Kara is the fitness fiend behind the blog Kara Runs. She got started with blogging back in 2011 to stay connected with friends and now shares all of her adventures across the country. Whether she’s running the New York Marathon or training for a triathlon, she details all the ups and downs for her fans. We sat down with her to hear how she got started and what she loves most about running for a cause.
1. Why did you first start running?
I joined the track team in junior high and then continued on to high school track. I got cut from the volleyball team freshman year, so I joined cross country, as well, and I’ve been running consistently ever since!
2. What’s the best part about running? Why do you continue to train?
Running makes me feel empowered. Confident. Passionate. Humbled. Strong. Grounded. Hungry! I continue training because I love setting goals and working toward them. I love the peacefulness that comes with a solo long run. I love that it’s a challenge. I love feeling the elusive runner’s high. No matter how hard a run might be, when I finish, I feel fulfilled. I just love it, even when I hate it.
3. What’s the hardest thing about training?
The fact that every day is different. It can be stressful when you’re training for something and one day you feel great and hit all the right paces and the next you’re struggling and not even close. It’s the hardest thing, but it’s also what makes running so invigorating! The good thing is that that’s usually your body telling you something (like “take it easy today!”) and you can adjust, learn and come back stronger than before.
4. Do you have a cause that is close to your heart?
I ran my first half marathon, my first full marathon and completed my first Ironman with Team In Training, a fundraising campaign that supports the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). In turn, I was able to raise over $17,000 for the mission of LLS. Finding a cure for not just blood cancers but all cancers is such an important cause to me. Since I personally won’t be making any research advancements, I’m thankful I’m able to play a very small part in raising money to support those advancements and the patients who need help.
5. Why do you run for a cause?
Small acts of love can change the world and if we can use something as simple as running to initiate change, we must! I definitely recommend it.
6. Have you ever run the LA Rock ‘n’ Roll race?
I ran it for the first time this year. The finish line festival was the absolute best ever!
7. What race day prep advice can you share?
For me, visualization is key. I visualize often throughout training, but the week before a big race, I’ll begin going through the entire race day in my head (a PERFECT race day!). I’ll think about everything from waking up, getting to the start line, racing and crossing the finish line. It helps build excitement and gives me an anchor point if I begin dipping into a negative thought pattern during my actual race.
8. What are your top tips for people just starting their fitness journey?
Take it slow and set small goals. It sounds cliche, but only because it’s so true! If you’re a beginning runner, run as slow as feels comfortable. Get rid of all those notions in your head that say you have to run for 30 minutes or you have to run a mile in a certain amount of time. If you can only run for 30 seconds, run for 30 seconds. Add in walk breaks. Do what you can and believe you can, because, seriously, you can do whatever you want. I can’t stress the mental component of it enough. Just remember, it takes time to change! And it does get easier (but not easy).
9. Any big goals for the year related to running?
I want to run a marathon under four hours. This is the first time I’m actually typing that goal out! I’m still deciding on the race, but that’s my big goal right now.
10. Why did you start your blog? What’s your favorite part about blogging?
A few years ago, I stumbled on the running blog of a girl whose enthusiasm for the sport was so contagious, she made me want to run all the time! I began training for my second marathon shortly thereafter, and I thought it would be fun to share my journey, as well. I love writing and figured it would be a great way to make some new friends with similar interests, so Kara Runs (incredibly creative title, I know!) was born. My favorite part about blogging is how it so easily connects me to all these amazing people that I may never have known otherwise. Some of my best friends are people I met through blogging, and they have been incredibly instrumental in helping me reach my goals. The support in this community is unbelievable.