Kassie’s Marine Corps Marathon Rekap…

Here we go…

Alarm goes off at 4:45a. I jam a little to Bobby Brown’s “On Our Own”(my alarm tone), cuts alarm off then looks at temperature on phone. SIXTY-SIX DAGREES. Huh? *cuts eyes at cute new leggings I bought for the occasion, shorts it is*

1. Miles 1-2. Feeling good, feeling great. How are you?

2. Mile 3. In 2012, I had to dodge some roadkill that was the size of a baby kangaroo. Sunday, I dodged some roadkill that was the same size. Did that joka not decompose?

3. Mile 3. I hear “Black or White” by MJ and start shimmying. Wait, is that MJ performing? I need a pic but homeboy is on the opposite side. I yell “MICHAAAELLLLLL” and keep going.

4. We’re almost near the Key Bridge. I’m still feeling good. Then I realize that I should because I am only 4 miles in.

5. Hey the Key Bridge! So happy to see you after being herding like cattle up that steep, narrow bridge to get here. I always wonder who’s idea was that?

6. My hair is twisted and it was in a cute little style until I got to the Key Bridge. Thank God I had enough sense to bring a rubberband with me.

7. Mile 5. Good ole G’towne. Happy to see you! Love the energy on M Street. Favorite costume out there…Ketchup, Mustard & Relish.

8. Miles 6-9. Rock Creek Park. This is new. We didn’t run this in 2010 or 12. Wait, is there a banana up ahead, running? Wait, is that the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man on the other side, running? Wait, I know this dude ain’t dribbling a basketball and juggling? You are doing the absolute most, sir.

10. Heading to mile 10. I hear someone behind me chanting what I thought was a cadence. Then he passes me. Dude is singing and is so far in his zone that he doesn’t notice how loud he is. Well, do you boo boo. Now, the orange slices are coming! Let me start walking because I have seen plenty of people almost get taken out by those things.

11. Mile 12. The Blue Mile. Hains Point always leaves me choked up. So many soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Forever grateful.

12. Mile 13. Halfway! Yeah baby! Making good time too. I’m hongree though. This bagel in my pouch is not appealing.

13. Mile 14. The first of many angels appears. The first one was a lady with a fruit bar. I don’t like mango lady but today I do! That fruit bar concoction was on point.

14. Mile 16. Fatigue kicked in. Ugh. Legs felt great but I was drained. Called my mom for a pep talk. She could’ve easily been a Marine.

15. Mile 17. The Gauntlet. I have never wanted to kick someone as badly as I wanted to kick the man who almost clipped my wings trying to cross with a darn running stroller during the marathon. A two seater at that. If you don’t get out my way sir….

16. Saw the 2 Legit sign. Had to get a pic. I love MC Hammer.

17. Mile 19. The second angel appeared. The little boy with the Tootsie Rolls. I know he came straight from Heaven.

18. Bridge time! Crushed it and I have the pic to prove it. They didn’t have a fun Marine there this time though. Wonk wonk.

19. For some reason, the choppiness of the Potomac(I could see it out the corner of my eye, along with all the people on the bridge made me nauseous. Had to walk most of it.

20. Crystal City. Another angel. First, my girl Ta’She was there and she had pretzels! I needed salt badly. Secondly, whyyyyyy are the miles in Crystal City soooooo freaking long?? The energy is always great there and we need it because it takes forever to get through that mug. The spectators also have the best snacks there.

21. Mile 24. I am usually excited about those donut holes but I had taken in too much sugar. Then I heard someone say “Ooooo, a chocolate one.” I immediately stopped and a fellow runner said here take this one. I savored every morsel.

22. Before Mile 25. I broke down. As I stated before, I run for the Leukemia 7 Lymphoma Society and I ran in memory of my friend Quincy who passed away three weeks ago. The emotion of that overwhelmed me but I could hear him saying, “Keep pushing buddy. You’re almost at the end.” Once I got myself together, I noticed the baby tropical storm like winds I was encountering. That’s always what you want at the end of a race.

23. Right before Mile 26. Please tell me ya’ll saw the little boy, who is destined to be a future Marine, was out there. Before I even got to him, I could hear a little voice screaming, “Yeah! You got it! Gimme some, gimme some! Keep going! Fist bump! You got it! You got it!” Lil man was no more than 2 ft tall and was the hypest spectator I saw all day. Oorah lil man.

24. Mile 26. Customary pic with the mile marker then I hear someone shouting my name. My friend Steve, is right near the hill, videoing. I run over as well as almost run over people(ala dude with the running stroller) to get to him so we can celebrate.

