Monday, April 8, 2013


When I blogged last, surgery had me just about given up my hopes of finishing the half marathon.  I was going participate in the relay instead and was trying to be positive about it.  But when the time came to actually register for the race I had an epiphany.  Both Team Manager Tonya and Coach Missy said that they thought I could do the half.  Hmmmm......something to ponder.

Life had been crazy, there has been many changes and a setback or two, but the bottom line was - I NEEDED A WIN.   So I decided to make one.  I registered for the half and picked up on my training.

So, yesterday I was up at 5AM, laced up my running shoes and joined thousands of other athletes at the Sunsphere,

I was much calmer than I expected - thanks to my teammates and coaches.  The night before I watched a video of last years race several times.  I thought that visualizing folks crossing the finish line in Neyland Stadium would help keep me going.  It did.

Knoxville is such a beautiful city and seeing it from the vantage point of the race was amazing.  People were encouraging and kind, the weather was wonderful and it was the physically hardest thing I have done - ever.  It was a perfect day.

It took me over 4 hour complete the half.  I never had a moment where I thought I couldn't do it.

 Here is what I learned:
  • Your mind will tell you to stop before you body does.  I am stronger than what my mind and my body tells me I should be.
  • There is nothing better for your spirit than doing something that you didn't think you could do.
  • You are never too old to be a bad ass. (Excuse the language please)
What I won:
  • A really cool medal
  • A farmer tan and some blisters
  • A "really good" kind of sore body.
  • Some amazing friends.
  • An experience to last a lifetime.
When I finally turned the corner and saw Neyland Stadium, my tears caught me off guard.  I don't know if they came from pride, or relief or both.  Regardless, I earned those too.

For those of you who don't know - Neyland Stadium (home of the Vols) is the "mother ship" for virtually everyone in East Tennessee.  To run across the field (in the footsteps of Peyton Manning), and see my sweet husband, parent and friends was simply beyond words.

This is not the end - in fact, it is just the beginning.

- Kim

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Life Thows a Curve Ball.......

Okay, so January got off to an amazing start and I was feeling great about my progress.  Then, as happens, life got in the way.  More specifically, my gallbladder got in the way.

I will spare you the details but the short story is this - I have had a painful gallbladder attack.  If you add together the time it took to diagnose (last week), remove  (this week) and recover/be released to work out (2 more weeks), I will have lost 4 weeks of training time and the big event will be a mere 5 weeks away. 

When it comes to things outside my comfort zone (specifically exercise and diet related), I have never been a "finisher".  I have started many plans, paid for many programs and when life got in the way I used it as a convenient excuse to quit and go back to my comfortable, couch potato ways.

For me, being on this team has been as much about finishing something as it has been about losing weight and getting fit.

At the end of the day this curve ball has provided me with this "life lesson":

 If you don't make time to exercise, eat right and take care of yourself consistently you WILL eventually be forced to take time to deal with the results - illness, lack of energy etc.
As with all things - life is much less about what happens to you than it is about  how you react.  We all get the curve ball, the car that won't start, the sick kid on a busy day, the plan b or or plan c or plan d.

So, I will relying on my team, putting on my big girl panties and doing what it takes to get to 13.1 on April 7, 2013.

See you at this finish line.






Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mean Girls and Milestones

On January 1st, 2013, I participated in the Calhoun's New Year's Day 5k.  Just getting to the race site was a huge win - it was cold and rainy and I spent a good 15 minutes that morning trying to come up with a good reason not to go. 

It was an amazing feeling to sign in and get my first ever race bib (number 449) and listen to the National Anthem before the race started.  It dawned on me that this was the first time ever, that I had heard the anthem at a sporting event where I was a participantNever in grade school, high school or college, but here, at age 48, I was participating in an actual sporting event.  Despite the rain and the cold, I was thrilled.

Then the race started.  In short order I ran through a puddle and felt the water fill my shoes.  My calf and ankle quickly began to ache.  I had started towards the back of the group of almost 800 participants but was still keenly aware of being passed by other runners and walkers.

I kept telling myself - "This is my race - I am not competing against anyone but me.  My goal is to finish".

Shortly after hitting the turn around point I found myself near a group of "20 something" girls who were walking the course in rain ponchos, laughing and having fun.  I continued to  walk briskly for a few minutes and then would jog as long as I could before going back to walking.  When I started my jog, I found myself back in 3rd grade gym class  as the "mean girls" decided to have some fun with me.

