People: Katie Hoesch
I met Katie last year at Pocono Ironman 70.3, she was my roommate through Team in Training. We have since stayed in touch and she is certainly a kindred spirit and inspiration.
25 years old
Outside of trying to make my way post-college in the professional world, I dedicate my time to fitness and health. Through endurance training and racing, I fundraise for causes that mean something to me, my family or my community. I started training journey almost 6 years ago, never imagining it would lead to where I am today. While reflecting on my 5-years’ worth of racing and fundraising; it sparked my newest venture Katehastorun.com. I invite the world into my heart and it’s all centered around the life lessons that endurance training and racing has taught me. My blog is a way for me to express my gratitude to the universe for giving me such an incredible gift.
Name one person, place or thing that inspires you the most?
My mom, a hug from her always makes a dim situation brighter. Not everyone has the capability to show love so easily and I strive to emulate that every day. She has always been a beautiful example of perseverance through life’s difficulties and putting her children first through everything. She is a symbol of power and strength, she is a protector and teacher and all while figuring out how to live a life of balance with wisdom and humor. She is always befriending people wherever she goes. She faces challenges head-on and comes out of very difficult situations with grace and beauty. This example has helped me realize the strength within myself.
One thing most people don't know about you?
I have an oddly specific memory. I used to try to hone my photographic memory abilities while waitressing in college. It was like a game. I would look at a person’s face when they are ordering, not writing a thing down. I would get to the computer to put in a table’s order and I would remember the person’s face and immediately know their detailed order. It was fun. Once a gentleman at a table I was waiting on challenged me. He said there was no way I could remember an “annoyingly picky” family’s 13-person order perfectly (to which he added in a whisper, ‘My mother-in-law down there will drive you to drink’) without writing it down. Needless to say, I won! He ended up coughing up an extra $30 at the end; which I proudly accepted.
How do you stay healthy/in shape?
I am currently focused on triathlons and marathons; swimming, biking, running! I have tried a plethora of sports from childhood through college. Tennis, kickboxing, lacrosse, volleyball, dance, yoga, strength training; basically I do anything that will challenge a different part of my body and mind.
I am a firm believer in balance and cross-training. Running by itself has never been good on my body. It has caused a lot of pain and problems when overdone. I am thankful to have been a swimmer since I was a child; thanks to my mom. Swimming is the “cure all” for many of the physical stresses caused by other “hard on the body” sports. I have always compared it to a perfect mixture of running and yoga. It gives you the aerobic and strengthening workout that running provides. Swimming is peaceful; the breathing and lung workout have similar effects to an intensely meditative yoga class. I love the way I feel after a swim. I feel very me.
I got a physical recently and after my doctor listened to my lungs, she laughed and asked “Which endurance sports do you do?” I told her swimming, biking and running. My doctor said that she and her classmates used to laugh when they didn’t know an answer to a question about what would cure certain ailments or physical issues, they would always joke and say “swimming!” I believe it to be true.
Is there a moment or event that changed the path of who are today?
The reason I became an endurance athlete started with the passing of my grandfather in 2004 from ALS Lou Gehrig’s Disease; and my uncle in 2006 that died of complications from cancer treatments. They were both very big parts of my family and my life. It was my first experience with personal loss. I decided that instead of being afraid and feeling sorry, I wanted to do something to fight against what took their lives. I signed up for my first marathon in 2006 in my grandfather’s memory, and ended up raising $3,300 for the ALS Association in his name. A few years later, I received an email from the ALS society detailing a major breakthrough they had in identifying certain types of the hereditary form of ALS. I remember crying at that moment because I realized that my efforts made a difference, no matter how small. This first marathon and feeling of accomplishment opened me up to the beautiful community of endurance racing. It started the ball rolling for my race achievements and is a big part of who I am today. I don’t think I would have had the courage to attempt a marathon without having my grandfather’s strength and memory by my side, giving me purpose.
What is the best advice you could give someone?
Don’t avoid something because you are afraid of it. It is the things that we are most afraid of that we should face head-on, because overcoming those fears produces the greatest sense of personal pride and happiness.
Don’t ever give up. It sounds cliché, but we aren’t always meant to achieve a goal the first time we try. There’s a lesson hidden in our failures that we need to learn before we succeed. Where is the fun in always getting what we want? Who is more exciting to watch in a championship match; the team thatalways wins or the underdog? Victory is sweetest when its value is most appreciated.
What is your favorite food?
Blueberries and Avocado; not necessarily together, but I can’t say that I’ve given it a fair try.
What is one word that describes you?
Passionate. My parents have always told me that even since I was a baby, whatever I was feeling…I was feeling it. It is still true 25 years later.
What do you want your contribution to this world to be?
Through my writing and continuous personal challenges racing and fundraising; I want to help people realize their own potential. I want to show them how to find the courage within to attempt something they never thought was possible and experience what it feels like to amaze yourself. Forgetting about everyone else and enjoying that feeling of being truly proud of you.
I feel this is one step towards figuring out the most important secret in life: making your own happiness. Endurance sports, fundraising and writing is an outlet that has opened my eyes to possibilities. It has allowed me to realize I can use these tools to strengthen my own “shelter of happiness”. I want to help people realize this for themselves and know that it comes from the inside out.