Katie Mackey, Brooks Beast athlete, the RBR Interview, by Larry Eder

Katie Mackey had a very good year in 2013. She raced both the 1,500m and 5,000m in the US Championships this year. Her interview was done last Spring and her answers reveal alot about the character and drive of an elite athlete. Katie runs for the Brooks Beasts, a new club Brooks Running is supporting to develop elite athletes ! 

Katie was known as Katie Follett before her marriage to Danny Mackey, the coach of the Brooks Beasts. She ran big personal bests in the 800m on August 3, 2013 in Gent, running 2:02.00. Her 1,500 meters was run May 17, 2013, at Oxy, with her fine 4:04.60. Her, 3000m was run 8 September 2013, in Rieti, in 8:59.41, and her 5,000m PB was run on April 28, 2013, 15:23.65, at the Payton Jordan Invitational.  


AT&F, # 1. How did you get started in the sport?

Katie MackeyMy earliest memories with running start when I was five years old. I had these bright pink tennis shoes that I would wear running around the park in front of my house, the loop was about a half-mile. My dad was a runner as well, so I would wait for him to come home from work so that he could time me. When I was old enough to keep up, we would finish the last mile of his runs together.

AT&F, # 2. What was your high school experience in sports like?

Katie Mackey:My coaches at Fort Collins High School were truly incredible. They sacrificed so much of their own time and energy to build a fun program that allowed me to truly fall in love with running. My favorite memories in high school all revolve around my team- the mountain trail runs that we would meet for during the summer at 6am, the week long team camp at the beginning of cross country where we would compete in all sorts of silly team building activities, and the team dinners we would have the week of a big competition.

AT&F, # 3. What were your best marks in high school?

Katie Mackey

800 2:14.36 Colorado State Championships 2005

1600 4:58.4 Kansas Relays 2004

3200 10:47.5 Kansas Relays 2004

AT&F, # 4. If you could do anything over in college experience, what would that be?

Katie Mackey:That's a hard question. I learned so much during my time at UW, and it really set me up to take the next step into competing professionally after graduation. I incorporated so many new elements into my training, learned about racing and made changes to how I ate and slept. If I could do one thing over, I guess it would have been trying to learn more about why I was doing what I was doing and taking more ownership over my training. 

Since leaving college I've started to learn more about the different energy systems of the body and how important it is to incorporate elements into training which stress each one. Timing is also more important than I realized, I can't expect to be 100% on all year round and need to be patient early in the year. I struggled with that in college, and think I may have worked out too hard sometimes, always trying to hit faster splits than prescribed in workouts and trying to be in tip top shape too early in the season.

 AT&F, # 5. What were differences between high school and college track for you?

Katie MackeyCollege is when I truly began to fall in love with the thrill of competition. The excitement and adrenaline, as well as the depth and talent of the girls I was racing made it something I looked forward to. In high school I was always just so nervous!

 AT&F, #6. What were your biggest experiences in college track?

 Katie Mackey:My biggest experience in college track was probably competing in the 2008 Olympic Trials with 2 of my teammates, Amanda Miller and Michelle Turner, and 1 future teammate, Christine Babcock. It was the biggest stage I had ever raced on, and being out there on the track with the professionals that I looked up to was inspiring! I was in awe over the whole experience, and being there made me realize that this is what I wanted to do. A dream was born.

AT&F, # 7. How did you go pro?

Katie MackeyAfter I graduated, I was contacted by Jesse Williams from Brookswho told me about plans to start a professional training group in Seattle, WA! I was thrilled and immediately wanted to jump on board and be part of the process. The group finally kicked off this January (2013), and I feel honored to be a part of it. Having the support of a fun and unique company has given me the opportunity to see how far I can go in the sport of track and field.

 AT&F, # 8. What is biggest differences between pro and elite amateur?

Katie Mackey:Being a pro allows me to make running the number one priority every day, and this means more time for proactive appointments like massage, acupuncture and chiropractic that I didn't really have time for before. I also spend a lot more time in the kitchen learning about nutrition and cooking which I love!

 AT&F, # 9. What are your goals for 2013?

 Katie MackeyMy goal for 2013 is to make a world team in the 1500m!

 AT&F, # 10. If you had a high school track team in front of you, what main point would you want to get across about our sport?

Katie Mackey:When talking to high school athletes, I always encourage them to see failure as a friend and not an enemy- something that has taken me a long time to learn. If high school athletes keep going in the sport of track and field, they will encounter hurdles and obstacles along their path to success. I have learned the most from races that didn't go quite as I planned, because I come away with something that I can do better. Learning what I can do to become a better all aroundathlete and competitor is obviously extremely valuable, because I never want to become stagnant. Every failure in my career has provided me with a valuable learning experience. I've learned what a difference everything from what I eat and drink, how much I sleep, what drills I do and how I lift weights, how much I run and what types of workouts I run when, when to make moves in races and when to be patient. Running can teach you a lot about yourself, if you let it. Overcoming hardship forces you to be strong when you are weak, it forced me to rely on God for strength when I didn't have any of my own. Overcoming disappointment forces you to persevere, it forced me to develop character and hope. And the thrill of success gives you wings, it allowed me to keep on dreaming.

 AT&F, # 11. What do you train in, and what do you race in?

Katie Mackey:Currently, I train in the Brooks Pure line: the PureFlow for training runs, PureConnect for tempos, and PureDrift on the track. I race in the Women's ELMN8.

AT&F, # 12. What does a typical day of build up training look like?

Katie MackeyDuring the base season, I run higher mileage than the rest of the year and generally do longer and more endurance based workouts. I will usually run in the morning and do some drills/core afterwards in the weight room followed by another evening shake out. My workouts usually consist of long tempo runs, circuits and a weekly long run anywhere from 1 hr 30 minutes to 2 hours with some form of minute on-minute off pickups at the end to keep my pace honest.

 AT&F, # 13. What does a typical day of training look like during season?

 Katie MackeyDuring the track season, I do more race specific work on the track. These sessions are usually high intensity. Throughout the season I still continue to do tempo runs, but these are also shorter in length and quicker paced. I continue to go in the weight room and do long runs throughout the year to keep my strength and endurance up.

 AT&F, 14. Your favorite track athlete, past or present?

Katie MackeyMy father, who is an inspiration to me.  He is a lesson in hard work and consistency, I've hardly ever seen him miss a day of running while working toward his goal to run 100,000 miles! He started in HS and is currently 51 years old and has run 88,900 miles so far. I've run 2,300 of those miles with him in my lifetime.


AT&F, # 15. If you were not doing your event, what other event in track and field would you do?

 Katie Mackey:Definitely the pole vault. It just looks like so much fun!

 AT&F, # 16. What is your favorite event to compete at?

Katie MackeyMy favorite event to compete in is the 1500m/mile. To me, it is the perfect marriage of speed and endurance- both are important.

AT&F, # 17. Do you have an inspirational quote?

Katie MackeyRunning reflects what you experience in day-to-day life, on and off the track. You have a passion for something that you love to do, you make goals for yourself, and you work hard to achieve them. There are days that I feel great, days that I feel sluggish, days that I win and days that I lose. No matter what, I still wake up the next day and put my running shoes back on. 

I love the quote "do what you can, with what you have, where you are" [Teddy Roosevelt]. You can't always control the circumstances; you can control how you react to them. Competitive running is about adjusting to what is thrown at you, riding the highs while managing the lows in a way that allows you train consistently and strive for your goals.

We thanks the Katie Mackey for her thoughtfulness in the interview! And we are happy to see Brooks supporting another fine club, after their ten years of support for the Brooks Hansons DP. 

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