Monday, September 11, 2006

Family and Friends Friday - Kara

I've been reading many awesome reports from Ironman Wisconsin. NO matter what the report or the outcome everyone who started IM MOO is an Ironman. So it is with great pleasure to post about a friend of mine who was at IM MOO.

Kara Kelly is one of the biggest supporters of running in the Cleveland area. Her resume includes
30+ marathons, with many of those being part of her 50 state goal.
7 Boston marathon finishes
A coaching assignment at Craftsbury Running Camp
Founder and coach of the Second Sole Running Group
Founder of In On Time, providing pace groups for half and full marathons
A registered nurse, exercise physiologist and PhD Student/grad assistant at Ohio State University

An to top it all off, an awesome person to boot.

Aimee and I met Kara about 5 years ago when Aimee first got serious about her running. She joined the Second Sole group and met some of the greatest people, TriSaraTops was part of this group also. We have developed many wonderful friendships through the group.

Kara organized the running group into 6 different levels so everyone could train with people of similar abilities and speeds. With all of her experience and training she has training schedules available and often shares information one-on-one with anyone who asks. Aimee has sent Kara questions about her current marathon training and Kara has answered all of her questions eagerly.

I have run in a couple of pace groups for Kara, one half and one full marathon. When I paced the second half of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon it provided me with a great way to give back to the running community. I was more than happy to help Kara fill the gap for pacing a fast group. I wound up with ITB afterwards but it was worth it.

Kara is back at Ohio State doing research work in exercise physiology. This has not stopped her from keeping track of the Second Sole group though. She is constantly posting threads on the message board and organizing activities. Her latest activities revolve around getting test subjects from the Cleveland area for her research.

On Saturday, tomorrow, Aimee and I will be in Kara's testing lab. I will get a body composition test (calipers, water immersion and BodPod) then be subjected to poking and proding while running. I've been calling the treadmill a stress test, which may not be acurate. I will be running at half or marathon pace on a treadmill while hooked up to a breathing mask and electrodes. At regular intervals my finger will get poked to do blood analysis. The treadmill will also be raised at regular intervals until exhaustion.

The results will provide me with my VO2 max, lactate threshold and some training guidelines based upon my max heart rate. I'm excited to learn more about my body (how fit am I) and helping Kara with her research.

Okay, back to Kara. Kara and I were both on an Ironman Journey this summer. Her training wasn't as consistant as mine but she is such a strong runner that once she made the marathon it would be a breeze from there on out. Kara was never sure if she was going to Wisconsin. There was the possibility that she would skip the race completely. I was excited when I saw her in the group picture TriAl V2006 posted from Madison. I had alot of people to track.

I didn't get to check the race until I finished the Great Lake Escape and got home. When I did check the IronmanLive website Kara didn't have any times. No swim time at all. I figured that a last minute decision to bypass the race was made. It wasn't until I talked to TriSaraTops after her finish that I learned the truth. Kara had started the race but didn't complete the swim in time. Considering the conditions I could understand why. But the story doesn't end there.

Kara and her husband, Tim, went out on the bike course to cheer for the Cleveland athletes. TriSaraTops saw her out there. Then Kara went out on the run course to not only cheer but keep some people company for a mile or two.

Kara is such an inspiration and motivator that her actions really don't surprise me. I know some of the other people who missed the swim cut-off may have called it a day and stayed inside, their option. But Kara was out there in the crappy weather being a part of Ironman.

Coach Angela wrote in my race plan, "IM does not define you, it is just a part of who you are!" Simply finishing an Ironman Race does not make you an Ironman. The journey makes you Iron. The growth from within becomes Iron and the aura is present to those around you.

So Kara, IronWil and others may not have finished their "race". Their "journey" may not be complete. Kara says she will be at Lake Placid in 2008. IronWil will be at IM Wisconsin again in 2007. I know each will have a much better day and will earn the title "Ironman Finisher", but right now......I call them Ironman already.

Game On.

This picture is of Aimee (left) and Kara (right) after winning a duathlon relay. Aimee biked and Kara ran.


Lloyd said...

Yay, Kara! Thanks for sharing the story. It doesn't surprise me that she was out there on the course all day long.

Kara's off in Columbus now, but her presence is still felt here at 'home.' Kara's coaching helped me to make it to one my ultimate goals--to qualify for Boston.

TriSaraTops said...

If there's one person who's influenced me the most to believe in myself as a runner, it is Kara. She was absolutely a HUGE part of me finishing that Ironman. She's amazing.

IMLP 2008? Hey, that's the one I had my eye on....! :) Woo hoo!!!

Jodi said...

She sounds like an amazing person. Maybe I'll meet her someday. God knows I could use a little help on the run!



Lana said...

Thanks for sharing...what an awesome person Kara must be - to use the rest of her day helping others finish. That is something to think about it, for sure.