race training cures puppy withdrawal


I've got puppy fever and I've got it bad. I've decided to take matters into my own hands and conduct my rehab through race training. More specifically, training for the Lake Country Duathlon in Pewaukee, WI.

Read the post at The Yellow Tandem Bike >>

Trotters and Lopers and Chuggers, Oh My!

Now that I have been back out on the streets, paths, and trails getting my half marathon training on, I have had a keen awareness of how diverse the running community is. I've always known that runners come in all shapes and sizes, but I never noticed until recently how stylistic the simple motion of running can be.

This is me during my first half marathon. I'm a swinger. A leg swinger, that is.

My hands-down favorite thing about runners is how differently we all do the same thing. Yeah, we're all running, but sometimes comparing two people's running styles is equivalent to finding similarities between Jonathan Safran Foer and Jane Austen - I love them both and they are both two of my favorite novelists, but you could never confuse one for the other based on what they've written.

Apples and oranges, people.

Sorry for the analogy - I'm an English major, remember?

Therefore, I've compiled a list of running styles that I've observed during my tenure as a runner, and I think it captures the spectrum.

Totters are the people that you pass on the path who make you double-take, and when you make awkward eye contact on that second glance, he or she looks unbearably happy to be running. Trotters are fast but unassuming; talented but not showy. Trotters are the runners that make running seem like fun.

Chuggers are running with purpose. Most chuggers tend to be commuters, giving themselves away when they chug past you and you see an aerodynamic backpack strapped to their shoulders. Chuggers are all about breathing too, matching their short, powerful strides with an equally purposeful exhalation. If you have any interest in learning how to be a chugger, go to London - so many chuggers huffing to and from the Tube.

Lopers have the typical "runner body" but aren't naturally athletic. I compare them to the really tall girl on the eighth grade basketball team. She's out there on the court by the post and her coach told her to just stick her hands straight in the air, but then by the start of the second quarter, the other team realizes that she's not actually very good at basketball. Lopers have long legs that they don't really know how to handle, so they bound and jump and haphazardly propel themselves forward, which eventually results in running.

Gliders seem to run solely using the bottom half of their body. When you drive past a glider, the top half of her body is in a complete state of serenity, but then when you look to her legs,  her whole motion still looks effortless, but she still glides past you as if she's running on a moving walkway. I'm pretty jealous of gliders.

Swingers/ Phoebes
For those of you who know my Phoebe reference - awesome. For those of you who don't, watch this.

Swingers - like myself - do this weird thing when they stride and swing the bottom half of their leg around to bring it back to the front of the stride. It's terribly inefficient and will probably lead to some sort of terrible injury in the long haul, so for the past couple years I have consciously tried to make my stride more efficient (i.e. cut out the leg swinging) but when I get tired or lost in a train of thought, I fall back into my old habits and start swingin'. It's also a really ugly way to run, and highlights my tendency to stand a little pigeon-toed.

Truckers are in it to win it. He's nearing the end of his twelve mile run (which is totally NBD) and he always sprints the last mile. But even the eleven miles he ran before that were super hard-core. A trucker tends to run in super short shorts, in order to show off his bulging quads and IT bands, because he is so skinny that you can see his IT bands. The trucker is the love child between the glider and the chugger - a natural-born runner with a fiery intensity.

Trotters, Lopers, and Chuggers, Oh My, Indeed! The best thing about this is that you really can be whatever kind of runner you want to be. In my mind I'm a cross between a trotter and a glider who looks like Blake Lively running on the beach in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Google it if you don't have a visual in your mind. She looks good.

But the bottom line is be who you are and be that well. Take pride in your style and keep running! We're all just runners at the end of the day.

Results Are In - I'm a Bitch

I think the guy whose mirror I accidentally hit pulling out of my parking garage this morning googled me.

Granted, his car has no damage and my car has a lovely dent on the side panel. But really? Not only did someone google me, this person has such strong feelings about my bitchiness that he or she had to google "katie manfred bitch"? I even left an extremely apologetic note with my contact information so if he felt as if there was something wrong that I didn't see he could reach me (although I did snap a photo of the car so that he didn't come down and kick the door in and claim that I did it).

To the person who googled "coffee medical school" and found my blog - I would encourage you to drink coffee while in medical school, but monitor your intake before you go to make the first incision of a surgery. Nobody likes a doc with shaky hands.

And to those of you googling and hitting the other blog I contribute to, I didn't realize that there were so many other people fascinated in Gucci Mane's bizzare proportions.

But I do really love Guinness.

