Hope, In Her Own Words
Written by Hope in late 1999
Name: Hope Machedon
Stats: 5’ 1”, 98 lbs
Locale: Bethesda, MD
Education: Vestal High School, Vestal NY, M.I.T (B.S. in Math 1982), N.Y.U.
(M.S. is math 1985)
Languages: Spoken English (essentially fluent), Written English (8th
grade level), Written French (early elementary level)
Career: Actuary, made it through all 10 actuarial exams! Have always had a
flair for math.
Family: Married, one child, stopping at one. Husband is a mathematician.
He is also an accomplished recreational skier, and lifts weights and runs
for health. My seven year old son is the best thing that ever happened to
me, a great skier himself, a great reader, a great kid!
Beefs: Being mistaken for a member of the opposite sex
Athletic: Born into a distinctly unathletic environment.
Athletic PRs prior to age 20: Bowled a 184 game in seventh grade.
Completed the March of Dimes 20 Mile Walk a Thon later that year. Enjoyed
my 10 speed bike, and my sister and I actually rode 100 miles in one day to
earn a “Century Ride” patch with the county bike club in 1974.
Other Early Accomplishments: Played violin throughout secondary school,
hiding out in the second violin section of our county’s youth orchestra.
Best ratings in the NYSMA Music Competition were: Grade 4: A, Grade 5:
A-minus. I was a solid Vivaldi A minor Concerto fiddler. A real foot
tapper in rehearsals, undoubtedly this was the runner inside trying to
Running history: In the summer of ’79, in order to lose weight gained from
the stress of the freshman year, and also out of sheer curiosity, I tried to
run around a track. Well, it just wasn’t as bad as expected, so I instantly
upped it to 4 miles per day, 16 times around. Paid dearly with a truly
horrid case of beginner’s shin splints, but, later that summer raced a 5K in
25:45. Dropped the running altogether during the following academic year.
But, picked it up again in the summer of 1980, and, largely to impress my
varsity tennis playing boyfriend at the time, I gave my absolute all to the
only sport I knew: raced 19:37 for a 5K, a couple 20Ks in 7:00s, and a 4
miler in 24:28. Was obviously getting better, and increased my mileage from
4 per day to 10 per day over the course of that summer. In the early Fall
of 80, I clobbered a male dormmate on a 10 mile Boston Bridge Circuit run.
Soon into my junior year of college, running was abruptly ditched for more
serious real life battles: severe academic stress, boyfriend troubles,
graduate school, job hunting stress, the stress of ensnaring a mate, full
time career with 3 hour commute, pregnancy, etc. So, from late 1980 to late
1995, I did very very little, except for occasional bouts of runners’ high
mileage in graduate school, and some dangerously crazed fitness walking on
my lunch breaks in the busy streets of Manhattan. In 1995, we relocated to
Bethesda MD, and, my full time job and killer commute vanished. So, I
started running 4 miles per day, the old standard, and held onto this level
for 2 years. Then, in late 1997, I met a mother in my son’s kindergarten
class with an awesome runner’s physique who ran 9 miles per day. I was
filled with envy and overwhelmed by a competitive urge to see whether I
could ever run any halfway decent times such as a 5K in 20:00. Increased
mileage to 50 per week, tried out the treadmill at our YMCA, and, in summer
of 1998 I ran 10 miles in 6:37s. I pushed on in solitude for yet another
year. After doing a 20 mile run in 6:54s in August of 1999, I decided it
was finally time to try a real race again, provided it was long enough.
First race in 19 years was a 9/99 HM in 1:27:23. Next I survived a 10/99
10K in 39:49 (sheer brutal hell!!), and third, a (relatively comfortable)
marathon in 3:00:49.
I’m currently back hiding in my fear of racing shell. I have a tendency to
overtrain, recently ran 20 miles in 6:45s, and would love to break 2:57 the
next time out.