Sound to Narrows 2015:
Why Kate Landau has already won
Kate Landau is a consummate runner, with a string of impressive achievements over two decades of long-distance racing. But whether or not she literally wins the Sound to Narrows on June 13, and she certainly could, her real victory is overcoming a debilitating illness to win back her life.
Today, Kate’s days revolves around her three-year-old daughter, her career as a physician’s assistant with MultiCare’s vascular surgery team, and her first love ― running. She thrives on the intensity of vascular surgery and especially relates to the patients who so often face complicated, life-threatening conditions. She has recovered from her own complicated, life-threatening illness ― anorexia. To handle the stress of her job and stay healthy and happy, Kate runs. Because she is a single mom, those runs often mean pushing a baby jogger for six to ten miles, up and down Tacoma’s plentiful hills, although sometimes she’ll put in between six and eight miles on her lunch break instead. Apparently, those “happy runs” pay off. On May 3, Kate won the women’s half marathon division of the Tacoma City marathon in 1 hour, 23 minutes and 15 seconds. (Her personal record for a half marathon is 1:21:09.)
It might seem surprising that a 38-year-old who took up running a year and a half ago just won a half marathon ― but not if that woman is the same athlete who as a teen was rated the nation’s number one high school distance runner and who, as a college sophomore, placed 2nd at the 1996 NCAA Division 1 10,000 meter race and 6th in the 5000 meter. She also ran the 10,000 meter race in the 1996 Olympic Trials and went on to be a five time All-American in Cross Country and Track at Georgetown University. Eventually, her illness became so severe that she could no longer run without recurrent stress fractures and pain.When the Sound to Narrows race kicks off on Saturday, June 13, Kate’s friends and colleagues from MultiCare’s vascular surgery team will there cheering for her. As far as they are concerned, she’s already a champion ― because she has finally won out over anorexia in a race that was two decades long.
The odds of conquering this disease are not favorable. It has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. Very few athletes who recover from anorexia are able to regain their former competitive edge. Kate is an exception. When she began running again, after taking a 15-year hiatus, she could hardly run 3 miles at an 8 minute per mile pace. Now she routinely runs an eight-mile course, averaging 6:15 minutes per mile.
It is fitting that Kate has chosen to run Sound to Narrows, a fundraiser for MultiCare’s Center for Healthy Living, which focuses on educating the community about health. As a physician’s assistant, she sees many patients with vascular problems that are related to lifestyle, especially tobacco abuse, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. From a personal perspective, she would tell someone suffering from an eating disorder to channel their intensity and focus on being the very best recovered anorexic. “Anorexia is a hole – and it’s a beautiful life when you are out.” Sound to Narrows is sponsored by Roman Meal and is for everyone who wants to participate. It is a challenging 12k race for some, but it’s also a fun run or scenic walk for everyone else. Click here for more information.
Mental Health Care for Older Adults
MultiCare Auburn Medical Center offers a unique and much-valued service -- an inpatient psychiatric unit that is designed and staffed to meet the unique physical and emotional needs of seniors who may be experiencing cognitive impairment, memory loss or dementia. Support for therapeutic programs such as creative arts, movement, sensory stimulation and music therapy comes from the South King Health Foundation's Where the Need Is Greatest fund.