Marathon running: Grace, running shoes and motivation saved my life – Tennessean

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon” − Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the
It’s funny how God works, you know? April 29, 2019 was the best and worst day of my life.
That morning, my friend Emily texted me at 9:20 a.m. saying “50 mile Nike challenge in May, you down?” I responded 2 hours and 18 mins later: “I’m down”.
I thought nothing of the challenge. I wasn’t intimidated by the mileage, I knew I could run a total of 50 miles over the month. But I had no idea how it would help me.
I went to work like any normal day, but came home to a life-changing situation. The afternoon of April 29 catapulted me into a horrible depression.
The next 10 days were a complete mental disaster. I was basically surviving on water and this run challenge. So, I did it. And I did it the best I could.
For a while, Emily had no idea what I was going through but eventually I told her. We began running together and hanging out more. She and running became my support system. I had found rehabilitation in running.
The next month (July), the running club 6RUN5 held its first run.
Over the next few months, I developed a love for running and created amazing friendships with members of the group. My mental health and clarity returned. I began feeling whole again.
November 2019, we were challenged to run a half marathon in April 2020. Excuse me while I still laugh at that memory.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved running, I love my friends, but  a marathon? 13.1 miles nonstop with thousands of other people? Yikes.
How I prepared for and finishedNashville Hot Chocolate Run after years of injuries
I signed up.
For four months, I trained in the winter, rain, sleet, and snow for a half marathon. I sprained my hip flexor. I was displaced by the tornado.
On April 27, after battling another few hard weeks of depression, I woke up, created my own route and set off to run 13.1 miles.
I started off at the corner of 12th and Wedgewood, not far from home. I headed down Wedgewood and made it to West End, two miles down , 11 to go.
I stopped at Team Nashville after mile 2 to get some energy chews to help me on my ill-prepared journey. I was exhausted but I was determined to get this done. I headed into town, passed WKND, NES and made it to the Gulch. Four miles down, I was hurting. I was popping those energy chews like potato chips.
Mile 5, my hip flexor pain intensely returned. I kept pushing, because that’s what we try to do in life, we move forward. In front of the Nashville Farmers Market, I came across a series of inspirational messages written in chalk on the sidewalk on my route: “everything will be ok,” “hope will not be canceled,” “just keep swimming.”
I continued my run up Rosa Parks Boulevard, and back down through Germantown, a neighborhood I once lived in. I stopped by my old apartment to check on the rebuilding process after it was destroyed by the tornado. Mile 7.
Kathrine Switzer, first womanto officially run Boston Marathon, competes again
I continued my run, passing the Capitol, Hume Fogg, and the Music City Center, miles 8 and 9. I   head up Eighth avenue in excruciating pain. I made it to Sevier Park. I finished with a one mile uphill run through 12th South.
I made it home. I laid on the floor. I cried. I laughed.
I survived.
In 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon.
The pictures from that day of men grabbing her and telling her she wasn’t allowed to be there became historic.
Four decades later, her run still captures the public imagination.
It’s the reason Switzer dedicated her life to creating opportunities on all fronts for women. On June 13, she will share that story at the Nashville Public Library as part of the Conversations@NPL series.
It’s fun, it’s tiring, you feel good doing it and, sometimes you don’t want to do it at all. There are uphill battles that feel impossible to conquer, and days that feel like you’re running downhill and you’re unstoppable.
Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.
Every mile matters.
Courtney Buggs is a program coordinator in the Special Collections Division of the Nashville Public Library. Continuing the great dialogue begun in the Civil Rights and Votes for Women Rooms, Conversations@NPL is the longstanding, humanities-based public program series presented by NPL Special Collections that aims to stimulate serious public dialogue on all facets of culture, history, and modern society.


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