For as long as I can remember, I told people "I can't run." But in March of 2009, I decided that this was no longer an option. From my first 5K to my second half marathon, I've endured my highest highs and lowest lows as an official Runner. This year I want to embrace running for something beyond times and distances.

Running is so much more than merely getting out there. I want to get out there and love it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Must own?

If this blog was always about how awesome I am at running, well that wouldn't be much fun would it?? I think deep down we all find something slightly motivational in the failure of others. Because it makes them human. It makes them just like one of us.

Well I haven't been awesome at running in quite a good while. But what IS awesome? Perhaps just getting your ass out there is awesome enough. Well, I haven't been doing that either. So enter non-awesome. Remember when the whole point of this blog, the whole point of running was that I "must run"?? Well at this juncture, I write more about NOT running than running and that's ridiculous. It's redonkulous.

So Al's Run (8K) was Saturday. You may or may not recall that Al's Run was my Big Huge Goal when I started running last year...the shiny golden carrot I was running toward the entire summer. And at the end of the road I had a shiny golden 42:41 PR in my back pocket. This past Saturday morning, before the race, I cued up the ol' blog post and I knew...I just knew that it would be totally unattainable this year. A year where I ran not one, but two Half Marathons. What I didn't know, however, is how unattainable "unattainable" would truly be.


Let me throw it out there again, folks. 51:56.

Now I will NOT knock any runner out there who's run five miles in 52 minutes. In many circumstances that is a respectable time. Not only that but running five miles in GENERAL is a respectable distance! There was no possible way in all that is true that I could run five miles two years ago. However, in my teeny tiny personal running history, five miles in 52 minutes is atrocious. What's more atrocious is that running five miles in 52 minutes wasn't even easy! I walked three times. I was pretty uncomfortable throughout miles 2.5-5. And yet I ran 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 18 minutes A MONTH AGO. I have a 10K coming up in two weeks and I'm 95% leaning toward shuttin' that shit down. That's out of control.

Now while apparently a month is enough time to completely deteriorate as a runner, I think there's something else going on. Running is nearly 100% mind over matter. And my brain, my attitude, my spirit isn't in the game. I went into this race having already failed.

Where's the girl with the Half Marathon medal and the smiles and the flying and the magic??

About a year and a half ago I found something I loved to do, so I worked hard, and became successful. Now...not. Not loving it, not working hard at it, not being successful at it. So where do I go from there? If you fall out of love with something, do you rekindle or do you walk away? I thought autumn would be like the romantic spark to get me back on board. But that hasn't happened.

Time. My life is completely different from when I started this gig. I'm not single like I was a year and a half ago. Living with a boyfriend is a lot different than living with a sister. A lot more time gets sunk into relationship stuff. And since I took this new job, nearly 14 additional hours of my time per week is devoted to that job, and driving to and from that job. Fourteen hours. So I'm "working" 54 hour weeks. This includes whole lunch hours I no longer receive...hours that I used to run at my old job which is literally an impossibility at the new one.

Ok now I'm just getting whiny.

But seriously, it's just...not...happening for me. And the worst part is that I don't even have kids to blame all this on. The very excuse my friends have given me when defending their inability to exercise on a regular basis...and even THEY find time to get some runs in. It's all badness swirling around. Badness and guilt. Aching guilt. Because I thought this was gonna be my thing. But it's not. Because all the other runners around me don't have this psychotic inner turmoil when it comes to something as simple as running.

Maybe Rachael and Rachel are right...maybe I just have to own it. Just say, fuck it. I'm not an awesome runner who is obsessed with it anymore. I lost my mojo. Don't know if it'll be back. "...I'm sorry I'm not sorry." I'm over it.

And I'd like to flip it and reverse it. Most of the people, runners, I encounter do a pretty damn good job of owning their running abilities, no matter what stage they're at. They don't do a lot of comparing, contrasting, other words, the opposite of Katie here. And I'm down with that. I need to be more supportive of everyone's individuality and ownership, rather than focusing inward and trying to barf it all over everyone all the time. I.e. this post. A lot of word vomit in this post and most of it is making excuses and railing on myself. Well I'm done. I'm over it. Maybe running will be fun for me again some day. Maybe not. But feeling guilty about it is dumb. And to anyone whom *I ever inspired in any sort of a way... that will never ever leave the depths of my heart. Honestly. And if there are any scraps at the bottom of the barrel that is my love for running, well you're right there to help me dig them out.

So that's it! Readers keep running or writing or loving or whatever you do best. And when you're over it, no biggie.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


So speaking of my legs hurting, the following has been bothering me forever. At Kohl's in the morning I walk from the ground floor up to the third floor. And then 2-3x more times throughout the day I walk from the first to the third (the cafeteria, and more importantly COFFEE, is on 1). The three flights in the morning are a REAL DOOZE. I've worked here for almost four months and when I get to the third floor I seriously have never been more exhausted in my life. More than my Half this weekend? PERHAPS! It's like I get to the top and I feel like I'm literally having a heart attack. I cannot catch my breath and my legs are burning to boot.

So! Being as bored as I am today, I finally googled it and found this, aptly titled: "I run daily but stairs still kill me." YES! Dude I know!!! Well, turns out the answer is very obvious. Different muscles + gravity + climbing a high altitude in a short amount of time = Who gives a shit if you can run a Half Marathon?! So basically, I have to work in some kind of biking massive hills if I EVER want to climb three flights of stairs without dying. That's cool.

Alright that's all I got.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chicago Half 'Cap

Alright then! So here are some thoughts I took from the Chicago Half Marathon! Neg stuff outta the way first.

Did you know that 20,500 people registered for this race and only 13,500 finished? So apparently I wasn't the only one unprepared. But I DID finish! While my time was a mere three minutes slower than my first half, I worked my ass off to BE three minutes slower. Huh? Let me explain. While part of the three minutes contained a very small handful of breaks to briefly stretch and take iPhone photos...

a majority of it was me falling apart in the last three miles. In fact I was ahead of schedule up until then and by a lot! See, at the Expo the day before, I grabbed this free 2:15 pace tattoo. They had them for all 15min increments between like 1:30 and 3:00 or so. Pretty freaking sweet. And you KNOW I looked hardcore with a ginormous pace tatt on my forearm!! Anyway, so up until miles 9 and 10 I was AHEAD of my pace by upwards of, wait for it...three freaking minutes. For example, mile 4? I hit it around 38 minutes. My 2:15 pace tatt screamed 41 minutes at me. And while I cockily pumped my fist to the sky mouthing the lyrics to "Empire State of Mind," I should've been SLOWING THE EFF DOWN. Well, as I said, I learned my lesson in the final three miles when I literally wanted to die. In fact I passed people who looked dead on the side of the street or on stretchers and I thought: Hm yeah, that's about right.

My friends, the sun was hot that day. The temp was crisp and, indeed, hinted at autumn. But the sun, my God the sun. I didn't wear sunglasses thinking for some reason that I'd be fine. But I probably poured like seven cups of water over my head throughout the second half which was entirely facing south into that giant white ball of horror. HOW was it so hot??? A friend just wrote me that he was at the race rooting for his wife's sisters and spotted me at mile 12. He said I was smiling. Squinting in burning agony is more like it.

Aside from my too-quick start and the sun, two additional debilitating things were 1. being nauseous the entire race--like the ENTIRE race--and 2. my feet.

Not sure why I was nauseous?? Perhaps it was eating a half of a PB sandwich at 5am. They say never change what you eat before a race, so therefore I guess I should've eaten nothing. But that was TWO HOURS before I actually ran, so should've been fine. I only ate one gel at the 3-4 mile mark as I couldn't stomach another one. That might've killed me in the end too.

And my feet....HURT. As I said some other time, I wore the shoes I trained in the first time orangies. The orangies are far from broken in and were replaced for a reason, but preferable to the pinks ones that I've given up on. So ALL pieces of my feet felt shattered by the end of the race from my arches to my heels to my ankles and Achilles to the toe part where bunions typically form (that area was the worst). Sighhhh shoes. Sidebar, you know what didn't and still doesn't hurt? My KNEES! The one part of my body that gave me the most trouble for the past year and a half. I think I might have to thank the 2-3 flights of Kohl's stairs 4x a day. Go go gadget quads!!

Now maybe I should stop pointing a finger at all this stuff and see those other three fingers pointing right back at me! As I started this post...Yeah I was unprepared. Even with my jump start and being ahead-of-the-game for the majority of the race, the second half was horrible because I didn't train as hard. Sure, I didn't fall apart so badly I had to pull a DNF. But I felt like I was scraping at an old frying pan for the last bits of caked on food particles, ANYTHING to fuel those final minutes. I don't regret not training as hard. But now I know better. Now I know how it feels to be unprepared.

MEANWHILE. I had fun.

WHAT?? Haha! No really, this race--this entire WEEKEND--was an absolute freaking BLAST. I said I was going to do this for enjoyment and I totally did. I mentioned the Jay Z fist-pumping right? That was a huge highlight. I felt amazing at that mile 4 moment, like nothing could stop me.

Another highlight? The weather. (But you just said??) Ah whatever, the sun sucked, but the perfect blue sky looked gorgeous behind the Chicago skyline and refreshing breeze felt absolutely wonderful.

Best highlight? The crowd...having spectators lined up along THE ENTIRETY of the race route, cheering us on. And because we had our first names on our bibs, people would find them and yell them out! I mean seriously!! But the cherry on the top was when I felt like absolute crap and I passed a teenage girl who said, "...Aw, I want to start running." My eyes well up just thinking about that. I mean I couldn't have asked for anything better at that point.

