Today’s Rockstar Runner is one of the very first members of the Running With Curves Online Running Club! Kimberley Smith refused to be stopped in her tracks by a painful diagnosis in 2011, and has used running to make herself stronger both physically and mentally.
I had the pleasure of running the Philly half marathon with Kimberley last November, as well as the Run Your Own Race Virtual 5K in January, and not only is she determined, she is a really fun running partner! And in just a few days, we’ll line up together at the start line of the Philly Love Run (where her vanity bib will read Tootsie Roll – so keep an eye out for her!)
Please tell us a little about yourself
I am a 32 year old wife to Rob and doggie mom to my 3 boxers; Roxy, Rocco and Ricotta. I reside in Pottstown, PA and work in Wayne, PA as an Executive Assistant to a CFO. Besides running, I also love to read, and spend time with my family and friends. I was born and raised in Norristown, PA and was pretty active growing up. I played softball religiously and just loved being outdoors. I grew up with 1 older sister and 4 older brothers so I was huge tomboy! In 2011 my life changed when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
How/why did you start running?
On my birthday, in 2011, I was at a meeting for work and woke up to the start of some abnormal symptoms. It was really painful to swallow and I had a huge knot sticking out of my neck/gland and a few months later I could barely get out of bed because all of my joints were in so much pain. That started my journey to finding out I have Sjogren’s Syndrome and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Because of all my health problems, I had gained a significant amount of weight and couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to do something to lose weight. My decision was to start walking/running. I told my RA doctor of my decision and he said, “NO WAY!” Well that was all I needed to hear. If you tell me I can’t do something, I’m going to make it a point to prove that I can. I had a friend that always ran 5ks, etc. so I met up with her for my first run and that began my voyage into running!
What do you love about running – what keeps you coming back time after time?
Running is my stress relief, after a long rough day, hoping on the treadmill or going outside for a run makes everything better. The feeling of accomplishment and relief after my run is why I continue to run.
How do you get yourself out the door on days when you’re just not ‘feeling it’?
Mind over matter….tell myself to at least complete a walk. Doing the smallest distance is more than sitting on the couch. More often than not I will start running once I get out there and complete a much longer run than I had anticipated.
Do you have an inspirational and/or funny running story to share with us?
Races make you do crazy things!!! In November, I was running the Philly Half and a group of us from the Running with Curves Club decided to meet for lunch in the city during the expo to take a group photo and have some great conversation. I didn’t feel like driving to the city so I emailed everyone that was going (even though I had never met them before) to see if someone lived close by to ride down with. I found someone, we met in a Home Depot parking lot in the morning, she hopped in my car and we just started chatting away while driving down. My husband actually called me while I was there to make sure I didn’t have an axe-murderer in my car and it hadn’t even crossed my mind that I didn’t know anything about this person and I let her hop right into my car, no questions asked! (Side note from Jill – the person she’s talking about will be our first Rockstar Runner in April, so stay tuned!)
How has running changed your life?
Running has given me an avenue for relieving stress instead of spending money on a therapist. If I’m angry or sad, running makes all that hurt and angry go away. I refuse to use my Rheumatoid Arthritis as an excuse to sit around and do nothing. Running has diminished my symptoms of RA by strengthening my joints and muscles.
My social circle has expanded since I started running. I have met up with people I never met in real life before. It has even enhanced previous friendships. My best friend (since we were 3) jumped on the running bandwagon and we have something new to share with each other!
What words of wisdom do you have for brand new runners?
Don’t doubt yourself. You CAN do it! There are times I have wanted to quit and throw in the towel, but that little voice in the back of my head tells me not to stop and that I can accomplish ANYTHING I put my mind to. Have someone in your life that holds you accountable to keep up with it!
What are your favorite inspirational blogs to follow?
Have you ever been injured running, and how did you recover?
Luckily, no! Although there are many times I have flare ups with the RA that I can’t run, I always continue to do as much as I can to stay active so it’s an easier transition back to running when I’m healthy enough.
What running gear do you think you can’t live without?
This is a tough one! (1) I have to have bright flashy sneakers (2) My Level belt to keep my essentials with me (3) iPhone/Headphones with my Running playlist!
I know your favorite race distance is the half marathon – how many have you run to date?
My favorite distance to date is definitely the half marathon, but you’d be surprised to know I have only run one!!! The Philadelphia Half Marathon in November of 2014 was my first, but definitely not my last!
What was your favorite race?
Hands down….The Broad Street 10 Miler. This was my first race that I completed longer than 5k and the energy of Philadelphia fans is AMAZING! The fun posters and just everyone cheering you on gave me the drive to keep moving!
What are your top 3 songs to listen to when you run?
Tootsie Roll by 69 Boyz (obviously), Work It by Missy Elliott, Irresistible by Fall Out Boy
Treadmill or outdoors?
I’d prefer to run outdoors in beautiful weather but am really comfortable running on my treadmill, in my living room, watching something on DVR so I can fast forward through commercials!
Anything else we need to know?
In my free time outside of my full time job, running, being a wife and a doggie mom, I also am an Independent Designer for the Direct Sales company Origami Owl!
How can we find/follow you on social media?
Thanks Kimberley for sharing your story!
To read about other Rockstar Runners – CLICK HERE