Kate's First Half Marathon As a Mommy

This is a 3 part blog piece on the Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon. Make sure you read Act 1 and Act 2. We have arrived at Act 3! 

So let me tell you about my girl Kate. I met Kate at Augustana College way back in 2003! We lived on the same floor in Westerlin. Our dorm rooms were across the hall from each other. I walked out my door and Kate's door was there. Funny thing- we were not friends at all freshman year of college. I am not sure we spoke a word to each other. I don't know that we spoke a word to each other in college ever until senior year.  About halfway through the year, I was needing to move, and Kate's house had an open room! I remember watching lots of Law and Order episodes with Kate on Friday nights because we didn't want to go out! We we soooo cool back then.

I also remember this singular time Kate went out to the district. She pulled up a bar stool and sat in the middle of the dance floor. Guys, college was so ridiculous. Kate, I am so sorry that I tagged this photo of you almost a decade ago. You look great though!! (OH hey Kristen! You do too!! Can we go back??)

Fast forward 9 years. I legit have not talked to Kate in 9 years. But now we talk! And we run. And this is what Kate and her beautiful family look like. 

Readers: this is only the second time that I have interviewed someone on the phone, so I am still learning how to record things, edit, and figure out how to piece things together. When Kate and I got on the phone, we just started talking like we were old best friends. My "interview questions" aren't until a few paragraphs down, but I just want to show how when you have a mutual passion, conversation is easy, even for someone shy like me who hates talking on the phone. Conversation just flows! 


So with that, we are just going to dive right in to the star of the show:



So this was your best time?

My best before was 1:57 so this was better by like 3 and a half minutes. I figured that I would be able to beat my time by the way that I was training. It just depended on the course and the weather.  And my husband had the kids at home so I got 6 uninterrupted hours of sleep, which I never get, so that helped immensely.  It was a good one. I am already looking for another one to sign up for. Honey, what are you doing? (That sentence was Kate tending to her little one. There was a lot of that happening during our phone conversation. Just goes to show how she is a loving mommy, a busy mommy, but she figures out a way to make things happen!)


I feel like I really like half marathons.

Yeah, I really like that distance too. It’s enough of a race that you feel like a solid effort. It’s not too daunting. The training is doable. You can easily do the week. You’re not running 10 miles on a Wednesday. Who has an hour and a half to workout during the week? I think that it is a good distance. Most people don’t ever run close to what we did.


I did 30 minutes better than I did last year. I wrote down in my journal that I want to get to what Kate did. So that’s my goal for next year! 

Marco, do you want to come with mommy? 


You’re just always on.

Yes, pretty much until they go to sleep!


So that’s even more amazing. I wanted to tell you why I wanted to talk to you and what this blog is about! I was going back and I just remember how you did the running with me thing in January. So I have this coaching business through Beachbody, and I love it, and it’s helped me discover and develop this newfound passion for running. I am combining things and working with my blog. I had that goal of running when I was 30. Now I have a new goal of running a race with someone in every state in the United States by the time I am 40.  Not half marathons and marathons, but short races like 5ks. And I want to meet new people across the country and hear about their stories and how they became a runner and why they are doing it. You and Christina are my first people for Illinois! I am really excited to write about you especially with you being a mom and constantly being busy and having kids pulling at you but you still made this work!!

Tell me about yourself! Who are you?

I am 31 years old. I am a CPA, but I am a stay at home mom nowadays and I love it. I have two little boys: Dominic who is 3, and Marco is 1. They pretty much consume my life, and they’re adorable! My husband got me into running. He is awesome. He is also the one who makes it possible for me to do running because without his help with the kids, it just wouldn’t happen. I like running, sleeping, cats, and drinking wine!! Those are my hobbies!!


So you said your husband got you started in running. How did that happen?

I never ran in college. I was that person in high school that had asthma and never ran. They had to call 911 for me like 3 times during the mile run in gym class, and after that, they just said “You just don’t do it anymore!” So I never ran. After college, my dad and I were trying to be healthy and we would run less than a mile and have to stop. We just couldn’t do it! I met my husband at work in the fall of 2007 ,and he was running the Chicago marathon that year. He was always talking about training.  He ran another marathon the next year. As we started to be friends, he would talk about running nonstop. After tax season ended, he said “You should try to run something.” I ran a couple small races and then signed up for a half marathon. My first race was pouring rain the whole time! It was a disaster.  It was nonstop rain. Hi Marco. But after that, I was hooked! The Rock n Roll one was my 9th half and I’ve done 2 fulls.


OH MY GOSH. WOW KATE. What year did you start?

My first half marathon was in Septemeber 2008. Then I ran probably another 5 in 2009, and I ran the marathon in 2009. Then I did a couple half marathons and got married in 2010. I ran another full marathon in 2011 and a couple more half marathons. Then I’ve pretty much been pregnant and having children since then. This was my first entry back into the running world. I hadn’t worked since November of 2012, like worked out in the conventional sense like going to the gym, like something planned. I moved around a lot. After Dominic, I lost my baby weight and was in shape from chasing around a toddler. After I had Marco, I said “I really want to do something for me!” I saw you were doing that 1 mile a day thing and I thought, “I could start with 1 mile.” So I started doing that on the treadmill in our basement. As soon as it got warm, we started going outside with the baby jogger.


Why did you decide to do this specific race?

I had never done that one because I figured July was a pretty terrible time of year to run. When I saw that you were coming back home to do it, I figured I might as well.  If I have someone else to do it with me and keep me in check, then I couldn’t back out.


Yes! It was so good knowing you were doing it because it helped me run faster. It’s good to have that push.