And finally...the moment. The finish line. The medal.

I will admit that the phrase "I want to quit" crept up in my mind a healthy portion of times...I saw people stop and just leave the course in the middle of the race. Buuuut I heard my inner whiny child-voice say, "no, but your medal!" Haha! Man it's like a dog without a bone! So I passed the finish line, perfectly satisfied when I stopped my watch at 2:18, and stumbled (literally stumbled) through the crowd with my sweaty mitts on my medal (SERIOUSLY Katie, you did not WIN the Chicago Half Marathon). Then I was handed a bottle of water, a banana, a granola bar, and...oh my sweet Lord, a delicious chocolate chip cookie. It was like manna from the Gods. I shoved it directly into my cookie hole, chocolate smeared everywhere. Oh it was glorious!

And with that I took note of the fact that this is why I race. I mean in addition to the ability to shove cookies into my mouth, I think I race to undergo that incredible transition from feeling the worst ever, to feeling the best ever. And this is the recipe for life. We don't know ups unless we know downs. The sweet ain't as sweet without the sour. Despite being probably the toughest and most painful of the handful of races I've done in the past 14 months, this particular race will probably go down as my favorite: From the conversation-packed ride to/from Milwaukee with my friend Mark, to the absolute hilarity and scrumptiousness at carb-loading dinner with Mark, Monica, Tim (plus Crystal's tiramisu cot and my lemon pounding).

From my silly stupid pre-Half dreams ("you can race it, but you're not getting a medal"), to the feeling of pure happiness post-Half, as I vegged on the couch, Miller Lite in one hand, a piece of Lou Malnati's pizza in the other, watching the Bears sort-of win....ahh it was perfect, absolutely perfect.

Where is she now?

My legs are like twisted pieces of rubber, doused with Sriracha cock sauce, and lined with barbed wire that has been coated in hawk talons and anacondas that are squeezing every muscle fiber till they all pop. I think it took me 20 minutes to walk downstairs yesterday and at work I've resorted to the elevator. I put off going to the bathroom as long as I can so I can avoid getting out of my chair. And this is ALL after immediately replacing my glycogen (see: chocolate chip cookie), replenishing my fluids (bottles of water and Poweraid PRE AND POST-Miller Lite), and stretching lots and lots and lots. Clearly I must've worked hard because I didn't even feel a fraction of this aftermath when I ran that 16 miler. Sigh. I look forward to being able to walk without looking like a 90 year old who rode a horse for twenty-five straight days.

And when I can RUN again, what's my plan? I have a 5K in two weeks, an 8K in four weeks, a 10K in six weeks, and a 15K in seven weeks. So that's all sounds doable hey? Yikos. Better heal up quick!! And invest in SOME sort of footwear while I'm also barefoot training. Ah barefoot training...that should be interesting.

Anyway, thanks Chicago Half Marathon for some seriously awesomely good memories!! See you next year, questionmark??? ;)


Friday, September 10, 2010

The Eleventh Hour

Sunday's the big day! Am I prepared? Yes and no.

First and foremost, it's nice to not be vomming my guts out and weak from nutrients rapidly being ejected from my body. I mean really nice. It really sucked to not be able to look forward to the race last time around. To wonder if I'd even run it at all...something I didn't officially decide until 5am that morning! This time I'm in mega relaxed mode.

But too relaxed?

This whole 12 week training process as been the epitome of too relaxed. Last time I ran 190 miles in 12 weeks, this time a mere 130. I didn't do any tempo or intervals. Last time I was running 5 miles at around 9min/mi pace. And doing it all the time. This time? I think I went for 5 mile runs like twice. I didn't really push at all. So my original goal of being super hardcore, rocking intervals, and pushing for a sub-2 pretty much went out the window at the word go. The goal just didn't stick.

My new goal? To enjoy the race.

And I think that's why I'm particularly relaxed this week. With my first Half, I didn't want ANYTHING to screw with it. And then the flu stuff messed with my head. So while the experience was amazing, don't get me'll never forget such a major First...I think Sunday will be worlds different. Not better, just different. South Shore was small, meek, and bare bones. Chicago is, well, Chicago! Big city, awesome skyline view, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of runners. It will be a lot to take in. There will be a true sense of camaraderie. South Shore was very quiet, very personal. Chicago will be buzzing and I'll feel a part of this huge, loud, obnoxious picture. So I want to really enjoy taking that all in. The whole time thing won't be my priority. Sure, I'll want to do what I can to match the 2:15 from South Shore (I mean I even printed out one of those pace wristbands HA! But if a PR isn't in the cards, no big deal.

Most looking forward to???

The medal.

Like I said, South Shore was great. I'd do it again some day. But as I've noted previously, there was no medal, no shirt, nothing but a bib number and some race results somewhere on the web to prove I did it. I keep envisioning crossing that finish line and someone handing me a medal and then wearing it around all day! As I wrote in a past post, in the 5K I ran with my friend Monica, I watched the Half Marathoners receive their medals and was simply mesmerized and practically salivating!! It's super stupid, I know.

Sighhh, now watch. My arch will fall during the race and I'll get picked up by the 3 hour van. Yeah there's some rule where you have to finish in under 3 hours or they pick you up and that's it. Yikes. No medal for Katie.

Positive thoughts!!

The weather looks absolutely gorgeous for the 7am start! Free pizza afterward! Bear's Home Opener! Done training!!! Haha! The last one will be nice. I want to reboot and start fresh. I don't want to repeat last post-Half and just give up for a month! It's running season ever! I want to enjoy myself and have fun again :)

In other news, my friend Mark is running this bad boy as well (he's my travel AND hotel buddy for the weekend!). My ex-coworker and fellow softball player Josh is running as well. Apparently his wife is like super speed bunny...I don't even want to know! This chick I currently work with is ALSO racing. This is her first half and she was diagnosed with bronchitis this week. She's on some meds and currently plans to still do it!! Flu is one thing, but bronchitis?? She's a trooper!!! And finally, my bestest friends Monica and Tim will simultaneously rock the Chicago 5K! I'm super stoked to spend the weekend AND this particular experience with them!! They're newish runners this year, so it's been awesome having friends to whom I bitch about running and they understand ;)

Alright dudes, let's get 'er done!!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Run Bare

Three things today:

First off, I had my final long run (before the Chi Half) last weekend. My mom, sis, and I camped at Point Beach State Forest outside Two Rivers, WI. I mapped out 14 miles before I left, memorized road names, and had the run looming on my mind for days prior. Fun!

Now we all remember my last 14 miler three weeks before my first half. Lots of pain. Lots of tears. Well this one would prove to be some more of the same. Not necessarily pain, however. Here goes: 3 miles into the route, I came up on the road I would be running back on. It was SUPER bright and sunny. Aka: super bright sun I wouldn't want to run back into at the end of my run. So I decided to reverse the loop I planned. Mistake. I totally got lost. I've been camping at Point Beach for nine years now, but I don't really venture into T'Rivers. Long story short, I went two miles out of my way to find my route back. I ran along this combo of roads, back and forth back and forth back and forth, trying to figure out where the heck I was. The road name was correct, but the sun was in the wrong place! Haha! Anyway, being lost totally zaps your energy. And this was only six miles in. I was 4 miles from the campsite and my mind just gave up. I stopped to walk and just felt sorry for myself and started thinking about my mom and sis just waiting there for me, worried about where I was. I just burst into tears. I know, such a drama queen. But getting lost when you're running really f*cks with your mind, man. Because it's not like in a car where you can just turn around and press the gas pedal. Ok, so I walked for eight minutes...huge drops of salty discharge streaming down my cheeks. What a display. After the eight minutes were up, I started running again and yelled at myself a bunch. I rolled into our campsite and let 'er rip once again (seeing your mom does that to you sometimes). She and my sis gave me water and peach nectar juice and started cookin' up some mean breakfast burritos and I felt worlds better. Final tally: roughly 16miles...exactly 3 HOURS of running (well minus that eight minutes haha!). Definitely a PR even though it lacked some grace.

Second, I received a FANtastic piece of "fan mail" the other week. I think maybe it was my second or third email since I started this blog a year and a half ago. There truly is nothing more inspiring than someone reaching out to take the time to thank you for something. This blog isn't much more than a stream of consciousness. Mostly complaining. But we're all in this together and if there's anything I blather on about that can possibly be helpful, well then, hey, it's all worth it I guess! So thanks Michelle!! I hope you heal up quick and get right back out there!!

Third, barefoot running.

I have a friend who is literally obsessed with running barefoot. He's up on his big puffy barefoot cloud looking down on us silly, small-minded, shoe'd dummyheads who have no idea how big of a mistake we're making. I was NOT a fan of this. But when I got an email that barefoot runner Michael Sandler was stopping at my local running store with his fiancee to talk about it, I thought: hey, maybe I'll check it out, just so I can tell my friend I've given it a chance.


Talk about an eye-opener. I'm going to have to write an entirely separate post devoted to all the ways my mind has been changed, but in short: shoes suck. Ok they don't completely suck. And Michael doesn't think so either. They serve purposes. Like becoming hand weights ;) No no, seriously, running shoes still take part in training, but runners don't have to rely on them so heavily.

