Altra Running – A Seattle Experience

by Katie on November 14, 2014

If someone approached my younger self and said, hey, I know you don’t run…at all, nor do you have any desire to be a “runner”, but after you get married and have those kids you want, you are going to run…a lot…and love it…and qualify for the Olympic Trials in the marathon, have a shoe sponsor who will take you to Seattle to shoot a video for a 2015 shoe that is coming out…and that’s just the beginning, I’d say to that someone: you’re out of your flipping mind.  Crazy.  Get outta my face.

I am a runner.  I am a marathoner.  I love it.  I just flew home from Seattle two days ago where I spent four days, two of them shooting a video with some SUPER talented people for Altra Running and their Intuition 3.0 that will be out next year.  I am now a sponsored athlete with Altra Running and could not be happier with that decision.  I just qualified for the Olympic trials marathon a month ago and I’m not done yet.  Crazy.  That “would be” person would have been right and I never would have believed it.

I ran my first race ever in 2008, a marathon, and I loved it and hated it at the same time. I would have been content to never run another marathon.  I didn’t run another one until 2011.  I wanted to do a 50 miler in 2011, one that my husband had done the previous years, so that I could do the 100 miler he has done in VT.  But that 50 miler didn’t work out.  So I ran a marathon instead.  I remember saying to my husband, I’m not happy about this, but there is a reason I’m running this marathon instead of that 50.  Everything happens for a reason, a purpose.  That reason is that I was meant to be a marathoner.  I’m a firm believer that God has a plan that is much bigger than mine.  I love that bigger plan.  I love when the big plan coincides with my plans but I think I love it even more when it doesn’t.  It’s exciting and it feels like I’m taking the road not taken. Hello Robert Frost.

Running that marathon in 2011 is what propelled me full force into marathons.  While I disliked that one just as much as the first, something took hold of me after that one.  I couldn’t let it go.  I wasn’t trained, my mileage was low and I didn’t have a clue what a tempo run was.  But I ran a 3:17, and wanted better.  So that afternoon, after I pulled my dehydrated, sick to my stomach, can’t keep anything down self up off the couch, I registered for another marathon 4 weeks later.  With major IT band issues and not really training in between the two, I ran a 3:11, a new 6 minute PR. When you run a marathon, you can’t help but be changed.  It might happen right away, it might not. But something happens as soon as you cross that start line and begin the 26.2 journey to the finish.  I love that journey.  Maybe that’s why I keep coming back.  The journey is different every time. Maybe that’s why I crossed the finish line of my 2:41 OTQ race and my mind was already thinking of the next.  Something happens even before the start line – in that first run of the training cycle and in every early morning run, tempo and long run after that. Something happens in working hard for something that will be hard in itself where the only reward for the work is purely and completely intangible.  Those intangibles are the things that keep me training, and setting goals and expecting more. Those intangibles are what have brought me to the place I am today with running.  That, and a God given talent to move fast across 26.2 miles and to put the work into getting there.

I could go on and on about why Altra is a great shoe, a great company and a great fit for me.  I’ll do that in another lengthy post.  A friend of mine has been telling me about Altra for quite some time, but I just stuck with what was working.   I got to try my first pair of Altras over the summer with the Runner’s World Half event, and like I said previously, I knew it was a great shoe from the moment I put it on. One thing led to another and now I am an Altra sponsored athlete. I’ve never had a sponsor, so this is new and exciting and amazing to have a solid company behind me, supporting me, helping me get to where I want to be…I’m not entirely sure yet where that is, but it’s going to be good.

Altra is a zero drop sneaker, so it was a seamless transition for me from the 4mm drop that I was wearing.  They are not a minimal sneaker.  They’ve got a great amount of cushion, but are still super light. A dynamic duo right there, a winning situation. They’ve got it all.

I got to go to Seattle on Sunday to make a video for Altra.  I met the crew and jumped into filming bright and early Monday morning.

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I literally ran all over Seattle, and had a blast doing it. Everyone was SO accommodating and amazing. It was a long and successful day all around.

On Tuesday we went out of the city a bit and filmed at Seward Park for the day.  Gorgeous.  And cold. But mostly gorgeous.  Considering we were in Seattle, we could not have asked for better weather.  We had two days of full sunshine.

Two full days of filming for what will be a 90 second video.  I really didn’t get to see much in the way of footage, but from the very short blips that I did see, it’s going to be a fun 90 seconds to watch.  You’re going to want these sneakers.

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The trip was an awesome way to kick-off what I hope to be a great relationship, friendship and sponsorship with a solid company.  I tried to sneak off to San Francisco with them, but I had to go home.  I missed the family.

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My awesome little loves made me a welcome home sign.  So much love.

