My name is Katie Koenecke. Last October I decided to take on a new challenge and committed to running my first marathon for Love Takes Root. I had previously ran a half marathon and a few 5Ks, but never thought I could run 26.2 miles! To train, I started running shorter distances and found a running partner that held me accountable and pushed me to run longer distances and keep going when I wanted to quit – this was one of the biggest blessings to my training. As the miles progressed every week I quickly learned it was all mind over matter. When we would start our long runs, I would set goals for myself. For example, if I could make it x miles, I could stop and get water or use gel. If I knew I had a 20 miler on the calendar, I would mentally prepare myself knowing if I ran 10 out, I would only have to run 10 back. After running 10 miles, what’s 10 more?
Running those distances quickly became a stress reliever as well, which was beneficial physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Having a virtual trainer, a perk provided to all Root Runners, was very helpful because my training schedule was delivered to me by a professional endurance athlete, it was easy to follow, and the trainer would answer any questions ever asked. Fundraising was rather easy because people could see my enthusiasm both for my first marathon and for helping the children of Haiti. For my fundraising, I found two sponsors for two children at La Concorde orphanage.
Overall, running my first marathon with Roots Runners was an experience of a lifetime, and I feel blessed to have been a part of it. Crossing the finish line is an inspiring and emotional experience that means even more when I was doing it for the benefit of others. I remain excited to be part of Love Takes Root, a great cause and heartfelt organization.