Shoes mess you up though. After listening to the science, there's really no denying it at this point. Anyone who has ever had issues with knee pain, IT band pain, arch pain...even NECK pain, you could potentially trace it back to running shoes. And we all think: "well I must need different running shoes." I myself just wrote in a past post: "I need new shoes. My feet hurt." New shoes? How about NO shoes.

SO! I drank the Koolaid, I purchased Barefoot Running, and I'm going to give this a whirl. It takes awhile to build up, however. And as Michael had us all repeat three times: "I will only go 200 yards on my first run!" So this past Tuesday, I put my shoes in my hands, and ran two blocks barefoot. Invigorating to say the least! Like I'm a kid again. After my 8 mile yesterday, I took off my shoes and ran four blocks. Then iced my feet :) Ever since the seminar, I try to go barefoot as often as possible. Through the Target parking lot, on the route to church, and I don't put my work shoes on until I step inside the building and I have QUITE the trek from car to building (let's just say I get to work on the later side...)

If you've ever considered running barefoot, there are probably 340350325 concerns that tell you not to. I'll address some of the ones I had next post. At the end of the day though, this running thing has been quite the struggle for lil ol' Katie ever since the spring Half. I just don't feel it. I don't have that "I love running" except in fleeting moments that are ruined by pain and frustration. I need a change. I can't do the same old thing anymore. Even after only a year and a half. Starsky's bored. So I'm giving this a shot. This and the whole Run Bare attitude: running isn't about times and PRs and mileage. It's supposed to be fun. I'd like to have fun while running again.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Now that the weather is cooler and the humidity is gone, running is wonderful again!! Ok I've only run twice this month. TWICE. And I have a half marathon in less than a month?? Ooook. No but get this:

1. I've come to terms with this Half not being the Half for me. Some people can train just fine in the humidity. Maybe they don't like it, but they do it anyway. I'm looking at you Claire ;) The winter was brutal, but I kept at it. When the wind was just too icy I bought a balaclava. When the sidewalks were covered with a foot of snow, I barreled through them. But in my own mind nothing can help humidity...except running indoors. Now, next year I think I might invest in a gym membership during the summer months, but that doesn't battle dreadmill boredom. Which leads me to...

2. With a month left, I was so fed up with not being able to run, I attempted to find some sort of indoor access. I had to rule out a day pass (do these still exist?) at the Y because I wasn't sure how I'd be able to handle running 144 times around the track (to do 12 miles). I also ruled out the Pettit Nat'l Ice Center's track because of the Wisconsin State Fair burgling the parking, causing its close to the public. I finally decided on using my parents' Nordic Track which is NOT a treadmill and five billion times harder than running!!! I could only do an hour. Which in Nordo time is apparently THREE MILES??? You've gotta be kidding me. I wasn't aware at how much different the muscle usage's like riding a bike basically only standing up. The bottoms of my feet killed (like peddling would do), and my quads were worked like you wouldn't believe. Overall a GOOD workout for some cross training but not such a good substitute for a 12mi run. And staring at my parents' basement wall covered in Lord of the Rings posters and Presidential Exercise Awards "signed" by Bush himself, failed in the scenery department. All I had were the soothing sounds of Ira Glass to whisk me away.

3. The humidity broke this past Sunday and I didn't have time to squeeze two hours in, so I saved it for bright and early Monday morning before work. 5am, two hours and eight minutes, a SPECK shy of 12 miles. The weather was PERFECT. The two episodes of TAL eased the time. And I felt pretty good. Except for my feet...which brings me to:

4. Shoes. I've barely put 250miles on my current shoes. Maybe 300? But seriously not enough to require a new pair. But my feet KILL. I know your feet aren't going to feel the greatest after 12 miles, but honestly?? There's no way I'd be able to take much more and there are people out there who run like 50miles at a time! They just, I don't know, HURT. The bottoms. It's not's just the whole foot. Like in the bones. Now as much as I never wanted to admit it, I don't think this current pair of shoes was ever for me. I've had problems from the getgo. Like the outside of my arch hurting. What causes that?! So yeah, I'm going to bite the bullet and buy a new pair. And REALLY get checked this time. The girl who sold me my first shoes (my former HS classmate) did a great job. Those ASIC Cumulus ruled. But these Kayanos I picked out myself because they were $40 off. Stupid. In addition to my feet killing me, I did something to that tendon that's right on the top of my ankle. Some kind of tibial something or other. It got all super puffed out and bulgy about 3 hours after my run. Ice and wrapping it did wonders though as now it's fine. I've never hurt that part of my foot in my year and a half though, so now I'm wondering if THAT'S a shoe issue as well!

5. EXCITED ABOUT RUNNING! Buying new shoes for over $100 MAKES you into running again! I also downloaded the iPhone iMapMyRun app because I don't own a Garmin and I heard that this app is actually surprisingly accurate. I bought a little pouch thing that snaps around my waste to carry my gels and my iPhone fits there just I'll test it out one of these days...use the app as well as map out/time my run manually. Cool weather is right around the corner. Just gotta get through August and the Indian Summer of September. Then I'm golden! Ready to take running by storm once again!

6. With that said, because this Chicago Half Marathon is a wash for getting anywhere close to a PR (just have NOT trained hard enough), I've got my eyes set on possibly running another Half on November 6...8 weeks from Chicago. It's like long enough to retool my training but short enough where I won't just slack off and lose interest (see: the past few months). I've also got three other races on the docket in October: an 8K, a 10K, and a 15K respectively, in that order. So that'll be good for training too.

7. The end!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Checkin in!

Where we last left off was me rebooting. The reboot process involved me not blogging anymore. I'm not sure why, just wanted to try everything. Well everything worked and I've been running my little heart out for the past month and a half or so. I'm nine weeks out from the Chicago Half and while I put together a new schedule, I've been pretty willy nilly about it. For my "long runs" on the weekend I actually started at 9, went down to 8, went down to 6, jumped back up to like 10 but split in half. I'm all over the board. Not to make excuses or anything but it's sooooooooo hot. I'm seriously NOT digging training for a Half in the summer. Even with all the snow piles and ice patches and frozen lungs, there's something to be said for winter running. You feel hardcore about it. In summer you just feel gross. I don't feel hardcore after running 8 miles in the blazing sun and sweltering humidity. I just feel sweaty and over it. The funny thing is that I totally let running fall by the wayside during one of two most pleasant running seasons, Spring. Boo on me. And once Fall rolls around it'll be after Chicago and I'll probably be over running again. Haha!

Anyway, last night was my first race since Wrigley back in April: Storm the Bastille 5K. It's a fun run so very low key but verrrry crowded. It's one of the most popular "couch to 5K" Mke runs I can think of because it's right in the middle of the summer (after peeps have continued to get their run on from their New Years resolution), it isn't chipped so there are no results, and the party really begins after this race ends (anywhere from 9:12pm to 10ishpm depending on your speed or lack thereof) as it's part of a four-day downtown festival we have here. Running through the streets of Milwaukee at night is pretty swank. Anyway, I got 26:25 and was SUPER stoked about it. Made me feel back on track. What's funny is that I've been doing these two mile "run as fast as you possibly can" runs...not sure why but I guess it's something different? I barely crack 8:30min miles for just those two and I'm usually dying at the end. At the end of TWO miles. So I was very surprised that I was able to maintain this same pace for 3.1. Race atmosphere will do that I guess! I also knew that my arch-nem was running the same race. Talk about a carrot dangling in front of a rabbit. You don't want a negative force to drive you, but sometimes it just does. Call me Vader.

Meanwhile I've had some hip issues since that 10mi last weekend. I could barely walk a block to my car after I was done without tears flooding my eyes. So I took the week off (minus the race), and I may even take a break from my long run this weekend, we'll see. I've still got nine weeks and I don't need to push the envelop here. Next weekend I'm in Boston visiting my friend/old college roomie who is getting her Doctorate at HAHHHHHVAHD. I don't know. She's wicked smaht or something. So I'm looking VERY much forward to a looooong run through Cambridge. Hopefully I won't trip on all the ivy?

Monday, May 17, 2010


This week I started over. What a difference. And I guess I don't hate running as much as I thought ;) I just hated what it was turning me into. But I did several atypical Katie things this week like run without my watch, run in the morning before work (wah?!), and just, well, run. Not think about it. Like yesterday, even though I was pretty dehydrated from some drinkie treats, I was like, whatever I'm going for a six mile run and I'm gonna like it! And I did. It was pretty fantastic.

Lesson learned. I gotta get back to the basics and thinking about it as this hobby of mine. Running becomes a way of life for lots of people and that rules. For me I guess I'd just like to enjoy it and not worry so much about the competition. At least for now.

PS Running when it's not gloomy, cold, and raining makes a HUGE difference in one's mood.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I want to quit running.

You are looking at one sorry ass excuse for a runner.
"How the mighty have fallen" plays on repeat in my mind.
I hate it. I really do.

I thought this type of post would be an important part of a running blog. The conversation where you really don't like running anymore and wonder if you'll like it again. I would hope every runner goes through this battle, at least once in their career. Here's mine.

Sometime after the Half Marathon, I stopped loving to run. The multitude of factors squeezed into the last month include:

-the stomach flu knocking me on my ass and the mental game I had to play to run the Half anyway
-the aftermath of the above, including not being able to eat properly for at least three days following the Half
-no longer having a goal once April 10th came and went
-taking the week off and feeling laziness creep in
-two shitty runs after that week off
-a disappointing 5K
-a 2.5 week break due to my vacation and then more laziness
-all the other various stressors in life: getting a new job last week, wrapping things up at my current job, an awful stomach sickening family crisis...