25. Time to take the hill. Hi-fives. Low-fives. And smiles all around. I round the curve to see my dear friends, Jeneen and VJ, who have been at the finish line since the start of the race waiting for me. They are waving frantically and cheering louder than anyone else in the stands. Couldn’t ask for better support.

26. FINISH LINE. Quincy and I made it. Again. Thank you Lord! I PR’d too at 5:32. I’m 99% sure that is the last 26.2 for me. Always have to leave room for the one percent because I am the same person who said I’d never run a marathon.

P.S. Shoutout to my grandDaddy who passed in 2008. He was a Montford Point Marine(part of the first wave of black Marines to enter the Corps in the 1940s) Please research them if you aren’t familiar with their story. He’s the reason I have only run MCM. Can’t see myself 26.2’ing anywhere else. Oorah to my favorite piece of American History.

 

#RunningForQ #26point2ForQ
#RunningForQ #26point2ForQ

 

MISSION. ACCOMPLISHED.
MISSION. ACCOMPLISHED.

 

Two of my dearest friends who waited for me at the finish line. Love these two!
Two of my dearest friends who waited for me at the finish line. Love these two!

 

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My Get Hype Crew. OORAH!
My Get Hype Crew. OORAH!
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Heroes: Dick & Rick Hoyt aka Team Hoyt

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I was a woman on a mission Monday. I was determined to be in front of a computer when Dick & Rick Hoyt crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon for the last time.

I first learned of their story a few years ago. It was a story that I stumbled across as I learned more and more about the countless number of Americans whom have overcome debilitating obstacles to finish marathons. I read about runners whom had suffered torn ACL’s & achilles tendons, runners whom were told they would never walk again and Tom Panek, the CEO of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, who was participating in his first Boston Marathon. Panek is blind.

And then there is Team Hoyt. One of the things I truly love about sports are the stories of athletes persevering through circumstances to accomplish their goals. This story comes to us in the form of a father-son team. If you are unfamiliar with their story then do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with it. Rick(the son), was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic at birth. Dick and his wife, Judy, were told by doctors that Rick should be institutionalized because he had no chance to live a normal life. Undeterred by the doctors suggestions, the Hoyts set out to provide their son with a life that included inclusion and communication.

In 1977, at the request of Rick, Team Hoyt participated in their first race. It was a five mile race that benefited a Lacrosse player who was left paralyzed following an accident. With Dick pushing and Rick leading the way, the legend of Team Hoyt was born. For Rick, the simple words but heartfelt words of ‘Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped” would set in motion a drive and determination that would span four decades.

Since 1977, Team Hoyt has completed over ONE THOUSAND races including 70 marathons, 22 biathlons and 247 triathlons(including SIX IRONMANS). Oh and they biked across the continental United States in 1992, completing a full 3,735 miles in 45 days. Talk about inspirational.

2013 was suppose to be their last Boston Marathon. However, they never crossed the finish lines due to last year’s tragic events. A story of this magnitude can simply not end in that manner. So here they were again. One last time. Pushing. Persevering. Enduring. Waving. Rejoicing. Smiling.

As I watched them cross the finish line on Boylston Street one last time, the tears fell. Quickly. From thousands of miles away, I could feel the love the father has for his son. I could feel the love the son has for his father. I could see the sacrifices Mr. Hoyt has made for his son. I could see the rewards of Rick having a father that is willing to make those sacrifices. I could see not one but two heroes crossing that finish line. I could even see that through my tears.

 

Until next time…TOODELLS!

 

Almost there
Almost there

 

Team Hoyt's final finish at the Boston Marathon :-}
Team Hoyt’s final finish at the Boston Marathon :-}

From Tragedy to Triumph

{Source: Google Images}
{Source: Google Images}

 

Resilience. Determination. Perseverance. Courage. Endurance. Persistence. From tragedy to triumph.

Meb Keflexzighi. Rita Jeptoo. Dick Hoyt. Rick Hoyt. The runners who did not finish last year. The runners who did. The couple who wants to finish what they started. The runners who will run the race for the first time.

April 21, 2014. Patriot’s Day in the great state of Massachusetts but more importantly, it is Marathon Monday. Boston style.

A year after the tragedy that vibrated down the Boylston Street, the City of Boston is once again on display. For hours, people have lined the streets, eyes have been glued to TVs and live streams and runners have been pounding the pavement in an effort to raise their arms in victory as they cross the finish line at the 118th Boston Marathon. We all knew this day would trigger a wide range of emotions throughout this country but I do not think I expected the barrage of tears that fell as I watched both winners cross the finish line.

