Episode 18

Published on:

20th Jul 2022

018 Mary Cates - Running Undone: Battling Adversity & Giving Yourself Grace

Episode Summary

Mary Cates is a running coach, an ultra-Marathoner, and cancer survivor. Mary has been working with athletes since 2013 and coaches every distance from beginner to ultramarathon as well as multi-sport endurance athletes including Sprint, Olympic and Ironman Tri's. Mary’s motto is simple, but it takes a long time to embrace: brain before legs. Training the body is great but to get to the next level, you've got to dig inside. Today, Whitney and Mary reflect on how training and running expectations change as you get into your forties and beyond. Mary opens up about her battle with a rare type of brain cancer and how her journey has kept her as motivated as ever to continue doing what she loves: running.

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Key Takeaways

01:17 – Whitney Heins introduces today’s guest, Mary Cates, who joins the show to share her inspiring story

09:16 – Mary opens up about her diagnosis and battle with a rare brain cancer

13:42 – Staying in the moment and the decision to pursue Ultra Running

19:19 – Training tips for running into your forties and beyond

25:43 – Strength-training and dieting

31:55 – Setting expectations, patience and Race Day

36:14 – What keeps Mary passionate about running

38:33 – Whitney thanks Mary for joining the show and lets listeners know where to follow her

Tweetable Quotes

“I think that first time around, when I came through it [battling cancer], I sorta thought I was tougher. I’m tough, I got through that. But then the second time it was so humbling that it just changed my perspective on everything. Looking back it made me a better coach.” (10:23)

“Running is the thing that helped to remind me that I’m me and not ‘Mary the cancer patient.’ It let me just block out all that other stuff even when I could only run a mile. It gave me the ability to be me. I completely lost the feeling that I was anything but this patient. But when I ran, I remembered, ‘Oh yeah, you’re more than that.’ We get really in it with our training. It’s such a gift. It is the thing that allows you to take a break from the rest of the world.” (12:20)

“When you’re forty and over, you can’t hide from it. And you end up just digging this hole and it’s so hard to get out of. For me, the biggest thing is just making sure my easy runs are actually easy runs. That’s a huge thing for me, for sure.” (20:57)

“I eat a lot of food. And I think that’s probably also - again knock on wood - one of the reasons I stay relatively healthy. I’m not in the camp of limiting too many things.” (28:50)

“Races, to me, are the celebration of the life that you’ve had of running. Especially if you’ve been doing it as long as we’ve been doing it. I think Race Day is really a different thing. Anything can happen on Race Day.” (32:24)

Resources Mentioned

Whitney’s LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/whitney-heins-02ba3b5

The Mother Runners Club – https://www.themotherrunners.com/

Unrunning Website – http://unrunning.com/

Mary’s Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/un_running/?hl=en


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About the Podcast

The Passionate Runner
Running has so many benefits for the mind, body, & soul. But it can be SO hard to keep going because, let’s face it, RUNNING IS HARD!

Join lifelong runner, running coach, and mother of two, Whitney Heins, as she talks with experts in areas such as nutrition, training and physical therapy to share their insider knowledge so you can run your best & BE your best in the time that you have.

If you’re an avid runner, we’re here to help you understand the science, simplify the complicated and remove hurdles so that your next run is not only fun and fulfilling, but fuels you with passion and purpose.