Interview By: Meg McAlarney
When I think about marathoning there are a few athletes that automatically come to my mind. There are Pro's like Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan, I like to think of myself as one too, BUT, my good friend Trish Kozlak comes to mind instantly. She represents the epitome of what it takes to be a successful marathoner. I met Trish in New York City where we worked together at Abercrombie and Fitch's Flagship store, where we instantly clicked. We both shared a love for running, coffee and travel. Eventually, I moved overseas and Trish moved back to Minnesota but we always kept in touch. In 2014, I threw it out there that I signed up to run the Paris Marathon, Trish soon reached out to me and asked if I'd like some company for the race. She followed through, made the long trek to France from Minnesota, and wound up kicking ass, not surprisingly. She may not know this, but her visiting me in France, running a marathon with me has been one of the greatest gestures made by any one of my friends. That is one example of her aggressive, fearless attitude when it comes to marathoning, but also shows how great a friend she is, knowing that at that time, I needed a friend to run with.
The Hobbyist Life's goal is to connect women and inspire each other through our passions in life. Trish's passion for marathoning while balancing a full time job at Target HQ and a very healthy social life is nothing short of amazing. She was an obvious candidate to be a featured interview and when she accepted I couldn't wait to share her story with you. Get ready to be inspired to set out on your own journey and maybe that will mean lacing up your sneakers to conquer your first race. After all, marathoning is one of those things that is open to anyone and everyone, and at any moment's notice, no matter where you are, you can always drop your things and run. More on this at a later date. Til then.......
How did you get into running? You were a really great figure skater, did that dedication and focus roll over into your marathon training? I grew up a figure skater — dedicated to training 6 days a week on and off the ice. This continued till I was almost 19 years old. It was challenging being fueled by goals within the figure skating world and having that all come to an end as I began college. I was looking for a way to stay active and ignite a new passion. My mom suggested I train for a half marathon with her. I thought, sure, I can do that…. well, to my surprise figure skating and running use totally different muscle groups. I finished that half marathon, but I think my mom pretty much dragged me through the finish line.
Although it was very, very difficult the thrill of race day and seeing the full marathoners finish lit a little fire under me. I wanted to be “good” at running. I wanted to finish a marathon. I learned you could qualify for races. I was ready to get after it! Before I knew it, my mom gave me Hal Higdon’s book - The Ultimate Training Guide. I read that book cover to cover and signed up for my first marathon in 2010. The rest is history from there! (Here I am just 5 days out from running my 17th marathon in Munich, Germany. Sometimes it blows my own mind just thinking about that.)
How many marathons have you run? I have started and finished 16 full marathons. Number 17 will be in Munich, Germany next week – October 9th. Number 18 will be the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. on October 30th. It’ll be quite the month, but I’m very excited for my upcoming adventures.
What was your first marathon? Were you instantly hooked? My first marathon was the 2010 Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN. Yes, I was absolutely hooked. The rush of emotions when you cross that finish line is indescribable.
Biggest goal as a Marathoner? I would say my biggest goal as a marathoner was qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Having done that twice, I’ve moved on from that goal. Now my goal as a marathoner is to inspire others to embrace a lifestyle of health and fitness.
**I don’t think marathons ever get easier, so continuing to find joy in running and finishing at least one marathon a year is a goal of mine.
Best Marathon Moment? I think my best marathon moment is running the NYC Marathon in 2013. It took a few years to actually get selected in the lottery, which was a bit frustrating. But, once I crossed the 59th street bridge into Manhattan and ran through Central Park with the most incredible fans throughout the entire course, I knew it was worth the wait. New York is such a special place and the way that city comes together on that Sunday morning is indescribable. I think it might be equalling as thrilling for the volunteers and spectators as it is for the runners.
