Kate Murphy joins the CITIUS MAG Podcast for her first interview since announcing her decision to medically retire from the sport at 19 years old. She is currently a student at the University of Oregon. Before arriving in Eugene, she was one of the most accomplished high school runners in recent years. She attended Lake Braddock High School in Virginia and was a four-time state champion. She competed at the World Junior Championships for the U.S. She ran 9:10.51 in the 3K, which is up there on the all-time high school lists.
Despite all that success, she never got to race in an Oregon singlet after being diagnosed and treated with popliteal artery entrapment syndrome and undergoing two procedures on her legs.
We discuss what went into that decision, how she’s doing now, the pressures of being so fast while so young, plus advice for Katelyn Tuohy (who is currently one of the top high school stars in the country)
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On Monday, Kate shared this great Instagram post:
“They say “if you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours.” I had to let running go for a while, but it has come back to me. At times I genuinely thought that I would never be able to walk or run pain free again because there was never a time the pain eased up. Having a syndrome was unique because I was unsure if my legs would ever feel normal again. I am extremely grateful that after a few months of down time, I have been walking and running pain free this past month. This has been the first time I’ve been able to walk and run pain free since 2016. I’ve learned that In my case, less is more. My mentality my freshman year of college was “to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” I had been trying to go as hard as I can on the majority of my runs and cross training sessions in order to build my endurance. I thought that by doing this, I would be able to compete closer to my competitive level and contribute to my team. But I slowly started to realize that this was actually setting me back even further. By having that mentality, I was not allowing my body to heal properly. I have been focusing on listening to my body and resting when needed. I’ve learned a lot with injuries. One of the things that seems like common knowledge was not clicking in my mind before: by trying to ignore pain and run until my body could not physically handle continuing is actually worse than taking a break from running. Taking a break does not make you weak. It actually is a sign of strength. Stepping away from what you love so you can do it for the long run is a sign that you genuinely care about yourself. I felt that running was the only thing I was able to do that would make me happy. When I continued to run through my pain, I was slowly taking away my ability to run and regressing in the healing process.”
If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends or family. You are never alone.