Meet Dawn Levine

At 45 Dawn Levine is in full swing of motherhood, but that hasn't stopped her. She has run 11 marathons and too many half marathons to count. Dawn is a determined runner that shows no signs of slowing down!

1) What first inspired you to want to run a marathon? How capable did you feel you were of running a marathon?

I have always been a recreational runner. I had run a couple of marathons before having kids. I think I had something to prove to myself after my second son was born.

2). How did marathon training change your outlook on life?

I love the discipline of marathon training. Knowing that you must keep to a schedule and you must do these matter what. I live my life pretty healthily. Saturday mornings belong to ME. I am a mommy all week long. I do my long runs on Saturday mornings to decompress after usually a crazy week. I can get at least 10 miles in before anyone is even awake.

3) Sometimes training through the summer is hard due to vacation(s). How did you keep up with your training? What would you tell a runner that is considering training but hasn’t because they know they will miss some of it?

So funny. This happens to me all the time. I travel a ton through the summer with my kids. We also take one very big, long, usually international vacation at the end of summer. If it is just a weekend away I will adjust my mileage all week and will hopefully be able to complete my long run on a Thursday or Friday before I go. Last fall I had to attend an event in Detroit on the weekend of the CARA's 20 miler. I woke up at 4am that Friday, ran the 20 miles solo, then put my kids in the car and drove the 5 hours to Detroit. I was pretty tired once I got there. So NOT a big deal to adjust a week here or there. I have found it is much better to just do the long run here before I go then chance it that I will do it wherever I am going to be on a Saturday morning. If it is a big international trip my kids know that I will definitely be running in the morning. I will usually get up super early, figure out some sort of mileage around where I am, and have my husband take the kiddos to breakfast without me so I can go for a run. Anytime I travel I try to figure out when in the week I will be able to run and will cause the least interference in the family trip. This can be tough sometimes, but if Disney opens at 7am, I go running at 5am! My kids and husband get the whole “marathon training” thing it and it is a mutual understanding. Staying hydrated when you travel is also a big part of the game. It's easy to forget..

4) How has training and running a marathon changed your relationship with your kids? Do you do more sports related activities with them now?

My kids are REALLY proud of me. My younger son surprised me with a book last fall all about me running the marathon. My kids save ALL my medals. They get really into marathon weekend and say it is their favorite day to live in Chicago. They also love to travel with me to destination races. Both my boys enjoy running as well. They have run a bunch of 5Ks and it's fun to do these as a family too. I have inspired them both to be healthy and enjoy running. My family lives a very active lifestyle. Nothing beats seeing their smile faces at the runner reunite after the marathon. It's pretty much all I think about for miles 25-26. But I have to say their favorite thing about me running long distances is probably getting to toss buckets of ice in the water if I decide to do the ice bath.

5) Why did you choose to participate in the program again and what are you most looking forward to?

I have made LIFELONG friends and cherish the relationships I have made through CARA. I love the camaraderie of running in a group. I really care about these people.

6) What marathon are you running in the fall?

Next fall I will be doing back to back marathons. I have guaranteed entry in both Chicago and MCM. I am hoping to have fun and enjoy the ride.

7) What most surprised you during this marathon journey?

How much I enjoy the longer runs. The sense of accomplishment when they are finished.

8) During the training process there comes a point where every runner hits a wall. How did you keep yourself going? What did you tell yourself?

I basically remind myself that I didnt wake up at 4:45am every Saturday to give up! Then I think of my kids waiting for me at the finish line.

9) How did marathon training enhance the already amazing Chicago summer experience?

It gave me something wonderful to look forward to every Saturday.

10) What was the hardest thing for you to overcome during training or running the marathon? Time commitment? Doubt?

Trying to get in all those long runs while managing my kids schedule, traveling and everything else.

10) If there was someone sitting on the couch right now, thinking about doing what you did, what advice would you give them?

Get up! Life is too short. Live everyday to its fullest.


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