Featured Rogue: Jennifer Acosta

jen-1People often ask me, “Why do you run?” and I respond with “Why don’t you run?” In many ways, running has always been a big part of my life. When I was in high school, I was always seen as a “fast” kid. I was on the cross-country, track, and soccer teams. In my junior year of high school, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. What did I do when I first heard this? I asked my parents to drop me off at the track and I ran until I couldn’t anymore. After undergoing treatment and brain surgery, I was told there was a great possibility that I would never be normal again.

My recovery was a rough year, I couldn’t do things I once took for granted. I couldn’t walk, was bound to a wheelchair for six months, had aggressive physical therapy, and was trying to retrain my brain to move my legs again. In addition to my walking abilities, there were other things I couldn’t do like button my shirt, speak properly, or remember things. I worked tirelessly to build up the strength to stand and then to walk around for a couple of seconds before my legs would give out. After a year of recovery, I tried to run again. I’ll never forget this particular run because I made it halfway down the block, felt like everything was loose in my brain, and started vomiting.

Many years have passed since that first run post brain surgery and I have since encountered others who have inspired me, motivated me, and shared my enthusiasm for running. Last year, I found myself once again motivated to go beyond what seems possible by one of my patients, Sharon. After talking for a while, she encouraged me to try to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Most people don’t understand what a “BQ” is or why “I must run Boston.” In my clinical experience, I have encountered patients who had the same diagnosis as me but their story did not end like mine. They are not by societies standards “healthy and normal.” They are in a wheelchair with a trachea tube, have an abnormal gait, or slur their speech. God has obviously guided me for a greater purpose. I promised myself if I were healthy enough to run, I would run with the best at the Boston Marathon.

jen-2To achieve my goal of qualifying for Boston, I joined Rogue and started running with Coach Larry’s group. Coach Larry suggested I train for the Houston Marathon to achieve my “BQ”. It was here that I bonded with fellow runners over long runs and happy hours. The miles just pass when you’re having a good time with friends! And then there’s Eddie, my best friend that I’m fortunate enough to call my husband. Eddie has always supported my crazy decisions, and is the only person who has patience for my stubbornness. Anyone who has met Eddie knows he hates running, yet he has completed two marathons and helped pace me during our runs.

On January 15th, 2017, the Houston Marathon had arrived. The start was 67 degrees with 97% humidity with mention that the temperature was expected to escalate into the 70s. I had trained in the humidity and heat before, so I thought I was ready to embark on this journey. I told myself that I would aim for my original goal, which was to get my “BQ” and run a 3:35 marathon. I would start off running negative splits and then pick up the pace as the race went on. The first two miles were fun and crowded; there were so many people, it was like a herd of cattle trying to get through a corral. I was on target with paces until mile 16 on Memorial Drive. Eddie told me that if I wanted to keep my initial goal, I would have to pick up the pace. It was at this point I was feeling lightheaded, my legs felt weaker, and my heart felt a little faster than usual. I almost gave up.

I felt like a cloud slowly drifted away and I cried a little. Memorial Drive was never ending. When we reached mile 23, Eddie told me he needed a break but for me to keep going. I guess that gave me some adrenaline, so I kept moving forward. Ironically, I clocked my fastest mile at mile 26, when I felt like I had nothing else left. I’m a strong believer and have a lot of faith…as soon as I crossed the finish line, the sky broke open and rain started pouring down.

It was a sign from above. God was telling me you didn’t meet your goal but you’ve completed this chapter. Not all stories have a perfect ending. Sometimes we must fall before we can learn to walk again. If we never challenge ourselves how will we know what we are capable of accomplishing?



The Day I Fell in Love with Cross Country

by Chris McClung


I wish I were brave enough to let this photo stand on its own to tell the story. It so perfectly captures the essence of a powerful weekend at the USATF National Club Cross-Country Championships in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on December 13th. I have struggled to find a word or words to explain what the weekend meant to me, but when I look at this picture, I see it clearly. This picture whispers the messages of the weekend softly with each of its 1,000 words. I want to try and put those words on paper for you, though I will probably need a lot more.

In most of its 17-year history, Club Cross-Country Nationals (Club XC) has been the THE national cross-country team competition in the US beyond the high school or college level. It’s the only place where adults in historic running clubs like the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) get to face off on a level playing field with the Central Park Track Club from New York and the Bowerman Track Club from Portland along with dozens of other clubs from across the US. It’s a place where the elite or sub-elite runner can practice racing to build strength and fitness in the long off-season between outdoor and indoor track seasons. It’s a weekend with a cult following among cross-country geeks who might not be as fast at the elites but can’t help but put on the spikes for one weekend a year for love of the sport. It’s a place where everyday runners like me can line up on the same starting line as Olympians because your speed isn’t what matters at the gun, just your willingness and courage (or naivety) to toe the line.

I first learned about Club XC in 2010 when Steve began using it as a winter training tool for Rogue Athletic Club (RAC). I have followed the race since then if only to cheer on the men and women sporting the Rogue crown at the starting line. The RAC women have made a name for themselves at the meet, finishing on the team podium twice in 4 years (1st in 2011 and 3rd in 2014) and just off the podium in 4th place in the other two years. Perhaps most famous in the Club XC world, however, are Rogue masters running goddesses Chris Kimbrough and Carmen Troncoso. Chris was known in the Club XC world well before her Cap10k victory or Beer Mile World Record. She won the masters race in 2011 and this year as well (more on that later). For her part, Carmen is Club XC royalty. She won the masters race in 2008 at the age of 49 and has gone on to finish first in her age group of 50+ ladies in each of the last 6 years. “Watching” and cheering from afar has made me a fan of the weekend with a desire to get there to see it in person some day.

That day came this year when Steve (my coach) decided to have a group of us take a break from the rigors of marathon training cycles and focus on a season of speed. We would work on our weaknesses with the hopes of building to fast 10ks on the road and grass, capping our season at Club XC a few weekends ago. And what a weekend it was!

Back to the photo from the top: it captures an unscripted moment at the end of the day, when a group of us (RAC and TeamRogue athletes) were cooling down after all of the races were complete. We didn’t know the picture was taken until a few days later when a friend shared it with us. What you see in our faces and smiles that won’t be controlled is pure joy – the joy of running, the joy of doing it together as a Rogue family, and the joy of racing in its purest form on the grass and mud of an historic cross-country course at Lehigh University.

This joy and spirit was pervasive throughout the event as runners and fans gathered to celebrate the essence and purity of running for an afternoon in beautiful (and cold!), rural Pennsylvania. There were no mile markers or pace groups or water stops or bands on the course or medals at the end, just running and racing and teammates supporting each other. Now, that’s not to take anything away from the spectacle of a road race or marathon. All of those extras are fun and cool and bring energy to our sport in a different way, but it was very refreshing to see all of that stripped away and find our sport alive and well in its simplest form.

