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Grata Runs: The Journey

Updated: Nov 13, 2022

“Surprise!!! I'm sure you'll be shocked to read this.”

I used the above sentence as a preface to my email announcing to my loved ones that I had registered to run the 2020 Chicago Marathon. I went on to say that I never thought I would aspire to run a marathon and am still surprised that I have become a "runner."

To be a real runner, I always thought you had to possess extreme athleticism, intensity, and physical skill — three traits that I did not think I had. But after working as a Pre-K teacher, running became a much-needed outlet. It allowed me the time and space to disconnect, explore, and listen to my favorite music (thank you, Lizzo).

I aspirationally signed up for the Nashville Rock & Roll Half Marathon in 2020 (mainly as a joke and an excuse to visit Nashville) in support of a friend running the full marathon. As a result of the pandemic, the event was canceled. Despite this, I continued to train and I ran the 13.1 miles at home, in solidarity.

Accomplishing this milestone, one I never imagined myself seeking to pursue, reminded me that I am strong — so strong, in fact, that I decided I wanted to run a full marathon. I registered and started to train for the 2020 Chicago Marathon in support of Bright Pink. Bright Pink helps to prevent lives lost due to breast and ovarian cancer by empowering women to know their risk and manage their health proactively. I hold this mission close to my heart as my family has lost loved ones to breast and ovarian cancer. It was my mission to run in honor of those we have lost and to empower ourselves and so many other women.

However, as with the Nashville half marathon, due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ caused by COVID, the 2020 Chicago Marathon was canceled. While this felt like a big blow to my momentum, I was determined to taper my training and stay in running shape so that I could tackle 26.2 the following year. I did just that.