Ever heard of a super mom? Well, she exists, and she stands amongst the throng of elite athletes in the waterski world.
Being a skier who makes a salary from their career takes time, dedication and focus, and those who are fortunate and skilled enough to live this opportune life can hardly afford to be away from the water. Yet, there is an extraordinary competitor who does not have her center of attention on learning the secrets of 39 ½ off.
It’s a typical weekday and Karen Truelove climbs out of bed in her home in Winter Garden, Florida not to shatter the early morning glass, as would by typical for most professional skiers, but rather to begin her schedule of being a mother. As the sun rises, Karen prepares her oldest son Dash, a five year old boy with warm brown eyes and a contagious smile, for school and makes sure her five month old boy Ridge is happy and settled.
After dropping Dash off at kindergarten, Truelove slathers sunscreen over Ridge’s face for the boat ride, an already common place activity for the baby, and makes her way out the back door to her training facility,
“We live on an amazing lake,” Karen beams. “It’s just under 100 acres, so we are able to have several slalom and jump courses. It has been a great training facility for us over the years because it has variable conditions, which helps prepare you for pro tournaments; and since it’s quiet and so secluded it has been ideal for all of our R&D responsibilities with our sponsors.”
After skiing twice and pulling husband Freddy Krueger and training partners Adam Sedlmajer and Alex Lauretano, Karen pulls back on her super-suit, picks up Dash from school, runs errands and even finds time for a workout.
“Karen does an amazing job when it comes to balancing skiing and family,” Lauretano says. “But what's more impressive to me is her and Freddy's teamwork off and on the water. They really work together to give each other, and the kids what they need, and it shows in her skiing. Just a handful of months after having Ridge and she's back on the podium.”
It is late in the evening and Karen is still working her magic powers. After the gym, she attends to any cleaning the house requires, makes dinner and helps Dash with homework. How does she do it?
“It’s a work in progress,” Karen articulates. “I am finding parenting gives my life more balance, and because so much of my life is skiing, it gives me a much needed opportunity to concentrate on something else.”
With two kids and a full-fledged career in waterskiing, schedules are ever changing. Taking one step at a time has been a key to maintaining balance; generous support from the couple’s parents has also provided stability.
“The tricky thing is that life with kids is ever changing, so just when you think you have it all figured out, you start over because you are in a different phase of their life, “ Karen expresses. “We just take it one step at a time, but the one thing we couldn't do without is the help of our parents.”
Certainly, her hands are full, yet Karen has attested that family life doesn’t have to slow down or hinder your career. In fact, Karen has proved quite the opposite. For more than ten years in counting, she has held a top five spot in the world in elite women’s slalom.
“Karen's ability to deal with Dr. visits for sick kids and school appointments and everything else that has popped up over the last 5 years and still get all the on and off the water work needed to stay at a top 5 level has been nothing short of inspiring,” husband Freddy Krueger exclaims. “I think Karen likes the challenge of raising her level of skiing to heights that people typically don't expect mothers, let alone new mothers, to achieve by creating a fluid structure of family first, skiing second mentality. It is truly humbling to watch her have a baby and within 7 weeks of a C-section compete at the prestigious US Masters and miss out of the finals by a single buoy. That's a toughness you rarely see in this world!”
As an older competitor with responsibilities off the water, Karen has had to learn to train differently to better fit her schedule.
During the week, Karen skis three days in a row, twice a day. Though she is not necessarily training less than before, she is more attentive to how her body can handle the stress of being a mother and a professional athlete.
“I am certainly more thoughtful of my recovery time,” Karen says. “I never know how much rest I will get with a newborn in the house. I am more conscious of taking care of myself –including nutrition, therapies and cross training. I believe all of these things have been a tremendous factor in keeping me stay in the game over these last few years.”
With this super mom’s dedication, love for her family and passion for her sport there is no doubt that the name Karen Truelove will continue to dominate the charts. And while every super hero stumbles at one time or another, Karen knows you just have to get back up, kiss the scrapped knee, dry the tears, fight for that extra buoy and make the most of what you have.
“Living is learning and learning is living.”