#4Bunny

Many of you know the meaning of the hashtag, #4Bunny some do not. This post should explain everything.

This may not “flow” as it is very difficult for me to write.   There are a lot of raw emotions with this, some will be addressed, some won’t be, so if there seems to be a gap here and there, that is why.  This is also my second posting.  The first one I took down because to say I got “hate mail” is the understatement of the year….

Not to be cliché but I am going to enlist the help of one lovely lady by the name of Elsa to help tell my story. She is one of the most popular ladies lately and to be honest, her words help me…greatly. (Disney please don’t come after me with your firm fist and legalities, I just have a story to tell and need Elsa’s help…ok?)

My upcoming race has HUGE emotional significance. Will I post pictures? Maybe not. Will I write a race recap? Most likely not. It is personal, it is between Mom and I and no one else.

I am a “pleaser” to a fault. I like to bring love, comfort and happiness to people. To the point to where I have changed myself to be who I need to be for what someone wanted me to be, for them.

“a kingdom of isolation, and it looks like I’m the queen”

2012 I was told I needed to do Triathlons.   I signed up for a bunch.   I like training for them, because I am a runner and love the cross training aspect. I love triathlon. I LOVE IT, as a spectator and Coach, NOT personally as an athlete. It is not who I am. I am a runner. I love to run long, and slow, that is my happy place. But being the pleaser I am, I did what I was told and was miserable.

“Be the good girl you always have to be, conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know”

My Mom and I had a very special relationship. She was unique. Due to our life circumstances (we went through hell together more than once) we grew close. Cancer, death, homelessness, and abuse…we went through a lot together and survived together. We understood and accepted each other for who we were. She was my Mom and scared the CRAP out of me like any Mom should, but I knew 2000% she loved me no matter what. I was lucky to be able to have that 1 person I could always talk to about anything and everything, no matter what.

On August 17, 2013 I called Mom like I usually did on weekends. I had just run the Nevada State Games 5k and won my 2nd gold medal.

Note: Mom has always listened and supported. Always. No matter the situation, she wouldn’t say anything negative. She would show support, no matter what.

That day. She didn’t. For the first time in my life, she let it fly…..

“The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside, (she) Couldn’t keep it in”

She unleashed her fury on me….

Her words: When did I make someone else’s goals mine? When did I become a puppet?  She was angry, VERY angry. She pointed out the joy in my voice that day. She said I was always happy when I was running. I had been chasing and dreaming of ultra distances and suddenly stopped. She said that was when she noticed my joy disappeared.

I will spare the other details of the rest of the conversation, as it was a beautiful, wonderful conversation with Mom. One thing she did do and she was adamant about it, she would not let me hang up the phone until I made a few promises, the big one was to go after my dream of running an ultra marathon.

I promised.

This was the last conversation I would ever have with her.

That following week my world began to unravel. Mom was found on the floor in her home. She was rushed to the hospital. She was already frail from years of battling breast cancer that had spread into her lungs.

I spoke to a nurse via phone at the hospital. Her words “you need to get on a plane, now”.

I flew to North Carolina. My heart in my throat.   Mom was on a ventilator and they weren’t taking her off until I got there.

I remember running in the hallway to ICU. I went through the doors, walked into her room.   She looked at me with piercing fierce eyes and snapped her fingers and pointed at her legal pad and pen.   I handed them to her.   She wrote one word “ultra” and pointed her tiny finger at me. I giggled. My sisters and the nursing staff were puzzled. I put my hands on my hips “OK!!!! Seriously Mom. I promised! I flew 2000 miles for this??? GEEZ!”  She was unable to smile because of the equipment she was hooked up to, but the smile, was in her eyes….

After a lot of ups and downs and long sleepless nights, Mom passed away quietly on Sept 6th. The staff at Moses Cone Hospital was so good to “Miss Bunny” and my sisters and I. I will be forever grateful.