Some of my favorite moments:

Watching Chris Kimbrough, Carmen Henkiel, and Cassie Troncoso of Rogue Team Tronky win the Women’s Masters race. The weekend consists of four distinct races: open men (10k), open women (6k), masters men (10k) and masters women (6k), each with its own start. The fields in all four are usually competitive, but this year they were downright stacked with record turnout in every race. IMG_2248

The Women’s Masters race was never in doubt. The photo above was taken seconds after the start. If you look closely in the middle, you can see the lone figure of Chris Kimbrough with a 3-4 meter lead already. That was the closest anyone would come to her throughout the race. Like herds of cattle, fans (and runners racing later) moved around the loop course in groups to see the race as many times as possible. By 1000 meters, the gap was 30 meters, and it would stretch to 80 meters by the end of the race as Chris won going away with Cassie and Carmen to follow in 13th and 21st place, securing the team win. In the day and age of doping where you can’t trust the best of the elite athletes as heroes, I saw 3 women emerge as heroes more worthy to follow, support and cheer for. It was so inspiring to watch them all race with such fearlessness. I felt the same cheering on the Rogue AC ladies as they all ran strong races to finish third in the women’s open team race.

Cheering on the last place Male Masters runner. The 80-year-old Elliott Denman finished last place in his race, over 1 hour slower than the first place runner. He was still on course as everyone prepped before the start of the Women’s Open race. With the course looping back on itself, he was center of attention for a moment when everyone stopped their buzz of activity and preparation to cheer him loudly on as he ran by. At the time, we didn’t know that Elliott is a former Olympian from 1956, but as was so true throughout the day, it wouldn’t have mattered. This is/was the people’s race. Anyone can enter and line up, and though competitive, your time or speed only mattered on the results sheet. What mattered most was being there, supporting each other and, though it sounds cliché, simply giving your best, whatever your best was on that day. I am sure Elliott, as a former Olympian, is no stranger to that, and it was a special honor to cheer for him that day.


My race experience. On paper, I got my butt kicked, finishing 485th out of 572 runners in the final results. But, this race was simultaneously the hardest and coolest and perhaps most fun experience I’ve had in running shoes (spikes). As someone who didn’t run XC growing up, this was only my second cross race, and I didn’t really know what to expect. The start itself was mind blowing. Instead of being seeded by pace from front to back, the cross-country start line is the most democratic in running. In XC, everyone lines up shoulder to shoulder on the same starting line. That makes the start line as wide for XC as it might be deep for a typical road race. Lined up a few meters to my right was 5K Olympian Matt Tegenkamp and between us a guy that would finish 2nd to last in the race.

When the gun went off, nearly 600 runners sprinted forward, jostling for seeding and positioning as the course gradually narrowed from a 100 meter wide start line to a 10 meter swath of grass about 800 meters ahead. I started right next to three other Team Rogue teammates who got out faster, and within seconds, I was separated from them by a sea of other runners closing in on us from the left and right. You could see nothing but bodies bobbing up and down between the lead pack of runners and myself. After 800 meters as the course looped around to the left, I looked over to see a snaking line of men stretched out like a creature with a mind of its own.

Per Steve’s instructions, I relaxed and settled into rhythm in the first 3000 meters (of 10K) and then, to use his pre-race words, began “goat-roping,” catching and passing about 50 runners in the latter parts of the race (including the guy in front of me in that photo!). I ran hard and went into a deep and dark pain cave as the legs grew tired from 10K of grass and mud on rolling terrain. There were certainly things that I could have done better. The time wasn’t fast, and my place isn’t impressive, but it doesn’t matter, I did what you do in cross-country… I raced. I raced and passed as many as I could until the final steps to the line, and even in the pain, I loved every minute of it.


That’s what we all did. We ran. We raced. We cheered. We smiled. We laughed. We found joy in our sport. We did it together. But, I didn’t have to tell you that… the picture said it all. I can’t wait to do it again.


Screen shot 2013-06-24 at 2.46.38 PMChris McClung heads up all things retail at Rogue Running, and coaches The Morning Show, a group for half marathoners and marathoners alike.


by Bryan Peterson (re-posted from his blog, Lost in Transition)

“Bryan Peterson of Austin, Texas, you are an Ironman!”  The words that I had imagined hearing for almost a year.  The words I finally heard the evening of May 17, 2014.  I had been training for this for almost a year.  In many ways, I had been preparing for this for a larger part of my life.  I had done it.  I had accomplished a goal I set out for myself.  A HUGE goal. A goal that only a small percentage of the population reaches.  I had finally accomplished something epic and awesome that no one could take away and that will forever be a defining part of my life.  It was an incredible moment.   One of the best of my life.  One that I’ll never forget and will always cherish.

Here is how that amazingly epic moment happened:  I woke up early at 3:30 AM.  I had slept pretty well, all things considered.  I wanted to give myself plenty of time to eat breakfast, have a juice, relax, and mentally prepare for the day ahead.  I have been incorporating mindfulness into my training (as well as the rest of my life) for a few months now and I’ve been amazed at how much of a difference that’s made.  I wanted to afford myself some time in the morning to have a full mediation session.  I felt like I was going to need it.  This would end up being a huge benefit later in the day.

After all of this, I slowly started to get my stuff together.  This was different.  For other races, it seemed no matter how much I prepared the night before, there was always frantic running around race morning combined with general nerves and jitters.  There was none of that.  I was calm, organized, and focused.  Even to the point where I wasn’t even second guessing myself.  Every time I’ve stepped up my distance or attempted something new, I’ve always been a nervous wreck.  Yet, here I was about to take on the biggest, longest, and toughest event I’ve ever tried and I was more calm and confident than I have ever been.  This was a testament to both my mental focus and training.  I had trained hard.  I had trained for a long time.  It had both physically and mentally exhausted me.  During training, I often couldn’t imagine doing this again.  Yet, here I was focused, calm, confident and prepared.

10376174_4351374359673_87545117750910528_nThe rest of my Support Team (My wife Marisa and close friends Cody & Erica) awoke and we made our way down the transition area.  These guys have been very supportive and encouraging and I felt very thankful to have them with me. This too would be something that would end up being a major factor later in the day.  I made my way over to my bike, checked everything over, pumped up the tires, and placed my water bottles and nutrition.  After letting a couple of people borrow my pump, I was off on the 3/4 mile walk to the swim start.  I met up with Marisa, Cody, and Erica and we made our way down to mass that was the swim start.  Making my way through the crowd I got my body marking done, dropped off my special needs, and then realized that I was unfortunately going to have to get into the seemingly infinite line for the port-o-can.  All the extra time I had afforded myself was about to dissipate in a line for a coveted turn into a smelly 4’x4′ plastic compartment.  Memories of my BCS Marathon where I was in the can when the gun went off came flooding back;  I wasn’t going to let that happen again.

