Runner Spotlight - KAREN

     Every runner has a story, that pushes them and drives them to do what they do.  I find it fascinating to learn about others, and in return it also inspires and motivates me.  I doubt I am the only one who feels this way, which is why I am starting up Thursday Runner Spotlights, this is the first in what will be a weekly series.

This week I'd like to introduce you to Karen.
I asked Karen a bunch of questions, to help tell her story of a runner and introduce you to her.

When did you start running?  And Why did you?

I started running for the first time about 11 years ago.  I was never a runner, never athletic, and spent most of my childhood and all of my adulthood overweight.  I spent years devoting all my time and energy to raising my kids and kind of forgot about myself!  When my youngest was about 1, I realized that it was time to do something.  I ran across C25K and even though I didn't believe I could run, I started the program.  I would go to my mom's condo and run circles while she watched the kids.  I will never forget the time I ran 20 minutes straight.  I cried.  Unfortunately, it was short-lived.  My knees started hurting pretty badly and I didn't have the knowledge and listened to too many people saying it was runners knee and I couldn't do anything about it.  So I just stopped.  I never forgot about that feeling I had, but it was about 9 years before I tried again.

In 2010 I decided to get back to it and started C25K again, this time doing intervals and having a little success.  That year I worked my way up to 3 miles but it seemed that every time I would make advanced, I would get injured.  I was sick for 2 months, I had cluster warts on a foot for quite a few months, I had fibromyaligia pain...and then 2011 arrived with severe pain in my feet.  I had no idea what it was, so I kept running!  Ack!  It was Plantar Fasciitis and after running on it and pushing it, I ended up sidelined almost all of 2012 and barely able to walk.  I was determined this time though and slowly and surely I worked through it. I biked when I couldn't run and slowly strengthened my feet.   In October of 2012 I ran my first 5K with my son and I realized that I was learning to control myself and train/recover the right way to avoid injury!  In January of this year I officially made the decision to do something I had been wanting to do since the Princess Half Marathon at Disney!  I started my blog as a journal to keep track of my journey and I'm loving training injury free! I'm no longer doing intervals, I found they didn't work well for me and I'm working my mileage up with a couple 10K's scheduled for summer and fall and quite a few 5K's thrown in for fun too! 

Do you run for fun or planning to Compete?

I run for so many things, I think a mixture of it all.  I love how I feel when I run, it's fun, it's free, it makes me feel strong and amazing, but I love to push myself and do better.  I compete with myself, not others, but I definitely work to make gains in my speed and distance and feel great when I PR.

Are you addicted to the sport, what keeps you loving to pound the pavement each day?

Completely addicted!  What keeps me going each day is how I feel during and after running.  Running has not only changed my body, but who I am on the inside as well.  My whole outlook on life is better because of running, everything is brighter, more peaceful, and positive.  

What motivates you as a runner?  How do you use this motivation to balance life, work, etc.?

LOL...pretty much the same as what keeps me pounding the pavement! :)

What is the greatest tip or advice you can share to others who would like to start running.  That you have learned as you have become a runner, and begun your half marathon training?

Take your time.  Don't push too far, too fast.  You have to put in the time and the miles to get to the end and if you try to rush it, you will risk injury.  The JOURNEY is as important as the outcome!  I feel like in the beginning, I wanted so badly to be a runner that I wasn't just ok with being a beginner.  I needed to pace myself and train properly to get stronger and go longer!  

Besides running, what other hobbies, sports do you participate in?

Ah, well, I enjoy biking, I spent most of 2012 biking because it was the only activity I could do without foot pain, but my heart was always thinking of running on those rides!  My other hobbies include photography,  homeschooling, animal activism, and gardening.  Although I'm really no good at gardening, it's wishful thinking! LOL.  I own my own business as a pet sitter, which I started 9 years ago and I'm pretty proud of.  It's fun to enjoy my job and be my own boss!

Your training for the Disney Princess Half, tell us why you picked that race?

I LOVE Disney.  I visited for the first time in my life in 2008 and I think sometime in 2010 on a Disney board I ran across people talking about the Princess Half.  As soon as I heard about the race I wanted to do it.  What could be better than being in my favorite place?  RUNNING in my favorite place!  I am so excited to see this dream come true, it has been a hard couple years getting to where I am actually able to do it! 

