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Hi, I’m Katie and one of your leaders for the inaugural Run Your Heart Out Running Retreat! I am so excited to share this part of your journey with you.

Running found me back in 2007...(You read that right, I didn’t find running. Sure, I’ve trained and ran races alone, but all the pivotable points in my journey, happened when I simply said YES to the running universe). Back in 2007, I was in college and my part time gig was caring for a young lady with cerebral palsy named Megan. Megan’s mom was an avid runner and was organizing a local 5k, she asked me to push Megan through the race. My response, “Running the mile in high school sent me to the sidelines, upchucking. I don’t run. But sure, I’ll train and try to do it”. Why did I say this!? I have no idea. But I started training, walk 1 minute/jog 30 seconds. You know the deal, we have all been there. Fast forward a few months and we actually did it! I pushed Megan’s wheelchair through a 5k! I stayed running around 3-4 miles a few times a week with a local friend. I loved it and never dreamt I could run more than that amount. 

Fast forward to 2010, I graduated college, got married, and moved to TN. This is the part of my journey where I was alone in a new state with a new job, and a husband that was in med school and very busy. I decided I was going to run a half marathon. 13.1 miles! I taped my workout program to the fridge and signed up for a local race in Knoxville, TN. I stuck to the plan, completed my first half marathon, even if all the way I was thinking, “I’m never doing this again”!

From 2010-2017 I completed fun 5ks and one half marathon a year, usually with a friend. During this time, we also added a couple of dogs to our family and they joined me on my runs. Running has always been freeing for me. I often think back to Megan, and others, that are unable to run due to physical limitations. I believe if you are given a healthy body, then we need to do our best honor it and keep It healthy!

Here’s the second pivotable point in my journey, I reached out to a local Instagram runner named Lauren in 2017. She ran in the mornings and so did I, I thought it would be nice to run together. We met up for our first run and it immediately felt natural and our schedules lined up so that we were able to run several times a week together. A few months into our running, she said “What do you think about training for a marathon?” My response, “There’s no way I can do that but YES, I’ll try”. Fast forward to present day, and we did complete that marathon, plus a swimrun (which my response was the same. “I cannot swim laps, but YES I’ll try!), an ultramarathon, and now training for a Half Ironman. As I’m writing this, I still cannot ride with by clipping in/out, unless I am on my bike trainer. The point in telling you all my journey, is that you don’t have to have it figured out to start with, you just have to Be open to the journey! Imagine how much different my life would look if I had said “No” to Megan’s mom request all those years ago. It’s not all going to to be sunshine and roses, part of my journey involves a surgery that left me unable to stand up straight initially and when I started running again, I ran for 15 seconds at a time, but it was worth it and 5 months later I ran an ultramarathon. Find your “Why” and Say YES to your running journey and enjoy the ride!

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