Kathleen Hook

Describe your experience with the Equinox.  Have you participated in the full marathon, the relay, and/or the ultra?  How many times?

I have formally participated in the marathon one time.  When I first moved here, back in 1981, I saw the Equinox crowd and it was so cool.  I would go to the start and watch, and think someday, maybe.  And then, after a couple of years, I would just run the first nine or 10 miles all by myself.  Finally, I had the courage to train and do it in 1988.

When do you start training for this race?  How much of the course itself do you incorporate into your training?  How often do you incorporate the Dome into your training?

Back in 1988, I was running 20-some miles a week in the winter, and it was important for me to chart out my schedule – increasing my mileage slowly each week up to just a couple weeks before the marathon.  And in that, I would incorporate hills, running the Dome, and any trail running I could do to get confident in running those hills.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

Systematically increasing my mileage, and running hills.  I’m not real competitive, it was all about finishing, being strong, not hurting myself, and enjoying the experience.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

I love September in Fairbanks. I love athletes.  I love the community of runners who participate in this race, and hanging with those folks.

What’s your favorite part of the course? Your least favorite part?

This is very easy!  My favorite part is just beyond Ballaine Lake, where the nervousness, the butterflies have settled.  There’s not too much of a climb;  I’m in the beautiful trails; I’m just starting to gel into the run, and remembering why I love to run.

Least favorite = the out and back.  One of the best things is making it to the top of the Dome – you’re still going, you still have something in you and feeling good, then you see the chute to your left, and you still have to go on the out and back.  That is so hard.

Describe the best moment you’ve experienced during this race. Describe the worst.

Best moment is when I’m fresh, just after Ballaine Lake and I’m in the groove of running.  I love that.  I think that last mile, it’s kind of uncomfortable, but I’m going to make it.  I’m so proud and happy, and so that’s a wonderful feeling, too.  Wow, I’m worked hard towards this goal, and it’s going to happen, I’m going to make it.

I was pretty unhappy on the out and back.

Do you consider yourself a competitive runner? What are your running goals/fitness goals?

No.  I do love to be out there and run, walk, and just be in nature.  So that’s my goal is to incorporate that into my every week – where I have time for running, walking, and being outside in some fashion. So my fitness goal is to keep moving.  Every year is a bit different as I get older and my fitness goals are always changing and evolving.

This year, I’m not training for the Equinox, but I’m training to ride a 500 mile bike ride.

What’s the best advice or training tips you can share with others who are new to this race?

To plan in advance in the winter when you’re building your fitness.  Build slowly and consistently, and work hills into it.

Have you made any big training errors, or race day flubs that adversely affected your enjoyment or time in this race?

Funny story: On one of my test runs for the Equinox, I felt I had to pee, but thought it was a fake pee, and that I was just nervous, so I didn’t pee.  So I get beyond Yankovich, and dang it, I gotta pee!  But I was in a hurry, so I rushed behind some bushes.  Peed all over my right shoe, and so it squished and squished, and it was warm and wet!  It was a huge pee!

Any plans on participating in the Equinox this year? This race has been described as one of the most grueling marathons in the country!  What keeps you motivated to participate in this event?

No.  What I may do is go to the start though.  I love going to the start and watching the racers, and being a part of that.  If I’m not at the race, I’m always aware of when it’s happening and what the weather is.  If I’m not in town, I look up what the weather will be like on Ester Dome, and what the environment is like for all the runners.

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