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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Guest Blogger: Speedy K

I asked my wonderful running buddy and fellow Buffalo Run finisher to talk about her race experience.  Katherine (or as I call her, Speedy K) has helped me through many a long run.  I don't know that I'd have trained as hard and as well if it weren't for her. Enjoy her story.  It's a powerful one. -Renee

Hey runrenee blog readers! Renee asked me to write about my experience running the Antelope Island
Buffalo Run 25k. I am one of Renee’s running buddies and began running January 2012. Before then I
never ran…ever. I dreaded the thought. I was that kid who worked every excuse to get out of running
the mile at school, hated laps at soccer practice, and stuck to any other form of physical activity. The
track coach at my high school commented once that I lacked the long legs for distance running, balanced
with my long torso- according to her, making me a terrible sprinter. I bought into that and vowed
to never run unless it was some sort of zombie apocalypse or I was being chased by bears. After my
second baby was born, a wonderful friend convinced me to come along for some walking/running to
start getting back into shape. I was very adamant, “I don’t run. I can’t run- I won’t be able to keep up
with you!” Her, ‘shut up and join us’ attitude (ahem…Meghan) was irresistible, and I soon found myself
waking up 2, sometimes 3 times a week to go “running.” I put it in quotations because at the very start
of it all, I could only run ¼ of a mile at best before having to walk. I alternated walking/running, and
I remember the first time I ran a full mile without stopping. What got me out of bed was the fun, the
friendship, and good conversation we had on those runs. By late spring I found myself getting out of
bed early in the morning for the running itself! I started actually enjoying it! Feeling my muscles getting
stronger, my heart and lungs able to keep up without burning or wheezing, and feeling younger and
healthier in general was outstanding. In June I ran my first official 5K- so nervous because I had never
heard of things like, “packet pickups” or “bib numbers.” This was an entirely new world to me!

Fast track to this Buffalo Run business. After my baptism into the running world, I found myself really
sticking with it. Consistency is the secret my friends. I joined training runs with Meghan and Renee as
they prepared for the St. George Marathon summer of 2012, still in disbelief that people actually run
26.2 miles (and all of the sudden all those car stickers made sense! Duh, 13.1 meant, “Hey! I ran a half
marathon” and Ragnar was a running relay race. I really was stumped for years wondering what the
hell Ragnar was). Each time I would lose my ambition and motivation, my pals, Renee especially, would
get me back on track. I was given books to read: Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes, and Born to
Run by Christopher McDougall. They inspired me, taught me, and motivated me. After my birthday
in fall of 2012 I began a training plan to prepare me for this 25k run. Those of you out there like me-
super novices in the world of running, know this: A man named Hal Higdon can be your new BFF. He has
devised training plans for races of all different lengths and is the gold standard for race preparation (plus
he has free training plans online that you can just print out and slap on your wall next to your calendar).
I began following one of his running schedules in what would be one of the harshest winters Salt Lake
City has seen in years. Record low temperatures and snowstorms made for some intense and brutal
training, but week after week I plugged away.

After conquering 13 and 14 mile runs, I began to feel ready mentally. However during my last long pre-
race run (16 miles) I was hit with a sharp case of what Google told me was “runner’s knee,” and had
to stop. I freaked out. Physically I was okay, but mentally I would’ve felt much better conquering that
last long run. I had no choice but to rest, then one week before the Buffalo Run I headed down to the
southern part of the state to enjoy a nice downhill 10K race. A fun little trip, but a long car ride back
with young children and hot germs surprised me with a horrible chest cold. Yikes! Feeling more than
nervous at this point I had to stop and reflect on all the work I’d done to make it this far, and make the

decision to run regardless. And I did. I woke up the morning of race day, put on all of my cold weather
apparel, and drove with my mom (aka my biggest fan) out to Antelope Island. I was so nervous before
the race I almost forgot to put my timing chip on my shoe and my race bib on! I refused to let myself
think of completing the race in its entirety, so I told myself, “Just start running Katherine. Then keep
running. Maybe run some more after that and hopefully you’ll be close to the finish line.” As Renee
described in her post, there are treacherous switchbacks, and many hills. Because of my coughing and
constant nose blowing I was slow, but finishing was what mattered to me most. A week earlier I ran
the Spectrum 10K at an 8:30/mile pace, this run was just over a 13/mile pace- a fact I had to let go of in
order to stay positive and focused. As the race came down to the last few miles I began making friends.
I would find a runner going at a steady pace then copy their rhythm to force my feet to keep going. I
met a woman named Lorraine whom I promised to hug when we crossed the finish line (which I did)
and two guys who cheered me on and ran across the finish moments after I did. The aid stations were
lovely, the other runners kind and positive. The race director was very personable, and the course- no
less than extraordinarily beautiful.

For me trail running is a spiritual experience. I’m out there feeling everything amazing there is to feel
about our beautiful existence as human beings. I’m alive in the wind, the sunshine, breathing, soaking
in life. The kindness of the other runners, the powerful reminder of what the human body is capable of,
and the overall sensation of accomplishing something great was overwhelming to me. I didn’t stay long
after the race, but hurried home to greet my kids and hop in a hot bath. Dinner that night tasted that
much better, and the pride I feel about completing this- my longest run so far, is a wonderful feeling. I
feel powerful and strong, and well…ready for more! Let’s go run Renee!


  1. Katherine, you are amazing! You did an outstanding job! Congratulations, running buddy!

  2. Brilliant Katherine! You inspire me! You always have! I need your HELP! bring me those books please...I think I can than I think I can't...Ragnar in June...HELP! XOX

  3. So this is what you ladies have been up to since I moved away! Impressive. Very, VERY impressive! I love your race day plan: “Just start running Katherine. Then keep running. Maybe run some more after that and hopefully you’ll be close to the finish line.”


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