Profile on Caitlin Harrison

Feature article on Caitlin Harrison
Interviewed by Karen Dudek

Karen: How many years have you been running?
Caitlin: Going on 3, but I’ve technically only been serious about it for 9 months now.

Karen: Why did you start running?
Caitlin: A friend of mine asked me to do Catch The Wave (CTW) with her in 2011! I’ve participated the past 3 seasons.

Karen: Who inspired you?
Caitlin: At first, the incredibly welcoming and helpful leaders of CTW. After running my first Lake Run it was every other person who ran that race. It was so inspiring to be a part of the event that I knew I wanted to participate in more races.

Karen: Why did you join the Lake Run Club?
Caitlin: It was included in my CTW fee!

Karen: Tell me about your first race.
Caitlin: It was the inner loop at the Lake Run in May of 2011. I was 9 weeks pregnant and the course made me very nervous because I hadn’t prepared as well as I probably should have. I only made it as far as the first water stop before I took a walking break. I continued running intervals until I finished somewhere around 1:03. My family and friends were there cheering for me and some other friends who ran the race. I think I took a 2 hour nap that afternoon!

Karen: What makes your favorite race your favorite?
Caitlin: As of today, the Lake Evergreen 5K has been my favorite because it has been my best timed race yet. I started out this year running a 13 minute mile and finished last Saturday’s 3.1 miles with an average 10:11 minute mile pace. I loved the fact that it was the finishing race for Heat Wave and that I got to run alongside many of the women I have spent all summer getting to know.

Karen: What race really sticks in your mind for one reason or another?
Caitlin: This past Lake Run because it was really the first time I felt 100% confident in my running abilities. In previous Lake Runs, I had slacked and thought I could get away with the minimum effort. This year I really tried to kick my own butt and run farther and more often which lead to cutting 10 whole minutes off my previous Lake Run time. It was also the first race I did with HMP (Hot Mom Project) and I will never forget the camaraderie I felt congratulating each other on a race well done, knowing we had trained hard together.

Karen: Do you have a favorite route that you run?
Caitlin: Everywhere! I’m really feeling the runs around Lake Bloomington lately though!

Karen: If you could run any race in the world, which would you pick, and why?
Caitlin: I REALLY want to run the Indianapolis Mini Marathon! A family member turned me onto this race when I first started running and it has just been a goal of mine since the beginning. Plus, during the race you get to run ON the Indianapolis 500 track!

Karen: Do you have a “you’ll never believe what happened on my run today” story?
Caitlin: I had a woman once stop me and tell me that if I was running to lose weight I was wasting my time (unprompted, I did not know this woman nor did I ask for any weight loss or running advice). All you had to do was cut out every single carb in your diet and you’d drop 20 pounds in no time! Exercise not needed.

Karen: If Chilly Chili isn’t the most unusual race you’ve ever taken part in, what race is?
Caitlin: Not a timed race, but I did partake in the Color Run in Chicago this summer. It was a total party and pretty cool to experience such a large event (I want to say it was 10,000+ people).

Karen: Which race do you think is the most fun to volunteer at and why?
Caitlin: I have yet to volunteer for a race! I am hoping to help out with the Race for the Cure next month and hopefully many more after that!

Karen: What are you training for right now?
Caitlin: The We Care Half Marathon! I am very excited for my first half marathon!

Karen: Do you have any superstitions or rituals you go through before a big race?
Caitlin: I tend to get up way too early on a race day and get to the race much earlier than I have to. I have fear of not having enough time to prep myself!

Karen: What’s the coolest piece of running gear you own?
Caitlin: My Baby Jogger running stroller! It’s blue, and has giant tires, and carries my toddler (and water, snacks, etc.) for miles and miles!

Karen: Who have you been running with lately?
Caitlin: Hot Moms and Single Ladies! We started out as a mom’s with strollers group and have evolved to much, much more. We run together multiple times a week. I ran all summer with Heat Wave, did my first Monday night Fun Run, as well as my first Thursday night out at the Lake this week.

Karen: Who motivates you as a runner?
Caitlin: The women who are constantly motivating me to run farther and faster and every friendly face I meet within the Lake Run Club who pushes me that much more. But most of all, my going on 2 year old, Harper. Being able to keep up with her and show her how important it is to have a healthy hobby keeps me motivated. I really want her to grow up in an active lifestyle that not only benefits her health, but motivates her to step outside her comfort zone sometimes.

Karen: What makes you stay with it and keep running?
Caitlin: I have never played a sport outside of gym class in my adult life. Running was slow for me in the beginning, but I absolutely loved how I felt afterwards. Meeting so many new people and making the connections I have has made my journey that much more rewarding, pushing me to keep running. My family and friends have literally asked what has gotten into me. I was the girl in high school complaining weeks before we had to run the 1 mile in gym class, now I’m training for a half marathon. The gratification I feel from accomplishing what I never thought I ever would do is greater than the nagging feeling that my toes hurt after 7 or 8 miles.


Caitlin and her boyfriend after Park 2 Park 2013

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