This week’s athlete is Caitlin Howe, who has been recovering from a stress fracture this fall and is getting ready to hit the roads again. Find out more about Caitlin, below.
Original Hometown: Beaufort, SC
Running shoe brand and type: New Balance Boracay
Favorite Race Distance: 5K and Half Marathon
Favorite PR or PR’s: 5K 19:38 at the GO! All American (Any race that gives our pies as awards… I’m there!)
Q: Tell us a little about your running background and how you became involved in the sport.
Howe: I started running when I was in Elementary school and was the pure definition of a kid with two left feet. I would start every run with an all-out sprint, only to succumb to my lactic threshold and fatigue easily. By the time I got to high school I was set in stone on focusing on soccer; however, my mom convinced me to join the cross country team. Turns out she was right when she said I would enjoy it. I loved running cross country, and the team I had was incredible. It was such a great experience, especially while entering high school. I went from knowing zero people to having a solid group of friends.
Q: What got you involved with the running community at Big River Racing?
Howe: I’ve worked at Big River for about 2.5 years now and have loved every minute of it! All of my friends were starting to train together and I only went to a few practices at first. So, when they were starting to meet more regularly I decided to start training again.
Q: What’s your favorite race distance? Why?
Howe: I like the 5k and half marathon because it’s a nice test between speed and endurance. I enjoy interval workouts and long runs, so both distances let me get a nice mixture.
Q: How did your training go this fall?
Howe: I was supposed to run the Go! Halloween Half; however, I ended up getting a stress fracture in my foot the week before the race. I still went and cheered on all of my friends who had some great races. My last race was the Macklind Mile, which was an incredible experience. Being a part of Big River it was really important to me to do as many of our home races as possible, and I got 3rd so that was pretty cool.
Q: Once you’re back healthy, what are your plans for racing in the winter and next spring?
Howe: I’m hoping to start running in the next week. If all goes smoothly then I will probably start doing some 5k’s and build back to the half. I was thinking I would do a half next spring in my hometown in South Carolina. That way my family can be there.
Q: What is your favorite place to train in St. Louis? Why?
Howe: That’s such a hard choice! I’d have to say Castlewood. I love it because it’s always such a humbling experience. It doesn’t matter how “in shape” I think I am, I know I can find a route that will be equally challenging and breathtaking.
Q: What is your favorite running memory (either from a race or training run)?
Howe: My favorite memory from a race would have to be from my first 10K when I was in 8th grade. My dad and I went to Charlotte, NC for a 10K and he was bound and determined to run with me since I had been running more frequently. However, he never ran a day in his life. It took us an hour and 18 minutes to finish, but he was so excited that he did it. We were supposed to go shopping afterwards and check out the town, but we ended up staying in to watch movies and talked about the race and the course.
Looking back I should have found a 5K for us to do instead of a 10K, but we both had a blast!
Q: What is your favorite thing to eat after a long run or workout?
Howe: In the summer heat I love making smoothies after a hard workout or long run. My favorite is strawberry mango, but it’s still fun to test my creativity skills and see what other combinations are tasteful. When the weather gets colder I typically opt for oatmeal. I’ll usually add bananas and blueberries, but then I pair it with another cup of coffee. Needless to say I haven’t nailed down the perfect hydration strategy.
Q: Speaking of summer and winter, do you enjoy training in the summer heat or winter cold better?
Howe: Being from the low country I never thought I’d say this, but I prefer running in the cold. There are so many options for winter gear so that you can maintain an optimal temperature. I’d rather start off cold and then warm up versus starting off hot and just getting hotter.
Q: What do you find most difficult about running and racing?
Howe: As much as I love running I will admit that there are some days that seem impossible to run. If it’s in the middle of training and I’m feeling worn out from workouts or long runs paired with long days at work. Or maybe I’m not hitting the times in my workouts that I should be and I feel discouraged. When I have those days I feel like it’s more important than ever to go for a run. Not only do I know I’ll feel better afterwards (get those endorphins kicking in!) but I know that it will build my mental toughness.
Q: What do you find most beneficial about training with the Big River Racing team?
Howe: The people and the consistency. I firmly believe that the people on the team are what make it such a great experience. We’ve all become such great friends that I never want to miss a training day, therefore I want to run more consistently. Everybody is supportive of one another. If I have a bad run, or I’m not feeling well, I know I can count on my teammates to help build me back up. I couldn’t ask for more.