Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Guest post by Katie W: "I Kept Running"

On Motivational Monday, when Katie posted a comment on Facebook about her recent 10K race, I just had to hear the whole story. I asked her to write a guest post, so she could share it with all of us. This is a pretty long post, but I didn't want to edit anything out, because I think that it tells a great story! Prepare to be inspired... 



When Katie asked me if I’d be willing to write a race report for my first 10k, I immediately agreed. Just ask a couple of my students who witnessed me having a minor freak-out at my desk when I read the email. :)

As I write this I am lying in bed covered in IcyHot from the waist down and listening to my neighbor try his darndest to sing like Taylor Swift: “Weeeee….ah nebeh ebeh ebeh ebeh….getteeen bahck togetheh!” Let me give you a little background story on how I got here, because without it I can’t fully express what this 10k meant to me.

I have been heavy my entire life. However, I played year-round sports all through grade school, and I was pretty fit and strong for being as overweight as I was. In college I started dating a guy, but the relationship grew into emotionally abusive codependence pretty quickly. I am a Christian, and looking back on that year I realize that I found my identity in being HIS girlfriend, not in Christ. I felt guilty all the time, and I turned to food for comfort to ease that guilt. My boyfriend, an ex-ROTC member, was alarmed by my weight gain, and tried to get me to run with him for a bit. However, running was literally my nightmare.

It made me come face to face with the fact that I had eaten myself to a point of physical exhaustion and sickness. I couldn’t keep up, I struggled to breathe, and his ROTC-drill sergeant encouragement tactics didn’t exactly make me feel inspired. Running meant frustration, failure, and fighting with him.

By the time we broke up one year later, I was nearly 100 pounds heavier and very much hated myself. The things he told me replayed in my head, “I don’t think you’re beautiful anymore,” “I thought if I loved you then you would lose weight and become the diamond in the rough. All the other guys would be jealous of me because I had you. But I guess I was wrong,” “I find you repulsive.”

Yeah…nice guy. And I believed him.

I left that relationship with a lot of scars (the most notable one being from a python bite…but that’s another story for another day). In the four years that followed I slowly went through the healing process, trying to ignore the lies he had told me and fighting a losing battle with my deeply entrenched emotional eating habits. During those four years I lost a grand total of seven pounds.

I graduated college in 2011, and eight days later I was on a plane and moving to Spain for my dream job: student development for a study abroad program in the enchanting city of Sevilla.

My first springtime in Sevilla (that's me in the middle). Weight: 243 lbs.
Living alone in a foreign country definitely led me to change my habits. Without a car, I adapted to walking everywhere or utilizing my citywide bike rental subscription. I started buying my own food from the fresh market across the street and learned how to make tasty local dishes with olive oil, lean meats, and lots of vegetables. In my first year living abroad I eventually came to a wonderful revelation that has changed my entire life: I can’t always control my circumstances or what happens to me, but I can control and choose how I respond. I was tired of playing the victim, and I was going to choose to stop.

So I faced my fears and decided to prove to myself that I could do hard things. I started running and counting calories. Just now as I wrote that, I was quite tempted to put it in quotation marks, like this: I started “running.” But that’s not true. The moment I ran, I was a runner. Not a “runner,” not a faker. Even though it meant only running slowly for 30 seconds at a time and walking for five minutes, dreading the next 30 second round of running. Eventually, 30 seconds became 1 minute became 2 minutes became 4. I remember the first time I ran for 10 minutes without stopping and the first time I ran a mile, about four months after my first 30 second run. I did a couple run/walk Color Run 5ks during my build-up to a mile, and one month after running my first mile I decided to do another 5k, setting the goal of running the entire thing.

Ecstatic after running 10 consecutive minutes for the first time ever! Weight: 224 lbs.
Run the entire thing was exactly what I did. Now, I would like to be able to tell you that I felt like I flew through the entire thing without so much as thinking about stopping, that when I crossed the finish line I was crowned as “Best Runner” and handed a puppy and waved majestically as people cheered me on in my great personal victory. What actually happened is that at 220 pounds I ran the entire thing very, VERY slowly (people power-walking were passing me), I wanted to stop every 10 seconds, I had no one in the crowd there to cheer for me, and after I crossed the finish line I threw up on a gypsy and was cursed in Romanian. True story.

