Kate Ziegler

Runner of Silly Long Distances. Designer of Beautiful Things. Rider of Bicycles. Culinary Guesstimator. Travel Fanatic. Contemporary Art Enthusiast. Fashion Magazine Addict.

Full-time Master of All Things Logistical, after-hours Partner at Union Jack Creative, Co-Director of Hollaback! Boston on the side.

Here you can find writing, rambling and instagrammed snippets of daily life. Shoes, cocktails, nails and food; fashion, running, bikes and art. Sometimes politics. Sometimes athletics. Sometimes all of the above.

My full account (running only, no stilettos) of my athletic and culinary ambitions since running the 2011 Boston Marathon for charity is at KateRuns.

Want to get in touch? Ask me anything or shoot me an email at kate [at] unionjackcreative [dot] com! I tweet and facebook, too.
Recent Tweets @KZiegs
Posts I Like
Who I Follow
Posts tagged "boston marathon"

Survival: A Marathon Recap

The forecast called for a high of 88 degrees, but temps on the course on Marathon Monday exceeded that by (depending which report you prefer) one to six degrees. The BAA made the very unexpected decision to allow any runners opting not to start to defer their entry to 2013. Inexperienced marathoners were encouraged, bluntly, not to toe the line.

I should explain – the trouble with such heat during a marathon is not necessarily the heat itself. After all, all across the country and the world, runners conquer marathons and ultramarathons in 90+ degrees regularly. Rather, the alarm raised stemmed from a lack of preparedness – it takes time for a winterized runner’s body to adjust to performing in the heat. For most hot weather marathoners, the majority of training has taken place over the summer; in the case of the unseasonable climes on April 16 very few of us, after training primarily in 25-45 degrees, could be physiologically prepared for the mid-80′s.

Amid the hubbub and horror as the forecast continued to rise, I did briefly consider the BAA’s deferral offer. In my case, not wanting to commit to a third straight winter of running rather than skiing (not that I missed out on much this year, hmph), I decided that I might as well start and see how things progressed. I do, after all, have experience dropping out of marathons; having finished Boston last year, I had less to prove to myself than a first time marathoner. It was with the option of dropping out a distinct possibility in my mind that I geared up and headed to Hopkinton.

I’ve been asked over and over since April 16 how it was – my standard response is, an adventure. It was hot, there was a lot of uncertainty and also it was hot. People seem more shocked that I finished this year than they did last April when it was my first marathon.

If I’m more honest though, at the risk of sounding delusional or pompous, it wasn’t that bad. I had prepared myself for the absolute worst, and I went in with the right gear, the right fuel, knowledge of how my body responded to heat during last summer’s training cycle and a plan. I walked a lot, shamelessly. I drank plenty, ate more than I usually might, took ice everywhere it was offered and kept it in my sports bra and under a sweatband against my wrist. I ate salt – straight from fast food packets – at every water stop, and carried a sponge to dunk in water cups and cool myself. I reapplied (almost enough) sunscreen. I smiled a bunch, but high-fived less. When I saw Coach Rick at 15, Danielle at 17 and my mother at 22, I was a little unnerved by how good I felt. (They probably were too.)

The very worst of it, truthfully, was that my feet were too darn hot. After six and a half hours pounding well-baked pavement, they ached, and I wanted to be off of them. Due to my slower pace, however, I never got the screaming quad and hip fatigue that plagued my finish last year. My ankle was rock solid, my blisters limited to two. We went for frites and beer at Publick House post-race (a tradition I’m rather fond of now), and I handled stairs on Tuesday without a second thought.

So, what’s the moral of the story here? I suppose it boils down to a reminder to know your body, listen to it and to accept failure as a possibility. For me, the marathon was never something to cross off my bucket list – despite the mood swings in training, I enjoy being a marathoner, and I want to be able to do this for a long time. Dropping out on April 16 if I felt my body failing in the heat would not have meant I was incapable of the distance, just as leaving the course at Mile 17 in September with a crunchy ankle didn’t mean that my training had failed. In my mind, it’s a balance – had I finished in September, I would likely have been in for a much longer recovery or permanent damage, both of which would have prevented me from doing something I love. The same would have been true if I pushed too hard in the heat.

That said, I truly feel for the runners who made the difficult decision to defer, or to drop out during the race. I’ve said it before, but it’s relevant: running a marathon is hard. Stopping – quitting – or making the choice not to start after months of training is even harder.

TL,DR: Slow and steady did not win the marathon, but survived the heat and crossed the finish line.


No, I will not spend $49.95 to download this image - I rather like the orange accents, thank you.

