Kristin Henry, we can’t quite cover this bubbling personality in a simple Member Highlight. This unfiltered bundle of jokes and smiles is better suited for a TV show! Hopefully, you have had the fortunate, or unfortunate (for those that lack a sense of humor) pleasure of crossing paths or sharing a trail with Kristin. She has the power to make you laugh from the deep depths of your stomach and puts the “color” in Off Colored Jokes. She is the Queen of Glitter, and everything sparkly, has a somewhat disturbing obsession with Unicorns, yet has an intoxicating love for her Family & Friends. Her admiration and quest to honor an original ultra-runner and Western States Finisher, “The Colonel”, is simply beautiful. Laugh, cry, be-inspired and read on for our Member Highlight this month, Kristin Henry.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I am from all over. My Dad was a helicopter pilot so we lived all over, but for the longest period, we lived in Southern California. He was also stationed in Cairo, Egypt, so I got to spend more than a year living in the Middle East. Now, my family and I live in Incline Village.
When did you begin running and/or long-distance running, if that applies? Why?
I began running at about six years old. My parents had us all do ‘Family Fun Runs’ every weekend, so my brother and me always had to do the ‘Fun Mile.’ We took turns feigning illness and injury, but ‘The Colonel,’ (my name for my dad), was never fooled. In middle school, I actually began enjoying to run, and ran CC and track for high school, and also for Cal Poly in college. After college, I ran my first marathon, and was hooked on the longer distances. In the last 15 years, I’ve only done runs/races on dirt. My body and my mind are drawn to it.
Do you race? Does racing motivate you? if not racing, what motivates you?
I do a few races a year, but only 50k or longer. I love these races because they are supported and I get the opportunity to see new trails as well as meet awesome people. I find races a great motivator when the excuse list builds up! My biggest motivator is that running is such a euphoric and stress-free place for me. I get excited when I know I have a day that allows me to get in a long run on the beautiful trails that surround us.
Do you have any dream races (either hoping to qualify for or get selected for)?
Yes, I’d like another ‘go’ at making Wasatch, although I missed the 67.5 cutoff this year, and of course would love the chance to run Western States. My Dad ran it in its inaugural year and I was a little kid in awe.
Do you have a favorite on-trail food or nutrition strategy? Favorite post-run meal or beverage?
I do well eating potatoes, salt & vinegar chips, and Builder Bars for the longer races, but love me some Gummy Bears too. I believe Swedish Fish have 2% real fruit juice in every bite, but my husband thinks this is tom foolery.
What was your favorite running experience this past year?
My favorite running experience would have to be the Rio Del Lago 100. After Wasatch, I was carrying that monkey on my back for a month, and really enjoyed that race and all the folks that came with it. My whole family flew in and my kids were there too. My Dad was waving wildly at me as I ran down the levy towards him at the finish. It was a really special day.
What was your most challenging/ character-building experience this past year?
Wasatch was my most challenging experience this year. I enjoyed the first 50 miles so much, and then suffered terribly for those next 18. I learned so much about myself and also gained a new friend (Lesley D.) as we spent those last miles together. I’ve never talked in my sleep while running before, and attempted to ‘get on a school bus,’ and ‘pet some puppies,’ in the middle of the night.
What are your upcoming racing/adventure plans?
After Rio, my hubby thought we could ‘tone it down’ for a bit and focus on distances 50k to 100k to gain some speed. I think with three kids and working fulltime, another 100 miler will need to wait til the kids get a bit older. I really had a hard time getting all the runs in and being properly rested and in shape. I am going to make the Canyons 100k my Spring focus, and leave the rest of the calendar free for now. I am excited to get back on the trails with abandon!
What do you do for a living? Is it hard to fit in time for training?
I am the Preschool Director for the TDRPD preschool. I love working with littles and glitter everyday! It is incredibly challenging for me to fit in training. The blessing in disguise, is that I never take running for granted. I used to begrudgingly run some days, now if I get the chance, I’m running with enthusiasm and spirit.
What led you to join the DPMR?
Helen, of course! Her kids went to the preschool, when I heard she and some other people were starting the club, I was in. I love the energy and positivity of all those I’ve had the pleasure to meet and get to know. I gained a friend and a coach in Peter Fain, and have been so blessed by his encouragement and knowledge.
What has been your favorite DPMR experience so far?
The peeps that I’ve gotten to know and love in the club are a definite highlight. I’d say getting to run with Mone Haen has been so great. We ran from Mt. Rose summit to Brockway, among other runs, and there’s something about being out there for miles in the most beautiful terrain, that lends itself to a real, raw friendship. Having new running buddies, like Mone, Sharon F, and Lesley D., has enriched my life so much. It is such a treat to have a delicious trail run on the calendar with people that don’t mind my level of obnoxiousness, or are too polite to say.
Favorite local trail?
That’s a hard one, so many. I guess Castle Peak from the truck stop to the PCT, or the PCT to Donner, or Waddle Ranch, or TRT to Spooner, or Tunnel Creek to the Marlette Flume. When I get a Hall Pass for a four or five hour run, I have a hard time sleeping because it feels like Christmas.
What other outdoor or indoor interests do you have?
I love using glitter. It actually puts a sparkle in your heart, folks. Ask Peter, he’s a recent convert. He helped me select the appropriate shade to carry in a mini-ziploc for Wasatch. True Story. I also like mountain biking and read a lot. I enjoy some mind-numbing Real Housewives on occasion, but my husband claims its rotting my brain. I wish I knew how to sleep….
Any interesting facts about yourself you would like to share?
My motto used to be ‘You can do anything, if you’re willing to do it half-assed.’ I’ve revised it to ‘Stick your neck out.’ I think watching my Dad attempt to recover from a stroke has made me more willing to risk failure and just go for it. Seeing someone learn to walk again, and still struggle to form a few words, has made me much more brave to try new things and push myself further/harder. I don’t want to do anything half-asses anymore, I always want to ‘go the extra mile.’