Buffalo, NY – The third Monday in April every year represents something bigger than a race for the city of Boston. Known as Patriot's Day, this day attracts thousands throughout the nation and the globe as they participate in the historic Boston Marathon.
One of the 30,074 runners that partook in this year's Boston Marathon was Kate Mayhook, head coach of the newly minted D'Youville women's lacrosse program. This Boston Marathon was Mayhook's second, but growing up in New England helped propel her desire one day take part in one of the cities' most prominent events.
"I grew up in Boston and New Hampshire and used to live a couple of blocks from the finish line," Mayhook recalled. "I remember going to the marathon as a kid and once I started running I knew I wanted to run the marathon there."
Kate's first Boston Marathon came the year after the tragic Boston Marathon bombing in 2014. The New England native looked back upon her first experience as a runner in the century-old event.
"Being able to participate in the marathon that year and this year is an honor," said Mayhook. "I think everyone who does it feels the same way. It's incredibly challenging and tough but the spectators, volunteers, and entire city are so special; it has a feeling and energy like no other race. I love Boston, I loved living there, and I love bringing my family back to visit."
Mayhook's life as a marathon runner began after a hall of fame career at Colgate University. Over her four-year career, she was a three-time Collegiate Northeast Women's Lacrosse All-American as well as a two-time Patriot League Player of the Year. She led her team in total points (goals and assists), draw control, groundballs and steals in 1999-2000. Kate was also a team captain in 2000 and graduated from Colgate with a Bachelor of Arts and History.
After her time at Colgate, Mayhook wanted to continue to feed her competitive spirit. With her lacrosse career over, she desired something to keep in her shape. Running became that outlet.
"It was nothing I ever thought about doing when I was younger," said Mayhook. "The more I ran, the more I liked it and it became my outlet; something to strive for and a goal I enjoyed working towards and fulfilling."
Throughout the years, the Colgate Athletic Hall of Famer has run nine marathons and at least ten half marathons. She plans to run the New York City Marathon this coming November, adding to the Buffalo (3x), Chicago, Miami, Niagara Falls (2x) and Boston Marathons that she has run.
With all of these marathons comes a rigorous training schedule. Mayhook uses a 16-week training program in which she runs four days a week. She then adds strengthening/weights/core three times a week, with a day of biking added in (weather permitting). The different exercises and activities help keep Coach Mayhook from pushing herself too far.
"I find following a training program helps me not over train and run too much," she said. "It's easy to get carried away and think you need to run all the time, but I have had more success following this program than when I have not."
When it comes to the mental side of the training, Mayhook finds that it is better to take it step-by-step rather than trying to achieve a goal all at once.
"I take it one week at time, try not to look at the overall mileage and workouts but focus on what I have to do that day and week," she explained. "The big picture can be overwhelming so focusing on the task at hand helps me maintain a positive mental state. Obviously eating/sleeping/resting play a big role as well during the high mileage weeks and at the end. It's hard but so important to conserve your energy in the weeks leading up to the marathon."
Mayhook recently completed her second season leading the D'Youville women's lacrosse team, their first as a NCAA Division III sport. Through the team's first six games, the women increased their goal total each game. Under Mayhook's guidance, the team had three All-Independent Women's Lacrosse Schools selections with two players making second team and one making honorable mention. She was named the first head coach in the program's history in the fall of 2015, with the team's first club season following in the spring of 2016.
The Boston Marathon was established in 1897 and is managed by the Boston Athletic Association. Defined as a road race, the event has a distance of 26 miles, 385 yards with an average of over 30,000 participants. Of those roughly 30,000 participants, they are divided into six divisions of men's and women's: Open, Masters and Wheelchair. The race takes place every Patriot's Day, the third Monday in April.