This is a story about perseverance – a simple tale of grit overcoming adversity… and inertia…and it also happens to be a story about my wife, Karina.

Two years ago, burdened by an illness that had knocked her body into imbalance, Karina could at best struggle through one slow jogging circuit of our neighborhood park (about a third of a mile, or the upper limit of my own non-runner’s range).

A year later, after dramatic lifestyle shifts that largely eliminated some life-long favorites (farewell, white rice!) and added good-sized helpings of cycling and other activities; she had shed thirty pounds and moved her body back toward equilibrium. Steeled with this rediscovered power, she was able to battle exhaustion to complete a duathlon that demanded 14 miles of cycling sandwiched between two three-mile runs.

In October of 2011, after continued food tweaks and further up-shifted levels of activity, Karina easily finished an 11 km night run, and she had grown ready to commit to something bigger — a greater challenge to push her forward, and an equally great cause that could inspire such an effort.

Karina with fellow team member Theresa

The challenge was easy enough to find. The Livestrong Half Marathon was coming up in Austin in February 2012. It was long enough away to train but close enough to push it, and it’s 13.1-mile distance was within reach, even as it was unthinkable only a year or two before.

It turns out the corresponding cause was as readily available as the challenge — it was right in front of us all along. Our friend Theresa had founded a non-profit called Bel Inizio, which “helps disadvantaged women develop self-confidence and life skills through fitness and nutrition.” It was a perfect fit.

Since its inception in 2010, we’ve been working out with the athletes-in-training of Bel Inizio, getting healthier even as we came to know the women who shared with us the calming cadence of a long walk or run. As Karina journaled her training experiences and contemplated the many good reasons she was running the marathon, she wrote, “Each woman I’ve met at Bel Inizio is a reason.”

Karina spent many of the long hours of her training running solo, often through the darkness, rains and chill of a Houston winter, bringing with her to the race the support and well wishes offered by friends and family, acquaintances and loved ones. These have been warming her all along as she was running her many miles so far, and they went a long way toward powering those final thirteen miles in Austin! Total success!

Thanks goes out to everyone who supported Karin through this journey. It made such a difference in so many ways.