In about 11 hours I will be running the Chicago Marathon. I’ve been saying a version of that statement to myself almost every day for the last 48 days. Somewhere around there is when it started to sink in that I was actually going to attempt the feat of 26.2 miles. I’ve marked down on the calendar every day in a count down fashion. I’ve written what I did, what I ran, what I didn’t run, how I felt, what I ate or didn’t eat, how I slept and all the 4 million thoughts that have flooded my mind over the last 48 days.
People keep asking me, “Are you ready? Are you excited?” Well if you know me, you know I don’t “get excited”. I usually just get nervous and then spend a vast amount of time talking myself down into a calm state of appearance. As far as if I’m ready? Well, ready or not I will be completing the Chicago marathon . I have the best support system and cheering squad in the world. I managed my way through training as best I could. It seemed as though life responsibilities wanted to suck away my time and my energy. So there were times when work constraints impeded upon progress or just tiredness and lack of motivation drove me to the confines of my couch. But I’ve found great insight and strength from this training path and I expect that this race will provide the same.
The best thing about running and the running community is that each and every person has their own running story as to why they run, how they got into running and especially why they’ve chosen to run a marathon. I’ve enjoyed those stories. I love hearing the hopes, the challenges that push them to run, and the victories. There’s nothing that makes my heart open more than hearing someone relay their story. You can feel the emotion in every word they choose. And the power of what they were able to accomplish. That’s the thing about running, you can run with groups and teams for training and motivation but when it comes down to it, you and you are alone are making that hope and dream become a reality.
As someone who works in a running store it has been assumed that I must be an avid runner. Of course I must have run tons of races. And of course I must be fast. The truth of the matter is that none of those assumptions are true. The complete opposite is more of my reality.
My story goes a little something like this….
I was never a runner, nor an athlete of any kind growing up. I didn’t play sports. I didn’t even know track was a thing in high school. I danced and still love to dance but beyond that I was just a thinker and dreamer. In 2010 I joined theBaltimore Women’s Classic Training group and ran the BWC 5k that June. I loved it and was hooked on this new found thing of running. For the next year I just kept running 5ks and joined BWC as a coach. Things were good and running got me through some tough life transitions.
Around 2012 a new relationship took hold in my life and as new relationships go it seemed glorious at the start. But before I knew it my life suddenly wasn’t really mine any more. Sadly, I wasn’t even aware while in it that I was losing so much. Running surely was lost, along with friends, connections, confidence, and sense of self. Lucky for me, I had one thing that was my life ring . . . Charm City Run.
I began working at CCR during the beginning of my relationship and it quickly became my place of calm and happiness. October of 2015 made 3 years of me working at Charm City Run. Three wonderful years of fitting folks for shoes, helping solve their aches and pains, talking to them about their training and races, and celebrating their victories. It was also three and half years of me not running. I couldn’t even run a mile without feeling like death. (I tried it once or twice, it was terrible and sad). During the fall of 2015, life was yelling at me and pushing me to pay attention and make changes. I had seen enough challenged but happy faces come through the door of Charm City Run after completing their long runs and hill workouts with the training groups that I thought I should join them. I like to say I then made a happy mistake of saying out loud to Coach Dawn Litrenta that I should join her winter training group. My idea was turned into a definite by that one slip of the tongue. I joined Dawn’s 10k winter group and I began to run.
The entire trajectory of my life changed from that one action. I escaped the relationship prison I was in and I began to put myself back together. I went from the 10k training to the half marathon training. I ran the Frederick Half in May 2016 and when I finished it was like I could feel a hole being punched in the universe, saying “Make way for me”. It was the first time in 4 years that I felt powerful. In fact I may have squeezed the life out of Dawn when I thankfully hugged her at the finish.
The summer of 2016 has been full of influence, inspiration, and motivation from the BEST group of friends a girl could ask for. I am so thankful for each and every one of the powerful women I am blessed to call my friends. They power me through the hazy days and they believe in me when I most need it.
So that brings us to today. About 11 hours until I begin to run the Chicago Marathon. 11 hours until the culmination of the last year plays out one step at a time. 26.2 miles of gratitude. I may not be able to say I crushed it during training, nor can I say I expect to be fast. BUT I do expect to be powered by all the stories of the 40,000 people around me and the strength that each of them embody. I do expect to be thankful for each mile that passes under my feet. I do expect to finish.
I am so thankful and so humbled to be blessed with this path. See you on the other side of 26.2.
About The Author: Kathy Logsdon
After four years of not running or being able to finish two miles, Kathy joined one of CCR’s training groups and was able to “start running”. Kathy says, "I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by the best in coaching, running, and genuine all around good human beings. I’m taking what they’ve taught me and sharing it with others who may be stuck at the starting point, like I was. All things are possible. We just have to start together." Check out her personal blog here: runmindful.com.