10155881_4351373959663_7626371584554301765_nFortunately, I made it out with about 7 minutes before the starting gun.  As I did, I met one of my coaches, Amy Marsh.  (Her husband Brandon Marsh, my other coach, had already taken off in the pro start)  She had some last minute words of wisdom and wished me luck.  I got the wetsuit on, got my good lucks and goodbyes from the Support Team, kissed the wife, and scrambled down to the start.  There was a big bottle-neck at the small boat ramp that led into the swim start.  As I got to the traffic jam of people, the gun went off.  There were a few people that tried to push their way up through the crowd once that happened.  They soon realized we weren’t just meandering around or scared to get in the water.  We were all trying to get in the water as quickly as possible.  I saw people jumping off the pier the other way, some of which were hitting rocks in the water.  I had no idea where the actual start line was.  I just knew I needed to go “that” direction, where everyone else was going.  I found an opening, dove off the end of the ramp, started the Garmin and began swimming.  U2’s “Beautiful Day” was playing.

10270812_4351373759658_3641262469941922820_nSwimming is by far my weakest event.  My strategy is just to survive, make the cutoff, and not expend all of my energy.  I am what they call a very not-fast (try not use the “s” word) swimmer.  I’ve had some really bad swims and some swims that were not completely terrible.  Two things happened on this swim that have never happened to me during a race before.  The first, I never stopped.  I’ve learned that for some reason my body has a hard time getting moving.  The first 3 miles of a run, the first 5-7 miles of a ride, the first 500 meters of a swim are all hard and my body just wants to quit.  After that, the body realizes it has lost the argument and succumbs to providing the athletic performance it’s been trained for. If I can just push through the first 500 meters, I’ll establish a rhythm and I should be fine.  I quickly got in a rhythm and never really got out of it.  I got kicked, punched, bumped, grabbed, and swam over, but still I never stopped and never felt like I needed or wanted to.  The second thing that hadn’t happened before: I was passing people.  Not a ton of people, but it seemed like I was passing more people than were passing me.  This was my philosophy for the bike and run and it seemed to be working on the swim.  As we made the turn into the canal (about 3,000 meters), I glanced at my Garmin and noticed that I was swimming at a pace faster than I expected to.  A pace I hadn’t really done much of even in training.

I slowed a little bit in the canal due to the fact that the close quarters forced everyone on top of each other.  I had about twice as much contact in that last 1,000 meters than I had in the first 3,000.  As I made my way to the swim exit, I prepared to get out of the water and start my transition.  I had done the distance a few times in training.  Each time I had completed it, I felt a little tired, a little winded, but that I still had plenty of energy to ride and run.  In all of my other races, when I got to the swim exit my legs were tight and shaky, taking a while to get my legs underneath me.  Neither of those happened here.  I stepped onto the stairs at the exit and was very surprised.  I didn’t feel winded.  My legs were strong.  I felt incredible.  At that point I heard my name from the crowd and saw the Support Team.  I felt amazing.  My Garmin would later inform me that I swam 2.75 miles due to the start behind the start line and the wide angles I took.  I did that distance in slightly faster than what I expected to do the 2.4 miles.

I got out of the wetsuit and into the changing tent.  Or, rather I stopped at the entrance to the changing tent, noticed the cluster of people, and decided I would put my shoes and helmet on outside.  I dropped off my bag, ran to my bike and I was off again.  As I got to the mount line, I again heard my name.  It was the Support Team again.  Did I mention that these guys were awesome?  That, the rest of the cheering crowd, and the momentum from the swim had me exhilarated.  I felt charged, as if the bike wreck from a week ago

10375995_4352426625979_5331065386940029297_nThe bike was one of my best rides yet.  I was dialed in, present, and focused.  My mind wasn’t wandering and I was able to both focus on and enjoy every moment.  I wasn’t even phased by the guy who felt it necessary to tell me that when the light hit them right, my shorts were basically see through.  Mindfulness at work!  My hydration, fueling, and nutrition strategy was working perfectly.  I was able to stay in the aero position for most of the way.  Not even the wind, chip seal surface, or hills really phased me.  After all, none of that was anywhere near what I’d been training on in Austin.  I got a good boost from when I was passed on the bike course by the Support Team.  They had, unadvisedly, driven out onto the bike course, cheers and cow bells blaring.  It was much appreciated.

I had a brief stop at special needs and another at a rest stop to run into a port-o-can (peeing on the bike just wasn’t happening).  Even with those two stops, I finished the bike in 6:35, averaging 17 mph.  I was happy with that.  As I dismounted, I again saw the Support Team cheering loudly.  I felt great as I ran into transition.  A volunteer took my bike and I ran to get my transition bag.  As I went into the changing tent, I realized I now had no concept of what time it was.  It really didn’t seem real that I was now about to run a marathon.  A brief sit to put my run shoes on, quick slather of Vaseline on some strategic areas, a laugh at the guy behind me that had put a McDonald’s cheeseburger in his run gear bag, and I was off again.

10389657_4352421625854_7245791371472206240_nI had a quick pee, had sunscreen applied and I was ready.  The run.  The part of which I felt the most confident and well trained.  As I exited the changing tent, I again saw the Support Team.  They were very encouraging and confident, saying “You got this”.  My wife was very encouraging.  “This is part you’re most comfortable and confident about.  You’re doing great!”  I couldn’t believe I where I was.  I couldn’t believe that while I was tired and wearing down, I felt good; better than I even imagined I would at this point.

I had a very specific run plan that I knew I needed to stick to if I was going to finish where I wanted to.  The run was a three loop course, roughly 9 miles each.  The first 10 miles, I ran my plan perfectly.  By mile 12, things had started to get tough.  I was getting hot, physically and mentally tired, and despite my best effort my legs were slowing down.  I decided I would have to dip into my special needs bag after all.  I grabbed my fuel hydration (mixture of electrolytes and amino acids) and a rice cake.  I felt like I needed to eat but couldn’t take in anymore gel.

10155336_10104838677029324_6262672349794269732_nMy feet hurt.  My legs were getting wobbly.  I was tired and felt like I was running out of gas.  I realized I was off my race plan.  For the next couple of miles I was telling myself that I was just regrouping and that I would get back on plan soon.  I then realized that wasn’t going to happen.  My plan was now to just stay focused, keep pushing and try to finish as strong as possible.  I didn’t feel like I was failing or being weak or breaking down.  I was giving it all I had.  This was just the reality of my race now.

