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Katie Kramer Dabbles in Ultramarathons and Wins Overall at TATUR Midnight Madness 50 – Interview

Oklahoma runner, Katie Kramer left all runners only able to see the bottom of her shoes at the recently held TATUR Midnight Madness 50 mile (paved – 51.5 miles) starlit adventure as she won the overall in an extremely consistent 7:01:54. Katie ran an impressive negative split and seemed to have plenty left in the tank as she completed the final loop over four minutes faster than any previous loop.

This predominately hardtop runner was up for a bit of Q&A with us and she shares her running background, reflections on the Midnight Madness adventure, and her interest in exploring more of the ultra world with sights on a TALON 100 next February. You might recognize the name.


Background / Training

[EB] What is your running background? Did you run track in high school and/or college?

I started running in high school.   I was a short distance sprinter and hurdler in track, and I started cross country when I was a sophomore.

In college I ran cross country and track.  I ran for Luther College, a small Division 3 school in Iowa.  I did earn all conference and all region honors in cross country.  I also went to Nationals.

[EB] What does a typical training week look like for you? Do you do any type of cross-training?

I spend two to three hours a day doing something.  I ride my bike everywhere, to work, to the Y, to the  store….  it’s my main form of transportation.I try to swim 2 or three days a week.  I run every day with a longer run of 12-15 miles every other day. Training is based on running events that week.  I don’t limit myself to one specific training program.

[EB] You appear to mostly road race but have ran ran in a few trail and ultra events. What led you to try out the dirt and ultra distance side of the sport?

When I finish a marathon, I still love to run.  Most people I know, hate running when they are finished, but I wish I could keep going. So when some of the Landrunners were talking about a 50 mile event in Tulsa, it seemed very exciting.  TATURS events have always looked fun and intriguing, so I decided to give this event a try.

[EB] Do you follow any specific nutrition paradigms (ex: Paleo, Zone, etc)? Do you have a favorite food? Favorite treat?

Not really.  I try to eat healthy most of the time.  I limit my fat intake but try to get plenty of protein through lean meats and protein powders.  My favorite food is definitely grilled salmon. My favorite treat is what I drink after every distance race……beer (nobody’s perfect!!)

Midnight Madness 50

[EB] Two weeks prior to the Midnight Madness adventure, you ran a 2:58:15 at Grandma’s Marathon up in Minnesota. This was as new P.R. and first finish under 3 hours. Congratulations! From looking at the race splits, you seemed to nail you pacing. How would you describe the day?

It was PERFECT!!  I don’t know what else to say.  47 degrees, overcast, kind of rainy, and a tail wind.  I did not think about pacing, it just happened.  The whole race just felt good.  When I came to mile 25 and the clock said, 2:48, I knew I was finally, after 44 marathons, going to break 3 hours!!

Running towards a PR at Grandma's Marathon.

[EB] After just running a marathon P.R., you have two weeks before running 50 miles. What was your post-marathon recovery plan and did you do any specific preparation for the 50?

Not really.  I am used to running high mileage, so I did not run the day after Grandma’s marathon.  Instead, I rode my bike ten miles which is great for recovery.  But then I went back to my normal running routine.

[EB] Did you have any specific goals coming into the Midnight Madness event?

I just wanted to run faster than last year and win the women’s category.   Halfway through the race my goals changed.  When I heard the lead male was not that far ahead of me, I wondered if I could pass him.  At mile 30 when my pacer started running with me, we focused on catching the leader.  Two miles later, we got him.

[EB] Last year you finished the Midnight Madness in 8:25:17, this year 7:01:54 and won the overall! How did the night and early morning adventure play out for you this year? Were there things you learned last year that led to the time improvement this year?

Last year was part of the reason why I wanted to run again this year. Last year, when it was time to leave OKC to go to Tulsa, I didn’t even want to go.  I was terrified.  I had run many marathons, but the thought of running 50 miles terrified me.  But my friend convinced me to go, and 1/4 mile into the race, all me fears evaporated.   Everyone told me I had to run slow  and take it easy. And I took it way too easy. I was running 9 minute miles.  By the time I started the final lap, I wish I had not listened to peoples’ advice.  I knew I could have run the previous laps faster.  When I finished the race, I felt I had so much left.  Going into it this year, I wanted to run all the laps at a faster pace, not just the final one.

Having fun...and taking names at TATURs Midnight Madness.

[EB] You ran some impressive even 10.3 mile lap splits for much of the race and negative split the 50 mile distance. Looking at other race results I also noticed some extremely consistent pacing. How do you determine your racing effort/pace? (ex: heart rate, pace determined through training, perceived exertion, a combination).

I don’t monitor my heart rate.  I tend to run very consistently on a regular basis.  During this race, I would look at my Garmin every mile.  If it seemed slow, I sped up.  If it seemed too aggressive, I slowed down.

Looking Ahead

[EB] What are some of the run adventures planned for the rest of the year? Do you have any interest to run more trail and ultra distance races?

I have determined that I love the ultra distance races.  I plan on doing a 100 mile race in February.  Until then, I plan on focusing on the marathon distance.  I would like to run 2:45 at the St. George marathon on October 1st.   I will also run as many 5 and 10 ks as I can fit in.  I will run the St. Louis marathon, the Tulsa Route 66 marathon, and maybe one or two others before the end of the year.  I need to run a 2:46 to qualify for the Olympic trials in Houston……. we’ll see!!!

[EB – And that 100 is the Rocky Raccoon 100!]

If Katie decides to play in the ultra dirt world for a while, she could definitely inject some more excitement at the pointy-end of the race. Katie also recently acquired a Saucony sponsorship which is pretty cool!

A big thanks to Katie for sharing with the Endurance Buzz community! We wish her the best in her Olympic trials quest, and hope to see her mixin’ it up in many more ultra events.

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

2 Responses to “Katie Kramer Dabbles in Ultramarathons and Wins Overall at TATUR Midnight Madness 50 – Interview”

  1. on 22 Jul 2011 at 7:52 pm natalie

    Aaaaah, love this!! She is the most humble and down to earth person, with a dazzling smile to boot! I wish her the absolute best and can’t wait to see what else she gets to conquer. Hopefully I’ll run in to her again – somewhere!

    Great job on all of your accomplishments Katie!!

  2. on 24 Jul 2011 at 4:34 pm David Hanenburg

    Hey natalie – Thanks so much for sharing! Nice 12 miler this morning! 🙂