Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Meet The Members: Corre Kombol, By Amy Duquette

Meet The Members:

Corre Kombol

PPTC member Corre (pronounced Corey) is full of a very playful energy, always sporting a broad smile and sometimes wearing a cute shirt when she runs. Corre was awarded PPTC ‘Best New Member’ award last year. If there were a “Most Club Spirit” award, she’d be a hard contender to beat, not only because she runs every Tuesday night Speed Series, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday PPTC group run, but also because of the way she interacts with the her fellow runners, stirring up the social vibe, making it a little more fun to be there.

She won that ‘Best New Member’ award because of her spirit, dedication and positive attitude but she’s also had some impressive times in 2008. Corre finished the Brooklyn Half in 1:38, a 7:30 pace per mile, and the Team Championship five-mile race in 35:26, a 7:05 pace per mile. But don’t ask her because she doesn’t remember her times. She can’t recite how many miles she is currently running per week either but does admit that she has more fun training than racing. She believes in “…free running. Just being the runner that I’m proud of.” She does not focus on achieving PR’s and does not think much about her past races.

For Corre, running has been a way for her to find balance and control, a way to harness her abundance of energy and feel less anxiety. Corre had found herself at risk of losing control both figuratively and literally at different points in her life. For example, after her very first half marathon in Seattle at age 17, Corre in peed her pants at the finish line. She found it funny then and still laughs about it years later. She reflects on the symbolism in this loss of control. She typically pushes herself hard, not knowing when to stop and throughout her life she’s looked for a way to define limits for herself. Long distance running, which requires that she maintain her pace, offers the boundaries she needs.

Corre has always been active. As a child, born and raised at the base of Mt. Rainer in a town called Enumclaw, (“The Land of Evil Spirits”), WA, she hiked, rode horses, played on the farm and in the woods. She was right in the middle of six siblings. Her mother was a runner and in sixth grade Corre asked her if she could join her on a run. “I was a skinny kid. The run was really hard for me and my mind and body did not match up. I did not know why I could not go faster but I wanted to.” Her other siblings were all active, but none were runners. Corre continued this connection she established to her mother into junior high and high school. She was the captain of her track and cross country team in high school. It was here where she first discovered and appreciated the community aspect that running can offer. This continues to be one of her favorite parts about the sport. While many adults lose ties with old friends, Corre remains friends with her high school running friends even though she is living on the other side of the country. This May they will all run a half marathon together. Corre is also heading up an all ladies 200 mile Reach the Beach relay team in NH this September.

In college, Corre took a break from running for a period of time. Her parents were going through a divorce and Corre began experimenting with the partying lifestyle. But after this phase, she moved to Santa Barbara to work for an investment banking firm. The boss here decided to pay for her (and all employees) to receive personal training during their lunch hour. Corre took complete advantage and went five times a week. She then joined the track club that trainer coached and she once again submerged herself into running. She ran her first marathon shortly after in San Diego. Even though she was no stranger to distances and had completed a 30K, she found it “…nerve wracking and fun. But I was proud of how controlled I was.”

“Running is a place where I find clarity. It is my foundation to make me happy. It only helps me and does not hinder me.” The only time when she was hindered was during a long, tough winter in New York and swears that the cold weather is what brought on the tendinitis in her hip. Besides finding tendinitis in NYC, she found herself part of a running community again within the PPTC. The group runs provide the constant schedule she responds to and the park environment where the runs take place are reminiscent of her childhood surroundings. “My favorite part of the day is my run and I like the social component of it, but also the competition. You can tell a lot about a person when you run with them. In our group some of us always need to be in the lead and we are always inching ahead of each other. (One runner) is really honest in the way he runs and I really value his honesty. I’ve become very aware of others and the dynamic of people…my relationships have changed and I’ve also learned how to rely on people and be a better team player all through running.” Corre and her husband moved to NYC two and half years ago, where one of her brothers and a sister lives. She works in advertising for the Above the Influence anti-drug campaign geared towards teens and her husband is a photographer. She is deeply involved in yoga at Laughing Lotus in Manhattan. She finds yoga and running similar in that yoga also requires her to find and hold a pace for an extended period of time. Also, it “gets me out of my head.” When asked what her future goals may be, Corre says, “One of my gifts is that I am a casual runner. I don’t think people stop to be thankful for their gifts often enough in life. I just want to continue bettering who I am,” and for Corre a big part of that happens through running.

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