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February 2022-Cathy & Kent Johnson

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. (Where you’re from, what you’re doing now…etc)

A: Kent is 59 years old and I am 58. Kent and I grew up in Kansas, we met each other at work at a CPA firm in Salina, Kansas, and married a year later. We moved to Denver in 1988. We loved Colorado but the population grew so much that we hated the traffic getting to the trails. We visited the Black Hills on vacation in 2017. We loved this area because it reminded us of the plains of Kansas and the foothills of Colorado. We moved to Rapid City at the end of 2019. Kent is retired and I work part-time from home as an accountant for Brown & Brown.

Q: How long have you been running and how did you get started?

A: Cathy: I have been running for more than 20 years. I started in my late 30’s running laps at the gym. My first race was the 2000 Komen Race for the Cure.

Kent: I’ve always run a little bit but I really didn’t get into it until my late 30’s so I could get in better shape. I used to play a lot of softball but I got bored with it so I needed something new to do. I remember my first run in Denver, I almost died in the first half mile because I wasn’t used to the altitude. My first race was the 1998 or 1999 Komen Race for the Cure. I call it a race but I don’t think it was even timed.

Q: Would you rather run with a group or alone?

A: Cathy: I prefer to do most of my running alone so I can run at my own slow pace but I like getting to know other runners on group runs. For several years, a group from our athletic club met on Thursday nights to run or mountain bike CO foothills trails. We all brought beer and food to share afterwards.

Kent: I am an extreme introvert so I prefer to run alone. Even during group runs I usually run alone and don’t talk to anybody. Part of the reason I don’t talk to anybody is because I am usually sucking wind and I can’t talk. I do like to have a beer with folks after the run.

Q: Do you prefer roads or trails?  

A: Cathy: I love nature so I prefer trails. In the spring and summer, I take pictures of wildflowers for a Facebook page I manage.

Kent: I also prefer to run trails. I don’t wear earbuds so I can hear what’s going on around me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard deer, elk, turkeys, snakes and hummingbirds before I’ve seen them. I also love the solitude of the trails.

Q: What is your favorite distance or race?

A: Cathy: My favorite distances are the 5k and 10k. I’ve run a couple of half-marathons and 10-milers but I’m too injury prone to run long distances.

Kent: Over the years, I have run a couple of marathons, a 50K and the 25-mile Collegiate Peaks trail race so I am done with longer races. So in the future I will probably limit myself to 5Ks and 10Ks with maybe an occasional half-marathon.

Q: How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?

A: Cathy: I use an app that gives me points for exercising. Running gets me more points than anything else so that keeps me motivated.

Kent: If I don’t feel motivated to run, I don’t. I run because I enjoy it and not because I have to run.

Q: If I didn’t run I’d ………..

A: Cathy: I wouldn’t be able to eat pizza or drink beer if I didn’t run! I love cardio exercise and running is the best way to get my heart rate up. If I couldn’t run, I would hike, walk, or climb stairs.

Kent: I’ve never really thought about it and I don’t want to think about it.

Q: What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running?

A: Cathy: It’s a fun activity to do outdoors. I also love the feeling of accomplishment.

Kent: I’ve finally learned that it doesn’t matter how fast I run, I can still enjoy myself.

Q: What is your favorite running memory?

A: Cathy: We ran the Bolder Boulder a few times. The community comes out to watch the race and cheer on the runners. The people on the sidelines can be funny – like offering bacon to the runners.

Kent: Many years ago, I went with a group of runners to the Grand Canyon and we did a rim-to-rim. We paired up with a partner of comparable abilities and mind-set and started at dawn. Each pair ran at their own speed and we all met up at the bottom of the canyon. Getting down to the river wasn’t so bad but it was starting to get a little warm. At the bottom I was starting to overheat a little bit so my running partner and I dipped our feet in the Colorado River so I could cool off. Going up the opposite rim was tough because it was getting hot (even in May). One of the group got dehydrated and was helicoptered out and spent the night in the hospital. Other than that, everyone had a great time. What a view!

Q: Do you have a pre-race ritual?

A:  Kent: My pre-race ritual is probably the same as every other runner—I get nervous and I go to the bathroom a lot.

Q: What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned from running?

A: Cathy: Even if you’re not naturally athletic, running is a great way to improve your fitness.

Q: What is one of your funniest running stories?

A: Cathy: I think it is funny when my expectations for a race are far from reality, like the time we signed up for the Race to the Top of Vermont one year – a 4-mile course with 2,500 feet of elevation gain. I planned to alternate running with walking. I don’t think I ran after the first mile.

Kent: I can’t think of any funny running stories so I guess that makes be a serious runner (ha ha). The only thing that comes to mind is more of a “hmm” funny instead of a “ha ha” funny. I have been running trails for over 20 years and every trail runner I’ve talked to has told be they’ve fallen at least once. But not me. Until the 2000 Dino 5K during the pandemic. My first fall and I badly sprained my ankle and broke my leg. And because of the pandemic, the race wasn’t even being timed. Hmm.

Q: What are your running goals for the future?

A: Cathy: I hope to avoid injury and improve my endurance this year so I can run the Spearfish Canyon 15k.

Kent: Since I broke my leg, I’ve been dealing with nagging aches, pains and injuries. If my body permits it, I would like to get out on the trails more this year and maybe complete all of the races in the trail series.

Q: Who inspires you most?       

A: Cathy: I’m inspired by older people who stay fit. In Colorado, we had an amazing outdoor fitness instructor who was in his 70’s when we met him. He continued to lead classes at a local park and at Red Rocks Amphitheater into his early 90’s. Working out with him was serious fun (his words).

Kent: The instructor Cathy is talking about was named John. Part of his philosophy was that everyone can get outside and do something regardless of their athletic ability or age. Go for a walk, run, skip, workout in the park, ski, snowboard, showshoe, go to the beach, whatever. Just get outside and do something. John died of cancer a couple of years ago and I miss him.

Q: What advice do you have for new runners?

A: Cathy: Run your run, not someone else’s. There is no shame in walking.

Kent: I agree with Cathy.