Local runner completes Steamboat half-marathon solo on race day
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When Katie Kissane finished her 13.1 miles this weekend, she wasn’t guided through downtown Steamboat Springs by crowds of onlookers and spectators that would have accompanied the Steamboat Marathon if it hadn’t been canceled due to COVID-19.
There wasn’t a finish area with a clock ticking up each second, encouraging her to sprint over the line.
Instead, she ran through a rope and was greeted by her father Jim, her stepmom Erin and her 8-month-old son Theo. Over her head, they placed a leftover medal from last year’s race, which Steamboat Marathon provided them with.
Without the crowds, the aid stations, or an official bib and time, Kissane still felt proud of what she had done.
“I still, surprisingly, felt a pretty good sense of accomplishment. I think, because of the fact that I had to really self-motivate,” Kissane said. “I could have easily been like, I don’t feel like doing it. …Had I done it and not just had a baby, maybe I wouldn’t have felt as much of a sense of accomplishment, but that helped me say, ‘wow, I’ve been able to train and be a mom and have this baby.’ Maybe I’m not as fast as I used to be, but I think it’s cool I can go out and do 13 miles.”
Kissane, 37, has long been a runner and has participated in the Steamboat Marathon in the past, winning the full marathon in 2016 and completing the half in 2017. When the Steamboat Springs Chamber announced it would not be hosting the race in early April, Kissane nearly tapered off her training.
“I’ve always been a runner, so I probably would have been running at least somewhat anyways. It always motivates me to have something to run for or train for,” she said. “Otherwise, I might do a few miles here or there, but it’s hard to keep motivated.”
Having just had a child six months earlier, Kissane knew she needed some sort of race day to keep her on track and training. So, she decided she would run the course on the day the marathon would have taken place.
She opted to start the race at the original planned start time of 7:30 a.m.
She ran south along Elk River Road for most of the way, rolling over hills at a quick pace. Not long after she started, cows alongside her started to run. She stopped to take a photo with her only competitors.
“They were very enthusiastic and mooing and running along,” she said. “That was kind of cool.”
She also vividly remembers the moment of coming up over a hill and seeing Steamboat Resort in the distance for the first time along the course. Being alone wasn’t so bad since the route was so gorgeous and kept her mind and eyes entertained.
Even with the pause to document the cows, Kissane maintained a 7:50 pace to finish the race in an hour and 42 minutes. She’s proud of her pace, but she can’t help comparing it to her pre-baby pace.
“I’m kind of comparing myself to my previous races, which is probably not a very good thing to do,” Kissane said. “I have to have some grace and be nice to myself in the sense that I’m not going to bounce back to a quick pace right away. I’m pretty happy.”
To keep herself motivated to keep improving and get closer to the shape she was in before having Theo, Kissane said she’s hoping to either sign up for a half-marathon in the fall if the situation allows, or just plan another date to run another solo 13.1 miles. She’s also hoping to do a 10-kilometer virtual or individual race to see where she’s at sometime in July or August.
“As the summer heats up, it’s harder to do really long, longer stuff,” Kissane said, “especially with a baby.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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