As I skiddaddled over to the Boston Marathon website, I rejoiced over the fact that I had tuned in just in time to see the last two miles of the race. I was partaking of my lunch that would soon turn chilly as I silently cheered at my desk for race leader Rita Jeptoo. She was on pace to not only win but set a new course record. My mouth fell open in disbelief as I found out her split time for Mile 24 was four minutes and 50 seconds. UNREAL. It was at that moment that I knew destiny awaited her. She looked strong. She looked confidant. She looked like she had only been running a couple of hours, which was true. I am not even going to describe to you what I look like coming out of Mile 24. Actually by then I have gotten my pep back in my step but anyway. I definitely do not look like Jeptoo. As she headed down Boylston Street, the tears started. The story was perfect. A repeat winner. A new course record. Back to claim what was hers again. Twitter exploded over her triumph and as the internet celebrated, an American hero awaited his turn.

Just a few miles back, Ehiopian-born American, Meb Keflezighi, only had pavement standing in between him and the one thing no American man has done since 1983, finish first in the Boston Marathon. With Wilson Chebet of Kenya closing in on him, the race was setting up to be a sprint to the finish. However, Keflezighi, feeding off of the momentum of the crowd and no doubt the tragedy of last year, found some speed in the reserve tank and managed to create some space between himself and Chebet. As he barreled down Boylston Street admist the the cheers, screams and tears, Keflezighi pumped his fists and smiled. Could this really be happening? Could things really be set up this perfectly? A course record and an American winning all in one day? In one of the world’s most prestigious marathons? Just a year removed from tragedy. Could triumph really come back with a vengeance? The answer to all those questions: yes. “Marathon Meb” had done it. The Boston Strong way.

From tragedy to triumph. Land of the free, home of the BRAVE.

 

{Source: Google Images}
{Source: Google Images}

 

Running season or nah?

For most runners, spring officially marks the start of RUNNING SEASON.

Unless it is 2014. And you live on the East Coast. And you live in the South where it is 9:55am and it is a balmy THIRTY degrees.

Spring has DEFINITELY missed the memo. Oh. Yeah, spring paid us a visit Friday and Saturday. Tricked us into believing she would be here for a while. Tricked me into believing I might be able to retire my pea coats until November. Tricked me into thinking I would finally be able to put my brand new running shoes on the pavement. Oh. Yeah. Surrrre, I can go running anytime I chose to. Well except for when it is snowing, sleeting and freezing raining. Oh and the temperature is below ummmm 45. Oh. Yeah. I know. This means you can count on your hands how many times I have gone running, outside, since mid-December.

{Source: Google Images}
{Source: Google Images}

I am struggling ya’ll. Everyday when I hop in Louise(my car) and I catch a glimpse of my I heart Running keychain dangling like a loose strand of hair, a part of me sulks. I have tried to be a person who is thankful constantly. Even for the cold weather because it signifies that I am alive and that my senses are doing their job. However, we all have our preferences and this spring baby prefers  sunshine, blooming flowers, trees full of leaves, a few clouds in the sky and temperatures 75 and above. It is coming! I know it is. I just hope it gets here sooner rather than later.

Thankfully, I see temperatures ranging between 68-70 in the next few days. If I want to quench my craving, then it is a must that I break out the new kicks and give them a spin within the next few days. If I wait and the cycle we have been in for the past month continues, then I will be sitting here next week typing the same story again as I stare at the anything but spring like temperature staring back at me on my phone.

Until next time…TOODELLS.

Follow me on Twitter: @Kassienette

MY 100TH POST!!!!!

Today is a big day! If you read the title of this post then you know why I am so excited. Post Number 100 :-}.

When I started this journey less than a year ago, I was not sure what to expect. All I knew is that I was a woman who loved sports, was very knowledgeable in the area and enjoyed writing. I assumed combining the three would lead to many magical moments. I was right! My posts have been shared, retweeted and viewed in 53 countries. I have received a lot of positive feedback. I have had one of my posts, The Dallas Wake-Up Call, featured in an online journal about drunk driving. I have even had the opportunity to chat, on numerous occassions, with a former Editor in Chief of VIBE magazine, who showered me with praise and encouraged me to keep writing. While the magical moments are great and they have left me with a smile on my face, I would be remiss if I did not mention that this opportunity has also come with challenges. Anyone who knows me very well knows that than I am very passionate and determined individual. When I started blogging, I had visions of this blog essentially becoming the newest go to hot spot in the sports industry. Yeah, that has not happened. LOL! I have not even come close to claiming that title. In fact, my site stats(visits) have been so low in recent months that I once considered giving up on this whole thing.

A couple of months ago, I took a much needed break from the blog. I was blogging two to three times a week and sometimes four. I was up late at night blogging. I was constantly searching for new ways to bring more traffic to my site. I felt as if the blog was not effective if people were not visiting the site. My desire to write almost became nonexistent. There was barely anyone questioning why I was not doing much blogging. And there were no major news publications knocking down my door asking me to write for them. To say I was bummed was an understatement. I knew I was a good writer. I felt my content was a great mixture of information, comedy and opinion. I knew I brought something unique to the industry. 

