The Arty Runnerchick: My Interview with Cait ChockMay 8, 2014
Cait Chock, a.ka., The Arty Runnerchick, embodies the true spirit of a champion—as a runner, freelance writer, artist, designer, and founder of Ezzere running shirts. I wanted to interview Cait, a one-time U.S. High School 5k record holder, for my blog because I admire her passionate commitment to peak performance and personal excellence in all that she does. Read on:
How did you get involved in running, and what do you love most about it?
I grew up playing soccer but have no coordination at all, so when all of my friends made the Comp and Select teams and I got cut from everything else, my mom suggested I try Cross Country. I thought it was a traveling club, so I was in for a shock, but I soon fell in love with the sport and found even with my klutzy tendencies I could certainly turn left!
What is the best advice you received that helped you excel in your sport?
I really think the best advice is to remember that consistency, motivation, and patience, are the keys to running your best. From there it’s fine tuning the training and racing mindset, but you can’t do much with either of those if the heart and consistency aren’t there first!
Could you describe your racing mindset on the day when you broke the U.S. High School 5K record?
Oh gosh…well, that race was a lot of fun. I really always like to bring my best to any race that I’m entered in so, even at the bigger competitions, I’ve always tried to view them as not too different. Certainly the extra excitement and environment gives you more energy to feed off of, but to help keep those nerves in check I liked to look at each race as just another opportunity to push myself and give my best. Italy was amazing, the experience as a whole, and being surrounded by the fastest juniors in the world was especially exciting. I remember two Kenyan girls took the race out just about as fast as my 800m PR, and I came through two miles only 4 seconds slower than my PR there. Certainly goes to show how much being surrounded by such great competition can really pull you along! So I tried to just stay relaxed, run my own race, and focus on the girls ahead of me when the pain really set in.
What is the greatest challenge you have overcome in your sport/life, and how did you overcome?
To be honest I think my greatest challenge was being hit by the car and looking down to see I’d almost lost my leg. Being told I’d never be a runner again was beyond devastating. To the point where I just couldn’t even fathom or think about that, so I didn’t. Instead I told myself I knew I’d get back, one could call it forced ignorance or something maybe, but I sort of knew in my heart that I’d be a runner regardless. I was h*ll-bent on doing everything I could to get back and I did. I took it one day at a time and sometimes one hour at a time and just made it through the day. Then got up and did the same thing again.
Could you tell readers about both your artwork and the mental strategy comic book for runners?
So after my accident and through my recovery I turned to some of my other passions: writing and artwork. I knew a lot about running and naturally began writing for outlets there as well as my own blog (www.CaitChock.com). Then the mental strategies comic book was fun, I wanted to make something different than everything else that’s already out there, because there is a lot of great information already. So I made what I call an ‘instructional comic book’, still with lots of information but unique in the comic book format…trying to liven up some of those lessons and engage the readers…even make you laugh sometimes! You can check out Effective Mental Strategy (http://caitchock.com/store/running-books/) here.
I also wanted to use my artwork and story as a way to motivate and inspire other runners to reach high for their own goals and GO for them. Even if someone else may think their goals are ‘impossible’ I urge them to take the mindset I did with my leg and recovery, “Scr*w it, I’m GOING to do it!”
That’s when I launched my line of running shirts, Ezzere (www.ezzere.com), each one personally designed and with a unique message/story attached. Plus, I live in running clothes, so came up with the #SweatsintheCity story there…no reason we can’t rock the runnerchick chic look all the time!
What is a favorite mental tip you like to share with runners for racing their best?
My top tip would have to be set a high goal but then BRING it. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to achieve something that you’re really proud of. If it’s easy then you’re not aiming high enough. Obstacles will present themselves and you’ll need to persevere; but if you’re passionate about what you’re doing you just keep bringing it and at the end of the day the journey towards your goal is just as remarkable and life-changing as fulfilling it.
Dr. Jim Afremow is a leading mental performance consultant, a licensed professional counselor, and the author of The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train and Thrive (Rodale, January 2014.) Though his private practice is located in Phoenix, Arizona, Dr. Afremow provides individual and group mental training services across the globe to athletes in all sports, as well as to parents, business professionals, and all others engaged in highly-demanding endeavors. His website is www.goldmedalmind.net