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NMRTC San Diego Nurse participates in Marine Corps Marathon

21 November 2023

From Petty Officer 3rd Class Raphael McCorey

Navy Medical Readiness and Training Center San Diego’s Lt. Jg. Kristen Donohue, keeps pace of managing active duty life while making sure to enjoy the life experiences along the way.Donohue, a nurse in NMRTC San Diego’s Emergency Department, joined thousands from across the country for the 48th running of the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington
Navy Medical Readiness and Training Center San Diego’s Lt. Jg. Kristen Donohue, keeps pace of managing active duty life while making sure to enjoy the life experiences along the way.

Donohue, a nurse in NMRTC San Diego’s Emergency Department, joined thousands from across the country for the 48th running of the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C., 29 Oct.

“I recently completed the Marine Corps Marathon and this is my second marathon,” said Donohue. “It was amazing. Being in DC, and running around active duty, civilians, retirees, veterans, all sorts of different people that are just super motivated, it’s just really encouraging. Running throughout our nation's capital is probably the best way to see the monuments when you're going around all the different areas, it didn't even feel like I was running. It was just so much fun to be a part of”.

Not only was Donohue given the opportunity to participate in the marathon, but she finished setting a personal record of three hours and 57 minutes.

“I never go into any run thinking ‘I want to beat this time’,” Donohue remarked. “I never want to rush anything, because I'm enjoying the journey. I also know that I'll never be the best. The top female finisher was two hours and 50 minutes, and I will never be able to do that. It is humbling, because it's not a competition for me, it's just about having fun. I was just there enjoying my time, enjoying the people around me, and seeing the sights. At some points, it's easier than others, but it was really cool to finish and see my time and think, ‘Wow, I actually did that’, but it's never a race, it's always a journey that you're on, and it's cool when you finish. Sometimes some runs are better than others, but you enjoy the better ones when you have some not-so-great ones, because you know how challenging runs feel versus how good ones feel.”

For Donohue, running is not only a way to acquire exercise, but a way to decompress and align herself.

“Running is everything to me, it's my mental reset and my physical break,” Donohue expressed. “I wake up really early and the best time of the day to run is right before sunrise. I start every day with a run and everything else will fall into place from there, that's how I kind of judge how my day is going to go. There's always something to be seen in nature and that's where I find my inspiration and that's where I find God. It's so refreshing to be outside and just see different things. That's what I love about it, you can literally just pick up and go anywhere and see the world in a different light, all you need is a pair of shoes. From there, that sets the tone for the whole day. It makes it better when your mind is set to take on each day. When your body feels good, that means that you can work better, be a better coworker, better nurse, and a better person.”

As a Sailor, Donohue acknowledges the great importance of maintaining physical activity as well as its effects both in her personal and professional life.

“Maintaining physical fitness as an active-duty Sailor is crucial,” Donohue stated. “We can pick up and move anywhere, and we go into austere environments, as well. Being ready for that at all times is so important, because you never know what job you're going to do, or how long you're going to have to travel for. Endurance is really important, especially when you're doing long hours. Just having that foundation of always being ready and making sure that your body is as healthy as it can be not only improves you, but it improves the people around you, leading to mission execution and success.”

In staying active, Donohue has found ways to build relationships both in her professional work and through her personal experiences, opening avenues for better success all around.

“Honestly, I can say that I have never had a workout where I didn't feel better afterwards,” Donohue recalled. “It boosts morale, it makes you feel better and then it just motivates you to get more work done. Running has been so good to connect with other people too. When you have that drive, getting your buddy to go to the gym, go for a walk, a run, or even go for a swim, there's so many options that we have even when we're in the desert or on a ship, there are things that we can do, you just have to be creative sometimes. You're not only setting yourself up for success, but also your team as well. As military members, we are working for the US Navy, the federal government and the people of the United States of America so we have to be in the best shape we can to make sure we are being successful leaders in all aspects of our health and work environments.”

While Donohue acknowledges the drive of pressing forward that both her career as a Navy Nurser and the spirit of running brings, she also recognizes the importance of understanding the serenity of making the best possible situation of the moment at hand.

“You can't just sit back and do nothing and expect your career to fall into your hands, but there is something to be said about just waiting patiently, being strategic with your moves and who you talk to,” said Donohue. “Enjoying where you're at is something that I've had to learn to do, because we're always striving. The Navy pushes that, ‘What is the next thing’, everybody always asks you. ‘Where are you going next? What are you doing next?’ It can be really overwhelming, but I've learned that you have to enjoy where you are and experience the people and the command that you're attached to. We can always strive, there's a time and a place to look forward to the future, but there's also that balance that you need to have acknowledging ‘This is where I am, I can't do anything about the circumstances’, and sometimes we can change them, but other times we can’t. I love the Navy, it's been a dream come true, I've wanted to join since I was little so this is really incredible to be where I am now and how much I have grown at this command. What's next for my education, my career, next duty station, a lot of those moves are up to the Navy and to God. The circumstances that are out of our control can be difficult, but I just have to give them away, knowing this is where I am and I'm here for a reason, I'm going to do the best that I can each day being a light in any environment I am working in. That's the goal and mission, it makes everybody better when you're a light.”

NMRTC San Diego's mission is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high quality healthcare services and shape the future of military medicine through education, training and research. NMRTC San Diego employs more than 6,000 active duty military personnel, civilians and contractors in Southern California to provide patients with world-class care anytime, anywhere. (U.S. Navy story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Raphael McCorey)

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