Over the last year we have watched Catherine Watkins build momentum in her neck of the woods in Vancouver, BC. An integral member of Distance Runwear's (one of our dealer stores) retail racing team, she has already been a visible representative of Oiselle in Canada. Last month with the Olympic Trials Qualifying time as her goal, we watched Catherine crush the Eugene Marathon field finishing first with a time of 2:42:35. We are so very excited to welcome Catherine to our Haute Volée team. Here a little bit of her story; an inspirational one with no limits...
Running has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Its role in my life has changed over the years, but it’s always been a part of me. At times I wasn’t able to run due to injury or pregnancy and I was left feeling lost, like a part of me was missing. These times reminded me to enjoy and appreciate my running journey.
I started running as a child and before long joined a track club and was running 800s, 1500s and cross country for both my school and club. I was a good runner, not a great one, but my passion for running fueled me. Part way through high school that changed. Weekend track meets and cross country meets no longer held the joy they had before and I made the decision to back out of competitive running. In hindsight I think I was burnt out. Running remained in my life through high school and university as a way to stay healthy and sane, it’s always been my best stress release. It wasn’t until my late twenties that running became a bigger part of my life again. I decided to challenge myself, not so much in the competitive sense, but more to see what i could accomplish distance wise. This led me to my first marathon, which in turn led to two more. None were particularly fast but I loved the distance and was hooked.
Not long after my 3rd marathon I became pregnant. My first pregnancy was rough with lots of morning sickness. I stopped running quite early on as things just didn’t feel right. A couple of years later I had my second daughter and thankfully was able to enjoy easy running throughout my pregnancy. At the age of 35, when my youngest turned three, I felt the need to get back to my running more seriously. I’m not sure why I found myself with this competitive drive but running was taking on a whole new role in my life. It was like returning to my youth again, and the joy of running fast and breaking down time barriers returned. I started running some faster intervals in my easy runs and before long decided to enter some races. I wasn’t fast but the seed was planted that maybe I could be.
Before long I joined a training group and along with my love of running discovered the amazing benefits of a running community. There is nothing like a group of passionate people all trying to accomplish something together. I loved it. I started racing and my times started to drop. I started to dream big and believe that I could take this to a higher level. Two years ago, I started training with the BC Endurance Project, an elite group of runners here in Vancouver, and saw some big improvements. Training with fast and passionate runners, as well as under the incredible guidance of my coach Richard Lee, I was inspired to be my best.
This past year has been my fastest yet and I am 43. I truly believe that age should not be limiting, and that no matter your age you must continue to set goals and dream big! I am so excited to continue my running journey as part of the Oiselle team Haute Volée. The passion and inspiration that Oiselle provides is the ultimate testament to the running community. Oiselle athletes live and speak their truth and continue to inspire and support others. It is a privilege to be a member and a representative of this community. Many of my running heroes are representing Oiselle and I am honored to be doing so as well.
Great things are coming and I look forward to flying with the flock!