Athlete Name: Chris Kvam
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m 33 years old, an avid cyclist and runner, a husband, a prosecutor, and I happen to have CF. I was diagnosed at the age of 4. I live my life with CF by setting short and long term goals, the achievement of which require adherence to my medical regimen. Growing up with CF gave me a drive to figure out what is most important to me and to accomplish it, and as I reach my mid-30’s, CF has distilled a sense of gratitude and awe for where I find myself today.
When I was young, my parents were told to treat me like a “normal” kid, and I was enrolled in many activities. They signed me up for basketball, soccer, swimming, ice skating and skiing. My family was very active. Family hikes, cross country skiing and bike rides were a regular part of our lives. In the days before the internet, my neighborhood friends and I played hours of pick-up football, street hockey, basketball, and baseball. It turns out I was terrible at pretty much all of these, and as I entered high school, cross country and track became my choices due to lenient no-cut policies. My brother David and I participated in many activities together, and have continued this into adulthood.
I ran competitively throughout high school and college, and while I was never incredibly fast, I strove to run personal bests and maximize my potential on the trail and track. After college, I lost the teammates, motivational coaches, and litany of events that accompany that level of organized competition. I struggled for several years to motivate myself to prioritize my fitness, and as a result, my lung health suffered. Eventually I shook the dust off, and took up cycling. Since then, I have done countless century rides, ridden 900 miles through the Canadian Rockies, cycled through the French Pyrenees, and have completed a half-ironman. Every winter I try to complete at least one cross country ski marathon. More recently, I have started running again, and in 2013 completed the NYC marathon in 3 hours and 50 minutes. I seek out and prepare for endurance events that truly test my physical boundaries. I’m not racing against anyone but myself, and am always trying to maximize my performance. Two of my favorite annual events are the Highlander Cycle Tour, and the Lake Placid Loppet cross country ski marathon. However, cycling up the Col du Tormalet, the highest pass in the French Pyrenees, and completing the NYC marathon stand out as two truly amazing experiences. Running the NYC marathon for Team Boomer was one of the most self-affirming things I have ever done, and is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
Why I Compete:
Every race or event that I train for is a celebration of a few more months of health, adherence, and ability. As soon as I complete one, I’m planning the next. Many have described CF as a “downward spiral” of decline. I work ceaselessly through physical activity, excellent self-care and positive attitude to reverse the vortex. Physical challenge and accomplishment is the cornerstone of this process for me. Nothing shows me how well I am doing or how alive I am like exploring the limits of my physical abilities. This process affirms my commitment to maintaining my health, and motivates me to continue to look positively into the future. There may come a time when I lose the physical ability to do the activities I love. If that day comes, I will face it without regret, knowing that I have made the most out of my abilities while I had them, and remember when.