In November of 2007, I was in New York City to watch my husband, Mike, run the NYC Marathon. The day before the race, we walked to Central Park to watch the Men's Olympic Trails and were stunned at the speed and athleticism of the racers. We didn't hear about the tragedy until later that day, so we left the park in awe of the athletes and inspired by the pursuit of their dream to go to the Olympics. The next day, I cheered Mike on as he reached his goal of breaking the 4 hour mark. He did this only four weeks after running the Twin Cities Marathon in record heat. At mile 10 of the race, Lance Armstrong, an inspiration to millions of cancer survivors, ran right in front of me. I saw Paula Radcliffe, who had a baby the previous year, lead the pack of elite women. Not far behind them was my son's Cross Country coach, a local woman about my age and running just minutes behind the world record holder. That day, I saw countless people of all shapes, sizes and abilities run past me and achieve their goal. It was enough to bring me close to tears.
So, given that entire weekend of being witness to a thousand dreams, what did I take away as my primary motivation for my first marathon? Katie Holmes. Katie Holmes gave birth in April 2006 and completed the marathon just 18 months later in NYC. Of all the things I saw that day, for some reason I became obsessed with her time of 5:29:58. All through my training for the Fargo Marathon, people would ask me what was my goal and I would always answer the same, "To beat Katie Holmes." Why? Her real-person time of 5:29 was inspiring mostly because it was so average. This wasn't like Lance Armstrong finishing under 3 hours, or even Oprah running a respectable 4:29. Katie's time was that of a real person... a real mom of a toddler with a real life and a real body with real limits. In fact, having never run a marathon myself, I thought it was on the slow side. Yes, I was quite sure I could crush it. For goodness sakes, even if I had to walk, at least I could beat Katie Holmes.
So what happened? Well, I did finish over 30 minutes faster than her, but unlike her, I was not able to appear in high heels at my husband's movie premier later that evening. No, I laid in bed for several hours, limped to Applebee's for dinner, then limped back to bed. No high heels for this girl. So, while technically I beat her, I think it would be fair to say it was pretty darn close.
This past fall, I was minding my own business and training for another race. Wouldn't you know that another celebrity had to go out, mere months after delivering twins no less, and complete a triathlon. Curse you, Jennifer Lopez! Get ready celebrities, I'm bringing on Round Two. Rochester Triathlon- you are on my schedule and I plan to crush JLo and her luscious booty! (Men, get your mind out of the gutter.)