The crowds were incredible.  Rarely was there a place where you weren’t surrounded by legions of cheering fans.  Some plain clothed.  Some in costumes.  There were the hippies banging on garbage cans.  There was the triathlon training group in speedos.  There was the guy in the speedo and gift wrapped box strategically placed a la Justin Timberlake on SNL.  There were the signs.  Some funny, some inspirational, all positive.  There were all the people who were cheering your name, giving high-fives, telling you how awesome you were, and spurring you on.  There were all the children who wanted high-fives from every single person who ran by. It was the largest amount of and densely concentrated positivity that I’ve ever experienced.  It was awesome!  Dispersed throughout all of this was the Support Team.  They would randomly show up at different spots to cheer me on and emphatically ring the cow bells.  I was struggling.  I was tired.  I was slowing.  But I was energized.  I was happy.  I was going to finish.

Starting the third loop, I could neither believe how much more I had to go nor how much I had completed already.  I still had no concept of what time it was.  I kept pushing through.  I tried taking gel and it was really hard to get it down.  I tried the flat Coke, that didn’t work at all.  I had some cookies at one of the aid stations and they seemed as if they were some of the best things I’ve ever eaten.  Unfortunately none of the other aid stations had them.  I just kept moving, putting one foot in front of the other.  “JFR” as my running group says.  The distance between aid stations felt like it was getting longer and longer.  The sun had gone down.  I made it to mile 24 and it took all I had to keep moving.  The run/walk had become a little more walk than run.  Once again, the Support Team showed up to cheer me on, cow bells and all.  I had two more miles to go.  I had come so far, and now I didn’t have far to go.

I made it to the loop turn off point.  The place where I had gone to the left twice before to go onto the 2nd and 3rd loop.  I was now going to go right, following the signs that said “Finish”.  It was a dark and deserted stretch as I ran uphill from the waterway toward the finish chute.  I was by myself.  I heard U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” playing from the finish line.  It was getting louder and louder.  U2 is my favorite band and that’s one of my favorite songs.  It would be so cool to run in to that.  I could now hear the crowd and they were growing louder.  I had all the motivation I needed.  As I turned the corner and entered the chute, the energy was palpable.  Everyone lined against the fence, banging on the barriers, emphatically cheering, yelling my name, giving high fives.  It was absolutely incredible!  For so long, all I could think about was finishing.  Now, I didn’t want this moment to end.  I made eye contact and high-fived everyone I could.  In the last stretch, the crowds were bigger and louder.  The emotion I was feeling at this point I still can not put into words.

1959440_10104838443372574_7909037999941766960_nI heard my dad’s voice and saw him, my mother, and my cousin there to cheer me on.  I high-fived each of them.  I saw the finish line and heard Mike Riley say those words: “Bryan Peterson of Austin, Texas, you are an Ironman!”  I was no longer touching the ground, I was just floating above it.  Nothing hurt anymore.  I felt incredibly alive!   I ran towards the finish line, feeling exhilarated, ecstatic, accomplished.  I put my arms in the air.  Just before crossing the finish line, I again heard my name.  It was the Support Team. Marisa, Cody, and Erica had been there the entire way.  At the start, numerous points throughout the race, cheering, encouraging.  And here they were cheering their loudest.  I ran over to them and got high-fives from each of them.  I turned and cross the finish line.  14:04:08.  It was one of the greatest moments of my life.  I am an Ironman!

Boston 2014

by Chris McClung

Boston groupPatriots’ Day. Marathon Monday. It’s an official holiday in Massachusetts and an unofficial one for runners everywhere else. It’s Boston day. And, Boston is Boston. There is no atmosphere like it any year, much less this one.

It’s a day where, if I’m not running, my productivity usually goes to zero as I watch the online feed of the elite race and then incessantly refresh my web browser thereafter while cheering for friends through the tracking screen. Last year I did so from home, stricken with a stomach virus, confined to my bed between sprints to the bathroom. I will never forget that day, the day that 3 people were killed and 264 others were injured by two angry young men and two explosions in a senseless act of terrorism and violence.

I remember first getting the news on my Twitter feed as someone tweeted a pic of blood, carnage and loose body parts on the sidewalk. I remember wondering if it was some sick joke. I remember watching the replays on TV over and over again as the blasts went off near the finish line and everyone scrambled to make sense of it all. I remember being humbled to see so many run toward the blasts to help instead of sprinting away in fear. I remember wondering if my friends were ok and frantically checking the results feed to see if any of their finish times were close to the time of the blasts.

I remember the hours of watching Facebook and email as we gradually accounted for every Rogue that was there that day. I remember feeling relieved that everyone I knew was okay but then simultaneously guilty because I knew others couldn’t say the same. I remember learning that one of the casualties was a young boy there to watch the race with his family and feeling a tiny part of his father’s pain imagining the day I hope my sons will do the same. I remember the energy that poured out from every part of the running community as BostonStrong became a rallying cry in defiance against the evil of those angry men. And, I remember deciding that day that there would be nothing that could keep me from this year’s race knowing that we as runners and the city of Boston would rise together in solidarity and love to make it the best Boston day ever.

Fast forward to this year, and I can say unequivocally that it was exactly that. The best Boston Marathon day ever, in so many ways – the crowds, the love, the people, the runners, Shalane, Meb, Boston.

It is impossible to put it all into words especially since so much has already been written about that day. Even though I originally chose to be there for different reasons, I ultimately found the true magic in seeing the day and race through the eyes of others. It was a special day for all of us to be sure, but everyone was inspired to be there for different reasons. Everyone brought a unique perspective and aura to the collective energy, and as Steve implored us (as Rogues) in his pre-race talk, we all gave our best and contributed to the energy, from the fans on the street to the cops in the corrals all the way through to the runners on the street. It was the epitome of love, magnified and transmitted through 36,000 runners, 10,000 volunteers, and over a million spectators.

It was a weekend of special moments. For me, the highlight was sharing a room with the Rogue contingent of 50+ runners and their friends/family on the afternoon before the race. Before Steve gave a talk that would inspire us all, we went around the room for introductions and each person shared their reason for being there, their purpose for the day. I still get chills thinking about it. Some were there with big time goals, others for their first and hard-earned Boston race, many because of what happened last year or in spite of it, all with unique and beautiful reasons to toe the line and contribute their best to each of 26.2 miles.

Here is the weekend in their words and images. They do it justice more than I ever could:

Gabriel Trinidad“For me the Blessing of the Athletes at Old South Church on Easter morning was an incredibly emotional experience.

‘One: Strong and faithful God, we ask Your blessing on these athletes who have come to race and compete. Keep them safe from injury and harm. Instill in them respect for each other. Give them the endurance to compete well. Reward them for their discipline and perseverance.

Congregation: May you mount up with wings like eagles. May you run and not grow weary. May you walk and not faint.

