Meet this Week’s Strong Runner Chick, Katie Dammer! Katie is a Strong Runner Chick Ambassador in her senior year of high school. Read on to find more about her!
1. Please introduce yourself! (Name? Age? Hometown? Team/Club/Coach?)
My name is Katie Dammer. I’m 17 years old and run for Abington Heights High School in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania.
2. What is your main event/distance?
My main distance is the 1600m on the track and the 5k for cross country
3. When did you start running?
I started doing 5ks and 1 mile fun runs with my family when I was 7 because my parents have always been runners, but I played lots of other sports, too. I started track in 7th grade and then became a year-round runner once I started cross country during my freshman year of high school.
4. What is your favorite part about running?
My favorite part about running is that it is an individual sport while also being team-oriented. That way, you have to take full ownership of your results, but the team gives a little more meaning to your running and fosters an awesome community because runners all have to work so hard together.
5. What is the highlight of your running career so far?
This is a tough one!! I’d have to say the highlight of my running career is my district title win in the 1600 during my sophomore track season. My win was a big upset and I set a huge PR, breaking 5 for the first time, which gave me a lot of confidence. The points from that event also helped my team win the district championship. That moment definitely set up the rest of my running career and solidified the decision that I wanted to prioritize and invest in my running…and it was fun to push myself and come away with a win!
6. What is your life like outside of running? (Academics, career, etc).
I spend a lot of time working hard on my academics. When I’m not in school or running I spend time with my great friends. I also work at a running store in my town and I’m very active in my church.
7. What is your goal or dream that you want to achieve? (running related or not).
Someday, I want to visit every state and live abroad. In the meantime, I want to compete at a national championship on a collegiate level and kick butt in school as a neuroscience major.
8. What are your strengths as a runner?
I am not afraid to push myself to the point of discomfort in workouts or in races, which is the only way to improve. I’m also good at taking criticism and learning from mistakes, especially when it comes to race strategy. And I’m competitive…I love racing and looking for ways to get better!
9. Who, to you, embodies a strong runner?
I think that Shalane Flanagan embodies a strong runner. She’s been successful across many distances, from the 3k to the marathon, which shows versatility and confidence. I love love love her cookbook Run Fast, Eat Slow because it’s delicious AND because it acknowledges that female runners have specific nutritional needs. I think she is a great role model because she’s had such sustained success, having to overcome injury along the way, while spreading a love for running to girls like me.
10. What is your favorite pre-workout snack? Ultimate post-race meal?
My favorite pre-workout snack is a Chia Squeeze from Mamma Chia or a Superhero muffin from Run Fast, Eat Slow. My ultimate post race meal is good bacon cheeseburger and a milkshake!
11. What is your running motto?
“You’ve got what it takes, but it’ll take everything you’ve got.”
12. A random fact or two about you.
1) I’m from Scranton, which is where the show The Office is set.
2) I love traveling! I’ve spent time in Canada, Panama, and different parts of Europe; When I was 9 my family and I spent a few months in Germany and I went to a school there.
13. What is your favorite strength or core exercise/workout? Why this one?
My favorite strength exercise is squats! I hate to love them but I’ve started taking lifting a lot more seriously in the past year or so, and I think squats have been more effective than any other single exercise since it’s so different from running and it makes me feel really strong.
14. What is your must-have running accessory or piece of race gear?
My shark socks! I started wearing them over a year ago and now I wear them at every big race.
15. What does being a strong runner chick mean to you?
Being a Strong Runner Chick means not being afraid of a weight room or of playing other sports, if not for the benefit of improving my running fitness but for having fun and being grateful for my athleticism. It means embracing my body but still respecting it through exercise and nutrition. It means that when other people say that I’m a “big girl” for a distance runner, which, compared to my average competitor, I am, I tell them that it means I am stronger and tougher because of it. It means being committed to running, but not letting it be my everything. It means getting excited to meet any other member of the female running community, and it means representing that community well and encouraging others to be a part of it. It means I respect each and every single one of my competitors, but I never fear them. It means that I use the hours when I’m not at practice to do something that will make me a better athlete, a better member of society, or both. Finally, being a Strong Runner Chick means being a badass who is fearless in my pursuits, even when nobody’s watching.
Bonus: Any other shout-outs or words of wisdom?
Shoutout to my little sister Allison, who will be running her first cross country season ever this fall! I can’t wait to watch her transform into a Strong Runner Chick.
Lastly… How can people connect with you? (social media, email, blog):