It's time for another runner spotlight...my favorite time of the week! I love reading other runners' stories about their running journey! If you are interested in being spotlighted on my blog please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I'd love to spotlight you! You don't have to have a blog to be spotlighted...you just have to be a runner! ;-) And I'm running low on spotlights so now's your time to shine!!!
Today I'm spotlighting Kerry from Dare to Be! She hates to be called an inspiration but she truly is! She is a wheelchair athlete with an amazing story! Keep reading to learn more about her and her running journey!
Name: Kerry Kingdon
When and why did you start running?
I started running (well, walking..) back in 2005. I signed up with Train To End Stroke (now Start Training) with the Heart & Stroke Association to train for a half marathon in reaction to my doctor promising me a knee replacement someday and that I had to think of it as I had limited miles on my knee after my second knee surgery a year before. Working with the Heart & Stroke Association turned my reaction into using those miles for something good rather than just my own stubbornness. For the next 8 years, I went through many ups and downs, and eventually turned into a Vibram-wearing ultra runner (managed to get in a 50K a few months before my leg was done). I wasn't supposed to be able to finish my first half, I did 13!
At the end of 2012, my leg finally gave up and I was told the best thing I could do was stop running. At my running community friends’ encouragement, I decided to go with my crazy idea of wheelchair racing.. being active had become so much a part of me that I didn't want to give it up. I've been in the wheelchair for about a year and half now. My first half was the Dumbo Double Dare in Disneyland in 2013, and my first full ever was the Dopey Challenge in Disney World in 2014!
What is your favorite race and race distance?
For distance, on foot it was the half, mostly because I was told I couldn't; I’m still trying to figure out my distance in the wheelchair.. it’ll come with more experience, right now I just enjoy still being able to be out there. I don’t really have a favorite race, but the only ones I have done more than once are Surf City in Huntington Beach and the Disney races.
I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of runner… I eat my breakfast, throw on the clothes I laid out the night before, head to the start, and see what happens from there! It is a bit more fun with the wheelchairs now since the races are either prepared with wheelchair storage/plans or have no idea what to do.
Right now, it’s my Dopey BondiBand. I went into Dopey not entirely prepared due to some personal issues and I found the headband at the expo.. it became my magic feather for the races and is still my first choice to wear under my helmet.
Do you follow any diet or take any specific supplements that complement your running?
I grew up in a junk food family, but when I started getting active, my diet started getting healthier and healthier. Now, because of that and some allergies (most specifically milk), I follow a mostly vegan and/or unprocessed diet. I also add in protein powder because I just don’t get much; between the problems with my legs and building up my upper body, I feel protein is too important to miss out on.
Simply that it was all going to be okay. I worried so much about what I could and could not do and how far my legs would take me. Fortunately I’m determined and stubborn so at least it didn't stop me.
Still working with the Heart Association, I love watching people I've helped coach, people who thought they’d never finish a half, make it across the finish line. I love training or going to races with friends. I enjoy making signs when I go to a race to cheer and seeing faces brighten up, or being thanked for being out there. My first 5K and race in a wheelchair, my friend ran with me the whole way.. then the next day (at my last half on foot) after she finished her half, she texted me almost non-stop and even found a couple places for me to see her near the end just to make sure I finished. Making new friends at each race, especially now in the wheelchair since that community is rather small. I think most of all, my community of running friends circling around me when I could no longer run, asking what I was going to do instead and how they could help.
What is one thing that most people do not know about you?
I don’t really like to be called an inspiration, but I’m okay with it because if my being out there on the trail, road, water, whatever is going to get someone to try something new or something they didn't think they could do, I’m all for it!
If you are one of those people wondering if it will work out if you try that one thing you really want to do, just go do it! Look into what it will take to get you out there and go… at least have the experience to talk about!
Here are all the different ways you can connect with Kerry!
Be sure to check out Kerry's store too!
Thanks so much for sharing with us Kerry!!!
QOTD: What is the weather like where you live this weekend? Cold?