(Saying that because we have another Texan on the blog today!) I’m so excited to introduce you to my sweet friend Catalina.
I was lucky enough to meet Catalina on Maui last December. And in just four quick miles together, she brought me so much sunshine, wisdom, and encouragement! We could relate on so many levels – we both love running, Jesus, try to eat as plant-based as possible…and we both moved across the country with our husbands to live by the beach! I just knew I had to include her in the In Her Shoes series that so that you, too, could soak up her goodness and hear more about her beautifully intentional life. Let’s dive right in and meet Catalina!
Hey, Catalina! I am so glad to be featuring the beautiful soul that you are on SGMG today. For those who don’t already follow you – say hello! 🙂
Charlotte, thank you so much for interviewing me, this is so cool!
Well, where do I start? I’m a 30 year old native Texan who moved to Maui with her husband and dog in January of 2017. My husband and I are both hairdressers and were looking for a change of pace in our lives during our engagement. We knew we could work anywhere with our profession and during our honeymoon we fell completely in love with Hawai’i. One year later we stepped out in faith and uprooted our entire lives after 29 years of never living outside of the greater Houston area. God has been so good to us and we have been successful in building our clientele, made incredible friends, and found our church home.
What’s a typical day like in your shoes?
Normally I wake up and freak out over how beautiful it is outside. Really, it hasn’t hit me after 14 months that this is my home. Most mornings I start with a run, except for Wednesday, I run with our running club in the evening. Saturdays & Sundays I meet up with my friends in our local running community just before dawn and run long. If I’m not running I’ll walk the dog to the beach or over to the farmers market for our package free produce and tofu. I love to drink a cup of hot tea while I get ready for the day and water all of my plants. Three days a week I work in a beautiful salon, other days I do on location bridal hair around the island, and on my time off I’ve been volunteering at Leilani Farm Sanctuary. Every time I leave my house it looks like I’m moving out, I’ve got all of my tools and usually a suitcase sized cooler of food. Food is important, I’m always hungry! So the first thing I do when I get home is cook dinner and then I finally get to relax with my husband before we go to sleep and I do it all over again!
How long have you been running? What made you get started?
Oh man, I ran my very first full mile my senior year of high school around the track, I felt like a champion! I ran off and on (mostly off) until July of 2013. That month I started hitting the treadmill at our apartment fitness center and began to play games as I call it. I would start with 2 miles. Then I would get comfortable with that distance and try to beat my time. Then I would add a quarter of a mile and do the same thing. We got our dog in January of 2013 so around this time she and I were going on long walks and that made me get back into running outside. In August of 2013 I ran my very first race, a free local 5k, and something happened. I knew I wanted to do this distance running thing so I immediately registered for a half marathon that was taking place in 12 weeks. My goal for that half marathon was a sub 2 and I made it in 1:56:23 and to say that I was hooked is a complete understatement! 5,000+ miles later I still tell people that a free 5k changed my life.
What are your proudest running moments?
It’s hard not to include your first marathon finish! January 2015 I ran the Chevron Houston Marathon for the first time and oh my goodness was it incredible! For being a girl who never, ever played a sport I trained for and finished a marathon, that moment was unbelievable.
The following year I decided that I wanted to be an Ultramarathoner by the time I turned 29 so I trained for a couple of months and on May 3rd, 2016 I ran 50k (31miles) around Memorial Park & the Buffalo Bayou trail in Houston. It makes me proud because it wasn’t a race. There was no crowd, no shirt or medal, no fanfare, just me and a goal that I smashed! I was SO incredibly happy the entire time. Because it wasn’t a race I had no pressure, I would do whatever it took to stay in motion for 31 miles and I ended up running the distance in 5:09. Yeah, pretty proud of that one.
Most recently I guided a runner who came from NYC with Achilles International to run the Maui Marathon. My runner Allan has a traumatic brain injury and to be beside him for 26.2 miles as he finished another race was so incredible. His teammates who also came out for the race all ran shorter distances so they were waiting at the finish line calling his name as we came in to the finisher’s shoot. I have never shed more tears or felt that accomplished when crossing a finish line. That race was a gift.
Why did you adopt a plant-based diet? Has it benefited your running at all?
Oh wow, that is a long story! Growing up I never liked milk and I didn’t want to eat meat but it wasn’t really an option in my house. When I went to college I finally switched to a vegetarian diet. I learned a lot about veganism along the way and after 10 years I decided to give up the animal products all together. I actually made the switch 2 months before running that 50k and I’ll tell you the change was very noticeable. My recovery was much faster, I actually made fun of myself because the only thing sore was my arms from pumping them while running. Hahaha. The benefits of a plant based diet are incredible. My stomach doesn’t get upset, my skin cleared up, my cheeks are less round and I think that was the dairy, I have more energy and just overall feel really great. I will say that I am not a perfect vegan or 100% plant based. My wonderful husband will never even consider himself vegetarian but he eats mostly vegan food with me so we have a bit of a compromise going on. There is no meat or fish in our house so sometimes I will eat something that has eggs or cheese with him. While I would much rather be 1 million percent vegan I still feel like we are treating our bodies better and making an impact by both of us not eating animals.
What goals are you currently running after?
I’m currently working on building a stronger clientele base in the salon. Same for my husband, I would love for him to be busier in the salon so he can quit Whole Foods and we can play more!
As for running I am currently training for a 50k in Makawao Forest. It’s in Upcountry Maui so I’ll be facing hills at elevation on technical trails. Lord, it will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done and that is why I can’t wait!
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote or mantra?
I’ve written Isaiah 40:31 on my hand for most of my long races.
Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
What’s your advice to someone who wants to become a runner?
Just start. Start walking, maybe run a quarter mile at a time. Tell yourself you’ll run for 3 minutes, anything! The reason I love running is that anyone can do it anywhere. It is such a personal sport the it doesn’t matter how fast or how far you go, you just lace up and do it. You don’t have to race to be a runner either. If you are intimidated by races or can’t spend the money on registration fees please do not let that deter you. My ultra is not “official” but I certainly claim it! Set a goal for yourself and find accountability if you need it.
Social media can be wonderful for that or join your local running community. I have found new reasons to run by connecting with the runners around me. Oh and don’t forget to be proud of every accomplishment and to celebrate every milestone, that will keep you going.
What are some of your favorite things in life, apart from running?
Eating good vegan food. Grocery shopping package & plastic, buying bulk bin items in my own glass jars (really, it’s like a high when I create no waste). Spending time with friends. Being outside. A good yoga session. Making my guests feel wonderful about their hair. Plants. My dog. Everything is my favorite thing!
Just for fun…what are three things that you’re grateful for?
Today? The grace of God, my health, and my husband who is my very best friend.
See, I knew you would love her! Isn’t she the best?
To keep with Catalina, see her awesome hair work, and be inspired by her plant-based recipes and waste-free habits, follow her on Instagram: @catalinadrouillard