Written by: Kelli Foster
Just a few months ago in December of 2017, I completed my 4th marathon which was the Dallas BMW Marathon. Just a year ago… I had NEVER seriously thought about or ever attempted to run a marathon at all. And that’s where my story starts… hi, my name is Kelli Foster and I am an esteemed, excited, extraordinary and exuberant leader of the We Run the Trinity Running Group!
Just two years ago, I was asked to step up and lead a moderately sized group of about 25-40 runners on a 3-mile run, two days a week as a female-run leader. This was an exciting role for me, coming from a running background from my primary school days of school track and playing on a ladies soccer team as an adult….. running has always been a big part of my weekly exercise routine. But I hadn’t ever run 3 miles on a regular basis until I joined this group. And no doubt, when I first started… I was usually bringing up the rear of the group. Running now in my mid-30s is nothing like it used to be in my teens and my body isn’t either! So it took me a few runs to get my breathing patterns down, find a good pace for myself, and to get through the 3 miles without falling out! Then it took me a few weeks to get my flow and be able to run the 3 miles with no pain or shortness of breath and I finally got to where I could get through it without walking. Then as we fellow Longhorns say… I WAS HOOKED!!!!!!
The comrade of all the runners of different fitness levels and levels of running expertise was so amazing to me. We had runners that ran on college track & field teams, runners who had run in several halves and full marathons, and runners who even had run in past World Olympic Games! I mean it was a small world of running expertise right here in Dallas and I was in the mix of it. What drew me to more was the competitiveness that grew between runners each run and the weekly goals we set to drop seconds off our times… then minutes off. And most compelling of all was the accountability that this group afforded me. We all had a common goal of fitness, accomplishment and being consistent with our fitness… and we had each other to keep us all on track.
Fast-forward to the summer of 2016….fellow run leader Jeremy and I, decided we wanted to push our limits and train for our first half-marathon. We were excited about the growth of We Run The Trinity in our first season and decided to be models of further distance running for the group to encourage and promote our runners to step out into longer distance running. We started training in August of 2016 and trained for 4 months for the Dallas BMW Half-Marathon. One day we were out running at White Rock Lake, training for the BMW and it was about 6 of us that had met up to run together on this Sunday afternoon. After we ran we were doing cool-down stretches and magically… literally MAGICALLY… I got an email about the LA Marathon that was to take place on March 19, 2017, and told them about it… I remember saying, “After we run this half…. We might as well as do a full marathon next!” I jokingly sent it to all the runners I had been training with for the BMW Half Marathon. They brushed me off and didn’t pay it much attention. I brought it up again and again and no one took me seriously because I think everyone was trying to get their minds wrapped around and through this first half-marathon.
While we were training we got more and more of the runners to join us and sign up for the BMW races as well. In December of 2016, we have over 35 We Run the Trinity runners run in the Dallas BMW Marathon running on the relays, in the half marathon and we had one brave runner that ran the marathon, Chasity Colomb. After completing this half-marathon… AND seeing Chasity complete the full marathon… the seed was planted and my interests were sparked for this distance that they call a… marathon! In my mind, it was realistic now because someone that I know and trained with completed it…so I know if I work as hard as she did and train and prepare like she did, I can complete it too. So I brought up the marathon idea again with the group…. And this time…… they listened!!
We got flights booked, rental vans, Air BNB and we were ready to GO!! Not quite… now we had to do marathon training in some of the COLDEST months of the year…. January-February-March! Every day we ran in the cold.. they blamed me. Every day we ran at night… they blamed me! The few times we ran in the rain… they blamed me!! And after we got to LA and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US CROSSED THAT FINISH LINE… they THANKED ME!!!!
The feeling of working hard and finally seeing it pay-off is what’s in your head when you cross that finish line. All the sweat, tears, aches, pains, ailments… disappear when you get to the finish line and nothing but emotions, adrenaline, and happiness fill your heart, mind and being. The feeling of accomplishment, success, triumph, victory, God, and proudness overcomes you and this is what’s addicting.. this is what I fell in LOVE with!! And every time I have crossed that finish line of completing my marathons… I promise these feelings get more intense, these races mean so much more and the excitement grows bigger… this is what keeps me motivated to run more!!
Each marathon I did in 2017 took at least 2-3 months of my life each to train for… so for these months, I was running consistently 3-4 days a week with at least one day a week of dedicating time to run 10 + miles or more. So I definitely don’t want to make it seem like completing a marathon is a breeze or an easy task. Just like anything in life, it’s what you put into it… that formulates what you get out of it. If you put your time, effort, heart, soul and fully commit to preparing for a marathon, you’ll get all that back and in addition, a healthier life, an awesome group of “run buddies” and an accomplishment only 10% of Americans can say that they have done…. Completed a marathon… now I can say… I’ve completed four…. and that’s just what I’ve done so FAR!!!
The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.