Karien Potgieter

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As I introduce to the next Street Runner, I am listening to Hugh Masekela. If you do not know who he is, get on YouTube right now and search "Hugh Masekela - Stimela". That song is one of my all time favourites, it takes me back to the time when I used to dream of Johannesburg. 

Johannesburg is where the running began, Johannesburg is where the injury happened. I am that type of runner that always has a niggle but this was THEE injury. I am happy that it happened during the exam period and during that period I could come home. 

While I was on my running vacation I researched running blogs because I dreamed of running. I missed the sweat, I missed the streets, I missed the pain, I missed the breathing. While on this mission, I discovered www.runnningtherace.co.za and I loved it, to be honest I thought the blogger was a full time runner. From reading the blog I could tell the blogger lived running and she was an inspiration to me. A few months later and I present...


Q. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do for a living?
A. I’m a full-time working mom of two kids aged two and under. I work as an Ecologist by day and dream of running by night, ha! Traveling, running and writing are my passions – combining all three of them on my blog is heavenly.

Q. How do you balance your exercise regime and your professional life?
A. I’ve found that being adaptable is key. As a working mom of two small children, I don’t have the luxury of saying things like “I’m a morning runner” or “If, after 2 km I don’t feel like continuing, I’ll try again tomorrow”. I need to schedule my runs around everyone else’s naptimes, mealtimes and activities and then make sure I run in those times, otherwise I’ll never get it done. Being a mom has turned me into a very efficient runner, haha!


Q. When and why did you start running?
A. I’ve always loved running – sometimes more, sometimes less. I did my first 5 km fun run at the age of 8 and can honestly not remember a time after that that I didn’t run in some or other form. 

Q. What motivates you to go out there, when you do not feel like it?
A. Knowing how good I’ll feel once it’s done. I often feel like not running, but have never regretted getting it done. It’s such a cliché, but getting out the door really is the hardest part of a run!

Q. What is the longest distance you have ran?
A. I’ve run one marathon, the Paris Marathon in France in 2011. It was an unbelievable experience – I loved every agonizing minute of it!

Q. What gives you the confidence to run in the streets?
A. Knowing that nobody cares what I look like. Sure, I’m not the sleekest, most graceful athlete out there, but who cares?! Running makes me confident and happy and that’s all that matters.


Q. What do you think about the lack of exercise among the youth?
A. I think that the general trend towards inactivity among young children is sad and worrying. Being physically active is good for you on so many different levels – I wish every child and young adult that experience.

Q. What was your best running experience?
A. Difficult question, because every run is good in one way or another. I’ve done four international races to date (in France, the US, Lesotho and Namibia), so those obviously stand out for me, but I find that normal, everyday runs with my family are always a highlight. 

Q. What was your worst running experience?
A. I’d have to say my first half-marathon – the Knysna Forest Half in 2009. I made every, single rookie mistake in the book and paid for it big time, ha! But, for exactly the same reason this race was also a good one – I learned a gazillion lessons in one go.


Q. How do you push through the pain?
A. Tricky question, because for me there’s a big difference between pushing yourself to continue when you’re just physically tired or your body is just being lazy, and pushing through pain that is actually indicating that there’s really something wrong. I obviously wouldn’t recommend pushing through the latter. My advice would be to listen to your body – you and only you will know very well if it’s just being lazy or if there’s something really wrong. Personally, when my body is just being lazy, I find that a mantra really helps. “You can do this” has gotten me through some really rough spots!

Q. What advice can you give somebody who wants to start running?
A. Just do it. Forget about what you think you look like; and what others might say. If you really want it bad enough, just get out there and do it. And then keep at it. You’ll never, ever be sorry that you did.

Q. Which Social media sites are you on and how can one follow you?
A. Blog: www.runningtherace.co.za , Twitter: @Running_theRace, 
     Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RunningtheRaceBlog?ref=tn_tnmn


1. My best running shoes are …
… currently the New Balance 1080v4s. I only recently discovered them after running in Asics Nimbus for 5+ years – love the roomy toe box!

2. I love running because …
… it makes me a better me. It allows me to run off bad days, bad moods, frustrations and too much dark chocolate. Running is in my blood – it’s a part of who I am.


3. Injury is …
… frustrating, but in most cases completely preventable. Listen to your body.

4. My body is …
… often far less willing to run than my mind. Your mind is strong – use it.

5. My running playlist has …
… been non-existent for a few years now. I prefer to run on game farms and reserves – no distractions required.


6. I hate running when …
… - said no runner ever. Sure, we have bad runs and frustrating runs, but those all teach us how to become better runners. No runner truly hates running.

7. Pain is …
… often an indication that you’re doing something wrong: Going too far or too fast too soon, wearing the wrong shoes, pushing yourself too hard… Listen and take action – your body will thank you.

8. The road …
… is waiting. Go run.

9. Sweat is …
… therapeutic. I’ve never regretted a single drop.

10. In future, I would like to run …
… all over the world. Traveling + Running = My Happy Place.

11. Indie means … 
… ????? I could Google it, but that would be cheating.

12. I do not like runners who …
… don’t return other runners’ greetings on the road. Smile and wave, guys, smile and wave.


- Follow her on Twitter: @Running_therace or visit her blog on www.runnningtherace.co.za

#RunRevolution



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