A Quick Cuppa With…Karen Williams
Karen is 48 years old and lives in Acocks Green in Birmingham. She runs her own business with her childhood sweetheart, Mark, who found her again via Facebook 4 years ago.
Anything else you think we’d like to know?
OMG – there’s just too much – we would need much more than a quick cuppa! I am a big lover of animals – as I don’t have children of my own, I currently have 2 dogs, a male and female – both Lurchers. The dogs are kind of replacement kids – I also have 2 indoor cats – who don’t love the dogs at all!! My animals, however, do go a very long way towards giving me all the unconditional love that I could ever want.
How long have you been running and why did you start?
I first started running as an adult in February 2008, and it was for a number of reasons. I was unhappy emotionally, and unhappy with my complete lack of fitness and activity. I had previously played badminton, done lots of fitness classes and so on – however, a move to Scotland, a number of job changes and stuff – the bulk of my activity was all to do with cleaning the house and mowing the lawn.
Another job change, which meant working odd hours (3pm to 11pm) and I decided to join a gym. I kind of became instantly addicted to the treadmill, but everyone kept saying “oh you might be able to run 3 miles on the treddie, but you won’t be able to do it outside” – the gauntlet had been laid down and a combination of gym and road running began.
In October 2008, I did my first 10k run at Strathclyde park, for Cancer Research, loved it so much and before I knew it, I had managed to get a place with Parkinson’s Disease Society to run in the Great North Run. I did the GNR in 2hrs 9 minutes and 55 seconds – which I could hardly believe to be honest.
However, 3 weeks earlier, I had made a decision to change my life in a radical way and I left Scotland and my life there behind, taking with me only a rucksack and my running shoes to meet up with Mark, my childhood sweetheart, and start a new life together. So after September 2009 I didn’t really run at all again until July 2013 – when I started again.
I started running again for lots of reasons but mainly because I gave up smoking in April, and I wanted to get fit again, as well as try to get sane again! My self-esteem was on the floor, I felt old, miserable and “past it” – so getting fit again would help I hoped. I wanted to try running with my dogs – after all, I have to take them out morning and night anyway – so, here I am – happy running again!!
How often do you run?
Currently, I run pretty much every day! Whilst I’m sure that’s not the norm, and I’m sure that I probably shouldn’t run every day – it is suiting me for now, and I am enjoying what I do – actually, loving it!!
However, I am not daft enough to run if I don’t feel up to it, if I am injured (or think I might be carrying an injury) – and if I need to rest, I rest!
In the week – my time for running is limited by work requirements – however, at the weekend, I tend to have slightly more time on a Saturday, and like most of us – Sunday is my long run day!
What do you listen to when you are running?
Back when I did my first round of running, I found the Nike+ option for my ipod, and the little sensor for my shoe – so I started listening to music, whilst tracking my distance that way. I love running to music – in fact I find it almost impossible to stay focussed on running at all without music. Like most of us, some music is the stuff that really lifts my spirits and will get me through a tough mile, up a long hill, or through a period of generally feeling a bit low. Some top tunes for me are Starlight – Muse, Can’t get you out of my head – Kylie, Vagabonds – New Model Army, Coming back to life – Pink Floyd. A wide and varied taste, as you can see!
How do you stay focused and disciplined?
To be honest, as a general rule, I don’t have too much trouble with these two. Firstly, I have to take the dogs out every day – so I don’t have to think about it and secondly – I love it so much. I know that I will always feel better after the run – come what may!!
Other than running what else do you do to keep fit?
Every morning, I do some sets of crunches and leg extensions as part of some effort at core strength work. During the summer I was pretty disciplined at doing a couple of sessions on my bike trainer too, perhaps 30 minute sessions – which equates to about 8 miles at full pelt! But since the Birmingham half marathon – I haven’t been doing that either. Of course, I walk with my dogs every evening – so I suppose that’s something. Finally, I am about to start swimming again, perhaps once a week – and I am in the midst of trying to decide whether or not to join a local running club – might give it a try in a week or two!
What is your favourite place to run?
Whilst I love running around the park every day, and round the playing fields some days with my dogs, I must admit that having the dogs around and the hazards that come with grass, mud, leaves etc., I do get a bit distracted. Therefore – I suppose my favourite place is on the road/pavement on a normal week basis. However, on our short break to Wales in August, I ran on the beach every day – what a complete joy that was – so at least once a year my favourite place will be Borth beach!!
How long have you been a member of Running4Women?
Just about 5 years – although for 4.5 of those years I have been totally inactive to be honest – it’s only been this second time around that I have started to take part, give a bit back and enjoy the site much, much more!
What do you like most about the site?
Sharing my experience with like-minded ladies and I really have been getting into the Challenges. I also love the encouragement from others and the advice and guidance. But the sharing is the best.
What are your goals for the coming year?
My goals for 2014 are to try to do at least 4 half marathons, at least 4 10k events (and beat my pb), up my number of Parkrun events (and beat my 5k pb), break the 2 hour barrier on a half marathon, get involved in a running club, improve my swimming with a view to doing a Triathlon(!) and get more cycling done with my partner (as he will never run!).