Kim Scholefield Kleinman

a.k.a. "Keep Running Kim"

Great Strides 2006 Shelly Florence Glover
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New Diary Edition August 2006

 

November 2000 Kim Scholefield Kleinman promised to run the Midnight Run to welcome in 2001. The Midnight Run – as you might guess – is run at midnight on New Year’s Eve and is more of a run away costume party than a road race.

With or without a costume - 5 kilometers or 3.1 mile run isn’t all that far. But it seemed a long way to Kim, who wasn’t a runner ….yet. In preparation, she trundled out the door to start her block-by-block expedition of hilly Riverdale.

“ At first I could hardly run a block,” she said, “but I had committed to run the Midnight Run with friends.” For five weeks she hung with it block by block, trying to run a mile non-stop.”

When she went online to register for the race, “ I saw the running classes and I had heard how great they were, so I registered for those too,” she said. A couple days after running non-stop for one mile in the Midnight Run Kim started the running classes.

“I went right to the advanced beginner level with coaches Shantie Mypaulsingh and Allison Madeira. There I met a lot of good friends in class, among then Aggie Zygas, now one of the coaching staff," she explained.

"Aggie and I use to run a the very back of the group chatting all the way. If we weren't so busy talking we could probably have run faster. One day we were gabbing away about dating and whatever, and Coach Shantie came up behind us and said 'You'll have to talk a little louder ladies, I can't hear you.' Aggie and I laughed, but we got the message and ran a little faster. In February we ran the Snowflake 4-miler and a year later the Brooklyn 1⁄2 marathon in 11-minute pace. I worked my way up to two New York City Marathons in 2002 and 2003."

A committed runner and accomplished seamstress, Kim even made many of her beautiful running clothes. But, even when you do everything right, things can go wrong. In February 2005 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and in March 2005, she had a lumpectomy and lymph node dissection.

“Like any committed runner, I kept bugging my doctor, 'when can I run again,'" she said laughing. “At two weeks, I got the 'go ahead.' ” Kim and I planned out a tentative running schedule flexible to chemotherapy side effects and fatigue.

“I could barely run. I was so slow. It was hard for me seeing how much fitness I had lost,” she said. “But it was reassuring that I could still run and be out there.” She ran through her first 3-month round of chemo - Adriamycin and Cytoxan.

Kim rejoined the classes moving back to beginners. The coaching staff , students and her friends were glad to have her back. Despite all the support, it was still tough. She explained. “In beginners, there were some runners actually slower than me, so I had company. It was so hard. I could barely keep up. It was so hard I would count to myself to make the minutes go by. But I would tell myself … I am here. I am alive. My body is still moving. Its so important to keep my life and to keep my running... so I don’t loose everything to fighting this cancer.”

As a psychotherapist at the Columbia University Parent-Infant Program, she knows the value of a good support system. “It was so important to be allowed to still be part of the running class. The coaches were all so encouraging and kind. ”

The second 3-month round of chemo had different challenges to running. “My hands and feet went numb. I had to worry about tripping all the time,” she said when Taxol caused her to developed neuropathy – a type of nerve damage. “I switched to Bikram (hot) Yoga twice a week. Sweating out the toxins felt good. I just took my wig off and did what I had to do.”

Once she regained feeling in her hands and feet, she came back to running class. “I learned a lot from running. I knew no matter how weak I got, I could get strong again. Even those days I lay in bed and was so sick I couldn’t move, I knew like when I was a beginner runner, I can get strong again.”



Top Tips From Kim:

1. Run as much as you are allowed too.
2. Don’t be embarrassed to be bald – nobody cares. Just go out there and get all your sympathy, people are so supportive. Get all the positive attention you can.

A Little More

Running Coach Shelly Glover is has a master's degree in exercise physiology from Columbia University. She co-authored The Runner's Handbook and The Competitive Runner’s Handbook is a veteran road runner and marathoner. She also coaches The Greater New York Racing Team is available for private coaching. Coaching Services