Moms on the Run is great because of the women who are part of our family. In an ongoing series, we'll feature an Ambassador who will share her story with you. First up: Kristen Genet. Kristen's story may sound a little familiar; she was featured as our Inspiring Member in October 2018.
Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Kristen Genet, and I run with the Blaine and Lino Lakes Moms on the Run groups. I have been coaching for the Twin Cities North Metro franchises since 2011, and I started in Coon Rapids at Bunker Hills. I have learned and grown so much over the last several years, in no small part due to the influence of MOTR and the incredible women it brought into my life. MOTR is an important part of who I am. MOTR has brought joy, fulfillment, hard work, challenges, and rewards to my life, and for that I am grateful.
In the spring of 2011, I was still relatively new to the community. We had moved to Blaine in 2009, and my kids were littles, so I didn’t get out much. I was always on the lookout for activities for my kids, and one day a flyer for “Kids on the Run” came home from school with my daughter. I was intrigued. I went to the website to find out more, and discovered that – in addition to Kids on the Run – there was also Moms on the Run! I kept reading. It wasn’t long before I kind of “forgot” about Kids on the Run, and thought 'heck with the kids, I want this for ME!' I called Karissa Johnson to find out more. We chatted for awhile, and I was thoroughly hooked on the idea of a community of women supporting each other to achieve fitness goals, while at the same time building friendships and having fun. I was also training for Twin Cities Marathon — my first — at the same time, which was a scary thing, so having a community of runners while I was training sure sounded good to me. I was asking questions about participating, and Karissa was asking me questions about my background and goals, and then suggested I try coaching! Sight unseen, suddenly I was recruited as a MOTR coach in Bunker Hills. While that may have been a bold move and a leap of faith, MOTR gave me opportunity, and for that I am grateful.
I struggled with injury early in my second season of MOTR: stress fractures in my foot. Turns out the bunion surgery I had been putting off for 20 years could be put off no longer. But I had found a group of people who had helped me find a part of me that I didn’t really know existed. If I was going to be injured, then have surgery, and work through the long road to recovery, I was going to have to table the running thing for awhile. There was so much about that summer that hurt — both physically and mentally. My MOTR friends brought me meals. They brought me books to read. They came and sat with me when I had my post-surgery foot iced and elevated. At that time, I didn’t know what the future would hold, and my surgeon was very cautious and reserved about my recovery. He told me that I should *not* plan to run another marathon, and that I should hope for about 10 miles a week. In short, he crushed me. Although I was completely sidelined for an entire season, and it would take me a long time to slowly, gradually, and carefully work my way back, MOTR supported and took care of me, and for that I am grateful.
After surgery recovery and rehab, and oh-so-many PT exercises, I eventually worked my way back into shape. That definitely involved more than 10 miles a week — and another marathon (or ten). As I was back running and coaching in 2013, I was solidly struck with the magnitude of the Boston Marathon bombing and trained hard and smart for the Twin Cities Marathon. I improved my marathon time significantly, and realized what being surrounded by a positive and supportive community of strong women could do for me both mentally and physically. I wanted to honor the victims and survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing by qualifying and running that incredible and iconic marathon. MOTR allowed me to dream, and for that I am grateful.
Throughout many years of coaching and running with MOTR, I have had the opportunity and privilege of running with fast and seasoned runners. I have had the opportunity and privilege of running with brand new runners who are working toward their first 5K. I got to talk about dreams and goals and plans and training and, through it all, I got to help and watch other women set and crush their goals. I was amazed by how much I grew when I shifted my focus from internal to external. When I focused on listening and running with other women — pushing them when they needed it, and giving them grace and allowing them to give themselves a break when they needed that permission — I got to watch and help other runners work towards and achieve their goals. MOTR filled my heart, and for that I am grateful.
And when it was my turn to dream and set a goal — qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon — MOTR surrounded me with support and encouragement. It took me not once, not twice, but three times through a ridiculously intense marathon training cycle (and aging up into a new age bracket helped too) to finally achieve that goal. I had my MOTR tribe that helped me with my training plan. I had company on my short runs and long runs (sometimes that company was on a bike and carrying fuel and water for me!). I felt so surrounded by and lifted up by the selfless support and encouragement these amazing women provided. And then MOTR celebrated with me, and for that I am grateful.
It's been a wild and amazing ride to be part of the MOTR community since 2011. What started out as a phone call on a whim ended up being one of the most transformative leaps of faith and investments in myself that I have made. I am now wrapped up in a community of women and runners who inspire me to do better, be better, push myself, lift others up, and have the confidence to try new and scary things together. I am a part of MOTR, and MOTR is a part of me, and for that I am grateful.