31 Days, 31 People
Day 18: KAREN M.

Soon after I moved into my first house, the house I still live in today, I found a running partner. Karen was 42 when I was 28, she had run several marathons before and she had an awesome from-the-south kind of accent. I found her through a post on the Las Vegas Track Club website, she was seeking a running partner that had a similar pace. I responded then we met and continued running together for a couple years. We used to meet at 5:30am, at either her house or mine, and we’d run for 30–45 minutes. It was such a beautiful way to start the day.

Back then, our neighborhoods were on the very northwest edge of town. Now the city continues for miles beyond us. It was easy to run right alongside the desert. I remember seeing a coyote once, we stopped at a pretty good distance away and waited until it made its way out of sight. Having a running partner is what got me out of bed most days. When it’s dark and cold outside your bed and you don’t have to be to work until 9, it is very easy to just turn your alarm off and go back to sleep. This was a fantastic little morning running routine.

When you run with someone a lot, you get to know them pretty well. You talk about life, the past, the present and future. You share the ups and downs. Karen was just a really awesome person. Eventually, we decided we’d run the St. George, Utah marathon in 2003. By then we’d also found a couple additional running partners to train with for some of the longer run days. Ashley and Carol did the marathon, too.

Karen and I remained running partners until I was about 5 months pregnant with Sophia and the doctor said I needed to stop running. Right around the same time Karen was going through some huge life changes. She was going through a divorce and decided to quit her fancy office job and move to a national park, she decided to live and work there. I always thought that was so awesome, her leaving like that. She broke all conventions and followed her heart. Eventually, she fell in love, remarried, they saw the country driving trucks together, landed somewhere, got jobs, got new jobs, moved. Karen’s social media page gives me a little window into their adventures and I smile at every single post.

Karen, you are quite amazing. I’m grateful for the hours of insightfully deep conversations and the miles we ran together. I love that you live on your terms with your heart exposed to the world. You’ll always be an inspiration to me.

READ DAY 19→

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