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  1. #1
    Reputation: daneil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Armstrong genes good on both sides

    J sorry if this is too OT and you have to move it.

    Nice article on Kristin Armstrong (Lance's ex, not the racer) in the NYTimes today. Looks like Lance's kids are gifted on both sides. Can't wait till they decide to start racing! First Eddy and Axel, next Lance and Luke, Isabelle and Grace.

    Kristin Armstrong Steps Out of Her Former Husband's Shadow

    USTIN, Tex., Nov. 1 - The world knew her as Mrs. Lance Armstrong, the petite blonde hovering behind the transcendent cyclist who survived cancer and went on to win the Tour de France every summer.

    Today Kristin Armstrong is someone else. Running from the heartache of a broken marriage and toward a self-validation that she had not imagined necessary or possible, she has become an athlete.

    On Sunday, Armstrong, 33, will run in the New York City Marathon, her second marathon in less than a year. She has two goals. First, she wants to raise awareness and money for Fertile Hope, a charity that helps cancer patients with infertility issues.

    Second, she wants to show that all people, not just elite athletes, have an inner strength beyond what they know.

    "I learned that you can get past pain and you can go farther than you thought, deeper than you thought, both physically and emotionally," said Armstrong, who lives here with her three children. "As a human being, that's such a beautiful discovery."

    About 36,000 runners will be in the race, all with a story to explain why they push their bodies 26.2 miles.

    Armstrong's story began when her five-year marriage came apart.

    She and Lance first separated early in 2003. They reunited briefly, in time for the children - Luke, now 5, and the twins, Grace and Isabelle, who turn 3 this month - to see their father achieve his fifth victory in the Tour de France. But when Kristin brought the children home that September, she and Lance separated for good.

    Her melancholy was reflected in her body. Armstrong, who was already thin, began to lose weight.

    Soon enough, friends stepped in. Women with whom she had run just for fun asked her to start training for the Dallas White Rock Marathon.

    "It's not like we had this idea about the marathon because it would help her with the divorce," said Paige Gressett Alam, one of Kristin's closest friends. "We just thought it would be good for her, period, because she'd have to start taking better care of herself."

    Armstrong began running recreationally in 2001 (after the twins were born), but she had never run more than seven miles at a time. Her friends Alam and Kristen Turner, with whom she would run the Dallas marathon, were more seasoned.

    Alam had run 14 marathons; Turner is a former college swimmer, a personal trainer and an ironman triathlete, which includes a marathon as part of the event.

    So with the help of her running group, which also served as her support system, Armstrong slipped on her running shoes as a way to escape her unhappiness.

    Her friends handled the technical stuff. "The sherpas," as she calls them, were in charge of the hydration, the energy gels, the pace, the split times.

    Armstrong did not even wear a watch because, for her, it was more about the experience than the results. She enjoyed the physical challenge of workouts in the hills of Austin and the emotional release. She joined in when the women talked about life and love and hardships, a catharsis for all. Then, when someone shouted, "Let's kick it up!" she simply followed.

    "For the first time, she was pushing herself and finding this other part of herself, this hidden talent," said Cassandra Henkiel, an elite distance runner and the group's coach. "I think she just kind of got a taste of what it's like to be Lance, and she really liked that."

    Turner said: "There's a confidence in her now. She's always said to us, 'I'm not an athlete.' But we were like: 'Whatever. Well, you're a runner now.' "

    Armstrong established that in Dallas. She finished the marathon in 3 hours 48 minutes, an average of about 8 minutes 42 seconds a mile.

    In New York, where Armstrong will run with Henkiel and another friend, the ironman competitor Nancy Hill, the group hopes to finish between 3:40 and 3:45.

    If history repeats itself, the first three hours will be smooth. In the Dallas marathon, Armstrong ran between Alam and Turner, and they chugged along in the chilly weather, persevering when they hit the wall at Mile 20, leaning on each other for inspiration.

    But at Mile 24, problems. Armstrong's calves started to cramp, and she began to cry, then hyperventilate.