Tuesday I went for my first run in two and a half weeks to get my mind off the family stuff, and it actually felt great! My body felt strong and I did 4 miles at a good pace. But today I had yet another shitty run. I *only ran 3 miles, but I was so tired and it felt like a struggle the whole way. My pace was identical to Tuesday's.

I know I can't base my entire opinion of the sport on one lousy run, but it's hard to keep shoving myself out there when I've been dealing with so much stress. Not just life stress, but running stress most of all. It's as if I'm suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the whole flu/Half ordeal. Is that even possible? The funny thing is that the Half wasn't even was quite lovely in fact. But maybe I was suppressing certain emotions under the surface, I don't know.

One bullet point I failed to mention above--and I dare say a key component to my dying love affair with running--goes as follows. I've mentioned this runner "friend" before, but in a nutshell: A girl my age, my size, started running this past Dec/Jan, can now run just as far (completed her first Half as well) but much MUCH faster. Now we're all different. We all have completely varying histories when it comes to personal records and paths we forge in our running careers. However, this is the type of runner who fully admits she'll "take it easy," but can still run sub eight minute miles, like it's a piece of cake. This is all after a mere four months of training. And not knock-down drag-out training either. Avg 15-20 miles a week. I'm completely absolutely CHALLENGED to run sub NINES. Even at my peak, when I was able to complete a 5K in 25:30, it was HARD. It wasn't easy breezy. I literally cannot wrap my mind around it.

Ok I digress. Like I said before, we're all different and some people are just naturals while others have to work very very hard to even get anywhere. That's life. Life's not fair. IN FACT. Somewhere, someone reading my OWN story could say the same thing about the two of us. Perhaps this runner works her ass off, has been running for three years, averages 30-40 miles a day, and I still beat her Half Marathon time. It's possible, and it's food for thought.

At the end of the day, what does the top of my blog say??
Altogether now!!!!
"It doesn't matter how many people have tried it before; it's important to realize that whatever you're doing - it's your first attempt at it."

In any case, with the stressors and disappointments and frustrations swirling around in my brain since the Half, I was destined to come to this point. I lead myself here and I'm the only one that can get myself out. For one, I'm FAR too deep inside my head. Running is like 80% mental. It's impossible for my physical body to break down THAT much in just two weeks, and actually my pace has been right on target to what I usually do. It's the mental part that has broken down. My mind is playing tricks on me, I'm doubting my abilities, and I'm far too focused on other people. Therefore that 80% of running is currently a complete failure.

No wonder I hate running.

So it's time to change. It will be a complete overhaul of the way I go about running and I'm going to need some help from somewhere. Some kind of inspiration and a different desire/motivation than what I've used in the past. Competition with myself is healthy to an extent. Competition with others, good in moderation. But neither can represent the Be All End All. I have to find a better reason to run: a reason I believe in and a reason that is healthy for my mind.

The first step in my overhaul will be to quit DailyMile. I started an account there a month or so into my Half training, and was actually pretty wary about it. I already keep my mileage logged on MapMyRun, and DailyMile is like the Facebook of running. In one way it can encourage you to keep up with your fellow runners. But keeping up out of spite rather than to simply push yourself? Ugh no thanks. When this turns into a sickness like it did for me, that's just not a great road to wander down. CLEARLY thousands of "normal" people can endure the social pressures just fine! (Do I have enough friends? Did so-and-so beat my 5K? Did I get enough comments on my last workout?) Clearly I cannot. I think I work better when I triumph alone. This is NO cut on the handful of people who read/comment on this blog, however. It's more personal here for some reason. Probably because of the people who actually take the time to read my 5000 word essays in which I basically just whine and rant! They must care! ;)

To conclude this whiny 5000 word essay, my only hope is that there's someone else out there just like me, going through some kind of slump...who may stumble upon this giant nugget of poop and feel not so alone in their own swirling pool.

For now, I guess I'll keep running...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Race to Wrigley 5K

I'm sooooo not going to be able to do Race to Wrigley justice. But there's no way I'll be able to blog about it on my roadie, so I'll do a quick recap before heading to dreamland.

I stayed with my bestest friends ever Monica and Tim down in Hoffman Estates, IL so I didn't have to get up at 4am to drive from Milwaukee to Chicago this morning ;) They treated me like a QUEEN for the short 18ish hrs I was in town. We had mostacciolo, spinach feta almond salad, and garlic bread for dinner MMM! And then I tried going to bed early but we got distracted by Facebook Cat Nipple Hilarity WHOOPS! Got to bed between 11 and midnight and awoke to the sound of a 5:30am alarm yippie!!

After picking up some Starbucks, and poppin' in some Luda, Monica drove us to Wrigleyville and we found FREE parking right by the race yippie again!!! We hung out in the car for awhile because it was pretty chilly but NOT raining HOORAY! We took some photos [insert here] and Monica gave me a hug, wished me luck, and sent me on my way.

As a diehard Cubbies fan, I was SUPER excited about running in Wrigleyville! I was totally amped for the start! Now with 8,300+ people (a record!!) at this race, I'm gonna tell you it was pretty congested and congested the entire time. But I won't try and use that as an excuse for my shitty results. Oh wait I think I just did. No but seriously, it really does take a lot of EXTRA work when you're dodging and sprinting around people and cones. I think that's what wore me out so quickly. I just could NOT go faster no matter how hard I tried and my lungs burned?? I've felt this way during my other two runs this week too. Like I couldn't get enough air in my lungs and it hurt breathing.

I reeeeeally wanted to get under 27, and when I looked down at my watch at 26:30 with a little over block left to go, I knew, even if I sprinted, it wasn't going to happen. But that's ok because I ran inside the concourse of Wrigley Field and THAT is flipping awesome!

Monica yelled "GO KATIE!!!" really loud as I sprinted in. Meanwhile I "raced" this chick in a green shirt next to me and "won" haha ;) And then she said: "I ran behind you the whole race...thank you so much for pushing me!" WOW! I need to dwell more on cool stuff like that instead of being so self absorbed SHEESH KATIE!!!!

I grabbed my Gato and naner, found Monicat, and chatted about the race for a bit. We tooled around this make-shift Cubs Shop next to all the race stuff, and OMG she bought me a Cubbies shirt as a "congrats"?!?!?!? BESTEST FRIEND OF ALL TIME!! I was like, "no no, what do you mean?!" And she said she was inspired by me and really proud! AGAIN...less self absorption Katie, honestly!

So that rocked...we headed back to the car and had an awesome time chatting on the 30+ minute ride back to H.E. Seriously, of all the parts of the day, my favorite was the ride to and from the race in the Ion with Monica :) So cozy!!! Then I, Monica, Tim, and their nearly one year old daughter Addison Grace (as in Wrigley Field streets Addison and Grace haha!!) piled into the car and headed to Panera for post-race yumminess. They treated me too! AWWW!

So yeah, while I'm going to stop focusing so much on negativity (especially considering how awesome it felt to have such a great friend in my corner), I DO want to turn this into a fuel burning inspiration to get back into my good running days. My 5K PR is 25:30 which is crazy for someone like me. I want to get back there. I just need to add the interval type training back into my routine (which is exactly what got me that PR last year). But I need to stop talking about it and start DOING it.

But in May. Haha! Tomorrow at 7am I will officially embark on my road trip to San Bernardino and back! All car. No legs. Haha! May will hopefully be a rockin' runnin' month. Especially considering the fact that I ran six times in April SIX!!!! And two of them were races!!! What the heck?

Speaking of 7am it's currently 11pm...TO BED I SAID!

See you in May :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


No, not the controversy regarding the fact that I FINALLY ran yesterday...the first run since the Half...ouch :) I'm talking about the controversy surrounding listening to music during races, or even running in general. Yesterday, while researching the volunteer opportunities for Milwaukee's Lakefront Marathon this October, I stumbled upon the story of one of the runners from last year getting DQ'd for wearing headphones during a couple miles of the marathon (against the rules if you're an elite runner racing for the cash).

I then stumbled upon See Dane Run's blog where he discusses his personal distaste for running with music. What struck me, however, was that he used to like to listen to music on runs...that he "understands the allure." This got me thinking about the gray area inside the two opposing groups, To iPod or Not To iPod?

I've mentioned my running music story before over at Mag's blog, but to recap: because my old iPod pussed out on me, and because of running in the city at night, I stopped listening to music on my runs. And after the first couple times, I didn't even notice anymore. And I wasn't any faster or slower without the music either.

I do love music, however. At work, I'm usually headphones-on, and I'm that girl you hate who rolls her eyes when she has to take them off ;) I exchange new music with my indie-loving coworkers, but I love everything from Pink Floyd to the Dorsey Brothers, from Fleet Foxes to the Presets, from Simon & Garfunkel to Jay Z. Thus, I wondered if I'm supposed to be equally obsessed with listening to music while I run. As you know, I got my new iPod, loaded it up, and even made a specific playlist for my Half. This race, however, was actually an interesting test and confirmed a few things I was starting to realize about running and music:

1. It can be distracting, but in a bad way, oddly enough. While I loved the music when I first started, and I loved singing along to parts of songs that totally amp me up (looking at you Lady Gaga), which DID give me a burst of energy, I have to admit that for the last 3-4 miles of the Half, the music started to annoy me. Like parts of songs I wasn't as into made me more frustrated than usual, if that makes any sense. And when that happened, I kinda lost focus on the race itself.

