What Lance Armstrong's ex wife is doing now

Before Lance Armstrong's relationship with Anna Hansen, there was Sheryl Crow. And before Sheryl Crow, there was Kristin Armstrong, née Richard. The couple met at a press conference in early 1997. Kristin Armstrong revealed to the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) that it was during this time that the world-renowned cyclist was fighting testicular cancer and had just finished undergoing chemotherapy. 

Just one year later, Lance and Kristin said "I do" in Santa Barbara, California. Kristin gave up her employment in public relations and moved to France to support her husband's cycling career. Not only did Lance overcome cancer shortly before this time, he also went on to consecutively win the Tour de France five times. All the while, he also became a father to a son and twin daughters. However, in 2003 came the shocking news: Lance and Kristin had decided to divorce. Lance would go on to win Tour de France two more times and become embroiled in a doping scandal that rocked the cycling world. But, what happened to Kristin? Allow us to explain.

Faith after divorce

What enabled Kristin to get through her divorce? She divulged to CBN that it was her Catholic faith that carried her. "Circumstances in life often take us places that we never intended to go. We visit some places of beauty, others of pain and desolation," she explained, "I never imagined that divorce would be part of my life history or my family's legacy." Nevertheless, Kristin said she turned to God after her marriage ended and felt her faith was strengthened by the ordeal.

She learned to ask for help and tried her best to shake off feelings of unworthiness. Two years after she and Lance divorced, she took a trip to Colorado and felt that God was telling her that she was "worth fighting for." Kristin came to the realization that "if someone leaves you, it doesn't mean you are leave-able. If someone hurts you, it doesn't mean you are wimpy." Sage advice, to be sure.

Channeling melancholy into marathons

Kristin may have been devastated about the dissolution of her marriage, but you would never know it. In November 2004, the 33-year-old mother of three ran her second marathon of the year. Kristin did so to raise money for Fertile Hope, an organization that supports cancer patients struggling with infertility. She also had another goal in mind: she wanted people to know that they're stronger than they think.

"I learned that you can get past pain and you can go farther than you thought, deeper than you thought, both physically and emotionally," Kristin told The New York Times. Kristin had only started running a few years prior — after the birth of her twins. At that time, her longest run was just seven miles. After her divorce, though, Kristin's friends proposed the idea of entering a marathon. "We just thought it would be good for her… because she'd have to start taking better care of herself," Paige Gressett Alam, one of Kristin's close friends, revealed. As of 2018, Kristin is still an active runner and marathoner.

She chose not to have "crusty resentment"

Although Kristin herself was not a celebrity, Lance's fame meant a very public breakup for both of them. Two years after Kristin and her husband made the difficult decision to go their separate ways, old wounds were reopened when news of the cyclist's new relationship with Grammy Award-winning artist Sheryl Crow surfaced. Eek. How would you feel about your recent ex and father of your children finding love with such a high-profile celeb? It would be easy to understand if Kristin was miffed — but she chose not to be.

"The path of sour bitterness, crusty resentment, and cold regret breeds generations of despair," Kristin told CBN, "The path of righteousness grants generations of peace, quietness, and confidence." Kristin further eloquently stated: "Lance and I need to go forward honoring each other, because that's the way that we can still show our children that love is lasting and unconditional."

Here's why she found it easier that Lance dated someone famous

Kristin admitted to The New York Times that it would've been "much tougher" had Lance decided to date someone "just like [her]." She continued, saying, "But his new life has nothing to do with me. Being famous or hanging around with famous people, I don't think that ever did it for me." Still, it would've been all too easy for Kristin to become all-consumed by the drama of Lance's new love life. But Kristin started focusing inward instead.

One way in which she accomplished this was through her newfound love of running. "For the first time, she was pushing herself and finding this other part of herself, this hidden talent," Cassandra Henkiel, Kristin's friend and distance runner told The New York Times. Although running has become a huge part of her life, Kristin revealed to the publication that her focus was mainly on her children. She revealed, "I have to set an example now. I have daughters, and they're watching how I react to things."

