This month we feature our very favorite =PR= couple, co-owners Ray and Cathy Pugsley. Ray and Cathy have been together for just over 20 years and together have two daughters, Lia and Jenna. It’s no surprise that they met one another in the running world. In 1993, both Ray and Cathy joined Reebok Enclave to continue training and preparing for the 1996 Olympic Trials and beyond. Read Ray and Cathy’s full story and some cool and funny facts about Potomac River Running’s owners, Ray and Cathy Pugsley.
Q U I C K Q U E S T I O N S
Runner(s) Full Name: Ray and Cathy Pugsley
Age Category: GRAND Masters, or whatever they call 50+
How/Where/When did you meet? After college, we both had the opportunity to join one of the first post-collegiate training groups in the US, the Reebok Enclave. The Enclave was organized by then Georgetown coaches and drew athletes from around the US who came to the DC area to continue training and prepare for the 1996 Olympic Trials and beyond. We both joined the group in 1993.
Favorite PR Race:
Cathy: Have to go Gingerbread Man Mile, even though it’s not one I’ve actually been able to run. I have vivid memories of both of our daughters running their first race there, including Lia stopping midway (down the 100M tot trot) and having a total meltdown because she dropped her hat.
Ray: I also would pick the Gingerbread Man Mile because seeing all those kids run as hard as they can makes me smile…..but my next pick would be the Birthday Bash 5K. All our vendors are there at the same time with plenty of post-race goodies and since it is summer, many of the participants hang out long after the race is over.
First Race Together: Ignoring the many track meets at which we both competed, but not in the same event, I think it may have been the Alexandria Turkey Trot in maybe 1997?
Best Race Memory Together: Twilight 4-Miler 2006 (NOT!!…feel free to ask us why not if you don’t already know!). Philadelphia Marathon 2003 when both of us ran around the course pacing, coaching and cheering Meghan Ridgley to her 2004 Olympic Trials qualifier.
How did you get started running or walking?
Cathy: My Dad was a jogger. Think older guy running down the street in faded jeans and a sweatshirt (good candidate for tech gear!) I played basketball and soccer as a child and decided I would run cross country my freshman year in HS to “get in shape” so I started going out with my Dad a few times the summer before HS.
Ray: In 4th grade I moved to a new school and let some of the popular boys beat me in the 600 yard run at field day because I didn’t want them to hate me….but then felt terrible and disappointed in myself afterward. I vowed to never hold back and let someone beat me again. That mindset guided me toward middle school cross country in 6th grade (we had middle school sports in NJ)
Favorite Running Event/Distance?
Cathy: This is hard because I like/dislike them for different reasons. I’d have to say favorite is the mile – short enough that you can be completely engaged the whole way, and that the pain ends quickly…. BUT, the pain is a lot. I also like the marathon – opposite end of the spectrum – it’s a different kind of pain but lasts a long time and gives a lot of ways to be Type A in your training, which is right up my alley.
Ray: I loved the 3000M steeplechase back in my college and early-post-collegiate days. I am not a rhythm runner, so the hurdles didn’t bother me and I liked the inherent danger of the event (and the attention received when a hurdle or water jump didn’t “go as planned”). For many of the same reasons, I loved Cross County as well.
What is your favorite part about running/racing?
Cathy: To be honest, I really don’t like running most of the time. But I enjoy feeling like I have “checked the box” for being healthy each day.
Ray: Believe it or not, I am going to say something similar to Cathy….I am not so much a fan of the simple run and definitely not a fan of the long run! I view running as a necessary step to get me to RACING!!
Cathy: I enjoy aspects of racing now that I didn’t appreciate as a younger, faster athlete, including the community, the stories of everyone else out there, the organization (comes from having managed our own races!), etc. “Back in the day” I loved lining up when I knew I was fit and ready to do something special, and having that rare race when it all comes together and doesn’t even seem that hard.
Ray: I LOVE RACING!! I enjoy everything about it (except getting up early in the morning) and wish I could race every day. I like the visualization before, the nerves when lining up, the pain in the middle, and the feeling of accomplishment when crossing the finish line. I just wish my body would cooperate and let me race as well as my mind thinks it can!
Who is your biggest cheerleader/supporter?
Cathy: Ray and my kids are awesome, but my Mom has been my lifelong cheerleader/supporter. I recently came across a folder of good luck signs she made me for each race in HS which reminded me of how lucky I am that she understood my passion.
Ray: My parents came to every race growing up, but they were not runners and couldn’t debrief afterward as much as I would like. Cathy, however, road-tripped to my big post-collegiate races and understood everything I was going through….so even though it sounds like I am looking for domestic brownie points, I would have to say Cathy!