2. MOST of my small handful of races have been iPod free. And I do remember how I liked hearing the variety of breath patterns and pattering of running shoes and along the pavement. It felt like a race rather than a training run. Don't get me wrong, the Half felt like a race. But I was definitely in a little cocoon-like iPod "pod"...aware of my surroundings, but focused more inward to the music, as opposed to outward at the race.

3. While I made sure I thanked/waved/smiled/thumbs up'd almost all the volunteers at the Half, I didn't necessarily hear their cheers with my music on. Normally the races I run aren't that packed with spectators, but if there are spectators, I'd hate to look like I was ignoring their praise with my earbuds planted firmly in place. They took time out of their morning to cheer us on, the least we can do is be grateful and give them a nod of appreciation, right?

4. Maybe I am loosing out on an opportunity to be quiet and one with my thoughts when I listen to music. I certainly remember appreciating sights and sounds when I'd run without it. In fact, I'd often try to look for funny observances that I'd relay back on this blog when I'd run sans iPod.

With all this said, however, I will admit a gray area. There are runs you just don't feel like doing and music definitely helps give a much-needed boost. I also admit that podcasts are a cool way to learn while running. As I've mentioned previously, This American Life has opened my eyes to a lot about our world, which is never a bad thing! Especially when you've got two hours of running ahead of you. Music can be a distraction from pain and I did use it to escape from the havoc inside my body during the 14 mile training run.

At the end of the day, I guess you just have to go with how you're feeling. While I think it's important to experience a musicless run from time to time, especially if you're a. running in nature (to experience those unique sounds), b. running in the city (to be safe), and c. running in a race (to appreciate the runners and spectators around you). I also think music can help during training, especially if you have to run the same route over and over and need SOMETHING to liven the experience.

I encourage you to read the comments at Dane's blog to see what a lot of other non-music runners have to say on the topic. It definitely made me think about leaving the iPod at home more often...especially for races!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Ahhhhhhhhh vacation :)

I'm not running, or doing any workouts until Saturday. So that's a whole week, exercise free! I really got burnt out back there...not physically, but mentally. If I hadn't dealt with the flu thing, I'm sure I'd feel different. But with all the anxiety surrounding everything, I was like I. NEED. A. BREAK. And here I am :)

Not only am I not working out this week, but I've been eating like a banshee!! After being sickened by food for 4-5 days, when I got my appetite back, I got it with a vengeance! So far this week I've had super fatty pizza, Girl Scout cookies galore, Ben & Jerry's (ok it was Half Baked Fro-Yo, so not actually TOO awful), mini Reese's eggs, and a burger/pasta salad/taco dip/loads of banana cream pie during today's work luncheon. Tomorrow I'm heading down to a rooftop game at Wrigley for work and I can't even imagine what greasy treats await me there!! Plus cookout food and fatty Italian restaurant yumminess this weekend!!! mmmmmmmmmmmmMMMM!!!!

It's fun to not care for a little bit. I promise to get back on track next week :)

The funny thing is, I'm taking another vacation in a week and a half. As this vacation is a road trip along Route 66, this will take place predominantly in the south/southwest...home of lip smackin' ribs, juicy steaks, greasy diners, and scrumptious Mexican delights! And I highly doubt I'll be in the mood to run around in the Mohave Desert when I've been cooped up in a car for 6-12 hours at a time! I'll swim in the motel pools, yeah that'll be my exercise ;)

Anyway, the month of April is going to be a bit of a wash, but I've got a race on the 24th and another one mid-May, so slacking isn't really an option. Feeling like a massive lump on a log will be fuel to the fire when I come back from vacation! Sometimes I think we all need a little R&R. Not the kind where we let things fall by the wayside because those are a little depressing and only make us feel worse. But the kind of R&R you actually decide to take...and has a relatively scheduled beginning and end :)

Alright, that's all I got today! Oh I signed up for the Chicago Half Marathon on Sept 12th so I can be cool and actually have a fun medal and tshirt!!! ANYONE who reads this who wants to run it, LET ME KNOW!!! We'll meet up and get this thing DONE!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

South Shore Half Marathon

To begin: You wanna know what my goal for this year was? To run a 15K (9.3mi) in the fall. And that was a pretty lofty goal in my mind. I mean I was going to work all summer on it. But then competition reared its not-so-ugly head and I was suddenly smack dab in the middle of some good ol' fashioned half marathon trainin'.

I think I experienced every positive emotion there is to experience yesterday. Confidence: As I crawled out of bed at 6am feeling so sketchy, but officially making the call to race. Calm: When I sat cross-legged on the grass centering myself in the sun. Excitement: As everyone gathered on the lake path while the seconds were counting down to 8:30.

Sheer Giddy-ness: When I took my first few long strides and Junior Boys' "FM" poured through my headphones. Awe: As I came up to the halfway marker and the clock said 1:05. Pride - In Others: When I watched walkers struggling, but digging deep to strike up a jog again. Blessed: For the gorgeousness of the day and the route...the crystal blue lake, and the golden light streaming through the treetops. RELIEF: When the finish line came into view! Pure Unadulterated GLEE: Seeing my family. Seeing the clock. Putting up the horns. Sprinting to beat Two Hours and Fifteen Minutes.

THANKFULNESS: To have finished.

Now for the nitty gritty...
So I went back to work following the Day Of Sick, felt strong at the beginning, but steadily lost steam as the day wore me down. Anything I ate (namely tomato soup and Saltines) sat in my stomach like a brick of nausea. All I wanted to do at 5:00 was go home and take nap. Instead? My car took a nap in the form of a dead car battery WEE! And after roadside assistance dude charged it up and I got my battery replaced at Firestone in the burbs, I finally got home at 8:30 bleh. Just enough time to whip up some tasteless, saltless, butterless noodles and a pouch of tuna. Seriously was the grossest meal ever and not the "carb load" yummy meal I had envisioned weeks ago. But it was quick, easy, and mild. Still sat in my stomach until the next morning :( At least I had Twister. Chris bought me Twister at Target for $5 because he knew it was my favorite cozy calming movie :) Perfection!

Ok fast forward to the race. All the lovey dovey wonderfulness aside, it definitely wasn't an easy feat. The first half was good, great really. I was running almost exactly 10 minute miles which didn't feel too fast or too slow. It felt refreshing. All I could handle for breakfast was one waffle--and with the total of like 600 calories from the day before, plus zero calories from Sick Day, the gel I had around mile 4 was MUCH needed. After mile 7, I felt the wall approaching and approaching quickly. Nausea came on and the last thing I wanted was a gel, but I knew I had to take it. Luckily it didn't make me feel sick (yay Hammer!!) and helped tremendously for the remainder of the race. What helped most of all? WATER! I carried my Fuel Belt bottle and refilled it at every water stop...mmm glorious water! Especially in the hot sun!

Everything after mile 10 was kind of a blur; at that point, I had to switch into mind mode because my body was pretty pissed at me. Oddly enough the parts of my body that hurt were NONE of the parts that hurt during my training (i.e. knees, hips, CALF MUSCLE). The two things that hurt the most were the sides of my two big toes (from blisters that had formed) and my ass??? Like the muscles inside? So bizarre and something I had never felt before! I will say that I really...really........REALLY wanted to walk. I wanted to walk SO badly. Especially when I saw other walkers. Ahhh yeah that looks so refreshing! There was this one older guy who would run, then walk, so I'd pass him. Then he'd start running again and pass me. And repeat. This happened maybe eight times and it kinda drove me nuts because it was like passing the same landmark over and over! Like I was running in a loop! In any case...I didn't walk. I just couldn't do it. (Mostly because I knew it'd be too hard to start up again!)

The last 1.1 was redonkulous. Very much "one foot in front of the other" without anything else entering my mind. I saw the finish line down the path hill, "hit restart," took a photo of myself with my phone (took it along in case I passed out somewhere along the route!), hunkered down, and focused on the glorious bright orange cones ahead of me.

As I neared the end, I scanned the crowd for my family. I finally saw their [probably shocked?? ha!] faces, threw up the horns, and sprinted to the finish. My official race result time was 2:15:07, but I sprinted for a reason and that was to BEAT the impending 2:15 on the clock haha! My watch said 2:14:58 ;) But 2:14, 2:15, either way that is friggin redic. How this happened I'll never know.

Anyway, as I've mentioned this race was very bare bones. No medals like most people get who run Halfs (and Fulls obvi). Not even a cheap cotton tshirt. I paid $10 and got my bid number. But for some reason, I really liked it this way. The volunteers were super sweet, always ready with water cups, and cheered for everyone. The light smattering of spectators also cheered for everyone, not just their family/friends. It was a small and humble race. But this felt just right as this race--and more specifically this week--was honestly one of the most humbling experiences I've ever had. I was knocked down right at the very end of my training, and it made me realize how I don't have complete control over everything. All I have is, well, what I have. In this case it was three months of training and my glutton for punishment attitude. Oh and, above all else, a HELLA lotta freaking awesome people in my corner. Everyone that wished me better, wished me good luck, told me I'd kick ass, and sent FB msgs and txts, (i.e. the best fam and friends a girl could ask for, Chris, Tamra, CLAIRE WHO KILLED HER HALF YESTERDAY AND SHE RULES, etc etc etc)...well, I couldn't let them down now could I? ;)

In conclusion? I feel like CRRRRAP today. I was sick to my stomach virtually the entire day following the race, so I couldn't eat anything. I managed a large pretzel and a Bloody Mary :) but that's it. Normally I'd dive face first into a pile of greasy lip smackin' wings, but the thought of any foods made me want to vom. So I pretty much didn't scoop up my lost calories. OH WAIT I had some gulps of honey while sitting in a tubful of icy water when I got home? Today my muscles are so sore I can barely walk, and I still can't eat without getting sick at the thought of food. But how did I really expect to feel right? ;)

Let's wind down this epic post with some photos of how hilariously crappy I look, shall we????

