What I Love

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2012 by Kel

I love my smile. I love that my smile makes others smile. I love that smiles are contagious.

I love my family. I love that my family supports and inspires me. I love to support and inspire my family.

I love long, slow runs. I love not remembering how I got from mile 9 to mile 17. I love that from mile 9 to 17 I was in a happy place.

I love my friends. I love that we are all different. I love that we are all the same.

I love that I swim slow. I love that I don’t want to get faster. I love that there are things in life that are perfect the way they are.

I love to work in an environment that appreciates me. I love that I have to work hard for them to appreciate me. I love to work hard. I love that I can retire young because I work hard.

I love that I am horrible at spelling and grammar. I love that nobody is perfect. I love that we all have things we can work on.

I love my tattoos. I love that I don’t care what others think of my tattoos. I love that I am excited to get another on that has a lot of meaning.

I love photography. I love that we can express emotions without words. I love that everyone has their own interpretation of a photo. I love my interpretations.

I love looking out my sliding glass door and seeing the ocean. I love when the ocean is calm. I love when the ocean is fierce. I love variety.

I love to be out of my comfort zone at work. I love to be in my comfort zone in my sport. I love that I found balance.

I love my family. I love that I can say that twice. I love that I am the luckiest girl in the world because of them.

I love my life…

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A 110% Team Effort

Posted in Uncategorized on February 19, 2012 by Kel

When you do something for reasons greater than yourself and you have a team of amazing family and friends supporting that vision there is nothing you can’t do! When approached by 110%. Play Harder. to be part the 110% Give Harder team to run 110 miles to raise donations to find a cure for breast cancer it did not take but a minute to say ABSOLUTELY YES! My family was touched by breast cancer and 21 years ago we lost our Grammy Young from this deadly disease. She was 62 years old and for 6 months we sat by her side and watched her fight as hard as she could. When she passed away there was, and still is, a void but with that void comes memories of one of the most beautiful and loving figures in our life.

I called my sister, Heather, and asked if she would relay the first 84 miles of the 110 miles to the start of the “National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer” then we would run the marathon course together to the finish line to cover 110K of running each. Heather did not even think twice, she was ready to be there by my side and to help raise awareness and donations! It did not stop there! Our Dad heard what we were doing and he flew in from upstate NY to crew for Heather and I. He loves his babies and we love him 10x more back 🙂

The support we received from family, friend and even those we did not even know both in the form of donations and in cheers was overwhelming! Heather and I were so touched by how many had family and friends that were also touched by breast cancer and also those that donated that had loved ones that had to fight other types of cancer. We began to fill posters of those we were running in memory, honor and celebration of to carry with us for the last part of our run to honor their strength and courage.

 The Mission of the Donna 26.2 is to “passionately produce world-class events to raise funds for ground breaking breast cancer research and empower women living with breast cancer.” and the 110% Give Harder Foundations mission is to “seeks to motivate, inspire and lead others to live more active lifestyles while simultaneously giving back to their community.” We are blessed with our health and ability to participate in endurance events and this was our chance to pay it forward.

Heather and I enjoyed running with brothers Jim and Ted! It was the sibling run team but they were running the full 110 miles (our heros)! We also loved hanging out with Dad on our off miles and were thankful when Dad followed us close in the car through the night to make sure we were safe.  

The temps dropped significantly when the sun went down on Saturday and in the darkness you could feel the 20 degree temps chilling you to the bone even with 5 layers of clothes on. We remember what a friend told us about chemo and what it was really like and all we could say is, “No matter how difficult this is it is not even close to what chemo feels like!” and we kept moving forward.

As we finished the last 9 miles with the posters in hand we felt like we were flying. We know Grammy Young was there with us and gave us wings. We are proud to say we are on our way to reaching our goal of raising $110K for breast cancer research and to help woman financially that are currently fighting breast cancer. Thank you to everyone who supported us though this journey. We are forever grateful!!

