My urge to run all began in 2005 when I was 20 weeks pregnant and on bed-rest. I was in the midst of a complicated pregnancy with twins and was either laid up on the couch in our Wash Park home or was at the hospital under close watch. When I was at home, I would watch people through the window run by on their way to a few laps in the park. During that time, I decided I wanted to run my first marathon once our twins were born. While my husband and I did quite a bit of hiking in the high country, I never was a “runner” and I never competed in a race.
Six months after our twins were born I ran my first half marathon, the Boulder Backroads Half. I loved it and I loved the energy I felt from running a race. Six months later, in 2006, I signed up for the inaugural year of the Colfax Marathon. I amazed myself by placing third in my age group and qualifying for Boston. My journey of traveling to marathons and seeing new cities began. After running Boston and then New York I was completely hooked. I found running to be extremely invigorating, I loved the positive energy of the race environment and it helped build my self-confidence.
Over the next couple of years I ran many marathons and half marathons around the country, placing in the top three of my age group at many. And, in 2012, I was named one of Colorado’s fastest marathon runners in Colorado Runner Magazine.
As my passion for running was growing exponentially, I felt an urge to share this passion with others. Shortly after my running career began, I heard of a program called Girls on the Run, a national organization that teaches 8 to 13 year old girls self-respect, confidence, and healthy lifestyles through running. I immediately knew I wanted to be part of this organization. I could integrate my love for teaching young kids (I am a former teacher) with my love for running and help build self-confidence in girls. I’ve been a coach and site director for Girls on the Run now since 2006 and brought the program to my own children’s school in 2010. The Girls on the Run program ends each year with the girls completing a 5K run at an organized race event. It is very rewarding being an inspiration to all the young girls I get to work with. And, watching all the young girls cross that finish line with a sparkle in their eye, an uncontrollable smile on their face, and an “I can do it” attitude is so inspiring to me.
Along with Girls on the Run I am also a lead mentor for Kids Running America, a program for boys and girls of all ages where we teach healthy lifestyle choices, work on building self-esteem and on achieving goals through a running based program. During the program, children train and log 25.2 miles. The program culminates with a 1-mile run at an organized race event where the children complete their 26.2 mile marathon.
The Ironman. In 2011, I traveled to Wisconsin to cheer on my husband and his longtime friend at their first Ironman triathlon. I was in awe. The amount of energy, positive attitude, and athlete support from all the families, friends, and volunteers was truly unbelievable. Many of the athletes’ stories of why they were challenging themselves to such a race was enough to make my spine tingle. If you have ever watched any of the Ironman inspirational videos you know what I am talking about.
After witnessing the power of the Ironman, I knew I wanted to do one. This was definitely for me.
Two months after coming home from the Wisconsin Ironman, I signed myself and my husband up for the 2012 Ironman Arizona in Tempe. I found a fabulous coach, Sydney Cornell, and my training began. I knew training would be challenging as I was brand new to biking and only recently began swim lessons at our athletic club. Whatever it took I was going to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles.
During that 12 months of training, I learned more about myself than I ever knew. Those solo 6 ½ hour rides and 2 ½ hour runs give you plenty of time for self introspection. Training for an Ironman taught me discipline, time management, and mental toughness, built my self confidence, and made many of life’s big “obstacles” seem not so big any more. Training was very difficult at times but I loved every minute of it. I felt so alive. And, I made a lot of new friends on the way who had the same goal orientated attitude and zest for life as I did.
As race day was upon me, it was time to see if all the hard work paid off. It did! The day was so unbelievable, so emotional, and was everything I thought it would and could be. I loved the entire race atmosphere and loved all the encouraging people around me – including my family who flew out to support me. Crossing that finish line was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. Those six words, “Kara Diamond-Husmann, You, Are, An, Ironman,” will always be with me. My life was changed forever.
My Ironman Journey continues with my husband in Mont Tremblant, Quebec on August 18, 2013. I feel very fortunate to be able to share something as special as this with my husband. Until next time…keep putting one foot in front of the other!