Thank You Kris for taking the time to participate in my blog interview and a Big Congratulations on your podium finish at the 2016 running of the Shamrock Marathon! On March 20th 2016, under near nor-eastern conditions Kris ran a 2:54:10 and finished 3rd Female.
To introduce Kris, when I first started blogging about my running adventures I came across Kris’s blog. Kris being a local runner, a really fast runner and someone trying to qualify for the Olympics trails, I was hooked. Not only is she a talented runner, but also someone balancing all of life’s real issues. Kris has a military spouse, kids, a house and all the distractions we all have to deal with, but she still manages to focus on her training. To me her blog and her running have been an inspiration.
Thank you Kris for taking time out of your busy life to be a guest on my blog.
One thing that really captures my attention is your quest to run a Olympic Qualifying Time for the marathon. I’ve never known anyone personally with an Olympic sized goal…I must say I was impressed!
When did you realize you had the talent to aim so high? And when did this become an official goal of yours?
Kris – About 7 years ago I lived in the Seattle suburbs and started jogging to take off some extra baby weight. I entered a small 5K and surprisingly did well. There I met a local coach who told me I could try to qualify for the Marathon Trials. I had no idea what he was talking about so I went home and googled. I thought he was crazy! Here I am years later, still chasing that crazy dream. I missed the 2016 Trials by a little over two minutes. Who knows, maybe I’ll try for 2020.
Through your blog I know you have had to deal with some pretty serious injuries over the last few years can you give my readers an idea of the battles and how you stayed focused on your goals through all of this.
Kris – Honestly I was very lucky in that I did not suffer any injuries other than minor tweaks for the first four years of my competitive running life. Then I believe I started reaching the miles a little too high and did not pay enough attention to the little things, like core and stretching. I suffered two stress fractures and a torn calf muscle, one right after another. It was incredibly disheartening. Every time I would make progress it was one step forward, two steps back. A few times I wondered if it was all even worth it. I truly love this sport but not at the risk of my health and so I made changes. I switched training programs, lowered my mileage, and starting working on strength and physical therapies, like dry needling, to keep my body healthy and strong. It’s important to stay proactive in our sport.
What does a typical training week look like for you?
Kris – My training week has evolved over the years, meaning I think I’ve run every type of training schedule there is at least once. Currently I run 6 days a week all in single runs (running only once a day). Monday, Wednesday, and Sundays are my easy paced mileage days. The distance varies but I rarely wear a watch and love to listen to music on these days. Tuesday and Thursdays are speed or tempo days. I will usually wear a gps watch and never listen to music. I need to focus on the pace and staying relaxed with good form. Saturdays are my long runs. I try to run these with friends starting the pace at an easy feel and ending at close to marathon race pace for a few miles, practicing race day nutrition as well. After every run I stretch and have some form of recovery food or drink. Three days a week I add in a strength session that I do on my own in the privacy of my home. I set my timer for 40 minutes and go through various strength exercises. I also do 10 minutes of core almost daily.
What is the best advice you have received about running and life? What advice would you offer someone looking at getting into shape for the first time or someone setting an Olympic size goal?
Kris – The best piece of advice I’ve gotten is to “love the run”. It seems so simple but you’ll never make progress without enjoying what you are doing. We get so much more out of this sport when we are happy, grateful, and appreciating the moment. We don’t “have” to run, we get too. We don’t “have” to race 26.2 miles, we have the opportunity too. Just like in life, attitude is everything and will determine your success.
I loved the Shamrock Marathon photo you posted on Facebook, where you said all you could think about was not falling down.
When not racing, but out on a long run, what do you think about?
Kris – Everything! While I’m racing I purposely do not let my mind wander, choosing to focus on every step and mile, but on long runs; anything goes. I think about my next race, foods I want to cook the following week, plans with friends later, etc. I’ve also imagined myself winning the Boston Marathon about 10,000 times.
Your family, Husband and kids…do they have a knack for running?
Kris – My husband has beaten me in the marathon! During college my husband, a group of our friends, and I decided on a whim to run the Marine Corps Marathon. We were poorly trained and had NO idea what we were doing. We all wore cotton tshirts and our longest run was only ten miles. Needless to say it was a painful experience. My husband and I ran together for 26.1 miles before sprinting to the finish line to beat each other and later after viewing our online results, we learned he officially beat me by .1 seconds. He won’t ever let me live it down! My daughter completed a season of Girls on the Run. Joining her for her 5K race was one of my proudest moments. My sons love to run 1 mile races occasionally but mostly love to join me on their bikes while I run. We have great conversations that way.
What has been your favorite place to run/race, it’s okay to have two favorite places…or more.
Kris – I could probably name 100 places but I’ll stick to First State Landing Park. I could run in there for hours and have done so many times.
Who are your running heroes?
Kris – Another question that I could give a dozen answers so I’ll keep the list to one. My high school running coach, Dave Symonds, who instilled the love of Boston into my life and PRed every marathon he ever ran.
A lot has been in the sporting news about doping in our sport…your thoughts? Being an upper crust runner, are you subject to testing?
Kris – I think its wonderful that so many elites are vocal about doping and testing. I agree with those outspoken elites, like Alysia Montano, that hope for lifetime bans and wish more races would not allow prize money to athletes who have tested positive for illegal substances even after serving their suspensions. Personally I have had to sign forms allowing myself to be tested at the Boston and Chicago Marathon but because I never placed high enough, was never tested.
You may not know, I once failed a drug test, but it was not for performance enhancing drugs it’s because my level of Oreos was too high. Ha ha ha little junk food humor there.
Kris – Ha!!
What is your favorite pre-race meal….and post-race “I can eat anything I want, victory meal?”
Kris – Pre-race I always have some soft pretzels and Gatorade. If it is a marathon day then I’ll also include Hammer Perpetuem. Oh and coffee…tons of coffee! Postrace I LOVE a Coke and Large Hamburger.
Would you rather win Boston, the Olympics or set a world record in Berlin?
Kris – Boston because I want to wear that gold crown everywhere.
Prior to most long runs or races, to get motivated, I enjoy sitting in my car and listening to music, the adrenaline pumping kind of loud music.
How to you get pumped, jazzed or up for a race.
Kris – Youtube! Before the Shamrock Marathon I sat in my hotel room alone watching a youtube video of Amy Cragg (Hastings) racing her debut marathon and the post race interview. She said she was suffering so much she focused on making it every quarter mile. I remembered that at mile 23 when I started to hurt.
And finally….from the serious of a 3rd place overall female at Shamrock to this important question…
What’s your favorite color and why?
Kris - Gold. Color of my wedding band and first place!
Kris, again thank you very much…I’m a big fan and will continue to follow your adventures!
I’d like to thank you for supporting your military spouse and the sacrifices your family makes to protect this great nation. God bless you! Maybe we will get to meet one day. I’ve seen you at races but been to star struck to step up and say hi….(silly I know, but local elites are a big deal to me.)
Kris - I would LOVE to meet someday. Anytime you are up for an easy run at the park, let me know. Thank you so much for including me, it was an honor! – Kris Lawrence
Kris…run fast we hope to see you in the 2020 Olympic Trails!