Am I crying? Am I going to toss my cooks? WHO KNOWS?!

Such concentration on the pain!

Aww FAM!!!! I look weird because I'm trying not to offend my boyfriend with my stench.

The guy who started it all, my runner step-dad. And it was his 49th birthday no less!!!

Ok THAT is all I got (REALLY Katie? Are you sure that's ALL you got?) Pshhh. Until, wait for it.....NEXT TIME :)

bib number: 2319
age: 30
overall place: 657 out of 836
division place: 38 out of 64
gender place: 236 out of 360
time: 2:15:07 (but in MY mind 2:14:58 HA)
pace: 10:19
~link to my stats

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pre-Half Marathon Part Two

The stomach flu.

I didn't really see this one coming.

Now while I've received more than my fair share of the stomach flu in my day (I typically get it once a year for some stupid reason), what are the odds I'd get it this week of all weeks?! Well I guess 1/52 which are pretty good odds. But still!! When I was awoken by a very angry belly at around 3:30-4am yesterday, I thought to myself: you have GOT to be kidding me. I tried to pass it off as anxiety and told myself to just calm down. But I recognized the feeling there in the pit of my stomach, and I knew there was no stopping this beast. From that point on, I was up every half hour on the half hour relieving myself via any orifice that beckoned. At some point, leaning over the porcelain throne in agony, I had to laugh. To think how freaked out I was over a little calf twinge, here I am expelling all my calories and fluids just in time to run for two and a half hours or so, when I need these things the most.

Today is Major Recovery Day. I'm drinking Gatorade and water, and trying to eat food. I just don't feel like eating. The thought of food disgusts me. But I just have to force it down. As for tomorrow. It truly is a waiting game. Yesterday I lied on the couch all day in a pool of sweat and every bone in my body ached in sharp throbbing pain. When I woke up this morning I already felt worlds better. Perhaps I'll feel even better tomorrow morning. I won't know until I wake up and get to the starting line.

As anyone who knows me knows: I am a glutton for punishment. I'll put my body and psyche through the ringer if I feel like I'll learn something from it. This will be one of the bigger physical tests that I'll ever have to endure (aside from maybe childbirth and a full marathon, if either of those are actually in my future). But we'll see. While it goes against every fiber of my being, I can always just "go slow"...and just really try to finish. Like I said. We'll see.

In any case, well I worked on the following earlier this week, still under full impression I was going to run this race. I got the idea from a fellow run-blog buddy, Maggie, who ran her first Half back in February. When I read her post, I fell in love with the idea, and had to be a big fat copy cat :) So I may or may not run or finish this race tomorrow, but the thing is, like 99% of a Half Marathon is the training that goes into it. And for the last 12 weeks, that's all I have lived, ate, and breathed...Half Marathon training. The race is the final show, yes. It's the Big Performance to show off what I've done these past 12 weeks. But not making it to the final show doesn't slight the training by any means. So whether or not I run or finish the race tomorrow, I would still like to dedicate each of the 13.1 miles to all the things and people that made TRAINING for this Half possible.

Mile 1: + Purple Watch - for an easy way to keep track of my routes, mileage, and average minute miles that I hold so dear! Hey, it's a cheap way to be a distance runner without a Garmin :)
Mile 2: Google - for all my information cravings...from organizing this whole Half training operation from the get-go, to researching water bottles and compression shorts, to finding ways to strengthen and cross-train, to figuring out how I should be eating (also see #8!)
Mile 3: My sister - for taking up running again and being a full-circle inspiration, as while she took a hiatus, her first 5K was what inspired me to run in the first place! (She also left work early yesterday to bring me Feel Better Flowers, the sweetheart!!)
Mile 4: My mom - for talking me off the ledge this week (back when it was only my stupid calf that was freaking me out). And in case I can't run, she came up with this SUPER sweet idea of putting on a "personal" Half race where she would give me water at different stops, and even have beer waiting for me at the finish line. WOW!!! Best mom ever.
Mile 5: My step-dad - for his always helpful advice and encouragement and for getting back out there after many, many weeks of injuries!!! He ran a marathon awhile back and had a horrible experience with cramping and such. So he knows my thought process right now...the disappointment I'm dealing with.
Mile 6: Chris, my wonderful boyfriend - txting me "I hope your run went well today" while I was out there and he was at work, giving me massages, listening to my rants and reassuring me it'll all work out, and above all else, saying he's really looking forward to this race. For some reason that really hit me...that he's very proud of his little Gazelle :)
Mile 7: Tamra - for always taking an interest in how my training was going, asking me about my long weekend runs, and "stroking my wiener" on FB ;) I love how hardcore she is about running, but also how humble she is.
Mile 8: My sister's boyfriend Nate - for opening my eyes to the kinds of foods I should be eating and WHEN I should eat them. I already see a huge difference!
Mile 9: - I don't know where'd I'd be without a venue for my running rants and epic thought processes!! I do tend to ramble, but it helps me organize my mental state. Running can make a gal crazy, and it's nice to regurgitate the crazy back out into cyberspace!
Mile 10: My blogging buddies!! - It's also nice to know there are a few people out there, people I don't even know personally, who actually identify with me. I'm SURE my non-running friends can get a little sick of Running This and Running That, so it's nice to have these running pals to correspond with...namely Maggie, one of a few people who inspired me to run this Half Marathon :) and CLAIRE who is running HER Half tomorrow too!!! GAH GOOD LUCK LADY!!!! Also anyone else who stumbled upon this stupid blog and leaves their two cents!
Mile 11: My non-running friends :) - For LISTENING to all the Running This and Running That, when it's probably really boring haha!! But if I've inspired any non-runners or on-hiatus-runners to get in the game, then that's just plain awesome!!!
Mile 12: Orange Bomb - A late entry as I didn't use him until Week 8! But helpful nonetheless, especially when I was dying on my 14 miler. I'm sure he'll come in very handy during the race :) (Especially when my body really wants to shut down)
Mile 13: Everything else that's going with me on this race - From my Asics and my bad knees, to my pigtails and my stupid calf muscle. From my shorts that ride up and my favorite sports bra, to my Hammer Espresso Gels and Fuel Belt bottle. From my flu-ridden body and the fears in my brain to the power of mind-over-matter and the smile on my face, we'll all be there front and center, ready to attack this thing.
Mile .1: Myself - Yep I get the little ol' tenth of a mile I am dedicating to little ol' me, but honestly, that's the hardest and best part of the Half. As I always say, I love sprinting to a finish line, whether it be real or imaginary, and this race will be no exception. IF I GET THERE......That tenth of a mile will be absolutely be my happiest and most deserving moment. And this big old baby will undoubtedly shed a few tears when the Twelve Week Journey comes to an end*.

*Whether that "end" is actually crossing the finish line or only making it 3 miles into the race, I know deep down in my heart that I tried and gave this thing my all. Life is far from perfect and putting all of one's eggs in a single basket--aka Race Day--puts a lot of pressure on a person to try and MAKE that basket perfect. Odds are it ain't gonna happen. All I can do is stay positive and hope for the best.

...Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pre- Half Marathon - Part One Point Five

This blog is about my goals and my fears right? My ups and downs? Well for the past few days, I can't help but get this psychic flash to me on Saturday afternoon typing "Running FAIL" into my FB status :'( I am completely freaking over here, and for really no reason at all. I'm basically being a big fat baby about the whole thing.

It started with my feeling "off"...that "funk" I was talking about in the last post. For the past few days, I've felt this yuck coursing through my veins. Now not to get all TMI, but this was the week of the the Big P. Not necessarily the best thing to happen the week before a big race. Anyway, as my sweet, sweet boyfriend pointed out to me last night, my body's been expelling some pretty crucial stuff, iron being the main component. Even a minor iron deficiency would explain my fatigue (sleeping in till 10:30 and still feeling out of it??), as well as my mood swings and blahness. I bet I was already on the road to deficiency (I sound like such a delinquent!) Maybe I really wasn't getting enough iron? My protein comes from chicken, fish, nuts, and beans, which are good sources, but not like red meat, or apparently oysters would be. And I sure as heck didn't eat enough spinach and vitamin C to help with iron absorption. Being a longer distance runner now, the extra muscle gain and pounding the pavement (breaking blood vessles), is probably causing me to lose more iron than I was before my mileage started adding up. Add insult to injury with the Big P, and Katie, you've got yourself a Big P-Roblem.

Anyway, there's nothing I can do about that now, and being at the end of my Bye Week, I'm already recharging my "supplies" so to speak (I know I know GROSSSS). But this is definitely a lesson learned.

What do I do in the meantime? Well I don't run apparently. See, Problem B is this calf thing I've got going on. There's this "knot" type feeling in the space between my ankle and calf, on the side. I mean it feels just like when you have a knot in your back. I've iced it and rubbed it gently (gave it some wine and took it to bed?), but nothing really helps. Last night I was supposed to run an "easy" four miles. Within the first 50ft, I decided the run was DOA, circled the block, and called it a day...very depressed. I thought about running tomorrow, but maybe I should just not. A wise woman tells me that there's no way my fitness can suffer in a week's time. What's done is done and the most I can do now is make any potential injury worse.

