Katharine or as her friends know her… Katie is without a doubt a glass-half-full type of person. Her friends would agree that she’s outgoing, friendly, and determined… This all shows in her journey to completing her first marathon with a beaming smile on her face at 47 years young. 

Being a flight attendant based in Honolulu Hawaii, Katharine is constantly in different cities around the world… This made juggling a job, a healthy lifestyle and of course her Coach Parry training program quite the challenge… but she managed exceptionally well. 

Let’s find out how she did it…

The Inspiration Behind It All

Katie explained that one of her biggest inspirations is just being able to walk away from whatever she does in the day and have people smiling around her.

So whatever it takes to be able to help give smiles to people in a day, whether that’s just smiling at someone or helping somebody with something.”

We absolutely love that and think a lot more people need to apply that motto to their lives…

Katie’s earlier memory of running was at the track in school and she hated every minute of it.

She was not sporty at all growing up and only did some gymnastics in fifth grade. 

Growing up Katie did regular teenage things like going to parties and staying out late and… “doing things I don’t want to mention in here in case my mom reads it online!”

An active lifestyle only started to form once Katie went to college, she began to love hiking, skiing, and spending more time outdoors.

The truth is, I only started to go hiking, skiing, camping, and gyming once I found out I could get extra credit for college…. But then I started to enjoy it all”

Running = Happiness 

One of the things Katie loves about running is that being a flight attendant she can pack her shoes and headphones in a bag and she can run everywhere… in any city in the world.

I like when I’m out running at home, I get to pass all my neighbors and you get to see their routine and say hello to each other.”

She enjoys the fact that she can just zone out while running and the feeling after going out for a run makes Katie extremely happy. Being sweaty and hungry and needing to stretch… she said she just feels so alive and energized.

Listening to new music, even running in the rain, and feeling the chill on her skin as well as the amazing fitness and health benefits are things about running that make Katie happy.

On that note… Katie mentioned a few health benefits she has gained from running:

  • Reaching the goals that she has set out to achieve has given her a confidence boost to believe in herself more.
  • She has noticed a change in her physical appearance, she feels stronger and healthier, and full of energy.
  • Her quality of sleep has improved immensely.
  • She feels that by looking at her program and knowing what she has to get done that day she can plan her day better and manages to get more done in a day. (Basically, starting your day with a session and ticking it off your to-do list builds momentum for the rest of the day.)

The Idea Of Entering Her First Marathon 

What gave me that goal and momentum to start training for my first marathon was when I met a former long-distance Olympic athlete down at the beach, he set me up with a little plan to start my training, and then I realized that with someone telling me exactly what to do… I can do it.”

After getting into training and following some programs Katie knew that this is what she wanted to do. She began to train harder and fit in more miles… that is until she got injured.

She was running one day and her hip started to hurt… she thought…

Oh, I’ll just run a little bit more until I got maybe another mile down the road… then it was hurting even more… so I ran very slowly back home and I was told I can’t do any permanent damage to my hip from running… so I didn’t need to worry about it.”

A few days later Katie tried to head out for another run and after 2 miles her hip began to hurt, so she went to the urgent care at the hospital and they diagnosed it as Bursitis. The most common causes of bursitis are injury or overuse.

“It was a long, slow recovery and I realized at that time that it sucks when you can’t run!”

Katie spend that time cycling and swimming but life became very difficult because even doing her job was painful with that type of injury.  She knew she had to change something if she was to avoid experiencing this again.

That’s when a Coach Parry YouTube video popped up on her Facebook page…

The thing that stood out to Katie was that she didn’t realize how easy she was meant to be running her easy runs. She learn quickly that that was the problem with her previous training and that is why she got injured. 

She was always running at the same pace… no matter what.

Then she started the Coach Parry Marathon Training Program and was blown away by how good she felt after running an ‘easy’ pace

Side note: This marathon was going to be the first race Katie has ever done.

