June 2015 Instructor of the Month: Kari Wilkinson

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Kari is a certified ChiRunning/Walking instructor, USA Triathlon coach, as well as a ACE personal trainer. She is a competitive age group triathlete and runner winning the NCTS and TTS age group series several years and has run several marathons qualifying for Boston ( after finding ChiRunning). She has a BS degree in science education and is nationally board certified teaching HS chemistry and Environmental Science for 26 years . She is excellent in communicating and teaching the ChiRunning technique and has taught hundreds of runners including officers and troops in the US ARMY at Fort Bragg.Kari came across ChiRunning after suffering from significant injuries that kept her out of racing and running for several months. After taking a ChiRunning clinic with Danny and practicing the focuses consistently she has been running injury free for the last 8 years.

Run with Kari! Meet her in Asheville at Danny's June 20 Workshop.

Read more about Kari below, and get more info on her upcoming workshops here.

Tell us a little about you. 
Where you live:  Mebane North Carolina ( central Piedmont area of NC )
What your background is: I rode, trained and showed horses( hunters and jumpers) as a junior and in college funded by cleaning many stalls at the barn where I kept my horses. This gave me an excellent work ethic and riding 6-7 horses a day also gave me a body sending awareness that I was not really aware of until I started learning to run. I graduated from college and taught High School Science ( mainly Chemistry) for 26 years. I began running regularly in 1990 but was sidelined frequently for injuries until 2006 when I took my first ChiRunning Workshop with Danny……..

How did you start running?
I was a fast miler in high school( presidential fitness test…I know I am dating myself )  but very disinterested and never thought anything of it . I began running a bit in college to lose the freshman 15 but always injured and hurt. I only ran short distances because of injuries until I became involved in triathlon at which point I was seriously injured with 3 stress fractures, debilitating IT band pain, low back pain and piriformis pain. With recommendation to stop running altogether I accepted that as a challenge and sought to find the better way……ChiRunning

When and how did ChiRunning come into your life?
I was teaching cycling and a friend of mine encouraged me to start participating in triathlons. I seemed to be pretty good at it, except for running which kept me on the injured list. I bought a fancy triathlon bike and decided it was time to learn how to run without pain . Danny was doing a clinic close to my home and some of the focuses I learned gave me immediate relief from shin splints and knee pain.

In what ways has Chi changed your perception of and success in running?
If it was not for ChiRunning and learning how to run with proper form and technique I would not be running today . My orthopedic doc told me my form was horrible and to only ride my bike I was about to listen to him until I took a workshop.

What do you think is the biggest misconception of ChiRunning?
I feel that some people think it is a fad and sometimes a bit too touchy feely but we are really teaching people how to listen to their body and listen to a coach that can see what is going on in their body so they can transform bad habits into great running form and technique. Chi running teaches people that are not sure of how to run or have misconceptions about what proper running form is how to run correctly. I have seen the transformation in so many people. 

What motivates you to run?
The after effect of running and connecting and appreciating the environment around me.

What does your average week look like, run-wise?
I run about 3-5 times a week with one longer run , a tempo run and maybe some hill repeats for technique work.

What other forms of exercise do you practice to compliment ChiRunning?
I cycle , swim and strength train using TRX and bodyweight exercises to focus on any muscle imbalances

What led you to become an instructor?
I am a naturally born teacher. I have taught something since I was 14 years old when I started teaching people to ride horses, became a high school Chemistry teacher for 26 years , I am a personal trainer at a medical wellness facility and teach ChiRunning !

What do you most enjoy about instructing?
The interesting people I meet.

Advice for people new to ChiRunning?
Be patient and persistent in your practice.  One Chi running lesson is not the magic bullet it is only a start. Your coach/instructor is giving you tools that you need to learn how to use. Think of it like learning to play and instrument or a new program/format on your computer, frustrating at first but it gets much better with practice.

Upcoming race/goal: Three Little Pigs Triathlon – they have the coolest pig trophy and if I do not win one I will be very upset

Run with or without phone/music: Without – but ChiRunning App at least once a week

Repeat on your playlist: Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith

If I didn’t run, I would be a crazy( crazier)  person

My first race was Mebane on the Move 5K – I won the female category b/c I was one of 3 females in the race and the other 2 walked 🙂

My current favorite shoe to run in is the Nike Zoom Streak, they have the coolest colors ( and comfy too)

My most difficult run ever was the 13.1 miles at the Duke Liver Center triathlon ( the first time I did it ) Hot , Humid , Hilly on gravel and did not know what I was doing ( pre Chi running )

Posted in Inside Chi

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