Friday, May 27, 2011


Lately, I've been reading Kristin Armstrong's book Mile Markers:  The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run.  One of the themes that she returns to over and over again is Endurance.  We run to get stronger, to get in shape or stay in shape, to achieve goals, to push ourselves to become better, to do things we never thought we could do, to force ourselves out of bed in the morning, to socialize with friends, and to prepare ourselves to deal with life as it comes at us.

Running can be tough.  We wake up at 5:30 (or earlier) in the morning, put on layer after layer of clothing, and trudge out the front door into negative degree weather.  We run on ice and snow, in the rain, in the wind, we get hurt, we get tired, and we push ourselves right to the edge.  And of course, these things make us physically stronger and they make us better runners and healthier people (minus the injury part, of course).

In the last few years, I have run 4 half marathons.  Nearly all of the training has been fun and totally enjoyable.  But in the difficult moments, when I wanted to quit and walk home or step off the race course, I learned a few things about myself.  I learned that even when I don't want to, I can squeeze a couple of extra miles out of myself.  That when my legs hurt and my lungs feel like they're going to pop, no matter what my head is telling me, I can keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I have learned that sometimes it is important to pace myself and other times, I should run with reckless abandon, giving it all I've got in that very moment, running with joy and freedom - no matter what consequences I might face 3 miles later.

And I have also learned that, not matter what, I can endure.

Running 13.1 (or 6.2 or 26.2 or 50) miles doesn't open up some portal that makes pain hurt less, but it teaches a person that the pain won't last forever.  It helps a person understand that he or she can endure a heck of a lot more than they once thought possible.  It has made me realize that sometimes when life gets tough, I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other - that I can put one foot in front of the other.

Running has helped me understand what it means to endure.  To me, having endurance means having the ability to get through a difficult semester and finish with my GPA intact, along with my sanity.  It means having the ability to support a friend or family member, even when I don't think I've got much gas left in my own tank.  It means facing the loss of someone I love from my life and knowing I'll be a stronger person for it.

It is a special thing to learn that you can endure 2+ hours of physical pain and cross the finish line with a smile on your face, just as it is comforting to know that you have the ability to deal with the things life throws at you and at the people you love.  However, I'm sure Kristin Armstrong would agree that we as runners often do not come to these realizations all by ourselves.  If we are lucky, as I undoubtedly am, we find ourselves surrounded by others who endure right along side us.  We are in the midst of people who understand our pain and offer to help shoulder the load for us when we need it most.  They take us out for drinks, for coffee, and for a run and they teach us what it means to be there for each other.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blogs for Dogs (and Cats...)

Hi all,

Things have been a little nuts (as usual) in my life and also somewhat lacking for inspiration.  The school year is over (thank GOODNESS!) and I have taken a much needed break from all things school related.  I'm getting back into the swing of things this week, with papers to revise and preparations to be made for the Bangladesh trip coming up in August.  I wanted to take a quick minute, though, and tell you all about something near to my heart over the last few days.

You have all no doubt heard about the tornadoes that have been ripping across the midwest over the last few days and the devastation they have caused, particularly in Joplin, Missouri.  While I am lucky to be safe and sound at home in Nebraska right now, Joplin is only about 4 hours southwest of Columbia and I have a few friends at school who grew up there.  The entire state of Missouri has reached out to help the people of Joplin and I heard from a friend on Twitter yesterday that there are actually too many volunteers at the moment (what an amazing problem to have!).  While I worry about the people, I know they will be well taken care of and not soon forgotten by the state and the country.  However, the humane societies and animal shelters are currently overflowing with pets who have lost or been separated from their owners.  A fellow Missouri blogger (Brie Fit) has set up a registry on to help the Joplin Humane Society care for these animals.  (I encourage you to read her blog post here:

The pictures the Humane Society has posted of some of the lost animals are absolutely heartbreaking.  I feel for the animals, who must be scared and stressed, as well as some injured, I'm sure, and also for the owners who can do nothing more than hope and pray that their beloved pets are being cared for.  I can only imagine that if I were in their shoes, I would be beside myself with worry about Nellie.  

If you want to help, you can find the registry here:  Any little bit helps.  I forked over $30 of my own to send some cat food.  

You can also make a cash donation here:  The Humane Society of Missouri has sent in disaster relief teams and needs continued monetary support.

Thanks for indulging me and reading this entire post (assuming you're still reading...).  Now, go and give your pet some extra love and attention.  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

For My Mom

It's Mother's Day and I am in Columbia, finishing up the semester (aka chained to my desk).  I'm missing spending Mother's Day with my mom, so I thought I would do a little tribute to her here.  If I could, I would shout it from the top of a mountain.  But I don't have a mountain...

My mom has been so much more to me than just a mother.

She has been my best friend.

She travelled literally half way around the world to visit me.

 (we look a little related here, don't we?)

She has picked me up when I am low.

She supports me and pushes me to pursue my dreams.

She has been the rock for our family, day after day, for almost 30 years.

And she believes in us, even when we have a hard time believing in ourselves.

She is also a grandma.
 (with one VERY large hand, apparently...)

And my sister is a mom.

To a very lucky, and very CUTE little guy.

And I feel like the luckiest daughter, sister, and aunt in the whole wide world.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom!  And Happy Mother's Day to my Mags.  Here's to many more years of going on vacations together, laughing (and probably crying) together, and you listening to me blather on incessantly about things that don't matter to anyone but me.

Love, Katie