Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Runner Mom Profile #1: Kelly

This is the first in a series of profiles on moms who run.  These are regular women who have taken that first step toward running and fitness...then a second step and a third and a fourth...and so on.
To read about Kelly's running journey in her own words, check out her blog post here.

I met Kelly in October of 2009.  We had just moved to town and my son was finishing his first week at the new school. Kelly came up to me as we dropped off our kindergarteners and asked, "are you new?"  In almost the same breath she added, "are you a runner?"  We instantly hit it off.

She had started running the previous June. A comment she made to me after her marathon this past November really struck me:  the first two mile run she ran on that June day was harder than the last two miles of the marathon.  She was overweight and determined to do something about it.  Her determination is one of the features that everyone loves about Kelly. That determination had lost her forty pounds in just a few months.

Kelly is one busy lady. She has four children--that is enough to keep anyone busy. She is also very active in her church and volunteers at the school on a regular basis. She has more energy than anyone I have met. I often wonder how she does it all.

When I first ran with Kelly, we went to the creek that has become my favorite place to run. We had a wonderful run on the trails. Before that, the longest run Kelly had done was six miles. We were right around six miles when we got back to our cars. The guys had parked a few miles away at the high school.  Rod asked if I wanted to keep running a while and he would bring me back to my car.  I asked Kelly if she wanted to come along.  "Why not?" she replied. I believe on that day, Kelly realized that she could push herself.  She ran over eight miles and felt great. She started running longer and more often. She was officially hooked.

In November, her husband became seriously ill. He was in the hospital for months.  Her life consisted of taking care of her kids and being at the hospital with her husband. There wasn't time for anything else. She still managed to find time for a run or two a week. Her runs became her escape; her time to talk to her friends and not think about the struggles of her daily life.

In the late winter, her husband came home and was making a fantastic recovery.  She was able to go out and run in the mornings again.  She upped her mileage and intensity.  By June, she was ready to tackle her first half marathon.

We ran the Fontana Half Marathon on June 5.  This happened to be one year, to the day, since Kelly ran those first two miles. On her runniversary she ran an outstanding half marathon, finishing in 2:05!! I was so proud of her. She was already talking about running another one.
Over the summer, Kelly continued to run with me as I trained for a marathon in October.  She did all the long runs that I did.  I told her that if she was going to do these long runs, she should probably just run a marathon.  It took her a while to commit to it.  She finally decided to run the Santa Barbara Marathon.

My marathon came and went and it was a big disappointment to me. I was bummed about it and all my friends felt bad for me. Kelly called me right away and told me that she wanted to pay for another marathon entry for me so I would have another shot to qualify for Boston. I didn't want to try again so soon, but I did think that a positive marathon experience would be a good thing for me. I told Kelly that if she wanted to sponsor me for a marathon, it would only be as a pacer for her. We were both excited to share the experience of her first marathon together.

Her first marathon ended up being a very positive experience for me. I enjoyed every minute of it and was SO proud of Kelly. We kept it easy at the beginning and she picked it up at the end.  Her fastest miles were her last miles. She finished very, very strong. Her time of 4:29 was 25 minutes faster than my first marathon! She totally rocked it and I was honored to be there.

Since her marathon, Kelly has continued to run.  Many times, after a first marathon, runners take a couple of weeks off to rest and recover (I did).  Not Kelly.  She didn't miss a beat.  She was back into her running routine almost immediately after the marathon.  In fact, a couple weeks after the race, she ran a 53 minute 10K!

Kelly continues to push herself.  She recently ran her second half marathon.  She took EIGHT MINUTES off her previous time!  Her 1:57 half marathon time was her first under two hours, but I'm sure they all will be under two from now on.  She ran that race with a smile!
Kelly inspires others now with her healthy lifestyle.  She and her husband are now training for a trip to Machu Picchu in the spring. Her life is so much more active than it was when she was 50 pounds overweight.  Our running group grows all the time.  People see how healthy Kelly is now and they want to do what she has done.  

Seeing what I have seen over the past year or so, I know that there is nothing that Kelly can't do.

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