I’m thrilled about having my first blog post… I’m Karen. I guess you probably know me or might be getting to know me now. Here at The Active Me I will share things that might interest or surprise you all: stories, facts, pictures…

Let me start telling you about me. I was born in Belgium and grew up in Guatemala. After that I have lived in a few other countries – France, Singapore, (back to) Belgium, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia (my current country) and there’s another one coming soon! I have loved how running has remained a constant in such a changing life.

My first race

I can recall quite vividly the first time I joined a long distance race. It was a 3 Km race. That might not sound like long distance to you, but please consider that before that I had only participated in 100 or 200-meter races at school. I began running like I knew how: fast, fast, fast! Since it was a small event, I was the first of the batch. I was proud of my speed, and could only feel sorry about the people I had left behind; until I started running out of gas.

I was making my best effort, but I just couldn’t keep up. People started passing me. Fortunately, most of them were guys and only one of them was a girl. Ok, I admit it, I don’t recall so vividly. I am not sure if it was one or two girls who passed me. After I finished I was feeling hot, my face was tomato-red and I couldn’t move at all. I just lied in the floor, and my mother was checking to see if I was Ok.

In the award ceremony, I still managed to have a place in the podium. My sister won first place in her category and she had never participated in a race before. That stole my thunder…  I couldn’t understand what went wrong, why I felt so bad during and after the race. I felt miserable. In that moment I retired from running.

I forgot to mention one detail. I was about 12 years old, and my sister was 6.

After that

Many years after my frustrated race, I picked up running again together with mountain biking. There were many reasons why I did it, but mainly I wanted to try being physically active and not be absorbed by my first job.  I was running 5Ks occasionally at a really slow pace and cycling on weekends. Bicycles are complicated luggage to carry from country to country, so I quit cycling but kept running. Eager and overconfident as I tend to be, I signed up for a Marathon (42.2Km) without ever having run more than 6 Km. That’s how my running  journey really began.


I have successfully completed three marathons, each one significantly better than the one before. I have also completed half marathons, 15K and 10K. I feel like it’s time for my next challenge…


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