This is the story of a special woman named Kara Burns.
In February 2015, I sat in the Skirt Sports warehouse, listening to twenty nervous women share their stories. They were answering the question, “Why did you apply for the Skirt Sports Kick Start program?”
More than a few tears were shed as women bravely opened up. It’s not easy to recognize that you want to make life changes. It’s not easy to take the first step and complete an application. It’s not easy to actually hit send. Many women shared their “freak-out” moments after they submitted their applications and wondered, “What have I done?”
Kara was one of the last women to speak. She seemed young to me, and had a bit of the “deer in the headlights” look. I’ll never forget what she said. She explained that she had recently been released from prison and that part of her recovery was to create new circles and completely cut ties from the old life forces that could forever trigger bad behaviors and decisions. She found out about Kick Start through a women’s professional development organization called “Dress for Success.” She explained that when she arrived, she looked around the room at all the women (beginners and personal motivators) wearing their fitness clothing and running shoes, and her immediate reaction was to text her friend with this message, “These are NOT my people. I don’t know what I’m doing here.”
But as the women opened up and shared their stories of pain and insecurity, something changed in Kara. Even though her story was different than anyone else in the room, she realized that she was among a group of women who were all seeking change in their lives and it hit her. As she so eloquently wrapped up her introduction, “After listening to all of you, I think I was wrong. I think you might be my people.”
Fast forward four months to the June 14 Skirt Sports 13er & 5k/10k. All of the Kick Start beginners were encouraged to do the 5k or 10k as their next running stepping stone. But Kara is a woman on a mission. She was ramping up much faster than anyone expected and decided to go for it – she did the 13er!
As she crossed the line, Kara was beyond elated. She was fueled by so much more than energy gels and cheers. It was a fire within! She had successfully created a new, healthy, positive world for herself, with the support of other women and the knowledge that she is not alone! As she exclaimed, “We did it! You ARE my people!” she officially entered a new community and an exciting future filled with love, challenge, positivity, support and momentum.
She created a new identity – Kara is a runner.
For those women who completed the application and couldn’t pull the trigger, take comfort in the fact that when you are ready, we will be here for you. Just ask Kara.