After a ten year break from competition, Kim Nedeau announced that she’s back in the best way possible: winning a big race. Kim won the Wachusett 10k Mountain Race with a speedy 42:18. On her way to the ‘W’, she bested an Olympian (Steph Reilly, 2nd 42:36) and a perennial mountain series contender (Christin Doneski, 3rd 43:10). Here’s our interview with the wa-wa-winner of Wa-Wa-Wachusett:
What caused the break from competition for you?
About ten years ago, I was training to run a sub 16 5k with a great group of runners in Providence, RI. But I had one unexplained injury after another. I would get really fit and then sit on the sidelines. Mentally it was exhausting and I needed a break. Ethan was living in Amherst, MA and I loved the life out here so I decided to make the move. We were married soon after and had two kids (now 7 and 5). My focus has been on my family and it wasn’t until about a year ago that my thoughts were wandering back towards competitive racing.
What brought you back?
Watching Ethan become more focused on his training and racing has been the best motivator for me. I still needed to backtrack and peel back all those layers of my old injuries. Five years ago I had hip surgery (labral tear) and although it helped, it didn’t fix everything. After another serious injury last September (high hamstring tear), I started focusing on making my body work again. I still have lots of work to do but much of my workout time is spent doing rehab exercises and focusing on overall body strength.
How has training been going and what’s been the focus?
After my injury in September, I wasn’t able to run for seven months. I am lucky to have a beautiful home gym that Ethan built, so I spent the seven months on a bike, listening to loud music at 4:30 in the morning and imagining myself passing everyone on long climbs. I also added in weight lifting and exercises like burpees, rope climbs, pull-ups, pushups, jump squats, incline monkey bars etc. I found that the right combination with little rest could work my heart just like a hill workout. For example, 60 pull-ups, 120 pushups and 180 squats in 20 minutes wrecks the body more than any 20 minute run! Finally, about a month ago I started running three days per week but I’m still supplementing with early morning time in my gym.
How did you attack a field that included experienced mountain runners and an Olympian?
I really had no business running with those women. I have so much respect for all of the mountain runners – it’s not for the faint of heart! Steph (Reilly) and I often raced against each other back when I was training in Providence. She is an amazing athlete and has been at the top of the sport for so many years. She would have caught me if the downhill were one mile longer.
I started out very conservative and pretty far behind the leaders. I had my eye on the women ahead of me and also on all of my acidotic RACING teammates. They have been a supportive network for Ethan’s athletic goals (which is why I recently joined too) and they were just as supportive and kind to me on Saturday. I heard encouragement from all of them as I picked off one runner at a time. It was a great mental boost! I found myself in first place at the turn around. I knew my body wouldn’t appreciate pounding down the hills but I went for it anyway, feeling as competitive as ever.
Why this race?
It was a last minute impulsive decision. I’ve been the cheerleader at many races and wanted to lace up my own dancing shoes.
Your husband Ethan has been posting some pretty intense workouts on Facebook. Have you been doing any of those?
Not exactly but his approach to training has pushed me to think outside the box, be playful in my workouts, and gain fitness while only running a tiny amount or not at all.
What is coming up next for you? Now that you have a win under your belt so early, will you be aiming for that the next time you’re on the line? What race is next for you?
I’m thinking about Ascutney and Loon but coming off this injury, my plan is to take my training one day at a time, enjoy every single trail run and keep my fingers crossed that my body is strong enough to stay injury-free for a good stretch of training. Racing is a bonus and racing well is the cherry on top.
Feature image on main page courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.