Today’s guest is a lady that is always up for a good challenge, especially if the challenge can also support a good cause.
She is currently training to run across the state of Maine and in doing so she is raising money for Lifewater International, an organization that provides clean drinking water across the globe.
I am looking forward to trying to keep up with Katie Spotz for a few easy miles today.
Life Is Full Of Detours
Katie Spotz was a begrudging runner in the beginning.
While in college, Katie needed another credit prior to graduation and she opted for a run/walk class.
She was admittedly not excited about it at first.
Her love for running was not instantaneous, but slowly over time, it began to grow.
Katie never attempted running previously in her life, because she always thought she wasn’t capable.
Over the course of the class, Katie went further and further with each passing week.
The running seed was planted.
Once Katie realized she was capable of more than she originally thought, she began to wonder what other untruths she had been telling herself.
Hungry For More
From the early days of running, Katie had always been intrigued by distance and what was possible.
Running her first marathon forced her to face her initial fears.
She has since shaved 2 hours off her marathon time as she has gained confidence and knowledge with training.
Katie loves challenging herself so after running a marathon she began looking ahead to what was next.
Since Katie first heard of Ironman events, she had always viewed them as the pinnacle of fitness.
Before she could attempt an Ironman, Katie first had to work on her swimming and biking.
A Platform Bigger Than Herself
Katie had a very unconventional approach in preparing for an eventual Ironman event.
While searching online, she stumbled upon a bike ride across the United States.
The event was an effort to raise money and awareness for the American Lung Association.
This particular cause was one that was close to Katie’s heart.
She had recently lost her grandmother to lung disease and this was a way for Katie to honor her memory.
Following her ride across the U.S., she was the first person to swim the Allegheny River (325 miles).
Her run training consisted of completing a 100k prior to signing up for the Ironman.
Katie finally built up the courage and confidence to sign up for an Ironman.
The difference in time between her stand-alone marathon and one done at the end of an Ironman event is only about 25 minutes.
Though the times aren’t that far off, the fueling required for an IM versus running alone is drastically different.
Katie has learned from experience that proper hydration and nutrition are critical to a successful race.
In training for a triathlon, Katie tends to focus more on the inputs and not just the outputs.
Her main focus is on what she can control.
Basic Human Need
Katie saw the need for community service early on in her life.
It was while living in Australia that she was moved to contribute to a cause.
Australia was experiencing a drought and Katie saw first-hand how the need for water was a basic human right and need.
Katie has since partnered with the charity Run For Water, whose mission is to provide clean water in some of the most remote and marginalized areas of the world.
Since 2007, the organization has raised over 4 million dollars and helped over 2.4 million people.
Katie was inspired to continue finding big ways to raise money so that everyone can have access to clean water.
Captured By Impossibility
It is no secret that Katie is drawn to big adventures and even bigger challenges.
When she heard that there had been people that had rowed across the Atlantic Ocean she was captured by the impossibility.
It didn’t matter to Katie at the time that she had zero experience rowing.
She immediately spent all of her waking hours researching routes, boats, and anything else that could help her to eventually make her dream a reality.
She was drawn to finding what sort of internal motivation a person would require to successfully complete the challenge.
The seriousness of the challenge was not lost on her.
Katie knew that she could potentially lose her life while out on the ocean.
For Katie, she could either row the Atlantic or live a lifetime of regret.
Just Keep Rowing
On January 3, 2010, after much planning and preparing, Katie embarked on a solo rowing crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.
The trip was scheduled to take about 70 days to travel about 3,000 miles if all went as planned.
A challenge of this magnitude almost always comes with multiple detours.
The majority of the trip was boring and monotonous, but things could and did change in a matter of seconds.
Some of her many stories include 30-foot waves, sharks, dolphins, and almost certainly pirates.
Katie completed her trip on March 14, 2010, becoming the youngest person to ever row the Atlantic Ocean solo.
Her adventure helped to raise $150,000 for clean water and humbled her in many ways.
Katie documented her experience and shared the many lessons learned in her book, “Just Keep Rowing.”
Another Challenge and Continued Awareness
Katie has accomplished more at a young age than most people do in a lifetime and she’s not even close to being done.
Her next adventure will take place on September 7, 2020, in Maine.
Katie is attempting to run across the entire state of Maine without stopping.
If she succeeds, it will make her the first person to ever do the 130 mile non-stop run.
Much like everything else that Katie has done, this run is more than an adventure.
This run is an “opportunity to raise funds for a clean water and sanitation project in support of Lifewater International.”
Katie’s goal is to raise $20,000 for a water project in Tanzania.
Failure Is Part Of The Process
Along the way through the many challenges, Katie has experienced her share of failure.
Failure is a part of the process and the overall journey.
Even if you fall short, you are still one step closer to your ultimate goal.
In sharing her story, Katie hopes that people don’t see it as what she can do, but rather what THEY can do.
Each individual is more capable than they think.
Just keep rowing, swimming, running, biking, or whatever you need to do to move forward toward your goals.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Just Keep Rowing: Lessons From the Atlantic Ocean by the Youngest Person to Row It Alone. By Katie Spotz & Mark Bowles
- Fundraising for Lifewater
- Run for Water
- American Lung Association
Katie Spotz was once a begrudging runner. Her former self is a stark contrast to all that she has accomplished. She has turned her love for all things endurance into a platform far bigger than herself. Click To Tweet
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