She turned her love of running into a career

After Lance and Kristin divorced, the mother of three remained a stay-at-home mom until 2004 when she took a job as a writer for Runner's World. The publication's then Editor-in-Chief David Willey revealed in an episode of the podcast The Runner's World Show in 2016, that she's been writing about running almost as long as she's actually been running. "She currently writes the 'Mile Markers' column for runnersworld.com and she's written several columns and features for the magazine over the years," Willey said before introducing Kristin to listeners.

The editor further revealed that the first article Kristin submitted was "one of the best stories" he'd ever received. Originally, the mother of three and marathoner wrote the article as a thank you note to the friends that helped her run her first marathon. After she presented the letter to her pals, they gave her an ultimatum: if she didn't submit it to Runner's World, they would. Kristin sent it over to Willey and the submission wound up being published in print, launching Kristin's writing career.

She wrote how many books?

Since Kristin's first article appeared in Runner's World in 2004, she has written plenty of articles — plus six books, including one about her divorce. Following a similar format to that of her first article, Kristin penned Happily Ever After: Walking with Peace and Courage Through a Year of Divorce as a thank-you note — but this time to God. She explained why in an interview with NPR News. "Because my tale, actually, has become such a tale of redemption. And the proper thing to do when you've been extraordinarily blessed is to say thank you, and even more so when it's the maker of the universe that's doing the blessing," said the writer.

Kristin revealed that she wished she'd had this sort of daily devotional/thank-you note hybrid when she was going through her divorce because, as she explained, "you can't have people around you all the time to lift you up." Since publishing Happily Ever After, Kristin has also written a book for runners called Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run.

She's living the single life

Lance's relationship with Sheryl Crow came to an end in 2006, but the cyclist found love for a third time with Anna Hansen. After dating for many years and welcoming two children together, the pair got engaged in May 2017

Conversely, Kristin revealed in an article for The Huffington Post in the same year that she was "43 and single." She explained that her life "started out according to plan." That all changed when her marriage fell apart and she was left a single, unemployed parent at age 32. At that time, it was hard for her to picture being in her 40s and going on dates.

"I joke with my friends that it's not freaking funny to be dating, perhaps seen naked for the first time, precisely when the body is starting to shift and melt," she wrote.  She continued, "To be middle-aged and single can be rather awkward, especially if you can't laugh about it."

She's a mom to three teenagers

In an article for Runner's World, Kristin expressed her appreciation for Mother's Day, especially because of its timing: shortly before the chaos of summer break. When her kids were young, she revealed that summer meant coming up with ideas to fill the long summer days, including vacation, and "a sanity plan" for herself. Nevertheless, summering with teenagers can bring about its own challenges. "They don't need babysitters but God knows you cannot leave them home alone for too long," she joked.

The day after Mother's Day, she received what she dubbed her "favorite Mother's Day gift" — a run with her daughter Grace. Although her daughter is a runner, she is still a teenager and thus isn't one to run with her mom. "There is nothing like being chosen by your teenager — to spend time together, to be outside on a pretty morning, to do something you both enjoy."

She's working on getting her Masters

In an episode of The Runner's World Show podcast in 2016, Runner's World then Editor-in-Chief Mike Willey revealed that Kristin was not only busy raising three teenagers, working as a writer, and training for a marathon, but also going to school to obtain her Master's degree in counseling at St. Edward's University in her town of Austin, Texas. Kristin's biography on the website for The Timothy Center, an organization that provides assistance and counseling for children and adults, revealed that Kristin is projected to graduate in spring 2019. 

Kristin specializes in aiding clients of The Timothy Center to work through "life transitions and identity shifts", in addition to those seeking help with "parenting, single parenting, co-parenting, and parent-child relationships." Her biography further disclosed one of her favorite questions: "Who do you want to be on the other side of this?" The correct answer may just be Kristin Armstrong.