One: Today, we wrap Marathon athletes in love and prayer by presenting you with a handmade blue and gold scarf. The scarves are a labor of love by knitters across the country and beyond, specifically for this year’s athletes. May the scarf warm your spirit as you maneuver a new city, as you carry the weight of a somber anniversary year, and as you look down 26.2 miles with resolve.’” – Gabriel Trinidad


Scotty Mac“I have never in my life been a part of such a special event. The entire weekend was extremely emotional and even though the race didn’t go as planned, I still had a blast. I know this was a race I will be able to tell my kids and grand kids about, and I am so happy I was a part of it.” – Scott MacPherson


James Allen“Steve gave a great inspirational talk before our 2014 Boston Marathon race about being part of this experience. How we owe it to ourselves and we owe it to Boston and how we owe it to all those who wanted to be here but did not make it … to make this race and this experience about running WITH the magic, running WITH your Rogue teammates, running WITH Boston. It is not about running against … but running WITH. We not only ran it with… but we celebrated it with!” – James Allen


Michael Breen“Seconds after finishing this years Boston I was exhilarated to complete the last 300 meters on Bolyston that the blasts kept me from last year. The Austin Rogue crew was present and a pre-race meeting above Copley Square was epic by any definition.”

– Michael Breen


Deidre Skrudland“Running the 2014 Boston Marathon and experiencing first hand the indomitable spirit of Boston is something that I will never forget. I didn’t feel like I was out there racing Boston on my own, I felt like I was apart of something much, much bigger than myself. We were all – the runners, spectators, and volunteers – in it together. We ran as one and that feeling of togetherness is something I will never be able to put into words, but will always remember.“ – Deidre Skrudland


Jenn Howard-Brown“For me, running Boston was about optimism, hope and defying the limits of possible. I once thought I could not qualify & run the most exclusive marathon in the world. Setbacks of surgery and injury tried to sideline me, but I remained hopeful, savored the experience & squashed impossible. The 2014 Boston Marathon epitomized hope and resilience. I hope every runner with the dream to run Boston overcomes their obstacles, sets their sights & makes it happen.” – Jennifer Howard-Brown


Scott Beachy“I was most impressed by the unity of spirit of the City of Boston for the marathon and the support of the spectators during the race, as well as people I met wherever I went. As I ran along the roads and through the New England towns, I kept in mind Steve Sisson’s pre-race message that we were privileged to be a part of an event much larger than ourselves and that competition was not the most important consideration for this unique race. Boston 2014 was a once in a lifetime experience for me, having first contemplated running the Boston Marathon as a young naval officer in 1968. Thanks to Rogue and especially Coach Kim for preparing me to run through adversity to the finish!” – Scott Beachy


Emily McCoy“When I signed up for the 2014 Boston Marathon, I originally did so to check a box off my bucket list. Both training and the actual race turned into so much more — I came out of it as a RiffRaffian and a member of the Unicorn Mafia. Plus, I got to not only witness but be part of a momentous event that included 26.2 miles of the most passionate spectators and runners I’ve ever encountered.”

– Emily McCoy from the Unicorn Mafia (RiffRaff group in Boston!)


Sarah Stein-L“Boston was something I dreamed of when I began running 10 years ago. My dad inspired me to run and we always planned on running it together some day. He passed away this past October but he’s the reason I ever made it there. He was my number one fan and my most inspiring coach. When I run, it keeps his spirit alive.”

– Sarah Stein-Lobovits



Bryan Morton“For me, the 2014 Boston Marathon was really more about giving back than it was chasing a crazy fast time. I wanted to give back to a family and community that’s given me so much over the past couple of years. All while running in a race I’ve come to love more than any other. That said, I had the privilege of helping to pace some close friends in Team Rogue as well as a longtime friend from college. It was undeniably evident in Boston that Rogues ran as one. One collective family.”

– Bryan Morton


Amy Anderson“Finishing my 6th consecutive Boston Marathon, requalifying for my 7th with a 12 minute cushion” – Amy Anderson (the picture tells the story!)







steve“America ran with Boston on this Patriot’s Day in a way that has never before been witnessed. I told Scotty MacPherson after the race, ‘This was the most important & influential footrace in human history.’ I do not believe that is hyperbole. We were a part of it. The Rogue crew here represented Rogue, Austin, Texas, America & the global running community on a day that made history. I am so proud to be a part of the Rogue community.” – Coach Steve Sisson


Rogue Results in Boston:

Scott MacPherson, 2:19 (19th overall and 9th American)

Marc Bergman, 2:44 (1st overall from Austin)

Mark Heerensperger, 2:48 (2nd overall from Austin)

Alex Lohr, 2:48 (3rd overall from Austin)

Bryan Morton, 2:51 (5th overall from Austin)

Muz Musal, 2:52 (7th overall from Austin)

Chris McClung, 2:56 (10th overall from Austin)

Larry Bright, 2:58 (2nd masters from Austin)

Nora Colligan, 2:58 (1st female from Austin)

Mike McGinn, 3:00

Lee Toowey, 3:01

Jim Fitzpatrick, 3:02

Kirk Larson, 3:03

Michael Wedel, 3:03

Kim Eldridge, 3:11 (3rd female from Austin)

Ryan Bane, 3:15

Kamran Shah, 3:18

Nadia Tamby, 3:19

James Allen, 3:22

Phil Carmical, 3:23

Ashley Johnson, 3:23

Wes Johnson, 3:23

Gretchen Sanders, 3:23

Sarah Watson, 3:24

Karen Russell, 3:25

Mark Enstone, 3:26

Colin Looney, 3:28

Brian Gannon, 3:29

Deidre Skrudland, 3:31

Devon Kiernan, 3:33

Amanda Bergstrom, 3:37

Mandi Makarski, 3:37

Brandy Dodson, 3:39

Kent Little, 3:47

Tracie Matysik, 3:47

Amy Anderson, 3:48

Sarah Stein-Lobovits, 3:49

Dana Andrae, 3:52

Quincy Arey, 3:52

Danielle Duhon, 3:52

Angie McDermott, 3:52

Gabriel Trinidad, 4:05

Scott Beachy, 4:11

Michael Breen, 4:18

Stephanie Kurpiewski, 4:21

Jennifer Howard-Brown, 4:23

Lenora Goessling, 6:09 (1st marathon while 25 weeks pregnant)


Screen shot 2013-06-24 at 2.46.38 PMChris McClung heads up all things retail at Rogue Running, and currently coaches The Morning Show, a group for half marathoners and marathoners alike.









Make a list, check it twice

This post was originally written in May of 2012, but in honor of this week’s Vancouver Marathon and the beginning of Fall Marathon training and all of the hopes and  dreams that go along with that, we thought it was time to read it again.


by Minh Duong

The day before Vancouver, I sat down in my hotel and put together some thoughts.

