That one time I met Kathrine Switzer

With all the buzz about the Boston Marathon a couple of weeks ago, and Katrine Switzer running it again, I thought it was about time to publish this post.

It’s probably been about three years since this actually happened, I just never had a chance to write a post. I did have hand-written notes of what I wanted to post in a notebook stuck to a newspaper clipping about this inspiring woman my Grandma had sent me. Then I promptly forgot about it. I still this is a great story to tell.

Indeed, I did meet Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to official register and run in the Boston Marathon. This was before I was a Skirt Sports Ambassador and I had attended one of Skirt Sport’s Ladies Night Out.

Here’s what I wrote on my notebook paper a few days after the infamous night (with comments from today)…

The article my Grandma saved for me


I feel pretty privileged to live in Colorado. It’s an outdoor enthusiast’s mecca. It’s perfect for runners and with 300 days of sunshine, a ton of awesome athletic-related companies call Colorado home.

One of those awesome companies is Skirt Sports. A new trend to hit women’s running community is the running skirt (not so new anymore). Skirts Sports is owned and run by Nicole DeBoom. (If you haven’t seen a talk by Nicole, you’re in for a treat. She’s a great speaker, full of energy and a truly inspiring woman with a passion for being healthy, beating your goals, and making other women feel empowered). I have had a lot of exposure to Skirt Sports because they are (were) one of the sponsors for the 3W Ambassador Program (I’m am no longer an ambassador but an employee for 3W Races, a year after this, and Skirt Sports is now a title sponsor of one of our races!). Nicole has come to a lot of our parties/meetings with 3W and her story is awesome. I also have a few friends that work there or are ambassadors (my friends don’t work there anymore and I became an ambassador for Skirt Sports).

Nicole Deboom Talking

About once a month, Skirt Sports hosts a “Ladies Night Out” and has different free clinics, talks, workouts or runs. This week, they featured the amazing Kathrine Switzer.   I hadn’t been to one of these gatherings before, but I made sure to schedule everything around this event as soon as I found out about it. (They still do similar types of events.)

If you don’t know who Katherine Switzer is you need to google her right now (Seriously. I’ll wait. I’m sure most of you probably know who she is).

As you already know (or recently googled) Kathrine Switzer is the first woman to officially, with a bib and everything, run the Boston Marathon. She came to Skirts Sports to tell her story, inspire others and introduce the 261 Fearless Campaign (since this, the 261 Fearless Campaign left Skirt Sports and is with Reebok, I believe. Not a negative thing, just a business move).

First, Nicole Deboom gave a talk and introduced Kathrine’s story. Then it was time for Kathrine to talk. She started with how she started running. Originally, she had told her Dad that she wanted to be a cheerleader as she entered high school. Her father told her that she didn’t want to be a cheerleader because cheerleaders cheer for others. “You want people to cheer you! You can do anything,” Katherine retold her father’s words.

From that moment on, I was entranced. That really struck a chord with me as did most of her speech. After those encouraging words from her father, she started running a mile a day and went out for the field hockey team. It wasn’t until college that she started running longer distances. A friend of hers was training for the Boston Marathon and she decided to do it too. Her male friend swore up and down that women couldn’t do it but Kathrine was motivated and kept up with her friend and the training program.

As Boston got closer, she checked and doubled checked the rules. There was no official rule that women couldn’t enter, so she registered with K.B. Switzer, just like she always signs her name, while aspiring to be a journalist. She stated that she wasn’t trying to hide anything, she just wanted to run.

She lined up on Boston morning with the famous 261 bib pinned to her front. She said the guys around her were super excited she was there, telling her they wished their wives would run with them.

It wasn’t until the first couple of miles those famous pictures were taken. The race director jumped out of the bus and tried to pull her off course. He told her she was disqualified.

Here’s the best part: She just kept running. She knew she needed to finish the race. She needed to finish it for herself and for women’s running as a whole. That night, as she spoke, she said, “I started the race as a girl but finished a Woman.”

My favorite story of the night was about her last long run going into Boston. Her and her friend had just finished 26 miles and she encouraged him to add five more to be sure they had no doubts they were ready. After 31 miles she says to her friend something like, “Man, I feel great, don’t you?!” in which he just fell over and passed out.

She went on to continue to empower women through running.  “Training works,” Kathrine said, and she thinks talent is everywhere; “it’s just that the opportunity isn’t always present. The secret to success is to show up, do the work, have a goal, and if you’re lucky, have a buddy.”

