Meet 30 year old Katrina Whyman from Windsor, Vermont …. LOVE her picture!
At some point in my mid-20’s I started considering myself to be a runner. I had never participated in team sports while in high school, nor had I exercised on a regular basis for the first 20+ years of my life. Somewhere along the way, I began working out and discovered that I actually enjoyed running. At first, it was just a way to get into shape. Then, it became a lifestyle. I ran my first marathon at age 27 (the 2011 KVCM), and even though it was the most physically and mentally demanding experience of my life, I had been bit by the marathon bug. I wanted more. After finishing that first marathon, I set a goal of qualifying for the prestigious Boston Marathon by the time I turn thirty years old. This would be an enormous challenge, considering it took every iota of strength and determination to even complete that first marathon – and my finishing time was four hours and forty-seven minutes. I would have to cut an hour and twelve minutes off my marathon time to qualify for Boston.
For the next six months I continued training; my speed and endurance improving at a steady rate. This lasted until mid-January when I went cross-country skiing and took an unfortunate fall, landing in a position that caused a medial meniscus tear in my right knee. By the time I had surgery to remove the injured portion of my meniscus, it was late February. I was registered to run the 2012 KVCM in three months. The surgery was successful, and I diligently worked at rehabilitating my knee – and the rest of my body which was quickly losing strength and form due to two months of very limited physical activity.
Needless to say, I was unable to train properly for the upcoming marathon, but I didn’t back out. Marathon day arrived, and instead of having a goal time to finish in, I was right back to where I started a year ago – with the sole objective of just crossing the finish line. It was incredibly frustrating, and I had pretty well given up on any chance of qualifying for Boston in the coming eighteen months before I turn thirty. Around mile seventeen I hit a wall, and my knee was aching and swelling. I stopped and began walking, battling the decision to drop-out of the race.
As runner by runner passed me on the course, I realized I was not alone. Every single person running the race was overcoming some sort of personal obstacle, and pushing forward. Talking myself out of defeat, I began running again. I had come nearly eighteen miles on this knee – what was eight more? Somehow I reached mile marker twenty-six. This was it – all that remained was running through the finishing chute and crossing the line. As I ran past the crowds of race spectators and volunteers, all the pain coursing through my body dissipated. I ran faster and harder than ever before, and a smile spread across my face as I neared the finish line. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the time clock – I had set a new personal record, finishing in four hours and thirty minutes – seventeen minutes faster than a year before.
Since then, I have continued to train and work through the injuries that are par for the course when you are an endurance athlete. I have learned how the power of positive thinking can immensely influence physical determination and perseverance. Four months after finishing the second marathon, I ran a third and finished in three hours and fifty-two minutes – a whopping thirty-eight minutes faster. This year, I finished the VCM in 3:38:17 – missed qualifying for Boston by 3 minutes and 17 seconds! I improved on my 2011 KVCM finish time by 1 hour 10 minutes. One month before my 30th birthday I ran my 5th marathon in Hampton, NH! I am more confident than ever in achieving these lifetime goals.