What is your Spirit Animal? Why?
Cathy: Well a cat, of course. They know when to go, they know when to rest – good speed, good endurance, mad hops, sassy and independent but also a soothing presence. I do often find the Meow Mix song running through my head on runs.
Ray: My immediate response is the pig…..because I love bacon! Let me be more emphatic…I really really love bacon! Warm bacon…cold bacon…crumbled bacon….bacon bits…you get the point.
What is your life’s motto? Words to live by?
Cathy: A lesson I’ve learned and tried to impart to our kids is “You can only control two things: your attitude, and how hard you work.” Sometimes…. Many times, life isn’t fair. Coaches, teachers, bosses, parents may not see, appreciate, or understand a person/student/athlete. You can be frustrated and annoyed, but ultimately have to focus on what you can control and put your head down and prove them wrong by working harder.
Ray: Something I like to tell members of the =PR= retail family during training sessions…. “Always do the right thing.” If you follow that philosophy, it makes difficult choices easier and makes others around you happier. And another closely related motto…. “always choose bacon when it’s an option.”
T H I S O R T H A T
Distance: Long or Short
Cathy: Can “in-between” be a choice?
Ray: Short for sure!
Post Race Snack: Banana or Bagel
Cathy: Bagel, but throw on some bacon and eggs.
Running Company: Alone or Together
Cathy: Alone. I like to just go when I’m ready, sometimes split time inside on the treadmill getting truly warmed out before going out.
Ray: I prefer to run with company but run alone 99% of the time
Time of Day: Rise and Grind (Morning) or Night Time is the Right Time (Evening)
Cathy: Night time – actually midday. I hate the morning. Usually managing kids in the evening, and midday gives me a work break.
Ray: Evening….my body doesn’t loosen up until after lunch
Location: Road Runner or Trail Crusher
Cathy: Trail Crusher
Ray: My mind says Trail Crusher, but I always find myself gravitating to stable road surfaces mostly due to fear of injury or aggravating my many ailments.
Run: Workout or Long Run
Cathy: Long Run, but long isn’t that long. I actually really like workouts – just don’t do them much these days.
Ray: Definitely workout. The closer to race effort the better!
Ray’s Top 3 Shoe Picks:
2) A well-fitted racing flat
3) Recently I am loving carbon-plated trainers!
Cathy’s Top 3 Shoe Picks:
1) I second the OOFOS – I wear them inside all year, and all summer long.
3) I LOVE the new Brooks Hyperion Elite. Great for an uptempo run and they also feel awesome for walking.
Top 3 running related Items (Must Haves items):
1) Body Glide
2) Tech Socks
Top 3 Fun Facts About Each Other, Tell Us Something About The Other Person!
About Ray (Completed by Cathy)
1) Ray has the craziest metabolism I’ve ever encountered. He can literally eat anything and maintain his weight. He didn’t even gain during his many surgeries.
2) Ray has had 5 surgeries…. 3 back and 2 foot.
3) Ray is always up for a challenge. E.g, I’ve seen him waterski being pulled with the rope around his neck…
About Cathy (Completed by Ray)
1) Cathy has had a Pop-Tart for breakfast every morning for the past 30 or so years and loves the 80s video game Galaga.
2) Cathy wants to sleep in a dark cold cave….AC cranking, darkening shades, and a fan for white noise.
3) Cathy obsesses over getting enough steps each day….she has a goal of over 20,000 steps EVERY DAY, which means most work phone calls are done while walking.…
Favorite places to run or train:
1) Algonkian Park/Heritage Trail
2) On the Mall in DC
3) W&OD Trail west of Leesburg
Our last run together was . . . On Christmas
Our last race together was: . . . New Year’s Day 2019
Our favorite running/=PR= memory is . . . I would have to say that receiving feedback (in person or via email) from customers about how an experience in one of our stores changed their lives…that is the best!
Proudest =PR= moment . . . Our daughter telling her friend as we stood outside the Reston Store “This is my store”
How do you plan to spend Valentine’s Day? Taking one of our daughters to soccer practice (Boring!!)
Number of years together: We’ll hit our 20th wedding anniversary this April. We’ve been together a while longer than that!
What advice would you give to other couples that run, walk, race, workout together?
Cathy: Do your best to get attuned to how your partner is feeling/doing that day – sometimes they want support and to tell you all about something or vent or brag. Other times they need silence. Also, when you’re truly out together, know that some days it’s okay and appropriate to let the other person go their pace and just circle back and see them from time to time. I hate when I push too hard early to run with Ray and then feel terrible later.