Pretty much on the verge of tears the whole speech, I left feeling motivated, spirit rejuvenated and ready to tackle the world (I need to get that feeling back now). Her speech wasn’t just about running. It wasn’t about feminism or equal rights; I’m sure men would get equally inspired as well. It was about following goals, dreams, and passions. To me, it was about life and going out there to achieve whatever I set my mind to. Recently I have been feeling down about a lot of things: career related, relationships, friendships, and running itself.  I have a new view on all of that now. (I don’t know where I was at this point in time with running, but this was before my current full-time job and I remember just having broken up with a boy around this time as well. I was also having a lot of fallings out with friends as well for some reason).

For one, I know I HAVE to run Boston some day (I still want this so bad). Which means I HAVE to qualify – I don’t want to do the charity route. (While this is admirable and honorable to raise money for a charity, I really want to push myself to get faster and stronger and reach that qualifying time) and now I am super motivated.

Also, when it comes to all those other things, I’m ready to go out and do what I love, I’m ready to do what it takes to do that and I’m 100% devoted to being true to myself. (This did actually change in me. I started being way more assertive of what I wanted in all aspects of life and I fought hard to stick up for them.) A lot of that is personal and may sound convoluted, but the important part is it means something to me (true dat).


I bought her book that night (and got it signed) and I still have yet to read it. Maybe it’s time to take it off the shelf….

Get the book for yourself:

Tuesday Newsday – 4/30 – The Last THREE Weeks

Well, the last two three weeks have been interesting. And yes, I started writing this post last week.

In regards to the events two weeks ago: A lot of things have happened. A lot of things have changed. But most importantly, a lot of things HAVE NOT changed. We are all still runners. Still doing what we love which means still running. It may even mean more to us now. #runforboston

Lately (probably about a few months now), and especially due to that week, I haven’t been as excitable and as energetic as I normally am. I’m usually a very happy, excited, fun loving person. I always pride myself on my uncanny ability to look at the bright side of everything.

In the recent months, that hasn’t been me. I’ve been grumpy and tired and emotional. My schedule has begun to wear on me: never catching up on sleep.

My birthday was uneventful/disappointing: most of my friends either ran away, blew me off, or didn’t even reply. (Although, I had a wonderful time catching up with Steph and Amanda and my Mom treated me to a wonderful dinner as well).

Work is not everything I hoped it would be: I thought getting a job at a gym would be a perfect situation for me to be in for when I’m finally a personal trainer; however I’ve gotten to see exactly how the personal training world is inside a big box gym. Not gonna happen…hopefully.

School is just getting tedious: I’ve already done 5 years of college, I’m ready to be done again.

Home life is not a safe haven: I feel like a burden.

And don’t even get me started on my more personal life.

The events two mondays ago did put things a little more in perspective for me. Running is was I love and it’s dependable. And I know that my future will definitely have to be involved with the running community; whether that means I become a professional running coach or maybe even a low-key sponsored runner, or even working for a race series, I HAVE to be involved with this community.

IMG_20130421_072807Then last Sunday happened. I returned to good ol’ Fort Collins. Home of my alma mater for my return to the Horsetooth Half. And I had a fantastic run. In my head, I ran with thoughts of the victims of Boston and for the Running for Angels virtual race. In the end, I was in such a good mood; maybe partly due to the runner’s high and the free beer, but my excitability had returned a little more! Stay tuned later this week for a post race recap!

Anyway, training is still going…not sure about how well. There’s only about 26 days left until my big race. And I’m nervous as fuck. Excuse the language. I wasn’t really nervous until last week. I got pretty sore and tight after my horsetooth half and have been taking it easy. One of the trainers at work keeps freaking me about about my flexibility – telling me not to finish training because I need to get more flexible or I will tear a muscle (what does he know, lol jk, although, NOT gonna happen). I also gotta stop listening to people!!! Some of my classmates are freaking me out becuase they think I should run close to, if not over, 26 miles before race day, even though a majority of plans out there stop you at 20 miles! AAAHHH!

Lets recap training for a sec before my brain explodes:

vermont city marathon logoTraining Week 12 – April 8th through April 14th

Monday: Rest day.

Tuesday: 5 miles due. 5 miles complete. I got super mad at my work and went to the competitors gym (24 hour Fitness) and ran a nice easy 5 miles on the dreadmill (it was a snow day). I was super distracted, my mind going crazy, so the miles just flew by, even for being on a treadmill. I followed up with a soak in the hot tub.

Wednesday: 8 miles due, 4 miles complete. We also did muscle fiber testing in school. No, we didn’t take biopsies of our muscles; but there is a way to figure out what types of muscle fibers your major groups of muscle are (i.e. endurance, strength or hypertrophy) through lifting.

Thursday: 5 miles due, 3 miles with fartleks on the treadmill.

