Meet D.C. Ultra-marathoner and SoulCycle Instructor Cat Crowe
Washington, D.C - meet your newest obsession. Orginally from Annapolis, Soul Cycle Instructor and ultra-marathoner Catherine Crowe, plays no games when it comes to her health. She's a 3:35 marathoner and looking to qualify for Boston this year, runs every day for at least 4-5 miles and manages to teach a cycling class or two everyday. The former college athlete shares her goals for the upcoming Rock N Roll Marathon in D.C, what she loves about teaching at SoulCycle, and tips for anyone interested in becoming an ultra-marathoner.
When did you first fall in love with running?
I always played sports growing up, but hated the running aspect. Later playing lacrosse in college, I got to be good at the speed and endurance conditioning days that everyone else dreaded. I think kind of having that leg up and level of success made me come to look forward to and even enjoy those grueling workouts more and more.
My mom got into marathon running later in life, which was simultaneously inspiring. I’d say it was those factors, coupled with going to Boston College where the Boston marathon is such a fundamental and inspiring part of the culture. My sophomore year, I had the opportunity to run with a charity team as a BC student. Boston was the most incredible thing to witness, my friends and teammates met me at the finish, and I’ve just been chasing that feeling ever since.
What are you hoping to accomplish with the Rock N Roll Marathon in D.C?
I would love to beat my personal record of 3:35 and get a Boston-qualifying time, but I don’t think I’m as trained as I’d like to be! I’ve still got 4 weeks left though, so it’s time to start getting serious and putting in the mileage whenever I can.
What does your daily/weekly fitness routine look like? How does SoulCycle play a role?
I try to get a run in daily, with one long run (that’s between 10 & 20 miles) a week.
I normally teach one SoulCycle class a day, but that can vary week to week (here’s where you can find my schedule!).
In terms of additional weight training, I try to hit the gym once or twice a week, but the arm series / weight lifting portion that’s part of every SoulCycle class really helps in that department. It’s 8 minutes of continuous free-weight work set to awesome music, and is super effective with proper form and effort.
For me SoulCycle and marathon training really go hand in hand. Beyond the fact that soul is a perfect way to cross-train, the same exhilarated feeling you get running a marathon is something I’ve always found during classes. That utter elation you feel on the bike after jumps or during runs, when the class is just going off and everyone is so in it and your heart is beating out of your chest. It’s like that saying “find what makes you come alive and go do it.” I never feel more alive than when I’m finding that edge in a race or on the bike. It makes you feel like you can do anything.
What keeps you motivated?
Self-betterment. If you don’t work to improve yourself every day, you’re wasting your life. That’s really all it comes down to, right?
How do you celebrate achieving a fitness goal and how do you overcome your failures — or shortcomings?
Let it roll right off your back and set your sights on the next one. If you stay ready you don’t gotta get ready.
What does ‘being strong’ mean to you?
Being strong isn’t about striving to be a new you. It’s about showing up every day trying to do it better than the last time. Conscientiously bettering yourself every time you take a class, or head out on a run. It’s about looking to feel a change, looking to make a change, and letting the smallest changes make the biggest difference.
What do you love most about teaching at SoulCycle?
What I love most about teaching at SoulCycle is the people I get to meet and getting to facilitate something that can simultaneously be so fun and so powerful.
What tips can you give women interested in becoming ultra-marathoners?
The same way that music drives us on the bike in a soul class, music is everything for me when I run. I’ve always made a new playlist for each long run I do – it gives me something to look forward to. There are lots of purists who run without headphones but for me it’s all about the music. Nothing better than exploring new areas to a soundtrack that sets the mood, fires you up, carries you through.
If you’re interested in getting into serious distance-running, I’d say try making a brand new playlist of songs you’re really excited about and don’t let yourself listen until you’re on the road. Also when you’re just starting out, it helps to remember that speed doesn’t matter at all, you’re just trying to put in the miles. Whatever distance you have in mind for that day, just focus on not turning back until you’re halfway out.
When you’re training for a race or have particular mileage in mind, it’s also great to pick a specific place, park, monument, coffee shop, just some kind of landmark that’s a particular distance away and set out with that in mind. Changing up your route helps, exploring new areas helps, running at the time of day that makes you feel the most sprightly – these are all good things. Get up and get after it :)
Reminder: We hope to see you this Saturday at our D.C pop up run!
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