I won't honor the words by typing them here - but let's just say these young women thought it was amusing to make loud comments about my progress.

About that time, I saw two figures walking towards me.  Two of my teammates, Bryan and Scott, had finished the race and come back, in the rain, to see me to the finish line.  When I chided them about not having the sense to get out of the rain, their response was simple - they came back because that is what a team does.  They stayed with me until I ran across the finish line.

So later that day, after I had a hot bath (complete with hot cocoa, compliments of the sweetest hubby in the word), I thought about the mean girls.  About how, at first, their words stung - but only for a minute.  I was honeslty surprised that the next thing I felt was pity. How sad to think you have peaked at 20. To think you have no room to grow - and to feel the need to put down a woman (me ;) who is achieving things at 48 that she couldn't imagine at 20.

My New Years wish for those girls is the gumption to always strive to be better, a team to support them along the way and someone who loves them like my husband Kent loves me.

Looking forward to 2013!


Friday, December 28, 2012

It's About to Get Serious.....

The last few weeks have been full of challenges.  Between the holidays and work my life has been more crazy than usual.  I have not been consistently tracking my food intake but am working on it and am trying to get to the next weigh in without any holiday weight gain.

Last Saturday I did my longest distance ever (5.5 miles).  I do mostly fast walking and am working on increasing my capacity to run. Yesterday, my husband and I did 3 miles and I didn't struggle at all.  A couple of months ago I could not have imagined that.  On January 1, 2013 I will do my first 5K.  :)

The Knoxville Marathon is April 7, 2013.  I know I can be ready to complete the half marathon by then - but will need to take things up a notch and be "all in" for the next 3 months.  This is a little scary.

When it comes to fitness endeavors, I have seldom been a "finisher".  I have started many food plans, exercise programs and set many goals - but usually quit when the going gets rough,  "I'll start again on Monday"  has been such a mantra that it is almost a joke.  There is always an excuse - a reason why I can't do it, some piece of the puzzle that is missing, some reason why immediate gratification outweighs my dreams of being healthy and athletic.

As a member of the Covenant Health - Knoxville Marathon "Biggest Winner" team, I have been given all kinds of resources to help me succeed.  My teammates are a lot of fun and super encouraging.  If I can't achieve my goals with this type of support I will have no more excuses.  I will have to accept that I have chosen not to change.  That is the most scary thought of all.

So, it's about to get serious.  The next three months will show if I can follow though and achieve this goal.  It will determine if I can stop making excuses and wanting a "do-over".  Most importantly, it will show if I think enough of myself to keep the promises I make to ME.

I can and I will.

Stay tuned.


Thursday, December 6, 2012


In my first couple of posts I focused on how I am feeling - in this post I want to let you know what I have been DOING (although, being me, I am sure there will be some feeling in there too).

As a member of the Covenant Health - Knoxville Marathon "Biggest Winner" team, I have been completely resourced for success.  I have a team - including a team manager, dietitian, life coach and  assistant coaches all lead by Coach Missy Kane.  We get a fitness assessment, running assessment, access to the wonderful Ft.Sanders Health and Fitness Center and support from other sponsors like New Balance Knoxville, who helped get us in to some properly fitted running shoes.

Being a non-athlete I have found myself shopping for foreign items like "sweat wicking" t-shirts and padded bike shorts for spinning.  (NOTE:  Do not, under any circumstances, underestimate the importance of padded bike shorts).

Out team dietitian gave me a calorie range to work with and based on the recommendation of Joe, one of our assistant coaches, I am tracking my food, water and exercise in an app called "My Fitness Pal".  Using this app has become a bit of a game for me and takes alot of the guess work out of things.

Coach Missy Kane creates individual training plans for each of us, including things like spinning, weight training, cardio on various machines and of course, walking/running.  It is up to me to make doing it all a priority and fitting it in to my crazy life.  Six AM spin class, anyone?

Last Saturday we went on our first group run.  It will not surprise you to learn that I have never been on a group run.  I cannot begin to tell you how nervous I was about this.  My 20 year old son went along for exercise and moral support and we showed up at 7:45 AM (in case you missed this - 7:45 AM - ON A SATURDAY).

