For many runners, qualifying for the historic and prolific Boston Marathon is an ultimate goal that may take a lifetime to achieve. For others, we may have our own version of “Boston.” Maybe it’s completing a half marathon, maybe it’s overcoming race anxiety, or pushing ourselves outside our comfort zones in countless ways as we watch running help us become simultaneously grounded yet free in our daily lives.
We are happy to welcome Katie Gott to Arete this year; she is the epitome of infectious positivity and discipline and has found a welcome home in Arete. She has big goals this year on her way to Boston Marathon and we’re grateful she shares a bit of her journey here.
Where are you from and how’d you end up in Santa Cruz?
I am originally from Annapolis, Maryland, but as an adult have also lived in Florida, San Diego, and now Santa Cruz. All the moving around is thanks to my husband’s jobs.
Boston is an ambitious goal. Tell us about your journey to qualify.
I ran my first full marathon in Key West, Florida in October 2013 in hot and humid conditions and surprisingly was only about 10 min off a BQ. That lit my competitive fire. I moved to Santa Cruz in November 2013 and made it my goal in 2014 to qualify. I selected the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon in June 2014 as my goal race. You know the saying, you learn best from mistakes? Well, I had a terrible race. I went out too fast, hit a wall of fatigue at mile 18 and suffered severe calf cramps in the last few miles. I finished with almost the exact finishing time as my first marathon. I felt defeated and embarrassed afterward. I was plagued by self doubt. Who did I think I was? All that work for what? Perhaps I was not in the same league as runners capable of a BQ. I talked with a friend of mine who was studying to become a sports psychologist and with her help, pulled myself up and re-focused. It was just a bad race. It was not indicative of me as a runner, it was just a bad race. I re-set my sights on CIM in December 2014 and after many months of hard work and positive self talk, I landed my first BQ which would set me up for running Boston 2016.
Flash forward to registration for Boston 2016 – I got the wild idea to enter the lottery for the Boston to Big Sur Challenge…2 marathons, 2 coasts in 6 days. I let fate decide. Fate decided. I was selected as 1 of 400 runners to take part in B2B. The short version is I trained harder than ever, ran more miles than ever in a training cycle, believed in myself and finished with another set of BQs in both races, setting me up for Boston 2017.
Okay, now you’ve qualified, what are your goals?
This year, I am stoked to get to concentrate on just Boston. I have previously focused primarily on volume of miles (quantity) during my training, and now plan to focus more on intensity and quality workouts. I feel confident that my body and mind are ready to take it to the next level. My goal is to run a personal best at Boston. And of course, to enjoy the journey, and soak in the unparalleled energy that Boston offers.
We know you’ve got a laundry list of fun pump up tunes. Can you share your top 3?
Sorry, gotta pick artists, too many tunes to choose from:
How’s your Boston training been going so far? What is your favorite workout to tackle and why? What workout do you dread the most but know is most crucial.
So far, so good, thanks to running buddies I have made through Arete that keep me supported and accountable, and thanks to Coach Mary for putting together a plan for me to follow.
My favorite workout is hill repeats. After 5 years in Florida, I had zero skills when it came to hill running. Our only hills were in parking garages. I love the strength and power it takes to drive up hills. It leaves me with a tremendous feeling of accomplishment and empowerment and makes a flat road feel like a walk in the park.
I love the saying, ‘The workout or exercise you like the least is the one you need the most.’ Typically we gravitate toward what we are naturally good at, and shy away from the things that really challenge us. Although sometimes I dread the rigidity of race pace and speed workouts, I know how important they are. Challenge brings change.
What are your 2017 dreams and goals—running and otherwise?
My 2017 goals and dreams are:
What are you most excited about for Arete 2017?
Having support, motivation, expertise and inspiration from an amazing and rad group of lady runners!
My mantra right now: Be relentlessly positive.
If I’m not running, you’ll find me… Teaching group fitness classes around town.
My best friends would describe me… As outgoing and outdoorsy.
A fun fact only a few people know about me… I worked for 5 years as a journalist for NPR and was sent to Sierra Leone, Africa for a month to work with local journalists about HIV/AIDS education only a couple years after their brutal civil war had ended. I bathed out of a bucket, peed in a hole, slept in a mosquito net, met the most amazing people, and changed my entire perspective on what’s really important in life. I came back feeling grounded, understanding the trivial value of material things, and filled with gratitude for the simple things in life: community, health and love.
My perfect meal start to finish: Sushi and a glass of pinot noir.
My idea of paradise: A warm sunny day.
Thanks, Katie, for sharing a piece of your journey with us. We’re excited to be alongside you through Boston and beyond!