Sorry for being a huge bitch. I'll make you some zucchini bread to make up for it.

blogger bad days

You know those days when you head out for a run and you just feel...bad? Nothing's injured, the weather is goregeous, but you just have a bad day? That happens with blogging too. Ideas come and I think, "Great! I have an idea!" Only to go to write about this idea and realize that it's a big fat dud.

See? Bad days happen all the time. This is a terrible photo I snapped for a post that was so bad it never happened.

Read the post at The Yellow Tandem Bike >>

It's 39º Outside

See? I wouldn't lie to you. They're not kidding about this cold. When we drove along Lake Monona this morning, Kenzie declared, "It looks like we live in Alaska!"

It may not have been that extreme, but the fog on the water made me think that there might be some kind of Loch Ness sea creature lurking under the surface, which is certainly enough to prevent me from doing any open water triathlon training.

Sea creatures that aren't in aquariums freak me out. Watch an episode of Swamp People and you'll have a newfound fear respect for aquatic life, too. And a burning desire to go down to Louisiana and shoot squirrels while you're sitting on your front stoop.

Maybe that's just me.

But even though it's 39º here, that means...fall is coming! And you know what fall means...

1) cashmere (italics are to indicate the soft whispered tone one must use when saying this word). I'm wearing it right now. Thank you God, Italy, and J.Crew for bringing this sweater into my life.

2) Creamy Potato Carrot Soup

Okay, so I get that this soup looks like baby food. But I had potatoes and carrots that were going to go to waste, and I needed to do something with them ASAP. So this is what I made - fingerling potatoes, carrots, sauteed onions, some vegetable stock, all blended up with my fancy new immersion blender. After I blended it I stirred in some milk and a healthy portion of sharp cheddar cheese.

A baby would be lucky to eat this soup.

3) Running in shorts and long sleeves.

4) Fall-flavored beers.

I was so happy to find the Fly Dog Dogtoberfest on tap at the Tipsy Cow on Friday night. It complemented my grilled cheese splendidly. Please tell me about your favorite fall beers so I can drink them all.

5) FRI NI LI! Or Netflix in general.

"Fri Ni Li" = Friday Night Lights, pronounced "fry nigh lie" in a southern accent.

I understand that Kenz and I are way behind on this one, and that Netflix is not fall-specific, but it's much easier to cozy up on the couch under a fuzzy blanket and watch 2 3 episodes of Friday Night Lights when it's chilly and the Dillion Panthers are a better football team than your alma mater. Although, I am starting to worry that Kyle Chandler might have a permantently furrowed brow.

Happy almost fall!

"Tell Me" about the Ironman

There is a little joke in my family that my mom, sister, and I all have what we call the "'Tell Me' Gene".  It seems as though wherever we go and however much we're keeping to ourselves, some random person is going to stop us and have an in depth conversation as if we have "Tell Me" stamped across our foreheads.

Sunday, I went out for an evening run, hoping to catch some of the finishers of the Wisconsin Ironman up by the capitol building, and apparently my Tell Me Gene was feeling particularly dominant. On my way there, I jogged along the lake path and while I was running, a dweeby twenty-something guy asked me how far I was going.

Runnin' on the lake path with my dad. People only tell me their life stories when I'm alone.
"Oh, not far, just jogging. Hoping to watch the finish line of the Ironman for a bit."

I tried to be as vague as possible. I have a rule that when I run, I don't wave, let alone speak to men between the ages of 18 and 60. Purely for safety reasons. Friends who fall into this category should not take this personally. The only reason I made an exception was because he was clearly talking to me and I was too startled to say, "no hablo ingles".

Even though I kept going at a slow trot, this guy still wanted to chat. He said, "Oh yeah, I've been volunteering at the transitions today. The leaders finished about an hour ago. I'm also a triathlon coach. I don't do Ironmans, but I do sprint triathlons."

At this point I contemplated trying to halt the conversation altogether by just sprinting away, but as if he was reading my mind he said, "I was wondering if you would try a coaching technique I've developed and sprint to that post up ahead."

Maybe I'm a little too obsessed with having interesting anecdotes for you guys to read, but I thought, "well, this is a really busy path and I could definitely blog about this."

So I said, "Well, I mean, I'm not a runner. Like, I'm not fast. At all."

He replied, "That's okay. Just stand here, count backward from ten, and after you count '1', start your sprint."

"10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1". And I bounded off.

After I passed the post, I turned around to gauge his reaction and he beamed, "That was actually really good."

