Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thumbs up Thursday..Kelly Lebanik

I sent Kelly an email yesterday asking her if I could spotlight her today. Her reply was, "you are SO sweet Jodi. I'm honored!" And tomorrow is my Matty's 2nd birthday. So cool!

So, once again, I give you Thumbs Up Thursday questions and answers!

Jodi: How long have you been running?
Kelly: I started running in April of '07. Lol, my very first run was a full mile. In 13 minutes. I thought I was going to die.

Jodi: What motivated you to start running?
Kelly: I had gained a lot of weight while carrying the twins. Everyone always told me that pregnancy weight was "9 months on, 9 months off". Well, the girls were 10 months old and I hadn't lost any of the weight yet. I was looking for something that was easy to pick up, something that could be done on my own time and that didn't have others judging my progress or level of progression. Running was a perfect fit.
Kelly with her twins, Emma and Hailey, running the 1 mile race at a Turkey Trot
Jodi: How do you maintain your motivation level to continue running?
Kelly: Running has become more like a friend to me. I run to pray. I run to vent and think and problem solve and relieve stress and...well, I pretty much use running for everything. So if anything, running motivates me.

Jodi: How many years have you been racing?
Kelly: My very first 5k was on 4th of July '07. It was a very tough course on some huge hills (okay, Texas hills, but still) and I finished in over 32 minutes. But crossing the finish line for the first time was enough to get me hooked.

Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Kelly: I LOVE the marathon. If I had my choice I wouldn't run anything else. And now that I think about it, since I've run my first full marathon, I haven't raced anything else. I don't think it's the marathon distance that is important. It's the training. The 18 (or whatever) weeks leading up to the race become a love affair. I love having 4 (or less) hours to myself. To reflect on what my body is capable of doing and the dedication and stamina I showed to get where I am. It's 4 hours of mind over matter. And I think that's why so many of my "Mom friends" love the marathon too. Being a mother is a lot like running a marathon.

Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?
Kelly: My favorite race memory was at the 30th Annual Cowton Marathon It was my first "big race" and I was almost 20 weeks pregnant with Matthew. I was anxious and scared and proud and happy and excited all rolled up into one big mess. My time wasn't that impressive (2:28), but considering I stopped to use the restroom 4 times that race thanks to little feet on my bladder, I was pretty happy. I remmeber crossing the finish line and my husband, my daughters, my pastor and my best friend (who also ran the half...and got her half marathon PR that day) were all waiting at the finish line cheering me on. That was the best feeling ever.
Emma, Hailey, and Kelly at Cowtown
Desiree, Emma, Kelly, Kelly's pastor, Hailey and Kevin at Cowtown
Jodi: What is your proudest running moment to date?
Kelly: Well, I'd love to put Cowton here as well, but I won't. I suppose that even though the Cleveland Marathon didn't have the ending I had hoped for, I am still pretty darn proud of it. The training cycle leading up to Cleveland was plagued wtih ITBS. I had been dealing with it since White Rock 6 months earlier. I worked very hard that cycle and got to the start line injury free. But due to some mistakes on my part, I got ver sick that race and told myself to DNF 4 times. Once for every time that I got sick on the race route. Despite a stomach that despised me that day and a Garmin that never loaded it's satellites, I still had a race PR of over 32 minutes. It wasn't the finish I had envisioned, but it wasn't a race where all the stars aligned either. I'm pretty proud of myself for pulling through and completing the race.
Kelly's adorable children after the kids race at the Cleveland Marathon!
Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?
Kelly: "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."--John Bingham

Jodi: What is your favorite cross-training activity?
Kelly: I really enjoy my Insanity DVDs, but if I had to pick, I suppose it would be swimming. Now my swimming isn't the traditional swimming, but rather when I swim, I swim with preschoolers. For some reason, when my 3 littles are involved, I get in a much harder workout.

Jodi: What is your favorite pre-race meal?
Kelly: The night before a race, I usually eat whatever I want. I love some good seafood though. Like some salmon or grilled shrimp. Good protein and nothing that would give me an upset tummy. As for the morning of a race, I am so bad. My pre-race ritual (which I did NOT follow in Cleveland and alas was the beginning of my downfall) is a 20 oz. Diet Pepsi, a Chocolate Chip Cliff Bar and a banana. I know, so bad for me.

Jodi: What is your current goal?
Kelly: BOSTON! *sigh* I have a long way to go. Training in the summer is very hard on me, but I'm giving it my all. I know I'm not going to achieve my goal tomorrow or maybe not even my next race, but I will get there eventually. And then, I'll set a new goal. I never want to be done improving myself. There is always work to be done!
Laura, Kelly, and Desiree at Kelly's first 1/2 marathon. This race also happens to be her goal marathon race this year!

Jodi: Please feel free to share anything else with me that you feel will help inspire others!
Kelly: The greatest thing about running is that there is no one telling you "You can't!" Running is between you and the road. Each day that you get out there, you will accomplish things that you never thought that you were capable of doing. Just one more day, one more step, one more mile. Keep going and be proud that you did!

Thanks for allowing me to give you a Thumbs Up Kelly! Best of luck achieving your current and future goals and of course Happy Birthday to Matthew!!!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and Kelly YOU inspire ME!!


  1. Awesome, stuff, Jodi! I think it is so neat for you to honor your running friends like this. And... this is one inspirational gal!

  2. Rebecca- I truly love doing it! It is fun to learn so much about others and their reasons for running!

    Tired- I agree...WTG Kelly!!