Monumental Runner – Katie McHugh


Name: Katie McHugh. Or Dinterbeast. I’ll answer to both.

Self-described age group: I’m timeless.

Residence: The Hill is Home.

Occupation: Pediatric oncology research nurse

Volunteer roles in the running world: I am an expert cowbell ringer and very proficient in vuvuzela blowing. I am also an exceptional relay van driver, and I will get the team to the next exchange on time no matter what ill directions I have been given.

How has your running changed in the last few weeks: I’ve whittled down to only one running partner: my one-year-old daughter, Molly.

Why you run: Because it’s fun, duh!

When did you get started running: I’d been a casual runner since high school, but I didn’t really come of age until I became a Knife Hand.

Have you taken a break from running:  I did. And it was really, really hard. I made the difficult decision to stop running when I went through my last IVF treatment. That was a mentally and physically challenging time in my life. Running has always been a way for me to manage my anxiety and calm my mind. Not running made the process that much more difficult. I remember hating every single article I read that featured a pregnant runner easily cruising through daily miles. I’d read about strong women who ran through their pregnancy, and I felt that because I gave up running for that time in my life, I was not a strong woman. Running is also a social outlet for me, giving that up meant that I saw my running buddies less, and I felt even more lonely. Now I know that making that choice was my first lesson in motherhood. It was a sacrifice, but it was the best choice for me, my body, and my baby. Not running didn’t mean I wasn’t strong, not running meant that I was brave and aware and smart because I was taking care of myself. Now, I now have the best running partner ever and I wouldn’t change that for the world. And, I came back so much stronger than I expected! It’s taken hard work but I’m totally hauling ass with Molly giggling and kicking her tiny New Balance-covered feet in the running stroller in front of me.

Training shoe: I’m currently running in lavender New Balance Zante Pursuits. Molly is in light blue New Balance Toddler IPNRGv1s (she likes the advanced heel cushion support).

Coach or training group: Knife Hands!

The hardest race you’ve ever run: All my races are hard because I bring. it. every. time.

Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: Voluntarily getting into a van full of five strange men.

Running mentors: My dad. He’s a multi-marathoner, BQer, long distance cyclist, and damn good craftsman. I was always in awe of him growing up. When I became interested in running, he coached me through my first half, then through my first full, and then was my go-to for bike advice through my first half Ironman. He’s been my #1 cheerleader since the day I was born. Eventually, he’s going to teach me how to renovate a home, but I need to buy a house first.

My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is:  My favorite local trail, which leads us to the next question…

Favorite local trail:  Anacostia Riverwalk Trail – right outside my back door!

My best race was: I totally rocked the Shamrock back in 2015, but I mean, really, the best is yet to come.

Favorite local race: It used to be Ragnar DC, but they stopped hosting the wonderful Cumberland to DC trek last year.

Ideal post-run meal: Extra Large Pizza from We the Pizza. All to myself.

Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: I’m into anything Honey Stinger.

Pet peeve: Bad grammar.

Goals: BQ.

Your advice for a new runner: Let me introduce you to Body Glide…

Favorite running book: The Lore of Running.

Song in your head during a run: Unfortunately, these days its Baby Shark. But my favorite playlist is my well-curated FEASTING playlist, because I feast in each roadkill left behind. Also, did I mention Knife Hands has it’s own DJ?

Have you dealt with a major injury: mmhmm, yes. It knocked me out of 2015 Richmond at mile 18. Damn the hamstring!!!

Running quote: My favorite motivational running quote actually comes from a 15-year-old Nike ad:

“I have thunder thighs.

And that’s a compliment

because they are strong

and toned

and muscular

and though they are unwelcome

in the petite section

they are cheered on in marathons.

Fifty years from now

I’ll bounce a grandchild on my thunder thighs

and then I’ll go out for a run.

Just do it.”

Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner: The trails, the trails, the trails! There are just so many great places to run!


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