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December 2020-Kristen Dirks

Q: Tell me a little about yourself (where you’re from what you’re doing now…etc)

A:  I grew up in the Black Hills, born in Los Angeles, CA. I am a Family Nurse Practitioner in Neurology. I am a mother of two amazing children, William and Sophia, who are also active in the Runner’s Club. 

Q: How long have you been running and how did you get started?

A: I started running when I was 29 years old. I never ran in high school or college. One day I said, I want to run a marathon. Someone laughed at the idea and said “yeah right”. So I bought a pair of vibram five fingers and within one year I ran my first marathon, along with multiple races and it became quite addicting. 

Q: Would you rather run with a group or alone?

A: I enjoy running both alone and with a group. For the longest time I only ran alone. But one day I was introduced to the Black Hills Runners Club group runs on Thursdays and loved the energetic positive people. Later I found out about group long runs on the weekends. The long run is where I learned about distance, that it does not always have to be about going fast, just enjoy the run and the people you are with. 

Q: Do you prefer roads or trails?

A: Oh this is a difficult question. I enjoy the road because one really can push their speed ability without the fear of tripping, however, there is something intriguing when you are on the trail. I enjoy the challenge of engaging and the constant awareness of your surroundings and obstacles of the rocks, boulders, uneven ground, and having to really focus. But when it comes down to it. I do not care where I run as long as I run. 

Q: What is your favorite distance or race?

A: To me anything over a 5k. Silly to say, but if I am going to get all sweaty it better be at least a 4 mile run. My favorite distance is 8-10 mile days. My favorite race would be either a half or full marathon.

Q: How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?

A: We all have those days when we are not motivated, and sometimes it is hard to push through that wall, but if this happens I call a friend. When I have to motivate someone, it motivates me. 

Q: What do you find to be the most rewarding/inspiring thing about running?

A: There are too many answers to this question. The most rewarding thing about running is keeping myself as fit and active as I can for my children. Running makes me a better mother. Another inspiring aspect, why I started running, was a dream to be ready to run one marathon with each of my kids when they are ready. 

Then there is the finish! Any runner that has finished a long run or race knows what I mean, the chills, the tears, the accomplishment, the pain, the “I DID IT!” feeling, the thing that no one can give or take away from you. Running is your own thing. YOU are the only one responsible for this accompaniment, and that is the reward to yourself. 

Q: Tell us a little trivia about your running?

A: For a long run or race I talk to myself about the miles  “ok Kristen, you ran 21 miles, you can’t quit now. You only have 5 miles left, and if you quit what was the point of the last 21 miles” I don’t know why that works but it does for me.

Q: What is your favorite running memory?

A: My favorite running memory to this day is when we finished for the Boston Qualifier in Washington and did better than I expected. My kids were there and made signs and I lost it, I cried such happy tears when I saw them near the end. Actually whenever my children are at the end of any race, those are my favorite memories. 

Q: If I didn’t run I’d….

A: If I didn’t run, then I guess I would jog. Haha. No, I would likely go crazy, running is truly therapeutic for me, just a pair of shoes, the ground, and yourself. 

Q: Do you have a pre-race ritual?

A:  A little coffee, laugh, dance, and the bathroom ! 😀

Q: What are your future running goals?

A: As mentioned above, My goal is to run at least one marathon with both my children, William and Sophia. Another goal is to run in as many countries as I can. It does not have to be a race or organized run, I simply want to just run in as many countries as possible.

Q: Tell us something about yourself we might not know?

A: Hmmm I am not sure. I enjoy doing things at all times. So if I am not running I am busy with something like biking, longboarding, skiing, climbing, camping, my business or traveling. I want to take up skydiving at some point. I also like to make latte art at home, amatuer barista.

Q: What advice do you have for new runners?

A:   New runners, don’t get discouraged you can do it!  You have to find your own love and drive for running. Once you find your drive roll with it. Your own determination will guide your efforts. Do not compare yourself to another, you can be a runner if you are slow or fast, just run.  Find a friend or a group you can motivate, and this will motivate you. I have always told my kids “It is not worth having if you didn’t work for it, it places personal value on what you achieve and only you are responsible for that”. See you all out there. Happy running!