Life and Running – An Update and a Giveaway

by Katie on January 28, 2015

I found my way back to this little wordpress corner of the world, remembered my login info (that’s not true, it was automatically saved in my computer, waiting for me to just hit “login”.  I didn’t have to remember anything), got into my blog – so I figure I might as well do an update.  A quick update.  Like, I’m going to try to make it so that if you blink, you miss it.  Wouldn’t you be so lucky.  You all know that my posts are never so amazingly condensed into such brevity.

Please note before you proceed:

1. There will be no pictures.  I have about 8 loads of laundry, dishes, planks, core work, lunches to be packed for the morning and about a billion other things to be doing.  Not to mention it’s 9:30, I just ran 13 miles and I have to get up at 4am to run again.  But I’m feeling the need to check in, so check in I shall.  Without pictures.  That takes up way too much time, that I am currently in the red with.  You can go to my instagram for pics.  Msfitrunner.  Have fun.

2. There will be no rhyme or reason to this post.  I have not posted in over 2 months.  Simply organizing my running and life thoughts to prepare an organized post would take at least one week.  So, you get to read whatever’s on the forefront of my brain spewed out onto this post.

3. This post will certainly be ripe with errors of all sorts because the proof reading is not in the timeline for the evening.

It would probably be so much more helpful if I had questions to answer, which I actually do get a lot of the same questions.  So maybe I will go through the questions I most frequently get and give short answers.  I’ll start there.  That sounds organized and put together.

Here we GO!

1. What is your typical day like???

This is a great question.  Thank you for asking.  I work full time, so about 45ish hours a week.  On a typical day – I get up at 4-4:15am, run 8-10 miles/1-1.5 hours.  Husband goes to the gym when I get home.  I get in the shower, get ready for work and help get the kids ready for school, breakfast, finish up homework with them, make sure they don’t look like ragamuffins walking out the door. You’d be surprised how challenging that can be.  I am not that mom that obsesses about what my kids wear to school.  They pick out their clothes.  Every so often I have to step in.  Now it’s just reminding them that yes, you have to brush your teeth and it wouldn’t kill you to brush your hair.  I have to leave by 7:30-45am to be at work and the kids leave at 8:20.   I’m at work from 8 – 5 with an hour for lunch, if I have time.  If I do have time, I will take that hour and go to the gym (3 minutes away) and either cram in the 5 mile secondary run (3x a week I do a short second run) and take a 30 second shower and back to work, or do my core/strength work.  I’d say that happens maybe twice a week. On the days I don’t, my schedule either doesn’t allow for a straight hour for lunch or I will run errands that I can’t do because I’m at work all week. If I don’t get the second run in at lunch, I have to do it after work.  I have found the best thing to do with that is to not even go home first and just run before I get home.  This is more for the kids because they melt down if I get home and then leave again, whereas if I just don’t get home until 6:30, they are none the wiser.

The kids are usually fed by the time I get home and I will then help with homework, etc. and do bedtime.  They go to bed anytime between 8-8:30.  However, my middle does competitive gymnastics 3 nights a week, so there’s a bit of running around for her.  When I’m on top of things, I prep the next days lunches, etc.  I’ve not been on top of it lately.  Challenging.  Once the kids are down, it feels like I could do at least 2-3 hours of stuff around the house, but I usually shut it down by 9:30pm to go to bed and do it all again.  In a small nutshell.  That’s the day.

2. What do you eat? You must eat a TON of food

I don’t really eat a ton of food.  Topic for another post – I have Hashimoto’s thyroid (under active thyroid, and it’s a huge pain, talk about that in another time).  I am that person that will eat the same things for breakfast, lunch and dinner and be ok with it.  I probably prefer that.  I’m also that person that if my co-worker brings in an egg mcmuffin, I’ll eat that, too.  Waste not and be thankful….as long as it’s on a biscuit, no muffin, so really an egg mcbiscuit.  I try to be a more “aware” of what goes in when training gets a bit more intense and I get closer to a big race.  I am certainly very cognizant of what I eat, but don’t go nuts over it.  If left to my own devices and enough time to prep, I would eat veggies all day long – I really LOVE veggies.  I never did.  Now I do.  I am that person that you would think, she’s full of crap, no one LOVES veggies.  Not true.  I do.  I also really love my protein shakes.  I also really love dark chocolate.  My #1 focus in nutrition is getting enough protein and fat.  I don’t eat a ton of meat, so my bulk of protein comes at breakfast with the Vega Protein.  I am more about nutritionally dense foods than thinking about calories.  I don’t have a clue how many calories I eat a day.  I eat when I am hungry and stop when I am not.  I pack a ton of nutrition into the shake and I love knowing that my muscles are repairing and getting stronger for the next workout with that meal.  And historically my hard runs are in the morning, so it’s good for right after that.  I’m also super focused on hydration.  I notice a 100% difference in how I feel if I am not hydrated – and I’m talking like, probably a gallon of water a day.  Ok, maybe not that much.  Maybe 4, 24 oz. water bottles full a day, close enough.  It’s a lot.