(Gr)attitude: Mile One

Last night after work I headed out to the Greenway for a 5k in the sunshine. My legs still felt heavy from Sunday’s (less than stellar) 14, my calves still knotted and tight. But spring has sprung! It’s official, though the official marker has never before felt particularly well-suited to the typical New England winter timeline.

I’ve already resigned myself to the expectation that this year’s marathon is going to be substantially more difficult. Physically, I’m coming back from an injury, and I’ve been unable to stay healthy for more than a few weeks at a time all season. Mentally, though I’ve covered this distance before, I’m feeling intimidated and less-prepared than last year; I’m nervous about our early spring, and what it means for race day temperatures; I’m nervous about my inconsistent long runs; I’m nervous about the fact that the last time I covered this distance was, after all, last April.

Boston was a charmed experience for me last year – it was my very first marathon, and horrible winter weather aside, I had been fortunate enough to stay healthy and avoid injury all season long. Race day was all adrenaline and smiles, and though I hurt – of course, how could I not? – I was intact at the end of it all, ready to celebrate and up for work the next day. There were freeze pops. There were high fives. Napoleon ran next to me for a while.

Of course, this is experience is a large part of what made me want to do it all again; at the same time, with several unpleasant long runs under my belt this year, I have to accept the fact that sometimes, things just don’t work out. It’s this possibility that has me nervous.

All of this is to say, I’m not free of apprehension. I’m making sure to sneak it some shorter, faster runs in this freakish warm weather, in an attempt to reacclimate just in case; I’m beginning the process of prepping my gear and my fuel, considering what I might have done differently in marathons past; and, because I know that my mental game can both make and break my race day, I’m taking time to focus on gratitude.

Specifically, I’m taking a cue from Kristen Armstrong, who mentions in her book the idea of gratitude bands for a race, instead of pace bands. Let me back up – pace bands are worn (or written out, or programmed, etc.) to remind a runner of their goal pace for each mile or segment of a race. Kristen’s suggestion, then, was to replace the standard pace band with a reminder of something for which she was grateful – one for each mile. This resonated with me. I like the idea of having something specific to consider for each mile of the marathon, other than how many miles/minutes/footsteps I have to go, and I like the idea of keeping my mind in a positive, thankful place for as much of the race as possible.

And so, with 26 days to go until Marathon Monday, I begin my (gr)attitude adjustment here. I certainly won’t be exhaustive, nor will these daily posts fall in any ranked order, but hopefully the excercise will help to keep myself grounded, focused and optimistic.

Mile One: opportunity.

It seems only fitting that, at the start of the race, in the midst of a massive, roiling bundle of nervous energy, spectacle and excitement, I focus on my gratitude at having this opportunity, again. I’m grateful for the opportunity to toe the line of the world’s most famous marathon, to support a charity whose work in my community I value greatly.

And so it begins. 

TL,DR: The focus of the first mile: being grateful for the opportunity.


Apologies in advance for the marathon spam for the next month. Sorry I’m not sorry.

There’s been a lot going on these past few weeks – some running, some busy business, some more (but never enough) running, some serious event planning – but let’s get back on track, shall we?

The end is near! I’ll confess that it will be a relief to cross the finish line this year, not just because I’ll be very glad to have erased my DNF status from September, and will be very ready to stop running, but also because I could use a few deep breaths that don’t involve running or fundraising. But! The exciting parts are still to come!

This weekend, I’ll run 21 miles – the longest run of training – from Hopkinton to Boston College on the course. From that point on, the taper reigns.

Next Wednesday, I finally get to host my benefit event at Forum – if you’re in Boston (or surrounds) I hope you’ll join me! Forum has generously donated appetizers for all, and given us free reign over the first floor bar. Donors are stepping up with raffle prizes – Sam Adams, Zoora, RoadID, Brooks, Uber, Lia Sophia, Whitecap Creations, the Clymb and more will be represented – and other fun is in the works. RSVP on Facebook to receive updates, spread the word and invite friends. The more the merrier!

The marathon is only 26 days away – and, as Sherée pointed out, it will be my first 26.2 in my 26th year. If you’ve been meaning to donate but haven’t yet, maybe today’s the day?

This week, I’m offering up one Women’s Mesh PR Skort from Brooks - black, in size small or large. To enter, donate and leave a comment here before Monday, March 26 at 11:59pm.

Bonne chance!

TL,DR: 26 days to 26.2 in my 26th year - today’s a good day to donate. Come party with me!


This post was a long time coming…

KateRuns: In Defense of Charity Runners

GPOYM: I Just Ran The Boston-freaking-Marathon Edition.

(Race recap, here.)