Editor’s note: You may recognize Kâté Braydon from her award-winning career as a photojournalist, which lands her in many parts of the greater Saint John area with her camera in tow. You also might know her as Josey Ramoan of the Fog City Rollers’ Shipyard Sirens of the Saint John Roller Derby League (That is her pictured in a photo courtesy of Marc Henwood). And you may have seen her running to keep fit, get ready for a race or prepare for Roller Derby. For Kâté, running and fitness are important components of her life these days, aspects she fought to incorporate into her daily routine. What follows is her story about the path to this year’s Marathon by the Sea and the Goodlife 12 k event on August 10. This is the 14th story in a series profiling runners who will compete in the 20th anniversary running of Emera Marathon By the Sea Marathon in Saint John. The stories are also running on the MBTS Facebook page and MBTS website.
I have been trying to be ‘a runner’ for what feels like my entire life. Or at least since I hit puberty, ate too many chocolate chip cookies and gained about 15 pounds.
I grew up in the country, and I remember many times when I would declare to myself that ‘this is the week that I will start running!’
I would put on my sneakers, which were not running shoes at all but were more like hiking boots, and I would set out onto the trail that led to the woods behind my parent’s house.
I could never run for more than 5 minutes, and I remember thinking, ‘Do people really do this? HOWWW?’
It was excruciating.
Of course, I had no idea what I was doing. I had no training plan, I didn’t know anything about health and fitness, eating clean and blah, blah, blah. I gave up, tried again and gave up many times.
So in my teenage years, I was a kid who drank beers on the weekends and partied with my friends. I took up smoking. I did not play sports.
Once I got to college, I joined a gym for the first time. I remember seeing people running on treadmills and wondered how they were not falling off. I remember thinking that I could never do that. Especially in front of people!
Although I stuck it out on the treadmill (walking!), the elliptical machine and the horrible, horrible Stairmaster, I could never commit to the gym scene, much like I was never able to commit to the running in my earlier years.
After college, I somehow landed the most coveted summer internship of all time: a job at the Toronto Star. Oh yeah! If there was a coming-of-age movie made about my life, it would revolve around that summer. My career was off to a great start, I was living in a big, new, exciting place and I was feeling really motivated every morning when I woke up.
I spent a lot of time on my own that summer, because I didn’t know anyone. So I started running, again. I ran every day. I ran everywhere. It became a way for me to explore the city.
I guess that was the turning point in my battle with running and exercise in general. I discovered a zone that I could sort of fall into inside my head, where I could let thoughts flow so freely. It almost felt like a form of meditation.
And rather than it being something that I felt I had to do to lose weight, I was doing it because I was actually enjoying it. It was fun.
I’ve managed to keep up with it, but more so in the past 2 years, and that is thanks to roller derby. I play a sport now! I am an athlete! So in addition to running, I do interval training, I lift weights, I do plyometrics.
It’s like this web, where each workout aids the other in performance. Derby has definitely kept my motivation up and has kept me on the right path to fitness. The strength that I now have in my legs and my back from derby helps me run faster and longer than I ever have.
I’ve been running 5k for years now, and have never really thought about doing any more than that. But lately I have felt so good at the end of my runs, that I actually feel like I can go further, so sometimes I do. I ran my first 10k just a couple of weeks ago. I was definitely hurting at the end of it, but the feeling of accomplishment totally overshadowed the pain in my feet.
So in August I will run the Goodlife 12k. This distance would have seemed so foolish to me years ago, but now I know how attainable it is.
I know how far you can push your body and mind to endure things that you never thought possible. I don’t know if there is a marathon in my future, or even a half and I may take a break from it again someday.
Right now, though, I’m really proud to finally call myself a runner.