Fearless Femme – Caren Kilgore

Welcome to the second monthly installment of Fearless Femme.  This is a segment I am very proud of as it gives me the opportunity to let you connect with  some wonderful, special and strong women, both mentally and physically.

Each month I am going to showcase each of these special women and their amazing stories.  All of us have a story to share, and some of these will inspire you, make you cry, make you jump for joy and but all will make you proud to be a woman.

Last month I introduced you to Heidi, a very special friend who continues to inspire me daily. If you didn’t check out here story – head over there now!


I would now love to introduce you to Caren Kilgore.  I met Caren at the Women’s Fitness Summit in 2014 and have become ‘social media’ pals since.  I wanted to share Caren’s story with you, because I think it will resonate with many of you who reach the age of 40 and start to take stock of your life.  It was when she turned 40 that Caren completely transformed her life,  to become the healthiest version of herself.  She is now 57 years old!! And when you check out her guns, you are going to be SO inspired.  Read on and enjoy!

 

Just before my 40th birthday that year I ran up the stairs to wake my kids for school and found myself out of breath. I remember thinking that if this was as young as I was ever going be, that I had better get better.  Up to that point I’d been a pretty typical mom who spent more time carpooling than concentrating on my own well-being. I decided to learn how to run, because in my mind that was the true key to health. I found a friend with a common goal and then I ran a LOT!

A few years later, at my husband’s suggestion, I reluctantly agreed to a few PT sessions at a local gym. I instantly found it to be so much fun, I got incredible support from other members, and started looking feeling strong in a short time. There was no going back. The last ten years have been dedicated getting physically stronger, learning from really smart people at the Fitness Summit in KC, and the Women’s Fitness Summit, and changing perceptions– often my own. The only running I do these days is in support of local charities a few times a year. I love yoga, I love playing with kettlebells, and I love time spent learning Tai Chi, but mostly I love picking up heavy weights. At 57 I can honestly say I feel better than I ever have and somehow I am still making strength gains.

[Tweet “Caren Kilgore – #FearlessFemme Strong, Beautiful Lady #cutlikeCaren @fitnchips “]


What does being a Fearless Femme mean to you?

One who isn’t necessarily without fear, but despite feeling fear rises to meet the challenge. A woman who despite being knocked down by life, illness or injury, rises up and continues to fight. 

My mother in law, who with five kids was widowed, but figured out how to get an advanced education and feed her family is a Fearless Femme. She has had five surgeries over the past ten months but is still one who nurtures me when I need it.

My own mom faced and beat cancer ten years ago. She is currently fighting hard to recover what a stroke stole from her back in December. Her mind is incredibly sharp, and she works diligently at rehabilitation as her body continues to fail her. She feels afraid, but still defines Fearless Femme.

What motivates you on a daily basis?

Ten years ago I lost my sister to a sudden cardiac event– a real eye opener and motivation to learn all I can about maintaining my own good health.

I hope to be able to dance at reception when my grandchildren marry. And, oh, I have no grandchildren yet.

My current goals?

Maintain my current strength levels while dealing with a schedule that has recently been unpredictable. My coach Bret Contreras has written a 3 day a week program that works the entire body and concentrates on one different main lift each session.

Make the Tai Chi Broadsword series I have been working on look more like it should. Be able to hold a hand stand.

 

At 57 Caren is more powerful than girls half her age.

At 57 Caren is more powerful than girls half her age.

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A proud moment?

Back when I first started lifting heavy I confided to my running buddy girlfriend that my goal was to gain as much muscle as I could. I had read the statistics about muscle and bone loss as women age and was aiming to head off whatever I could. Her reaction was not exactly one of agreement. She felt she put on muscle way too fast (and as a tennis player she looked great) but she didn’t want to look too bulky. We agreed to disagree. I moved to Boston and lost contact with her for a while. Last year I started getting loads of texts from her as she had hired a trainer and had begun to lift with the goal of muscle building. Knowing seeds that were perhaps planted so long ago had maybe lead to something good was a really proud day. Physical Fitness may not be the way I make my living, but it sure has become my life.

 

What is a defining moment in your life that you will never forget and why?

For no reason we changed our route home after cheering for our friends running the Marathon. Because our path was different, we walked away unscathed from the Boston Marathon blast that took three lives and injured more than 260. Watching the way the city came together to grieve and support one another toward a common goal of healing. Standing one year later at the marathon finish line for a moment of silence; to symbolically take back Boylston Street which had been closed for so long after the bombing. For a while there was a makeshift memorial of shoes, flowers and letters that had been left behind as tributes to the lives lost. On one note that was left there was a message: “Lace up your shoes and run for those who can’t.” It’s a good lesson for life. I lift because I can.

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This is one of the notes on display after the marathon bombing, enlarged and hanging in the Public Library in Boston.

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Which Fearless Femme do you admire most?

Living in the heart of Boston has presented us with so many unbelievable opportunities. Cheering near the finish line of the Boston Marathon has been a tradition since we moved here. In 2013, standing and cheering just across the street from where Tom and I are every year, was Adrianne Haslet-Davis. When the second of the two bombs exploded she was severely injured and lost her leg below the knee. This would be devastating for anyone, but Adrienne’s passion, professional ballroom dancing, is dependent upon her legs. She has mustered the strength to rebuild her life and passion. Unbelievably, the following year she ran the last few blocks of the race. Last year she danced across the finish line in heels, on a prosthetic leg the day the bomber was sentenced. This year she plans to run the entire race and has raised thousands of dollars in support of an organization called Limbs for Life. She refused to let the evil that was at the finish line take one more thing from her. Adrienne defines Fearless Femme and embodies true strength. I look forward to standing near the finish line this year to cheer for her.

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“Take Back Boyleston Day” – a year after the bombing and just prior to the marathon. Caren is just under the B in Boston wearing a red cap.

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A collection of the shoes left in tribute after the Marathon bombing., from the display at the Boston Public Library.

 

What piece of advise would you give others?

Seek out smart people and take their advice. There is a ton of great fitness information available at no charge online.

What is the mantra that you live by?

I may age but I will not grow old

[Tweet “I may age but I will not grow old #FearlessFemme”]

 


 

Do you know a Fearless Femme that you would like to feature on this blog? Send me their details, tell me your inspiring story!

 


 

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