The ZOOMA Napa Valley Ambassadors are excited to bring you our “ZOOMA Napa Valley Runner Report!” Each week we’ll be featuring a ZOOMA Napa Valley half marathon or 10K runner on each of our blogs. As women runners, we want to use our role as Ambassadors to highlight and share the stories behind the incredible women preparing to run ZOOMA in June. Each runner has a special and unique story, and we invite you to learn about our runners through this series. Please feel free to click through the links at the end of each post to read about additional ZOOMA racers.
ZOOMA Napa Valley Ambassadors
Runner Report: Sarah Knutson
Current City: Napa, CA
Why are you running ZOOMA Napa Valley?
I love to support local races – as much as I love running, driving to San Francisco or Davis well before dawn can take some of the sparkle out of a good run. This summer alone, I’m signed up for three local runs (and that number may increase!).
A good friend is an ambassador for the SF Marathon, and she told me about ZOOMA Napa Valley. It is a gorgeous course in my city – how could I say no?
I’m excited about making this a “girlfriend’s run.” I have a few friends running with me. We even formed a team: Roar Like a Lioness. I’m stoked!
When & why did you start running?
Although I ran in high school to condition for swimming, I really started as a runner with a 5K in 2008 after reading Lynne Cox’s Swimming to Antarctica. I was at a personal crossroads, and Ms. Cox’s book inspired me to have goals. In 2010, I started training for my first half marathon in 2010 with my best friend. Together, we learned what it meant to dedicate time to training and to experience a pretty extreme runner’s high!
Check out more about Sarah’s running journey in her Yahoo! Voices piece here (it’s pretty awesome!).
How many races have you done & which was your favorite?
In addition to a few one-off races (8k, 12k, relay), I’ve run about ten 5ks, at least a dozen 10ks, and five half marathons. It could be because I set a PR for the first time in a long while, but Sonoma’s Hit the Road Jack 10k is my favorite race so far – the course is gorgeous (and fast)!
If you could pick one celebrity to run with, who would it be & why?
I don’t even know if she runs, but I would love to run with Sara Bareilles. Her music, especially “Brave,” is on my running mix, or when I’m running with my son in his stroller, it’s the song I’m singing as I run. Her music inspires me, and I would love to have the chance to meet her!
What is your favorite running memory?
I’ve run half marathons in the rain, but I have to say that the 2012 Salmon Run 5k in Yountville, CA brought me my favorite running memory. My son was born in May 2012, and I ran the race five weeks later. My son came along in the jogging stroller and had an awesome little nap. My dad ran with me, the whole way, letting me set the pace. Crossing the finish line was the first step in a long road to becoming comfortable with both my post-baby body and my new role as a mom. I’ll never forget it, and this year I’m running the race for the third time.
What is your one running must-have?
I have a lucky race outfit – purple running shorts, a special t-shirt, pink Garmin Forerunner 10, and my best running shoes. The t-shirt is my must-have – it’s from Red Coyote Running, a local running shop in Oklahoma City, where my husband’s family lives. I wear it and feel like I have the support of the family with me.
What is your favorite post-run indulgence?
Post-Race Indulgence: A Gott’s Wisconsin Cheddar Burger and Sweet Potato Fries
Post-Run Indulgence: Dark Chocolate Milk
Who is your running inspiration?
Two people really inspire me:
My dad. He was a runner in high school, to the extent that he was offered running scholarships. He passed those up to join the army, got caught up with raising a family, going to college, and managing a career. He renewed his dedication to running when I convinced him to run a half marathon with me 2011. He’s run a bunch of races with me since, and he’s even training for a full marathon now.
My best friend, Irene. We ran our first half together in 2010. She has always inspired me in many ways, but the change that running has brought into her life – physically, emotionally, socially – are truly inspiring. I’m super impressed that she’s willing to take risks and run races with teams that are more advanced than she is. She never lets fear stop her, and that amazes me.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from running?
If I can run half marathons, I can do anything.
When I was in labor with my son, I could not have pain medication. My midwife and the nurse on duty both knew that I am a runner. Throughout the labor, they made running references, telling me how close I was to the finish line. If I regularly run 13.1 miles, for fun, I could have a natural birth!
Want to read about more of our amazing ZOOMA runners? Check them out here:
Melodie Woerman on Long Run Happiness
Susan Carino on Dream Body Warrior
Chandra Brouillette on Fitnessmomwinecountry
Beth Carter on Reason to Play
Heather Bender on Welcome to Karadise
Susan Berg on The Slow Life DD
Are you running ZOOMA Napa Valley and would like to be featured in our Runner Report series? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!