She always thinks of others before herself. Never forgets a birthday, and then overwhelms you with her generosity. An amazing gourmet cook and when she host dinners she will not let you lend a hand, except for forcing leftovers into them.
Chris Iwahashi is not only big-hearted, she is a role model, a life-force and a champion. She accomplishes more in one day than most do in a week. She started the Sacramento “Team in Training” program. Was on the planning committee for both the development of the Sacramento Susan Komen 5k, actually came up with the May race date, as well as Avon Women’s 10k race. Coached the beginning runners clinics for the Susan B. Anthony women’s 5k and Head Coach of the training program for Avon Women’s 10k.
Besides providing opportunities for local women runners and walkers, Chris is a leader whose footsteps are hard to follow, running over 60 sub 3 hour marathons. Chris was the reason I became passionate about the marathon, and the reason I continue to challenge myself. Chris has a PR of 2:45, she has not surprisingly won many marathons, including:
Avenue of the Giants
Napa (3 times)
Detroit Free Press
Marathon de Medoc
Chris has traveled and run around the world, including: Ireland, Norway, Australia, Sweden, Japan, Greece, Italy, France, Turkey, Thailand and South Africa where she completed the world renown Comrades 90k FOUR times. All while a full-time research biochemist in the Medical School, U.C., Davis with more than 20 publications in refereed journals and even a patent for a breakthrough analytic process.
Pretty obvious, she lives each day to the fullest. And, she is tough. While suffering a broken rib she won, not just ran, a marathon. Of course she did not tell anyone until a day or two later. Chris never gives excuses for race times or performances, as she never draws attention to herself or talks about her races or the challenges she overcomes during a tough event. She can work through pain levels that 99% of us will never be able to comprehend. I often think of her as I deal with a “bad patch” in a race and how she would get through it.
And, now at 56 years old, she is in the biggest pain battle of her life, fighting cancer ( for the second time) that has spread through her bones. If the doctor’ were correct with the initial diagnosis she would have died 22 months ago. Not my headstrong, tenacious, Chris. I am honored to call her my mentor and role model- my best friend.
Additional running accomplishments:
50 mile PR 7:12
50k PR 3:35 (second fastest women’s time in the U.S. that year to Ann Trason)
Marathon PR 2:45:28
More than 60 sub 3 hour marathon finishes
20-21 Completions of CIM
At 52, ran 3:36:04 at Boston Marathon 2008
Winning women’s team member, Boston Marathon Open Women (3 times), Master’sWomen (2 times)
Prize money finisher at Big Sur, Boston, Grandma’s, Orange Bowl, etc.
And, in this past year while on chemotherapy:
2:34 Buffalo Migration 10Mile Sept. 2012
48:52 Susan B 5k Aug. 2012
He hated running through his entire childhood and well into his 30s. But now at age 44, you will see him running on the bike trail, shirtless but always wearing a smile. Being a partner in Sacramento’s largest law firm would make most of us concede to the consuming workload and leave little time for family, much less find the countless hours needed to train for a marathon. Not this witty divorce lawyer. He just runs faster to be able to balance his family life, work and training.
Shirtless O’Malley, what his close running buddy’s call him because he is known to carry his shirt in his hand, says “my wife and four children are and will forever be my primary source of inspiration. And running has helped me tremendously to balance the stress associated with my profession.”
He ran his first 5k about 6 years ago. “It was a complete adrenaline rush” he recalls. It then took him a year to build up to a 10k and eventually a half marathon and then he was hooked. Naturally, his next challenge was to finish a marathon, but only one.
In the summer of 2010, he joined a beginning marathon training group for CIM. His goal was to break 4 hours and then never run another marathon. “My plan was to run 8:00 min/mile pace”. But, like many novices he started out too fast, 7:30 min/mile pace. After his taper, his legs felt fresh and strong so the first half of the marathon felt very comfortable. A rookie mistake. “By mile 14, I thought I might quit. Somehow I salvaged the run, but from mile 22 to the finish line, I literally threw my shoulders violently from side to side to keep my legs moving. It was awful.”
John’s plan to run only one marathon was quickly transformed to run just one more; he had to redeem himself. He signed up for the 2011 Sacramento Running Association (SRA) CIM Program coached by Mary Coordt. “This 16 week program took me to a completely different level as a runner. I learned about the importance of running form, nutrition, speed work and I met some incredible people through the program and we became like family.” It is hard not to quickly become friends with John. He has a great sense of humor, always joking and makes everyone he is around feel instantly at ease, as if you have known him for years.
