­

Overwhelming is the word Dakotah used to describe her life since making the Paris Olympic Marathon team.She cannot believe how much busier she is as she is constantly in demand. Her life has changed dramatically as people now recognize her and everyone wants a piece of her dream.Even on her runs or going to the grocery store, people wish her good luck or want to talk. It has been exhausting but she is still so excited over the possibilities in her future.


 After the trials she did endless podcasts and interviews.Fortunately, she stated her partner Montana absorbs the craziness for her. He is looking forward to assisting her in navigating Paris before and after the big race.He has traveled internationally extensively and will definitely be an asset to his lady from Minnesota.
 

Dakatoh has lowered her mileage to 100 miles per week and has quit her swimming for a bit. She is staying focused and will start serious training June 1st. But the last few months have been a whirlwind.She has also chosen to take a leave of absence from her job as a paralegal until after the Olympics to totally concentrate on her training and recovery.
 

In early April her incredible sponsor PUMA took her and Fiona O"Keefe to Paris to get a sense of the landscape and tour the course.It was her first experience over the pond and it was so fun and extremely hard to beat. But the course is another issue. She described the first 15K as relatively flat until it leaves the city.Then the hills begin on the out to Versailles and back course. She knows the course is incredibly challenging and it will not be fast which she knows will be to her advantage.There is over a 1000 foot elevation change in a few miles with a hill she described as a mountain and significantly worse and steeper than any hill she has ever experienced. She stated the downhill will be as difficult as the uphill and the "mountain" starts. The highest point at 20.3k has an upward slope of 13.5% and the downward slope is 13.4%. Since the course basically mimics an out and back she said whoever makes the least mistakes will be on the podium.To help with the hills she has added an extra gym day to her training regimen to build up her quads.It was a short but informative and fun trip.
 

Then she was off to Boston to visit PUMA headquarters and several appearances. Busy from "wake up to lay down", she  also ran the 5K for fun. She was amazed running along the Charles River that people knew her.She is now a super star especially on Boston Marathon weekend. She was so tired that she watched the marathon from her bed at the hotel.
 

Dakotah raced the Amway River Bank Run 25K championship in Grand Rapids, Michigan where she had a podium finish behind Betsy Saina and her training partner Annie Frisbee, setting a personal best in 1:23:07.Although she is planning to stay focused,she is going to New York City with her two Olympic teammates Fiona O"Keefe and Emily Sisson for the Mastercard New York Mini 10K on June 11. After that she goes to team processing in Eugene,OR during the Olympic Track and Field Trials. She is also doing an appearance with Dick Beardsley at the Fargo Marathon Expo on May 31st.
 

Then she returns to Duluth, MN and Grandma"s Marathon where this journey to Paris began. It is her favorite race as it is mine. Since she has an important marathon in August,she is only going to run the Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon. Grandma's Marathon has many plans to treat her like the rock star she is and help her with her trip to Paris.I will certainly update everyone on her continued path on the road to Paris.
 

That will be her last race appearance as she turns her TOTAL focus to training and to prepare for the summer temperatures in Paris. Dakotah and Montana plan to go to Paris on July 21st and stay a week after the August 11th Marathon. She does plan to attend opening ceremonies but will stay at their Air B&B north of the city. Montana has been a tremendous support to her and often goes with her on her second run and to about half of her races. Her Dad has his passport and will arrive the weekend   before the race and her aunt Carrie and her husband will celebrate their 30th anniversary cheering Dakotah on in Paris.

Her final words to me were that her reaction to this fame has been different and she never realized the expectations from others of an Olympian. She has found it very strange having reactions you never expected from others. She has been exhausted at times but in true Dakotah fashion she sees every day as full of endless possibilities. Her agent Hawi Keflezghi has handled Olympians many times and he has been the best for Dakotah.
Finally I encourage you to keep an eye on Dakotah. I have learned that she is driven and if she runs the smartest race of her life in Paris watch out!! There may be many faster women in the race but the medals on this challenging course will as she said go to the smartest runner.

­