I’ve had this post simmering on a mental back burner for quite a while. I’ve been trying to figure out how to write it, hesitating out of fear that I wouldn’t convey my message clearly enough or eloquently enough. I didn’t really know what my exact message would even be.
But two blog posts, by two separate women, published on the same day, gave me the sharp prod I needed to get off my butt and say something. One was http://bloomingmiles.com/2012/10/19/inspiration, by Blooming Miles. The other was http://milemarkers.runnersworld.com/2012/10/how-the-light-gets-in/, by the subject of this post, Kristin Armstrong.
We all know Kristin’s ex-husband (or “wasband” as she says), Lance, has been all over the news. Some of you may not know that Kristin was implicated in USADA’s recent in-depth report on Lance and his former teammates.
I generally try to keep my blog on the lighter side, but I don’t feel like being funny or witty right now. I feel like standing up for a friend.
I don’t know if the allegations against Kristin are true, or if any of the other assorted rumors I’ve heard about her are true. Nor do I really care. To be clear, I’ve never met the woman. I’ve only read her blog and two of her books, but I will tell you (type/write to you?) with a straight face, that they’ve changed my life.
Kristin and I don’t have much in common – she’s 41, divorced, the mother of three, and lives in Austin. I’m 31, as yet unmarried, with no children, living in Albuquerque. But there are few people in the world who I would rather meet. Based on the comments posted on her blog, I know I’m not the only woman who feels this way.
Kristin is one of those rare women who can teach you, encourage you, and rekindle your faith in yourself without sounding one bit preachy. She’s like a yoga instructor, only she uses her pen and her running shoes instead of mats and Warrior poses [actually, she alludes to yoga lessons fairly frequently in her writing. No coincidence there, I’m sure]. It’s hard for me to read anything by Kristin and not stand up a little straighter afterwards. Thanks to her, I’ve become more appreciative of the gift of running. I’ve become more appreciative of my friends, my family, and my own abilities, both running and otherwise. Her book Work in Progress made me more aware of, and attentive to, my faith (one thing we do have in common is that we’re both Catholic). I’ve loaned her books to multiple friends and family, and couldn’t begin to guess how many times I’ve forwarded her blog to someone having a rough day. I don’t see any of that ending any time soon.
In short, I’m a fan.
Do I think she’s flawless? Do I think there’s no way she could have ever participated in questionable activities?
Last year, I wrote a post about grown-up heroes: people, famous athletes or not, who aren’t perfect. Who never claim to be perfect. Who do not point fingers, place blame, or speak with rancor. People who merely seek to improve themselves as humans, graciously and with a little dignity. People who are brave enough to share their efforts at doing so with others.
For me, Kristin Armstrong is one of those people.