Young Survival Coalition: Going for Gold Against Breast Cancer

by  | May 14, 2019 | Health and Wellness | 

For National Women’s Health Week, we’re sharing our favorite stories and resources for your best health. We’ve collected everything from partner promotions to curated wellness content to help you establish a wellness routine right for you, diet and nutrition that works for your body and practices that improve your mental and spiritual wellness.

Training for the Olympics and going through breast cancer treatment seem like they have nothing in common. But Olympic Gold Medalist, Kikkan Randall, recently told YSC they’re a lot alike. Kikkan was diagnosed with stage II invasive ductal carcinoma at age 35, just 3 months after the greatest achievement in her athletic career – a Gold Medal in cross-country skiing at the 2018 Olympics.

A Dream Realized

After a bad day derailed her Olympic medal chances in 2014, she returned 4 years later determined to soak in the entire experience. As her 18th Olympic race, she knew it would be her last. In a fairytale ending to a storied career, Kikkan and a teammate beat out their Swedish rivals by .19 seconds, securing the first gold medal in cross country skiing for the U.S.

Kikkan embarked on the next phase of her life, ready to pursue her passion for keeping girls in sports while working with the International Olympic Committee to further the Olympic Movement. She spoke widely about how anyone can use training strategies to work toward challenging goals in small, systematic ways.

Something Didn’t Feel Right

Three months after the Olympics, she celebrated a perfect Mother’s Day with her young son. While getting ready for bed, she brushed past her right breast and felt something hard. “They felt like 2 little hard peas, and I immediately knew something didn’t feel right.”

A doctor assured her she was young, healthy and active – those lumps were probably nothing. But 2 weeks later, a biopsy revealed Kikkan had stage II invasive ductal carcinoma.

It took over 10 years for Kikkan Randall to win a gold medal. Here’s how she did it.

By  for the Juneau Empire

Olympian cross-country skier stresses importance of goal setting.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 5:50pm – Anchorage-raised Olympian Kikkan Randall knows the hefty metal disc like the back of her hand.

She’s displayed it in thousands of photos, brought it all over the country with her and amusedly watched her 3-year-old son, Breck, tote it around.

But for the longest time, the Alaskan cross-country skier had no clue what it was like to hold an Olympic gold medal — or any Olympic medal for that matter. She didn’t want to. Not until one came into her possession.

“I never actually knew how much they weighed,” said Randall, who spoke to a sold-out audience on Wednesday afternoon at Centennial Hall. “When I leaned over and they put that medal around my neck, I almost fell off the podium.”

In a 53-minute talk for the third and final installment of the Pillars of America Speakers Series presented by the Juneau Glacier Valley Rotary Club, Randall detailed the long and arduous road that led up to her gold medal-winning performance in the women’s team sprint freestyle at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

[Pillars speaker spurs on youths’ dreams and ambitions]

For the complete article click HERE.

Anchorage Press: Kikkan vs Cancer

By Amy Armstrong

Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care that you are young, ridiculously healthy and making ‘all the right choices’ when it comes to eating and exercise. It doesn’t even care if you’re a gold medal-winning Olympian.

Anchorage’s Kikkan Randall is a five-time Olympian, nine-time World Championship team member, whose determination and grit has broken new trail for the next generation of cross country skiers in Alaska and around the globe. In her mid-30s, she received a diagnosis no woman wants — stage two invasive ductal carcinoma, also present in a lymph node. Yes, it was an early stage, doctors told her, but it also was an aggressive cancer.

For the complete article click HERE.

6 Team USA Athletes Who Are Using The Power Of Sport For Good

BY LISA COSTANTINI | APRIL 05, 2019, 6:25 P.M. (ET)

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace — declared by the United Nations in 2013 — celebrates the power of sport to drive social change, community development and to foster peace and understanding. In honor of this initiative, which takes place annually on April 6, we’re highlighting six of the many Team USA Olympians and Paralympians who are using the power of sport to make the world a better place. Here’s what they’re doing and why.

For the complete article click HERE.

An Afternoon with Kikkan Randall: Cross Country Olympic Gold Medalist

Whenever I make a trip to the East coast, specifically the Northeast I try to pack in as much as I can.  This recent trip was no different with stop is in New York City, Vermont, Quebec City and Maine.  It’s busy days but somehow I come out more energized than when I arrived.

