What a gorgeous Sunday! Finally, warm weather and sunny skies! How is everyone enjoying the weekend? I spent yesterday volunteering at Point State Park for the Animal Rescue League. It's Pittsburgh Marathon weekend in the city and runners have the opportunity to run and raise money for a number of different charities. Last time I looked at the ARL website, their runners had raised over $84,000 for the organization! So amazing.
In honor of marathon weekend, I am so elated to introduce all of you to one of my wonderful friends; who happens to also be running the half-marathon (for ARL) as we speak! Her name is Susie Katilius and if you saw my posts back in February, she is the reason we were out in California as she was participating in several races at DisneyLand. When I sat down to finish writing this post, it was difficult for me to sum Susie up in a few words or sentences. This girl is multi-talented and has one of the best hearts of anyone I know. She is also a total type A crazy person with more ideas in her head than she knows what to do with. And this is the precise reason we are friends. We can bounce our million random ideas off of one another and it's a judgement free zone. LOL. She runs, teaches fitness classes (read on for more details), loves on her animals, and volunteers a ton of time to the ARL and other organizations. And yes, even her "big girl" job is cool. After working for several years in Sephora stores, she recently became an Educator for Sephora. That's right friends. This girl not only works for an amazing company, but she gets to travel around and teach others about their products. Cue major jealousy. If we are all nice and welcoming to her, I am hoping she comes back and does a beauty related post in the future!
I invited Susie to Yes, Wear That! today to share with us some of her fitness and race knowledge and of course, I snuck some fashion in as well. Read on below and if you are interested in Susie's exercise classes, would like her to recommend a good bronzer, want to come raise money for puppies with us, or you just want to say hello - simply leave your comments below and we'll be in touch!
1. How did you train for the half-marathon?
Generally, I like to vary my speed, time, and length when I train. Some days I’ll work speed and focus on quick sprint intervals. It’s important to balance the speed work with a comfortable “long run” where I try to run for a length of time at a speed 1 minute slower than my race goal pace. And finally - my favorites - tempo runs, where I simply challenge myself to hit a goal pace for a goal length - I can compete with myself. The Apple watch and Nike apps are great ways to check yourself and progess if you are into that!
I also focus a lot on core strength, so I’ll do kickboxing for cardio core work and strength training at least 3 times a week. I love CrossFit and metabolic conditioning work outs. I rest often and I practice yoga for flexibility and strength.
2. What do you love about the marathon course here in Pittsburgh?
First of all, it’s so fun to run through your hometown! The people in Pittsburgh are SO awesome - they really show up for the race and support you the whole way. I love reading the signs as I get to cross landmarks and amazing views. The course is really well thought out; it’s got nice, soft climbs and turns. The bridges are challenging and I love the feeling of accomplishment after I get to Carson St. and I know I’m more than halfway done.
3. What motivated you to run for the Animal Rescue League?
The Animal Rescue League and Wildlife Center is a charity that’s dear to my heart for so many reasons. I am a huge animal lover (why we’re such good friends!) and we’ve always had animals in my house growing up. I brought home no less than three cats growing up, much to my parents’ dismay. My dad and mom are both such amazing people and, while they may have said “no” to a lot of my questionable fashion decisions, they never said no to an animal in need.
The ARL is an open door shelter - that means that they take in any animal that needs a home, whether it is a stray, owner surrender, or displaced through no fault of its own. Unlike some other shelters, you don’t have to apply and get put on a waiting list if you want to surrender an animal. They can get quite crowded and they work so hard to get the animals healthy, provide and care for them, and adopt out as many as they can to good homes. The people that work there are some of the kindest, most giving folks I have had the opportunity to meet. They are so transparent about where the donations received go - you know that you are providing medical care, training, and food to the animals, not lining someone’s pockets or making a fancy ad campaign,
Interested in volunteering or learning more about the ARL? Check out their site.
4. What has been the most fun race you have run?
Honestly - every single race tops one another. Right now, my favorite is the Color Run because I got to share what I love to do with my little sister and we ran it together. It was only 3 miles, but it was special to do that with her. The Disney Star Wars races were pretty damn fun, too though. It’s not every day you see Han Solo in carbonite running alongside Boba Fett.