  1. Be Patient
  2. Trust your training
  3. Love every moment
  4. Only take with you what are willing to carry–physically and emotionally
  5. Remember why you did this

Be patient

Coming off a hot Austin marathon, I said that I would run only one marathon ever.  I had my reasons: huge time commitment; I love sleeping in; it was off my bucket list; Texas marathons had a chance of being hot, etc.

The main reason is that I am not a long distance runner.  Many around Rogue might be surprised by that statement but it’s true.  I would say that I’m faster than average but that doesn’t equate in experience or skill at the longer distances.  I’ve run mainly 10Ks and 5Ks for many years but Austin 2011 was only my first full and San Antonio 2011 was only my second half.  There is a world of difference in opening full throttle for 10K and strategically running 26.2.  I had experienced that at longer distances, I would start to cramp up if I ran moderately fast especially in heat.

Looking back, I was impatient. Transitioning from middle distance to longer distances takes time.  Deciding to run Vancouver, I approached it with the goal of finishing strong and not qualifying for Boston. Boston would take a few seasons.  For the race at hand, that meant going out slow.

Trust your training

For a while other Rogues like my sister had been trying to get me to join Team Rogue but it was an early morning marathon group.  The target race for the spring was Boston or Vancouver.

Training for Austin, I had done a lot running at too fast a pace.  Even though it wasn’t advised, I ran faster than marathon pace for too many long runs.  By the time Austin arrived, I was a little beat up.

With Team Rogue, I followed the regimen which included learning to run easy.  I didn’t try to “head bang” anymore.  It took me days to recover from Austin.  By the next day after Vancouver, I was fine.

For Vancouver, my coach Jon Schrup worked out plans of 3:25 and we changed it to 3:15.  Most of all I didn’t want a repeat of Austin and San Antonio where I hobbled to the finish.  The plan was broken down into 5K segments and instead of steady pace, we had trained for progressive runs.

Love every moment

The hotels rooms in Vancouver at the special marathon rate went quick so I didn’t get a room in the same hotel with everyone else in Team Rogue.  Strangely enough, all the Team Rogue women who initially wanted to run Vancouver had dropped out but that worked out. I ended staying in the same hotel as the other spring marathon Rogues.  I didn’t want to be part of that Team Rogue sausagefest anyway. 😉

It was beautiful cold and sunny morning and all the Rogues coincidentally wound up in the same subway car for the ride.  While walking to the start, we all happened to catch Allison Macsas starting her half.  I gear checked my stuff and headed to the nearest toilets in the first corral. After about 5 minutes waiting in line, a volunteer was ejecting people from Corral 1 who weren’t supposed to be there even though they were just waiting to use the toilets.  The runners protested but left the corral.  If it was a race in the US, there would have been more than words.  #EveryonewasKungFufighting

The first 5K was mixed.  I was right on target for the first mile but sped up too much for miles two and three.  I blame it on adrenaline and that hot blonde I was chasing. Who can blame me?   I was supposed to average 8:03 but ended up at 7:42.  I saw Michael Wedel pass me and kept just ahead of Ryan Zysk.   I ran into Schrup around 5K and said to him as was running too fast.

For the second 5K, I was focused on slowing down and conserving.  At this point Ryan caught me so we ran together.  We began coming down from the first set of hills. If you can call them that.  At one point a woman was yelling, “You’re almost at the top of the hill!” Ryan and I remarked to each other “That was a hill?”. I had slowed to 8:03 and was being cautious.

The 3rd 5K was uneventful and I don’t remember much of it.  I slowed down based on the hills and feel.  At the end of the segment, I began to pull away from Ryan according to plan and had been averaging running around 7:50.

From 15-20K, we ran by the University of British Columbia and there was an older man advertising for the “Bare Buns 5K”.  He was wearing nothing but a barrel.  That’s what it looked like, and I did not care to investigate further.  I was pacing at 7:30 here with a long downhill.

At the halfway point, they diverted us through a parking lot which I thought was strange but my right knee started bothering me.  For the next 10K, I sped up slightly.  The only thing I really remember was leaving the park behind and running on the bridge that didn’t crest until the end.  I was holding pace at 7:28.

Up until this point everything was going to plan. Around the 20 mile marker, my right quad locked up along with the right calf.  I almost sat down from a sudden loss of balance. From nowhere, Schrup came up and gave me a water.  I took the last of my GU and told him I was going to coast in.  There was some miscommunication as Schrup may have thought I was going to walk the rest.

The next 10K was gingerly trying to finish.  The main problem was the sea wall.  Now on a normal run or in the middle of the marathon, running along the sea wall would have been pretty.  At the end, people are gritting teeth and hanging on and it was unendingly long.  I slowed down to 8:42 by this point hoping I wouldn’t cramp every mile like had happened in Austin.

Past the 35K marker, a woman in pink shorts passed me and something overtook me.  “Oh no she DID-NT (two snaps)”.  So I sped up to 8:21.  By this time it was warm with the sun was high in the sky, and I had taken off my arm warmers and hat.  But running along the sea wall meant sudden gusts of cold winds.  I’m pretty sure the sudden gusts caused my nipples to instantly punch two holes in my singlet.

Past 40K, it was starting to get a bit blurry but I swear that at one point we were running on the sidewalk next to pedestrians.  Schrup met me near the end as I was trying to speed up.  Speeding up brought multiple spasms and he advised me not to slow down to the safe side of redlining.  The last 2.2K was at 7:30 pace.  I finished at 3:26 which was a 20 minute PR from Austin.  Then became the second phase of Vancouver:  the journey of obscene eating.  (Warning many animals were harmed during the gluttony for which I am unapologetic).

Only take with you what are willing to carry–physically and emotionally

I didn’t bring my GPS watch because I hadn’t learned to use it yet (ancient Chinese riddle: Can anyone really learn how use a GPS watch completely).  So I relied on my manual watch and feel.  During training, I purposely didn’t take anything during the runs because I did not want to rely on gels.   For the marathon, I had one GU and portioned it for a third every hour.

Unlike Austin I had a more realistic goal so there wasn’t too much pressure.  When circumstances changed, I changed the goal without any hesitation.  Finishing with a PR was the new goal.  Going minimalist helped me to focus on the race and not anything else.

Remember why you did this

So I had all these valid logical reasons not to run another marathon after Austin or so I thought.  Then in November my friend Stacy died.  Stacy wasn’t a runner but had ran her first 5K (Race for the Cure) in the spring after battling cancer.  It had been a dream of hers and she wanted to run other races, perhaps longer distances.  But the cancer came back, and she didn’t get another chance.

It was a cold slap of reality because she was my age.  See, I didn’t actually have reasons; they were just excuses. For many of us, life presents challenges like work and family that do not allow for us to train and run a marathon.  Stacy had trained and ran despite chemo.  Compared to her, I didn’t have reasons.  All my reasons were really inconveniences and trepidations.