People in the running community were supportive and ran in Mom’s memory “#4Bunny”

I am going to wrap the rest of this up pretty quickly now. I just needed to capture the emotion and significance. After Mom’s funeral a “kink” in my shoulder escalated to THE WORST pain of my life. Only those who have had this know the depth of this pain. It was awful. I was in my own personal hell.

People were upset with me because I wasn’t “there” for them.   It hurt. Then it made me very angry. I did this to myself. It was that “pleasing” nature.   Never again. Never. Painful lesson learned when people turn on you when you are in despair.

“I don’t care what they’re going to say, let the storm rage on”

I’ll admit I was sunshine and roses on social media.

“don’t let them in don’t let them see be the good girl you always have to be”

That is what people expected from me.   What was really going on was more than anyone could even imagine.  I was in a dark place. A very, dark place.  I was confined to a chair.  I could not care for myself, let alone my family.  It took 8 hours for a medical staff to be able to get me to lie down for 30 seconds to get an MRI.   Every time I would try to lay down the pain had me screaming at the top of my lungs. The MRI showed many things wrong but most importantly that I had bone spurs on my spine sawing on my nerve chord.  Surgery was necessary.

My chiropractor was a huge advocate for me and was able to speed up the process and get me to surgery. 10/24/2013.   I am forever grateful.  Dr. Easton and Martha, you both have been more to me than just a chiropractic office.  Thank you.

After surgery true beautiful colors showed and a lot of people supported my family and me. They came with food, helping to care for my son and more.   This allowed me to be able to heal and recover quickly.

I also have to say my husband is a loving, supportive and patient man. He had to do everything as I couldn’t do anything. He was beside me every step of the way as I went through this hell.

Since spine surgery I have been slowly, and carefully rebuilding. My supportive friend, business partner, and coach, Rebecca supports my goals. She “gets” my training happy place. MY goals. Without her, I would not be where I am today.

“the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all”

For those who have seen my profile photo on Facebook, this is what it is about. My Mom’s name is Bunny. Her favorite color is purple (like me).  The promise I made is #4Bunny. On Sunday October 26, I will begin to fulfill my promise I made to Mom.

#4Bunny

As long as can….I plan to continue to fulfill that promise….

“It’s time to see what I can do, To test the limits and break through, no right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free!”

 

 

Product Review and Giveaway: Lace Locker

I happened to have the “chance” meeting @lacelocker (TheLaceLocker on instagram) @StashSports on Twitter and Facebook, be sure to give them a like/follow!

First impression was how quickly they arrived, that is always important. As athletes are pretty impatient when it comes to getting things in the mail, we want it and want it yesterday, it keeps us excited and motivated when we have new things arrive. The packaging was also very well branded and professional.

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The test. Simple. Easy to put on, and for those of us who are impatient I didn’t have to look at the instructions on how to properly “install” them.   They work, simple as that.

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I wear elastic, no tie laces in my racing shoes, but that is personal preference, they are not for everyone. However, my cross training shoes all have laces. Laces annoy me. Period. I catch them on weight equipment causing me to trip and fall, they come untied. Don’t get me started on if the lace rubs up on my ankle and I think there is a critter running across and it makes me jump to the ceiling. Lace Locker gets rid of all those lace annoyances. They also come in a variety of colors, even Lady Bug print.

I am not only a Coach and athlete; I am also a Mom of a very active boy who REFUSES to tie his shoelaces. Double and triple knots stand no chance with this boy. Lace Locker fixed that.

Another random use that was discovered, I was recently at the gym doing my first wear test of Lace Lockers.  There was a girl in the locker room fighting with a pair of workout pants that were refusing to cooperate. She awkwardly noticed me watching her antics and responded with a sheepish statement “I accidentally packed my sister’s pants, they are too big and I can’t get them to stay tied, no one needs to see that when they fall off of me!” LIGHTBULB went off. I took one of the Lace Lockers off my shoe and handed it to her and said to find me and give it back at the end of the workout. Problem solved. I was on the treadmill behind her as she was on the elliptical, a few times during the workout she would flash a big smile and thumbs up.