Tell us about the princess costume you plan to wear.

I decided that if I was going to be a Princess, I should be THE Princess, so I'm going to wear a Cinderella costume!  A blue running tank, sparkle skirt (or tutu, I'm undecided still), light blue Pro Compression socks and white arm warmers to look like gloves!  Yep! I have this all figured out months in advance!  LOL

What items are your “must have” while out on a training run?

My normal must-haves are my sunglasses, my phone, which I use as an mp3 player... and my Garmin.  I'm excited because I just started a challenge this month where I will NOT be taking my Garmin on one of my runs each week.  It will be challenging for me, but I want to make sure that I don't lose sight of how I love running just for running and not to always focus on times and distances! 

When you go around looking for new blogs to follow, what types of things are you looking for?  What blogs/topics grab your interest and make you want to come back to read more?

I'm pretty blog obsessed!  I use Bloglovin' and I have over 100 running blogs that I follow.  I look for bloggers that are personable, talk about their training and running and are down to earth.  I like when they post often, at least 3 times a week, it gives me a peek into their life.  I like feeling like I'm reading their journal or their story...not a self-help or advice page.

Since becoming a runner, what have you discovered to be the greatest parts of it?  Can you see yourself being a lifelong runner?

Absolutely a lifelong runner.  I cannot imagine not running now!  I think the greatest part of it is that it has changed how I feel not only about myself, but about people in general.  It's made me calmer, more comfortable with myself and others, and given me an amazing inner strength.

I saw you are a photographer, do you take a camera out on an occasional run?

Oh I have considered it!  I have never taken my camera only because it's just so large and I cannot image it flopping around on my neck...and I would sweat all over it and it's a pretty expensive piece of equipment!  Running has actually helped me let go of having to have the perfect photo ALL the time.  I am pretty picky about my photos since I have a photography business.  Having to snap shots with my phone to post on my blog has made me let go a little with those high standards.  It's freeing!  I still post many of my photos on the blog, but it's nice to be okay with just a snapshot too. 

I saw on your blog you have had your share of challenges/injuries.  What keeps you fighting on, and “running” forward?  Or what mentally keeps you focused and pushing on?

The injuries I went through were tough.  There were quite a few times that I thought maybe I just wasn't cut out for this.  I think after giving it up for 9 years and then finding it again, I was determined to find a way to not give up and make it work this time.  I gave up too easily last time and perseverance has served me well now.  I'm so glad I pushed through and believed that I could work through my injuries, and I did! 

Tell us about your blog, what do you post about?  What topics do you cover?  What can people expect when they visit?

I started my blog as a  journal  and a way to document my journey to run my first half but I'm already positive it will continue after the race!  I'm pretty chatty and tend to ramble and blogging is the perfect outlet for this!  I share my thoughts and feelings about running, my progress, stumbling blocks, and inspirations.  On Wednesday's I have Wide-angle Wednesday where I share one of my photos, sometimes running related, sometimes not.  Since I'm a photographer, you will find MANY photos on my blog, I don't think I've ever blogged and not posted at least 1 if not 10 photos! ;)  I like to engage my readers and love talking about running, so all my blog posts have questions for my readers at the end.  Please feel free to chat it up with me!  

What is something we don't know about you after all these questions? 

I just got my first tattoo at 40 years old.   I know, nothing to do with running, but it's something I love and I'm proud of, I told the artist what I wanted and he created a work of art.     My whole running wardrobe is based around it now. LOL...nothing but sleeveless and razorback shirts!  ;) 



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  1. Thanks so much Kristy! You are a gem, you even posted it ALL...and I rambled so much! LOL!

    1. LOL, you didn't ramble:) If people who read blogs are anything like me, we love to read about interesting things about peoples lives. I think its pefect! I was happy to do it, and glad you were willing!

  2. Hi there Kristy, I am blog friends with Karen and love her blog. thanks for doing this interview with her... i learned some new things too!

  3. Great interview! That's awesome that you've come back even stronger, after dealing with all those injuries! Love the tattoo!

  4. What a great story! Thanks for sharing!


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