Follow This Mother!

Katie, during attempt numero uno at 100 miles in Leadville. On Saturday, she's giving it another go.

We want to highlight Colorado mom of three Katie Oglesby, who met Dimity at a Colorado Columbines event, because this weekend she’ll be taking on the incredible challenge of running the Leadville Trail 100 Run. Yes, 100 as in miles. But Katie was quick to point out in an email to SBS, “My biggest fear is sounding like I think I’m special. Because I’m not. I just like to run. Probably for the same reasons most RLAM readers do. I just go a little further with it.” Please join us in cheering her on in her epic race.

Best recent run: It was on a recent Saturday night. I was tired (I had run 14 miles of trails that morning), and it was still warm when I headed out at 7:45 p.m. About halfway into my run (around mile five), there was a huge elk standing in the middle of the sidewalk. His head appeared to be as big as I was. His rack was six feet wide. I crossed the street to give him space. He was so magnificent, he took my mind off of the heat and my heavy legs. By that time, the sun had started to go down and the temperatures were dropping. I went from feeling drained to invigorated. I finished my run strong.

My definition of “long”: I first heard about the Leadville Trail 100 “Race Across the Sky” (LT100) in the early 1990s. I hadn’t yet run a marathon, but I was captivated and in awe. When I moved to Colorado in 2001, it was basically in my backyard. In 2003 I met my friend, Jean, who had run the race. Jean, who is also a mom and now a three-time finisher, inspired me. I told her when my then one-year-old was in first grade, I was going to start my training. Well, it took me an extra year to get up the courage, but I did my first ultra in February of 2010 (a 50-mile trail race in Texas). I did great, meeting all of my goals. I decided then to go for the LT100. Before I ran my first 50, I had run about 20 marathons, most at altitude and hilly, so it was not such a hard transition to a 50-mile run at sea level. However, running 100 miles with 37,000 feet of elevation change at an altitude of over 10,000 feet is a different (and long) story.

Dimity and Katie heading for the (really big) hills in 2010.

My first attempt at 100 miles--Dimity paced her for a few mile; the report is here--was both a success and a failure. I succeeded in covering the distance (less than 45% of those who started did); however, I failed to meet the race’s final cutoff time by 28 minutes, so I did not garner a 100-miler finisher’s belt buckle (akin to a medal for a marathon). [EDITOR’S NOTE: But more practical!] I went back to sea level to run my second 100 in February of 2010. I took off almost five hours from my previous time and finally got my belt buckle. I’m going back to Leadville this month for a do-over.

Fan club: Katie's kids waiting for her during a trail training run

A week in the life: I run less than some ultrarunners and more than others. We’re all different and what works for me doesn’t work for someone else. I’m definitely still learning. Here’s an excerpt from my training log for a week in June of this year: Sunday: 16 mile a.m./15 miles p.m.; Monday: swim a.m./3 miles p.m. at gym and lift weights; Tuesday: 5 miles a.m./4 miles (track) p.m.; Wednesday: swim a.m./5 miles p.m.; Thurs: 5 miles a.m.; Friday: 25 miles; Saturday: 25 miles a.m./swim p.m.

Secret (fueling) weapon: One of my biggest strengths is my solid stomach. I have never puked during any of my races. I can eat pretty much anything. And I do. I tend to enjoy cold foods during the day (melons, oranges, bananas, cookies, M&M’s) and hot foods at night (mac and cheese, soup, burgers (yes, I can eat a burger and run), potatoes with salt, pizza, you name it). I guess my “secret” weapon would be Coke (as in Coca-Cola). Before my 100-mile races, I stop consuming caffeine for a few weeks beforehand so when I drink it during the race, I get that extra oomph! Red Bull and Coke pulled me through my last 100.

Not too cool for pool: I swam in high school. I continued to swim off and on as an adult because I liked it so much. About seven years ago, I joined a Masters swim team. I swim three times a week. My pool friends are

Katie's kids, Nathan and Abby, running her in at the finish chute at Leadville’s Silver Rush 50 Mile Trail Run

different from my running friends, but they’re athletes just the same. They’re all so supportive of what I do. When I started training for ultras and running more, my pool time became more for recovery than a workout since I was tired all the time and incapable of swimming fast. (Something’s gotta give, right?) I used to compete in triathlons and swimming events, but haven’t for about two years. I will get faster in the pool again, but it will take a while.

Mind games: People often ask what I think about when I’m running. I plan my day, think about my family and friends, and solve the current debt crisis. Actually, I try to stay positive. I remind myself of past successes. I also break down the race course. “I’m half way to halfway; I’m halfway; I’m more than three quarters of the way….” Aid stations and crew access points are huge. Even though I don’t give myself permission to linger very long, it’s still a big boost to know I’ll see my crew and other non-runners. Can’t run without: Obviously, I couldn’t run as much as I do without the support of my husband. Besides Tyler, though, I’d have to say, I can’t run without my Nike visor (of which I have three). It wicks sweat, allows my head to breath, and keeps the sun out of my face.

Wish her many, many happy miles—you've got this, Katie!—and follow this mother at:

25 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. Best of luck this weekend! You’ll have lots of fellow mother runners cheering you on! Can’t wait to hear how your race goes!

  2. OMGosh! I am so excited to se an ultra runner featured! This is my long term goal – for sure! I read Rachel Torr’s book “Personal Record” and every since have just been enamored with the whole ultra running concept. I am also very excited to see that this mother is from Colorado – that is where our next Duty Station will be – Fort Collins, and that is also where my husband plans to retire from the military! We love the outdoors and those long trails are already calling my name!

  3. I just read the story of the first race and it nearly moved me to tears. To push through so much and finish when you know how easy it could be to throw in the towel is far more note-worthy than any belt buckle ever could be (although i totally understand that NEED to accomplish it and HAVE the official buckle)! You will do great this weekend! Looking forward to reading the new ending! 🙂

  4. I love how you went down the list of what you think of … I also do that. Plan my day, think about where I am, etc. I’m just glad to know I’m not the only one. (oh, and addicted to my Nike Visor – also have 3… )

    I also love how humble you are… a good runner is “good” at running. A great runner is a runner who’s good at running and humble.

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