So in keeping with my workout pant friend at the gym, I give Lace Locker thumbs up!

A quality product made 100% in the USA, affordable, easy to use, excellent customer service, commitment to safety and passionate desire to send kids to college (in addition to Neely’s scholarship a significant amount of proceeds go to create scholarships), and finding a product that is a solution to annoying shoe laces.

Here is the fun part: PRIZE GIVEAWAY. That’s right! I am giving away a pair of Lace Locker Pair Neely Inspired.

IMG_20140708_100249_021-2“20% of each pair sold of the Neely Spence Gracey Signature LaceLocker® “Inspired…Get Running” will contribute to a scholarship fund. The fund will be at her undergraduate school, Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, and will first be given for the 2014-2015 academic year. “

What you need to do to win:

 

  1. Like my Coach Kristie PRS FIT Facebook page
  2. Like the PRS FIT Facebook page
  3. Comment on my Coach Kristie PRS FIT Facebook post of this blog review WHY you want to win the Lace Locker Inspired
  4. Give @lacelocker a shout out on Twitter that you want to win and tag me @kristiecranford and @StashSports
  5. Then comment on my Coach Kristie PRS FIT Facebook post of the link of this product review, with the most “likes” by 12:30pm Pacific Time Thursday, July 17, 2014 will win.  In the event of a tie, all names will go in a drawing and my 7yo son will do the honors of drawing the winner.  That’s what Mom’s do!  Good luck.

So…on your mark, get set….GO!!!!

 

 

Boob. Breakdowns. Broken Body. Ballpark Pretzels…no wait BAGGAGE. Broad Street.

And so the story continues with part 2 of 3…. 

2012. Breakdowns.

I was late to the race. I wasn’t able to connect with my pacer. I was so focused I missed the cake lady on her corner. I did hear her yelling, people later told me this year it was red velvet cake, and she was sharing. Dang.

I also missed my husband and brother in law at mile 9. I crossed the finish crying. No. I was a sobbing, blubbering mess. I had not PR’d. Had not reached All American. First thing said to me by the first person I talked to after the race was “where did you go wrong?” I was crushed. I had “friends” turn on me saying they wanted no part of someone who could not succeed. One of the most painful days of my running career, ever. However, if you talked to my son, he would tell you I won.

Race recap of 2012 can be read in its entirety:

https://coachkristie.com/2012/05/09/2012-blue-cross-broad-street-run/

Mile9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013. Broken Body

We decided not to travel to Philly in 2013. I still entered the race, the first year of the new lottery system, and gained entry. Whew. I was able to defer to 2014. Thank goodness as my body fell APART in 2013.

What happened in 2013:

https://coachkristie.com/2013/10/18/back-into-the-ring/

neckoween

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014. Ballpark Pretzels will have to wait. BAGGAGE.

So. Here we are. Boobs still in tact. Breakdowns, over. Long gone are my 8 minute miles. Forget All American for right now, it is about rebuilding and being able to run again.

Broken body, recovering? Kinda sorta. Coach Rebecca and I have been rebuilding me slowly and carefully. My body has good weeks and bad weeks with recovery. Thankfully the fatigue and pain is completely gone. In the last few weeks before the race there were a couple set backs.

Set back #1:                       ******BREAKING NEWS*******

Dear friends and family it is with a sad and heavy heart that I announce the passing of my dear trusty treadmill. 7 years and over 11,000 miles, it was given the dreaded “it’ll be cheaper to replace it than fix it” diagnosis. It served me well. BUT RIGHT BEFORE A RACE???? SERIOUSLY? Ok, spoiled me, I have a gym membership. The gym is open 24/7/365. The treadmills there shut off at 60 minutes.   #spoiledtreadmillrunnerproblems.

Yes, I can hear several people saying “Uh, HELLO?! Run outside?”. Hi, let me introduce myself, I am Coach Kristie, we obviously have not met….

