Texas Ambassadors

An even dozen ambassadors will be taking on the half-marathon course at ZOOMA Texas this year. Even though they’ve been leading group runs and will have their eyes out for their runners, they’re primed to cheer on anybody who needs an encouraging word, so if you see them out there, be sure to give them a Texas-sized greeting. (No hook ’em horns necessary.)

Megan Baker, age 33.

Running the: half-marathon, her favorite distance.

Starting running because: I was selected to represent my 4th grade class at a school district track meet. I won 1st place in three events, and have been running ever since.

Thing I dread most about running: waking up early. I am not a morning person. Boo.

I can’t run without: nuun, the electrolyte replacement tab. I’m addicted to it. I always have it before and/or during a run.

Three words that describe my running: lifelong, successful, unfinished.

Goal for ZOOMA: 1:41.

Kimberly Bertstein, age 34.

Running the: half-marathon.

Started running because: I discovered I could. I stumbled upon running while trying to develop fitness in college. Through my childhood, I tried one sport after another. I liked the idea of being an athlete but was too inattentive and uncoordinated to excel. I tried to run and discovered that I could keep putting one foot in front of another, faster and faster, for longer and longer periods of time.

The biggest benefit running of running: It’s a tie between self-confidence and sanity; I love accomplishing goals that I set and having a release for my energy. And I like the gear.

Goal for ZOOMA: to have fun and inspire other runners.

Morgan Bryan, age 27.

Running the: half-marathon (it’s her fourth ZOOMA; she’s done two 5K’s and one half-marathon)

Biggest benefit running gives me: stress relief. I love getting in my run after work and being able to wrap up the day in my head and mentally prepare for the next.  My husband now tells me sometimes that I need to go run!

Can’t run without my: Road ID. My mom, dad and I all have the same motivational saying ours: May your feet always be swift, which are lyrics from Bob Dylan’s song “Forever Young.”  I also like having it for the safety reasons; it puts my mind a little more at ease.

Three words that describe my running: fun, motivated, rewarding.

 Goal for ZOOMA: to finish healthy and have fun!


Theresa Bodick, age 49.

Running the: half-marathon, her tenth take on this distance.

Started running because: it was 2010 New Years Resolution to run a half-marathon.  I ran my first one in November 2010.

Biggest benefit I get from running: it is my time and clears my head and relieves job stress and makes me feel fabulous.

Can’t run without my: Garmin, ipod and water. On shorter runs I take my   Goldendoodle who is my favorite partner and coach.

Three words that describe my running: stronger, healthy, competitive.

Goal for ZOOMA: 2:15.

Melissa Carlson, age 27.

 Running the: half-marathon, her ninth.

The thing I dread most about running: the first couple miles of a run. Why are they always so hard? Mile 2 is always the “Mental Mile” for me, during which I try to talk myself out of finishing the run. If I can get past that point, the rest is smooth sailing.

My favorite workout: the long run. If I have to run 9 miles, I go out and RUN. No worrying about how much longer I need to hold tempo pace or how many meters are left during Yasso 800s. It’s about the distance, nothing else. And that’s what I love about it.

Three words that describe my running: rewarding, optimistic, determined.

Goal for ZOOMA: to lead a friend to the finish of her first half-marathon.

Jennifer Comley, age 31.

Running the: half-marathon, her second ZOOMA

Starting running because: I found myself with 3 children, a failing marriage and out of shape. A friend invited me to “run”, but I couldn’t go more than two minutes. But I soon fell in love with the challenge, the feeling of accomplishment and the spiritual benefits.

Favorite place to run is: Scenic Loop Road in Helotes, TX. I have shared that road with phenomenal people, founded many life long friendships there and pushed through countless miles!

Three words that describe my running: progressive, fulfilling and challenging.

Goal for ZOOMA: To share all the spiritual and physical benefits of running with as many women as possible.

Susie Duarte, age 40.

Running the: half-marathon

Started running because: I was born and raised in Austin. Everyt ime I’d pass any part of Town Lake Trails I always saw runners and thought “I wish I could do that.” In January 2008, I decided my Resolution would be “I am going to be a runner!”