3. How do you balance it all – working, motherhood, running, life?

I don’t always, but I do my best.  It is very challenging to run 90+ mile weeks with a full time job and kids.  I actually haven’t been running 90+ mile weeks because life just sometimes blows up, funny thing when that happens, and with that kind of stress, running is one of the first things to go.  And I was sick for a couple weeks (flu, chest cold from hell) leading up to the biggest half marathon I’ve ever run (what a bummer, Houston, but glad that there will ALWAYS be a race to run – speaking of Houston, I need to write about that instead of sticking it inside parentheses because that was an experience all its own – Hello Meb at breakfast, lunch and dinner and oh, Sara Hall, nice to chat with you).  So, I remind myself that there is a season for everything and I have to do my best with what I’ve got and what I am capable of at the moment.  I also enjoy and make time to go out and spend time with friends.  It’s important to me not to not do those things because I run.  I make time for it.  And I’ll likely never turn down a spicy margarita or a martini.  Or a just a coffee date.  I love coffee, too.

4.  What are your goals now that you have the OTQ, what are your goals for the Trials?

I want the A standard.  That’s a 2:37. I will work towards that.  I don’t really have my race schedule planned out yet.  I am set to run Boston with the Elite Women’s start – which is completely terrifying and exciting.  But I am undecided on Boston at this point.  I will have to see how the training goes in the next couple of months.  It’s becoming crunch time and I do not have a good rhythm going quite yet.  But, it could happen.  Boston isn’t going anywhere, either.  My other options are to run a later spring marathon, like Grandmas or just skip the spring, train for an awesome fall and do shorter stuff up until then.  In short, I have no idea yet what the plan is.  I would like to do some shorter stuff, though.  Halfs, 10k’s…you know, the painful stuff. I would love to actually work on speed at some point and see how that impacts my half time and shorter distance times.  It’s different training than for a marathon to really focus on those distances. But, the marathon is my focus now. I have not thought about the trials other than, holy crap, I get to be there.  That’s it.  Plenty of other stuff to think about right now.

5. What was your workout tonight?

Ok, no one cares or asked that question, but I’m going to tell you because it was the best workout I’ve had since probably Christmas Eve.  I had to do the treadmill because we got slammed with snow.

13 miles total @ 6:37 average pace, all on .5% incline

With  6 x 1 mile repeats, 2.5 minute jog recovery between each mile

5:39, 5:39, 5:36, 5:36, 5:33, 5:33

5:35 average pace

The best part was how they felt.  I ran a 5:42 average pace the week of Houston Half and they nearly killed me.  They were so hard and I was struggling.  These felt so strong, and I handled them.  They didn’t handle me.  That’s the difference I like to see.

Other notables:

If you haven’t seen it – you can check out my Altra Running video on their homepage, and visit their website - you’ll see a familiar runner on the homepage.  That trip was so fun and it’s fun to see the final product.  Oh, and the sneakers are amazing, too ;-)

Speaking of Altra – I have a GIVEAWAY that I completely forgot I was going to do until I just typed that sentence.  Leave a comment below to enter to win a pair of Altra sneakers of your choice.  DO IT people!  I’ll let you tweet about it for another entry, just leave another comment telling me you “tweeted”.  Tag @altrarunning and @msfitrunner in the tweet, and maybe #zerolimts, too.  Too many characters?  I think it will work.  Deal?  And be fair.  I will check your comments.  Or I’ll have my 7 and 8 year old monitor your comments.  Even better.  I’ll pick a winner on Saturday.  Or maybe Monday.  Let’s go with Monday.  You have until Monday, my friends.

Perfect timing because the Intuition 3.0′s just came out and you must try them. I’m also a huge fan of the Torins.  And the One2′s.  Basically, you really can’t go wrong.

Ok.  I’m off to tackle some laundry.  Or do some planks.  Or multitask and knock them both out at the same time.  Who knows.

Thanks for reading and feel free to email me more questions – I’ll try to do a more of an actual running recap blog soon….or in two months.  Anything’s possible.

{ 226 comments }

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!

{ 42 comments }

Runners World Half and Festival – Recap

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 […]

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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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