From Heather (my amazing sister and coach…I love you!!)…

Being part of the 110% Give Harder Foundation is still very surreal. I am so completely humbled by the graciousness, love, and support of others. Before we started the 110 mile journey my head was clear, but my heart was full of love, joy, and faith. I knew at that moment I was exactly where I belonged. There were so many memorable moments during the 23 hours and 40 minutes. I enjoyed running with Jim and Ted Philip. Their focus and determination was inspiring. My Dad! He drove the crew car and stayed up all night watching his girls run. His dedication is amazing. Being with my sister Kellie is always what makes these experiences that much more meaningful. There doesn’t need to be words or conversation. Just her and me running. Around 4am, I remember thinking about how serene it was on the streets. I became sad for a moment as I wished my sister Carrie was there too. However, in the next moment I realized she was. I never go anywhere without the two of them. They are a part of me. Now this experience has become a part of me too. Would I do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat, and I would go further next time. Why? Simple, the people we were running for. That is what this was all about. Not me, not a road, and not a finishing time. It was about people. It was for the people we love and are gone, it was for the people fighting, and the people that will fight this battle. With each step I had hope. In the words of John Wesley, I believe that we should “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.”

How Do You Define An ATHLETE?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 2, 2012 by Kel

Do you define an ATHLETE by fame? Fortune? Adoring fans?

I believe an ATHLETE is someone who sets a goal and works hard to achieve that goal. Someone that challenges themself to do something they consider impossible and inspire many along their journey. My goal is to inspire woman and young girls to realize they can do anything they set their minds to. I pay my gift forward by driving awareness and raise funds for important causes.

When I was approached by the 110% Give Harder Foundation to join the team to help end Breast Cancer I did not have to think twice. My family was touched by breast cancer and lost a beautiful soul to this horrible disease. I am passionate about including my family in my journeys and my sister Heather and my Dad will be joining me as a way to honor the memory of an amazing woman and to help abolish breast cancer.

Our mission is to run as part of the 110% Give Harder team by running 110K to raise $110K to help win the fight against breast cancer. Beginning on Saturday, February 11th, 2012, we will set out on a 110K journey. We will each run 42 miles (84 miles total) as a relay through the night to get to the start line of the 2012 26.2 With Donna Marathon. We will then continue our journey together on the course of the Donna Marathon and will run another 26.2 miles until the finish line. Our Dad will be our crew and support through this event.

Kellie & Heather Breast Cancer Marathon Fundraising Page

TELL US HOW YOU DEFINE AN ATHLETE BY LEAVING A REPLY ON THIS POST AND ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF ATHLETE FROM 110%. PLAY HARDER.

DEFY DEFINITION!

Everyday ATHLETE…Kellie

An EPIC Bond

Posted in Uncategorized on January 15, 2012 by Kel

  • Have you ever had a coach that knows you like the back of their hand?
  • Have you ever had a friend get up at 4am to drive over an hour to the airport to surprise you and wish you luck on an event?
  • Have you ever had your sister ask you to pee in a cup to make sure you are not dehydrated?
  • Have you ever had to watch your sisters get a 2 min paddle board lesson 10 min before they have to site you on a 7.2 mile swim.
  • Have you ever had to be escorted across 4 lanes of a major highway in the pitch dark to get off an exit on your bike?

My journey stated 5 months before EPICMAN took place when I asked my sister Heather, Jonesing 4 Fitness, to coach me for what was sure to be the most difficult event to date. Not an easy task with a client like me who will not train more than 2.5 hours on a work day (and that includes drive time) as I get to work at 7:30am. Heather took on the challenge and it was amazing to watch both of us grow over the 5 months as an athlete, coach and sisters.

My family and friends mean a lot to me. They keep me grounded and remind me what is important in life.  My friend Heather Davenport, a little ball of energy and smiles, showed up at the airport to surprise me and wish me luck on my event. Really!? She got up at 4am and drove over an hour to the airport and was not even sure she would find me. I almost cry but I was too happy to see her! And my special friend Marie (midget sister :)) sent me a gift package in HI of all my favorite goodies which included M&Ms!

Being on the beautiful island of O’ahu with my sisters was really special. We enjoyed our time together and had fun preparing for the adventure we were about to take. Everywhere we went people would comment about our smiles and energy. We bring it out in each other.

