Member Spotlight: Kristina Tate

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What event are you running with Team for Kids?
The 2015 TCS New York City Marathon!

What is your favorite place to run and why?
Anywhere near water! I love the outdoors, trees, and even roads, but nothing beats the fresh scent of water in the wind.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
My music preferences for running are always changing, but mainly I like something upbeat and with words that I can sing to, none of that just beats stuff.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Something that goes well with a frothy, cold beer.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
As a child I struggled with asthma. I’d been managing it as more of an annoyance than a life-threatening condition, but one night I was hospitalized after an attack. I spent a couple weeks there, and even afterward, even though I felt okay, my mother was worried. She pulled me from the youth soccer team, and prohibited me from participating in further extraneous physical activity for fear that it would result in another terrifying hospital visit. For my mother, cutting out physical exertion kept me safe; for me, it was a confusing regulation that constricted my life and made me anxious, stressed and lonely. I wanted to be active, but asthma seemed to make that impossible.

In middle school, a friend invited me to race walk, a competitive from of speed walking of which her father was a personal coach. My step-mother encouraged me to try even though I was afraid I would have breathing trouble. “Take it slow,” she said, “and take your inhaler everywhere you go. If you want to slow down, you can–it’s just walking.” Walking turned into faster walking, which turned into jogging and eventually running; my lung capacity strengthened and what made me wheezy before, didn’t even phase me. My friend and I entered 5K’s and 10K’s, taking home medals and certificates that gave me an overwhelming sense of pride and confidence. For her, it was a race against everyone else; for me, it was a race against asthma–each finish line built a stronger barrier between me and the condition that had kept me from things in the past. I joined cross country and running became a regular part of my life.

Two years ago, I finished my first marathon, something I never thought I’d do, and it wasn’t my lungs that tested me. It was my sore knees, hips, and lower back; it was the bloody toes and chafed thighs–all parts of the training that made me proud rather than discouraged. The swelling in chest wasn’t from asthma, it was the clench of tears when I crossed the finish line having run every inch of the entire 26.2 miles without using my inhaler once.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I eat the same exact breakfast before every long run: 2 fried eggs, 1 breakfast sausage (sliced long ways), and half an avocado, all topped with a few dashes of Tapatio. I wait exactly 45 minutes before heading out.

Why did you choose to run this event?
I’ve run The San Francisco Half Marathon, and the TCS New York City Marathon is naturally the next step.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I’m an Arizona native, turned San Franciscan, who is fairly new to New York. I turned 30 years old this summer and I’m a graduate student in the creative writing program at Columbia University. Having worked in finance for several years throughout my twenties, I lost touch with my creative side, but getting into Columbia’s program and moving to New York City has revitalized that part of my life. In this place, it seems like everyone I meet is creating something artistic and amazing. New Yorkers never cease to impress me.

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
Running, specifically marathon training, has taught me that the practice of patience can be applied to all aspects of life. Tackling the hard stuff is, well, hard, and it’s going to bring feelings of discomfort, anxiety, and fear, but if I keep working hard, and keep training, relief will come when I cross the finish line. I think it’s amazing that Team for Kids is giving this tool to kids through running.

Connect with Kristina via the links below:
Instagram: @krissietateshow

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