The Rapidian

River Bank Run Runner: Katie Woodruff

When she not doing PR work, Katie Woodruff is training for the River Bank Run 25k
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River Bank Run Runner Katie Woodruff

River Bank Run Runner Katie Woodruff

The race of choice: 25k (15.5 miles). This is her first River Bank Run 25k. "I'd thought about it for years, but always, by the time the weather was decent enough to run any serious mileage outside, it was April and really too late to start training. I despise the treadmill after three miles, so I didn't know how to manage training in the winter. Enter my wingwoman and running partner Juli. We set our sights on the Chicago Marathon, with the 25k RBR as a goal on the way. And we just did it. We bought the gear to run in the freezing cold. [We] motivated each other to get out and we just powered through the snow, slush and crazy routes to get in the miles. I never could have made myself get out there in the elements without someone to keep me accountable."

Why she's running it: "Growing up, my dad always ran the RBR. I remember being stationed year after year next to the Big Boy statue on Pearl Street to cheer him on. My younger brother has also run it for many years now and it has always been a goal of mine."

"Two years ago after ignoring a bad case of plantar fasciitis, I tore my plantar fascia (heel ligament) and had to wear a boot for about eight weeks, followed by months of physical therapy. I never thought I'd run again, let alone do any distance races. This is a major accomplishment--I took the time to heal and I continue to pay attention to what my body is telling me."

A runner since: "I ran track in high school, but got a stress fracture so [I] played soccer instead for my last two years. I've always been a recreational runner. I've always been a sucker for endorphins, so running is a necessity and a release, not a chore."

Her training program: "We think of our runs as run therapy and we talk the whole time. Oh! What stories the road could tell! Sometimes on long runs we'll say at the start, Let's pretend we're just going out for coffee and to talk for a couple of hours. We have somewhat followed the training guide for the RBR, but basically we try to increase our mileage on long run and cross-train once or twice a week. I'm amazed at how the training works. Once you've run ten miles; six seems like a piece of cake. Once you've run 15, bring on nine any day. It's really just a matter of time and dedication."

Running tunes: Only while training alone. "When I run by myself I listen to a variety of music -some slow, some fast- all of it personally motivating."

Pre-race rituals: "Not a ritual yes, but I think a stretch, a prayer, several trips to the bathroom and some Shot Blocks and we're off for coffee and a conversation. Hopefully a little faster than normal."

When she's not running: Woodruff has her own public relations firm and is the current president of West Michigan Public Relations Society of America.

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"Let's pretend we're just going out for coffee and to talk for a couple of hours."

I've heard that you're running too fast if you can't hold a conversation during a run.