The In Her Shoes interview series is back! We’re all about ladies cheering on other ladies. Meet one of my favorites to follow – Katie Shepherd! She is so sweet and she has a special place in my heart as she was one of the first women to wear one of my SGMG tanks when I took the leap with the business. Since then, she has been a source of encouragement to me and is a godly woman that I admire. She is strong and fierce and funny, and you’ll love getting to know her today!
Welcome to In Her Shoes, Katie! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us today. For anyone who might not know you, please give a brief introduction of who you are outside of your running life.
My name is Katie Shepherd, I am 38 years old and live in Leakesville, Mississippi. I have been married to my husband, Christopher for almost 15 years. We have three children: Aubrynn (14), Addyson (11), and Cayne (7). I’ve been a stay at home mother since Cayne has been born, but I taught fitness classes three days a week for 2016-2017 school year. I had an abdominal partial hysterectomy August 18, 2017 which kept me from returning back to teaching my class. I accepted Christ as my personal Savior March 11, 2001. It’s important for my husband and I to raise our children in a Christian home. God first, marriage, kids, then career, hobbies.
What’s a typical day like in your shoes?
My mornings are a little chaotic since we got our new white lab puppy three weeks ago. I used to start my day with coffee and writing in my prayer journal. I make lunches for the kids and get them ready for school. If it’s a running day, I run then do all my chores. I’ve been training since I was released to run after my surgery which was the end of September. Some days, I go to the gym and lift weights/crosstrain. Sunday’s-Wednesday’s we are able to eat dinner as a family. My husband owns a restaurant open Thursday-Saturday so those nights it’s me and the kids. I hate to admit, we mostly eat out those nights for dinner or I make something simple.
How long have you been running, and what made you get started?
I’ve been running for 5 years. I was diagnosed with Mitral Valve Prolapse at age 23. That was also the year I got married and had my first baby. MVP is a minor heart problem, but comes with some scary symptoms: chest pain, palpitations, dizziness, low blood pressure, and anxiety. I think it’s normal to have anxiety when your heart races or gets out of rhythm. I’ve struggled with it since my diagnosis. My main issues are palpitations and chest pain. Over the years my cardiologist said doing some sort of cardio exercise would help with the symptoms. That was one reason I finally started to run. I started when my youngest baby was almost 2 years old. I could not get the last 10 pounds of baby weight off and one of my fitness class teacher’s suggested running. In February 2013, I found a flier for the “Hippity Hop for your Heart 5k” and decided I would use the Couch to 5k program to train for it. I will never forget “Day 1” of the C25k program. My heart got out of rhythm and my chest started hurting when I tried to run for one minute. I went back to my car after only 15 minutes it scared me so badly. The next day, I tried again and made it the full 30 minutes of the workout. Week 5 I ran for 20 minutes straight and couldn’t believe it. I had never been a runner. I played soccer in high school and never could run the 2 miles required for tryouts. I had to run and walk and remember how miserable I was. Who knew I would find a new passion at age 33 after having three kids?
What was your proudest running moment?
When I became a marathoner. I ran the St. Jude Country Music Marathon in Nashville aka the RNR Nashville Marathon (they changed the name after I ran it and I missed out on the marathon jacket) April 25, 2015. I ran the St. Jude Half Marathon in 2014 and raised over $11,000 with my team for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I raised $1000 on my own for the hospital when I ran Nashville. It was important for me to run for this cause and it helped me make it through a tough race. I trained too hard and ended up injured. I taped my knee up for the marathon and finished in 5:49:45, barely making the 6 hour cut off. My two daughters crossed the finish line with me. By far, my favorite moment ever.
Do you have a favorite race distance?
I love half marathons because I feel like I’ve accomplished something huge every time I cross the finish line. I am stronger at short distance and can run faster. I am a slow distance runner lol!
My Family at the St. Jude Half Marathon December 2, 2017. My third time to run this half and as a St. Jude Hero
Are there any goals that you’re currently chasing?
Yes, I have been training for the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon coming up March 18! It has taken me three years to fully commit and train for another marathon! I’m so excited because I made it all the way through my training and remained injury free! I did miss a few long runs and I made it to 18 instead of 20 miles for my last big training run. I feel very prepared this time around because I only made it 17 miles for my first marathon plus I was hurting.
I took this after my 18 mile run. When you make it this far, you ugly cry. God gets all the glory!
Do you have a favorite mantra or quote that inspires you to keep going?
I draw strength from the Lord during my long training runs. Isaiah 40:31 is my favorite Scripture “For those who hope (trust) in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
What’s your advice to someone who wants to start running?
I would definitely recommend using a Couch to 5k program. It worked for me! I would also tell them to not compare themselves with other people or worry about their pace. I will never forget someone telling me I look like I should be a fast runner because I’m a small person. I told someone today that everyone is different and we are not all supposed to be able to run the same pace as others. I can’t run 8 minute miles and probably never will be able to. I think social media can make people feel defeated before they even try because they see so many who are fast and it can be discouraging. Whether you run 7 minute miles or 12, you are still lapping everyone on the couch!
I just ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon Sunday, February 25 2018 in probably around 3 hours!
What running products and gadgets do you swear by?
I started out with just using a running app on my phone. I like Garmin but really enjoying my Apple Watch because it has a wrist based HR monitor. I wear Procompression Socks and Brooks Glycerin 15’s since they discontinued my ASICS I had been wearing for two years.
What are some of your favorite things in life, apart from running?
Spending time with my husband and kids. I don’t get to see my friends as much as I would like, but hoping to have a girls trip with my bestie this summer. I was a worship leader for 7 years before my surgery. We recently left that church and had to start over. We go to a much smaller church now in our community. We moved to Leakesville over a year ago and even though we are just one county away from where I pretty much grew up, I don’t have many friends. It gets lonely sometimes, but mostly people here tend to stick with their families which I do love. I just miss girl time and adult conversation so much sometimes. Being a mother of three is hard. I would love to start a Bible Study here at my home, but waiting for God’s direction.
Just for fun – what are three things that you’re grateful for?
My relationship with Jesus. I sure do miss my morning fellowship and quiet time since we’ve had the new puppy, but I know He understands. I am thankful for my marriage. My husband is so supportive of me. He is not a runner, but he sees how it makes me happy.
15 years is a long time to be married in the world we live in. It hasn’t been easy but so worth it. I do not have much of a relationship with my own father which makes me appreciate the father my husband is to our kids. He always says “I love you,” and he hugs and kisses me and them. My father was not like that at all. I’m so thankful for each of my children, Aubrynn, Addy, and Cayne and the relationship I have with each of them. Being a mother has been my greatest reward in life, but it has not been easy either. I just pray they each follow the Lord and will know the plans He has for them.
Thank you, Katie, and have a great marathon next weekend! Follow along with Katie’s running journey: @katieshepherd03