PPTC Member Spotlight: Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong
Interview and photo by PaFoua Hang
This month’s PPTC Member Spotlight shines on Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong (“Caitlin”). Caitlin grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Brooklyn to attend Pratt Institute in 2005. She is a Digital Designer and Illustrator with Meredith, and creates editorial illustrations and digital branding for companies like Real Simple, Shape, Health, Parents, and Martha Stewart.
Caitlin joined PPTC in January of 2018, but due to an injury, she was not actively involved in the Club until March 2018. Since then, she has been a member of the Social Committee and the Communications Committee. As part of the Social Media team, Caitlin makes running related GIFS and graphics for PPTC’s social channels to promote running and PPTC events.
When Caitlin is not running or designing cool graphics for PPTC, she is drawing and writing about running at her own blog, Go Caitie Go. She is also an avid climber, and can be found bouldering with her friends or sailing with her family.
How did you find PPTC and why did you choose this club?
I joined PPTC in January 2018. I heard about PPTC’s speedwork program and thought I would give it a try: I was excited to find out what an 800 was! At the time I was joining the Club, I was still recovering from a stress fracture — I am out of the game pretty often. I’ve had six stress reactions and six surgeries. Fortunately, injuries never keep me down for very long. A lot of things have to go into recovery, but I think the biggest one is staying connected to the running community even if all you can do is send encouraging texts and track your friends.
What I like about PPTC is that it’s a great way to meet new running buddies! My favorite PPTC events are the pub runs, because you can run, or skip it and meet up directly at the bar. For an often-injured runner like me, that's the key to staying connected. I’m really excited and looking forward to getting to know everyone in the Club!
What inspires the artworks you have created for PPTC and how would you describe your artistic style?
When I am thinking through a piece for PPTC, the first thing that goes through my mind is that it has to communicate information. Once that base is covered, it’s just about having fun with it! My style is bright, inclusive, flexible, and evolving. Most traditional editorial illustrators have a single style, but since I work with a variety of brands, I get to adapt my techniques and aesthetics to different audiences, which is unique for the field. I like to draw inspiration from shapes, colors, sunlight, politics, sports, family, friends, travel, and other artists.
How did you start running and what keeps you going?
I started running in 2011 to keep up with my Dad on his beach runs! I run because I love it, but also because I love being part of a team and the community. I typically run with my friends, so I also use that time to catch up and chat. I noticed most people in PPTC are basically full-time runners, but I split my seasons between rock climbing and running. My biggest running goal is to run into my 80s!
Are you currently training for any big race?
I am planning on running the Chicago Marathon this year! Since my training starts from the bottom, I have to start base building far out with lots of low and slow mileage. I took a few hits this Spring so training is going to be a bit difficult, but I’ll try my best in Chicago.
What are some of your favorite or most memorable running memories?
I have so many great running memories to choose from! Two of my favorites were a fun 21-mile trail run I did with my girlfriends, and a seaside trail I ran with my Dad on my favorite island after a sail. We fueled with oysters off a fishing boat…not the best idea but definitely yummy!
My favorite race was the Philly Marathon! Marathons are my favorite, because the longer the race, the more high-fives! Philly was my comeback marathon and I had lots of love and support from my friends and family. It was after I had a bad rock climbing fall and had to get a pretty major surgery to have a shot at having an active lifestyle again. My doctor called and told me I had to sit down. He didn’t think I would ever run again, but he also knows me and knew that wouldn’t matter so we were able to work out a plan and here I am! I was able to run the Philly Marathon 13 months after the surgery and have tried not to look back since! I’m not the runner I used to be—goodbye PRs—but I’m a happy one!
Can you tell us more about your running blog?
I started my running blog to practice my animation skills and to document my return to running after my ankle surgery. At the time, I was teaching myself how to illustrate and animate, and had just been told I may never run again. The blog seemed like a great opportunity to practice the two things I love the most together! It’s really fun to look back at how far I’ve come artistically—there is even a video where I review shoes and it is PURE GOLD (and by gold I mean so embarrassing). Bonus points if you can find it. The video thing didn’t last long.
You mention your family a lot, can you tell us more about how they play a role in your running or active lifestyle?
My family is very close, and I think part of that can be contributed to having grown up sailing. Electricity is for emergencies, so there was a lot of treasure hunting, board games, and drawing in my childhood. I sold my first painting as a kid off the side of our boat. I still go out with my family for a few weeks every summer and it’s the best. My larger family is also really close—I have like a billion cousins and we’d all get together multiple times a year. We’d rent a big house on the beach and move the kitchen table to the back porch because we’d have dance parties in the kitchen. My family is very loving and open and no one ever told me that something was impossible. I’m pretty lucky.
What is your pre-race ritual, if any, the night before a race and during the morning of?
I drink lots of water with sea salt and lemon (my personal natural sports drink).
What is your favorite recovery tool and post-race meal?
My shakooli hands down is my favorite “recovery tool.” It’s a coolie for your shower beer/ice coffee/water. I can’t recommend it enough! I don’t have a favorite post-race meal! I’ll pretty much eat anything.
Any advice you would give to new runners or your younger running self?
Take it easy, running is supposed to be fun.