Build Up To Katie’s First Marathon

It was a challenge for Katie to follow a schedule while flying around the world as a flight attendant so she always had to plan 5 steps… When she was home her days would look something like this…

I wake up at home. I will usually wake up before the sun comes up and I like to drink my coffee and watch the sunrise. Then after the coffee, I’ll have a little bowl of oatmeal and usually give my cat some treats. As soon as it’s light enough outside  I’ll do my warm-ups which I didn’t start doing until after I got injured and found out about Couch Parry.

Then I put in my headphones and I go down and I run around the neighborhood. Then I’ll come home, make a protein shake, sit down on my yoga mat and stretch for 20 minutes. And that would be a typical running morning if I am home.”

When Katie is traveling she likes to find parks to run in, she prefers that to run in the city where there are lots of cars and stoplights.

The Maui Oceanfront Marathon

Katie was happy to report to the Coach Parry team that she completed her first running event ever…the Maui Oceanfront Marathon, with a smile on her face the whole time!

I am very happy with my results. I wasn’t sure what to set for my goal or pace (the day before the race was so full of activities that I forgot to check back with Shona’s advice!  Oops!)…I decided I would be good if I did a sub-5, and ecstatic if I did sub-4:45. Many told me not to set a time for my first…but I wanted something to go on to have some clue how to pace.

I chose my long run set pace as my first half pace, then because the first half was so very easy, I was able to pick up the pace and come in strong at the end!  I felt great buzzing past so many people with all the energy I still had to burn!”

Katie was ecstatic to finish at 4:50:02 and managed to place 12/18 women in her age group. 

Afterward, she felt that she could have started a bit harder but was glad that she didn’t feel defeated and managed to conquer the event.

Katie thought the marathon would be a long, lonely event…as she is used to music keeping her company… she didn’t listen to music during the marathon but it turns out it was the LEAST lonely run she has ever run!  

She said that having volunteers and supporters all along the way… was anything but lonely!!! The spectators were calling her name and she was chatting with all the other contestants and it was just one of the best experiences she has ever had.

“I was so full of aloha spirit coming from all directions from the drop off to the finish line and beyond!”

Katie is looking forward to continuing training, not just with running, but bringing her bike and swim cap back into the equation, as well as some windsurfing, paddle boarding, and a little snow skiing.

I feel all this training with the slow runs and interval runs will help me progress with my other sports as well…not to mention the strength training.”

The Biggest Contributor To Katie’s First Marathon Success

The consistency of going out and completing what she knew she needed to get done each day, especially the long runs was what Katie believes helped her achieve this goal.

She says that she did not have a problem with the distance of the marathon because she was so used to being on her feet for long periods due to the long-run training.

Difficulties Katie Had To Overcome

She did experience some ankle problems but believes she can attribute that to her uncomfortable work shoes. Sometimes Katie would wake up with headaches and fatigue but then she wouldn’t go out and run, she would swap the session for something else and choose to listen to her body.

Katie did describe some pain she felt on the top of her left foot after the marathon but said that it stopped after a few days during her recovery.

What’s The Next Big Goal?

So, since I’ve only ever done a marathon, I am signed up for a 10k in March and then a half in April and then in May I have my first Olympic Triathlon.”

(Wow, Go Katie!)

Unforgettable Moments

Katie told us that there were a few moments in achieving the goal that was special to her and she will never forget them… Firstly, she has loved being able to meet the new people in her neighborhood, she would have never gotten to know them if she wasn’t out running consistently while they were doing their activities.

Secondly, her entire work-life relationship has changed for the better. Sometimes her job can be unhealthy… she truly loves her job and says it’s wonderful to be able to do what she does but it can take a hard toll on her body so being able to incorporate her training schedule into her work schedule has created a drive for her, a desire to do something when she had a layover.

It keeps me healthy and it keeps me moving and gives me that opportunity to see some cities in a different way and many more miles of a city in a different way that I may not be able to otherwise.”

Some First Marathon Advice From Katie…

Have fun. Just enjoy it and smile the whole way. It makes it easy…Share the smiles and then the people around you will smile…
That way everybody’s light is shining on everybody else’s. And it just makes for a great day, no matter the situation. And remember, nobody’s making us do this. We’re doing it because we want to do it. And we get to do it. And we can do it and just be grateful for that.”

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