When she realized that she was hitting the scales weighing more than an NFL player, Karen Edsall knew that it was time to do something about her weight. She started running in the fall of 2014 at the age of 48 with a local training group doing interval running, balancing walking with jogging. Today, Karen says she’s at the point where she would never say never to any distance challenged to her. In a few weeks on November 4th, Karen will run the New York City Marathon and it will be her first marathon.
Karen, from Virginia Beach, VA, is a special education assistant and is currently continuing her education at Norfolk State University. At the start of her running journey, Karen weighed 270 pounds. Today, she is a proud, strong and very active, 170-pound runner who enjoys running. “I hope someone cheering me on will have the courage to take that first step to get in better shape because they saw me as a seasoned adult not just running but “enjoying” running!” comments Karen.
In addition to becoming more physically active, Karen also is more careful about what she eats. Carbohydrate-heavy meals followed by sugary desserts have been replaced by lean meats, good fats and delicious salads not drenched in creamy dressings.
In the past 7 months, Karen has completed 4 half marathons, a 10-miler and a 5K all while proudly wearing a Team Beef jersey. She is one of the 18 members of the Northeast Team Beef program, coordinated by the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative and funded by beef farmers and ranchers through the Beef Checkoff Program. Karen says, “I’ve grown up with beef always being a part of my meals. I speak to my coworkers, running buddies, and people I meet at races and enjoy giving them information about all the benefits of beef. It makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something when I get that “Wow, I never knew that!” A top reason for Karen to choose beef as a part of her training regimen is because she knows she needs the protein to help repair her muscles after a hard workout.
Comradery and a sense of community are also reasons why Karen has enjoyed being a member of Team Beef. She goes on to say, “I remember the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach and finding Team Beef members from Texas. Any time I see other Team Beef members at races, it’s like we are relatives and we high-five, give hugs, and take pictures to share. I enjoy when I’m running with someone and hearing shout-outs, “Go Team Beef!” I really love when I can start a conversation about Team Beef when someone asks, “What is Team Beef?”Karen was recently featured in a Runner’s World “runner story” where she shares more of her weight loss journey.
Learn more about Karen and the other members of the Northeast Team Beef program by viewing the member library.
Karen Esdall of Virginia Beach, VA
For more information, visit NEBPI.org or MyBeefCheckoff.com.