Kate Grace. She’s the best friend you wish you had. Her social media presence allows the world a glimpse into her day-to-day, and proves she is both wise and witty, a dreamer and grounded. It’s her stark vulnerability that makes her so relatable and relevant. This girl is real, and real fast. Even though very few will be able to match her pace or have the stamina to train by her side, she’s the type of runner that provides the kind of inspiration we crave.
The past few weeks have thrust Kate into the spotlight as she qualified for Rio after #slaying at the 800m in Eugene during the Trials. Destiny? Maybe. The result of hard work? Definitely.
I had the chance to ask Kate Grace a few questions, and her responses are sure to make you want to be her BFF IRL even more.
What 3 emojis represent your current state of mind as you gear up for Rio?
What has been your favorite part of running and training with the Norcal Distance Project?
Drew (coach) calls it a champion’s culture. We train with purpose and focus, we enjoy each other’s company and we push each other to work harder. I love being able to go home and be proud of my effort.
What is your spirit animal and why?
A scrappy dog. You wouldn’t necessarily look at him and think ferocious. But I wouldn’t come between a dog and his bone. (also, I am a recently-converted dog person).
The Oiselle community is pretty unique. In supporting women athletes ranging from casual to elite, they’ve empowered female runners to pursue their dreams. What is one way that Oiselle has helped you realize your dreams and not hold back, despite setbacks and injuries in the past?
Oiselle glorifies the process. It’s about the story. And that’s how I think about running as well. Yes, I just achieved this mark of distinction (olympian…), but I do this because I love the journey. And the company values mirror that understanding.
A lot of women #fangirl over you (myself included). Who causes you to totally #fangirl out?
I #fangirl over my friends, my sister. A favorite quote of mine: “If you can… fall in love, with the work, with people you work with, with your dreams and their dreams… Believe in your friends. Believe that what you and your friends have to say… that the way you’re saying it — is something new in the world.”
#fangirling over people you’re closest with means you see their faults, you see the obstacles they’ve overcome. and still think they are awesome. That also helps me be more forgiving/compassionate with myself.
Do you have any races between now and Rio?
The TrackTown Series event in Eugene on July 29th. I’ll be racing the 1500.
What is one thing you learned from your time in Eugene at the Trials that you are going to take with you as you toe the line in Rio?
This is fun. Have fun with it.
Current pump up jam?
I recently rediscovered “Will You Be There” the song from the Free Willy movie. So good.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
I like ice creams with some kind of chocolate crunch. But not a chocolate base. This is a very important distinction. And not fruit base, except maybe banana. Within those prereqs, I like to mix it up. (Mint Oreo, Mocha Chip, Cookie Dough, Ben&Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, Moose Tracks) Nomnomnom
If you could go back in time and give yourself a pep talk 5 years ago, what would you say?
I got a pep talk 3.5 years ago that was 👌🏼. Thank God for support systems, amirite?! Part went something like this: “The first piece of advice I will give you is the most important: that even if the running doesn’t work out this is all worth it. Just the journey alone. It is nearly impossible for you to see this, and I didn’t when I was training, but really the relationships you are building, the love of the sport, it is just so special. Just your experiences and travel to date….this will stay with you the rest of your life, even if you train the next four years and get the flu the week of the Olympic Trials. So live in the moment. And the grass isn’t greener anywhere. ”
I would just repeat that to myself over and over. I kind of have done that. Great races are great, but if you were to graph the percentage of time spent on great races, it’s relatively small. There is much more unglamorous training. Or worse, inability to do unglamorous training because of injury. Some cool breakthrough workouts, a lot of travel where you’re like… um, does anyone even know I exist. One, or a few, races aren’t going to make up for that time if you aren’t finding some enjoyment/fulfillment in the moment.
Leave us with a quote that inspires you.
You are the person you want to be. Do what you say you’re going to do.