more about her upcoming race and how she’s bringing her class along for the course.
How did you qualify for the Boston Marathon?
I actually re-qualified last year at the Boston Marathon. I ran a 3:34:50. Before that, I ran the Louisville Marathon and that got me qualified (for Boston).
What is race day like at the Boston Marathon?
It’s just kind of hard to explain because when you get there, you’re among the most elite athletes in the world. You’ve got people from Kenya and people from all over the world. It’s really inspiring.
How long have you been training?
I’ve never really stopped training. I’ve been running now about seven years. I average about four marathons a year and the last three years, I’ve done an Ironman a year. I run once or twice a day, depending on the day, and I also do swimming in the morning because I’m training for two triathlons.
Where did your love for running come from?
I ran cross-country in college and got kind of burnt out and stopped running for a little bit. I went to the University of Arizona and I stayed in Phoenix. One of my girlfriends said let’s run a 5K and I got hooked. Then I did a 10K, a half-marathon and ran marathons and started getting bored, so I bought a bike and started doing triathlons.
You’ve been teaching your second grade class about Boston during your training period. What have you taught them?
We talked about what Patriots’ Day means to the kids. It was a battle between Lexington and Concord that happened during the Revolutionary War.
Your kids have also been tracking the distance you’ve run while training. How far have you gone?
Right now, I think we’re at 750 miles … but it’s been tagged on since the beginning of the year.
How will you prepare the week leading up to the marathon?
Tapering time, which is very hard for me because when you’ve been training so intensely for so long, it’s hard to back off. What you try to do is get as much rest as you can, as much nutrients and try to stay healthy and not get sick, and really stay off your feet – which is hard to do when you’re a teacher. You really just cut your training in half.
What will you train for after the Boston Marathon?
(I’m doing a race) called Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. I’m definitely scared of it because I’m scared of the ocean. They drop you off in the San Francisco Bay and you have to swim to the shore. It’s shark infested water and the water is about 52 degrees with strong currents. It’s just a mile-and-a-half swim but with those conditions its going to be tough.
What’s your ultimate goal with racing?
My ultimate goal is to get to KONA which is the world championship Ironman. You have to qualify for that and that’s right after the Ford Ironman in September.
What’s your favorite part of running?
The biggest thing for me is the camaraderie. I have such a good group that I train with. It’s so amazing. They keep you accountable for getting up at 4:45 in the morning and training ‘til 9 at night. And, it’s that feeling you get when you finally achieve your goal.