He explained that when you count down it helps the body relax so it is easier to get a faster start, as opposed to being crouched down with your feet in starting blocks. I smiled and nodded and said, "Well, I'm glad your trick works! I'm going to keep running. Have a good day!" And I set back out on my merry way.

At the next stoplight, a woman rolled up next to me on her bike while we were waiting for the walk signal. We smiled politely, but then she asked, "Are you an Ironman?"

It was at this stoplight! I also never got any more feedback on what this guy may be.

My first inclination was to laugh, and my second was to say, "Yeah, I finished about an hour ago, but I just decided to go for a light jog afterwards."

I prudently chose to keep the sass in check and replied, "No, but I am hoping to watch some of the finishers come in for a bit."

She then relayed to me that she has also been volunteering at the "swim to bike" transition, and she saw a woman doing the first leg of the swim and someone kicked her hand and broke her wrist. She had to be pulled out of the water and couldn't finish the race.

After hearing so many accounts of the race in the very short amount of time I had been outside of my apartment, I decided to go check out all of the fuss. I moseyed through swarms of people with matching t-shirts, scarily skinny (and simultaneously muscular) men wrapped in metallic blankets, and huge tents full of bananas and Papa John's pizza.

Can you tell I went out without my iPhone again?

But then I approached the finish line archway, and people were getting in just under the eleven hour mark. A 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run? All in under 11 hours? Blows my mind.
And on top of that, the guys I saw finishing weren't exactly spring chickens. I can't imagine being fit enough to do an Ironman in the near future, let alone when I'm 57 years old.

So here's the thing - some of you might remember that I'm a huge cry baby, but only when it comes to life-changing amounts of weight loss and when people cross finish lines. Sunday wasn't any different. I was at the finish line for maybe three minutes when the announcer said some guy's name and said, "Randy Random, you are an Ironman." And the tears welled up in my eyes. I don't know what exactly it is about this stuff that makes me turn into such a softy, but I let it happen, because I'm dead inside when it comes to everything else.

At that moment I was really hoping there was someone else around with the Tell Me Gene because I wanted to explain my weird emotional response to self-motivated physical accomplishment. But alas, Liza went home Sunday morning. All I could do was cheer through my tears and watch people become Ironmen before my eyes. Makes me think running 13.1 miles in November isn't such a big deal after all.

a change of pace

Sometimes I get lazy and would really prefer if someone else did the blog writing for the day. Well guess who stepped up to the plate, yet again? Yep, Liza's back to share her account of her weekend in Madison.

Bug Bite

I'm either a huge Madison wannabe fulfilling every Wisconsin stereotype or I truly have been bitten by the "I love Wisconsin" bug.

It's probably a little bit of both.

But picture this: Me, sitting on the couch, drinking Wisconsin beer, watching the Packers, after having just purchased my new baby.

I feel like "baby" is an appropriate name for this fine piece of machinery because I probably know as much about taking care of this thing as I know about taking care of a real baby. I probably know more about taking care of a human baby, considering that a road bike is an entirely different species of bike than I'm used to cruising on. I also feel like when I'm around it I want to hold it under the arms as far away from my body as possible so that it doesn't break or pee on me.

You see, this little number with the lime green wheels is what I'm used to riding. I think the only similarity between this and the new bike is that they are both white and fall under the large umbrella of "bicycle".

For as different as they are, I might as well have purchased this.

I guess it's still a bicycle?  I am super jealous that this guy's helmet looks like a top hat.  Classy styling.
So in one evening I have accomplished the MadTown trifecta - beer, Packers, and bikes. I may have just invented the new triathlon. Forget about the running and the swimming. Football and competitive drinking are where it's at in WI. 

I am really excited to get my cross-training on with this bike. Not only is it pretty, but it's super speedy and really comfortable to ride. Ideally my goal is to do a triathlon with it (the swimming, cycling, running kind), but for now I just need to be confident riding it on the bike path, let alone in a race with hundreds of people.

For my fellow cyclists of WI - the only thing I ask of you is that you don't run over me when I fall off my bike into the middle of the street because I have to stop quickly and forget that my feet are stuck in the pedal cages. I am already predicting this particular mishap.

my own worst enemy

Shouldn't running always be this fun? Well, I think so, but it hasn't been this way for me lately. And all of my self-doubt is making it really hard for me to bring myself to register for a race that I think will be super fun. But have no fear! I'm powering through because I want to be a runner again. And buy new running shoes. Because they're pretty.

read the post at The Yellow Tandem Bike >>

An Interview for the Ages

Yesterday I was at Eddy Street Commons parting ways with a dear friend after a catch-up breakfast - the kind of breakfast when you're talking so much that the waitress comes by twice before you've even opened the menus, and then you hastily glance through them so that you can get back to the conversation.