Friday: My bday. It was supposed to be a rest day, but it was my bday, and I wanted to do things I loved. So I went for a casual 4 mile run. It was a beautiful day for it. Followed up by a massage and then this:

new ink 4-12-13

Yep, I finished by tattoo. : ) One of my best friends, Steph, hung out with me and then took me to dinner after the work was done. This project took 4 hours of needle work. I’m not sure how many of your have tattoos, but needless to say, I was in pain. I made it through the whole process, and then once it was finished almost passed out. BUT I didn’t – I was pretty close – and luckily Steph is a nurse 😉

Saturday: Sport Performance Enhancement Elective for school. We did a lot of running drills – sprinting – so I got a little bit of time on my feet. Followed up with dinner and drinks with my friend Amanda (who I’ve known since  we were 3 years old —- that makes our friends ship 23 years long now) at a new bar in town.

stephs bridal shower

The bride and the maid of honor

Sunday: MMM… not gonna lie, I didn’t do anything running wise. I didn’t feel like it. Instead, I slept in for the first time in a LOOOONG time and then went to Steph’s bridal shower. (This is the bridal shower for the wedding that I’m the maid of honor in, in May, in Maine). Then my mom took me to a delicious meal at The Green Briar in! Fancy Schmancy!

IMG_20130428_194020

Dinner with mom

Total Miles Week 12: ~16 miles

Training Week 13 – April 15th – April 21st

Monday: Well, we all know what happened this day. I actually had run 2 miles on the treadmill on lunch while I flipped notes cards over to study for my test. It was when I hopped off that I checked my phone and learned of what happened.

Tuesday: #runforboston. 4.09 miles.

Wednesday: I didn’t feel like running. Not sure why. I was pretty grumpy at work so I did kickboxing so that I could punch and kick things. Exactly what I told my co-workers I was going to do: punch and kick things.

Thursday: 5 due or something like that but two got accomplished.

Friday: I was going to make up some lost miles, but man did I feel tight and sore. With my co-work freaking me out at work about tearing muscles, I spent an hour foam rolling and stretching.

Pre Race, trying on my glow-y stuff!

Pre Race, trying on my glow-y stuff!

Saturday:  3.1 miles. I accomplished some chores around the house while I waited for my cat do be done at the vet (I had to get her sedated and shaved, poor kitty, because she was really matted). Then, I last minute decided to do the Rave Run here in Denver! One of my co-workers had volunteered and got me a free entry. I didn’t get a tshirt but I did get a bib (so I didn’t have to be a race bandit) and some fun glow-y stuff! It was actually quite

Me and my coworker. Finished! So many people!!!

Me and my coworker. Finished! So many people!!!

fun. It started at 8:30pm, when the sun was fully down, and everyone had lights with glowing glasses, gloves, bracelets, etc. There were lights, lasers and fun blow up glow-y things along the whole course. Not sure if I’d do it again but glad I did it. Maybe I’ll write up an official review.

Sunday: HORSETOOTH HALF! (13.1 miles) And the day I got my running excitement back.

Sneak peak at my horsetooth race

Sneak peak at my horsetooth race

Total mile for Week 13: ~24 miles

Training Week 14: April 22nd – April 28th

Monday: SO SORE! REST!

Tuesday: Still pretty sore and tight. I chose to rest most of the day. Did have to workout at school.

Wednesday: Easing back into it. I ran 1.26 miles at school for a cardio assessment.

Thursday: 4.5 miles at work. Felt alright. Just slow.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Day two of the Sport Performance elective I am taking. Did a lot of agility drills.

Sunday: 19.5 miles. Dear god was I painful after. The run wasn’t that great either. I made sure to foam roll before, because I’ve still been very tight especially my hamstrings and hips. I made it out, half way, just fine. Not too much to report. I brought along my new fuel belt that my mom got me for my bday. I filled the bottles (I got the two bottled one), one with water and one with a Nuun electrolyte tab. I stocked it with a granola bar and a stinger energy gel. When I was about 9 miles into the run, my Strava running app quit on me. I knew I needed to go a little bit further to make it halfway and turn around. I tried Mapmyrun and that wouldn’t work and finally runtastic saved the day. At the halfway point, I decided to give the energy gel a try.

stinger energy gelsGROSS. I had the strawberry stinger energy gel. And it tasted like strawberry flavored hooka. I’m not sure if any of you used to smoke hooka (yes, back when I was in college, I did that a lot), but that’s exactly what it tasted like, and is NOT something I wasnted to ingest!!!! AT ALL. I literally almost puked at the smell and taste. I’m hoping the other flavors are better. I wasn’t able to finish it, so I ate a few bites of my granola bar, which I had brought just in case, because I know I can eat that on runs. I am trying/testing different energy gels so I know what I want to bring for my marathon.

