Syracuse Online


Dr. J. on Running

Kristin Schiesswohl

Charger Enjoying New Area

Published November 15, 1999 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

Since her move to Central New York last Spring, everything seems to have fallen in place for Kristin Schiesswohl. She likes her job as pharmacist at Wegmans, she likes her house in Fayetteville, she likes to run the hills, and she loves the support of her teammates in the Syracuse Chargers Track Club.

Kristin's change of pace paid off last October when she ran the Chicago Marathon in 2 hours 49 minutes 48 seconds, and qualified for the US Olympic Trials. Earlier in the summer, she made her entrance into the Syracuse running scene by winning the Chase Corporate Challenge.

Kristin grew up in Orange County in downstate New York. She hated running in high school, but competed in the long jump, setting the Monroe Woodbury school record of 18 feet 6 inches. She ran track for one semester at Cornell University, then switched to body-building. Eventually, she turned to running to lose weight.

In 1993, with a degree in nutrition from Cornell, Shiesswohl went to Buffalo to study Pharmacy. She ran an intramural 5K race in 21 minutes and won an award as the first finisher among dorm residents. Two years later, she won the Linda Yalem Memorial 5K race in 18:36, and set her eyes on the marathon.

The 1996 Buffalo Marathon was Kristin's debut in 3 hours 30 minutes and 58 seconds. She ran it again the following year in a redeeming time of 3 hours 12 minutes and a second place finish. She was hooked on running marathons. A stress fracture marred her training for the 1998 Marine Corps Marathon, which Kristin ran in 3:10:58.

In May 1999, Kristin bid Buffalo farewell with a 3:05:48 time, finishing second to Syracuse's Karen Kemis. The two runners met again in August in the Corporate Challenge, where Kemis returned the favor.

In the year leading to the Buffalo Marathon, Kristin sought the training advice of Dr. Owen Anderson, a renowned exercise physiologist. Owen coached her by email on a weekly basis, establishing a detailed training program as well as an overall training strategy. Kristin followed that strategy all the way to Chicago.

Kristin's new job in Syracuse featured a peculiar work schedule, and resulted in an equally unconventional training schedule which worked well for her. A lone runner much of the time, she enjoyed the camaraderie of her Charger teammates as they competed around the region.

The Chicago Marathon was an emotional experience in many ways. Few people believed that Kristin could qualify for the Olympic Trials, which required a 16-minute improvement in 6 months. In addition, the Chicago Marathon coincided with Boston's Cross-country Mayor Cup, where her team was scheduled to compete.

On a cold late October morning in Chicago, Kristin reached 20 miles on pace for a sub-2:50 marathon. To keep her mind off her tiring muscles, she invoked her teammates in Boston. They too were thinking of her as they battled the trails of Franklin Park. Each felt guilty for the pressure created by the schedule conflict.

In a storybook ending that no one anticipated, Kristin qualified for the trials, while her teammates dominated the trails, the first local team ever to win the coveted Mayor's Cup.

In recent years, Kristin's running also benefited from the support of Derek White, a fast runner in his own right. The two met as spectators at a road race in Buffalo and discussed their mutual plantar fasciitis injuries. They have since supported each other in running and in injury. She was named Buffalo's Runner of the Year in 1997. He received the same honor in 1998. The two have plans for an August wedding, with a honeymoon culminating at the Falmouth Road Race.

With the Olympic Trials around the corner, Kristin has little time to waste. November is for recovery and February is for tapering. With only two months in between for serious training, she prays for a mild Syracuse winter.

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. He maintains, the world leader in live track webcasting, and receives email at

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