Runner Story – Lisa Payne Kirker


As I looked out the window of the Amway Grand Plaza on April 13, 2013, my heart was pounding. Thankfully, not loud enough to awaken my daughters sleeping in the bed next to the window. I took a deep breath, pinned on my race bib and hugged my husband goodbye. Cruddy weather or not, I was running 13.1 miles that morning.

As soon as I stepped out the door of the hotel I saw a familiar face. Amidst 2,000+ other women, the first person I saw as I crossed Monroe Ave was my friend, Nicole. We laughed about nerves and gave each other a hug before finding our pace groups. Soon, I was hopping up and down in the corral, chatting with anyone who would listen. Despite the cold winds and nervous energy, the other women were warm and willing to give a perfect stranger a “Good luck!” as we collectively lined up at the start. The energy and excitement in the minutes before the race was electric!

That energy carried me through to a PR. The entire experience left such a positive impression on me that I jumped at the chance to register early for next year’s race. April 13, 2014 is marked on my calendar, and I’ll be ready for anything. When a girl trains amidst all that a Michigan winter can blow at her, a little freezing rain for 13 miles is a walk in the park. Scratch that… it’s an energizing run across a blue bridge with 2,000 kindred spirits.