Kim is a 2012 Olympian and currently making her journey to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Beating her own personal record each year, Kim is the archetypical middle and long distance runner—winning races one lap at a time.
The One X Ten Interview:
1. Where are you from and where do you currently call home?
I am from Santa Rosa, CA and currently live in Sacramento, CA.
2. How did you get started in your sport and when did you realize you wanted to pursue it professionally?
I joined the Santa Rosa Express Track Team when I was 12 years old and ran cross country and track throughout high school and college. It wasn't until I was entering my senior year at UC Davis that I started to realize that I wasn't ready for my career to be over and that I could continue to run at a high level beyond college.
3. What is the biggest setback you’ve suffered as an athlete?
The initial years out of college were the toughest because I didn't have the same support structure that one has as a collegiate athlete and I didn't have a sponsor yet to truly run as a professional. After I made the Olympic team in 2012 many doors opened for me. Since then the biggest setback I have faced was an injury in 2015 that kept me sidelined for the entire outdoor track season.
4. Best piece of advice from women starting out in your sport?
Set goals-both big dream goals and smaller, realistic goals. When training is hard it helps to have a reason to get out the door and when that reason seems too far out on the horizon it helps to have intermediate steps along the way to achieve.
5. What’s the biggest misconception people have about being a female athlete?
As a runner, people often seem to think I can eat whatever I want because I am running everyday. In reality, I eat a healthy, well-balanced diet pretty much year round. I have to keep the calories I consume nutritionally dense so that I don't get sick or injured.
6. Whom in your sport do you admire the most and why?
Desi Linden. She came out of college with similar times on the track to me, but over the years has progressively made improvements and is now one of the best female marathoners in the country and world.
7. What’s in your gym/workout bag?
A stretch band and jump rope for my warm up routine; a Powerbar and water for after the run; extra clothes for after the run.
Steel cut oats, made with milk, fruit, and walnuts. And of course coffee!
9. Favorite workout or workout tip?
I love the progressive long run. You run the first 60-70 minutes at a normal run pace, then over 20 minutes progress the pace gradually down until you are running almost as hard as you can go in the last minute or two. Cool down with another 10 minutes. It's 100 minutes total, purely effort based so you don't need mile markers or any basis of measurement, and it best simulates the way I like to race which is to gradually increase the effort of the duration of the race.
10. We define “The Wonder” as the state of reaching the truly extraordinary—the achievements that most people, including you at one point, could not fathom. What is your Wonder and what has it taken—or what will it take—to reach it?
As a young runner I never would have been able to fathom that I could one day be an Olympian. I wasn't the best runner on my team, let alone on a regional or national level. The transformation I made over the years was based on continually seeking ways to better myself. Measurement of performance in running is very cut and dry so it was easy to see the improvements I made each year and gain confidence from them. Until last year, when I was injured, I improved my personal best in at least one event every single year that I competed from 1998 through 2014. I focused on being a better version of myself every year, and as I did that I was slowly working my way up the ranks of US distance running until I was making the Olympic team and later winning national titles.