Sacramento, CA

Lessons in resilience from Kim Conley, the former Sacramento US Olympic runner

Carmen Micsa

And some wise advice from Melanie Conley, Kim's mom, on raising an Olympian
Feeling happy after a great run in Flagstaff, AZDrew Wartenburg, Kim's wonderful husband, chauffeur, and chef
"No one expected me to make an Olympic team. I wasn’t a standout high school or college athlete, but I have always loved to run and valued a disciplined work ethic. I have been fortunate throughout my career to have wonderful coaches who fostered my desire to seek continual improvement, and a PR streak eventually landed me among the country’s best athletes and in a qualifying position for the Olympic Games." - Kim Conley

Jumping from 5K and 10K favorite distances, US Olympic runner Kim Conley is moving up to the marathon distance this year. Although Conley used to live in Sacramento, she now lives and trains in Flagstaff, AZ. A two-time Track and Field Olympian in the 5000m and two-time national champion, Conley grew up in Santa Rosa, CA, and went to college at UC Davis where she ran cross country and track. Conley is a professional runner for Nike and coaches adult runners with McKirdy Trained. In her free time outside of training and coaching, Conley enjoys reading, hiking, mountain biking, and exploring the beauty of Northern Arizona.

Personal bests

1500m — 4:07.17
3000m — 8:44.11
5000m — 15:05.20
10,000m — 31:35.88
Half Marathon — 69:44

Her lovely mom Melanie Conley is British and emigrated to America in 1987. Melanie lives in Santa Rosa, CA, where she is a home health wound, ostomy, and continence nurse for Sutter. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, swimming, and spending time with family—including her three grandchildren.

As 2020 rolled up all its sleeves with a worldwide pandemic, Kim Conley has embraced the ever-changing circumstances and has learned some valuable lessons:

  1. Being adaptable to life’s swift changes in a way that the Olympic athlete has never been before.
  2. Being prepared to be disappointed, such as a race being canceled at the last minute, which made her embrace life’s disillusionment with equanimity and serenity.
  3. Being open to change and welcoming it as a catalyst toward personal growth. For instance, one of the things that Conley changed in her training was to move to Flagstaff permanently in the middle of 2020, which allowed her to train at altitude full time. Additionally, Conley stopped going to the gym. Instead, she uses the developed at-home strength routine based primarily on the KBox Trainer by Exxentric.
Kim Conley and her mom Melanie ConleyDrew Wartenburg, Kim's wonderful husband, chauffeur, and chef
"Dreams can change if you want them to." - Melanie Conley

Kim and Melanie Conley share a few multigenerational pieces of advice for athletes of all ages and abilities and anyone who wants to increase their resilience.

  • Kim: keep going and keep adapting.
  • Melanie: when things get tough, carry on as usual.
  • Kim: learn to become more nimble and welcome changes in your lives.
  • Melanie: being supportive and not putting pressure on the kids will help them enjoy the process and be successful.
  • Kim: having the parents' and grandparents' blessing to reach high and believe in becoming an Olympian.
  • Melanie: have audacious dreams and be ready to change them, if you need to.
  • Kim: the endeavor should be less about the outcome, and more about enjoying the process.
  • Melanie: find something positive every day.

With so many lessons in resilience that Kim Conley learned from her parents and running, working hard to accomplish big dreams is all just good fun when doing what we love to do.

And, yes! Dreams are adaptable as well!

Follow Kim Conley on IG, Twitter, and her website:
Kim Conley (@kfconley) • Instagram photos and videos
Kim Conley (@KimConley) / Twitter
Kim Conley (

Also to find out more advice from Kim Conley and her mom Melanie, listen to their recent interview on Seeds of Sunshine, released on July 13, 2022.

Disclaimer: Seeds of Sunshine is Carmen Micsa's multigenerational podcast that she started together with her daughter.

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CEO/Broker of Dynamic Real Estate, Inc., business owner featured in the Forbes magazine for my outstanding service to my clients. Mom, wife, a published author, Medium writer, poet, marathon runner, rapper, and tennis player.

Carmichael, CA

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