Blue Line Beginner Kris Kienzl, a familiar face at our Saturday group runs, was asked by her employer to journal her Akron Marathon Race Series adventure for the company newsletter. Kris works for Goodyear, which you know is sponsoring the August half marathon and 10k which will be our next goal after the June event. (Itís going to be so cool running on that famous test track! But I digress...) Anyway, Kris was willing to share with us her first report to Goodyear. Hereís her story...

(Akron Marathon Executive Director Anne Bitong with Kris Kienzl

ďIíve been with Goodyear for 10 years: as the NASCAR marketing manager and now as a North America corporate event planner. Event marketing, planning and execution can be all-consuming at times and sometimes includes evenings and weekends. This can impact work, life balance and over time has caused me to get out of a regular workout routine. The winter months are especially busy for me due to key events that occur early in the year and when I get home after dark itís difficult to get motivated to exercise.

This year, I decided it was time to get out of the rut and back into a routine.

Iíve never considered myself to be a runner. Sure, Iíve hit the treadmill at times, but never anything consistently. And forget about running outside. I could never get my breathing right to go very far. If someone had told me six months ago that Iíd be training to run the Akron Marathon Race Series starting this June, I would have laughed. But, fast forward to today and thatís exactly what Iím doing.

In March, I started going down to the Goodyear fitness center a couple of days a week and working out on a treadmill or elliptical trainer. This plus walking my dog was a good start, but I hadnít committed to anything consistent. Then, at the end of the month I saw an article in the Akron Beacon Journal about a Blue Line Beginners (BLB) group being formed. That was the push I needed to get myself in gear.

The BLB group, which includes more than 100 people of various ages and fitness levels, meets every Saturday morning at different parks in the Akron area. We split up into walkers, walk/runners and runners to work towards our goals. Each group is led by marathon staff, with special guests joining to help us along the way.

The rest of the week, itís up to us to stay on track with our training. I use a log and typically run in areas near home, or sometimes on the treadmill if the weather isnít cooperating.

Iíve been very impressed and motivated by this group so far. In addition to the Saturday gatherings, thereís a BLB Facebook group and a daily blog on the Akron Beacon Journal website with great tips and information. The commitment and support of others has fueled my commitment and helped me to believe I am becoming a runner. I look forward to participating in my first organized event, the 8k on June 24.Ē

- Kris