I also needed a break from running ¼ mile sprints over and over, for two days straight. I was actually pretty sore from the short quick bursts of running.  It felt great to run a solid 8 miles before the flight home.  It was a slightly unplanned off week from training. So it’s time to get in gear as I am racing as elite in the Houston Half champs and I’d rather not completely get my butt kicked. I’m looking forward to the challenge of running with some very fast women.  This will be a first and is sure to be a humbling experience.  I need that challenge.

Ok, for the sake of this post and your time, I’m going to end it here and do a giveaway in the next post.  I’ll also talk a bit more about the zero drop concept and some misconceptions about it.  I think one common misconception is “I can’t wear zero drop, I need more support”.  That’s like saying “I can’t eat apples because I don’t like oranges.”   One has nothing to do with the other.  Sure, you may think you can’t wear zero drop, but it really doesn’t or shouldn’t have anything to do with lack of support or your supposed need for more support. We’ll talk about it.

As always, thanks for bearing with me and sticking through my super long posts.  I really do try to keep them short, so you can imagine what they look like before I read through them and take out paragraphs at a time.  You’re welcome for that. I do it for you.

I just looked at the weather and it is going to be 25 degrees in the morning for the long run – time to start bundling!

{ 38 comments }

Runners World Half and Festival – Recap

by Katie on November 11, 2014

It is nothing other than pathetic that it has been three weeks since the Runner’s World Half and Festival in Bethlehem, PA and I am JUST NOW putting up a recap of the weekend.  Good news for you is that I have hopefully whittled it down to the basics and the best parts of the weekend that are worth talking about.  The whole weekend is worth talking about, but you all will just have to put it on your race calendar now for next year so you can experience it yourself – it was a blast and probably three of the most highly organized and supported races I have run.  SO much energy and excitement during every race.

You will have to read Beth’s blog and Ali’s blog to get a different perspective on the weekend. Ali recapped it the right way – a list of 10 reasons Runner’s World weekend was a success.  I could just say “ditto to that” and call it a day, but I won’t.  I’ll give you some more deets.  But read their recaps for more info on the food and the fun – I won’t do it justice. Just know, we ate well. And that’s what’s important, right? The food was fantastic and most of it was made from the Runner’s World Cookbook.  We also had some great meals (and drinks) in Bethlehem – a really charming little town.  Mojitos at Hotel Bethlehem were pretty darn good. The company was fantastic, too.

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And Beth and I downed this garlic bread – or garlic with a side of bread – I feel bad for anyone we came into contact with after this meal

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And that photo is proof as to why I should not post food pictures on here. Horrific.

Oh, here’s more proof..that was serving #1 with a side of Ali.

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I was contacted by Beachy from Runner’s World over the summer to see if I wanted to participate in this event as a blogger.  After thinking, I wonder who dropped out and then surely you are confused because I don’t get invited to “blogger things”, I quickly accepted…not knowing what I was in for.

Once I met Beth, my roommate, I knew it was going to be a great weekend. She is one super cool, down to earth, triathlete/runner/mother/Shut Up and Run Blogger from Boulder, CO.  I always wanted a friend from Boulder.  Now I have one. Thanks, Beth.

Everyone there was fantastic – the Runner’s World staff was phenomenal.  The bloggers were awesome.  The events were amazing.  It’s hard to organize it into one cohesive blog, because it was a non-stop weekend, but I will do my best.

The real festivities started off on Friday morning (after a meal and tour of Runner’s World HQ on Thursday night) with an Amazing Race type event.  The winning team won a $100 gift card to Altra Running, the title sponsor of the weekend.  While my team didn’t win, we got to know the amazing Altra people and run around Bethlehem like crazy people.

After that, we had a bunch of mini seminars.  We learned all about Altra from the founder, Golden.  We got a sneak peak at some of the 2015 sneakers.

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We all got a pair of Altras before we got to the race weekend.  I have tried the Torins and the One2 – love them both. I mentioned on Instagram how it was love at first run for me when I got mine in August.  A friend of mine has been telling me for quite awhile to try these out and I”m so glad I finally got the chance. We got to hear about iFit and the parent company, Icon Fitness. One blogger won a treadmill of their choice.  That was not me.  Total slacker on my iFit tracker, that’s why.

From there we got to attend a yoga session where I realized I need yoga in my life.  We got all of these goodies in a bag- it was like Christmas for runners

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The races started on Saturday.  I ended up opting for the Hat Trick, which was the 5k and 10k on Saturday morning and the half marathon on Sunday.  I was one week post Hartford Marathon and was really looking forward to just running, for fun.  These are fairly hilly races – and I was really quite happy to not be racing any of them.

Within 8 days, I ran a marathon, a 5k, 10k and half marathon. In that order. So fun.

