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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Friend serves as inspiration for marathon

Hi everyone! Thank you for all the love shown the past couple of months. I am truly grateful and thankful for your support. I know I have been missing in action on here. Sorry! I have two drafts to posts I started writing but could never get the words to flow right. I hope to get those finished soon. Derek Jeter & Peyton Manning deserve it.

 

In the mean time, please check out my column today in The Dispatch. This column means a lot to me!

 

http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20141023/COLUMNISTS/310239991

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}

 

One year later…

robinson-day
{Source: Google Images}

 

I remember this day, last year, so well.

I woke up excited to blog about the heroic contributions of Jackie Robinson. It was my first time writing about him and I could not wait to share my thoughts with the world. I was happy to see that #JackieRobinsonDay was trending on Twitter. Major League Baseball players were tweeting and Instagramming pictures of their #42 jerseys. And somewhere in the U.S, the last player to wear #42, Mariano Rivera, was gearing up for his last Jackie Robinson Day.

As I continued to enjoy the day that was known as Jackie Robinson Day, I would later find myself in tears as the Boston Marathon was rocked by an act of terror. I cried as I prayed for the runners that were injured. I cried as I prayed for the families who had not heard from their loved ones. I cried as I prayed for all those who would be tasked with saving lives. As the days rolled on, I found myself feeling proud to be a part of the running community. All across the nation, runners were banding together to stand united for Boston.

One year later, as Boston remains strong, I am reminded of why I was excited to blog on this day. One year later, on a day that is now forever linked to tragedy, we can all look to the example that Jackie Robinson set for us 67 years ago. An example that showcased determination, heroism and courage. On Monday, when runners take to the streets of Boston we will see reflections of that same legacy manifested in the form of men and women, some whom never got the chance to complete their race last year.

Jackie Robinson Day. Boston Marathon. April 15. Forever linked. Forever unbreakable.

 

{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

Thankful…

 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you ~1 Thessalonians 5:18

Every fourth Thursday in November, people gather with family and friends to eat, drink, watch football, play football, chat, laugh and eventually take naps. At some tables, there will be a prayer said before those present begin to sample the feast laid out before them. At most tables, thank yous will be said and thankfulness will be acknowledged. At my table, we will do both.

Thanksgiving is a day set aside for us to be just that, thankful. However, in my life Thanksgiving is not just a day it is a lifestyle. When I arise from my sleep, I am thankful. When I go to sleep, I am thankful. All the hours in between, I am thankful. I am thankful because I realize that my life does not have to be as fabulous as it is and I realize that circumstances could change at any moment that would drastically alter my fabulous life. Do I have everything I want? Nope. Do I have everything that I need? Yes. Even though it seems like at times I am lacking in some “needy” areas but it has not stopped me from doing what needs to be done.

So on this day, a day set aside to give thanks, I want to give thanks publicly. Below are a few things I’m thankful for…

1) I am thankful for my relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Without a doubt, I know that I would not be the person I am today without him. I would not have survived some of the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual traps that were set for me. He keeps me sane in an insane world. I seek to please Him in all that I do. He died for me so I will live for Him. SN: If you are reading this and you do not comprehend how I feel, my prayer is that one day you will feel the same way.

2) I am thankful for my family. All of them.  My family is my backbone. When I don’t have anyone on this Earth that I can call upon, I know I have my family. Their love, support and reality checks are priceless. I draw a tremendous amount of strength from them and I am blessed to be linked, by blood, to each one of them. Without them, there is no legacy for me to uphold.

3) I am thankful for my friends. I am blessed to have an amazing group of friends who love me, support me, encourage me, correct me, uplift me, motivate me, inspire me and celebrate me. The older I get, the more I can appreciate those who have stuck by me when I had nothing to offer other than my love and friendship.

4) I am thankful for food. Seriously. Not just because it is necessary but because it is sooooo good. I love to eat! And I love fresh baked bread.

5) I am thankful for heat. I’m not made for this cold weather ya’ll. Nevertheless I am thankful for it because it means I am among the living.

6) I am thankful for my love of sports and working out. Nothing cures a bad day like a good run/workout and a game on my tv to scream at.

7) I am thankful to be home. It was not in my original plan but GOD’s plan is ALWAYS better than mine. This is exactly where HE needed me to be. I totally get it, now.

8) I am thankful for the beach. The peace, tranquility and serenity of the beach is unmatched.

9) I am thankful for the ability to see, hear, taste, touch and smell.

10) I am thankful for the many opportunities I have had to give back over the years. The joy I get when I am able to help others is indescribable. I take none of the credit. I am always thankful to GOD for placing me in the position to be able to help.

11) I am thankful for books. Not Kindles or Nooks. Books! I love to read!  Sadly, I have not had much time lately to read as much as I would like but I have made a vow to read at least three books before the end of the year.

12) I am thankful for my blog. My own little space in cyberspace to share how I feel, when I want to, how I want to.

 

Have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

 

{Sources: Google Images}
{Sources: Google Images}