Much like with Durwin, who I profiled last week, I've never met @Kaitlyn_S. However, she's become part of my running network on Twitter, and when I asked if she would be willing to be profiled on my blog, she willingly agreed to. I expect one day we'll run across each other at one of the local races, or perhaps our shoes have already crossed paths while running in and about Halifax.
In reading through Kaitlyn's answers to my questions, I've learned a lot about this busy and dedicated mother of two girls, run coach and aspiring Everest Base Camp climber! Who knew!
Without further ado, I give you Kaitlyn (@Kaitlyn_S, aka Sweaty Sneakers http://sweatysneakers.com), this week's HRG Runner in Profile!
HRG: Tell us a bit about yourself .
Kaitlyn: Who I am: Mom of two girls (5 and 3), run coach with Team in Training Halifax, married for five years, "mature" student at SMU, two full marathons, seven half marathons, various 10k and 5k and one Sprint triathlon.
HRG: How long have you been running?
Kaitlyn: I've been running for a total of eight years, but really consistently and with some distance for almost four years.
HRG: How and why did you start?
Kaitlyn: In 2003, a good friend of mine joined the marathon clinic at the local Running Room to train for the first Bluenose Marathon (May, 2004). Not to be outdone, I decided that I, too could run long distances so I joined the half marathon clinic.
The clinic night fit my schedule better. And by that I mean that the marathon clinic was on Thursdays and everyone knows that Thursdays are pub nights. Such were my priorities!!
So I ran the very first Bluenose half in 2004. I kept running off and on, a couple 10ks over the years until I had my second daughter in May 2008. When I was pregnant (the second in as many years), I was just so sick of feeling big and inactive, so I vowed that I would start running after the baby came and "get my body back."
I ran a 10k when she was four months old, a half when she was 7 months old and my first marathon when she was 15 months old.
Eventually, running turned into a life journey where I was able to really meditate on my priorities and goals. Yes, I did get my body "back" after having kids, but I've also realized that you can never get something back, you can only move forward and grow from where you are now.
Running has given me the clarity of mind to learn how to love myself (which is still a work and progress sometimes) and be a better person. Mother and wife, yes, but more loving and accepting of others.
For most of my life, I thought that I was as average as a person could be, but in learning how to push myself beyond what I thought my physical limits were, I realized that not only am I pretty special, but so is everyone.
And so my goal when I coached at the Running Room and now at Team in Training is not only to help the participants complete their race, but to help them believe in their own strength so that they'll keep running after the season is over.
I'm a long way from prioritizing my running schedule around my drinking schedule, but it's all been a part of it. Running helped me make priorities, and I am on my own list.
HRG: Favourite part of running?
Kaitlyn: How it makes me feel, I guess. Running was the portal into a new and more loving relationship with myself. I don't always "like" going for a run, but I'm always happy I went. So aside from the happy glow I get for the rest of the day, running has helped me feel comfortable in my own skin. Also, things like a getting a perky butt are nice incentives ;)
HRG: Least favourite part of running?
Kaitlyn: Getting out the door. That is consistently the most difficult thing. You'd think that by now, I'd be over it. But sometimes I'm just lazy and waste more time dreading the run than I actually spend running.
HRG: Favourite time of year/weather to run in?
Kaitlyn: Fall! Cool and sunny days are perfect. Winter is probably my next favourite, followed by spring (I hate getting wet feet) and last is definitely summer. I overheat really easily.
HRG: Favourite distance to run?
Kaitlyn: Somewhere between 10 and 12k. Long enough to give you a solid buzz, long enough that if you do it consistently, you can really change your body, not so long that you are in pain or need a nap afterwards.
HRG: Favourite route (training or race) to run?
Kaitlyn: I really like running downtown Halifax because the scenery keeps me distracted. But I also really, really like doing long training runs on the deserted country trail close to my house. After a couple of hours running alone surrounded by nature, I feel more centered and focused and optimistic about my life.
HRG: How do you keep motivated?
Kaitlyn: By making goals. Sometimes that goal is distance, sometimes that goal is speed, but if I don't have a race penciled in on my calendar sometime in the next four to six months, I find it really hard to get out and run. That said, I'm coasting between training programs right now, but I've been coaching Team in Training Halifax half and full marathoners on Saturday mornings. So in order to keep up with their distances and not injure myself, I've been maintaining my weekly runs.
HRG: Best pre-race meal?
Kaitlyn: Eat pasta run fasta! Seriously, the night before a race I eat a big bowl of spaghetti around five or six o'clock. And if the race is a half or full, I eat something like toast with peanut butter and a sliced apple around eight.
For breakfast I am all about oatmeal. Good energy but not too heavy on my stomach.
HRG: Best post-race meal?
Kaitlyn: Peanut butter and jam sandwich (or two depending on the distance) and chocolate milk.
HRG: Upcoming race goal?
Kaitlyn: Montreal Rock and Roll in September 2012, but in the meantime, I'm training to hike to Everest Base Camp in April which is a three week trek carrying a 30-40lbs backpack.
HRG: Tips or words of wisdom for new runners?
Kaitlyn: Stick with it. Don't let crappy runs get you down. Get a support network by joining a clinic or a run group. Don't expect miracles, changes to your body and fitness level take time and consistency. Eat right so that you can fuel your body.
If you hate your run every time, try something else, like a new route or some new music or a new pair of running pants that look cute on you. Have faith in yourself and your body that you can form new habits and become strong.
Read books like John Stanton's Running: Start to Finish. Don't let self-consciousness make you afraid to try. Make realistic goals. Ignore the haters and nay-sayers. Don't let being "slow" get you down.
But most of all? You aren't going to become a better runner by wishing you were a good runner. You are going to become a better runner by running. So even when it sucks, even when you don't want to, even when the weather isn't what you want, just go run. Make the commitment to do it, and then do it.
HRG: Thanks, Kaitlyn! And good luck on Everest! :)