Fast-forward a few months to February 2013. I was having a one-on-one with a student who brought up wanting to do a race, and I mentioned a 10k circuit that was coming up in April. And just like that, I started training for my first 10k. Six point freaking two miles. The longest distance I had ever run at that point was the 5k race, and my weekly runs were averaging about 1.5 miles. So I got a little help from the internet and constructed a 10-week training plan. I worked up to about 3.5 miles, and then I got sick. For two weeks I couldn’t run, and when I did start running again I was back down to 2.5 miles and still very slow. I managed to run the farthest I had ever run, which was 4 miles in one hour (see, told you I’m slow!) a couple weeks ago. And then race day arrived.

A photo with my students before the race (I'm in the yellow jacket). Weight: 202.5 lbs.


The morning of the race, I got dressed and hopped a bus to the other side of the city to the start line. I met up with a group of my students who were also doing the race. We warmed up and stretched together and then took our places in the starting mob of about 5,000 people. Some of the girls in my group are college athletes, and they went ahead to follow the 50’ pacer. I stayed back as I knew I would be in the second half of the finishers for sure. Then we started the push forward.

Within the first two minutes everyone passed me. Literally EVERYONE. Including the poor folks who were in the porta-potties when the race started and came frantically barreling past me. “Well,” I thought, “yay for self-esteem!” It was quite disheartening to realize that I would be running this race alone as the pack got further and further away, but I settled into the pace that I knew was good for me and that I could keep up until the finish. I kept reminding myself over and over that I hadn’t signed up for the race to beat anyone or to place but rather to prove to myself that I could do it. And so I kept running.

Running alone, I pushed over to the side and followed the orange cones down the middle of the closed streets. Around the first km mark, I saw the final pace car creeping past me out of the corner of my eye. I thought about pushing harder to keep up with it, but I knew it would only exhaust me and keep me from accomplishing my goal. Besides, as a rule of thumb, I never race against anything with an engine. ;) Then a couple minutes later, the police escort rolled slowly by on his motorcycle. Then one ambulance. Then another ambulance. And finally a city bus, used to pick up anyone who gave up in the middle of the race. Two thoughts crossed my mind when that bus passed me. 1) There is no way on EARTH I am getting on that bus of my own will or volition. 2) Can’t give up now, because the only thing that can carry you to the finish line now is your own two feet! And so I kept
running.

I passed a race volunteer, who clapped slowly and stared at me with pity as I came along about 5 minutes behind the rest of the racers. And then I started to cry. I sniffled and choked back tears and turned up my music really loud. I forced myself to stop crying because it was interfering with my breathing, and I had already come too far to let my own body quit on me. I had just managed to calm myself down and find my rhythm again when a policeman on a motorcycle approached me and told me they were opening the roads back up, so I would have to run on the sidewalk. After he left I started crying again, and the cycle of calming myself down repeated itself. But I kept running.

Traffic started to flow again, and I watched in dismay as they started picking up the cones marking the race route! I was angry. I had just as much right as everyone else who trained for and paid for this race to be able to do my best and finish it! I understood that the roads could only stay closed for so long, but it felt as if they were sending me the message that because I was so slow I wasn’t worth it. That I wasn’t a real athlete or a real runner because I had been left in the dust. And I had to keep telling myself with every step that that simply wasn’t true. I couldn’t control what was happening to me, but I could choose to respond with one determined step after another. And so I kept running, never stopping.

Eventually, there were no more cones and I relied on people standing on street corners to tell me which way the running mob of 5,000 people had gone before me. Most looked at me with expressions somewhere between confusion and pity. I ignored it. Last summer I started running with music because I got tired of the rude comments and whispers of pity about the fat girl plodding along, and I wasn’t about to let people who have no investment in my life define it for me. I kept running.

Around the 5k mark I came upon the water station…being torn down. Shortly thereafter, a race volunteer stopped me and asked me incredulously if I was in the race. I looked down at my bib and then up at him and said, “Yes.” He asked me, concerned, “Where is the ambulance? They should be right behind you!” I told him that they had left me behind a long time ago, and promptly started to cry again. That sweet man called the impatient ambulance drivers a few choice names, and I felt so relieved that someone felt indignant for me. He told me to keep running while he made a phone call and that he would catch up. I did what he said, and I kept running.

A couple minutes later he was by my side and fell into step with me. He told me they weren’t going to send anyone back for me, but he would run with me until the finish line. And of course I started to cry again, touched by this kind stranger. We continued making light, sporadic conversation for a while, and then he turned to me and asked if I knew where the race route was. I told him no, and he admitted that he also had no idea where we were supposed to be going. So we just kept running!