Like I said in the last post, I need to stop with the anxiety, and start up the positive vibes. I should focus on the fact that perhaps this minor injury is a blessing in disguise and my running will be even better than I could've possibly imagined on Saturday. The race is still two and a half days away and maybe this calf thing will be on its way out by 8am on Saturday.

The thing I forget is that while I've suddenly become this distance runner and I'm able to run 14 miles, I am FAR from experienced having only a year of running at my back. I don't have much experience with injuries or races or training. I can always run another Half Marathon. This isn't the be-all, end-all just because it's my first. (I'm going to refrain from comparing this to losing one's virginity...oh wait I just did.)

Remember the "as long as I finish" goal? It's so easy to lose track of the whole point of this journey. If I worry too much, I'll completely ruin any fun I could have on race day. A few weeks ago, I imagined the Half with SUCH excitement! I could picture little running Katie, striding along the lakefront path with a huge smile on her face. Somewhere in the last week I lost that cool girl. I gotta go find her again.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pre-Half Marathon - Part One

Man I better get out of this funk I'm in :\ I don't know what my problem is today, but I'm all meh-ish and blah. And it's beautiful outside too! I'll work out when I get home, maybe that'll put a skip back into my step.

In any case, it's like five--well pretty much FOUR days until the Half, and I'm nervous. I'm freaking myself out I think. There's nothing at all to be nervous about. It's "just running" haha! I've put in all the work. Nothing has gone horribly wrong. My knees feel decent, no worse than they ever do. It looks like it's going to be in the 50s and sunny. I really couldn't ask for a better set-up! I just need the morning to get here already, that's all. Just have to get through these next few days...

So on that note, here is my Week-Of Half Marathon Plan:

Lots of water. I have a work tailgating party on Thursday where there will be beer-a-plenty, and of course I'm going to indulge, I'm too weak not too ;) But I will focus on a max of one. And in the meantime, water up any chance I get.

Lots of sleep. I wasn't feelin' so hot this morning, so I took a half of a sick day and slept till 10. I know right? I swear, something is up with my body right now and I don't like it. I was talking to this marathoner/biker neighbor of mine the other day and he said "Make sure you get good sleep TWO nights before the race because you'll be all jacked up the night before and probably won't get good sleep no matter how hard you try." Good point. I read that sleep as a "lag time" of like 36 hours anyway, so it's much more important to get good sleep this whole week than the night before.

Lots of carbs. Complex carbs/protein a tad more than usual all week. But keep fat and sugar at an even lower level than usual!! This is something I've already f'ed up today because I'm going sugar CRAZY having given it up the past six weeks. I've read some contradictory stuff about over-loading on carbs the night before. I think if I maintain a slightly elevated level all week, and just eat a healthy portion the night before, I'll be good to go. And NO belly doesn't like roughage before running. ;)

Morning Plan: Breakfast will be an egg and toast and water right when I get up. I've got two precious Espresso Hammer Gels left for the occasion, so since they have caffeine in them, I'm trying to figure out if I should have just a little coffee when I wake up. I'm a MUST-HAVE-two-mugs-per-morning kinda gal, but hopefully like 8oz of coffee plus the gels PLUS the adrenaline will keep me jazzed up. In addition to the gels, I'll be bringing my Fuel Belt water bottle because my gummy mouth doesn't wait for water stations.

IPOD! There were many combos of things I could do here. I'm backed up on This American Life podcasts, so I thought about Hour One devoted to TAL, and the remaining race devoted to music. But I've been on a music kick lately, so I found 2.4 hours of stuff to fill the entire race. This includes Girl Talk, of course, along with Lady Gaga and Pet Shop Boys, my more recent running music buddies. Added The Presets, Junior Boys, Scissor Sisters, and Cut Copy as well. Also making the list "Party in the USA." Random right? Awhile back, when the song first came out, I thought about it being a perfect running song and said to myself: "This will be the first song I'll add to my new iPod once I buy one." And so it was written, and so it shall be done.

Ok! Well it helps a little to visual this plan. I've run half the course on my regular runs, so I know the area. I just need to focus on the positives of the experience. You can't worry about something that may happen until it happens!

Part Two to follow on Friday.......

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Half Training - Week Eleven

Ahh Week 11! And Week 12 is barely a training week with, what, my four mile on Tuesday and two baby miles on Thursday? I dare say this is the home stretch my friends! Anyway, today I ran a lousy 6 miles in the rain. Everyone on FB had these really great rainy runs or races and mine just blew chunks. My new Brooks visor helped a ton though...I really needed something to shield my eyes from the rain...I absolutely hate that feeling. Meanwhile though, my knees hurt and I just felt like lead. Oh well, hopefully this just means NEXT weekend will kick ass. This week I had two quality five mile runs at 8:48 min. mi. and 8:49 min mi. averages respectively! That's a full 20 seconds better than I've been running lately! Who do I have to thank? Claire and my ankle weights, that's who! ;) I also thank these nutrition changes I've made. Running days, I always eat two breakfasts, one at like 7: an egg/whole grain bread half sandwich thing, and one a couple hours before my run: quick oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and honey. Then I run around 12:30 and I eat or drink some kind of high sugar thing right after, like chocolate milk or almonds and golden raisins. Less than an hour after that I eat some sort of high complex carb/protein lunch like quinoa with stuff in it or a peanut butter sandwich or whatever. So I definitely have a system going for sure!

But let's be honest here, I WANT BAD FOODS!! Especially sugary cakey yumminess that I haven't had for six weeks!!!!! Mmmmmmm I had a slice of orange cake frozen from my grandpa's birthday two weeks ago that's de-thawing in the fridge as we speak. I will devour it upon arriving home around 11pm tonight after the Easter Vigil! Then I will proceed to eat the following in no particular order: a Cadbury Cream Egg, a Peanut Butter Egg, a cupcake, Girl Scout cookies that have been in my desk drawer for a month, ICE CREAM...or no no CUSTARD, Oreos, a donut, and some other stuff I can't remember right now. Am I preggers? Jeez!

And on that note, Happy Easter!!! Ok so this next week I'll probably write up a fun Pre-Half Marathon post. I can't believe it's a week away WHAT THE EGG?!?!?!?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Half Training - Week Ten

This week was a light one for sure. Work was insane and I just didn't have the time (didn't WANT to have the time?) to squeeze in a 5mi run at the end of the week. However, I did do yoga on Monday (day after the horrendous 14), then did a 5mi on Tuesday along with leg weights. Then an hour long work out (dance, kickboxing, leg weights) on Wednesday. Thursday and yesterday were "off days" but hardly felt like it because I barely sat down the entirety of both days on this photo shoot for work. A lot of people are on their feet for their full time jobs, but not this desk chair flat ass cubicle worker bee! It was quite the workout ;)

Anyway, I'm actually really glad I was "forced" to take a light week. I think after the 14, my body really needed the breather, both physically and mentally. A lot of people training for Halfs will log in like 30-40mi weeks, while I've been averaging barely 20. But I remind myself that this is the first time in my [one year] running career that I've trained this hard, I'm not exactly used to it! So I've pushed pretty hard considering, especially the distance mileage jumps of 10 to 12 to 14 in two week's time! Anyway, this is a long winded way of convincing myself that it was GOOD to take it easy this week.

Another thing that proves this to be true is my KICK FREAKING ASS RUN TODAY!!! I tapered down to 8 miles (much less than the suggested "30% reduction" but whatever). I felt just fabulous during the entire run. I was able to keep up a great pace (averaged 9:30) and NOTHING HURT!!!!!! This is unprecedented. The last time I did an 8mi run was five weeks ago and I did it in 1:30 (~11 min mi pace) and a lot of body parts hips, knees, groin, and feet bottoms most especially. But this 8mi was WORLDS different. My feet didn't feel a thing, my right knee was a little twingey but nothing to write home about. My hips were fine. It was a miracle! Thus, the reduction in miles this week really helped heal my ailing legs I think!

Two more things that helped?
1. My new leg lifts routine with my ankle weights. I can already totally feel the difference. During today's run my legs felt strong! They felt like runner legs!! Nothing like last weekend when they felt like they were shattering inside my skin with every step. Like grandma legs! (Thanks C for urging me to get going on this!!!)
2. My diet. I went to the store early this week and just loaded up on healthy foods: quick oats, bananas, tuna, almonds/sunflower and pumpkin seeds, chicken breasts, brown whole grain rice, quinoa, broccoli, apples, Boca burgers, the list goes on. And I signed up for a My Plate account at, so I could really pay attention to what I was eating and more importantly WHEN. I could go on and on and on about the diet portion of my new outlook, but that will be another novel of a blog post altogether. The point is, I think it will all very much help me in these last two weeks before the race!

Ok that's all I got! I hope everyone's weekend runs went/go well!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Half Training - Week Nine

I'm officially over yet another hump...the distance. Yesterday was my 14 mile run, and the furthest I'll go in my training. And possibly the furthest I'll go for quite awhile. It's going to be my White Whale. For this was a distance that SERIOUSLY pushed me to my pain threshold.