After wallowing in self pity, I had to put myself in check. For one, I was not a quitter! I have completed two marathons which have left me feeling like I can conquer any task ahead of me. Two, I loved writing. More importantly, I loved writing about sports. Sports and writing are two of my passions. You do not give up on passions just because you feel like you are not being recognized for them. Three, I took a step back and did a little soul searching. I had to go back and revisit my reason for starting Kassie Nette’s Korner. Did I start it so I could be noticed? No. Did I start it because people had been telling me for years that they loved how knowledgeable I was about sports as well as my sense of humor as it pertains to them? Sort of, kinda. Or did I start it because I wanted my own place on the world wide web where I could share my thoughts, my ideas, my knowledge and sense of humor? Yes!! That was it. I started this for me. In reminding myself of why I started this journey, I was able to get beyond what was happening and focus on the positives that had taken place, thus far.

As with most things, success does not happen overnight. Most people who are successful are successful because they never give up. They see their dreams and they will not stop until those dreams turn into reality. They do not let the bumps in the road stop them from continuing down the path that leads to success. So while the success of Kassie Nette’s Korner has not manifested the way I envision it to, as of yet, that will not stop me from pursing my dream. As a matter of fact, this bump in the road has made me that much more determined to see The Korner become the success I know it is destined to be. YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET!!!

Until next time…TOODELLS.

{Source: Google Images}
{Source: Google Images}

For Boston…

 

{Source: Google Images}
{Source: Google Images}

I have gotten really tired of writing posts about sports related tragedies. Today is no exception. Yesterday started out as a normal day. Monday. Kinda gloomy. Warm. However, this Monday would not be like the previous Monday. The sports world started the day celebrating the accomplishments and legacy of Jackie Robinson and ended the day with questions and tears as the holy grail of marathons, The Boston Marathon, was rocked to its core.

Shortly after 2:45, two explosions took place. One near the finish line and the other about 50 feet away. As chaos ensued, emergency personnel rushed to the sites of the explosions to put their training to use. On a day that was suppose to mean to much to so many, it has now been marred by an hellacious act.

As a fellow marathoner, the tears immediately begin to flow upon hearing the news. I know what it is like to be within a few feet of the finish line. I know what it is like to see your final destination ahead of you. I know what it is like to know that all your hard work is about to pay off. I know what that finish line means. That finish line to many is a representation of all the obstacles, trials and devastation, that many had to overcome not only to make it to the finish line but to make it through life. Every marathoner has a story. Whether it was the death of a loved one, failing in school, being told you would never amount to anything, debt, abuse, depression, etc, the finish line sends a statement to the runner as well as the world, that this particular finisher is equipped with whatever he or she needs to overcome anything that comes his/her way.

The running community is a family, especially those in the 26.2 club. We know what it takes to finish those races. We know the hard work that has to be put in. We know the sacrifices that are made to ensure that we cross that finish line. Not only do we know but our family and friends know as well. Today’s act not only effects runners in attendance but their supporters as well. A marathon is about more than just the participants. Most of us would never cross the finish line without the support of our family, friends and complete strangers who come to marathons just to cheer for the runners. Trust me when I say that spectators, staff, emergency personnel, law enforcement and volunteers are just as important to a marathon as the runners themselves.

The sadness I feel is not likely to go away easily but it makes me even more determined to go out and accomplish yet another goal I have zoned in on. For those of you who have never crossed that finish line, it may be hard for you to understand. Or maybe not. Think about that one goal you have your mind set on. Think about how hard you have worked to reach that goal. Think about how you have put the plan in motion and you are almost there. 10 steps away from the finish line and then just like that, the line is gone.

The finish line at a marathon should serve as a source of triumph not of tragedy. It should be a place where runners are celebrated for their accomplishment not consoled because their dream was shattered. It should be a place full of exuberance, laughter and tears of joy not sadness, disorientation and tears of distraught.

Yesterday the finish line may have been compromised but it is not to be denied. The Boston Marathon will rise from the ashes again and the determination, dedication and resilience of the runners, supporters, volunteers, emergency personnel, law enforcement and spectators will be evident once again. This is now the stumbling block that many of the runners and those in attendance will now have to overcome. The thing that stands between them and the finish line. The situation that will motivate them to dig deep. Keep pressing. Keep pushing. Keep going. The finish line is waiting for you.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, those in attendance and all those who have been affected by this tragedy. UNITED WE STAND.

 

{Source: MCM FB page}
{Source: MCM FB page}