"I started running when my son joined the high school cross country team. I saw how all of the kids and parents were so supportive and was blown away at the camaraderie of the sport. Now, I'm a little competitive in the sense that if other people can do it, why can't I? So, I started running on the treadmill. Everything hurt. I could barely run for a minute at a time and I thought I was going to die. But I pushed on because once I set my mind to it, I will do it. The next year, my son's team held a 5k. I remember the look on his face when I told him I signed up for it. He wasn't sure if he heard me right. It was my first race, I walked a little, but I completed it. Over the next few years I did more 5ks, a couple of Color Runs with my son, and running the Turkey Trot with my nieces.
A few years later, I started working out with local trainer Jeff Rogers. I met a lot of amazing people through his class, some of them ran the Eau Claire marathon. They convinced me to run my first Eau Claire Marathon 5k in 2016, and WOW. The event was out of this world! The atmosphere and energy inside Carson Park was indescribable. That was the first time I truly felt a runner's high. Just thinking about that day still brings tears to my eyes. As I watched the full and half marathoners coming across the finish line, I saw so many runners of all shapes and sizes, some fast, some slow. I realized so many of them were just like me. They were out there proving to themselves that they could beat the odds.
I kept hearing about this Blugold Mile and how fantastic it is. I had to know more about it and experience it myself, but you only cross it if you run the half, full, or the relay. Despite my nerves, I decided right then that 2017 was the year I would run my first half marathon just to experience the Blugold Mile.
On race day, I was a basket case. Much of the race was actually a blur until I hit the UW-Eau Claire campus. When I realized where I was, I started choking up. The energy of this moment, the students, this entire mile was so overwhelming. Just when I felt like giving up, these kids made such an impression on me. You really cannot comprehend the power that this single mile has over a person. I soon made it to the Carson Park hill and I saw my mom and dad there. I remember hearing my dad shout through the crowd, "Go Katrina, Go!" I still get chills. My son was waiting for me at the finish line, and I ugly cried...I did it. I have never been so proud of myself.
I'm signed up for the half marathon again this year. I feel so connected to this race and to the community. I started out running to lose weight and get healthy, but now it's simply part of my life. I found myself through running. It helps me keep my sanity. I'm 45 years old and in the best shape of my life thanks to running and the Eau Claire Marathon."