October 4, 2014

From 3.1 to 13.1

Last month I raced a 5k at the USA 5k Road Championships at home in Providence. It'd been a while since raced a 5k on the roads, let alone done any 5k pace work, so the race was a bit of a shock to the system! But it was a good shock - it was nice to feel the pre-race butterflies in my stomach again, the rush as you sprint off the starting line,
and the burn in your legs as you press hard during the final 0.1 of the race.
I finished in 16:44, the 20th American and 22nd woman overall. Though not a road PR, I was happy with the effort on a hot, humid day, in the midst of marathon training. I'll be back for a road PR next year! 
Post-race with former NBSV teammate Steph
Now I transition from 3.1 to 13.1 - I've got the Rock n Roll San Jose Half Marathon on tap tomorrow! There's a talented field assembled and San Jose is a flat, fast course, so it should be a great day! I haven't yet given the half an honest effort, so tomorrow I'm eager to improve on my 1:18.15 from 2012. Here's to hoping for a faster time and good preparation for 26.2! 

September 27, 2014

26.2 Debut

Marathoning is a weird phenomenon... how did 26.2 miles catch on as a distance we aspire to complete? It's such a long way to go, so much farther than the rest of the races (5k, 10k) we normally compete in. How does one decide to move up from 10 kilometers to 42.2k? HELLO, that's a huge jump!
For this runner, the decision to tackle 26.2 came about after the 2012 Olympic Trials. I've long been told that the marathon would be my best event, but it's taken me some time to wrap my head around it. Like I said, it's FAR! That's a long time to focus, be alone with your thoughts, and combat those creeping feelings of self-doubt...

Plus, I love the track and I know it well. Each spring for 15 years, I've laced up my spikes. Tracks are the same, from Davis to San Francisco to Cleveland to Providence. With so much change in life and so many unknowns, there's a comfort in the consistency of the track. To me, the rhythm of 400s doesn't feel repetitive; rather, I gain strength from each steady lap. It's familiar territory, and therefore safe.
But it's time to venture outside my comfort zone on the track and tackle a new running challenge. After much thought and physical and mental preparation, I'm ready to take on 26.2!

I'm excited and happy to announce that I'll be making my marathon debut on December 7, at my "hometown" marathon, the California International Marathon in Sacramento!
I am thrilled to race back at home in California, on the roads where I've run many a mile, with family and friends from nearby Davis able to come watch and cheer. There's a lot of marathons to choose from, but deciding to run CIM back at home was an easy choice. I am SO excited!
We're 10 weeks away from the big day and marathon training is in full swing. I ran my farthest run ever (18 miles) this week and it's only getting longer from here! 
I'll be chasing an Olympic Trials qualifier at CIM (the Trials are coming up quick - February 13, 2016!) and can use your encouragement along the way! Follow the journey here on the blog and on Twitter (@runnerKG)! Thanks as always for your support!

Joyfully,
Kaitlin

September 20, 2014

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

September is a great month to train in Providence. The weather has finally turned, with the summer's sweltering humidity giving way to cool mornings and crisp evenings - perfect temps for running! And with the change in season I've found my fitness again - after struggling through the early part of the summer and then suffering through the heat of August, I'm rewarded by FINALLY feeling good again! The joy is back!
When you're in such a beautiful place, how can you not run joyfully?
Last summer, Ohio running friends wisely counseled me that putting in the work during a humid summer will pay big dividends in the fall. East Coast humidity is what we like to call "poor man's altitude" - with the air so thick with moisture, it's like running at elevation. You try to adjust your paces accordingly, but it's hard not to feel discouraged when every run is a struggle and you're not even cracking 7:30 pace... The summer cruelly plays with your mind and steals your confidence. 

But just wait! they told me. Hang in there. Stick it out. And come September, when the humidity dies down and you "come back down from altitude," you'll be so fit and feel like money! 

Right they are, these wise Cleveland friends of mine :) @nicolecamp @heidijogreen @beckimichael9 East Coast summers test you -- and try to get the best of you -- and make you question why you ever left California! But they also make you tough, and for that, I am grateful.

I returned to Cleveland earlier this month for a work trip, putting in time at Movable HQ. In between work, I returned to my old haunts, the Case Western track and my beloved Cuyahoga Valley National Park and ran joyfully with CLE friends.

Cleveland weather tried to get the best of me, with an especially humid morning for my track workout and a torrential downpour for my tempo, but sorry CLE, I've learned to overcome you! In the words of Kayne:
Work it, make it, do it, makes us
Harder, better, faster, stronger
Now that that don't kill me
Can only make me stronger



So back in Providence and with summer behind me, I'm bringing my harder, better, faster, stronger to the starting line tomorrow! I'm suiting up in my sweet new New Balance uniform and racing here in Providence at the USA 5k Road Championships. 3 years ago, this race kicked off a great string of races for me, and I hope to do the same again tomorrow! 5k road PR, let's do this!