Jackie Karenbauer Turned To Running For Convenience And Never Left


Today’s guest is yet another contributing member of the Facebook group that raised her hand when the idea of chatting with members of the Diz Runs Tribe was suggested.

She’s a working mom of three that still finds time to run consistently and I’m thankful that she is managing to fit me into her busy schedule.

I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Jackie Karenbauer today!

Jackie Karenbauer

Fitness Focused

Jackie Karenbauer was a gymnast from a young age.

She dabbled in track for a couple of years while in high school, but didn’t stick with it.

Cheerleading drew her in due to its similarities to gymnastics.

Jackie stayed active after high school and got married shortly after graduating from college.

Her husband was always very fitness-minded and loved going to the gym and lifting weights.

Jackie never got into weight lifting, but she was consistently doing group class workouts at her gym.

Channeling Her Emotions

During the early years of her marriage, Jackie got pregnant but sadly it resulted in a miscarriage.

Jackie decided that her “consolation prize” would be throwing herself into fitness to help channel her emotions.

During this period, Jackie found out that she was once again pregnant.

This second pregnancy resulted in a healthy baby girl and a short 16 months later she once again found herself pregnant but this time with twins.

Being pregnant with twins resulted in a lot of physical restrictions as her pregnancy progressed.

Once her twins were born, Jackie found it nearly impossible to make it to the gym.

Three children in two years limited when and how much she could workout.

Jackie Karenbauer And Her Husband

Convenience Led Her To Run

Running at its most basic is a very simple sport that can be done anywhere at any time.

For those reasons, Jackie found running to be the most convenient exercise to fit in during this chaotic time in her life.

The addition of a treadmill in her house was what ultimately turned Jackie into a runner.

Jackie quickly became a morning runner because it was the only time she could squeeze it in with 3 young kids.

For years she solely ran on the treadmill and never ventured outside.

As the kids got older, Jackie began to try running outside.

The Race Is the Icing Of All The Hard Work

As Jackie was running outside more, her daughter decided to join the middle school cross country team.

The team routinely held 5k runs in which the families of the runners could participate.

Jackie initially signed up for the races in support of the team, but quickly found that she truly enjoyed racing.

This realization led her to debate upping her mileage and training for longer races.

Jackie settled on the half marathon distance and began training following the Hal Higdon plan.

She ultimately ended up completing her first half marathon, but she learned some valuable lessons along the way.

From Novice To Knowledgeable

Following her first half marathon, Jackie realized there was a lot she didn’t know about running.

She was a novice when it came to fueling and gear.

A rainy half marathon combined with cotton clothing and Costco shoes was not an ideal combination.

It was only after that first race did she begin to research the benefits of fueling during long runs.

Over the years Jackie has made it a point to keep learning and stay informed on all areas of the running world.

Many years and multiple half marathons brought Jackie to the point of wanting to take a step back from running.

She still continued to run but scaled back her longer runs.

A Blessing In Disguise

Jackie and her husband raised a family that loved being active.

One of her sons was on the football team in high school much to her dismay.

The high risk of injury in football always made Jackie nervous, but she supported her son and went to every game.

In the fall of 2017, her son took a bad hit during a game and had to undergo a medical exam.

The doctor discovered an unexpected finding of a potentially cancerous tumor on his bladder.

During the time her son was undergoing surgery to remove the tumor, they also had to put down their family dog.

Jackie leaned into running and repeated her mantra of, “I am strong, I am tough, I am determined,” to get her through.

Playing football was never something Jackie would have encouraged, yet it was likely the very thing that saved her son’s life by catching the cancer early.

Finding Her Why

Jackie realized she needed to focus on something positive after so many stressful events in a short period.

It was 2018 when she got into running again and set some goals to focus on.

She began training for and running half marathons again with the goal of eventually running a sub-2 half.

Her sub-2 attempt didn’t get her under 2 hours but she still got a PR of 2:05.

Jackie is no longer focused on chasing times.

She has found that she enjoys races much more when she is having fun and not watching the clock.

Running is more about keeping her sane rather than reaching a specific time-goal.

Jackie Karenbauer

How Can You Not Run?

This year has altered all runner’s plans and Jackie is no exception.

Prior to Covid-19, Jackie had planned on running a half marathon with her nephew.

It was going to be his first race of that distance and when the race was canceled she knew that they still had to find a way to run it.

Though they were in different cities, they ran the race together virtually.

After witnessing her nephew accomplish his goal, she realized just how much she loves seeing people realize the importance of fitness.

After her first 7 to 8 years exclusively on the treadmill, Jackie is now solely an outdoor runner and will never go back.

Jackie has continued running for various reasons related to both her mental and physical health.

After asking her why she still runs, she countered back with, “How can you not run?”


Mentioned In This Episode:

Stay connected with Jackie Karenbauer by following her on Instagram and/or Twitter.


Jackie Karenbauer turned to running for its convenience and is staying for the long haul. Running has become a necessary part of her life. Share on X


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