Monday, January 27, 2014

Good Girls Gone Trail: Cathy

I am super excited to be part of 
and be surrounded by such inspiring women. Over the next week or so I get to introduce you all to them and you will understand why running over 30 hours across 212.5 miles of the Appalachian Mountains seems like such a fun idea!

May I introduce you to Smoky Mountain Relay Team Good Girls Gone Trail member Cathy!!!
Big Dog Howl- 1st place in her age group!

Name:                                     Cathy Alford
Age:                                         60
Occupation:                            Life & Leadership Coach
Personal:                                Married, Mother & Grandmother

Cathy share with us a little about your running background and why you signed on for the craziness that is a relay.
                                   
I am energized by setting goals and methodically take steps to reach those goals in a way that encourages me and others to believe we are capable of so much more than our minds tell us.

I’ve never been an athlete even though I married a decathlete and he is what I would consider a total athlete—both mentally and physically. I could allow myself to be intimidated by him, but rather I am challenged to prove that anyone can get moving—it doesn’t have to be at the same level as someone else.


 Periodically through the years I would run for a couple of months, get hurt and stop running. The last time that happened the doctor said I “needed a partial knee replacement.” I wasn’t going there so the only alternative in my mind was just to stop running, so I did—for two years. Twenty pounds later at the age of 59 a friend and I decided to run the Country’s Midnight 5k “just for fun.” That meant we needed to train and I began running or huffing along cautiously, wondering if my knee would hold up. We ran the 5k and I set a goal to run a 5k each month as a way focusing on training. I did that and ran alone for 6 months until I met a friend and we started running together. Each 5k I would see my time improve bit by bit and that was my simple goal—do a little better than last time and keep moving.
 
Running with my daughter Ami

As is the case with running, once you get past a certain point you love it or hate it. In my case, I loved it. I learned through a gait analysis that my knee pain was because I was in the wrong shoe and once I corrected that very important element with the Brooks Ravenna running shoe, my knee pain never came back. I jumped in with a keen interest in learning and began reading everything I could find as well as joining some local running groups. I even designate a few days a month to work at Big Dog Running Company because I am able to meet other runners and learn about the sport. I call it my play job because it is so interesting and that venue is what allowed me to meet my fellow teammates! Since that first training run in July of 2012, I’ve run numerous 5ks, 2 half marathons and am excited to be a part of the Good Girls Gone Trail Great Smokey Mountain Relay Team! I’m not fast, but I am committed. I am definitely the oldest member of my team and I am proud to send the message that one is never too old to try!
1st half Marathon- Solider Marathon- 6th in her age group! 
 Thinking about the relay could be a little daunting, but so was training for that first 5k. I could hardly breath and I hurt all over. I expect to feel some of those same physical feelings during the relay, but I will be relying on my faith, stamina and the camaraderie of my team to reach beyond what my mind tells me I can do. I love encouraging others to believe they are gifted to do great things! I hope in some way that by achieving my goals and overcoming barriers, I am able to help others reach their goals.

Some other fun facts about Cathy are that she plays the keyboard in her church band, has a 37 year old daughter and a 38 year old son, is the author of the book If  Only We Could Talk and a contributor to the book Inspired Women Succeed and can be seen some mornings on the Dee Armstrong Show. Oh and she also finished her undergrad and masters degree after the age of 50. She is a great example that age ain't nothin but a number. Cathy is an amazing inspiration and an amazing runner and I can't wait to spend thirty hours conquering the Smoky Mountains with her! Follow Cathy as she prepares for and then subsequently dominates the Smoky Mountain Relay at:

Facebook:   Cathy Payne Alford
Twitter:    Cathy Alford

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