In December, I joined Team Rogue and signed up for Vancouver; no more excuses.  In January, Stacy’s husband sent me these pink plastic bracelets with the words “Faith – Hope – Love  Stacy” on them and asked me to wear them to remember her.  So for the next several months, whenever I woke up at 4:30 am and didn’t want to run, there was that pink bracelet on the nightstand.  No more excuses.

Somewhere in the training I was reminded why I started running again.  Even though we complain about the five pounds of sweat we lose in the summer runs and the early mornings we could have slept in, we love running.  I love running.

Getting to Boston will take some time.  Austin was the first step.  Vancouver was the second and there are many more to go.  The most important thing is that I remember why I run and not let myself become the biggest obstacle to success.  For those of you that have a dream of doing something like run a marathon, visit Kilimanjaro: find a way.  We may not get many chances in life to do what we love.

Heat, humidity & HILLS: Austin M/HM results

Heat. Humidity. HILLS. The 2014 Austin Marathon & Half Marathon was hugely challenging on many levels, but Rogues lined up anyway and took to the streets with the confidence of runners who are well-trained, mentally prepared and who have an entire community behind them. There were strong performances across the board, from PRs & BQs to those who dug deep and pushed through an extremely tough day.  We couldn’t be more proud of all of you, or our coaches who helped you get there!

Results are listed below by group, and we will continue to add to the list as we receive them from coaches. Congrats to all!




Sarah Arcement: 3:58:53 (PR)

Ben Balentine: 4:17:11 (47 min PR)

Sage Chandrasoma: 4:22:53

Van Fitzgerald: 4:59:42

Lucy Flores: 5:07:32 (42 min PR)

Cindy Gravell: 3:55:22

John Gravell: 3:55:22

Moya Griffin: 3:46:33 (BQ)

Jeff Hufford: 3:43:01 (PR)

Gordon Kennedy: 4:17:12 (Huge PR 🙂

Alan Langham: 3:07:33 (BQ)

Mike McMullen:  3:44:51 (20 min PR)

Antonio Mendoza: 5:25:09 (first marathon)

Eva Montes: 5:07:32 (42 min PR)

Walter  Rhee: 3:54:51 (PR)

Carlos   Sanchez: 4:09:16

Stephen Tarleton: 3:14:34 (BQ)

Jeff Warren: 5:36:18

Robert Williams: 3:21:50 (BQ)


Lou Clark: 2:01:34 (PR, ran Houston Marathon)

Jerimi Henry: 2:21:19

Willa Kempf: 2:12:41  (ran Houston Marathon)

David Meyer: 2:05:40 (ran Houston Marathon)

Anita Sandhu: 2:14:59

Matt Waldbusse: 1:51:07 (ran Houston)




Angela Mathews-Carillo:  2:57  (First HM)
Courtney Hall:  2:57 (First HM)
Garrett Burnett:  1:50 (PR)
Katie Meissner:  1:52 (PR)
Anu Saha:  1:58 (PR)
Bianca Rodriguez:  2:08  (PR)
Tom Wilbur:  2:08:14  (PR – 3rd progressive PR from Decker > 3M > Austin)
Matthew Friedman:  2:19  (PR)
Daniel West:  2:57 (PR)
Judith Jacobson:  1:57
Conney Bisson:  2:15
Kathy Greer:  2:20
Kit Ogburn:  2:29
Bijal Patel:  2:46
Carie Hendrick:  2:59
Ashley Sorvillo:  3:02
Juan Salazar:  3:03
Anantha Guntakala:  3:18



Julie Beasley- 4:14:29
Ashley Koberlein- 4:28:47 (1st marathon!)
Amanda Trapani- 4:39:56 (PR!)
Andrea McCabe- 4:49:04
Ally Elabarger- 2:07:24
Jen Wicka- 2:18:24
Kathy Nicklebur- 2:18:32
Kristen McKay- 3:25:40



Joey Ramirez: 3:36:21 (First Marathon!!!)

Josh Elliot: 4:05:22

Taryn Weiss: 3:53:59 (First Marathon!!!)

Chad Bettac: 3:58:46

Ariana Lopez: 4:43:35 (First Marathon!!!)

Kristin Ronan: 4:10:12 (First Marathon!!!)

Stacey Shapiro: 4:38:37 (Pacer!)

Aaric Eisenstein: 4:59:31

Troy Carter: 4:06:28 (DC finisher!)

Marty Alaniz: 5:45:47

Janna Adams: 5:02:12

JT Davis: 5:51:30

Meghan Mullaney: 6:01:27 (First Marathon!!!)

Maria Medina: 5:03:29

Victor Mejia: 4:49:47


Angela Burrell: 2:24:00



Bethany Nagel – 3:31(Boston Qualifier!)
Alexa Garcia-Ditta – 3:38
Dave Campbell – 3:55
Stephanie Diswood – 4:15

Ryan MacKenna: 4:15




Bryan Peterson 1:57:39

Dori Livingston 2:30:12
Adrienne Cunningham 1:58:36

Christine Meisner: 1:59:37 (PR! sub-2 was goal)

Chelsa Bliskey: 2:35:32 (first half!)

Megan Shirley: 2:19:49 (first half!)

Rachelle Vega: 2:44:24 (first half!)

Debbie Danford: 2:18:49 (4 minute PR for Austin course!)

Debbie Cohen: 2:2421 (7 minute PR!)
Ellen Murphy: 2:33:02 (first Half, WITH a broken toe!)
Sarah Walton:  2:23:00  (PR for the Austin Half course!)
Mandy Deen 3:49 (PR!)
Brent Weber 3:11 (PR, BQ & 1st AG/5th overall in DC!)




Carl Duffy: 4:11 (first marathon!)

Andy Montoya: 3:57:38 (first marathon!)


May O’Shea: 2:08:08 (PR!)



James Stansberry: 3:19:42  (3rd AG, Full Track of ADC)

Julie Stansberry: 3:32:41 (1st Overall Masters Female, Full Track of ADC)
Larry Bright: 1:23:36 (half) (1st Overall Masters Male, Half Track of ADC)
Hannah Kane: 2:07:16 (first half marathon!)
Brittney Small:  2:16:48 (first half marathon!)
Johanna Reed: 2:34:00 (first half marathon!)
Patricia Skelton: 1:56:30

Amanda Anderson: 4:29 (1st marathon!)

Keri Bender: 4:29 (PR!)

Kaeley Bobbitt: 4:47 (1st marathon)

Lori Brown: 4:54 (2nd in age group (AG) for the full Distance Challenge (DC)*!)

