This week we were at SXSW asking runners to join us to celebrate the inspiration it takes to get moving day after day. It’s a simple question: why do you run? But each runner has a unique answer. On today’s blog, Kaitlin Goodman, a Brooks I.D. Member shares her runspiration story.
My reasons to run are many – I run for my health, for the rush of endorphins you get when flying fast along your favorite trail, for the copious amounts of ice cream running affords me to eat (guilt free – mostly!), and for the thrill I feel when I pass a guy in the final 200 of a road race. But my runspiration to keep training at an elite level and chase my Olympic aspirations for the past five years stems from a special night at Hayward Field seven years ago.
My brother Brendan (now running for Brooks too, as a member of Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project) and I had scored tickets to the 2008 Track & Field Olympic Trials, held that year in Eugene, Ore. Both collegiate runners at the time and of course huge fans of the sport, we eagerly packed up our dad’s Subaru and made the eight hour drive to Eugene. Our seats were high up at the top of the stadium, but there’s not a bad seat in the house at Hayward – and that night, there were no empty seats either! Perched high atop Hayward just past the 200, I watched, captivated, as the women’s 5-kilometer run field went to battle for one of the three coveted Olympic berths. My sports idols – Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher, Jen Rhines – raced around the track, their strong svelte bodies a blur of speed and power. Brendan and I yelled and cheered for his teammate, our friend Teresa McWalters, racing for the chance to represent the USA, fittingly, on America’s birthday. In a dramatic final 100 meters, Kara Goucher made a brilliant move to steal the win, and I screamed “GOUCHERRRRR” along with thousands of other fans, sharing Kara’s special moment with her. Her finish was goose bump-inducing, the roar of the crowd was electrifying.
And during the course of that race, a dream took hold inside of me. Watching Kara and Teresa and the 13 other strong women out there on the track, I craved that rush of competition, that honor of racing against our country’s best. I wanted it – and that night, I decided I would go for it. Two years later, this runspiration led me to move to San Francisco to give professional running and the 2012 Olympic Trials a shot. I came up just short, heartbreakingly close to qualifying. But the dream was still alive within and I became more determined than before to earn a spot on the starting line in 2016. At long last, in December, I did, running an Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon.
There were many times that I questioned this goal of mine, and sticking with it all these years hasn’t been easy. But my runspiration — the opportunity to compete with the best, to test myself and defy my limits – has kept me going. And throughout the journey, I often recall that inspiring 4th of July spent at Hayward. Creating my own Olympic Trials magical moment inspires me through each workout, every mile, the happy runs and the ones that aren’t so joyful. I run for that, and to hopefully inspire others to chase their dreams as well.
What inspires you to run? We want to know! Comment below or tweet us, @brooksrunning to share your story.