Set back #2:

In the 2-3 (?) weeks leading up to the race I was experiencing this crazy thing with my leg.   I could run 30 minutes and then my glute would lock up and make my leg go peg straight. Think Pirate. ARRRGGGGHHHH. Makes for an interesting quick dismount on a moving treadmill. Back up and punt, I could get on an elliptical without this happening.   I was getting nervous. Didn’t tell anyone how nervous I was, but I was at near panic. You see Broad Street is a big, fast, race. You can read on the website, they are not exactly walker friendly.   Strategy was to enjoy the race and finish. Strategy change, it was to finish and not get pulled off the course. New plan: run as long as I could and walk through aid stations.

A visit to my chiropractor in the days before we were to fly out to Philly resulted in a diagnosis and solution to my “peg leg”.   My chiropractor discovered an adhesion in my neck blocking nerve signals to my leg. He taught me a vascular release that I could do while running to stop the peg leg. He also taught me a lymphatic release I could also do while running that would help drain the lactic acid from my psoas. My psoas was causing my glute to lock and my leg to rotate outward. Lots of stretching and yoga was encouraged. Cobra and Pigeon pose are my friends.   He had me practice the releases so he could make sure I had it down. This is what I feel like when I am doing them:

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Uneventful travel with on time or early flights and seamless layovers we arrive in Philadelphia. Exhausted, we have been up and traveling since o’dark thirty, mind you, with an energizer bunny of a 7 year old. We were so ready to see family and settle in for the night. As we sit and watch the suitcases circle around baggage claim, an unsettling feeling hits me. My husband and son have their bags. Where is mine? There are only 2 to 3 left going around and around and around.

I will not freak out I will not freak out I will not freak out I will not freak out

At the exact moment I am being flagged into the “lost baggage” reporting zone my son completely starts crying and freaking out as he has somewhere from plane to here, he dropped “hoppy” his stuffed bunny he received from the Easter bunny.

Long travel day + lost bag + taper madness + freaking out child = Mommy is about to lose her sh&t. It is all I can do to keep it together. I can feel myself falling apart at the seams. I tell myself. It is Southwest Airlines. They are KNOWN for fantastic customer service. It will be ok.   It will. Breathe……..

The Comeback Coach

I have had a lot of sincere inquiries as to my progress on rebuilding myself. So here you go.

For those who know, and who don’t, 2013 was quite possibly one of the most challenging years I have ever had. I lost my Mom and best friend to Lung Cancer, I had a mass removed from my sinus cavity and unexpected emergency spine surgery. The whole year tried me emotionally and physically well beyond my limits. Physically my sacrifice was my most cherished gift, my gift of the run.

Let me translate. I can run again, finally. But it used to be easy, really easy. Now, most days it is a fight. It is hard.   Some days, my legs just don’t work and I just, well, can’t. I have had to start over as if I just started running.

At first it hurt. I cried. A lot. I threw things. I used to look at a 1 hour run and in my head and I would say “easy peasy 6 mile or more run in zone 2”. Now, I am thrilled for close to 4-5, or even being able to run the full hour without walking.

My favorite race is the Philadelphia Blue Cross Broad Street 10 Mile Run. I have a lot of family there, the Rocky soundtrack blares and the spectators are just second to none, and hello there is a soft, huge, ballpark Phillies special pretzel at the finish. I have run it twice. My best time was 1:24:00. I will be toeing the start line for the third time in a couple weeks. My run is not what it once was. It will get there again, but the healing process is slow.   I hope to finish before the cutoff of 2:30:00.   That is a far cry from 1:24:00. Shoot, my ½ Marathon PR is 2:03.

I am 10lbs from my “normal” weight, thank you surgery, 15lbs from “game face” weight. I keep getting snide remarks and have had a few people ask me “when are you due?”. The best one “You’re a Coach? Shouldn’t you be thinner?” People are mean. Some thrive on other’s setbacks. If I have been that for someone to keep them from bullying someone else, I am happy. But you know where I am right now? To be bluntly honest, I am happier than I have been in years. YEARS.