A bit later we saw some cones on a corner, so we ran to those. From there, we saw cones up ahead, but we also saw cones on the corner to our right. The man said that the sports center and the finish line were up ahead further and just to the right, so we continued straight. When we got to the next set of cones, the trail went cold, but he said that he was pretty sure the sports center was across the bridge to our right. So we crossed the bridge and saw the sports center up ahead. As we reached the road to turn into the final leg of the race, I saw a horde of runners coming in…from the other direction. My heart sank when I realized that I had missed a loop of the course somewhere and that crossing the finish line now would mean not completing the entire race. I said all this aloud, and my running buddy simply said, “Finish strong. You cross that finish line with the rest of them because
you deserve it.” And then he stopped running and disappeared from my side into the crowd before I even had the chance to say thank you or give him a hug.

Frustrated, angry, exhausted, and emotionally drained, I joined in the crowd of runners headed towards the finish line. As I did the loop around the stadium track, I heard my students cheering for me, but I couldn’t accept it. After all, I hadn’t done the full race. As I turned the afterburners on for the finish line I felt like Fat Amy from Pitch Perfect when she tells the girls to leave the burrito behind her ear and she says, “It fuels my hate fire.” I put every tear cried during that race into those last 20 meters. When I crossed the finish line, my students congratulated me, but I didn’t feel proud. I felt cheated. I felt robbed of the experience.

Crossing the finish line in 1:08:15

When I got home I calculated that I had run a little more than 8 of the 10 km. Later in the day I Skyped with one of my friends, and I told her that I felt like I wanted to find the race organizers and tell them my entire story of how I used to be hurt and broken. How I used to think I wasn’t beautiful or worth loving because I was too fat and I had made myself that way. How God redeemed me from that and showed me that I am worth it and that I have been deeply loved all along. How in the past year I have learned to nourish my body, built rock-hard running legs, lost 48 pounds, and covered lots of miles that less than a year ago would have been impossible for me. To tell the race organizers that I may be slow, but I am a runner. I put the same effort into my 3-mile long runs as a marathon runner puts into his or her 20-mile long runs. Even when I could have stopped, even when the odds were
against me, even when I felt humiliated, and even when I could no longer see where to go, I KEPT RUNNING.

As I write this from my bed, the pungent smell of IcyHot filling up my bedroom, my Spanish neighbor is still belting out poor attempts at pronouncing American pop songs. I now realize that all the things I wanted to tell the race organizers are my true victories from this race. A year ago, had I experienced a similar situation, I would have quit. I would have found a city bus and gone home ashamed and defeated. Back then I wouldn’t have understood that I was simply making the choice to quit and that I would have been able to choose to keep going.

I would be lying if I said that this race didn’t leave me with a bad taste in my mouth, but that doesn’t matter. I am proud that I finished and that I did so despite the challenges I faced and the embarrassment I felt at being left behind. Ultimately it doesn’t matter that I was the slowest of 5,000. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t get to run the full 10 km just because someone else didn’t think my slow self was worth waiting for. Regardless of what happens to me or how slow I go, I know I am worth it, and I will make a choice. I will choose to keep running. And I hope you choose the same.



Katie Wiggins is a 25 year-old Michigan native living in Spain and working in the study abroad field. She enjoys running, cooking, traveling, eating tapas, reading, spending time with college students, and practicing the fine art of siesta in her hammock. Katie also has a weakness for puppies. And gentlemen, she’s single. ;) You can follow her crazy life between two countries on her blog Beautiful Things Out of Spanish Dust.


72 comments:

  1. Katie W. This was such and inspiring post- I have to say that your story really touched me. I hope you continue on your weight loss journey with much success and while I'm not at the running point in my own journey I know that I will keep running...

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  2. That was one of the most inspiring stories I have ever read. I am so angry at the race hosts for making her feel that way, and yet so proud of her perseverance. Her sentence "I wasn’t about to let people who have no investment in my life define it for me" is one of the most insightful and encouraging things for a woman to hear. Katie, you are beautiful, and have every right to feel so proud of your accomplishments. With that attitude, there is nothin that can stop you. Keep it up girl!!!

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  3. What an incredible story. I just completed my first 10k, and I was worried about being the last one to finish. I wasn't the last, but I was close! But it doesn't matter. I ran it. :) Katie W, you are so damned pretty! In that photo, you like the the kind of person that I aspire to be. Congratulations on your race! I can't wait to check out your blog!