I had a blast during all three races.  During the half marathon, I was running behind two ladies who were duking it out for quite awhile – I really did enjoy not racing them.  I enjoyed cheering them on and watching them work hard for something that they really wanted.  Here’s what I ran:

5K – 19:45 (8 am Saturday)

10k – I actually don’t remember, I think it was a 6:36 pace or something – whatever that comes out to be (9:30am Saturday)

Half Marathon – 1:26 (on Sunday)

We were about a half a mile walk from the hotel to the start line so we walked back and forth on Saturday, but by Sunday it was chilly, very windy and we wanted to stay in the car as long as possible.

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Here are some pictures from the half marathon.  I think I need to wear that purple tank more often when I run – I got more “GO PURPLE” cheers from people than I have ever gotten.  Sidenote – these races had the most amazing crowd support.  Not only a lot of people out supporting, but a lot of exciting and happy people out cheering – I had so much fun.

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The Steel Stacks – I don’t do them justice, but this is where it all started and finished – lots of history here that I won’t go into, but you can look it up and find out for yourself.

I know there is SO much that I am missing, but that’s all I’ve got three weeks out!

My honest thoughts – I got invited to this thinking, great, this will be a fun weekend of running, but I’ll probably never go back and how good can it be?!?

I stand corrected.  Runner’s World blew me away with the festivities – blogger perks aside, it would have been an awesome weekend.  I highly recommend doing these races.  TONS of people, a much bigger events than I thought. Altra Running was a top notch sponsor. I would go back in a heartbeat and I think it is the perfect reason to get a group of friends together and make a weekend out of it.  There are a bunch of seminars all day Saturday that you can attend so you are never lacking for things to do.  Cross the bridge over into Bethlehem and there are great restaurants to eat at, drink at, be merry at.

Stay tuned – I have some fun news and a couple of really great giveaways coming up.  As always, hoping not to make you wait three weeks for this one. The only reason this one got done is because I am on a plane.  So, keep your fingers crossed that I am equally motivated and you might get the giveaway post on my return trip in a few days.

Next up for me:

Houston Half Marathon Championships in January…I just have to find my speed again.

And it’s starting to get cold again!  I hope all of my cold weather friends are ready for winter running!

Thanks for reading and my apologies in advance for any typos – I’ve been up since 3am and even with multiple proof reads, I’m not on top of it.  Carry on.

{ 15 comments }

Everything Went Wrong and it was All Right – Hartford Marathon 2014

October 13, 2014

Two years ago I set a crazy, out there goal to run an Olympic Trials qualifying marathon.  Sub 2:43.  I ran my OTQ on Saturday. 2:41:56 6:11 average pace 2nd female 20th overall (2400 runners) {You can read the super quick recap of just results HERE} I never would have thought I would use Hartford […]

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Hartford Marathon 2014 – The Short Story

October 12, 2014

There is a lot to talk about with this race…. Before the detailed recap of everything surrounding the day, here’s the basics of how it went down… 2nd Place Female 20th Overall out of 2400 people And over a 3.5 minute PR from Boston Marathon and almost 7 minutes from 1 year ago, giving me […]

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10 Days…and counting

October 1, 2014

It’s here.  The taper. Did I not JUST run a marathon?! And here I am.  Another taper.  The point in marathon training that feels like it will never actually come to pass.  And then it comes to pass.  And it’s pretty glorious when it gets here.  Really, there’s nothing quite like it.  It almost makes […]

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3 Weeks, 95 Miles and #RWhalf Discount Codes!

September 21, 2014

Not only did I leave you with a horrific display of bloggery the last time I visited these parts of the web, I left that monstrosity there with NO UPDATE for 6 weeks.  My sincere apologies.  I am a better runner than I am a blogger.  In a feeble attempt to win you back, I […]

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Nine Weeks and the Nineties

August 11, 2014

Technically, I can’t say nine weeks, because we are 8 weeks and 4 days out from Hartford Marathon – one of the things that I do love about this marathon is that it is on a Saturday, not a Sunday – but for the sake of this title and the “nine” theme, we’re going with […]

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HMF Run The Rent – 5k Race Recap

July 29, 2014

You’re getting a two for one here.  A race recap AND a mini weekly recap.  Lucky ducks. I don’t quite know where to begin with the weekly recap because it was a slight DEBACLE of a training week. 68 miles ahhhhh!!! slightly shameful for what was 12 weeks out from hartford marathon…now less than 11 […]

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Better Late Than Never – Weekly Recap

July 25, 2014

Best of intentions to get the week in review up last Sunday – did not happen.  Today will have to do. A number of you have even requested a “day in the life” type post.  I would be happy to oblige.  At some point I will get that written.  For now, just picture something like a […]

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Three for Three and a Voting Opportunity

July 13, 2014

If I actually get this post up in a timely manner, I will be three for three on these weekly updates that I started.  That’s good news.  I’m following through. It was a fairly mellow week, compared to the previous week – thank goodness – because I ended up having to push a workout back one […]

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