I am healthy. Pain free. I am in remission from cancer since Aug of 2009. My son is growing like a weed and thriving in school. He is my mini me and I love him more than is humanly possible. My husband is handsome, brave, and (TMI) flat sexy. I am a LUCKY woman.   I am a Coach of and a member of a badass team of coaches and athletes at Team PRS FIT.   How many people can incorporate their passion into their career? Only the lucky ones for sure, and I am one of them.

As a Coach, I trust the process. So as an athlete, I trust the process. Coach Rebecca is rebuilding me slowly and carefully. I have to listen to my body very carefully. Some times it whispers, some times it screams, but I listen.

People ask me when I am planning my “comeback”.   I don’t know, my body will tell me. But I will tell you this. There is one thing that has made a comeback, my love of running.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Training in the heat- tips to be smart and safe

IMG_7253-1Summer is fast approaching, days getting longer, and temperatures will begin to rise.  Training in the heat is inevitable and in some cases practically unavoidable (I live in Las Vegas where heat is “normal”).  If you are faced with training in the heat there are a few things to consider keeping yourself cool and safe while training.

The sun is at it highest point between the hours of 10am and 4pm. It is best to avoid these times. Always wear sunscreen and reapply. Wear white or light UV protective clothing (the Coolibar cooling fitness shirt is a perfect example) to reflect the sun’s rays.  Dark colors absorb the heat. Wear a hat and UV protective sunglasses.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Know your sweat loss rate.  Weigh yourself before and after a workout to know how much sweat you lose and replenish with this amount as well as taking in electrolyte sports drink during activity. Cramping is a sign of mineral loss so make sure you are taking in an electrolyte sports drink to keep you hydrated and replenish minerals lost in sweat.

Help keep the body cool by pouring cold water over pulse points in the wrist and back of the neck.  Also pouring over the top of the head.  A majority of the body’s heat is released through the top of the head.  That being said if wearing a hat be sure to wear a ventilated one so heat can escape and is not trapped.  There are cooling neckbands you can wear.  In extreme heat situations I have frozen wristbands and worn them and continued to pour water over them. The absorbent nature keeping the cool water on my pulse points.  I have participated in extreme heat races and they have provided ice towels and cooling stations.

Be aware of warning signs of heat stress and have an emergency plan in place (carry a phone, wear an ID bracelet with emergency contact information).

Warning signs of heat stress and heat related illnesses (dehydration, hypernatremia, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heat cramps) include but are not limited to: muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, weakness, headache, dizziness, confusion, cold and/or clammy skin, fainting, fast or weak pulse, hot red dry or moist skin, and even unconsciousness.

Keep in mind there is nothing wrong with playing it 100% safe and taking your training indoors.  You won’t skip a beat in your training and you can train safely without worry sun damage and heat related stress and illnesses.

Be Healthy, Train Smart, Have Fun

 

*this post can also be found on the Coolibar Sun Protection blog, an original article written by me for Coolibar UV Protection clothing*

 

 

The Explanation of Training

runpicI finally had an “ah ha” moment recently and was able to into words something that I have been trying to explain for years.

Why, do I train? Why do people like me, train? Why do athletes train?

Simple.

The “A” race to an athlete is like the final exam to a student. Training is the classroom. Workouts are homework. Pulse check races are quizzes. Athletes eat right, and get as much sleep as possible. All of this preparation is so they can show up for the final exam (A race) alert, healthy, ready and prepared.

When in school, students get up early, stay up late to study and do homework. They talk to other students who may have taken the same exam before. They ask for tips, pointers.

When training, athletes get up early, stay up late to get workouts in. They talk to others who have raced the same race, or distance for advice and tips. Sometimes they train with a group (like a study group). Others may be more focused training alone.