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  4. What an amazing story! I think it could be a movie, seriously. It was very inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

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  5. What an awesome story, thank you SO much for sharing it.

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  6. You are beautiful, inside and out. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  7. Great story! Makes me bummed the race wasnt more supportive of ALL runners!

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  8. This is one of the best posts I've read. I know I'm just an anonymous reader but you know what? I'm proud of you!!!!!!! I'd like to fuss at the race people and give that man a huge hug!! What a great kind person!

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  9. All I can say is "WOW!" I don't tear up too easily, but your story made me cry - one of the most awesome stories ever. Your perseverance is SO inspiring! You should be one proud runner!

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  10. Thank you for sharing your race story. Congratulations on your perseverance to finish! It takes more courage to finish than it did to turn around and get on the pick up bus. I was in a small 5K a couple of years ago and mere steps ahead of the pick up bus. It was so close I wondered if I stumbled and fell if they would see me or just roll right over me. I can only imagine how intimidating it must have been on such a large race. Also, what a blessing that person was to pick up and run along side of you! God bless you as you continue along your path. Isaiah 40:31

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  11. So Inspiring!!! I cried reading this post because I know how she feels!! Congrats on being amazing!!! Never quit! And bless that angel who ran with you!!

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  12. 1 - I want to beat the shit out of your ex-boyfriend.

    2 - I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. I'm so proud of your bravery for sharing your story, for taking the first step and for running every inch of that race. I am in awe of your grace and beauty. Thank you for being you.

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  13. Thank you for sharing your story. I am where you were a year ago. Starting walking and jogging 30 seconds at time. It's a slow process. I know exactly how you felt and do feel. It's an amazing thing.

    Also I read your blogpost about the best way to deter Gypsy scammers. I had to laugh at it. I am sure it was mortifying at the time, but it is kind of hilarious.

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  14. All I can say is wow! You are an amazing strong brave a beautiful woman who is fearless and a string finisher! I used to be the last one and watching final runners of any race now is still my favorite part if the race beau car those are the most inspirational people ever who run with so much heart! Keep running! You rock!

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  15. What an amazing story. Thank you so much to both Katies for sharing this--it is BEYOND inspiring! Great job, Katie W!!!! You earned every bit of that finish!!

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  16. One, what an awesome and inspiring post! Thank you Katie for asking Kate W to do a guest post for you. I hope to read in the future that she's done another 10K or maybe even a half or full marathon. Keep up the great work Kate W!

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  17. You are amazing. I don't even know what else I can say beyond that. I'm just blown away.

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  18. Incredible! Beautiful! Inspiring! I'm so glad I read this. Both Katies are amazing. :)

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  19. What an inspiring story! I too had tears in my eyes! Great job Katie W I want to be a runner so bad and I too am SLOW! This really helps me.

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  20. I am sitting here (at work) crying to myself! Such an inspiring story, Katie! :)

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  21. Wait, you ran a 10k, over 6 miles (for the most part) in a little over an hour? That does not seem slow to me at all! You did awesome! That guy who ran with you was so sweet!

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  22. Awesome job! You rock! Very inspiring post.

    The race organizers need to get slapped around, that is so stupid. They need to leave the course "up" long enough for anybody running it not to feel unwelcome. Wtf!

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  23. I just wanted to add my congratulations to you. To my mind the most valuable thing is that now you know you have a value as a person which has nothing to do with your size or running speed. I'm immensely impressed that you were able to stand firm in that knowledge when the stupidity and discourtesy of others could so easily have undermined you. I wish you many more great runs and much joy.

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  24. You are amazing

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  25. What an AMAZING story!! I feel so angry on her/your behalf! How dare they?! God is so good, He lets us feel the beauty in the crappiest situations. Thank you for this. It definitely touched my heart.

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  26. Thank you for sharing that. I feel so cross that they had so little respect and compassion for you that they didn't make sure everyone finished ok. My husband has organised races in the past and this would never be allowed to happen. Last year a lady was right at the back and really struggling so one of the marshals offered her the chance of stopping after the first lap of the 5k course or having someone run along side her. She opted for the latter so that marshal ran with her until she finished. She got the biggest cheer of the day as she crossed the finish line. How could it not occur to those people that it would be so disheartening for you to have them leave you with no way of knowing where to go. Thank goodness for the lovely marshal who had common sense and compassion. The fact that you carried on and didn't let any of it stop you says a lot about you. Keep that strength.
    http://journeywithafinaldestination.blogspot.co.uk/

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  27. Awesome post Katie W.... so admire you for pushing through.. not giving up.. and mostly for even starting.. can't imagine doing a 10k.. GOOD FOR YOU!!

