EL PASO, Texas — Lately, Bambi Kline gets nervous every time she drives across Trans Mountain Road.
She doesn't mind the severe curves and the unpredictable crosswinds on that stretch of roadway; she can handle that in her SUV.
What Kline is nervous about is going over the 10.7-mile-long Trans Mountain Road in her size 8 Mizuno running shoes.
Kline will be one of more than 1,400 runners participating in Sunday's 35th Annual GECU Trans Mountain Challenge Half Marathon/Half Marathon Relay/5K.
"This will be my first half marathon," she said. "I guess you can say I'm only half crazy."
Kline has been training for the 13.1-mile race with group of runners since July.
"I'm from a family of runners, so I enjoy running,"
Kline said. "I just started running again about a year ago, so I could get back into shape. We run four days a week, plus, we're up at 5 a.m. to run at 6 a.m. every Sunday for our long run. The longest run we've done has been 12 miles."
But there is another reason Kline has been training.
"My husband has been deployed since last December, and he is coming back in a few months," she said. "He has always been a runner, so it'll be nice that we can do something together. He's been very encouraging; he's all about it. He's been very supportive of me."
Kline said she and her husband, Army Capt. Steven Kline, plan to run the full 26.2-mile El Paso Marathon in February.
"I've signed up for three half marathons to prepare for it," she said. "Running is in my blood. I love it."
Cesar Nava — who has run two full marathons and recently returned from his first 50-mile ultramarathon — has been helping Kline with her training.
"When you're young, you run because it's something to do in high school, but when you're an adult and have a 9-to-5 job, it takes a lot of time to train," Nava said. "Bambi is a working mom with three kids, so for her to take the time to do this is amazing. Long-distance running takes a lot of dedication, and she has shown to have that dedication."
Nava said Kline picked a challenging run for her first half marathon — the Trans Mountain Challenge, with its 6-mile climb from the west and 4.5 miles from the east and its peak elevation of 5,280 feet.
"The Trans Mountain run is not an easy run," he said. "It's a daunting task for people who are doing it for the first time. But the determination she is showing is fantastic. She has set her mind to conquer this challenge."
Kline and her husband moved to El Paso from Corning, N.Y. in 1999. She has run several 5Ks, and she is really looking forward to her first half marathon.
"My running condition has gotten a lot better," she said. "I finished
an 11-mile run in about two hours, whereas four months ago it would have probably taken me double to do it."
Like most other runners, Kline sometimes hits a training wall and doesn't feel like running. When this happens, she turns to her husband's 17 years of military service for inspiration.
"To me, what I'm going through is just a little bit of a sacrifice compared to what my husband is going through," she said. "My husband is the one who is making a huge sacrifice by being away from his family, his three little girls, for a year. That's what I think about when I feel like giving up. If he can make that sacrifice, I can keep my legs moving for two more miles or three more miles, whatever it takes to get it done."