5. What is your go-to pre or post work-out snack?
I actually run on an empty stomach. That sounds weird, but my body is used to it and I feel lighter. I’ll usually have some black coffee two hours before the rest and pee five times before the starting line. Afterwards, all bets are off. Fiori’s pizza, Tessaro’s burgers, Sarris sundaes? Runners of Steel also have stomachs of steel, ya huurrrdd?
Honestly though - when training, I usually have a quick protein shake afterwards with Met-Rx or About Time protein powder, unsweetened almond milk, some Trader Joe’s unsweetened cocoa powder, and a dash of Himalayan salt. I try to eat a lot of protein, GOOD carbs (vegetables, fruits, some Ezekiel bread if I am feeling it), and smart fats (butter, MCT and coconut oil, almonds, nuts). Life’s too short and I’m not a career bodybuilder; I like wine and I like whiskey. I love chocolate and I enjoy eating with friends and family.
6. Alright, obviously we have to talk fashion for a minute. What workout gear can you not live without and where do you shop for your running attire?
Well, this may be a trick question - I pretty much live in workout clothes! My normal outfit is layers of sweats and spandex; what can I say, I’m like an onion!
For crossfit: Reebok and lulu ventilated shorts for mobility and my t-back tanks from Onzie. I know I’m going to get sweaty and need room to move.
For running: The Nike Pro Hypercool line is amazing for running with lots of ventilation and compression. The Nike Pro bras keep the girls in place and you can focus on the job at hand - zoning out and getting your run on… When it’s cold, nothing beats their Hyperwarm collection.
7. I know you love to motivate & inspire others by instructing various fitness classes. Can you tell us about those?
I teach and am a member at St. Clair Fitness in the South Hills. It is the best fitness community I have ever been a part of - it’s like the gym version of Cheers. I teach the following classes:
Les Mills Body Attach - high intensity, sports-inspired cardio / Les Mills Body Combat - mix martial arts inspired cardio and conditioning / Les Mills Body Pump - barbell strength training class with over 800 reps per class!
Interested in checking out one of Susie's classes? Visit the St. Clair Fitness Center - here.
8. If you could pick one person to run with, who would it be?
Trent Reznor. #healthgoth heh heh. But seriously. Look at him. Wow. We’d have great background music and you know that would be an intense work out.
9. What advice would you give to someone that has never run a race and is intimidated by the idea?
Don’t be! Everyone starts somewhere. Don’t expect distance, endurance, or speed to come over night. Have fun - see what you love about it and come up with a game plan. Grab a buddy, download an app, find some great tunes, and find safe, new trails to explore. I run without a pace checker and turn off the apps - I do it simply because I love the way it makes me feel. I’m just mildly Type A, OCD, my mother will tell you; running allows me to chill out and center my energy and thoughts.
10. What races are on your "bucket list" for the next couple of years?
I am running the Disney Wine & Dine for the ASPCA this fall; that’s been on my bucket list for awhile! I would like to do some fun east coast races in my favorite travel spots this next year: New Orleans, Charleston. We’ll see. My eyes are usually more ambitious than my legs. I have a lot of CrossFit goals - I want to do strict pull ups and some fun pistol movements.
11. What's your "workout / healthy lifestyle" philosophy?
My philosophy is do what makes you feel good. Surround yourself with people that push you to be a better version of you. Find what you love, what inspires you, and make it happen. I’m blessed to have amazing friends and coaches in my community - it’s like a family. We work hard together, we have fun together - it’s a rewarding experience and when I go to bed at night, I actually look forward to those 5 am workouts with people that are just as crazy as I am! It’s always hard for me to shut off, and this is a great positive outlet that allows me to find out all these cool things I can train my body can do! It’s a balance and I’m constantly striving to find it; but I want to enjoy and get everything I can out of this life. If what I do inspires someone else to take control or responsibility of their mental, emotional, and physical health; well, that’s the ultimate inspiration.
Shop Susie's look & her favorite workout gadgets:
Top - Star Runner - sweatybetty.com / Tank - Nike Hypercool - nike.com / Short - Lululemon Speed Short 4way Stretch - lululemon.com / Socks - feetures.com / Shoes - Hoka One One Clifton - hokaoneone.com / Protect that skin when running outside - Josie Maran Protect & Perfect SBF 47 - sephora.com / Apple watch & Beats bluetooth headphones - Apple Store South Hills Village
Are you super passionate about something that you would love to share on Yes, Wear That? I'd love to hear from you! Comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.