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  28. What a great post. You are AWESOME! Katie, I'm sorry that happened to you and I think it really sucks. But my biggest applause to you for finishing strong! You'll only become an even better you from here. :)

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  29. Katie, I love this! I can truly say I know where you are coming from. I was never overweight but I was never fit, you always had way more endurance than I did! I was always the slow kid who could never keep up, I was the worst at sports, and have always struggled with low self esteem. I still can't run a block without stopping and I let defeat get the best of me. There are days I feel ugly, worthless, fat, lazy, and like I will never amount to anything. Being 25 pounds heavier than I was in high school does not help much either. You are where you are in life because you choose how to respond to your circumstances. I chose poorly. I have stressed myself out, to the point of complete adrenal exhaustion, because I am not where I want to be in life, in any way. I still have 2 classes left before I get my Bachelor's degree, I work from home, I've gained 25 pounds, I live 8 hours from my family, my husband is in the military and we have no friends here, we have no church family. I can choose to focus on all the negatives and be a miserable person. Or, I can do what you have done and realize how I chose to react to my situation determines my happiness. I make myself miserable, nobody else does. Running is my NIGHTMARE! Seriously, just the thought of facing running makes my stomach twist and gives me anxiety! However, I know that if I were to face it, I would feel like I could accomplish anything. I will be extremely slow, I will want to give up, I will hurt, I will cry, I may get sick, I may cave a few times and hate myself for it, but I CAN do it if I put my mind to it! I am worth it, I am beautiful, I know I am because God said so and He is the only thing that really matters. And I can honestly say that realization would have taken a heck of a lot longer if I had not read your blog. Thank you for being so transparent. When you talk about being the last person, the slowest person, what you feel is the most humiliating and emotional is what gives me strength and encouragement. I know I would be going through the exact same thing and if God can give you the strength to work through it He can and will do the same for me, I just need to ask for it and have some faith! I love your blog, your sense of humor, and the encouragement you provide. You have inspired me to start a journey, so someday I can have a success story, with God's help! You are awesome, and I hope you feel super proud of yourself for all you have accomplished!!

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  30. Amazing and inspirational post! I admire your spirit and attitude - and of course, your victories (from someone who's currently 223lbs, I can identify with a lot of what you've written). Keep up the great work!

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  31. Thank you for sharing this! What an inspiration! I love that you never stopped!

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  32. What a great post!! You brought a few tears to my eyes. You are awesome and I'm glad you didn't give up no matter what! Off course or not, you were out there running and you crossed that finish. Maybe you didn't do a 10K but you did a longer race than you've ever done - and you did it with NO directions!!! That in itself is huge! Great job! I'll be following you how. :)

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  33. You are amazing and such an inspiration...thank you for this post even if I am now crying at work :)

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  34. Oh my God this post. SO MANY FEELS. ALL THE FEELS.

    I want to run with you. And I don't effing run. I DON'T. But this? This makes me want to run.

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  35. Katie W, I have heard your story many many times, but as everyone else said, I definitely teared up when reading this!!! I can't express to you how inspirational this post is, and your story and your testimony. All things in life seem so minuscule compared to the glory that God has given you, the victories that you have accomplished, and the freedom that you now live your life in. You always were an amazing, beautiful person, and you are now becoming more beautiful, because you radiate from the INSIDE! You have this glow about you, even in this tragic, yet absolutely beautiful story! Overcoming emotional/verbal abuse in your past, working through those issues, and STILL having the courage to stand up, start a freakin' 10K, and run it with all your heart is absolutely one of the most amazing things ever! To even get off the couch and run is a HUGE accomplishment! Keep it up, girl!! You inspire me more and more everyday! God bless you times eternity!!!! <3

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  36. What an inspiring story. Katie, you are beautiful AND worth it. I can't believe the nerve of some people. I would definitely contact someone in charge of that race and tell them what happened. You were out there doing what everyone else was doing. You were running a race and you shouldn't have been made to feel that way. Hugs to you and keep running!!!!

