Karen Sabo – Chicago Ninja Academy in Carol Stream, IL

Here we have competitor Karen, age 38, Chicago, IL

Athletic background?  I have been active and into sports for as long as I can remember.  I was fortunate enough to have parents that had us involved in numerous sports and activities at a very early age.  Everything from swimming and gymnastics at our local YMCA to little league baseball.  As I got a little older, I realized soccer was my true passion.  For years I played on a very competitive travel soccer team and the number of state championships we won was in line with the number of world championships the Bulls were winning back then.  In high school I ran cross country to stay in shape for soccer.  In college I played Division I Soccer and club Ice Hockey at Arizona State University.  Go Devils!

How long obstacle course training?  I’ve been training for about a year and a half now.

Why obstacle training?   After college I started doing triathlons and then did a couple marathons.  From there I was on the front end of the Tough Mudder craze.  After about 6 of those, I needed something else and Ninja Warrior was it.

Why compete?  Motivation?  I love competing for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, it is such an incredibly unique community of athletes and I look forward to every opportunity I have to be with my fellow ninjas.  Secondly, it’s fun as hell!  I have such a blast traveling across the country for all of the various competitions and everyone is there to support one another.  We all want to see each other do well and it’s such a contagious, positive energy like no other!  Third, what fun is training if you’re not going to translate your training into competition?

Knowing there is always something I can be working on and something I can be better at keeps me motivated.  I enjoy pushing myself as far as I can both physically and mentally.  Achieving something in training that I maybe wasn’t able to do the week prior are the small victories that keep me coming back!

Favorite obstacle?  I like the Rumbling Dice and most balance obstacles.  Least favorite obstacle?    Anything that involves a trampoline!

Personal interests (movies, hobbies, music, books, charities, etc.)?  I love architecture.  I really enjoy walking around the city of Chicago – whether it be downtown or the numerous surrounding neighborhoods – the architecture of this city is spectacular.  I also really enjoy live music and cooking if I have someone other than myself to cook for.  Favorite movie is Back to the Future, favorite band is O.A.R., and favorite book is Devil in the White City.  As for charities, I am on the board of the Pat Tillman Foundation.

Something interesting about you?  I don’t know how interesting this is, but my #ShoeGame is pretty legit.

Motto or how you live your life?  Pat Tillman was a friend of mine in college and something I will never forget from his memorial service was one of his friend’s speeches about “how will you live your dash?”  That dash between the day you entered this world and the day you leave it represents a lifetime.  I strive to live each and every day to the fullest and have no regrets.  I try not to take people, relationships and experiences for granted.  Losing my brother suddenly this past summer was just another reminder that we are not guaranteed tomorrow and I want to make certain I am making the most of my “dash.”

Piece of advice for obstacle course training?   Keep at it! One of my favorite sayings is “You can’t eat an elephant in one bite.” What you may not be able to achieve today is achievable tomorrow if you put in the work. Like anything, obstacle training takes work, and a lot of it.  Be diligent in your training and most importantly, have fun with it!!

Social media info, pics, videos, other links?

Instagram: @kasabo15



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