A student may prepare just to pass easily. An athlete may just want to finish happy and healthy. The student may have aspirations on getting into a program or school that a certain passing grade is required. The athlete may want to qualify for Boston or Kona. The student may want one of the top grades in the class, just like the athlete may want an Age Group award.

Some students prefer to be self taught. Some students seek a tutor to gain more of an edge and give them personal help, just as the athlete seeks a Coach.

As a Coach, like a tutor, I want my athletes/students to pass their exam. I assign their homework/workouts in order to best prepare them for their test/race.

So the next time someone asks you why you training I hope this will give you the words to help you explain, you just want to do well on your test.

Coach Kristie

NV Games Race Recap Part 2 of 2- “Remember why you do this”

bondisurvive
Part 2 of 2
I am not just an athlete who knows Heart Rate training works, but a Coach who trains athletes on Heart Rate training, so of all people, I trust the process. And one day, the process clicked over. My walk breaks were less. I was running continuously longer times. My base was returning. Push-ups came off the knees and back to traditional. My strength was returning.

I took a deep breath and smiled one day when I realized that the reason all of this happened was so I would go back to the real ground zero of my running. Back to the relationship I had with running when I first started, I loved it, and I couldn’t wait to run. It wasn’t how far or how fast I could run; it was because I could run.

The Nevada State Games are near and dear to my heart. I competed in the games for the first time in 2012. I won a Gold Medal. I cannot tell you how great it felt. It is an event I hope to participate in as long as I can. It is crazy competitive, but with a twist. The competitors are not there to “pick each other off” but to cheer each other on and reunite like old friends.

The Games were fast approaching. How was I to know that this would be my first race of the year? I was supposed to have a couple Sprints, an Olympic, a Duathlon, a ½ marathon all under by belt well before this “little” 5k just thrown in the mix.

For the record, there is nothing “little” about a 5k.

I had a time goal. I knew where my training was. It was realistic. I also knew I would come nowhere near where I finished last year. I had hoped to medal again, but at this point I was so giddy that I was able to race and see my old friends. I didn’t care.

I know this course. I have run it many times. I know every turn. Every hill. Every point where I have had a success or a challenge, I KNOW this course.

Race week. Taper repeats were hitting my goal time. Mind you I trained, indoors. On a treadmill. The race would be outside in 100+ degrees with false flats.

Race morning I woke up, without the alarm. Funny how no matter the time of a race, I always wake up WELL before I need to, without the help of the alarm? But really, don’t all runners do this?

I had set everything out the night before. Getting dressed was uneventful, I was prepared. I made a cup of coffee and had some GenUCAN protein mixed with almond milk (1 scoop w/ 10 oz. unsweetened almond milk- drank ½). My husband gave me a hug and a good luck kiss and I was on my way out the door. The temperature gauge on the car read 85 degrees until I pulled out of the garage. 99. At 6:15 am. That is ok. This is MY house. Heat, is normal.

This race is unique. There are 2 local races that go on at the same time. A 10k starts first, and then the games run along “inside” another 5k. It is interesting because you really do not know who all you are racing against. As I was pulling into the parking lot…the 10k winner was screaming past behind the motorcycle escort headed to the finish line.

Not many people knew I was racing. I kept it private due to my struggles this year. But some close friends and my teammates knew. I received overwhelming messages of support. One message in particular, lit my fire. They know who they are, because I told them their words were just what I needed. “Remember why you do this….”

I took a deep breath and said out loud in the car “Remember why you do this” looked at the temp of 100 glaring at me and started walking to the start line. Within seconds there were arms around me, hugging. Old friends from the last race. More hugs as I approached. Hugs from those I met at packet pick up. Just all warmth and smiles.

I took a quick trip to the porta john and warmed up. My mind was blank on the warm up. I was watching the 10k finishers come in. The announcement rang out for those in the 5k to gather at the start. I lined up. Shook hands, high fived, then….game face on, face forward.

