EBR Rock Star: Catie Shaffer

It’s EBR Rock Star time! Today we’re chatting with Catie Shaffer, road warrior, 3 time EBR virtual racer (have you added your spring race to our Spring Fling yet?), and now 5K planner. Welcome, Catie!

EBR-rock-star-catie-shaffer

We love that you’ve joined us for all three of our virtual gatherings (Fall Fun Run, Winter Dash, Spring Fling); how has social media helped inspire your running journey?

Well, I LOVE the virtual gatherings that you all put on! Keep ‘em coming! I loving the running community, everyone is just so nice.

Social media has definitely helped inspire me as a runner, whether it’s by gaining new Facebook friends through my running group (more on that later), following runners of all paces and abilities on Twitter, or getting encouraging comments from people that I’m friends with on the MyFitnessPal app.

One thing I never imagined would happen was using social media as an accountability tool. When I started training for my first half marathon last fall, I would post my Nike + workouts on Facebook and on long runs, I would use their “cheer me on” tool. I was amazed how many people responded to those posts! People started cheering me on, commenting on my improvements and paying attention. Because it mattered to me, it mattered to them. That just goes to show you how amazing my friends and family are! It really helped motivate me to get off my butt and out the door every day for a run.

You’re gearing up for a half marathon on May 5 – go you! Do you have any top tips for runners thinking about taking the plunge to try a half marathon?

I think my best advice would be to just do it already. If you are on the fence, signing up for a race is the best motivation you can have to get out there and get running. I’ve been a runner off and on for most of my life, but every time I start to fall off the running wagon I find a race, sign up and it totally motivates me! After college, I started focusing on my career and finding my own way through this crazy world and running was no longer a priority to me. Once I got engaged, my husband and I joined a local workout club that is put on by the track and field coaches at our city university in order to lose weight for the wedding. And I was hooked again. I signed up for a 5k about a year after our wedding, then a 10k six weeks later, then a 15k about a month after that and decided the next logical step was a half marathon! So, I just signed up. After my first half last October, I was addicted. It is hands down my favorite distance.

I think it also really helps to have a buddy or a running group that are training for the same race as support. Last fall, I trained all by myself. We had recently moved out into a very rural area outside of Wichita, I didn’t know anyone that ran in the area and I didn’t really have anyone in my life that I knew that was training for the same race that was at my pace. Firefly Yoga Studio is a studio in Wichita that has a running group (that is FREE to join, how awesome is that?!?) and I always wanted to join in, but the studio was fairly far from my house. This past December, they opened a west side studio that is much closer to my house so I’ve started running with their running group two days a week and have started incorporating yoga into my training. It has made a WORLD of difference! The group has improved the pace of my easy runs over a minute a mile and I’ve joined a huge support group. Two girls I know are also training for this upcoming half and run a Facebook page and blog called Build Lean Eat Clean and it’s so inspiring to read their posts and know that they are going through the same thing!

You’re also planning a super hero themed 5K in July – AMAZING! What inspired this project?

YES! I am SO EXCITED about this project! I am the current Wichita City Center Director for the Wichita Branch of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and this 5k is a fundraiser put on by the Wichita Branch of IIDA for Rainbows United, Inc. in Wichita. Along with the Kansas City City Center of IIDA we form the IIDA MidAmerica Chapter and cover the majority of Kansas and some of Missouri. IIDA KC is now planning their 3rd 5k and we thought it was time to get in on the action here in Wichita!

Rainbows United is an organization here in town that has a wonderful mission of “enhancing the lives of children with special needs and their families by bringing together community resources and providing customized services.” The organization is very well known throughout the city and we felt like they would be a great beneficiary of our first ever 5k!

We here at EBR like food. What are your favorite pre and post race snacks/meals?

I eat the same thing every time I have a race. The routine keeps me calm and I can just focus on making it through the race without worrying about upsetting my stomach. I always eat a banana and a piece of toast with some sort of nut butter on it. Almond and sunflower butters are my current faves! And a water bottle full of cold water. I also chew gum every time I run. I know that bothers a lot of people, but it find that it helps me breathe and keeps my mouth from drying out as bad. If it’s a race over 10 miles, I eat Honey Stinger Chews for my fuel. They are really good and taste just like candy! And I cannot stand Gu, it just gets stuck in my throat and I feel like I’m running with a bowl of pudding in my mouth. Gross.

After a race is when I tend to indulge! I love love love breakfast food and we have a really good local diner here in town that is pretty much my go-to after a race. I get a big ol’ plate of eggs over easy, hash browns, pancakes, toast, bacon and chocolate milk! I mean, when you burn over a thousand calories in a race, you gotta make up for it somehow, right!?!

Tell us about your favorite running gear.

I’m a gadget lover, so I love running with my iPhone and I use the Nike+ Running app to track all of my runs. I have a FlipBelt that I like to wear during races and longer runs. It’s awesome to carry my phone, cash, car keys, etc. And that works amazingly with my second favorite piece of gear, my bluetooth headphones! Running without those dang earphone cords has changed. My. Life. Seriously, those things are so annoying! My husband bought me this set for my birthday last year and they have been amazing!

Are you inspired by any running bloggers? If so, who?

I love bloggers, but runners really are the best bloggers, aren’t they? :) Some of my favorites are:

  • Ali on the Run: Ali is hilarious and so incredibly inspiring!
  • Go Fork Youselves: I actually found Krissy through your EBR Rock Star series! She’s a hoot and I love following her Twitter, she has some of the best running tweets I’ve ever read.
  • SkinnyRunner: Again, I think she’s hilarious. (Are we seeing a trend here?)
  • NYCRunningMama: I loved hearing Michelle’s running story and her posts are always super informational and helpful. She’s always a great read!
  • Build Lean Eat Clean: I know I’ve already mentioned these girls, but they are such an inspiration and I love that actually know them IRL and get to see them at races and around town!

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Catie lives with her husband, two dogs, cat, and 24 chickens in the middle of nowhere, about 30 minutes outside of Wichita, KS. She’s a commercial interior designer for an architecture firm in Wichita. Catie blogs over at C to the C (www.ctothec.blogspot.com) when she has free time and is just starting to evolve into a running blog. 

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