Kate Milz - Birmingham

Journey to Movement: My running story starts back in high school.  I hated it.  I know hate is a strong word and I don't like to use it, but I did.  I had a really strong dislike for running and yet I found myself on the track team.  I did everything possible to get our of our practices, so much so that I took up the shot-put and discus.  Between those 2 field events, it didn't leave a ton of practice time for running events, but my coaches managed to squeeze me into some of the sprint relays, which was fine by me, because they were over quickly.  After high school, there was no running.  It just wasn't something I was interested in or even crossed my mind.  Occasionally, I would find myself signing up for a gym membership and end up on the treadmill, but, as a lot of runners say, it really was the dreadmill to me.  I didn't enjoy it, so I avoided it.  Fast forward 10 years after college and I am living in Chicago.  I have a friend back in Michigan who just started running (and was trying to convince me to join her) and I am about to experience my first Chicago Marathon as a spectator.  I remember it clearly.  It was a gorgeous sunny morning, I was walking my dog along the marathon route and the next thing I know I am up at the barricades just watching in awe as this barrage of runners starts coming through.  I had goosebumps.  It was thrilling and awe-inspiring.  And I wanted to do it.  If a race could invoke that type of physical and emotional reaction just from spectating, imagine what it would feel like to actually be a part of it.  So, I started running.  I eventually realized that if I was going to go further I would need help and I joined a local running group.  The funny thing was, I started running because of something I had witnessed and maybe a little to stay healthy (okay, probably a lot for healthy), but I stayed because of the people I met along the way.  Some of my best friends, I met through running.  I fit-  I am not a fast runner.  The pace group I was a part of had a saying "Last on the path, first in your hearts".  We didn't care that we were slow because if you run, if you run/walk, even if you just walk, you are moving.  And there was a spot, a home, for everyone.  And it was the most welcoming community I had ever joined or belonged to.  I don't know who I'd be now without running or the groups I've been fortunate to be a  part of or the people I have met along the way.  And although at times it was hard and difficult, aches and pains, early to bed for early mornings, long, long summer runs that wipe you out for the day, I wouldn't change a thing.  Fast forward again to current day, I now live in Michigan and I am on the cusp of completing another half marathon, it could be #13 or #14 and I will be running the Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon in October. My 5th marathon.  I still get nervous and I still get emotional.  I am a basket of nerves right now in the week leading up to my race.  But, I love it.  It reminds me that I am alive and healthy, that I have good friends who support and encourage me and even participate in this crazy endurance running that I do.  I once had to take extended time off from running because of an injury and it was the worst time.  I missed the feeling of being outdoors, of being alone and thinking through something or listening to a great sound track or spending that time with other amazing runners from my group runs.  I am fortunate to live in and be a party of a community where I can always find like-minded people.  I'm home.