    Sue

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  37. Amazing story and inspiring post. I can't believe the race organizers shut everything down so quickly! I've only done one 4-mile race so far and it took me about an hour to finish. I know I would not have had the perseverance to keep going if the same thing happened to me. Kudos to you and keep up the great work keeping your body and mind healthy!

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  38. Carolyn KirchenstienMay 2, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    Amen sister! Me too!!!! I'm slow but i run, I build up mileage and i don't care who passes me, I'm doing this for me!

    You keep going and keep inspiring all of us women out here who won't ever win those 5k races or even place but we keep doing it anyway! Thank you for sharing with us! You are AMAZING!

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  39. Oh, Katie, this makes me so angry on your behalf! I can't even believe they would pick up the course markers and tear down the water stations before every last runner has passed by. Completely inappropriate. I would have felt just as hurt and angry as you did. But bless that man for running with you. You are strong and amazing. Keep up with the running!

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  40. What an amazing and inspiring story! Thank you for sharing, Katie X 2!

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  41. What a beautiful story, and it is so inspirational! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  42. Thanks for sharing your story KatieW. You are awesome!!! Love your will power and I hope I can be a runner someday!

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  43. THANK YOU for that. It was beautiful.

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  44. Wow! How incredibly inspiring. I walked a half marathon but was so upset with myself that my runner friends had to wait almost 2 hours for me that I've never really been proud of that accomplishment. Thank you for sharing your story and never giving up!

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  45. What a small world! Im an avid reader of Runs for Cookies and as I read your guest post today Im thinking you're probably working at my old school! I will definitely be following you on Beautiful Things Out of Spanish Dust! -Glory

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  46. I had such a similar experience at my first 5K. Everyone blew past me. The escort vehicles eventually abandoned me. I missed a loop at the end of the race because the markers were poor and no one else was around. But I didn't quit! And my 2nd 5K is this Saturday.

    Never give up, Katie!

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  47. Katie,
    Thank you for sharing your story. You are amazing!

    Jennifer

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  48. "Even when I could have stopped, even when the odds were against me, even when I felt humiliated, and even when I could no longer see where to go, I KEPT RUNNING."

    THANK YOU. I feel encouraged, motivated, but most importantly, validated. I so related to so much of what you have written here.

    Thank you.

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  49. CONGRATULATIONS!!
    You're gorgeous, and an awesome runner. You know what makes an awesome runner? Someone who just keeps running. You killed it. Don't let ANYONE (including yourself) diminish that.

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  50. What an inspirational story, I think you are great and can understand why I just run and put everything else out of my mind. Thanks so much for sharing this.

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  51. This story touched me. I remember training for my very first race about 7 years ago, and feeling the worry that I would come in last place. What a wonderful and inspirational story about working hard and finishing strong. It reminds me of a quote from Bill Bowerman, co-founder of Nike: "If you have a body, you are an athlete."

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  52. Great story Katie W! Love the way your write and your spunk and determination! I saved your blog to my favorites, so just like Runs For Cookies, I'm going to check in everyday! Nice job on your race!!

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  53. This inspiring story made me tear up at work AND made me want to get up off my rump, walk out the door and start running. Thank you for sharing.

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  54. This was so inspiring!! Thank you for being vulnerable and expressing the thoughts/emotions of YOUR race! Persistence is a discipline and you deserve to celebrate!

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  55. This is one of the most inspiring stories I have ever read. I am so inspired by your dedication and most importantly your strength. Reading this almost brought tears to my eyes. Tears of anger for the race hosts making someone feel that way, followed by tears of happiness for your accomplishments and attitude. I don't know you but am SO proud of you!

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this story! I hope you celebrated! :)

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  56. Katie W, you are amazing and extremely inspiring. Congrats on all you're accomplishing!!

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  57. Katie W

    I LOVE IT ! LOVE IT ! LOVE IT !!!!! Your spirit and determination, class A all the way. You ARE a runner, an amazing runner.

    I'm always in the bottom 10 to finish..... but I FINISH.

    RUN.CRAWL.FINISH.

    Keep running Katie ! : )

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  58. Absolutley amazing. Thank you for sharing your story. This is extremley motivational and if you can keep running so can I!

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  59. Katie W - You are so amazing & strong! You are inspiring!

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  60. I'm sitting here crying. Crying because I've felt that pain and embarrassment and I know how you must have felt... At least in a way. I can say with absolute certainty that I would have given up. I would have sat on the side of the road, cried a good long while, then found my way home. After that I would have never spoke of it. If asked I probably would have faked an injury or something.