Favorite workout: running hills. It’s intense and hard but so worth if afterwards. I never thought I could even do one hill workout. My body and legs surely proved me wrong.

Three words that describe my running: strong, improving, exciting.

Goal for ZOOMA: 2 hours.

Sarah Giles, age 35.

Running the: half-marathon

Thing I dread most about running: Running alone. I hate it. This really became apparent to me when we moved to Austin from Portland, OR last August. Without my running friends to keep me accountable and motivated, I felt lost.  I have finally found a few ladies who like to run as far and fast—but not too fast!—like I do and we’re starting to build that special kind of friendship that running buddies have.  

Three words that describe my running: I have no idea. I’ve been sitting here thinking about it forever.  Here is what I would like to convey:  I love to be a consistent, reliable runner.  That is what I strive for, because that is when I know I am the most happy. I also love a bit of friendly competition, especially near the end of a run where we try to sprint the last mile or so.  Ending a run with “nothing left in your tank” is an empowering feeling.  It just feels good.  OK, so that was more than 3 words. Sorry.

Goal for ZOOMA: to meet a lot of new running friends, and to help other women reach their goals. And to run in under 2 hours.

Rhonda Hasse, age 46.

Running the: half-marathon (her 27th!)

Can’t run without my: watch. I have been a walk/run runner since I started to run.  This allows me to continuously use my muscles in different ways from the beginning of my workout.  I am able to distribute the workload evenly, increasing my overall performance. My watch is set to 2/1 intervals so I know when to walk.  Love to hear the beep!

Favorite place to run is: The Memorial Drive trail into downtown Houston. During early morning runs, the sunrise against the downtown skyline is spectacular. It can cause me to “take a moment” in my run to appreciate the beauty of our city. Often, you are able to smell freshly baked bread wafting in the air from the Sunbeam bakery. Awesome!

Three words that describe my running: exciting, rewarding, fulfilling.

Goal for ZOOMA: Not to cry when I cross the finish line! I don’t know why, but I always get teary eyed when I approach the finish line. 

Cheryl Obregon, age 33.

Running the: half-marathon.

Started running because: To be completely honest, to lose weight for my high school prom! But I grew to love running, and I haven’t stopped since.

Favorite place to run: an out and back along 1604 in San Antonio. I love the rolling hills and fairly quiet atmosphere, if you go early enough. I also love running on a road called “Scenic Loop” here in town. It is a challenging road with hills that is beautifully set in the hill country.

Three words that describe my running: progressive, exciting, challenging. 

Goal for ZOOMA: 1:45-1:50. 

Erika Sears, age 35.

Running the: half-marathon, her third time on the ZOOMA course.

Started running because: I actually started walking to lose weight. I had a friend who is technically a race walker, and she encouraged me to sign up for my first half-marathon, which was the inaugural ZOOMA Texas race! She was my buddy all during training, and we still meet together for exercise at least once a week. I enjoyed it so much that I kept on signing up for races, transitioned to walk/running, and then to running. Today I am 120 pounds lighter, and running is still a big part of my continuing wellness journey!

Favorite workout: a 6-8 mile early-morning weekend long run.  t’s long enough to feel like you did something great, but short enough to get home before the kids are up, and still have gas in the tank for the rest of the day.

Three words that describe my running: consistent, therapeutic, forward-moving.

Goal for ZOOMA: A personal record!  I want to surpass my time from last year.

Karen Speir, age 43.

Running the: half-marathon (her 3rd halfsie, although she never gone farther than 7 miles in a training run. “I’m excited to be an ambassador because I’ll have to do the long runs.”)

Favorite place to run: Lady Bird Lake because it’s so beautiful, and I love seeing so many people out enjoying their workouts.

Favorite workout: a 4-mile easy run because it’s a distance my husband is willing to run with me; I love anytime we can workout together.

Three words that describe my running: slow, challenging, exciting.

Goal for ZOOMA: 2:00.



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