When I get to see posts like this one it just reaffirms how worth it it all is.  Thank you Sleepy Hollow and Skirack for the great visit and Marissa for the kind words…

On Wednesday, March 20, 2019, Skirack and theSleepy Hollow Inn Bike and Ski Center had the honor of hosting one of the most inspirational and influential nordic skiers of our time. It was a perfect, blue bird day. The snow was soft and the sun was shining when I arrived at Sleepy Hollow to set up for what promised to be an exciting event. People were already materializing with an hour still to go before the start. You could feel the anticipation building as everyone eagerly waited for the Fischer SUV to appear. I busied myself setting up tables and erecting wind blades that proudly proclaimed Fischer and One Way. When next I looked out the window of the barn, there it was, shining black in the sun, and as I scanned the scene I finally spotted her: Kikkan Randall, winningest American Nordic Skier, Olympic Gold Medalist and determined cancer fighter.

For the complete article click HERE.

 

Skirt Sports Podcast: Kikkan Randall Made a 10 Year Plan & Won Gold

Sometimes we choose to do things that push us out of our comfort zones. Sometimes those things happen to us and we have to dig in, embrace the discomfort and use all of our tools to push through. Kikkan Randall has experienced both categories. Kikkan is a lifelong skier. Her family moved to Alaska when she was young so most of her formative years were spent there. She’s a talent. Pure and simple. A natural athlete who gravitated to skiing. She has competed in 5 Olympic games. FIVE! While she raced at the top level in the world for over 15 years, it wasn’t until 2018 when she and her teammate Jessie Diggins won gold in the Team Sprint – the first ever gold medals in that event!

To listen to the podcast click HERE.

Kikkan’s athletic career alone is something we can all glean knowledge and inspiration from. But the next chapter of her life started three months after her gold medal. She was officially retired when she felt a lump on her breast and was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at 35 years old. This is the chapter she’s still writing. Through it all, she has used exercise as a tool to help during treatments and guess what? Just for kicks, she jumped into her first endurance race – the  50km Birkie! Like me (racing the 29km Korte), she was also stepping outside of her comfort zone and doing a long distance race for the first time.

Today we talk about:

Alaska: Growing up in eccentric Alaskan culture as a runner and a skier
What it took to become a pro/elite skier
The 10 year plan
Competing at the top level in the world for over 15 years
How she met her husband Jeff Ellis & their evolution as a married couple pursuing athletic dreams – separately and together
Becoming a mom (to now 3 year old Breck)
THE RACE! What it took to win GOLD in PyeongChang 2018
Why teamwork is the key to success
Cancer: how, why & what now
Jumping into the Birkie & exercising through her treatments
What we didn’t talk about:

Her non-profit Fast & Female – Kikkan is empowering girls everyday!

Kikkan is a very special person. Since this interview, ESPNW wrote an article about Kikkan and described what they call “the Kikkan Effect.” Here’s how the author Bonnie Ford describes it, “a powerful vortex evident long before her diagnosis. It pulls people toward her and spins them back out, doing things they might otherwise resist. They hear her in their heads: Come on. It’ll be fun. We’ll be better.”

I think Kikkan is just one of those people who on the outside is like the girl next door, so she’s real and approachable, but on the inside is like a superhero, able to push herself mentally and physically further than most people can ever imagine. But the effect is real. Her Positivity is contagious.

Post-Note: Back to the Birkie for a minute. It’s funny. We texted before and after the start. I told her there was a bet to see who would win – me in the 29k or Kikkan in the 50k. At 2:48, she texted me this sentence, “That was hard.” I wrote back, “I can’t wait to hear about it. But the most awesome thing is that I beat you.” Of course she averaged 3:22 per k for 50k and I averaged 5:13 per k for 29k but a bet’s a bet. So the Kikkan effect has begun!

 

Olympic.org: Kikkan Randall making the athletes voice heard

A MAJOR PROTAGONIST ON THE WORLD CIRCUIT IN HER SPECIALTY OF CROSS-COUNTY SKI SPRINT FOR A DECADE, THE BEST US CROSS-COUNTRY ATHLETE IN HISTORY, KIKKAN RANDALL WON GOLD IN THE TEAM SPRINT WITH JESSICA DIGGINS AT PYEONGCHANG 2018 AND THE FIRST US VICTORY IN THE SPORT FOR 94 YEARS AT THE WINTER GAMES. SHE TALKS TO OLYMPIC.ORG ABOUT THIS FEAT, AS WELL AS HER ELECTION TO THE IOC ATHLETES’ COMMISSION AND HER BATTLE AGAINST ILLNESS.

For the complete article click HERE.