Thursday, April 19, 2018

Volte's 2018 Road to Boston: Kristi Chen

For many runners, regardless if they ever qualify for the race themselves, the Boston Marathon is a Big.  Deal.

And even though she qualified for and ran the race two years ago, Kristi Chen has things in perspective – only worrying about the right “small stuff”.

Her training for this year’s race?

“It isn’t going bad, but I’ve not trained as fully as I would have liked,” she said.  “A newly adopted child has made it challenging to fit everything in.”

But all of that doesn’t surprise Volte founder Bill Dwyer.

“Kristi has the biggest heart for others,” he said, echoing the lives of many others in his Volte Endurance Training group.

And Chen said that she was “grateful I stumbled upon Volte when I moved here” to The Woodlands.

Boston will be her ninth marathon.

In the final miles of the Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon is Kristi Chen
(Photo courtesy of Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon)
Yet her qualifying race, the Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon just outside of Las Vegas, delivered one of her biggest surprises ever.

“I didn’t expect to do well,” Chen said.  “Friends were going and I didn’t want to miss the fun.”

And fun won.

“It was the most relaxed I’ve ever been for any distance race,” she said.  “I learned so much about leaving expectations and self-criticism behind.”

When asked what her time was, she said, “I had a PR of 3:46 something.”

Yep, don’t sweat the small stuff.

It was a sterling 3:46:14 – well under the four hours that she needed.

She had previously qualified for her first trip to the Boston Marathon three years ago at the Louisiana Marathon in January 2015 with a time of 3:47:21.

Kristi Chen digging deep in the finisher's chute at the Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Chen said this year’s Boston Marathon is about enjoying the journey with great friends.

“I have the best training partners.  I really couldn’t do this without them,” she said.  “I’m so grateful for the support and friendship of them.”

And she said that it will also be a bit bittersweet too.

“It’s kind of a last hoorah for me, Tammy (Grado), Michelle (McGill), and Erica (Coleman) before Erica’s big move to Colorado,” Chen added.

But it’s her family that sets the table of support.

“I’m so thankful (that) my husband always makes himself free if at all possible to watch the three boys so I can run.  He believes in me when I don’t.”

Yet Chen, having learned from her run down the mountain, advises any first-time qualifiers to “leave (behind) all your doubts and worries about the race.”

“Take it all in.  This is Boston and it is beyond amazing,” she gushed.  “There is just nothing like it.  The energy in that city is like nothing I’d ever experienced before.

“Then, of course, the opportunity to be there with great friends.”

Nothing major, though, is on the horizon running-wise the remainder of 2018.

And that’s perfectly OK with Chen.

“I’m looking forward to running just because I love it – and to eat more French fries.”

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