About 90 folks a various fitness levels had gathered for this run.  Guess what?  I ran some, I walked some, I finished and I felt amazing.  For the first time in my 48 year life, I may be beginning to understand what is 'so great' about exercise.  Even when you are really sore the next day, it is a reminder of what you have accomplished.

A word on my teammates - I had always heard that having an "exercise buddy" was a great way to go.  Frankly, that sounded crazy to me.  In my mind the only thing worse that working out was having someone I know actually watch me do it.

I was wrong.

These folks have created a fun, inspiring community that makes getting up for 6 AM spin class something you can (almost)  look forward to. We cheer each other on, push each other a bit and joke around alot.  Having never played a team sport in my life I never understood what was so great about being on a team.  Now I know.  I am really proud to be on this one.

- Kim

                This pic was from our first team workout - which was disguised  as a photo shoot!

                                                                   After spin class!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

You Oughta Be In Pictures......

For the record - I hate to be photographed and dislike being filmed even more.  Because of my job, I have learned to grin and bear the occasional newspaper photo, TV news interview or web mention.  But it is not a place I am comfortable in.

If you know me in person, you might find this hard to believe.  I am not shy - and have no problem speaking in front of groups of any size.  But seeing my picture or watching myself on TV makes me cringe.  My inner critic takes over and all I can see are my faults.

The good news -

By the time this marathon team experience is over I will no longer be bothered by these things.   The universe is giving me the opportunity to annihilate the inner critic - and I am am embracing it.

On Monday, our team made our first group TV appearance, appeared in the local paper AND have since had photos and bios added to Covenant Health website.  (Please click the links if you want to see the proof).  The ick factor of all these images has been really trying but I have learned something pretty important:

What I am finding is that this process is as much about accepting myself AS I AM, as it is about changing. 

In my role as Girl Scout of Southern Appalachians COO, I know too well the damage that unrealistic media images can do to the hearts and minds of young women.  If real women, of all ages don't put themselves out there in all their un-airbrushed "realness"  how can we expect young women not to feel less than comfortable in their own skin?  Less than happy with who they are?  Less than worthy of taking care of themselves and their health?

So - I am putting myself out there. Despite the fact that this feels foreign and uncomfortable. But, I deserve better.  And so do they.

Thanks for reading.  For those who are looking for more info on the training part of this I promise to write more soon.  Our first group run is on Saturday and I am sure I'll want to tell you all about it.

- Kim

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Running for My Life

About me......I am a 48 year average American female.  I have worked in the not-for- profit sector for most of my adult life, have been married to the same sweet guy for 23 years and am mom/step mom to 6, mostly grown kids (his, mine and ours).  Those 6 kids have now have me answering to "grandma" as we have been blessed with 4 adorable additions to the extended family.  Life is good, right?

Enter proverbial midlife crisis

Maybe it is the fact that I am approaching 50, maybe it's having someone I gave birth to give birth to someone else, maybe it's global warming (or hot flashes) but I have found myself wanting to shake things up, stretch myself, make some changes.

Enter life changing opportunity.

A couple of months ago I saw some info on my Facebook feed about the Covenant Health - Knoxville Marathon "Biggest Winner" team.  Basically, you submit an application explaining why you want to run the 5K, half or full marathon in April.  If you are selected for the team you commit to:

  • Working out like crazy.
  • Being filmed and photographed while working out like crazy.
  • Working with a great coach, trainers, dietitian, life coach, etc - AND doing what they say.
  • Being an ambassador for the marathon, including having the above mentioned video and photos being used in the media.
  • On April 7, 2013, running the race the coach selects for you.

So, I am sure you can see where this is headed.  Girl has midlife crisis.  Girl applies for and is accepted on marathon team.  Girl works out like crazy and submits to unflattering photos being used via various media. Girl runs race in April and kicks midlife crisis to the curb. So what, might you ask, is the problem?

Girl has never really run - anywhere - EVER.

Seriously, I have been fully committed to NOT RUNNING for 48 YEARS.  When other kids were playing tag outside I was inside reading a book.  I spent 12 years of public school perfecting gym class avoidance techniques - with great success.  I have never been chased by a zombie, I have never been late at the airport.  I have never had reason to run.

Until now.

I am embracing this opportunity to become Kim 2.0 - a better version of me.  I know it won't be easy but this is MY midlife crisis and I am sticking with it. 

There is bound to be some weight loss, some blisters, some really sore legs and a 3rd grade gym class flashback or 2. 

Stay tuned.