On Monday, December 21st =PR= DC/Arlington staff member Kellie Honey took on the first ever =PR= Winter Solstice Challenge. Kellie brainstormed the idea and crafted the plan. She decided she was going to run a total of 9 hours and 15 minutes on the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year. Kellie started from her house and ventured into DC, Arlington, and Georgetown throughout the day covering over 30 plus miles! Along the way she was greeted by her family and some friends from =PR=. She was joined along the run with her buddy Rodney the Reindeer that was strapped tight to her pack! Read on to learn more about Rodney and her adventure and what she has planned this summer!
Q U I C K Q U E S T I O N S
Runner Full Name: Kellie Honey
Age Category: 40-45
Favorite PR Race: Holiday Half
Favorite Race of All Time: Altis Endurance Cross Country Trail Marathon in November of this year. I had run a marathon for the first time on my own this past summer, but this was my first official Marathon race. I did it in honor of my dad and that meant a lot to me.
First Race Ever: I don’t remember the actual race, but it was a distance event in 6th grade. I think I came in dead last. 🙂 But I didn’t mind because I heard the coach tell my dad, “she’s not the fastest yet, but she can run forever.” I will sometimes remember that compliment when I’m really struggling in a run or race and it helps me find strength to keep going.
How did you get started running or walking? I ran track in elementary school and junior high, but I think I really started loving it in high school when I ran cross country. I was a year round swimmer in high school and even though I enjoyed swimming, cross country and track were a nice break from miles of laps in a pool. Also, my best friend was a runner and I loved goofing off with her at practice and meets. 🙂
Best Race Memory: My dad cheering for me at all my meets and weekend road races. He was my biggest fan. He died in 2002 and I miss him every day. I especially miss him when I race, or am going after a new goal.
Favorite Running Event/Distance? Half Marathons
What is your favorite part about running/ racing?
Running: Everything! It teaches me so much about life and makes me feel free.
Racing: Being around all the positive vibes of fellow runners and volunteers. Also cool shirts (and sometimes BEANIES!!!)
Who is your biggest cheerleader/supporter? My husband, Shawn.
What is your Spirit Animal? Why? Badger. Because I’m a Hufflepuff! And because they persist. I try to persist and keep on keepin’ on as best I can. (We’re also both nocturnal creatures 🙂
What is your life’s motto? Words to live by? Be excessively kind. Treat others how you would like to be treated.
When did you start working for =PR=? August of 2020. It’s been so fun and I’m learning so much.
T H I S O R T H A T
Distance: Long or Short
Post Race Snack: Banana or Bagel …Bagel. With cream cheese. Actually, more like cream cheese with a bit of bagel.
Running Company: Alone or Together
Time of Day: Rise and Grind (Morning) or Night Time is the Right Time (Evening)
Location: Road Runner or Trail Crusher
Run: Workout or Long Run
Top shoes picks:
Top 3 running related Items ( go to items):
1) Ultimate Direction Vest (My 4 year old calls it my “jet pack.”)
Top 3 Fun Facts, Tell Us Something About Yourself!
1) I love acting! I’ve not been able to do it as much lately, and I miss it.
2) My husband and I lived in Slovakia for two years right after college. It is a beautiful country. One of my favorite runs ever was in the snowy Tatra Mountains.
3) Costume parties make me very happy. I love the chance to put together a ridiculous costume with thrift store finds and a glue gun.
Favorite place to run or train:
1) Hills, hills, and more hills in my home state of Wild, Wonderful West Virginia
2) On the National Mall (I always feel like I’m in a movie or tv show when I run there)
3) Anywhere I am visiting/vacationing. I feel like running is the best way to explore and experience a new place.
Racing is . . . the chance to strive for a personal record, not carry my own hydration, be with other runners, and earn cool swag.
Running is . . . freedom.
My last run was a . . . 7 mile run ending at Yes! Organic Market for cookies and coconut water. #TreatYoself
My favorite thing about running . . . is how much it reflects life and wakes up my brain and heart.
If I wasn’t running I’d be . . . acting or taking an acting class.
How did you come up with the Winter Solstice Challenge? Inspiration? Motivation? Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year and after that we start slowly getting more sunlight every day. I wanted a way to celebrate that the sun would finally start hanging around longer again. For me, the best way to party is to run! This summer I did two time challenge events and I really liked them (a 12 hour in July and a 6 hour in August). I had originally planned to run from sunrise to sunset to commemorate the Solstice, but I’m not a morning person and the best part of December running is seeing the twinkly lights all over the city. So I just set a goal to run for 9 hours and 15 minutes, because that’s the amount of daylight on Dec 21. I started later in day so I could see some Christmas lights and end at the Capitol Tree when it was lit up.
What were your top three highs and lows of the run?
- I tried a Golden Milk for the first time at Open City coffee shop and drank it under a golden sun. It was perfect!
- When my family met me in Georgetown. I love those people!!!
- When my hubs met me on a bike on the Mall to see the National Tree and Capitol Tree together.
- After 15 miles my knee started killing me. It really slowed me down for the second half of the day.
- I got lost!!! After my stop in Arlington, my GPS got me all confused when it kept trying to take me through closed off roads. I’m already pretty hopeless at directions anyway, and by that time it was dark and my knee was screaming, so I Ubered from the Marine Corps Memorial to the Lincoln Memorial and started running again from there.
- I went into “overtime.” I didn’t make it to the Capitol Tree in 9 hours 15 minutes. But since it was my own Challenge with my own rules, I just kept going because I really wanted to make it to that tree!
How did you stay motivated during the day on the 21st? Texting pictures of my adventure with the fabulous and encouraging Gina DeGaetano really kept me going! So did my pit stops at the DC and Arlington =PR= stores, where I was happy to see Brennan, then Phil and Wilson. My family met me in Georgetown and we ran together on campus for a tiny bit. My lil coach and pacer, Aidan, who is four, is always bossy… er… I mean … motivating! 🙂 I also just loved having miles and miles to be a tourist in my own city. I often still cannot believe all the history and beauty I get the chance to run by living in the Capital of the US of A!
Tell us about your partner, Rodney the Reindeer!? Rodney Reindeer and I met in the totally awesome Eighties! I took him home from Burger King in a kids meal when I was 10. Ever since then, he and his family come out to play every Christmas season. I thought he’d be the perfect running buddy for a long winter run. Also, he takes super cute selfies.
What are you most looking forward to in 2021? I have hope that we’ll all race together and have Fun Runs again! Even if it’s not until the Fall, I hope the only distancing we’ll be doing will be distances together on the road and trails!
Do you have any big running related plans for 2021? I’d like to attempt a 50 mile run/race. I’d also really love to do a =PR= Summer Solstice run with more of the =PR= crew!!! 🙂