The crew car was all packed and we all got a good night sleep and were ready to go! The 7.2 mile swim was really fun! I actually enjoyed it and I completely loved watching my sisters on a paddleboard next to me ensuring I was staying on track. They did great with only a 2 min lesson before the event!

The bike was 336 miles of fun, nerves, smiles and camaraderie! The one loop around the island (104 miles) took quite a bit of time with the amount of traffic, stop signs, stop lights, major roads you had to travel on coupled with the wind and some nice climbs. But it is the EPICMAN CHALLENGE so getting blown into a guard rail when climbing up a steep hill is just part of the journey. Carrie and Heather were right there to ensure I took all the right turns and kept me well hydrated and kept me well fed with peanut butter and nutella sandwiches! Then we hit the 1.4 mile out and backs for 230 miles or so. That was fantastic as the crew could get a little sleep (not much!) and it was a safe lit road and the other athletes were so friendly as we went around in circles. Riding through the night was actually neat and every time I circled around the parking lot all the support crew and volunteers were cheering and keeping you alert and smiling.

The run!! My favorite part! Since I took it very easy on the swim and bike I had a lot of energy and excitement going into the run. My legs were not worn at all so it was time to see what saving it all for the run could do. Heather coached me for this. This was the part where Carrie and Heather would take turns going mile for mile with me by my side. We pushed out 21 or so miles at a nice clip and we all took an hour nap and we were back at it. Of the 78.6 miles I walked about 3/4th of a mile which was a hill or two early on in the run and the last lap prior to heading into the finish. I was starting to feel the sleep deprivation and just needed to get some coke and food in me to get me back on track.

The last 7.5 miles is where the “light at the end of the tunnel” adrenaline kicked in. Some caffeine and nutrition and I was good to go. Heather, who had almost 40 miles on her legs already took the lead and just told me to stay on her feet and think about all the woman and young girls I was inspiring. That was exactly what I needed! Heather paced me at sub-9 mile splits for 7.5 miles and that includes a climb up Diamond Head. Heather was in her element and put on her coaches hat and pushed me past what I thought my limits were. I owed it to my sisters to give it all I had! As we approached the last 2 miles Carrie and a new friend Marlene (who lives in the island and FOUND Carrie at a gas station through tracking us on Facebook and jumped in the crew car and directed her to the finish) were running at us and we all ran around the park to the finish line. Holding my sisters hands we crossed the finish knowing that we once again formed an EPIC bond to complete a journey of a lifetime.

This journey would have never happened if it where not for some very special people.

Jason Lester is the man with the vision and a dear friend that offered me the chance to take part in this event. When he first contacted me I told him I could never even train for a race of that magnitude with a full-time job. He believed in me and knew me well enough to know I would bring my family with me and make this another epic adventure for us to share. Thanks you for believing in me, Jason. And thanks for the 534 text messages you sent to my sisters along the way to make sure I was still alive 🙂

Rebecca and Jen were the two amazing woman who provided my sisters and I the support that reminded us why we do events like this. They took us in as family and encouraged  us from start to finish. What can I say, you were our angels that looked over us and you became part of our family over the 3 days and we love you!

Rebecca, Me, Jason and Jen!

Stefan, owner of TriFREAKS,  joined up with Jason to put on the EPICMAN Challenge and he was out there on the bike course with me for many out and backs. Just having that companionship out there at 2am really kept me focused and smiling. AND he wore a skirt to the award ceramony…classic! Yes, even I had a skirt on to hide my 110% Play Harder. Juggler Knickers which were my savior!

Jason, me, Stefan!

Carrie and Heather, what can I say, you are my sisters, my coach, my heart. You believe in me more than I ever could believe in myself. You help me reach my goals and remind me that as a team we can do anything we set our minds to. You inspire me, you make me reach for the stars, you are my angels. I love you with all my heart.

For a little look into what it is like to be a crew take a look at what Carrie and Heather had to say…

What was the experience like for your crew of sisters?