Rusty Cloyes: 4:11

Sarah Cook: 3:48 (1st marathon, 2nd in AG for DC!)

Dylan Cornelius: 4:03 (PR, 4th in AG for DC!)

Steve Crossland: DNF; Ambulance at mile 25, Epic display of testing your limits and living to tell the tale

Lex Hasert: 3:34 (2nd in AG for DC!)

Jackie Gramlich: 5:29 (1st marathon!)

Joe Jarosek: 3:34 (PR!)

Rick L’Amie: 4:46 (1st marathon, DC finisher!)

Melissa Long: 4:44 (1st marathon!)

Manuel Macias: 3:40

David Murray: 3:52 (1st marathon!)

Sujata Neidig: 4:32

Jessica Niemiec: 3:34

Declan O’Cleirigh: 3:28 (2nd in AG for DC!)

Gabriel Ornelas: 3:36 (PR, 1st in AG for DC!)

Naomi Paik: 4:11 (PR, 4th in AG for DC!)

Madhavi Reese: 4:37 (1st marathon!)

Dacia Reinhold: 4:41 (1st marathon!)

Cassie Tigue: 3:57 (1st marathon!)


Dolly Day: 2:22

Anne Downing: 2:14

Erica Haring: 2:22 (DC finisher!)

Terrence Hodge: 1:47 (4th in AG for DC!)

Brianne Loya: 1:46

Chris MacLeod: 2:03 (6th in AG for DC!)

Lisa Mays: 2:18

Brandon O’Hara: 1:49 (2nd in AG for DC!)

Mary Pape: 1:45 (1st in AG for DC!)

Emily Russell: 2:14 (7th in AG for DC!)

Deidre Skrudland: 1:38 (2nd in AG for DC!)



AJ Celeski: 5:20:34 (1st marathon!)

Shelli Lopes-Barnes: 5:04:17

Noel Barnes: 5:04:16

Brian Rutledge: 4:58:27 (1st marathon!)

Sonja Rutledge: 4:58:05 (1st marathon!)

Rebekkah Castro: 4:56:57

Debbie Allen: 4:53:37 (PR!)

Bob Pena: 4:53:01

Jaime Garcia: 4:51:16 (1st marathon!)

Diana Maldonado: 4:47:43

Melissa Plunkett: 4:34:40

Joe Arenella: 4:29:31 (PR!)

Jackie Howard: 4:27:21

Christopher Stephens: 4:20:13

Alan Stanley: 4:14:50

Brian Dees: 4:09:38 (1st marathon!)

Sarah Gunter: 3:55:14 (1st marathon!)

Chris Chuter: 3:44:25



Charles Kelley 2:25 (Distance Challenge Finisher!)
Amy Day 2:39 (Distance Challenge Finisher!)


80 students started, and 80 students finished!!! Check out race day photos here.


Congrats to EVERYONE! We will continue to update this post as we receive results from the coaches, so check back to find your name. Recover well, and we will see you in a couple of weeks for 5K/10K PR, Trail Series training, Tri training, Summer Half Marathon, Rogue X or one of our many other programs. Your coach will provide guidance as to the best next step for you!

3M: A first-timer’s race report

An introduction by Coach Mae Coffman:

I met Kristen McKay when she attended a “Mom’s Night Out” event at the Cedar Park store this past summer.  She inquired about the Run Like a Mother group, explaining she was just starting out as a runner, recently having worked up to one mile in her neighborhood. A month later she joined the group with the goal of tackling a 5K race.

Runners like Kristen are the reason why I love coaching so much. She epitomizes what it means to be a Rogue.  Over the course of the last 5 months, I have watched her blossom in her newfound runner identity. She celebrates every accomplishment– from being able to run 3 miles without stopping to the first double-digit long run.

Though she has a visual impairment, it hasn’t been a limiting factor in her progress. You would think the idea of running on unfamiliar roads and racecourses would intimidate her, but Kristen just gets out there and tackles each challenge with confidence and a smile on her face. She inspires her husband, she inspires her children, and she inspires me.  I loved reading through her very first half marathon race report and I hope you will too. 


IMG_20140119_093140by Kristen McKay

The night before I could not settle myself down – was excited to get it started.  I think I finally fell asleep close to 11 and sat right up and said “alrighty then” when my alarm went off at 4:50.  Got up, had some oatmeal and was out the door at 5:30 and parked just after 6.  I met up with Andrea from the Moms’ group at 6:40 while Jim and the girls took off for breakfast and their first meet up spot.  I went towards the end of the chute knowing that there was no way I was going to be in one of the pace groups and ended up being right by Charity and some other Rogues.  I didn’t hear the national anthem and didn’t even know that the race had started until people started moving slowly forward.

The beginning was smooth –felt great.  There was a group of bagpipers  close to the beginning – how cool is that??  I took my first walk break between 3 and 4 – nearing 6 thought of how if only the weather had been like this for the 10k, a few weeks ago, I would have done so much better. Felt like I started dragging for 9 and 10 and then knew I was close to being done and found my second wind.  Everyone kept saying it was just a little bit farther!

Jim and the girls met me at 6 by Northcross, where we used to live when we were first married, and then again near 11.  It was fun and encouraging to have them there to cheer me on and made it fun for me to have them to look for!  Got to run past the house I lived in during my junior high years at 40th and Duval, and have say that the speed bumps on Duval suck!  They aren’t very well marked and I nearly tripped over them twice.

The crowd definitely thinned out for the last few miles and by the time I turned the corner on MLK near the finish, the street was deserted and I couldn’t tell where to go.  I could hear the announcer but couldn’t see any spectators or police or anything.  I slowed down and looked around me to see if there were any other people near me but didn’t want to stop either so I just kept going until I could see that there were cones or the white fencing stuff blocking the street where to turn to the finish.  Whew!  And then it was over!

A funny, ironic thing happened as I was running behind the stadium and noticing that the other runners were thinning out. The song “The Distance” came on and I couldn’t help but chuckle over “the fans have all gone home and this one guy is still racing and long ago somebody left with the cup.” Good stuff.

After I crossed the finish and got my medal I got a banana and Jim met me with my chocolate milk.  Mae and Thayne were there too.  It was encouraging to know that he finished not too far ahead of me!  Now I need to work on my speed and stamina so that I don’t get left behind next time! Another take away was that there was a 72 yr old that came in just ahead of me and another 72 yr old just after me. I hope I am still running at that age!

Afterwards I felt it in my lower back, and my legs even down to my feet.  And even with the chocolate milk and banana, my stomach was not happy.  Maybe too much sports drink?  Not sure what happened there but after a short nap and a walk around the block I finally felt normal again and was able to enjoy my pizza and wine for dinner to celebrate!

On race day I wasn’t so sure I ever wanted to do that again but now that a few days have passed, I am looking forward to getting back out there!