Runner of the Month

Katherine "Kato" Cavallaro - November 2019

This month we feature Kato who ran a PR of 3:18:24 in Chicaco!

Kato all smiles while running the Chicago Marathon!

Kato all smiles while running the Chicago Marathon!

Why do you run?  (e.g. health, fitnes, mental/stress relief, competition, etc)

I started running simply to get back in shape when I was in college but it has turned into so much more. Of course fitness and health is a big part of it but I also love racing. I have always been a competitive person and this is great way to channel that and constantly set goals for myself. It also helps clear my mind which is why I love running in the morning because it sets me up for a good day at work. Since I started running with Gate City it has also become a major part of my social life. I have met so many awesome people through this club.

Editor's Shameless Plug!  Not a member?  Check out the GCS Member Benefits page, learn more about the club, and join!

How many miles do you run in an average week both during peak and off peak times?

During peak training, I run 50-60 miles a week. During off training times, I try to incorporate other types of activities like more hiking and strength training while still maintaining a base of 30-40 miles per week.

What is your next race?

Mill cities! Then this winter/spring, I want to focus more on half marathon training. I put my name (and my husband's name without his consent) into the Berlin marathon lottery for the Fall. If we don't get in, I will probably keep it local with Baystate!

Editor's Note: Hey Joe, good luck with the lottery!

How has your training changed to meet your goals over the past several years?

I used to run solo until 4 years ago when I joined Gate City, which changed everything. My husband had seen a group of people running and pulled over to ask who they were and where they run from. They told him about the Saturday morning Hollis runs. I stalked that Facebook page for about a year until I finally gained the courage to show up. Not only has running become so much more fun, but having running partners challenges me and pushes my limits making me a better runner.

Kato running the Gate City Half Marathon with Susanne and Jill

Kato running the Gate City Half Marathon with Susanne and Jill

There are endless aspects to learn about and improve in this sport. The most important being consistency and staying healthy through multiple training cycles. The past few training cycles, my husband Joe has put together plans for me with a focus on quality over quantity of mileage making sure to incorporate specific workouts 2-3 times per week depending where I am in the training cycle. I have slowly built up my mileage over the years and played that fine line between pushing the limits with workouts/mileage but not overtraining. This past Chicago cycle, I read Deena Kastor's Let Your Mind Run which has helped me with the mental aspect of running and I have been practicing staying positive even if things are not going my way with a race or workout.

How do you motivate when you don't want to run?

I usually text a Strider for some company with whatever run/workout I have planned. Andy, Steve, Mark(s), and Suzanne(s) have tended to be easy targets who have a difficult time saying no when you ask them to go for a run with you. The key is to wait until they say yes and then tell them about the workout you have planned once they have already committed. I also know that I will feel a million times better if I just get out the door, which is the hardest part!

Editor's Note: Hey friends of Kato - the secret is out.  Ask what the workout is BEFORE saying yes!  😉


What is your favorite race?

Right now, I would say Chicago. That was my most recent race and everything came together, which is rare for a marathon! The crowds were amazing, it was a new city, and I had a blast the whole time.

Striders including Kato gathered before the Chicago Marathon

Striders including Kato gathered before the Chicago Marathon

What is your funniest running or race related memory?

One of my favorite things about running with Gate City is how much we laugh during every run. A lot of it revolves around bathroom situations or Paul. Although, it was pretty funny when Mark Crane and I got lost in Hollis and flagged down a truck to ask for directions. He ended up giving us a ride back to the barn and we got mud all over the back of his spotless truck and freshly dry cleaned suits.

What is your favorite post-race food?

Pizza! Deep dish pizza in Chicago was a bonus.

What foods work best for you pre-race?  What did you find didn't work for you?

Oatmeal, bagel, or frozen waffles. Suzanne Barker gave me the frozen waffle idea which I am loving this year especially because I can eat it so close to go time! Peanut butter does not seem to work well for me pre-race.

Do you prefer to run in hot/humid or cold temperatures?

COLD! (but 40-50 degree weather is ideal)

Outside of running, do you cross train and how?

Outside of running, I started strength training at Skill of Strength in Chelmsford about a year and a half ago. I also like to hike in the White Mountains, which is a whole different workout! Just recently I started cycling a little bit too.

Outside of running, what other hobbies do you have?

I enjoy hiking with my husband and our dog, Miles. I also enjoy spending time with friends trying out new restaurants and coffee shops.

What is your favorite flavor of gel/GU?

NONE. I really have a hard time tolerating that stuff and figuring out fuel in general. My stomach tends to reject super sweet fuel. I have found that Stinger gummies and Trader Joe's dried mandarin oranges are working for me currently but it is always a work in progress.

What made you decide to start running?

I had transferred to Northeastern after my freshman year in college and I was at somewhat of a low point in my life. I had very

Kato running in Saratoga Springs, getting that 20 mile training run in!

Kato running in Saratoga Springs, getting that 20 mile training run in!

little confidence and self-esteem. I was having trouble meeting a group of friends in my new school and had gotten very out of shape since I had been out of high school sports now for a while. I felt lost. I started going to the gym and running a few miles on the treadmill. This changed every aspect my life. I started gaining more confidence socially, academically, physically, and mentally. I started going outside my comfort zone more. I truly believe I would never have met my husband or be in the career I am today if I had not started running. Living in Boston at the time, I was inspired on Marathon Monday that Spring and I remember running 6 miles on the treadmill for the first time. Shortly after that, I applied for a Boston Marathon bib through my internship and fell in love with the marathon distance!

What do you do for a living?

I am a Physical Therapist at FYZICAL Dizziness and Fall Prevention Center in North Andover. We specialize in vestibular (inner ear) therapy and balance training. I also work with a lot of individuals with neurological diseases such as Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, or stroke. I absolutely love my job.

Do you like running in the rain?  In the snow?

I don't mind either ...just not a fan of running in slushy or slippery conditions.

Have you ever been Furler'd?

YES! I had never really been trail running but it was a nice day so I thought it would be fun to mix it up and try it out in the Hollis trails with Mark and Emily. Mark mentioned he would like to do around 10 miles and before I committed, I told him I didn't want to go that far so maybe I would sit this one out. He then said, and I quote, "there are TONS of options for short cuts" and I naively obliged. 6-7 miles later, I asked Mark where those short cuts were, he laughed his typical Mark laugh and said "oh no those were wayyyy back there, the shortest distance back is the same way we came!" I was so exhausted, I think I fell asleep in my dinner that night. That was my first and so far last 13 mile trail run.