Carrie: “Surreal” is the one word that sums up the total experience. To have someone you love rely on you for her well-being and safety as you lead her through one of the most physically and mentally tough times of her life is a daunting task. We felt elation, frustration, adrenaline rushes, and sleep deprivation. We smiled when she whizzed by on her bike, we yelled at each other when we were unsure of a turn. We felt happy when accepted our peanut butter and honey sandwich and we were terrified leading her across four lanes of a busy highway in the pitch black to an exit. We felt fresh and excited as we maneuvered a paddleboard across the ocean waters so she could site us and we felt utterly wiped out as we paced her at 2 am back and forth on the sidewalks of Honolulu after being up for 30 hours (but who are WE to complain). The one feeling our minds and bodies never let go of was the love we had for one another… three sisters in this together through the good and bad and the ugly. Crewing a race like this is not for the faint of heart. I know I speak for both of us crewmembers when I say that we would not want anyone else to be there for Kellie but her two biggest fans.
 
Heather: Epicman was amazing, frightening, exhausting, frustrating, and exciting. I am pretty sure I felt every emotion possible in that 48 hours 30 minutes and 50 seconds. When someone asks you to crew for them it is truly an honor because they trust you enough to be their life line.
I have crewed (along with Carrie) for Kellie during Ultraman Canada, but for me this was a very different experience. Unlike Ultraman Canada, we got the opportunity to paddle board next to her as she swam (usually we do not get to “be” with her until the run). So that was a really cool new experience. The bike, oh the bike, my least favorite part. The twists and turns of the roads, plus traffic, and crossing a four lane highway made me a nervous wreck! By the time we hit the run, sleep deprivation was setting in, and we knew sleep was not in our near future. However, before I knew it we were on the last 7 miles and I was pacing her to the finish. The only thing I could think at that moment was “please don’t let me fail her now.” To be honest, it took a few days for the reality of what happened during EPICMAN to set in. Even today I am still a little shocked that together we helped Kellie make athletic history! However, even above that, the most important thing I have learned out there is that the love that Kellie, Carrie and I have for each other runs much deeper than the bonds of sisterhood

When Your Sport Becomes More Than Just About “You”

Posted in Uncategorized on September 9, 2011 by Kel

I could not stop smiling on my run this morning. I have to admit it was a pretty large smile. I started to think about how I have been progressively gaining more pleasure and joy in my sport over the past 6 years. I chuckled to myself as I knew it had nothing to do with my performance. I have also been progressively getting slower J

But it was obvious what the answer was after I started to think of the moments that were most memorable. Being at the start line of Ironman Louisville with my twin sister by my side. Running the Barcelona Marathon with my younger sister. Running the Green Lakes 50K trail run with Carrie and of course having my sisters and dad by my side for 3 days for Ultraman Canada.

It is to me, in a sense, a symbolism of how much a family loves and supports you. So I choose events that I can do with my sisters or ones that we can all have a similar goal in mind and all work towards that goal. A few weeks back in the GLER 50K I just paced behind my sister for 29 miles and all I could think about is how she was going to get me through EPICMAN. Without her I am sure I would have walked more of the 2000 feet of elevation gain than I actually did. But the last 2 miles to see her glide effortlessly over the puddles and mud to get to the finish line was the highlight. Her smile was awesome! I finished behind her so I saw her smile in the finishing pictures J

This has also been an exciting year as my younger sister followed her dreams and started her own coaching company. She is top-notch in every way. I spoke to her about her path into triathlon one day to expand her coaching to not only runners but also triathletes. Selfishly in 5 years I will be retiring from Corporate America and will be looking to get my certifications and begin coaching and I would love to be part of Jonesing 4 Fitness. After some discussions she is going to get her triathlon certification and is using me as a guinea pig as I train for EPICMAN and she is kicking my butt!!! But the bond there has been surreal and I admire my sister more than I already do, and that is a LOT!

Click here to check out her website!

The other part I love about our sport is how my sisters inspire their children. My twin sister has run many races with my amazing niece and Heather brings her kids to yoga and teaches them the importance of sports in their lives. My sister just finished the Mountain Marathon in CO on Labor Day and Rylee and Kavan crossed the line with her. They are very proud of Mom. I was too J

And I have to say my Ry is a mini-me. She loves the trails, sports the braids, looks crazy cute in her run skirt and her sneaks are a striking resemblance to the Hoka OneOne’s. I see a future in this girl, I really do.

