March 01, 2011

Runner Chick Chats

Hi Smart+Strong=Sexy readers! I'm Katie and I "met" Brooke a while back when I was really into money saving blogs (I still am, just not as obsessed) :)

For almost 6 years (high school and college) I was in a relationship with the same person. As our relationship deteriorated, my weight increased. I was my heaviest at 20 years old, in an on and off again relationship (engaged and not engaged, the stakes were high) and trying to figure out what to do after graduation. Just looking at these pictures breaks my heart, I look so uncomfortable and so unhappy. My weight gain was purely emotionally, I couldn't control my fiance or my future, but I could find comfort in oodles of chicken nuggets, nightly trips for ice cream and serving bowls full of Captain Crunch.

Eventually our relationship evened out and we began planning our wedding and I determined it was time to lose some of the weight! I started walking on a treadmill at the gym for 10 - 15 minutes at a time, until I worked my way up to walking a mile or two at a time.

Eventually enough was enough and we ended up breaking up 3 days before our wedding. Crazy!!! I found myself truly single for the first time in almost 6 years, weighing a little under 200lbs. My youngest sister, Hannah, participated in Girls on the Run in elementary school. I had watched her finish a 5k and picked her up at a few practices and vowed to never run. Look how tired and sweaty they were....yuck! She bugged (nagged) me enough about running a 5k with her until I finally decided to give this running thing a try.

One day at the gym, I was the only one in the cardio room, so I bumped the speed up to a slow jog for about a minute. I was out of breath and sweating but I was also pretty sure I had just run. This running in secret continued for a couple weeks. A minute here, a minute there when no one was around. I was embarrassed of the copious amounts of sweat pouring off me and I thought for sure people would think I was a fraud. Eventually a 30 minute walk would be about 25 - 50% running.

I had done all that running in private, not even telling my sister! It was just too personal and emotional at the time to make myself even more vulnerable. Tired of the treadmill, I moved my running outdoors. I'd run a block or two, then walk a bit. I started feeling proud of being a runner and wouldn't take walk breaks if there were cars coming, I wanted them to see me running! I'd go out for 10 - 30 minutes at a time, depending on how I felt.

Finally in July 2006, I admitted to my sister that I was running and would do a 5k with her. She was thrilled and said she noticed I was losing weight, which she contributed to the running. We signed up for the Lakeshore Days 5k on August 13, 2006 and I began running the course a few times after work. I was amazed as the objects (Big rock, the yellow house, etc) that marked how far I could run before taking a walk break got further and further apart.

The day of the race came and I was so nervous! I was obviously a newbie runner in a cotton t-shirt, shorts that rode up and cotton socks, but I was running a race dang it! I didn't take a walk break until after the halfway point, I was so proud of that fact! I ended up finishing in 30:24, which was good enough for second place in my age group (small races rock for that)! My mom even said "I couldn't believe it was you coming down the road, Hannah had only just finished!"
After that I was hooked! For the next 3 years I ran 3 - 4 times a week and raced a few 5ks for fun. Then in 2009, my sister and I trained for a 10k. I ended up running it in 57:11!

After 2 10ks in summer 2009, we trained and finished a half marathon that fall (2:12:59). That was a real challenge as I experienced IT band trouble and a cartilage tear in my knee!

As my running improved, I shifted from mostly treadmill to mostly outside running, even through winter, thanks to a pair of awesome running tights, toasty pull over and yak trax. In winter/early spring of 2010, we trained and completed the 5/3 Riverbank Run 25k. The weather was the big challenge here! Some of our training runs were as cold as -6 degrees, in 28 mph wind and hot as 80 degrees. Race day weather wasn't much better, it was 35 degrees, drizzle and 25 mph winds. All those runs when the couch would have been warmer and more comfortable were going to pay off! It wasn't easy, but I completed the race in 2:35:59!! Right on my goal of 10:00 pace!!!

That about sums up my running history. I've placed in a few smaller races, which is always a fun confidence booster! Currently I'm again training for the Riverbank Run 25k! I did 8.55 miles this morning in 1:24:15 in 20+ mph winds!

Thanks for reading my running history ramblings!!

Katie was my first running mentor.  I bugged asked her a million questions leading up to my first half marathon.  And I still have never ran a 5k as quickly as she did her first!  Safe to say she's high on my list of people I want to be like when I grow up.  Thanks for sharing your story today Katie!


  1. Katie is running the same 25k that I am running this spring!!!! I need to meet this woman :) She rocked to do the 25k last year. I thought I was going to DIE doing the 10k that day. She's not kidding about the 25 mph winds, either. They literally knocked everyone sideways.

    PS-She looks amazing. Congrats to Katie on becoming such a great runner!

  2. I'm so glad you found something that you enjoy! What a great story!

  3. Katie, that's so cool, and I am so glad to "meet" you!! Love the story!

  4. I loved this! What a great story.
    I'm wondering if this is the Riverbank run in Grand Rapids. My daughter did the 10K last year and this year is doing the 25K.
    Katie - thanks for telling your story.


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