Kerry O'Brien

What will you miss most about not being SLR Leader (as the new SLR Leader, please tell me there’s at least something)?

Golly, I’ll certainly miss writing those weekly SLR reports! And copying the cue sheets on Friday night was always a blast ?
Seriously, there are definitely things that I will miss! Being SLR was very fun….I really enjoyed it. It was so neat to be the leader of such a fun group! I think the thing I will miss MOST is getting an email after SLR from a person who came to SLR for the first time and wrote me to say how much fun they had and that they will certainly be back! It made me feel so good to know that a new person enjoyed SLR ?

How did you get into running?

I started running when I was about 5 years old. I have an older brother who was very into sports and I always wanted to do everything that he did. When he joined our church’s track team, so did I. I started out in the Pee-Wee division and ran the 100m Dash, Potato Sack Race, and my all-time-favorite, the 3 Legged-Race. Then, as I got older, I worked up the 400m, 800m, and mile. I had a very bad habit of crying at the end of every race. I am not sure why I cried—was I overjoyed by the victory, or sad at the defeat, or just tired? My mother has all these photos on me crossing the finish line with tears in my eyes. Finally, my mother told me to “stop crying or you will not be allowed to run on the track team anymore”….and there have been no tears since then!
I ran all through grammar school and high school. Cross country was always my favorite season, but I trudged through doing the mile and 2-mile during the indoor and outdoor track seasons. I even ran my freshman year at Cornell.
As I get older, I seem to be running longer and longer distances! During college, I did a lot of 5 and 10ks. During grad school, I started working up to longer distances like 10 milers and the half-marathon. In 2002, I did my first marathon. Maybe I’ll work up to doing an ultramarathon at some point (but at this point in time, I am not ready!).

What is your favorite running route?

Wow, tough question….there are so many great places to run in this area! I love the Capital Crescent Trail and the Rock Creek Parkway Trail. But, I think my favorite route is the 6 mile loop that I run with the “girls” (Amy, Dara, and Toni) most Tuesday nights. We start at RI and run along Mount Vernon to the 14th Street Bridge and then come back through West Potomac Park and then through G-town, across the Key Bridge and back to RI.
I think it is my favorite route because it is such a “constant” in my life. I absolutely love meeting up with my friends for runs and we have been doing this for almost 3 years now. We’ve had lots of good conversations on that route!

What is your favorite SLR Route?

Any route that involves running on the Glover Archibald Trail. I love trail running.
I guess if I had to pick one route it would be the Panda Route. It combines my love of trail running with my love of animals. I am a big fan of the Smithsonian National Zoo. I volunteered at the zoo for two years. I spent one year at the Panda Exhibit and one year in Beaver Valley (which is the section of the zoo that contains the beavers, otters, eagles, seals, sea lions, and wolves). I created the Pinniped Route to broaden SLR’s zoo animal awareness. That route takes runners to visit the seals and sea lions. It was designed so that runners could “meet” Norman, a very charming sea lion who used to live at the zoo. My favorite animal at the zoo right now is Kandula, the young elephant. Maybe we can rename the Panda Route the Elephant Route???? Just a thought ?

What course should never have been mapped by the DCRRC SLR folks?

I really don’t like any of the routes that start on the Custis Trail. It is just such a shocking start to a long run. I usually arrive at SLR about 30 minutes after waking up and it is a real shock to hit those hills in such a groggy state. I actually LIKE the Custis Trail---I just don’t like starting my long runs on such hilly conditions.

What was your favorite race?

Wow. This is a tough question! I think it would have to be the 2004 Chicago Marathon. Some might find this surprising because I missed qualifying for the Boston Marathon by 30 seconds. Crossing the finish line was bittersweet. I was thrilled to have run over 10 minutes faster than I did in the 2003 Chicago Marathon but it was heart-wrenching to miss qualifying by mere seconds!! For days, I tortured myself by thinking about where those 30 seconds were wasted. Eventually, I found peace in realizing that I ran a great race. It was my best marathon performance, with just about even splits for the first and second halves of the marathon, and I did not “bonk” in the last 6 miles (I actually had some of my fastest miles!). If nothing else, missing Boston by 30 seconds makes for a good story!!

What was your race from hell?

Riley’s Rumble 2002! This is a half-marathon out in Poolesville, MD in August. It is a very hilly course and it was a very hot and sunny day! I went out too fast (not a big surprise—it is a very bad habit of mine!)….and I just crashed at about mile 8. I was dehydrated and tired and I decided to walk to the next water stop and ask for a ride to the finish. Well, I made it to the water stop but was denied a ride to the finish. So, I began a very long 5 mile walk to the finish. At about mile 11, a friend of mine caught up with me and convinced me to run the final two miles. I was so happy to reach the finish…..but then I was very unhappy to find that they had run out of water, Gatorade, and all refreshments. Ughhh.

What does your race calendar look like this year?

I will definitely be running a fall marathon. I wish I could run Chicago again but my best friend is getting married in NC that weekend….so I have to find another marathon. I am leaning towards running the Columbus Marathon….but I am also thinking about Twin Cities. We’ll see.

After a race, which do you prefer: (a) beer and ice cream, (b) a hot shower, (c) blister popping, (d) complaining about the weather/course, (e) applying vasoline or other ointments to chafed areas.

None of the above. I prefer napping!! I love settling down on my bed, my couch, or the couches in a hotel lobby (I did it after Chicago 2003!) for a long nap after a race. My dream scenario would be eating a big plate of pancakes (or French toast) and then settling down for a 3 hour nap!

How many pairs of running shoes do you go through a year?

I probably go through about 6 pairs of running shoes. I usually purchase new shoes every 2 months and alternate between 2 pairs at any given time.

What’s your favorite running shoe?

The Adidas Supernova Classic.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

I worked in the Deli Section of a Harris Teeter for a few months. I was not a big fan of cold-cuts to begin with and that experience made me even less of a fan. One day, I accidentally cut my finger on the slicer and I passed out in front of all the customers. They switched me over to the Bakery section at that point!

How much food (in pounds) do your cats go through in a week?

They really don’t eat a lot! I swear! I am really not sure how Mr. Bonkers has gotten so big. Yes, it could be the steroids (seriously!) or maybe he is eating the stuffing out of my couch? When I lived in Ithaca, Mr. Bonkers learned how to open the fridge and he’d grab himself a snack every now and then. I had to seal the fridge with strapping tape to keep him out of the fridge. Maybe Bonk has figured out how to open and close the fridge in my current place? And maybe he goes shopping for groceries to replace what he has eaten? Abigail really doesn’t eat a lot…..who knows, maybe she eats even less than I think and Bonk eats a lot more than I think. It is a mystery…

If you were a car, what car would you be? Why?

I wish this question was “if you were a raptor, what raptor would you be” because my answer to that would be a peregrine falcon. They are the coolest and fastest of the raptors!
As far as the car question…I think I would be a Toyota Corolla. I just purchased a new Toyota Corolla (and traded in my Ford Explorer) and I feel very “at one” with my new car. It is not too big or flashy…and not too fast…but fast enough! I think the best way to characterize me would be a “Toyota Corolla with attitude” b/c I still have the attitude of my big Explorer….but I am now in an efficient little Corolla ?

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The DC Road Runners Club is a member of the Road Runners Club of America and is also affiliated with USA Track & Field. We provide a year-round schedule of running events that offer everyone a chance to participate regardless of age, gender, or athletic ability.