That’s what my husband was for me before. When he was training, I was training. It’s nice to have the accountability so you can’t be like, “I’m too tired” because youknow what? I’m always tired! That’s not a good enough excuse.


Yes! Exactly. So life is complicated. It’s never perfect. I mean schedules and babies and work. What challenges did you have to overcome to train?

Pretty much just time. Finding the time to do it and not be exhausted.  My kids are both terrible sleepers and wake up throughout the night so I don’t consecutive sleep. I always planned on doing my workouts in the morning so I set my alarm for 5:45 and do it before my husband went to work.  I found if I waited until the end of the day, I’m just too tired, and I don’t do it. So I started doing it in the morning. Sometimes Marco would wake up in the middle of the night, and I would feel too tired. My husband was really good at pushing me out of bed. The hardest part about working out in the morning is actually getting up in the morning. Once you’re awake, it’s fine. My family was pretty amazing at helping too. We would go up to my parents’ lake house in Wisconsin on the weekend, and they would watch the kids. Sometimes I would be running at 1 o’clock in the afternoon which is the worst time to go running during the summer, but it was better than nothing. Or I would just put the kids in the baby jogger and do it, which turned out to be great training: pushing 70lbs of kids in a stroller vs running without ‘em. Yeah, the hardest part was just finding the time.


Yeah. I like what you said before, how you have so many things going on especially as a mom with two little ones, but this was something for you.

It was something for me because I don’t ever do anything for me. My husband always tells me I have to do something for me, and I say I just want to sleep. And he says, “No, it has to be something that isn’t sleeping. Something that you like to do.” This is what I like to do. I used to run with music all the time, but one time I couldn’t find my iPod, so I started running without music.  I found that it is so relaxing to think about nothing. I don’t have to do anything. No thoughts in my head and just run. I really like that. Once I finally did find my iPod, I just stopped using it. It’s just a nice way to not think about anything.


What have you learned from running?

I learned that I can do a lot more than I think I can.   

I used to never think I could even run 1 mile so I actually learned to do that. And then I slowly got faster.

I learned that it is important to take time to do something for myself. It makes me a happier person in general.

I am happier around my family and my kids in general instead of being crabby and cranky from the constant things from everybody else. It’s nice to take a break to do something for myself. It really benefits everybody, not just me. That’s probably what I learned the most from this last race because this is the first time I had anybody else. When I was running before kids, it was just “my time is my time.” Once you have kids, you learn there is no such thing as your time anymore. You have to- MARCO, get down honey. You have to make your time. You’re just giving it to everybody else. So this was the first time I had to carve out time to do something for myself. It was just so much more rewarding to finish this way because it was so much easier before. I could go running anytime I wanted then. But that just doesn’t happen anymore.  Having all those challenges made it great to finish.



What would you say to someone that is considering to run their first race but doesn’t think they’re ready?

Start with a smaller race first because 13 miles is a long distance. But for any race, GO FOR IT. Nobody is paying attention to you. You feel like people are looking. You worry, “Oh all these people are passing me. They’re going to know I ran slowly. “ But no one is paying attention to you! Running is all about personal goals. It’s beating yourself! Unless you’re an elite athlete, you’re not going to win! You’re really not! Unless you’re one of those super fast Olympic people, which 99% of us are not. So you don’t have to worry about anything.

Let go of that fear.

Own it. You’re just beating yourself and your personal goals. My husband always told me when running a race to set 3 goals: 1. What you really, really, really want. The best time you think you could get.  2. The time you’d be happy with. 3. And a time you know you could do. So that way you have a range of goals for how you complete the race, and then next time, just shoot to do better.


What you said, “You’re not going to win!” That totally takes off the pressure.

Yeah, there shouldn’t be any pressure. You don’t have to try to win the 5k or half marathon or try to win anything because unless you are a track star, you just aren’t going to! So it doesn’t matter! Those people that win, they get paid to run. This is their job! But I’m an accountant. Running is not my job! No one is paying you to win the race, but it would be cool if I did win! But who cares what time you come in. It’s more about that you did it!


What are you doing next?

I will probably do another half. I found one that is right by my house so my kids could come watch! It’s in October. I will probably sign up for that so I can keep going with the momentum that I have. My husband likes to do triathlons, and there is a relay so it’s swim, bike, run. I don’t know how to swim, and I don’t even have a bike. So I’d have to do the run. (Then Dominic pipes in, “I’m a really good swimmer!) I’m not sure if I am going to do the relay, but I will probably do the half marathon in October to keep myself going before the running season ends and it becomes cold and wintery.


Thank you so much. This was so fun talking to you. It was so crazy seeing you. It’s been great because running has brought me together with people I haven’t talked to in forever. Like I don’t think I have talked to you in 10 years.

We don’t even live in the same state anymore!


It’s been really cool and just hearing more about you. Hearing that you couldn’t run the mile in high school. I couldn’t either!

I swear, anyone that knew me in high school would be like, “What? You did what? No way!”




Exactly. Our past does not define us. We can do anything we want when we decide it is possible. You have proved that time and time again. Kate, you are an amazing friend, a caring mom, and an inspirational runner. Thank you for running with me back in January. Thank you for running with me in July. Thank you for pushing me to challenge myself and run faster. I am going to hit your 1:54 time next Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon. I am so excited to hear about YOUR future races, your beautiful running family, and whatever you overcome next. 


This is just the beginning! Illinois is done, but I have 49 more states to go. 50 states and 50 races by the time I am 40. Do you live in a state other than Illinois?? Then I NEED YOU! Send me a message here: https://goo.gl/forms/Vkl0NtJURTTj62Q02