Posted by: kzaitzruns | December 17, 2014

It’s All About the Journey…

Sunday, December 7th I towed the line at the California International Marathon for the third time.  I was hoping that my 3rd time was a charm.  It was, but we’ll get to that later, because after all it’s all about the journey.  After 7 “failed” marathon attempts where I once again fell short of goals, I finally ran a race I had been capable of for quite some time.

My story with the marathon began in 2007 and each one was filled with heartache, tears, and broken dreams.  2012 I was ready for a breakthrough at C.I.M., I was fit and mentally felt ready… or so I thought.  God had other plans.  At mile 9, while running with the lead pack and the soon to be winner, Alisha Williams, I felt a snap in my foot.  I tried to run a few more steps, in denial that my dream was over, at least for now.  Despite the monsoon rain and wind I had comfortably been running 5:45 pace.  I hobbled in tears to the side of the road before a police officer came to the rescue.  Turns out I had broken the 5th metatarsal in my right foot at the base, about a centimeter away from being a Jones Fracture and requiring surgery.  Yes, there is always a silver lining.  It’s all about the journey…

2013 I was going to go for low 2:30’s again at C.I.M.  Except this time, while being fit, I didn’t feel mentally tough and was doubting myself and my abilities.  It didn’t help that four days before the race I got my menstrual cycle.  Many women know this can wreak havoc on the body, but I learned in 2014 (I’ll get to that later) that most of it is about controlling it mentally.  I blew up that year at C.I.M. because I analyzed everything going into that race and everything during the race.  While I ran to a PR of 2:37:48, I was once again heartbroken and devastated.

While I have so much more in my life than just running, it is hard when we as athletes continually fall short.  We work so hard day in and day out, that it often feels like it’s all in vain when we miss our goals.  That’s where it’s not about the destination, but the journey.  It’s not about being easy, but challenging us to the point of wanting to quit… but we don’t!  I don’t!  My husband always reminds me that if running at the elite level were easy, everyone would be doing it.

So how did I finally overcome the marathon in 2014 at C.I.M.?  There are many reasons really, my support team continuing to believe, stepping up my mental homework, more recovery in my training, more focus on my nutrition, and letting go of analyzing.  That is why athletes have coaches, right?  What’s the point of having a coach if we are going to pick apart everything we do?  I contolled my mental, not the other way around and I ran from my heart (thank you Forrest Walker for reminding me of this)!  From a rental car flub the day before the race, to starting my menstrual cycle at 8pm the evening before the race, I was in control.  Like the necklace my husband got me days before for my birthday said, “She believed she could so she did.”  And I did!  I ran 2:32:48 for 3rd place and first American.  I ran from my heart, I ran my race, and I competed!  I earned my first ever Olympic Marathon Trials “A” standard!

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So you see, all the past marathons I’ve run, every injury, every heartache, led me to my 2:32:48!  Each marathon I learned a valuable lesson and each day I worked to better myself.  Why has it taken me so long to breakthrough?  I don’t know the answer to that question exactly, but I do know that my journey is like no one else’s.  It is all my own and I must embrace it instead of comparing it to someone else’s.  Even from a great race, I have takeaways on what I need to work on to be better and to reach more goals.  Most of all, however, I believe!

So I hope this can inspire others to never give up.  There were many times I almost gave up, there were many races that I thought were my last.  There were many people that thought I was crazy for trying again and again.   But I’m not a quitter and deep down I knew I was capable of so much more than what I was producing.  The journey is about getting up again and again after being knocked down.  It’s easier to stay down than to get back up, but what kind of life would that be?

CIMpro 48

Before I sign off, I would like to thank God, because without Him nothing would be possible.  I would like to thank my coach and step-dad, who has always believed, always encouraged, and always pushed me to be better!  He’s been thru every up and down with me and knows me better than any coach can know an athlete. There is no one I would rather have coach me than you!  I’d like to thank my mom who has been there through every heartbreak with me and has never given up on me!  She’s always there to lend an ear, listen to me cry, celebrate my successes or just make me smile! I would like to thank my husband, Justin, who has helped me find balance in life and has made this journey so fun! He supports me and loves me unconditionally and it’s amazing how that carries over into life! I’d like to thank the rest of my family and friends who have always had my back thru thick and thin. You know who you are, you are the ones who have been there when things were tough and for that I’m so grateful. I’d like to thank my bodywork team of: Lori Hayne, Forrest Walker, Dr. Kevin Reichlin, Dr. Richard Hansen, Nate Butryn, Erin Roy, Marcus Allen Hille, Mark Plaatjes, Dr. Kelly Parcell, Pat Guyton Pilates and last but not least Doc Walker. I’d like to thank Brooks, First Endurance, Nuun, NormaTec, Elliptigo, Whole Foods Bradburn and anyone else I may have forgotten. If I did forget anyone, my apologies, I’m so thankful in my heart!

Until next time…



  1. And what a journey it has been! You deserve the best.

    • Thanks for being here every step of the way on this crazy journey!

  2. Perfectly said it IS all about the journey! Congrats on a fantastic race!!!

  3. most focused race, attentive to every detail, and your prevailing emotion….determination. great job.

  4. […] Kristen’s Blog: It’s All About the Journey […]

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