I want to thank everyone who wrote to me and shared their amazing stories about "why they are running the Chicago Marathon." I look forward to meeting all of you out there on Sunday, we should all have plenty of time to talk on the run.
Lauren had the story of "why," but also a spirit and desire that is infectious. She is slow, but that doesn't stop her from loving running and using her time to help others through the sport.
She runs to set an example for other young women, she runs to raise money for those in need, she runs because she loves it. It's these reasons and more that make us proud to have Lauren as our Athlete of the Month. It's her spirit and determination to reach a goal,
We will be out there for several hours, so look for us, cheer her on and enjoy Lauren's story in her own words.
By Lauren Kaminsky
I grew up watching my dad run marathons with his sister. I used to write my dad notes about how incredible I thought it was that he could run 26.2 miles. I loved going out on race day to cheer for him and support the other runners. I'd cheer for everyone who passed, even runners without their names on their shirts. I loved the energy, the enthusiasm, and the crowd.
In 2006, I watched my brother in law, Nick, run his first (and only, he says) marathon. I loved being in the crowd again. The Chicago Marathon course has an amazing energy about it. From the runners to the spectators, everyone seems to be buzzing on race day. Watching Nick finish, I decided that maybe, just maybe, I could become a marathon runner, too. I confided in my husband (then fiance) that I thought he'd have to come back and cheer for me next year. I'd been running for a few weeks when I finally told my parents about my plan. They took me to Fleet Feet to invest in some high quality running shoes. I still remember the salesman making me say, "I will not pick my running shoes based on how cute they are."
I was quickly addicted to running. Running is my "me" time. I got married last June, and ran the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco last October. People thought I was crazy. I thought I'd be crazy not to be running! I needed a break from all the planning! The key chain I carry says, "Running is cheaper than therapy." I think that's true. So far, I haven't had a bad day that a good run couldn't fix.
Running has also taught me about myself. Training for a marathon has such extreme highs and lows. I've gone from an awful 18 miler to an amazing 20 miler. In the course of a marathon, I'll feel every emotion from pride to anger to excitement to sadness.
I did start the marathon in 2007, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to finish. This year, I'm back to finish what I started. I have a charity to keep me going, too.
Last spring, I ran the Girls on the Run 5k with 7 fourth and fifth grade girls from the school where I teach. We trained together, had a pre-race pasta party at lunch time, and each girl successfully crossed the finish line. There, we were each handed a medal that said, "I have the power to believe in myself. To stand up for who I am. To say 'yes' to a challenge. To cheer on new friends. TO GROW UP STRONG." Girls on the Run is about more than just running... and I think marathon training is, too. As a fifth grade teacher, the mission of GOTR is one that is extremely important to me. When it gets tough out there, I'll think about running with my students. I know they'll be able to keep me going.
Nike, Fleet Feet Sports, Moji and ZYM Electrolyte Drink Tabs, all salute Lauren and the other athletes like her, who love the sport of running, no matter what the time they finish or how hard it gets, they are out there to "Just Do It." They have all offered up some amazing gifts to help Lauren celebrate her impending Chicago Marathon finish and for being our Athlete of the Month.
To support Lauren and her charities, click here or on her name.