The 37th edition of the Cape Cod Marathon took place this past Sunday. Over 600 runners made the trek down to Falmouth to test their legs on the undulating terrain. Jon Chesto, 44 years young, won the marathon outright in 2:43:59, besting the 37 yr old youngster Lee Danforth who came across in second place (2:44:42). In 5th place overall was a name seen more often in trail and mountain race results: Kristina Folcik-Welts. The Dangergirl took to the streets in search of a sub-3 hr marathon and came away with a win! Kristina fell short of her primary goal (only running a 3:00:16), and beat masters ace Amy Steffan (3:02:59, 7th overall). More on Amy later on, but here we focus on the Dangergirl and her win.
One thing that brought our attention to it was a Facebook post of hers where she said:
“Yesterday my little step daughter told me she tells her friends about how strong her dad and step mom are and her friends don’t believe that a mom can be strong. Today I ran for my steppies and when things got rough I thought of them.”
Hopefully those kids are quick learners, because Kristina is the embodiment of strength. If you’ve been anywhere near her in a race then you know that. Many a runner have been passed on a grueling climb by a smiling Kristina. You’re suffering, she’s smiling…that’s strength right there! Maybe any kids who think that should be forced to go for a trail run with some running moms. That could quickly change perceptions for the next generation.
Anyway, we tossed a few questions over to Kristina and got back a whole lot of good stuff so we’ll just sort of give her the mic here to tell us all about her race, what it meant, how it felt, etc.
I feel like I wanted to cut my legs off!!! I have to say I had a transitional year and it took a long time for me to accept that focusing on being fast wasn’t what made me happy. I didn’t want to make a fuss about the race because I suffer from horrible pre-race anxiety which literally cripples me at races and takes any joy I could have out of it. I had one goal which was to check a sub three marathon off my bucket list. I trained my balls off and did make my coach frustrated because I blew off a lot of road runs with trail runs with friends that were way more fun! I stuck to my track workouts though and when Jack got a bit serious with me I stuck to his plan the last few weeks of the training. My track workouts were faster than they were supposed to be but they felt good so I went with it. I honestly thought the cape was flat so I chose that race. I was so wrong! ?
I was running great, solid 6:30’s and some 6:40’s and then came the hills. I got some 7’s, two miles were 7:38 and 7:28 when I hit the headwind. I ran with a guy named Andrew who gave me some advice that really helped. I caught the lead female around mile 15 and ran with her for a bit and when mile 19 came I dug deep and knew I had to push to make 3 hours.
I lost memory of those last miles and after 23 I was in so much pain my quads and right hip felt like they were going to seize on me. I can’t remember what happened after that but somehow I turned off the pain and ran with one thing on my mind, breaking 3 hours. I do remember the last turn where I saw the finish and read 2:59. I pushed and tried so hard and was not going to allow the clock to hit 3:01
I never broke a big tape like that before and had no idea I would win, that wasn’t even in the plan and I didn’t care about winning. It was funny because I wanted to give the finish tape to Zoe and Hannah as a gift for giving me even more of a reason to run solid and strong but i had to give it back!
I will run another and I will try for sub three. I felt so strong and 6:40 felt comfortable on the flats. I’m really happy because I believe now that I can run under three hours and anyway my watch got 26.4 which means maybe I did in fact break 3 hours but I need it to be official in order to check that off my bucket list! What is funny is a marathon win was never on my bucket list and I got that one as a bonus. But I do know, even though I ran a very smart and well thought out race the second woman raced a 50k the week before and probably should have won if she were rested. I think I had some angels running with me on Sunday, or maybe just my step daughters in my heart. I wanted to show them that women can be strong because they said that their friends didn’t believe a woman could be strong.
It was fun and I’m going to enjoy putting on some weight, hitting the trails again (once I can walk normal) and strapping on my skis for some winter back country and Nordic action! ?
And if I didn’t already say it i would have traded that win for a sub three in a heartbeat ?