It was also after the NYC Marathon that I was walking back to my friend’s parent’s house for the post-race celebration and decided to stop at Starbucks to get a coffee — I was freezing and the walk cross town got a bit long. I will forever remember the sweet lady who bought my latte and congratulated me on another marathon finish. It’s the little things that make life so special
Hardest part about Marathon training? I think there’s two equally difficult parts that go hand in hand. Number one is making a commitment to the training and finding joy in it. This means early morning workouts or skipping a social hour to log some miles. The second most difficult part is realizing that you will not master your training plan. Some days are harder than others, you have a weekend away planned, you get sick, work creeps up on you, you just need some time off. That is all OK, and in the big picture of marathon training is is so important to listen to your body and take time for yourself. Without that you risk injury and losing the joy to run.
Worst moment running? How did you bounce back? I’m not sure I would say this is my worst running moment, but rather the moment that has stuck with me. I ran the 2013 Boston Marathon and finished just 10 minutes before the bombing. As you can imagine it was a terrifying experience, and I am forever grateful to still be running and carrying on the passion of those who are no longer able.
Do you have a specific pre race routine? If so, what is it? I really don’t have much of a pre-race routine. But, the night before does include pasta and a little wine. Race day morning includes coffee and a banana while I shamelessly pump myself up with a little T-Swift.
It’s mile 19 in the marathon otherwise known as the wall…how do you get over that hump and keep going? It never gets easier, but knowing it’s coming helps. At this point in the race you aren’t sure you can make it, but it’s mind over matter. This is what makes every marathon feel like such an accomplishment.
My power songs and the crowd really come into play at this point.
You have a full time job with Target HQ, how do you manage to maintain a steady training schedule, work and have time for a social life? A good juggler can always juggle more. I think being busy really enhances one’s productivity. I’m not one to say “no” to many things and I also tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, so…. I’ve learned the importance of balance and managing my calendar. I look ahead at the week’s social events and workload. From there, I insert morning and evening workouts or if there’s really too much going on I know from the get-go that workouts will be fewer and a healthy lifestyle is need for the week. This means healthy eating, walking to and from work, and most importantly mentally accepting that life doesn’t always go as planned, but it is all in how you play your cards.
How do you stay motivated out on your long runs? I treat myself with donut holes on mile 16 of long runs, so that is motivation. Other than that, I just look forward to the feeling I get when my watch strikes my goal milage and the champagne that is likely to be had later in the day.
It’s raining outside and you have to go for a long run…what gets you out the door? Oooph, that’s a tough one! **shakes head**
Do you prefer to run in the morning or in the evening? I prefer the mornings, but will do both. I don’t have a running team or consistent running buddy, so if someone is willing to go for a run after work, I will almost always take them up on it. Long runs are always on a Saturday morning, and I definitely look forward to them during training.
What would be your advice for anyone looking to conquer their first race? Take the training one day at a time and then BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. I think one of the biggest deterrents to a successful run can be yourself.
What has been the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever been given? I met a girl at the 2012 Boston Marathon village before the race. We were chatting about Heartbreak Hill and she told me to count how many times I can say the ABCs while running up the hill. It has stuck with me—I break out that crazy tactic every now and again.
The Hobbyist Ten
- Who is your biggest role model? My family.
- What word would your picture be next to in the dictionary? This is a good question. I’m thinking my picture would be next to “spontaneous” or “ambitious”
- Quote you live by? I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.- Audrey Hepburn
- Favorite Book? Honestly not sure I have a favorite. I think I have favorite parts about lots of different things.
- What’s your morning routine? I’m into productive mornings. I’m an early riser, I enjoy coffee in bed, get a solid workout in, and then everything else follows.
- What’s one thing you have to make that day great? A good cup of coffee.
- What are you most proud of besides being a successful blogger? Passing my Gold Moves in the Field and Gold Freestyle tests with U.S. Figure Skating.
- What’s your biggest fear? NEEDLES! I can’t stand them. The thought of having to get a shot or blood drawn gives me the heebie-jeebies.
- What is a purchase you made most recently that you are really excited about? New workout gear from Carbon38 and Style Runner!