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Digital Running Club » Catching Up » Catching up with Kristen Van Horn

Catching up with Kristen Van Horn

The basics: A very young 27-year-old physical education and health teacher from St. Louis, MO.

 When/How did you start running?

I started running in 5th grade for my school’s cross country team. I only ran track 2 years in high school, but really fell in love with running when I went away to college.

Why do you run?

I started running in college as a way to stay in shape and not gain the “Freshman 15″. Once I started loving it, I ran because it was therapeutic for me, especially when I was stressed with school. Now, I run because it’s the only “Me Time” I get as a new mom. And really – because I love it!

When do you prefer to run?

I love running first thing in the morning, right as the sun is rising. I don’t usually get to run at this time anymore, but it’s still the best time to run.

When/Where was your best run ever?

I can’t really recall a best run ever, but I am loving any run that I am pushing my daughter in the jogging stroller. It is such a challenge and makes me feel hardcore. I also love the little extra time we get to spend together. Hopefully, running with me in the stroller will encourage her to run by my side later on in life!

What is your proudest moment in running?

Winning my first road race and achieving a killer PR (that I’m not sure I’ll ever beat). I ran a Fall Festival 5K in October 2009, and I was determined to win. My husband and I went and ran the course the day before so I had an idea of where I would need to push up hills, etc. During the race, I tried to pick off the other girls one by one, and about 1 mile into the race, I realized I was in first place. Not only did I win, but I also ran a 19:58 for a 5K, smashing my PR by almost a minute.

What is your biggest running disaster/embarrassing moment?

I had a little potty incident in 8th grade during one of my cross country races. They extended the course a quarter mile at the last minute and I just couldn’t hold it anymore. Luckily, no one was really at the meet so I didn’t have to worry about getting made fun of at school the next day.

What are your running goals?

I hope to one day qualify for Boston, but I guess that means I would have to run another marathon. ;) My ultimate goal is to run under 19:30 for a 5K. I also want to start racing pushing the stroller – it’s a totally new division for me to conquer.

What is a typical dinner for you?

Our dinners vary so much that I don’t think any are “typical”. However, we do make homemade pizza (with dough from scratch) at least once a week. It is by far our favorite meal!

What do you bring to every race?

My running shoes. And my nerves. I still get so nervous before a race, no matter how fun it is supposed to be.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Frozen custard + ice cream. I could eat it every day. And chocolate. Anything chocolate.

What advice would you give to a beginning runner?

Start slowly. Don’t try to go out and run 3 miles right away. You have to build up your distance. Start by alternating running and walking, and then gradually build up your runs. This will help you avoid injury and the dreaded shin splints that cause most newbies to quit.

What do you listen to when you run?

My thoughts. I’m not big on running with music. Even on the treadmill, I usually run without headphones. I like to be in my mind and figure things out regarding blogging, work and life in general.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I’m actually extremely shy and awkward, especially around people I don’t know. Being a teacher, having a very outgoing husband, and becoming a mom have helped me break out of my shell a little bit. I also get embarrassed really easily.

Can you tell us what a “concrete” is? What is your favorite flavor?

A concrete is frozen custard (similar to thick ice cream) with your favorite toppings all mixed together (unlike a sundae, where everything is piled on top). My favorites are anything with chocolate, caramel, or pumpkin, but I have to have something crunchy (like chocolate chips, M&M’s, or granola) mixed in as well. My go-to concrete at one of my favorite frozen custard establishments is vanilla custard with caramel and chocolate chunks mixed in. So good!

Follow Kristen’s running adventures at!

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