Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Marathon Woman

Yesterday, I finally finished reading Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer (the book describes how her father was so excited when she was born that he forgot the "e" in her name).

I even got to meet her at the Space Coast Marathon expo in November:

She even signed my copy (!!!!):

The Marathon's the Reward!

Kathrine was VERY nice at the expo and, needless to say,I was very excited to read her story. (Due to work/family/holiday/insert any additional stressful life items you may have here it has taken a bit of time)  She was the first woman to officially enter Boston (as K.V. Switzer because everyone spelled her name wrong) and finish in April of 1967.  You may recognize the infamous photo below in which Kathrine was almost pulled off the Boston course by an official but was body-checked by her then-boyfriend (and future first husband):

What I didn't know about Kathrine was how much work she put in advocating for women's running, her own training, and organizing races.  She was one of the driving forces that got the marathon to be an Olympic event for women in 1984. (I was born in 1981, so as long as I have watched the Olympics the marathon for women was already in existence).  It really seemed so strange to me that 1967 was not all that long ago.  And 1984 was less than 30 years ago.   And women were not "allowed" to run.  Hmmm..

The other thing that I really loved about the book is that Kathrine made no apologies for some of the mistakes or miss-steps she made in her life, was always encouraging of other women, and truly worked hard.  (She ran a personal best marathon of 2:51 in the 1975 Boston Marathon.) 

And now there are more women runners in the United States than men!

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:
  • If you want to run, run a mile.  If you want to experience another life, run a marathon.
  • The race is the moment it all comes together: you commit, and put it all on the line.
  • Training works.  Sometimes it takes years and sometimes is happens quickly, but there will be improvement.  Suddenly, one day you'll be running and you're a lot better than before.
  • That's what the marathon is, above all else, a quest to reach a destination.
It made me think about my own marathon experience.  The marathon is such an emotional journey and it is so hard to describe (unless you've been there).  And it's a really powerful thing, once you do a marathon you feel as if you can anything.  The book in a word was amazing.  Truly an inspiring and motivational story.  Thank you, Kathrine (and the other pioneering women of running) for making women's running a real sport. 

In other personal victories:

Today when I went for a run my neighbor-man who called me a "jogger" said, "Have a nice run!"  Perhaps he reads my blog?!?  :)

I got a weather station for Christmas!  (There is a sensor that you put outside and it shows the outside and inside temperature) LOVE it!  It even has a figure that shows you how to dress!

Hope you all had a great Christmas with the ones that you love!

No comments:

Post a Comment