PUBLISHED: 12:10 PM on Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Klein runs to her goal of the 2008 Olympic trials

Courtesy photo
  Gretchen Klein, left, in Athens with the American Diabetes Association team.
For Gretchen Klein, running is life.

Klein, who has been running competitively since her high school days in Ketchikan, is trying to make her way to the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials in the marathon.

After 32 weeks of training, Klein entered and began the Nov. 6 New York Marathon.

But after experiencing pain in her hip, Klein had to pull out 16 miles into the race.

"I knew I had to have a certain time, and my hip was hurting pretty bad. I was off pace by 10 minutes and I knew I couldn't make that up," Klein said. "I got out and went up to get on the subway and saw thousands of people going by. That was really hard but you get over it. It happens."

Finding her way to Central Park became a challenge after she boarded the wrong subway train. Klein said she got off the train in Queens and met a family who also were lost and trying to get to the park to see their father finish the race.

"I hobbled to the finish and everybody was wonderful. It was fun," Klein said.

Klein grew up in Ketchikan, where she lives today and works for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

While she participates in many shorter runs during the year, she runs at least one marathon annually. She said her training has not been consistent over the years, partly due to taking time off to have her two children, now 2 and 4.

"I take them out running with me," Klein said. "It gets a little hard to stroll them along though."

She said being in the New York Marathon was something she would like to encourage others to experience.

"It's fabulous. It's like a festival and people are lined up all over the city," Klein said. "It's a great place for people who just want to experience New York City."

Klein said she will continue to train to get the time she needs to be in the Olympic trials.

"Now that I've had my kids, I can take the next few years to focus and be consistent in my training," Klein said.