We are so excited to be bringing you the “Shamrock Spotlight Series” on our blogs! The Yuengling Shamrock Marathon, 1/2 Marathon, 8k Races bring thousands of runners, of all ages, abilities and locations, to the Virginia Beach oceanfront every year! As J&A Racing Live Love Run Ambassadors, we decided we wanted to celebrate these races, J&A Racing, and our community by doing a series that highlights participants, both local and out of town, on their journey to this years’ races.
We were incredibly fortunate to get the response we did when asking for volunteers to be spotlighted, and are grateful for the opportunity to share their stories with you!
SHAMROCK SPOTLIGHT SERIES: KATY LEE
Current City: Virginia Beach, VA
Training for the Shamrock Full
I’m a Navy wife and work-from-home mother of two (Carter, almost 3, and Sadie, a year and a half) living with our dog and cat in a Virginia Beach brick ranch version of the American Dream. I have a motorcycle license I haven’t used in three years and a thorough knowledge of the lyrics of “Ice, Ice Baby” which I use every eight months or so at karaoke. I am absolutely obsessed with the Stroller Strides and Moms Gotta Run programs in Virginia Beach and you would be hard pressed to have a conversation with me in which I don’t mention that I’ve run four marathons or that I love Stroller Strides. It just can’t be helped.
Why you are running a Shamrock race in 2014? I’m a big fan of J&A race events; and the after-parties in particular. Last year I had to skip out as soon as I crossed the finish line of the half marathon and I promised myself I’d be back the next year to have a post-race beer on the beach for St. Patty’s Day. I think at this point I have a hard time celebrating any holiday without running and drinking, particularly the ones that don’t require time at church or breaking bread with extended family. Does this qualify me for a support group? I hope so. Either way, I decided on the Marathon because I think that entitles me to double the beer tickets. Right? Right?!
When did you start running? Hmm. An interesting question. I was active in sports throughout high school, but I don’t think I really “started running” until I was in my early 20s. I had finally shed my Freshmen 30 (40?!) thanks to Weight Watchers and Curves (yes THAT Curves, the one your grandma goes to. By the way — she kicks BUTT and is super motivating to work out next to, so maybe you should tag along sometime). Anyway, I was looking for the next hurdle to jump, so to speak, to keep me motivated. My husband was a cross country athlete and runner and he encouraged me to try a 5k. I ran six 5ks in a row that summer (2006) and finished my first half marathon (The Mohawk/Hudson River in Albany, NY) that October.
How many races have you done and what’s your favorite? I think I’ve run about 40 at this point. I go through spurts where I’m doing an event every month, and then I have to take 9 months off to have a kid. At least four marathons and 7 half marathons, though. Those ones I do keep track of; if only to make sure everyone on Facebook knows about them.
My favorite race was the Outerbanks Marathon this past year. It was really well done; from the expo to the shuttles and the start/finish lines. It also had about three miles of trail running (which I really enjoyed), and the weather was perfect. It doesn’t hurt that I had a PR. Or that they had an unlimited amount of beer at the finish line. Those are about the only two conditions I need to really fall in love with a race, anyhow.
Where do you prefer to run? I am not picky; I just like whatever is most convenient to me that day. I’ve done 16 miles on the treadmill at the Y, I’ve done 16 miles at First Landing, and I’ve done 16 miles running up and down Independence and Virginia Beach Boulevard. I’m a pretty “in my head” kind of runner — meaning I do a lot of thinking and daydreaming, and I don’t focus on my surroundings very much. I’m usually being interviewed by Oprah or coming up with the perfect comeback for an argument that happened three years ago.
What’s the longest distance you’ve run? 26.3 miles. I was on such a high after seeing my PR on the clock at the Outerbanks Marathon that I sorta ran/skipped the short distance to the medal/water/banana tables. Which totally counts, by the way.
What is the one thing you DON’T like about running? Hmm. I think I really embrace all of it. I love the little wrinkles I’m getting around my eyes. I know a lot of female runners worry about those; they’re sort of inevitable unless you’re very diligent about sunscreen and lotion. But I kind of love them. I also take extreme liberties with training in order to avoid burning out on too much running — I remember that from my very first marathon. Instead, I substitute a lot of cross-training and really only commit to my long runs. OH!!! I know!!! The portapotties. I don’t like the portapotties.
Favorite post-run indulgence? McDonald’s. Always McDonald’s. No particular meal or sandwich, just McDonald’s in general.
Favorite running shoe? My husband got me turned onto minimalist shoes a year or so ago, and I’m in LOVE with the New Balance W110. I took pictures of my feet post-marathon. I looked like I came out of the spa. No blisters, no peeling skin, no damaged toenails. They were gorgeous. Plus, I’ve ordered my last two pair for under $40 from Amazon.com. You just can’t be picky about your color. That’ll shoot you right up to $80 again.
Favorite song to run to? Oh, it’s wildly dependent on my mood. I did listen to “Halo” by Beyonce for 10 miles straight during the San Diego Rock N’ Roll Marathon. I was actually afraid if I stopped the song I would lose the beat, and with it all motivation to finish. I heard it in the car the other day and my quads immediately felt tight and my knee started to twitch. But I also caught myself in a spontaneous fist pump…
Favorite website to waste time on? I’m awful about Facebook. It’s such a time suck, but I just. can’t. close. it.
Favorite running moment? My husband met me at mile 24 of the Outerbanks Marathon and ran alongside with me for about a mile with our kiddos strapped in the stroller and the family dog trailing behind. It was absolute euphoria. It was just as you get onto Manteo, so the crowds had started to fill in the sidewalks and all the spectators were so cheerful. Everyone was waving and smiling at the kids. It was my best paced mile for the entire marathon — just under a 9:00. And it came right at that moment where you’re just a little broken, you don’t even care about finishing. You start to wonder why the heck anyone would want to run a marathon. And then, BOOM. My husband’s there. My little boy and my little girl. And I just felt like I had the whole world in my pocket; there’s nothing I can’t do. It was absolute heaven on earth. Of course, our dog went up ahead and sniffed another runner’s butt. She wasn’t too pleased, so my husband and kids hit the sidewalks pretty quick. But honestly, that worked out, too, because I had another mile to sort of look into myself again and really enjoy the singular aspects of the accomplishment.
If you could pick one celebrity to run with, who would it be? I feel like Matt Damon would not only be a great conversationalist, I also think he might be my pace. Barring his availability, I’ve always had a bit of a girl crush on Angelina Jolie.
GOOD LUCK KATY!