Thursday, April 17, 2014

Boston Marathoner Spotlight...Dani Holmes-Kirk

I have been reading Dani's blog Weight off my Shoulders for many years but I have had the pleasure to be a fellow ZOOMA Ambassador with her last year and this.
When you first meet Dani you realize not only is she an amazing and driven lady but she is real...she is honest about her struggles and honest about successes...and boy does she have a lot of them!  Dani has drive that can move mountains and it seems like every time she lines up for a race she is primed and ready to crush it!!  And crush it she does!!!  Let's let Dani tell you in her own words!

1. Tell us about you. How did you get started running?

I am a complicated lady. Nope not really. Just trying to set a scene. Really I'm a girl that was unhealthy and overweight for quite awhile and decided to take charge of my life. On November 2, 2009 I walked into my first Weight Watchers meeting and in January 2012 I hit my goal weight - losing 64 lbs in the process and gaining so much more. In total I have shed 80 lbs from my highest weight (or the one I last saw before destroying my scale). 

I NEVER thought I would be a runner. I always HATED running. But, I wanted to lose weight and all of my friends that ran looked to be thin and in shape. So in January 2005, I started with 1/2 a mile on the treadmill and each week I added another 1/4 mile. By that March I ran my first 5k, February 2006 my first half marathon and September 2006 my first full marathon. 

Then I stopped. I was injured and done with running. I stopped for about 4 years.

In January 2011, I had back surgery for a herniated disc. My wife started running while I was laid up and I wanted to get out there with her. Hello competitive side. So in June 2011, I gave running another try and have been hooked ever since. 

2. If you could play a highlight tape of your running career, what would you include?

Every since run I've ever done. I am not even trying to be sarcastic. Every chance I am given to run I now cherish. After running the Boston Marathon in 2013. the ability and gift to run cannot be taken for granted. So every time I lace up those sneakers is a highlight.

Now there are definitely some memories that are more exciting to others. 

*Finishing my first marathon 3rd to last in 5:59:27
*Having a BLAST during the Dopey Challenge in Disney in January 2014 (4 costumes, 4 races, 4 days, 48.6 miles)
*Going from my first 5k (38:21) to my current PR of 21:59
*Finishing the Savannah Marathon sub 4 hours and taking 2 hours off my finish time --- from 5:59:27 to 3:58:49
*Completing back-to-back half marathons in September 2013
Sporting some serious Disney bling!
3. Where were you when the bombs went off? What event of the day sticks out for you most?

I was just on the other side of the Finish Line. I had crossed the Finish Line about a minute before the explosions. How my emotions varied are best described here:

The race itself is something that I could not replicate. It has such energy and liveliness. But if you are asking in terms of what happened then I would say feeling so lost after the race. I was separated from my mom and my wife & dad had been closer to the bombs. I wandered around the streets trying to use the phones of nurses or anyone in the area to try and contact/find my family. As I wandered on Boylston St and Newbury St I ran into my friend Robin (@robinbn) somehow. She finished 20 min before me but was in the area. She, her husband and friend Steph sat with me on a stoop on Arlington St until we got a hold of my family. Thankfully Robin's phone was working as mine had been dead.
Elated after finding her family!
 4. How has your training been this year? What have been your biggest struggles/victories?
The training season was very unique. Biggest reason being that I had signed up for the Disney Dopey Challenge before committing to running Boston in 2014. So in January I had the 48.6 mile challenge (5k, 10k, Half, Full) in the middle of my normal training plan. That paired with a foot injury that really took control of my fall training led to altering my plan.

I definitely spent more time on the bike as a result and actually think that has really helped my ability to tackle hills stronger this year.

 5. What does running Boston 2014 mean to you?

Running Boston in 2014 is for closure, celebration, my family, my friends, the city of Boston, the people injured/killed during the explosions and so much more. But the #1 reason is always for me. I run every race with a purpose to prove something to myself. Coming from the 235 lb girl who wanted nothing to do with running to a 80-lb loser and 4-time marathoner (soon to be 5), every race proves another hurdle and trophy for my collection. 

If there is anything I know about Dani it is that there is nothing that can stand in the way of this girl reaching her goals!!!  I'll be looking for you at mile 7...Go Dani Go!!!!

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