Confidence Matters: From Last Pick to Marathon Runner

During Look Good Feel Better Week (the last week of April), we launched a digital initiative focusing on the fundamental component of the program: Confidence. The confidence that women develop once they’ve gone through the program… that empowers them to return to their daily activities without feeling defeated, and to manage their cancer journey. The campaign asked followers to post a photo or short video on their social media platforms, with a description of whatever makes them feel most confident. Participants were asked to use the hashtag #ConfidenceMatters with their posts. The person submitting the most compelling entry was to be featured on the Look Good Feel Better blog.

We are pleased to introduce you to the author of the “most compelling” winner of the Confidence Matters campaign – Kim Jarrett of Kansas City, Missouri.  In her post, Kim highlighted the resolve and discipline involved in becoming a runner, especially for one in her 50s who had never really run before. “As a ‘fifty something’ woman I never believed I’d be planning to run my first 50K this year,” Kim wrote in her post. She began running five years ago by simply running down her street and around her block, but with continuous training, she built endurance and strength.  She gradually ran her first 5K, then 10K, half marathon and eventually a full marathon. “I’ve never been a runner,” she continued, “but as my runs got longer I realized I could finally claim the title of ‘runner.’ Running is one of the biggest mind games out there, so when you head out for a run #confidencematters.”

Kim, an Area Trainer and Look Good Feel Better volunteer since 2002, is responsible for financial aid for undergraduate students at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Previously, she worked at a cosmetology school teaching the aesthetics program for nine years before obtaining her cosmetology license and volunteering for Look Good Feel Better.  Kim has been married for 34 years, has two grown children, both of whom are married, and recently became a grandmother to a new baby girl.

We asked Kim a few questions about her #confidencematters story, as well as her volunteerism with Look Good Feel Better. Here is what she had to say:

 kim jarret

During the Confidence Matters Project, you highlighted how your progress as a runner has given you confidence. How so? Can you elaborate?

My progress has given me confidence because I’m the kid who was picked last in sports. No one believed in me. And honestly, I didn’t believe in myself. Now I know that I can do anything I set my mind to. That kind of a belief does wonders for your confidence and self-esteem.

What made you decide to start running? Was there a specific moment that inspired you?

I started running with a friend who had a bucket list to run a 5K before she turned 50. It got a little complicated for me because the running uncovered a common condition called Supraventricular Tachycardia. Essentially, I had abnormal heart rhythm resulting from improper electrical activity of the heart. I ended up having a partially successful cardiac ablation surgery and got back out there. I didn’t let it stop me.

Running marathons and other long distance races can be somewhat challenging. What do you do to stay motivated?

I motivate myself. Some days I have to dig deep, but I think once health and wellness become a habit, it gets easier.

You’ve been a volunteer with Look Good Feel Better since 2002, and are currently an area trainer. What brought you to Look Good Feel Better in the first place?

I came to Look Good Feel Better after seeing an advertisement in a magazine. My mom had passed away three months earlier from cancer, so the program really resonated with me. It seemed like a perfect fit, and I haven’t looked back since.

What has been your most memorable moment with Look Good Feel Better and why?

My most memorable moment was using my 26-year-old niece as a model in one of the workshops while she recovered from surgery from bone cancer. That hit home for me.

What is your favorite section of the program? Is there a particular reason?

The eyebrows, of course, are my favorite step. Makeup in general is my favorite section – makeup is magic!

Why do you continue to volunteer with Look Good Feel Better, or why would you recommend it to others?

I continue to volunteer because I love it. Everyone should use their powers for good.