“Remember why you do this”

I do this so Cancer will have to chase me to catch me again

I do this for those who can’t

I do this for my son

I do this for my husband

I do this for my family and friends

I do this for my athletes I coach who inspire me each and every day

I do this, for me

The gun (air horn) went off and out we all went. I looked at my Garmin and said “Whoa CRANFORD too fast too fast” darn it…that was going to hurt at about 2 ½ miles expending that energy too soon by coming out of the gate too fast.

I hit the first mile marker, was even in stride. Heart rate was right where it needed to be. My pace was a good 20 seconds faster than I needed. I looked up to see a truck pulling in as we were exiting to hit the streets. Back window rolls down “GO MOMMY GO!!!!!!” My husband and my son were there, perfect timing.

Things were going smoothly. I took water at the aid station, not to drink, but to pour on my wrists, neck and top of my head. I could feel the heat radiating off the pavement. The course is a clockwise loop out and back counter clockwise. On the way back, it is a false flat. One of those nice Vegas gradual uphill inclines. Folks, Vegas is not flat. I made the turnaround and at the aid station again I took water to pour on me to cool.

I could hear people around me, breathing labored. Some cussing. Some whining. I started high fiving people who were coming down on their first lap “Remember why you do this”. I made the turn to the counter clockwise loop back, where I have struggled in the past. Even heart rate, even pace, still well ahead of what I needed to meet my time goal.

Then it got hard, really hard. I looked at my Garmin, and laughed out loud to myself “good call Coach” it was 2 ½ miles, I called it from when I came out of the gate too fast. So I set my jaw and kept on. Focus.

Ok, so maybe I focused too much, instead of taking a first left around a loop I snapped out of my deep focus when I realized I was headed the wrong way….OOOOPS! Double back and get back on the course. I laughed at myself. I looked back at those behind me and they had been yelling at me trying to keep me from going off course. It is just funny because I have run this course so many times I can do it in my sleep.

I could see the final left turn to the finish. Mentally reminded myself that I ALWAYS drop the hammer WAY TOO SOON and die off and have to crawl to the finish. The finish line is a lot further away than you think. I did a mental check, took a deep breath and rounded the corner.

The finish was in the distance. I was alone. The people in front of me were far ahead enough I really couldn’t see them, and no one behind me. I had a point in the distance where I would drop it and sprint to the finish. I was struggling. It was HOT, my legs were burning, and my lungs were burning. I was happy, thrilled. I was having, F U N. “Remember why you do this”. I had executed (aside from a slight detour and coming out of the gate too fast) an excellent race. I could hear my dear friend and Coach Rebecca in my head “Smoke it” so I dropped the hammer, and finished with my fastest sprint EVER and my time was 91 seconds ahead of goal.

YAHOOOOwhoa…dry heaves…..ok…hold on…give me a minute…..

I was walking it out after I crossed the finish. I heard feet behind me fast approaching then arms flung around me, my son. He was giddy. He is everything to me. My husband caught up to us, having him there, means more to me than he will ever know.

Then time came when they called all of us in the games for medal presentations. I could have looked at the results, but I didn’t. I had no clue what was to come. We cheered for each other and yelled until we had no voices. My age group was called. They started announcing “In third place, the Bronze Medal goes to Kristie….” I was THRILLED, ELATED, wait….different last name. Oops. Not me. The silver was given out.

“And in first place with a time of ….the GOLD MEDAL goes to Kristie Cranford”. I think the tears were pretty much instant. I won my second Gold. Later I would find out I was 12th overall.

I stuck around, hung out with old and new friends. Sweaty hugs everywhere. My son was taking great pleasure in the “buffet” at the finish. My husband had left to go to work; his boss had let him come in late so he could be there. Again, he and my son being there mean so much to me.

The race, was fun. Don’t get me wrong, it hurt. But that is a 5k. Have I told you how much I hate 5k’s? But it was fun. I smiled so much my face hurt.

And above all the one thing that I did learn from this race: absolutely without a doubt do I ever “Remember why (I) do this”.