I am Karen. A wife of 34 years and counting, a mother of two grown children, a full
time preschool director and a runner. Never in my life did I think I would say that, I am
When did you start running and what inspired you?
I found my passion for working with young children over 35 years ago, seeing the
delight in young children as they discover something new never gets old. Three years
ago I found that same passion of running. Discovering new things about myself with
each run. Finding my inner child and embracing the woman I am. I started running in
January of 2015, I still remember that first run like it was yesterday. I had signed up to
run the She is Beautiful for the first time, I had walked it in the past but wanted to
challenge myself to do something new after changing my life in 2014. So I signed up
with a good friend to do the She is Beautiful training with Fleet Feet. Each time I had
walked the race before I had seen more than one sign along the course that inspired me
to want to change.
How has running effected your personal self-esteem, body image, goal setting, as well as other aspects of your life?
For all of my life I had fought my weight. For years I had worked with the children of
women who were runners they would talk about the fun races they had run over the
weekend, I remember one such conversation about them running the San Francisco
Nike 1/2 marathon, listening to them talk and seeing their cool finisher necklace made
me wish I could be like them. But at 300 plus pounds and very out of shape there was no
possible way or so I thought. Some big medical issues started in my life, so it was time to
make some major changes and get healthy. I made the life changing decision to have a
weight loss surgery known as the vertical gastric sleeve, join the gym and work on me. I
spent six months learning about nutrition and working out in the gym before I had my
surgery on April 1, 2014. Using surgery as a tool, changing the way I looked at food and
focusing on exercise helped me to drop over a hundred and thirty pounds. As I became
lighter in my body, and let’s face it aware of what my body is capable of doing, I decided
to try running one day while I was out walking. I couldn’t go far but I could do it! With
each run I started believing in myself and feeling more comfortable in my own body.
What piece of advice do you have for new runners?
Just take the first step! I was so scared and unsure but if I could do it you can. I went
to the first workout nervous and unsure. I remember running side by side with Amie,
one of the coaches, feeling so out of breath and like I was going to pass out after just a
short distance. But I did it, I ran! Still feeling so unsure of what my body was able to do,I
asked for help from the head coach Katie. We came up with a plan for me. Each week I
began to feel more sure of my abilities to run and aware of what my body was capable of
doing; finding an inner strength that I did not know I had. I ran my first race in March
2015, as I was running I could hear the coaches voices in my head. Reminding me that
this was my race and to believe in my training and myself. Their encouragement and
belief in me helped to carry me across the finish line.
Why do you keep going? What has kept you motivated to continue to reach new goals and get out the door?
Oh the feeling of accomplishment and pure joy of running my first race, I will never
forget it! That is what has kept me coming back to running. Even when life became over
whelming this last year I kept putting one foot in front of the other. Using running in the
forest of Nisene Marks became my salvation. Some days if I am honest I couldn’t get out
the door this past year but I knew I had the tools I needed to get back into my running
routine. So I have been putting one foot in front of the other for the two months and
slowly I have regained my love of running, I am not as fast as I was a year and a half ago
but you know what that’s ok, cause now I am showing up for my life again. I have really
enjoyed following the SIB training plan. Thanks Train with Mary.
What are your favorite running shoes and why?
I have tried many different kinds of running shoe in the past three years but have
fallen in love with Hoka One One Clifton 3 . I also enjoy running trails in my Hoka One
One Speedgoats. I look forward to trying the new Clifton 4. It makes me laugh because
before I started running I never know running shoes have names and that it was
Do you have any running buddies that have inspired you along the way?
I feel so lucky that I have such a supportive family, my husband Tom said he would
never run and now he is running right along with me and my children Kayla and Glenn
are my biggest cheerleaders. Kayla has recently become one of the members of my
amazing ladies I run with. Jackie, Charissa, Tina, Kate, Donna and Rose Ann
encourage ,support and inspire me. Knowing that they have my back and are willing to
help me overcome my self doubt, telling me to stop listening to my inner voice that tells
me “ I can’t”, among other not so friendly things that may be swirling around in my
head and they are always willing to jump on board with each new goals I set for myself,
half marathons, trail running and so much more… I love being there to help them reach
the goals they set for themselves. With out them and others along this journey I am not
so sure I would be so excited to go out and run. Having amazing coaches, Katie,
Charissa, Amie and Joy, who helped me to trust in my ability and encouraging me to
reach for new goals. The biggest thing for me is with all the coaches help, I began to
believe in myself, my ability to run, to love the body I have and to believe I am a runner.
Without Melissa and Sara and the wonderful She is Beautiful race I may never have
changed my life so completely.
What’s on your race calendar this year?
Next up for me is running the She is Beautiful race in Santa Barbara with my
daughter. After that the Rock n Roll 10k in San Jose. I hope to find another half
marathon to run in the spring.
Do you have a big, scary running goal you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?
Wow, this is hard writing my big scary goal for the next five years but here goes it is to
running at least two destination half marathons hopefully one in Hawaii and the
location to be determined. Becoming a member of Arete running group and scaling
back on work so I have time to reach these goals.
Fill in the blank, “My running truth is _____.”
My running truth is… Running has saved my life! I have become a strong healthy
woman who now believes, embraces and loves herself. Showing up for my life.