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Open Mic Friday: Laura Catherine

Open_mic_friday This week's Open Mic goes to Laura Catherine - Tom's daughter and number one fan!   She has been running on and off the last few years and is currently "on" and working toward a 5K at the end of May.

How long have you been running? 
I have been running off and on again for three years and I am happy to report that I am finally on again (again) and hope to stay that way. I have found that with a bit of patience and time, my body is getting used to running, thus making it much more enjoyable for me.  Also, now that I am in the habit making time to run, it is becoming a natural part of my schedule.  I am working on increasing mileage and frequency, but I try to run about two miles three or four times a week.  I know it is now much, but we all have to start somewhere, right?!

What's the most enjoyable/rewarding thing about running?
I recently wrote an entry for the Extraordinary Running Awards on this very topic.  Although it initially sounds very odd, the most rewarding thing about running for me is the momCherisheachdayent in each run when I want to give up.  I share a bit of my entry with you all to explain this rather strange statement: “Despite my inclination to stop, somehow I manage to continue putting one foot in front of the other.  Pretty soon again I am back in the swing of things, still running and feeling just fine.  I think back on that moment when I wanted to stop and laugh at myself.  Why would I want to stop when I am feeling this great?  Why would I want to stop when I know I can keep going?  Why would I want to be anywhere but here running right now?  Well, the answer is simple - I would not.  Without those moments when I want to give up, I would never get to enjoy the moments where I feel I could run forever.  As much as I hate running during those few moments of my run, they are the ones that keep me going.  These moments mean that I started running, that I am still running and that I will keep running.”

What is your running goal for this year?
After years of enthusiastically watching my father finish the annual Dam to Dam 20K in Des Moines, Ia, this year I will also be participating in the exciting event!  I hope to complete my first 5K on that day!

In a recent open mic with your dad, he expressed the hope to train/run a marathon with each of his children.  Do you see a marathon in the near future for you?
I definitely see a marathon in my future, the question is just a matter of when.  I have no doubt that one day my dad and I will run the great Chicago Marathon side by side.  Optimistically, I say that it will be within the next 3 years!

Your dad has called you his number 1 fan.   What is your advice for family/friends to Laura give good support to their runners?
My biggest piece of advice is just be there.  That little phrase has several different meanings and they are all important to runners.  Being there means being there to ask how a run was, listen to the answer and show some interest in the answer.  Being there can mean participating as a spectator in a race day.  Spectating is so much more than being at the finish line.  It means waving signs (see picture of my roommate, María and I at this year´s Chicago marathon), making noise and cheering as your runner passes by and offering words of encouragement during the days leading up to the race.  Spectating means talking with other spectators and sharing the joy of your runners’ accomplishments with them.  Being there for a runner on a race day means giving your runner a big sweaty hug and kiss after they make it out of the finishers corral.   It sounds a bit gross, I know – but it is definitely a big sign that you are there for your runner. 

Tell us about the Chicago Marathon as a spectator.  What is your favorite part?
Oh wow – I am not sure if words can describe the sheer excitement of that wonderful October day on which takes place the Chicago Marathon!  The wonder of the whole day starts with the drive downtown and you see the streets absolutely littered with runners, already jazzed up as they anticipate the next few hours on the streets of Chicago. As my friends and I wait for the race to start on the Randolph Street Bridge, the energy of the spectators is electric.  People carry signs with encouraging messages and inside jokes, have noisemakers ready to cause a commotion and are prepared for a great day! I always get very emotional as I watch the wheelchair athletes start the race, followed by the elite runners and then everyone else!  During the 20 minutes after the gun goes off, all you can see in front of you are runners!!!!!  Thousands and thousands of runners!!!!   Everyone is waving and screaming for every person down there brave enough to that first step over the start line.   I always frantically look for my dad and upon finding him, I wave and tell him that I love him!  Man, we are all so pumped to be there!   After I see him that first time, my friend and I usually take off to maneuver the course and attempt to see my dad at least 3 or 4 other times (if not more!)  It is always such a joy to see him out on the course.  He will usually either tell me how he is doing or that he loves me, sometimes both!  Another favorite part of spectating is cheering for people who I do not even know.  A lot of people will have their name printed somewhere on their shirt and so we cheer for them, too!  My roommate and I also enjoy cheering for the people from Spanish speaking countries in Spanish (which we both speak fluently).  From wandering through Chicago’s wide array of ethnic neighborhoods on race day to sharing in the excitement with my dad and thousands of his running peers, I adore the Chicago Marathon!


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Good luck with your first 5K! You are a great fan, your Dad is lucky to have you cheering him on!! i am looking forward to hearing you complete that marathon at your Dad's side.


Great job recapping Chicago, I felt like I was there all over again (except this time it wasn't so hot).

Good luck with your running. I think your attitude towards when you want to quit gives you just right right mentality to be a marathoner!


Great attitude, great spirit, great story! Demonstrating these characteristics, there's no way you won't run a marathon in the near future.

Keep up the enjoyment, good luck in your first 5k and Happy Miles!

Bob Allen

Thanks for featuring Laura. And, Laura, good luck on your 5K. For your dad's sake, I do hope you can run a marathon with your dad.

William carter

Hi Laura Catherine

It is very nice to make your acquaintance. Although I have never had the opportunity to meet your father, I have a great respect and admiration for his support of the sport of running.

I was absolutely floored by your most "enjoyable/rewarding" part of running because that is something I can certainly incorporate in to my next long run or marathon. It would be an amazing thing to be able to laugh off the almost panic like emotions that can overcome a runner during a long race... and now I might have another tool to do just that.

Good luck with Dam to Dam. I have a feeling that it will be just a stepping stone as you eventually take down the marathon.

Best of luck with your running.

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