Living in Possibility – Comin For Ya SFM

By: Kristine Ciardello

Kristine is into all things active and sweaty – barre, running, cycling, Pilates, skiing, hiking, the works. She’s a certified Pilates Instructor and kind of in love with San Francisco. That said, Hawaii is her favorite place on the planet. She’d rather be on a beach pretty much any time of day. She loves to cook (and also eat). She’s fluent in Sarcasm and Wit. To sum herself up? She’s essentially somewhere between a green juice and a glass of cab at all times. This is 31. Visit Kristine’s Blog at:

So this whole new year thing.

I’ve talked about where I want to focus. On Possibility. On Connection.

I think that living in a place of possibility rather than in the fear of failure opens you up to so much. I’m an impulsive person by nature (for better or for worse right?) and while spontaneity has never been an issue for me (I thrive at it), I’m really good at thinking about things and talking about things. Like a lot.

It’s the doing of the things that holds me back sometimes. Enter fear of failure. Enter oldest-child-syndrome. Enter Scorpio.

But F that. Right? It’s time.

YOLO and all of that.

We’ll start on a lighter note. 

I want to run a sub-1:50 half-marathon.

“Officially”, I’ve never done this. “Unofficially”, (i.e. via my Garmin, I have 1:49 at the Kaiser 1/2 in 2012) I have. Lady who decided to stop on the finish line, I will never forget you. Ever. I hope your brunch was terrible post-race.

Dead horse, beaten.

This has been a goal I’ve had for a while. I know I’m capable of it. I know where my fitness level is. I know I can execute.

It’s just the whole doing it for a couple of months (consistently) to prepare and then for 13.1 miles during the actual race.

Where everything can go wrong and I have absolutely zero control over it. (Oh also, I’m a control freak. I like to be in control of things in my life.

Which is probably why the only substance to have ever entered this body is wine. Or, you know, cocktails. Time and a place.)

But that’s the fear of failure rearing it’s ugly head.

And I don’t have time for that.


So here we go.

I’ve been named as a San Francisco Marathon 2016 Ambassador.

Something I’m really excited about.

With a whole slew of other runners from the US and abroad who have achieved my goal, countless others, and goals I’ve never even thought were attainable. (I tip my hat to you ultra-marathoners, but I’ll never join you.) It’s intimidating. But it’s also motivating. To have a crew like this have your back? Pretty powerful stuff.

The running community was a part of running I’d never prepared for and also the one thing that keeps me coming back to races (aside from just running the same routes through the city/neighborhood I live in for free and not at 6am.)

The San Francisco 1/2 Marathon was the first I’d ever run.

And so, so under-prepared.

I was coming off a long career of competitive soccer and swimming. Post-college, I found myself, as a goal-oriented person, without a team, or an athletic goal in site.

Oh wait – people pay and train for running races? They do all this just to run?

I mean yeah, okay. I’m in. Where do I sign?

I was under the impression that if I could run 4 miles (nope, not joking), I could run a 1/2 marathon. And when I say “run 4 miles” – it was more of a walk/jog. Riddled with complaints.

I was 22.

Staying out until 2am and having a pizza marathon was more my speed at the time.

There was no training.

So I busted out the oldest, not-running appropriate, “athletic shoes” I owned and headed to the start line in Golden Gate Park. To note: I did not eat breakfast. Who needs breakfast before a multi-hour endurance event? Not this girl.

I remember starting off and the first couple of miles thinking, “Wait this is kind of fun. So many people. We’re all wearing bibs. I’m into this.”

Then Mile 4.2 hit and it went from puppies and sunshine to, “Sorry how many miles am I “running” today? I paid like $100+ for this. I hate this. I hate San Francisco. I hate everyone.”

Miles 4.3-13.1 were more of the same. Hating life. In pain. Having to pee.


I remember finishing, eating about 17 meals that day, sleeping for 14 hours, and being so sore I physically almost couldn’t get out of bed the next day. I wore Uggs to work. For the first (and last) time in my life.

But something in all of those miles of pain and challenge and horrific-ness clicked.

I was hooked. 


2 Full Marathons and 15+ Half Marathons later, I run ~15 miles a week. I love it. It’s my stress release. It’s where I get my best thinking done (also in a SoulCycle studio – BEST IDEAS PEOPLE). It’s where I reconnect with friends. And explore new cities and towns.

So this year, I’m in. I’m running the Rock n Roll 1/2 in April as a warm-up and then I’ll be toe-ing the line in July at the San Francisco 1/2 Marathon. I’m gunning for sub-1:50’s at both, but I’ll take an either/or too. Just get me that 1:4x.

Now the fun(ish) part. The training. Here goes.

(Read, it’s unconventional and I’m totally good with that.)

Monday: Mid-length run (6-9 miles)

Tuesday: SoulCycle

Wednesday: Barre

Thursday: Speed Run (or Barry’s Bootcamp)

Friday: SoulCycle

Saturday: Long Run

Sunday: Barre

Runs: 1 mid-length, 1 speed session and 1 long work well for me. Especially when speed can be incorporated at Barry’s in a dark room with a bunch of sweaty people and really loud music.

Barre: So important. To lengthen, stretch and tone. To reduce injury risk. I learned during my first marathon training cycle how important it is to have a strong core, and strong glutes. Also for vanity reason, it don’t hurt.

SoulCycle: LOVE OF MY LIFE. There’s something about that darn community I will never get enough of. It inspires, motivates, pushes and empowers you. Regardless of the crap day I had, or the person I walked into that room as, I walk out a completely different version of me. Always, always my best self.

So first goal of 2016 is out there. It’s on the internet. It’s going to happen.


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