Winter Warriors: Meet Karen!

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Did you know that Fleet Feet Sports Fox Valley has amazing training programs? We have something for everyone: Whether you are starting your fitness journey,KarenWW-2016 or training for a marathon, we have a program that can help you reach your fitness goals.

The training programs are more than just the miles logged: They are about the people involved (participants, coaches, pacers & mentors), and the friendships formed! Logging all those miles is so much more fun when you have friends along for the ride!

Karen is one of our current participants in Winter Warriors. She started training with us in our No Boundaries Program in Spring 2015. We caught up with her in the middle of training for the Seroogy’s Run Feb. 6 to see how Fleet Feet Sports Fox Valley’s training programs have impacted her life!

Q:  How long have you been running and how did you get started?
“I started running in May 2015. I got started after coming across something about No Boundaries and Fleet Feet in my Facebook feed--I don't exactly remember what it was, and I didn't even know where the store was located. But I found it and signed up for No Boundaries and bought some shoes--after that commitment, I figured I couldn't back out. Truthfully, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to do it, because I have tried other exercise programs in the past that were geared too high for someone just getting started and they ended up being discouraging experiences for me. But it turned out to be a great decision and one which has really had a positive impact on my life.”

Q:  What other Fleet Feet programs have you been in?
“I have been in a Fleet Feet program non-stop since May 2015. I did the spring No Boundaries program as a Run/Walker and finished by running my first 5k ever in July--the Bret Younger. Next I signed up for the summer No Boundaries program and ran the Community First Fox Cities Marathon 5k in September. After that I did the Turkey Trot training program and ran the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. And now I'm in Winter Warriors preparing for the Seroogy's Run in February.”

Q:  What has been your favorite part of Winter Warriors so far?
“I enjoy the encouragement and camaraderie the most! For me, it is much harder to get motivated to run on a cold, dark, and windy night (or morning) than it is on a beautiful day in June. But once I get to the training session, there are so many smiles and laughs and words of encouragement that it is really worth it. My goal for Winter Warriors was not, like some others, to increase my mileage but simply to keep running despite the weather and not lose what I have worked so hard to build over the last 8 months.”

Q:  What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start running?
“Find a group like No Boundaries, and above all, don't be intimidated! I assumed (wrongly) that all runners were in perfect shape and super fast and that I was never going to "fit in." I was really nervous on the first day of No Boundaries--but almost immediately I realized that everyone was encouraging, everyone was supportive, and that I would be welcomed at any fitness or ability level. When I started I could not run more than a minute or two at a time and that was very difficult. Within 10 weeks I was able to run a 5K, and I continue to be amazed at what I can do just by sticking with it. I know I wouldn't have had the motivation without the Fleet Feet groups who kept me going even when I felt less than enthusiastic by myself.” 

Q: Any plans for future programs once Winter Warriors is done?
“I love the groups so much I think I'll probably keep signing up, and hope to have the chance to be a volunteer mentor someday. Just a year ago if someone had told me by this time next year you will have run in SEVEN 5Ks, plus a five mile race ON Thanksgiving and would be training for another one (in the middle of winter!) I truly wouldn't have believed them. Change IS possible.”

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