Meet the Runner: Andrea Karl

Andrea at 2015 Go! St. Louis Marathon. ©Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.Andrea won the 2015 GO! St. Louis Marathon with a time of 2:54:29, which was a personal best and the first time she broke the three-hour mark. Andrea has only run two marathons and won both! In Andrea’s words …

What is your sports and running background?
I grew up playing soccer and decided to become a goalkeeper when I was about 12. Ironically, part of the reason I started playing that position was because I was the slowest player on my team, but I grew to LOVE being a goalkeeper. In middle school and high school I competed in shot-put and discus in track and only gave running a shot during my senior year when I also competed in the mile and 2-mile. I went to Denison University where I played goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team. When my senior season ended, I signed up for my first half-marathon – the 2014 Cap City half in Columbus. I absolutely loved it and the rest is history I guess!

Do you have any favorite running moments?
When I first moved here in July of 2014, I did not know anyone besides the co-workers in the lab I was working with for the summer. [Andrea is working toward a PhD in molecular genetics and genomics at Washington University] I decided to try out the Big River Training Team and had a great time talking to everyone on our 12 mile run. Some of the people I met that day have become my best friends and I look back on that day as one of my favorite running memories. As for specific moments, I don’t think anything can beat when I got to break the GO! St. Louis finish line tape at Busch Stadium before the Cardinals game.

What is your favorite race?
So far, the GO! St. Louis Marathon.

What is your typical week of training like?
I run an 8 mile loop in the Central West End and through Forest park either in the morning before going into lab or after work/school with friends. When I am trying to increase my mileage during marathon training I may run both in the morning and evening a few days out of the week. On the weekends I run 8-12 miles with friends Saturday morning and then if Big River Training Team is going on, I go there on Sundays. I have not been great about doing much speed work, so I will have to get on that this summer! [Hint, hint … Big River Speedwork is a perfect option.] I also try to do some weight training at least once or twice a week.

What advice would you give new runners?
Just run! No one wakes up one day and is able to just go out and run 20 miles. It takes time, and if you’re out there having fun and doing something good for your health, that is all that matters!

What is your favorite guilty pleasure food to reward yourself after a run/race?
Ice cream!

When and where is your next big race?
I am definitely doing the GO! Halloween race and would like to do MO’ Cowbell in the fall. I am sure there will be some fun, shorter races over the summer though.

What do you love most about the St. Louis running community?
I love how this running community allows for people with all different backgrounds and interests to come together to do something they love. The running community is like one big family! We celebrate the PRs and accomplishments of others and lift up one another when dealing with injuries or other setbacks. I love the fact that I can run through the park or to the arch, pass by another runner and immediately make a connection with a simple smile. We may not know each other, but in that instant, we have everything in common and are rooting each other on.

Gear by Andrea:

Training & Racing Shoes: Asics GT2000 and the Brooks Ravenna

Favorite Running Apparel: Big River singlets

Can’t Run Without … friends on the super long runs

Favorite Nutrition: Salted Caramel Gu