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Mercy Home Heroes Spotlight: Teresa Haugen

Mercy Home Heroes Spotlight: Teresa Haugen

1. Why did you choose to run as a Mercy Home Hero?

I decided late in the game to run the Chicago Marathon, so I missed the lottery and wanted to sign up using a charity entry. I researched a lot of different charities and wanted to support a cause that was important to me as well as something local vs. a larger national organization. Mercy Home fit the bill. I work with kids in the Chicago Public Schools and have seen many students in need, so Mercy Home’s mission really resonated with me on a personal level. Raising money for a worthy cause was really meaningful to me, so for 2020 I bypassed the lottery entirely and committed to Mercy Home!

2. Your favorite race day memory?

When I approached Mercy Home on the marathon day I heard someone speak into a walkie-talkie “Mercy Home Hero coming up. Teresa.” I knew something was up. I’d read about the Mercy Mile, but it was so much more impactful than I could have imagined. As I ran past Mercy Home I felt like an elite athlete or a celebrity. Everyone was cheering for me and calling my name, which was written on the front of my jersey. Then one of the kids who lives at Mercy Home ran alongside me for a bit holding a Mercy Home flag. To see the smile on his face and know I had in some small way helped to support this organization who made the lives of these kids better brought tears to my eyes.

3. How has finishing a marathon changed your life?

I trained for the marathon during an extremely stressful time in my life – being a wife, a full-time employee, caring for a baby and taking on responsibilities caring for my aging parents. I thought my plate was maybe too full to dedicate to marathon training. It turned out that training was my therapy and mental escape – that time that I could put myself first. So finishing the marathon changed my life by teaching me that you can’t pour from an empty cup and you give your best self to others by making some time for self care.

4. What is your greatest running accomplishment?

Finishing the marathon!

5. List some of your favorites for running:

Gear: Brooks Adrenaline 19, Apple Airpods, Lululemon Fast and Free shorts (because they have so many pockets!)
Fuel: Gu Espresso Love, Saltstick lemon lime salt tablets, Honey Stinger caramel waffles
Pre-race meal night before: Chicken breast with white rice
Race morning meal: A little bit of water, 4 Trader Joes cinnamon graham crackers and a banana
Post Race Meal: A giant burger and a beer or any kind of carb-filled breakfast food: waffles, pancakes, french toast, etc.
Listening: I am a podcast addict and for long runs I prefer fiction podcasts such as the dungeons and dragons podcast, The Adventure Zone. For hard workouts I listen to a playlist I compiled of mostly early-mid 2000’s pop music such as Britney Spears, Beyonce, etc.

6. What’s your best advice for a first-timer?

Don’t go in with a goal time in mind and just aim to finish the race. If it’s your first marathon it’s an automatic PR, so just enjoy the race, enjoy the neighborhoods, read all the signs, high-five spectators and just experience the race to its fullest. That and don’t over hydrate (rookie mistake I made!)

7. Anything else you want to add?

Get to know your Mercy Home teammates. There are a wide variety of backgrounds and everyone is so nice and welcoming. It felt amazing to see my teammates on the course and I gave them a pat on the back or a high-five when I saw them. Also, reach out to Jim any time you have fundraising or training questions. He’s a great resource to us all!

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