Natural Progression – Iron to Ultra to Epic

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19, 2011 by Kel

 

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” – Bernice Johnson Reagon

I always believe that things happen for a reason and opportunities come to you when you least expect it. What you do when presented with these opportunities truly can help you discover who you are. When I received the invitation to EPICMAN I was not even sure if it was humanly possible. Nor was I sure I would have time to train with opportunities opening up for me at work. Then I went back and re-read My Speech from Angie’s Half Crazy! Half Marathon back in April 2010 this struck me, “If you set a goal for yourself and stop and think about it you will find every reason in the book why you can’t do it. If you commit yourself to it and you are passionate about it you will find a way to accomplish your goals.”  I stopped over thinking and it all fell into place 🙂

The EPICMAN Challenge® takes place from December 30, 2011 @7am – Sunday, January 01, 2012 @ 9am. 50 hours to complete a 7.2 mile swim – 336 mile bike – 78.6 mile run. Non-Stop – on the island of Oahu.

The race will be limited to 24 entrants. EPICMAN Challenge is an invitation event. You must submit your race resume to info@EP1CMAN.com. If you have been accepted please click HERE to register with your code.

EPICMAN is sure to test the PERSEVERANCE, FLEXIBILITY and MENTAL FORTITUDE of even the most experienced and accomplished of elite athletes. Who’s in?

Course Maps

EPICMAN_Swim_Course – Ala Moana Beach Park – out & back (1.2 mi) x 6 = 7.2 mi

EPICMAN_Bike_Course – Start/End at Ala Moana Beach Park, 112 miles x 3

EPICMAN_Run_Course – EPICMAN run course x 3 (same as Honolulu Marathon run course)

Fort Clinch Endurance Runs

Posted in Uncategorized on June 12, 2011 by Kel

For those that are running the Fort Clinch 100 mile, 50 mile or 24 hour run you are in  for a fun course. I am just getting back into running so did not do a ton but did get a good feel for the trails and what you will be facing. First, nice job to Caleb Wilson, Race Director, for finding a really pretty area to hold an ultra-trail run. Second, an early thanks to the lead runner out as you will remove approximately 487 cobwebs for the rest of the runners 🙂

First, please be really safe (i.e. drive slowly) when you enter Fort Clinch as there are a lot of animals that want to live to see another day. I saw 5 deer just driving into the park! Note: click on the pics to enlarge and click the back button to go back to the post.

Let’s get to it! I love that the course reverses direction after each 10 mile loop as trails always look different when running it in reverse so it will keep you alert. The trail has some really fun undulating hills and what is GREAT is you will find that it is mostly shaded thanks to some beautiful oaks! This will be a savior when the temperature starts to hit in the high 80’s. It truly is a single track trail so you have to be alert as other runners will be coming at you and I also ran into 5 or 6 mountain bikers. With the quick turns on the trails this could be dangerous if you don’t stay focused. The course itself is not hard but I did eat dirt once due to a root that was covered by some leaves and landed on a root when taking a turn and twisted my ankle so keep those eyes down as to make it out unscaved!

There is a bit of soft sand but not much at all! From what I ran (note: I did not run the beach, boardwalk and a fishing pier part) the soft sand was sparse and when you do hit it many times you could jump to the right/left to run on a harder surface. Where you are not able to you will only have maybe 2-5 steps until you are out of it. My hips don’t do well in soft sand so this was a plus! There IS some nice rollers but NOTHING hard! Maybe 10-20 feet of elevation gain on each one but some parts you hit many in a row. They are easy to pop-up when you are fresh earlier in your mileage.

There was one part I was excited to run and it ended early. Why? A small black snake slithered across my feet and I ran back the way I came like a screaming baby. I should have known when I saw these signs AND the real thing (click on photo to enlarge)!! Oh, when I ran out of the trail a lady that saw me go in said, “You are done already?”  I told her I saw a snake (embarrassing!) and she said she just saw a diamond back rattler on the trail rolled up in the sun and she had to keep tossing things at it so she could keep going. Yea, I am a wimp!

All in all you will love this course and the company as the 35 participants will be passing each other throughout the day (and night for many). I will see you in 2 weeks!