After our almost-too-long hug, I was going to walk over to campus to meet my sister, but I was so COLD that I needed to buy some kind of jacket. Two days after I was cursing the South Bend heat.

Typical South Bend.

While my trip to the bookstore gave me a chance to look at all of the $50 t-shirts I love but can't justify buying, my detour also put me right in front of a camera-man when I was exiting the building with my new fuzzy fleece.

"Hi, were you at the game on Saturday?" he asked.

"Yes. It was pretty brutal."

"Oh, really? Would you mind answering a few questions for me about your experience tailgating, the evacuation, etc."

"Uh, sure."

"I'm so glad I did my hair this morning," I thought.

He then proceeded to turn on the camera and ask me to say my name and spell it. And apparently I thought he asked me to explain an obscure concept of Quantum Physics. I either got ahead of myself, realized that I was really flustered, or just, well...forgot how to spell it?

"Hi my name is Katie Manfred. K-A-...a - T...I-E. m-a-n-f-r-e-d."

I have the most common name of my generation and I stumbled over it. Awesome. I even took a class last year in which we learned how to audition for graduate programs in acting, and I had to introduce myself everyday, and then recite a monologue.

I guess working at a desk in the basement all day has made me a little rusty.

After I finally made it through the interview (in which I'm sure I talked too much and wasn't actually saying anything pertinent at all), the interviewer told me it would be on the 6 o'clock evening news, but if I couldn't catch the news live, the video would be posted on the website as well.

I was driving back to Wisconsin yesterday so I didn't catch the news, and the interview was probably as terrible as I thought it was because I can't find it on the internet to save my life.

Therefore, if you are able to locate it for me, by all means send it my way. I was really hoping to share my 30 seconds of fame with you all. But in the meantime, please take eleven minutes and watch one of the most inspiring interviews I have ever encountered. Weezy puts me to shame.

And of course, Part II.

some things I know are true

1) Photos don't lie - I'm weirdly twins with both Kenzie and Liza.

2) The Stoop likes to party. And take power naps in the middle of those parties.

3) Notre Dame football is best approached with low expectations.

4) If it's 100 degrees while you're out tailgating, the game will probably be suspended for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, or blizzards.

5) Just because you're an alum doesn't mean you have to tailgate like one.

6) Commuting on a bike is best done with a helmet on. In a bike lane.

7) The second floor of the library is the most wonderful and productive place to do work.

8) An expired student ID is completely useless.

9) Seeing old friends emerge out of a crowd when you are alone and your phone is dead creates the happiest swell of relief.

10) It doesn't matter what bar you're at, it just matters who's there with you.


If a reunion with my college friends four months after graduation makes me feel this nostalgic, I don't want to know what I'm going to feel like at my ten year reunion.

Let alone my 25th.

In honor of going back to Notre Dame for the home opener tomorrow, I'm going to rattle off a few things I'm currently missing about being a student on gameday:

1) Waking up in the nook to the fight song.
Waking up to the fight song is always awesome, but junior year my bed was quite literally tucked into a window nook, so my head was right up against the window. And no matter how bad my head hurt at 9am on Saturday, I was so happy that the trumpets were blaring right under my window because it meant it was gameday.

2) The student section.
For realz. Liza, sneak me in?

3) Never needing to figure out where to park.
It might have seemed like a trek at the time, but hauling my butt over to the parking lots behind the stadium on my own two feet was so much better than trying to strategically plan my transportation for the day.

4) Playing Boom at Corby Row.
Again! Again! Again!

5) Snuggling on the futon after a loss. Or driving to Chicago to run a half marathon.
We did a lot of losing during my tenure as an undergrad. I also convinced some friends to drive to Chicago with me after our loss to Tulsa last year. Seriously good decision.

Robes? Ropes?
That's not to say being an alum is all bad. I get to take my sister out for dinner (yay payday!), and I get to sit during the game (which would have been a welcome option the semester I broke my foot).

I can also wake up on Sunday morning without the looming feeling of knowing that I have to crank out and eight page paper! I call that a win.

But then again, I do miss ordering Jimmy Johns to the library. I might just go to the library on Sunday anyways and pretend I'm wriritng a big paper. I do need to return that one book that ended up with all of my stuff back in VA.  Don't worry, the rumors are false about the university witholding your diploma for overdue library books.  Mine was definitely in the envelope.