    I feel angry for you, that you did not get the full experience. That the experience you did get was stressful and embarrassing, and that you couldn't even run the full course. Not because of you, but because of them. I also hope you'll remember that you were not the slowest of 5,000. You may have been the last to cross that finish line had the course not been taken away from you, but what about all those people who had a course to follow and simply quit? No, what you need to remember is that you were the strongest of 5,000. You were going to let nothing stop you from finishing your race. Not the lack of a course, support, or even your body. You overcame so many obstacles and should be so proud of yourself!

    I have a knee condition that prevents me from running, but I've been trying to get myself on my elliptical all day. As I read this blog I kept thinking, I can keep putting one foot in front of the other too. I can choose how I'm going to respond to this situation. I may not do this well, but I can do this! Thank you for sharing your story! You are such an inspiration to me.

    I feel the need to add one more thought. You wrote,
    "How I used to think I wasn’t beautiful or
    worth loving because I was too fat and I
    had made myself that way. How God
    redeemed me from that and showed me that
    I am worth it and that I have been deeply
    loved all along."
    I hope you can see the depth of the love you experienced. Not only did God love you through the worst of time, but He loved you through that race. That man who helped you? I don't think he was there out of coincidence. Have you ever heard Brandon Heath's song, Jesus In Disguise or Alabama's song Angels Among Us? Whether that man knew it or not, I believe he was God's tool during that race. Your Lord and Savior was there to help you along. Now that's a show of Christ's love that not many people have ever experienced.

    Way to go on your race! You are AMAZING Katie Wiggins!

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  61. Wow this is so inspiring! You go girl!

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  62. Congratulation!! This brought tears to my eyes I felt like you were telling my story. I feel like you are my twin!! I know how you felt because I too just ran in a race where they took up all the race markers and took down water stations before I got there.
    I know the feeling of am I not worth it? I paid my money too!! I was running in the Salt Lake Marathon one week after the Boston bombing and was running in honor of Boston!! It was pouring down rain the entire time. I too had an angel come out of nowhere save me for four miles she and her dog stayed with me until I was able to know where I was.. God bless the man that ran with you and kept you safe till the end!! Keep running we are runners and stronger because of what we went through be proud of all your accomplishments!!

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  63. I am sitting here crying... this was one of the most poignant, emotional, inspiring blog posts I have ever read. Thank you for sharing.

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  64. You have so much more courage than I ever would have had. I know for sure that I would have given up, which is probably one of my problems. You are even more brave for sharing this story, I don't know that I would have done that either. I guess what I'm taking away from this story is that I'm a big chicken & I need to buck up. I recently started "running" & although there was more walking than running I stil have my inspiration & one day it will be without the quotations. Thanks for sharing.

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  65. That was incredible....you go girl! You know nothing can stop you now!

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  66. I cried while I read this! It sounded so similar to a 10km race I did last year. Although I have to say the race organizers were much nicer and the clean-up crew followed me til the end. I was last, an old guy with a limp beat me and I was hit in the head with a small rock along the race course. BUT I finished! Your entry has inspired me to keep going!

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  67. I am so proud of you Katie. You are an amazing woman!

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  68. Wow. Crying. This was beautiful and inspirational and you did amazing!! Keep it up and you will look back on this as something that HELPED you to stay with your goals. xoxo

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  69. I wanted to cry for you reading this. You are beautiful and wonderful! Do not let anyone make you feel differently. I am really glad you kept going if only to prove to yourself you could do it. Keep up the good work and stay positive - it will take you far in life. Best off luck in your next race! Keep running!

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  70. I cried. I couldn't help it, I loved this article. I remembered how it felt every time I was on a school hike and the speedy guys at the front would 'wait' and eat lunch while I caught up but as soon as I got there they took off and I couldn't take a break even though out of everyone I needed it the most. The teacher who 'kept up the rear' with me let you stop for a minute for an inhaler and to breathe in a sandwich but then it was up and attem again. I remember getting home and crying because I felt like such an outcast because it seemed so easy for them and it was such a huge effort for me. If I had have been there and seen you running while they picked the cones up I would have gone with you, cheering you on and keeping you motivated because of everyone running the race you needed the support the most and they let you down. You should be so proud of that race in particular because despite all the odds being against you, you didn't give up.

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