When I first started running, my good friend Martha Hall explained to me that there is always a gazelle/corgi relationship out there in the running world. I had no real idea of what she meant by this until my friend, Karen Fortier, introduced me to a person I would come to nickname The Might KB, aka Katherine Boucher. I have never met a runner who runs with more soul, compassion, determination, zeal, ease, grace and self-confidence than Katherine. But I really only got to know her over the last couple of years because, yes, I am the corgi to her gazelle and now i truly understand what that means.
Karen had invited Katherine along for my FIRST EVER 20 mile run. This was back in October 2010 as I was training for the Abbott World Marathon Major, the TCS NYC Marathon. I was briefly introduced to Katherine, and then we were off. I’m not even sure for how long I saw the backside of her; maybe a mile, maybe two, maybe three, but after a while I had no idea where she was as Karen helped me battle it out, mile after mile, remaining by my side. I wondered, how fast is Katherine running? Should we be able to see her? I think I found out later that she finished her run a good 1/2 hr before me and I was astonished at how she was able to do that. I kind of sort of had a new idol; a local mom who was not a professional athlete, but who was sort of just like me, a mom who worked a full time job, had two kids and juggled an amazing amount of events and activities.
I think in every running circle there’s a “Corgi to Gazelle” relationship. I was able to admire from very far back, at least 1/2 mile, how easy and gracefully she ran, witnessing this gazelle in action. I then got to see some of her race times and was so blown away that she actually for some reason, was willing to run with (ahead) of us for our training runs. I discovered that she had already run the NYC Marathon, the Chicago Marathon and the Boston Marathon. It seemed, as I developed my quest to run all of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, I had met someone else who had inadvertently achieved half of that quest. I soon was asking her all sorts of questions about each of those marathons, endless amounts of questions that she had very informative answers to. I discovered that her passion for sharing this information was as strong as her passion for running. Before I knew it, Karen, The Fav and I had somehow included this elite runner into our circle and we were all training together. The Mighty KB helped me train for and successfully run the Chicago Marathon and then helped me train for one of the hardest challenges of my running career, the Boston Marathon.
Training through two brutal winters in Maine
Back in 2012, The Fav, Lisa Labonte and I all set our goal on running a marathon that would qualify us for the Boston Marathon. The Mighty KB had already qualified and when we had as well, we all trained together. This is when I really got to know Katherine because we trained through some of the worst winter conditions ever. Waking early, battling 14F temps, snowbanks that were 8ft tall, poor visibility and black ice, we still managed to get out on the roads and even beaches to get in our runs. In these extreme conditions we needed to stick together and really slow down in order not to fall over, get injured or worse yet, get hit by traffic. As we slowed down and had more of a chance to chat, I discovered what a kind soul this elite runner, who I only ever admired from afar, was. Week after week she’d head out with me. There were some weeks that The Fav was injured or that Karen couldn’t make it, but we still got up out and early to get the runs in.
And so it came to pass that we ran the Boston Marathon together, the Might KB, the gazelle, in a wave before me, but that was cool because that’s where all the other gazelles were as well, and me a wave behind. Then came my next challenge, to run my next Abbott World Marathon Major; to return to my home in London to run the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2015.
The winter of 2015 was no different, well, in fact, I think it was more intense and went on longer with more snow, so again, The Mighty KB and I woke early, braved extreme winter conditions, and got those runs in. During that time, I kept thinking to myself, why is this elite runner, who could run with anyone who is faster, stronger, and of the same talent and caliber as she is, running with me? What can she possibly get out of this? I’m such a corgi and she is such a gazelle, but I think it is this; sometimes just sharing your love and passion for something (running) with someone else, is it’s own reward. So I thought in return, I should share something with The Mighty KB.
I always knew she’d make an awesome triathlete
During my training for the marathons I’ve run, I’d encountered my share of injuries and had to find other ways to keep in shape instead of running. My husband is an avid cyclist who works out indoors on a trainer in the winter and introduced me to a program called Spinervals. Soon I too was spinning and then swimming. I trained for one whole winter this way and thought, why let all that cross training go to waste, why not try a triathlon.
So I told the Mighty KB about this and suggested she too start cycling and swimming. And she took to the water like a fish, having quite a lot of upper body strength from her days as a competitive weight lifter. In 2015 I was so pleased to have her as a team mate on the Lymphomaniacs. Katherine did the swimming on the team for my sister Annette who has Lymphoma. The Mighty KB nailed the swim being the second person out of the water in a record 9 minutes. When she nails it, she nails it.
Taking on the 39.3 mile challenge
For her next challenge she took on the Maine Coast 1/2 marathon on day one and the full marathon the next day, or, the 39.3 mile challenge. Again, she nailed both finishing first for the women who did the challenge, with our friend Karen coming in third for the women overall.
Still training together
It still never ceases to amaze me that Katherine would consider running with a corgi like me when she could run with anyone she chooses. I have fond memories of some of the crazy runs we’ve done, like the one where she and I got up and started in the dark at 4:30am forgetting I cannot see in the dark, or the stories she has shared with me over our runs; the stories are always funny, entertaining and heartfelt. My admiration grows for her with every run; she is so humble and down-to-earth and though she easily could, she never leaves me behind. What she does do is that she encourages me to push myself, to improve myself, and to laugh at myself whenever we have a chance. I owe so much to her but feel blessed to have her as a running buddy and a friend. Here’s to you, the Mighty KB!
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