Despite straining his back at 4pm the day before CIM, John ran a PR with a time of 3:25:22. It was only a day later that his celebration started to dwindle; realizing he missed the Boston Marathon Qualifying (BQ) time by a mere 22 seconds. John was now on a mission he never in his dreams thought would be possible-to qualify for Boston. “I talked to Mary and her husband Dave, about finding another marathon before the September Boston qualifying cut-off, and they encouraged me to run the small, coastal Newport Oregon Marathon the first weekend in June.”
He trained with Gregg, who already qualified for Boston but was adamant about his new friend qualifying so they could experience the famed Marathon together. John and Gregg met through the CIM Coaching program by Mary; they were similar in their running pace and instantly bonded.
John ran the Newport Marathon in 3:24:18, a BQ by 42 seconds!
“I cannot begin to explain how much more I enjoy running after Mary’s coaching program. Not only do I understand the purpose of each workout, but she has ingrained in me the concept of negative splitting, which I have done in my last 2 marathons, resulting in my BQ.”
John is going to be in the 2012 SRA CIM Program coached by Mary. What is his goal? “I am thinking of a 3:20 finish time. I know that I now have much more experience with training and fueling, so why not?!”
Owning her own business and training for marathons, leaves little time for this Masters runner to go grocery shopping and to cook healthy meals. But struggling with stomach issues and fatigue on long runs, she knew she needed to take a closer look at her nutrition. Sanya now realizes the crucial role her nutrient intake plays in her running performance and is now able to advance her training and maximize her potential.
In 2004 Sanya Syrstad returned to the competitive running scene after a 5 year break. She did not start back slowly, for she does not take on any challenge lightly. Sanya quickly excelled in track, earning her the opportunity to compete at both the Masters National Championship and at the World (Finland) Championship in the 800 meter, placing 2nd and 6th respectively.
She was never really concerned about her eating habits or how they may affect her performance; after all she was doing pretty darn well. However, about 3 years ago she decided to compete in longer distances and began to suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) issues. Moreover, she found it difficult to lose weight even though she was logging over 70 miles a week. Being a clinical psychotherapist, she knew there had to be a practical solution to her problem and it must be food related. She tried several different types of diets including: gluten free, vegan, fruit flush diet. On the advice of friends she also tried all types of supplements, such as CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid), BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids), CoQ (Coenzyme Q10), but her problems still persisted.
Frustrated and determined to find help, Sanya went to several doctors and they did a series of tests, suggesting she may be borderline gluten and lactose intolerant. They prescribed various supplements then advised her to restrict wheat and dairy. She did as told, but her condition did not improve. She became desperate and contacted an herbalist who gave her herbal supplements, promising it will aid her digestive system. Sanya was hopeful but then quickly disappointed and upset when she found no relieve. A friend recommended a nutritionist (see previous post) who in turn told her to eat a certain amount of calories per day and sold her a bag full of various vitamin/mineral supplements, guaranteeing her they would help. Needless to say, they did not. She still had GI problems and her weight was the same, plus she was having difficulties maintaining her energy during long runs.
Finally, this past March she met Mary at the Napa Valley Marathon. She was one of the elites and Mary was the Elite Coordinator who also gave a nutrition seminar: Fueling for the Marathon, Let Science Help you Avoid Mistakes. Knowing Mary was an elite master runner like her and the fact that she has her Masters in Nutrition, Sanya thought “what do I have to lose”, and asked her for help.
After several in-depth conversations, Mary carefully analyzed her diet as well as the supplements Sanya was taking, and found that she was low on several key nutrients, such as magnesium, calcium and iron. In addition, she helped debunk the myths of some of the popular diet fads and explain the potential problems of the various supplements that Sanya was experimenting with.
“I learned how to incorporate a realistic variety of foods to meet the nutrients I was low on, and able to cut out all of the supplements except for a multivitamin/mineral twice a week; so Mary not only helped with my health and fueling for the marathon but saved me money! My GI problems vanished while my energy level sky rocketed. Now I am able to train consistently, running 100 miles a week and have the energy to still work full time in my private practice. Not to mention that I use to fall apart at mile 21-22 on the marathon and now I finish strong. I am confident that I wouldn’t have been able to run this many miles and hit my training goals without Mary’s help.”