    "My heart wasn't capable of doing more," she said. "It was saying: 'No way will I be able to finish this. No way will I be able to deal with this divorce and be away from my kids or sit through mediation one more time.' "

    But Alam looked Armstrong in the eye. "Don't you dare," she said. "You can do this. You can do this, and everything else. Just do it."

    That's all it took to get Armstrong going again, in life and in that race. She stretched out the cramps and continued, for the moment moved by memories of her former husband's battles with pain.

    "Had she not had those cramps, had the marathon been easy, it wouldn't have meant as much," Turner said. "It was very metaphorical, considering the timing. I think she was supposed to go through that."

    The three women finished in a huddle of hugs and tears, a celebration of Armstrong's determination, strength and success. Four days later, Armstrong's divorce became final.

    "In my first marathon, I tried to be like Lance, who, as long as he's pushing himself as an athlete and going fast, doesn't have to deal with his emotions," Armstrong said. "But I realized that I didn't need to run away from my despair or misery, that I could handle things. I realized that we were not alike in that way.

    "Now I've embraced my pain and realize it's O.K. to be sad. Now I can say, 'Lance has the life he wants, and that's his now.' Even though my life isn't the family life I had planned, I'm happy with it. For the kids, I have to be."

    Armstrong, a contributing writer for Runner's World magazine, has tried to keep life consistent for her children, whom she had by in vitro fertilization, using the sperm Lance stored before his cancer treatments made him sterile.

    Still, there has been some unavoidable tumult. Every Thursday afternoon and every other weekend, the children are with Lance, who lives about two miles away with the singer Sheryl Crow.

    "My priorities as a woman are my family and my kids, and if he was dating someone just like me, now that would be much tougher," Armstrong said. "But his new life has nothing to do with me. Being famous or hanging around with famous people, I don't think that ever did it for me."

    Last summer, Armstrong said, she and her children did not have time to watch Lance's unprecedented sixth straight victory in the Tour de France. When she heard he had won, she said: "Oh really? That's great."

    Armstrong said her days were busy, packed with children and runs and juggling her limited personal time with family time. When she goes to train, her brother, Jon Richard, usually watches the children. Other than that, she's a full-time mother, all the time: she makes waffles with them, goes on picnics, builds a new life.

    "I have to set an example now," she said. "I have daughters, and they're watching how I react to things. I want them to learn how to respect themselves and respect me as a woman."

    Her daughters and her son know that their mother goes out on runs. They do not know why she does it or what it has given her, but they are always happy to see her return.

    Most days after a workout, Armstrong leaps into her backyard pool to cool down, clothes and all. Hearing the splash, her children gather at the back window and giggle.

    "I want them to look back and say, 'My mom was a great mom, even through those hard times,' " Armstrong said. "When they see what I do, I want them to say: 'Go Mom. Right on.' "
    Last edited by daneil; 11-04-2004 at 12:32 PM.
    Damn the Man, Save the Empire
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  2. #2
    Strained coccyx etc etc
    Reputation: haiku d'etat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001

    Wink good article

    but it needs to be in NCD.
    One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I'll never know.

  3. #3
    Reputation: daneil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by J's Haiku Shop
    but it needs to be in NCD.
    Thanks J. Sorry bout that.
    Damn the Man, Save the Empire
    Brooklyn Velo Force

  4. #4
    Strained coccyx etc etc
    Reputation: haiku d'etat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    no problemo baby!
    One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I'll never know.

  5. #5
    Arrogant roadie.....
    Reputation: Dave_Stohler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    You can always tell when the "off season" starts......
    Damn, I thought we buried this dead topic months ago! Seriously-why the big fascination with LA's ex wife??
    We are the 801
    We are the central shaft

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_Stohler
    You can always tell when the "off season" starts......
    Damn, I thought we buried this dead topic months ago! Seriously-why the big fascination with LA's ex wife??

    Why the big fascination with LA? Why the huge popularity of "reality" shows? Why the big fascination with anyone?

    Personally I liked reading the article, it's nice to hear about people putting things back together, and moving on.

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