Husky in the Spotlight:Cat Steckbeck, Boston Marathon Runner

With this year's Boston Marathon quickly approaching, Boston is buzzing with excitement. One of Northeastern’s very own, Cat Steckbeck, is running in the marathon this year, and HerCampus Northeastern has the exclusive scoop on her experiences and expectations.

Name: Cat Steckbeck

Major: physical therapy

Year: "3rd year out of a six year program"

Hometown: “Natick, MA. The marathon route goes right by my house. I grew up watching them and it was always one of my favorite days-we’d sell lemonade, cheer the runners on, and hand out water. I cannot wait to run through my home town and see so many people I know cheering me on! It’s mile 13, so it’s the perfect halfway mark and something for me to look forward to. My best friend/neighbor is actually going to hop in the race here and run 10 miles with me. She’s the best-definitely will need her support as I get into the second have of the marathon!”


How long have you been running, and when did you start?: "I’ve always been really active- I've played sports for as long as I can remember so I can’t really think of a time running 'started' for me. I would run casually over the summer and between seasons in high school to stay in shape and I did always secretly love the days of soccer and lacrosse when we’d spend all of practice running. I guess once I graduated high school, I started to run consistently with my good friend from home. Never quite this long though! This is my first marathon so from December to now is the first time I’ve really stuck with a steady training plan for a race."


How did you prepare for the marathon?: “The charity I run for, The Children’s Room, was so helpful with training. Like I said, this is my first marathon so I was pretty clueless. They have volunteer coaches who send out a training plan and organize group runs. Basically, throughout the week I’ll run anyway from 4-8 miles 3x a week, and go to spin class one day a week. Then, over the weekend I do a long run, which I really had to build up to. In January these consisted of 8 miles. Most recently I did my 20 mile run and then 14 miles the following week. Definitely training is all about gradually increasing the distance, and diligently keeping up with my workouts each week.”


Who are you running with, and who is coming to support you?: “I am part of a team that consists of six members, so I’ll get to the starting line and run the first few miles with them. We run at different paces, so after a while we start to spread out and I’ll be running alone. Like I said, my best friend from home is going to join me from mile 13-23, so just the last 3 miles I’ll be back to running on my own! As for supporters, I feel SO lucky already! Natick is full of friends I’ll be keeping my eye out for, and a couple of them are coming home from their colleges for the day. My own family is going to be there of course, along with extended members making the trek to Natick. Friends from school are going to be there for the end of the race, which will be amazing because it’s mile 20 that gets really tough, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing them there and after!”


What’s on your running playlist?: “My running playlist was actually made by the one and only Reagan Bennet! She’s been so supportive through all this and since she hates running/won’t run with me, she’s made me a Spotify playlist I listen to on all my runs called “Run Cat Run.” She put on everything from pump up songs like “Back to Back” to songs that make me laugh like “Goodies” and “Who Says” by Selena Gomez. Her playlist has seriously kept me sane-it's awesome when I’m running for 15 miles and feeling terrible and then a song comes on that makes me laugh or gets me excited. Knowing that she picked each one for a reason is just another way I feel supported and loved when the running gets tough. Plus the mix of all the songs keeps my runs interesting!”


What do you eat on Marathon day?: “This is my first marathon, but I’m planning on lots of pasta the night before! Can’t wait for that, actually. On the day, I’ll have a pretty big breakfast of a banana, oatmeal, and some toast. I’ve been eating gu on on my long runs, so I’ll bring a few of those packets along with me to keep me caffeinated and full!”


What are you wearing to run?: “My favorite pair of leggings, my team's tank top for my charity, and my Brooks Glycerine sneakers!”


What does running the Marathon mean to you? Do the events of 2013 change what the event means to you?: “I don’t know if you can tell from my absurdly long answers for some of these, but running the marathon means so so much to me. It’s something I’ve had on my bucket list ever since the days of lemonade stands and cheering on the runners as a kid. I’m also running for a charity that really means a lot to me, so raising money for them has been so rewarding. The support I’ve received from friends and family who donate, run with me, make me playlists, and offer advice has only made this more amazing. I feel SO lucky to have people in my life that support me as much as these people do. I’m running in my mom’s name, which just adds an emotional edge to this of doing something in her honor and it’s just another constant reminder of how important she was to me and the people that are supporting me. I get to run through my home town, into my favorite city, with thousands of supporters cheering me on. I can’t even imagine it yet, it still seems so unreal. The resilience of this place after the bombings in 2013 is in my blood, and I feel so connected to the route and these towns and I am honored to be running in spite of the terrorist attacks. Basically, I feel on top of the world to be running these 26.2. All the stars have aligned and I am constantly blown away by how lucky I feel to have this opportunity.”


Check out Cat’s fundraising page, and learn more about why she’s running the race. Good luck to all those running the race, and make sure to get out there and support your fellow Bostonians on April 18th!