the road to boston: kathleen pugh

Kathleen & daughter Ava at the Steamtown Marathon

In the third interview of our Road to Boston series, we caught up with Kathleen Pugh in her lead up to the big day. We chatted about preparation, motivation and running marathons at an 8-minute-mile pace. Kathleen’s story of how she came to run the Boston Marathon is as inspirational as it is touching. We got goosebumps.

the road to boston with kathleen pugh

Kathleen (Kathy) Pugh is new to the lululemon ambassador family. Her journey began thanks to her other family – husband Drew and daughter Ava who inspired her to pound the pavement. After trekking across the country and back, she found a home at our Georgetown Store. She's run more long-distance races than you could shake a hydration pack at and now, Kathy has turned her attention towards inspiring other women to run their personal best through her EZ8 Running Camp in DC.

Who inspired you to start running?
My husband Drew and daughter Ava both inspired me to run.  When I met Drew, he was a runner.  I'd show up at all his races, waiting to snap a picture as he crossed the finish line.

It wasn’t until years later when Ava was born and I had gained almost 60 pounds that I got serious about my running. We had moved across the country, leaving jobs and friends behind. Somewhere in my postpartum haze I thought it would be a great idea to run a marathon.  Training gave me purpose.  I’d load Ava into the baby jogger and tell her we were going to ‘work’.  She has always known me as a runner and now, at age seven, she asks when we will run a marathon together.

Why Boston?
Actually, I had never thought about running Boston until I was out on a long training run last summer with the DC Road Runners Club.  I started chatting with a woman who asked what marathon I was training for.  I told her how excited I was to have finally received a spot in New York, my hometown marathon. She gushed similarly about her hometown marathon, Boston.

Drew and I made plans to run the Boston Marathon together. I didn’t qualify in New York but Drew did (I missed the Boston Qualify by over 15 minutes).  I was thrilled for Drew, but disappointed. I wanted us to run together but needed to make it happen before his qualifying time expired.

Obsessed, I signed up for the National Marathon the following March.  I trained through blizzards, ice storms and freezing temperatures only to be greeted with a 70 degree race day and more disappointment.  The next day, I signed up for the Steamtown Marathon. I qualified for Boston with more than a minute to spare. Drew and I will run together.

Kathleen running in her favourite Power Y Tank & Speed Shorts

What’s your goal for the race?
My main goal is to enjoy the race and take in as many of the sights and sounds of Boston as I can.  However, since they changed the qualifying times, I feel compelled to try to re-qualify according to the new standards.

What has yoga done for your running regime?
I have a love-hate relationship with yoga because I get annoyed watching other people bending their bodies into unbelievable positions while I’ve never been able to touch my toes.  I really want to like it and reap the benefits, so I just started attending a Hatha-style class.  I feel pretty good about it. It helps me relax which is what I want out of the whole business.

Where do you run on days when you feel you can conquer anything?
I’m lucky to live and run in Washington DC.  I typically run on the National Mall when I want the feeling of being able to conquer anything. I run past the Supreme Court, Capitol Building, White house, Washington Monument, Lincoln Monument, then back up Capitol Hill where I often sing to myself School House Rock style, “I’m just a girl on Capitol Hill!”  I’ve been caught up in protests, rallies, motorcades, and military exercises with helicopters landing in front of me, and rather than get annoyed that these things have gotten in the way of my run, I think of how lucky I am to live in a place that allows its citizens to be heard.

What yoga poses keep your training on track?
Savasana.  Remember I’m doing yoga to relax!

When you’re not training you’re…
When I’m not training, I can be found on the Mall training other women to run fast and injury free in my Women’s Running Bootcamp- EZ8DC.  Other times I can be found hanging out with Ava and Drew exploring the Mall, travelling to new places, drinking great wine, eating wonderful food, attending the theater, reading or working on my writing.

What do you look for in training and race gear?
I look for training gear and clothing I don’t have to fuss with.  There’s nothing more annoying than having to pick shorts out of your butt when you are running, so thank you lululemon for making comfortable, highly functional clothes that don’t ride up and that make me look fabulous while I’m working up a mean sweat.

What’s next for you after Boston?
I said Boston would be my grand finale for marathons but my training partner convinced me to run the Chicago Marathon in October.  Since I train women to run an 8 minute mile in my boot camp, I’ve also made it my goal to run every race distance at an 8 minute pace. So far I’ve done it for the 5K, 10K, 10 mile, and half marathon distance, so all that’s left is the marathon.

visit us in boston

If you’ll be in Boston for the marathon, come say "hi." You'll find us at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo and at our Prudential Center store. We’ve planned tons of stuff to do from April 15th to 18th; the deets are on the store’s Facebook page. And on the day we'll be at Heartbreak Hill – when you'll need your friends the most.

want more?

Rediscovering herself and racing together with her husband were huge motivators for Kathy. What motivates you more: turning a tough situation around or having your eyes on the prize?

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I (and about 85,000 other Bostonians) will be cheering for you at the finish! Have a great race.

Comment by Tania — April 8, 2011 @ 11:57 am

You are awesome Kathy! So proud of you! And you look marvelous too!

Comment by Marianne — April 8, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

We are so very proud of you Kathy!! Best of luck in Boston for you and of course our son Drew.

Comment by sandie — April 9, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

Am thinking of you!

Comment by Melanie — April 10, 2011 @ 7:02 am

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