Sanya lives and trains in Illinois where she regularly finishes 1st or 2nd in her age group (45-49 yr) and is currently training for Grandma’s Marathon on June 15th where she is on target to break 3 hours.
Anyone who runs in the Sacramento area local races has seen her, she is only 4 foot 11 inches and always has a big smile when you say “hi”. But do not let her docile demeanor fool you because if she is in your age division, she WILL beat you!
She has the energy of a 20 year old but Barbara Rinker did not even start running until 1997 at the age of 51. A year later she joined the Buffalo Chips Running Club and decided to train for her first 10k. She joined the Avon Women’s Training Clinic, a 6 week training program as part of Kathrine Switzer Global initiative to encourage and promote women’s running. This is when Barbara met Mary and first trained with her in preparation for the 1998 Avon 10k. She finished in 58:40 and the following year she ran the same 10k race in 57 minutes! By age 56 she was running this pace, and faster for the longer distances. Some examples: Cal 10 @ 1:26:30; Jed Smith 30k @ 3:10; CIM @ 4:11.
Competing in an average 12 local races a year, from the 5k to the marathon, she regularly wins the Buzz Oates Series Age Graded races while in other events she dominates in her age division.
Barbara continued to receive encouragement and inspiration from Mary through the years and in 2010 (when Sacramento Running Association established the CIM training program) joined the teams coached by Mary in 2010 and 2011. Qualified to run the Boston Marathon in 2010 and placed first in 65-69 age group in the 2011 CIM (4:23:56) under Mary’s coaching. Excited to qualify for Boston, she joined the SRA 2012 Boston Marathon Training Team and by April was ready to tackle the hills of Boston. Unfortunately, the weather at the 116th Boston Marathon was not conducive to run the desired and realistic time goal. However, she demonstrated her toughness, and finished her 2nd Boston Marathon in the brutal 80-90 degree temperatures with an impressive finish time of 5:17:33.
He acquired the nickname “Fast Dan”, but he would never tell you that because he is also one of the most modest runners you will ever be lucky enough to get to know. After a race, you could be talking to him for well over 30 minutes, and realize he has not said anything about how he did, but rather focused on you and your detailed account of each mile. You must directly confront him, and only then you come to learn he got a PR and did it by negative splitting!
Dan Kinsella grew up in the San Diego area, and began running as a freshman at Helix High School in La Mesa. After his first cross country practice he was hooked on running. This positive experience led him to have successful track and cross country seasons, lettering in both each of his four years of high school. His highlight was being an individual qualifier for the State Cross Country Meet as a senior.
After finishing Chico State, he moved to Northern California and eventually to Sacramento for a job in the Financial Industry at State Street. During these years, the demands of work and school led to inconsistent, to no running at all. But in 2007 he discovered the amazing places to run in the Sacramento area and the strong running community, so he dedicated himself to running again with the goal of racing marathons and qualifying for Boston. He achieved this goal. He qualified for Boston at CIM 2009 with a time of 2:58 and ran the 2011 Boston Marathon in 2:54.
“After Boston I wanted to keep improving and realized I needed coaching to really make a difference in my running. I had the opportunity to join the inaugural CIM Training Program through the Sacramento Running Association and be coached by Mary Coordt to train for the 2011 CIM. Meeting Mary was the best thing I have ever done for my running. Mary not only provided a challenging and specific training plan based on my goals, but also helped me with my fueling/nutrition, injury prevention, and pacing. Her passion for running is contagious and I am always excited to get new workouts and see the hard work pay off in races. Through Mary’s coaching I have become a stronger and smarter runner and learned to successfully negative split in my races; at CIM 2011 I ran 2:42 which is a 12 minute PR.”
Yes, Dan has mastered the skill of finishing a race faster than he started and has proven to be competitive in all distances. Here are his PRs this past year, and there are many more to come this Spring/Summer.
Marathon – 2:42:28 (CIM 12/4/2011)
Half Marathon – 1:18:05 (Urban Cow 10/2/2011)
10 Mile – 58:51 (Buffalo Stampede 9/11/2011) Update- 57:15 (SacTown 10 4/1/12)
4 Mile- 21:45 (Valentines 4 Miler 2/11/12)
10k- 33:45 (Marin 10k 5/28/12)
5k- 16:16 (Run 4 Independence Elk Grove 6/30/12)