My Running Heroes are Human too.

For months, the Olympic Marathon Trials have been a source of inspiration and motivation for me. During hard workouts, I would think of the women who had pushed through even harder workouts & ran through incredible pain during races in order to achieve their dream of qualifying. The elites and the women like me- with full time jobs and full lives- who made their dreams a freakin reality. Those thoughts pushed me, motivated me, inspired me to work hard- inspired me to have crazy dreams and to work for those crazy dreams.

So after looking up to these running heroes- both elite and not (although anyone who qualifies for the OMT is really elite)- had me super pumped up for watching and fan-girling this past Saturday. And wow. What a race.

Yeah, I did cry a couple times. The emotions of a marathon. I tweeted way too much (annoying all my non-running followers I’m sure) and jumped up and down and shouted like an obsessed football fan watching the Superbowl.

The biggest take away? That my running heroes are human.

Following the journey of Andrea Duke- who ran over 40 marathons before qualifying- was so inspiring. It changed my mindset towards dreams and goals. Made me truly realize that its not what others think is possible for you but what you think is possible. And she ran an awesome 14 miles and then stopped. Whoa. whoa. whoa. This happens to even crazy in shape people. Whoa. This happened to ANDREA DUKE!! geez. Makes me admire her even more.

Kara- the badass girl next door. The mother who is isn’t afraid to go her own way. To stand up for what she believes in. To show her humanness. Years ago, there was a Runners World article on her mindset- how she was a worrier and needed to overcome that. Well, instead of overcoming, it she has embraced it. Showed the world her humanness. Worn her heart on her sleeve. And that, combine with her killer speed, endurance, and dedication, has made her the most popular women in the sport today. AND WHAT A CRAZY RACE. There was so much good talk and garbage talk about her before the race. People ready for her to win and make a ‘comeback.’ People talking about how she was old. And then all those thousands of people ready for her to remind the world who she was. To digest all that and then run a hot, hard race.

And Kara! Oh, Kara! You ran so freakin well. You showed the world your awesomeness. You had every runner in the country holding their heart for you. And your emotions afterwards. That interview made me realize the emotions I feel after a race are the same as yours. Yes, you are running WAY faster than me. Yes, you are elite, a professional at the sport and I am just a middle of the packer. And yes, I’m sure your emotions are deeper than mine. But that emotional exhaustion. That questioning. “I keep asking myself if I gave it my all. If I could have done anything more and I know I couldn’t have. They were just better than me.” That determination to still not give up on your goals. Thank you.The look on your face throughout the race. It reminded me of how hard the marathon is and how awesome it is. What a journey it is. And you rocked it. Yes, you came in 4th. But you were awesome. Yes, it sucks. But you were still awesome. So thank you for the inspiration. As I ran hill repeats today, I was reminding myself of the amount of work that went into that race. And I ran awesome hill repeats.

And then Des- quiet & shy Des. Under the radar. Working hard every moment with that quiet but killer confidence. Des is who I think of when I resist telling people at work that I am training for a spring marathon. When I resist bragging about my killer speed workout at 6AM, I remember Des, who gets it done without showing off. The product is the race. And she had a plan. And she followed her plan. And IT WORKED. She ran her own race. She had confidence in herself. That’s something to admire. That’s something to remember. To not run my sister’s race. To pace myself. To work hard and then have confidence in that work.

And then Shalane. Invincible Shalane. Shalane who is always steady and strong. Who has been on top for a while now. Shalane who is so freakin determined and appears so confident, its a little intimidating. That Shalane. That Shalane ran an awesome 20 miles and then started to falter. Wow. Shalane. Shalane is human. She has never shown that human side in a race. Watching her finish was like a flashback to my last miles of New York Marathon. You have beyond nothing left but the thought of stopping does not cross your mind.  That made me love you more Shalane. You are human after all!

And Amy. Hello, Amy. Before this race I had three clear favorites: Kara, Des, and Shalane. But hello Amy! You showed me your awesomeness. You worked with Shalane the way Katie and I work together during hard runs. You took from her and you gave to her. It was a dance of a friendship and a dance of love. A dance you knew could only go so far before you knew you needed to take off. And you did. Nice job.

So while the race is over and I am looking forward to the Olympics, I am still full of motivation from these ladies. When I get tired and don’t feel like finishing, I think of hundreds of quiet miles that these women put in before this race. And I know that I too have crazy dreams. And I too am capable of many, many quiet miles.


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