Let me start off with the fact that while last Tuesday's 5 mile was amazing and quick, my second 5 mile on Friday was horrible. My legs just wouldn't go! They were stiff and I never hit a comfortable stride. It put me in the worst mood for the rest of the day, let me tell you. So I did the 14 yesterday, hoping that Friday was just a fluke. Nope. I could tell right away that it was going to be more of the same: that stiffness that prevents a nice comfy stride. I do have to admit that I decided on a quicker pace than usual. Probably too quick. But I have a running acquaintance who just started, is training for a Half, and totally leaves me in the dust. This person is about my same size, age, etc. Jealousy is ugly my friends, it really is. It gets the best out of me sometimes. That's why I chose the quote that's at the top of this blog. Something to remind me that this is my own journey, no one else's. But meanwhile, jealousy also pushes me to be better. So I pushed this weekend and I pushed hard.

So basically, it wasn't that I was tired during my run, or that I was out of breath, or that I had cramps. It was solely my legs. They ached all over. It didn't feel like a pull or an injury of any kind. Just an all-over pain from the thigh all the way down to the bottoms of my feet. And they felt this way the entire time. So basically I was putting myself through pretty awful pain for a solid 2 and a half hours. I stopped maybe 3-4 times for intersections, stretched, but never walked.

Now, I'm trying REALLY hard not to be a wimp here, honestly. Because DUH running is freaking hard! This I know. Just for some reason yesterday was particularly rough. There were times where I wanted to cry a little, but I tried to pay more attention to This American Life and Girl Talk, my aforementioned saviors on these long runs. There were also times when I felt pure unadulterated glee! Granted these lasted about 30 seconds and maybe there were a total of 3-4 glee segments. Two minutes of glee gets lost in the 2.5hrs of pain.

The last three miles were probably the hardest I've ever pushed my body. I kept thinking: how will I make it??? And then I'd tell myself: Omg you have THREE miles left, just get through it it'll be fine! I also put this "I Am A Warrior" mantra into effect, and that helped a lot. But I could tell, I was running so awkwardly. Not exactly like limping, but picture sort of a waddle? Like a granny running? Or running after riding a horse for five hours? That's what I felt like (probably looked normal though). Around the 11.5 mile, I had to stop to wait for a traffic light. I stretched a little and drank water (hooray for my hand-held Fuel Belt bottle!!!!). But when I started back up??? NIGHTMARISH. It felt like running on broken legs! Guh. The other thing is that I kept thinking: aren't my endorphins supposed to kick in? Whatever those are called? Where's the "runner's high" from being in so much pain that my body just goes on auto-pilot? I think I was born without the capacity for a runner's high. Which kinda sucks because that's half the fun of BEING a long distance runner in the first place!

Anyway, so the final block, I sprinted. I always sprint. Even when there's nothing left. And when I crossed the imaginary line, I cried. Yep, couldn't hold it in. And it was the heaving type of crying, like not so much tears, but heavy jagged inhaling. And it wouldn't stop! I seriously felt like such a pansy! Well from the ridiculous to the ridiculous, I dragged myself up the stairs by my arms, and took off my ipod/shoes/jacket/clothes like an elderly person. I put the bathtub faucet at the coldest it could get. I grabbed my half gallon of chocolate milk and I got into the water. I cried some more because THAT was insanely painful. I put my running socks back on because my toes just couldn't withstand the cold. I sat there for about 15 minutes, soppy running socks, sweatshirt on, drinking chocolate milk and talking to myself aloud: "That was really horrible right? I mean that was seriously painful, am I wrong? I can't do that any more can I? Can I?? Thank God the Half is shorter than that. How do people run marathons? I just don't get it." And more crying. I got out and shivered for a solid half hour while I went on the internet, waiting for my skin to reach room temp so it wouldn't be such a shock when I took the HOTTEST shower I could!!

My boyfriend came home from work with a hot chocolate cherry mocha :) and made an Indian chicken dish...PERFECT for getting some proteins in my system. I spent the rest of the night collapsed on the couch watching that new Life series on Discovery HD, and probably had one of the best nights sleep in history. Today I'm sore, but not too awful. At lunch, I volunteered at my church's soup kitchen, which is a lot of scampering and squeezing around a tiny, tight dining area, and I handled it ok.

So now what's the Plan of Attack from here?
1. I've still got my two 5mi runs during the week, plus cross. This next weekend my "long" run drops significantly by half with an 8 mile, but I'm going to listen really intensely to my body and make sure this will be ok. How HORRIFYING would it be to go through all of this work and pain only to injure myself in the final weeks of training?! I officially know that I can do the 13.1, so that's all that really matters. While I tried really hard not to pay attention to my TIME, considering a good time (for someone with my experience) was inevitable, but I'm going to try not to obsess over it.
2. I'm going to pay more attention to my diet. I don't think I'm getting enough good carbs and DEFINITELY not getting enough protein. Especially right after my runs when those things are key. You can eat all the carbs/proteins in the world six hours after your run but they aren't going to replenish your muscles like they would right afterward. I'm also going to drink more water, less booze. Not that I'm some lush, but in these last three weeks, I've gotta just hunker down. A friend of mine just called me this morning who is in the Police Academy and wanted to know if I would participate in a study they were doing for class. Drink as much as you can in a small amount of time so the students could have experience with drunks. I passed it up. Free booze! I'm from WI, where that's like a mortal sin! ;) I kid of course (sort of), but honestly, I have to take better care of my body! Hopefully it'll help.

Ok that's all I got! Thanks yet again for reading the novels I write here, yikes! I just have to tell myself that this is probably a cake walk compared to being in labor for three days ;)

Monday, March 15, 2010

My One Year Running Anniversary

So I'm going to admit that I almost completely forgot about today and how huge of a travesty would THAT've been?!! ;)

In any case, I've probably told this story several times on this blog, the Intro here and the Massive Epic Novel here. But to make a long story short, I was never able to run more than a few minutes and after that few minutes, I literally felt like absolute crap for the next couple days...sore legs and coughing...for DAYS! That shit ain't right! With several inspirations, namely my stepdad and my sister, I seriously wanted to give running one final try. If this didn't work, nothing would. I followed a very simple Beginner's Running Guide. It all began with the babiest of steps (in my mind at least): Walk a minute, run a minute, for 14 minutes.

One warm and sunny March Sunday, one year ago today, I walked a minute, and ran a minute, for 14 minutes.

And every week after that, I added an additional minute of running, per interval, to that schedule. I never strayed, aside from Week Six that I had to repeat because I just couldn't grasp running for six minutes straight all that well. It sounds so silly now, but this is my point! I started at a very very low end of the athletic scale. A place where ANYONE that has two working legs can start. Honestly.

Once I completed Weeks One through Ten, the sky was the limit. I hit all kinds of Personal Records:
-my first 5K
-my first 8K
-my coldest run (only 15 degrees which isn't that bad actually!)
-my most amount of miles in a month at 58 in February [FYI my least amount of miles was 0 in December d'oh!!]
-my fastest average pace ever: 8:04/8:13 (my watch/the race clock) min miles for my 5K last October.
-And of course, my longest distance at 12 miles this past weekend.

The Half Marathon is one more goal on a long list of goals that never really ends. And that's what rocks about running... I'll never be the runner who runs for her health, and in fact, it's probably hurting me just as much as it helps (damn my knees!) But it's the goals that push me every day! I absolutely love plowing through those imaginary finish lines and I may or may not be addicted to patting myself on the back for new PRs...I will totally admit it.

You know what I also love though? Other runners. I have found this whole new group of comrades with whom I just love reading, discussing, gushing, and complaining. Friends I never knew I had. We stick together. The best runner friends are the ones who are with you every step of the way, maybe not physically, but they're there, out in cyber Blogland or Facebook, cheering me on. I love cheering them on too, it's all part of the camaraderie. Running is a very personal sport and as the quote at the top of this blog states: "It's important to realize that whatever you're doing - it's your first attempt at it." You can't get mixed up in other people's PRs and goals and let them tangle you up. They are GREAT motivators to reach beyond yourself, but if you find you're doing it more to prove yourself to others, you'll probably get pretty disappointed. Despite its personal nature, however, most people need the support of others. I definitely need the support of others. I love it. And I hope I never stop offering my own support to my running buddies!

Anyway, looks like I made this long story long again. Classic Katie. But I just wanted to gush and, ok yeah, pat myself on the back a little. One year can abso-f'n-lutely change a person. And drastically. I can't say it enough, I COULD NOT RUN. I couldn't! I really really sucked at it. But a year later? I'm actually doing something! I thought an 8K was daunting a year ago (my original goal I wanted to reach when starting this escapade) I'm training for a Half that's in less than a month?!?! How Did I Get Here??? Well, I'll tell you how. By getting the heck out there on that pavement. By being in pain. By suffering setbacks. By kicking ass at goals. By my family. By my friends, personal and blogging, who cheered me on. And above all else, by having a freaking good time. Even my worst running days were running days which are GOOD days in my book.

So I've said it before and I'll say it again: anyone stumbling across this blog who has wondered what it would be like to be a runner...try it. Just give it a whirl. I mean I never really even wanted to run up until March 11thish, 2009. Something clicked in my head and I said: why not? Ok ok, it might have had a LITTLE to do with a guy I was seeing, but don't these things usually?

So to celebrate, today is actually one of my cross training days, but when I get home from work, I'm going to put on my old orange Asics, and I'm going to walk one minute, run one minute, for 14 minutes. I'm going to truly grasp how far I've come in these 365 days and 386.9 total miles!