Even though I had only finished half of it, it still gave me a little bit of energy. But then my legs started to cramp. At mile 11, I was in a lot of pain and had to walk on and off. It was awful. It also didn’t help that it one of the first HOT days of the year…up in the 70’s. I had finished my water by mile 13 or 14, still having 6 more to go. None of the water fountains at any of the parks were working either! Finally, I passed a family that was sitting by a fountain, asked them if it was on, and they said no but offered me one of their bottles of water! I probably thanked them 5 times more than an appropriate amount. I was so thankful for that water. I trotted, off and on, the remaining two miles. My calfs were hurting and my hamstring were hurting. It was ridiculous. Like verge of tears. They were just tight, and I think the verge of tears was mostly due to frustration. But I made it the rest of the way home.

I stopped at the gas station and picked up a gatorade, chocolate mile (what!? It’s actually one of the best recovery drinks!) and a bag of ice.

IMG_20130428_194842

I’m pretty sure I said I would never post a feet picture…this will be the only one. ever.

Ice? Yep….I finally had my first ice bath. If that doesn’t make me one of the toughest people in the world, than I don’t know what does. I also may have uttered a FEW profanities. I had never done an ice bath before (other than at the Tough Mudder a couple years ago, but that wasn’t directly by choice). I followed this piece of advice from Runlikealady. Although, I found that I COULD NOT keep my toes in. It was decently tolerable if I left my toes out.

Total miles for week 14: ~25.25

Some fun, new info for you all:

I officially registered for the race I will be doing in Maine. This is the same week that I’m out there for that wedding and also the weekend before my marathon. (I”m only a doing 15k, so it’s just in line with tapering). I will be doing the Sugarloaf 15k.

I also registered for the Dino Half Marathon in Vernal, Utah. This weekend! I know, I’m pretty random. But it’s only a 5 hour drive, and it was perfect timing with training, and I could use the mini-two day vaca.

ALSO, I’m officially doing the Tough Mudder again this year!!! This is my most exciting info for you all! I’m really excited for it! I’ll probably get my ass kicked, but it’ll be fun! A very special friend registered me, and I’m really excited about this event! June 16th!

Since it’s been awhile since I’ve had a post, I’ve been behind on reading my emails. A handful of the people I follow were actually at the boston. There are also a lot of other bloggers that have a better way with words than I do. If you’re interested, the following are links to my fellow bloggers’ boston posts:

Boston Participants (there was a handful more, I just didn’t save the emails):

Lavender Running (Parking)The Boston Post, One Week Later

The Boring RunnerBoston Marathon Bombs-My Thoughts 

Others’ Thoughts:

Run Nerds Rock! Running Miles for Boston

TRexRunnerBoston.

Dan’s MarathonOn the 2013 Boston Marathon

My Thoughts And Heart Go Out to Boston

ribbon

No tuesday newsday today.

Yesterday, I had just stepped off the treadmill at work on my lunch break. I was checking my phone for normal Boston Marathon updates as I was eating my lunch when I read a friend’s facebook post: “Bomb just went off at the marathon finish.”

That’s all, a quick facebook post.

At first I was confused. But he wasn’t the type to just joke about stuff, nor was that his style of speech. I started searching all over the internet, twitter and other facebook friends on my phone. Sure enough, it was true.

I was stunned and didn’t believe it at first. Then once I had read it enough times I was super worried. Some of my friends texted me or wrote on my “good luck to the boston runners’ post that they were glad I wasn’t there. Me too. But I still had other friends there. I did a quick facebook search, checked twitter, and sent a few texts. All the people I knew that were running it were safe; a few reported they were a mere block away from one of the explosions, and I just couldn’t imagine what that would be like.

For the rest of my shift, I tried to hold back the tears as I desperately checked my phone for updates only to come across no service due to the snowy weather.

When I got home, I just sat in front of the TV and my computer taking in all the stories. It didn’t really sink in until I saw the video capture of the explosion at the finish line.

In particular, the old man that just crumples (who I found out is okay and was helped up and finished the race). And then the stories of the injuries. And reports that people died.

I was discussing the situation with my classmate as we trekked through the snow to our test.

He asked me if I was ok and I said no, that I was super sad about it. A tweet expressed it best: “Someone attacked my tribe today. I may never be fast enough to run #bostonmarathon, but the bond between runners means it affects us all.” from @khourianya

And before I’m criticized; I get that they weren’t targeting “RUNNERS” per say, but the fact that it was a big gathering. However, big racing events usually draw a big crowd in general. I actually have no idea what they’re speculating at currently; I had to finally turn off the news, but I can only assume it was the essence of a big gathering of people.

In addition, these people weren’t running they’re first marathon, clearly, because you have to qualify for it; but the were running THE marathon. The staple of our sport.

Not only that, but most of the injured were our supporters, family and friends that come to cheer us on. I’m devastated. Broken hearted. Scared.

I hope everyone else’s loved ones are safe and my thoughts and heart go out to anyone and their families that are directly affected by this tragic event.

#pray for boston