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Posts from the ‘Marathon’ Category

You Count

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

At the marathon this weekend, it was inspiring to hear about the amazing accomplishments of the front of the pack –  finishing in 2.5-3 hours. I was happy to finish and improve a bit on my first marathon. The real inspiration came for me as I walked back from the finish line to see family and friends at mile 25. Runners were still finishing, pushing through, six hours on the course.

According to marathon “rules,” the course closes at six hours and you must clear the road. Runners at that point were told that they could finish on the sidewalk but they were unofficial and it didn’t count. Wow! How often do we hear or say that to ourselves or others?

In our daily lives, by actions, inactions, expressions and words, we have the power to inspire or deflate. Never discount anyone. What you do and say matters – choose wisely with kindness and love as your compass.


“In the realm of ideas everything depends on enthusiasm… in the real world all rests on perseverance.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Eight months ago when I decided to do my second marathon, I was very excited at the idea. I then proceeded with the training, taking it seriously, following a plan and overall I felt great. At 48, I am in the best shape of my life. Yesterday, I did the work to prepare, to finish strong. I rested and drank extra water on Saturday and Sunday, well-hydrated, I thought.

All week, the meteorologists predicted pouring rain all morning. 8:00 am start – blue skies and mid 40s, a perfect running day. It usually takes me a few miles to warm up. Mile 6, I was achy and had a headache. My brother John had dropped me off, parked near the finish line and biked back to meet me at mile 10 on the course. Mile 13, I told him I felt like I was tanking, only half way there, and I thought, “I may not make it” but I turned up the music and pushed on. I took some more electrolytes and kept going. Mile 16, calf cramp and light headed. Mile 17-20, a few light showers followed by an ankle and groin cramp (first time for this one, delightful). My legs felt like stumps. John kept riding ahead, stopping, getting off the bike and clapping as I went by. At one point, a woman looked at me and asked my name, I told her and she yelled, “you can do it, Kathie!” At least one of us believed it.

At mile 21, I knew I would finish even if I crawled in on all fours. Friends and family were gathered at mile 25 so my goal was to see them, be upright and smiling. My niece Emily surprised me coming back from school (3 hours away) to be there. Right down the line, hugs and kisses for friends and family. Emily ran me in the last mile with John still riding along the side, the longest, slowest bike ride he’s ever done. Mile 26.2 – done. Amen.

Walking back up the hill to mile 25 to see family and friends, I figured I’m too old for this. Where did I go wrong?  I described what happened on the course and Terry asked, “did you drink more water than usual?” – Sure did, needed to be hydrated. Well, it turns out, you can drink too much water – the official term – hyponatremia – I washed all of the electrolytes. He did the same thing on one of his marathons. All the symptoms matched with what happened on the course, with the exception of seizure and death. Glad I missed those.

While I wanted to finish strong, I endured to the finish. Life is about showing up, trying, failing, getting back up, trying again, giving, receiving, fun, faith, family, friends – all those gifts that describe the past four months that culminated yesterday morning. Choose your “marathon” – whatever that is and pursue it with all you have.


“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

The fact that our thoughts can weigh us down is proof that they can in turn lift us up. I’ve wavered this week between anticipation and worry about the marathon tomorrow. More anticipation and excitement, but worry has more weight and density.

“God enters by a private door into every individual.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“God enters by a private door into every individual.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Doubt and faith are two sides of the same coin. Doubt lingers and nags in worldly voices that never have the courage to show themselves. Faith is the seed in all of us, planted and firmly rooted in God, the Master Gardener. A quiet knowing that there’s something greater in each of us and embracing us. Needing no proof, faith lifts, pulls, pushes and hurls us forward into the unknown. Faith is depth and motion, hope and joy. Faith is letting go.

So whatever marathon you are going through right now, let faith hold your hand firmly and run you through each and every step. With faith, proof doesn’t come at the start line but shows up at the finish.

Team Sport

“No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” – Alfred North Whitehead

“The language of friendship is not words but meanings.” – Henry David Thoreau

“The language of friendship is not words but meanings.” – Henry David Thoreau

Yesterday, I ran the Bear Water Run, the last long run before the Twin Cities marathon three weeks from today. They offered a 10 and 20 mile option, twice around White Bear Lake. Lined up with a few hundred others, I thought of the training runs I did by myself to get me to this last long run. It was encouraging to be with others on the same journey with their own stories. A few blocks in to the run, my brother John and sister-in-law Tina were on bikes waiting to follow along, checking in every few miles.

As I was approaching the end of the first 10 mile lap around the lake, I thought of 2004 when I ran this event for my first marathon training. I had IT band injury from running on uneven pavement, so I was concerned if I would even finish the 20 miler. As I turned the corner for the first 10 miles, Dad was standing there to make sure I was ok. He came back at the end of the run too.

Learning the lessons from my first marathon, I felt much better after the first 10 miles yesterday. Anna then joined me for the second 10 miles lap around the lake. She pulled me along with her fresh legs, conversation and walking with me when the toll of the hills started to work on my knees and ankles. When we were two miles out, putting it all in a bite-sized perspective, she noted “only 20 minutes left”, then 10 minutes, one mile left. She even let me finish a step ahead of her. When we were at a the “you finished” lunch (beer) with Mom, Dad, John, Tina and Anna, the texts messages came rolling in from friends checking to see how I did.

In our daily life, we can often feel like we are alone, doing the “long runs” by ourselves. Yesterday, reminded me that we are never alone. Life is a team sport. We need only look up and around and see the gifts of family and friends – our cheering section, running along our side, making the journey complete.


“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” – Napoleon Hill

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” – Pope John XXIII

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” – Pope John XXIII

My race packet for the Twin Cities Marathon came in the mail yesterday – 12561 – my race number. Reality – three weeks away from the marathon. Numbers start running through my head…

  • 18 weeks of training
  • 3 pairs of shoes
  • 523 miles to get to the 26.2 miles start line
  • 60 hour work weeks
  • 95 degree runs
  • 48 years old
  • 20 miler this weekend – the last long run before “game” day

If I would have added those numbers up before I started, I may not have started. The bottom line – I’ve gotten from week 1 to week 18, one run, one mile at a time. Running when I didn’t feel like it. Starting at 5:30 am on Saturday mornings.

We achieve our “marathons” in life one day at a time, doing the work, staying the course with discipline, visualizing the finish line, carried through by prayers and the support of friends and family. It all adds up. And when we not only to dare to dream big, but we dare to do the work over and over again, we’ve won the race before we started. I won’t be the fastest, but I’m going the distance. 12561 – there’s a lot behind that number.

Mission Accomplished

“If you raise your children to feel that they can accomplish any goal or task they decide upon, you will have succeeded as a parent and you will have given your children the greatest of all blessings.” – Brian Tracy

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” – Napoleon Hill

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” – Napoleon Hill

There’s nothing quite like achieving a personal goal after months of work and effort. Each day, through repetition, consistency and seemingly small steps, the goal becomes real with time and patience.

This past weekend, my brother John finished his first marathon and my niece Emily finished her first half marathon. I’ve done dozens of half marathons and am training this summer for my second marathon in Fall. It was refreshing to see the event through their fresh eyes.

When I was running with Emily, she kept telling me to go ahead. I would have finished earlier but I would have missed the joy of watching her goal unfold to fruition 13.1 miles later. Our victories aren’t always in being first or fast but in showing up, doing the work and finishing. And the victories are always sweeter when shared.

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