the mile report

tales of a running grad student

speed work + quick Michigan trip


Hi there!

The countdown until I move to Cleveland is now in single digits.  8 days until the move, 12 days until I start my first clinic rotation (eek!), and 11 days until my first race in Cleveland!  My dad and I found a 10 mile race on Sunday (June 21) of the weekend I move in, so that will be a fun way to get to know the area.  And we are entering the father/daughter division option because the race is on Father’s Day!

We held our first team practice at the YMCA this morning.
Dad and Karen

Both of us had speed work on our schedules, so we met at the YMCA to run loops around a half-mile asphalt trail.

YMCA route

We warmed up together and then split off for our respective workouts.  I did: 2 miles warm-up, 3 x 1 mile (@ 6:59, 7:06, 7:22), 2 miles cool down.  I think I ran my first repeat too fast because my splits were all over the place.  The first one felt good, and the second and third felt absolutely terrible.  It was HOT out…glad we got the run done early!

My summer break is coming to a close, so last weekend I squeezed in a quick road trip to Michigan to spend time with college friends.  I’ve been trying to frontload my 2015 social life because I have a feeling that things will get crazy busy once I start in Cleveland.

I hit the road on Friday morning and drove (through so much construction, holy cow!) right to my first stop: Olivia’s for the afternoon.  Liv visited me 3 weeks ago, so I was stoked to see her twice in one month!  She took me to the peony garden at the Nichols Arboretum at University of Michigan, where there were hundreds of giant, gorgeous peonies!


They were BEAUTIFUL and as soft as little clouds (I imagine little clouds are soft?).  The garden was also filled with grandmotherly women moseying around the flower bushes with friends, and it made me smile.  One pair was especially adorable…A younger woman rubbed flower petals between her fingers and held them up to an elderly woman’s nose because the older woman couldn’t bend down to smell the flowers.

It was blazing hot out, so after we got our daily dose of pretty flowers and kindhearted acts of humanity, we made our way back to Liv’s air-conditioned car for a driving tour around U of M, and then I hit the road again.  It was a short but sweet (and fragrant) visit. 🙂

Liv and Karen peonies

Peony Garden

Next stop: Sarah’s for the weekend!  Sarah was my college roommate for three years, and I was pumped for our weekend of living together again.  She welcomed me with open arms, and I welcomed her with one open arm and a large tub of trail mix (true sign of friendship).


Just swingin…

Our food/meal tradition when we visit each other is to search Pinterest for one meal recipe and one dessert recipe…and then challenge ourselves to finish both dishes by the end of the weekend.

This time, we chose Honey-Lime, Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Corn Tacos and No Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake.  They were both delicious.  If you’re into recipe details, we omitted a few ingredients from the tacos (onion, several spices, & cheese, but we added chicken) and we subbed in vanilla pudding + cool whip for the “heavy cream mix” in the cake.

The tacos (also known as the best food pic I've ever taken)

The tacos (also known as the best food pic I’ve ever taken)

Icebox cake

Icebox cake

When we weren’t eating tacos and cake, we were out and about doing different things in town or watching movies.  We explored a few parks, including Belle Isle, an island park in the Detroit River.  We checked out the aquarium, nature zoo, and conservatory, and we ate a picnic lunch at the playground.

The garden of the conservatory in Belle Isle had several peony bushes, which I proudly recognized from my peony experience the day before.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t enjoy those peonies for long because a Red-winged Blackbird dive-bomb attacked us, and we cowered in fear and army-crawled away for our lives. #madeit

We balanced that terrifying experience with these calm and adorable seahorses in the Belle Isle Aquarium:

Itty bitty seahorse

Itty bitty seahorse


Big seahorse that looks like a statue

Sarah is a movie buff, and she has slowly worked her power on me.  In college, I had a difficult time sitting through anything longer than one hour, but I’ve slowly built up my endurace…enough so that we watched 4 movies over the weekend!  Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood, Bridesmaids, Now and Then, & Shawshank Redemption

I also went for a run on Saturday morning and Sunday morning from Sarah’s place.  To avoid getting lost, I mapped out a one-mile loop and ran it 6 times on Saturday and 7 times on Sunday, which actually worked out really well.  Since I didn’t change up the route, I changed up the pace–For Saturday’s run, I sped up for miles 3-5; for Sunday’s run, I sprinted the first 0.25 mile of the last 5 miles.

Spending the weekend at Sarah’s made me really miss college life and living with friends (including her, obviously)!  Before I headed back home, I had one more stop: coffee with Lauren.  Lauren is the one who convinced me to coach Girls on the Run and encouraged me to join CMU’s Club Running team, so I owe her for two of my greatest non-academic undergrad opportunities.  She’s such an inspiring person, and I was so happy to be able to catch up with her.  (Remember Lauren from her “Yogathon” guest post? <–check it out if you haven’t!)

Lauren and Karen

That weekend passed in a blink!  It was so nice to have a relaxing weekend with good friends!  Now onto packing and enjoying this last week at home.

What is your record for movies in a single day?  What’s the last movie you’ve seen?
Have you ever been attacked by a bird?


  1. Woahhhh single digits, that’s a huge deal!
    Here are two reasons I am jealous of your race
    1. It’s a 10 miler and I have always wanted to race a 10 miler.
    2. It’s on my birthday and that sounds like the perfect way to spend it!

    Girl your times are speedy that’s awesome! Temperatures are officially in the 90s now and I am dunzo with faster running until it cools down again.
    That’s so great that you are spending so much time with your college friends, that’s one decision you will never regret!

    I am also movie/tv ADD. I swear that’s why I blog haha

    • Your birthday is coming up!!
      I’ve only done one other 10 mile race, but I loved the distance. You would KILL a 10-miler, so hopefully there are some down your way 🙂

  2. Ahh that is so cute you and your dad are doing a father/daughter race! I’m also moving away soon – back to Chicago so my countdown is on as well! Great job on the mile repeats!! I mad reading doing speed work in the heat.

  3. That race sounds ADORABLE. I’m also running a Father’s Day themed race, but it’s a bit different and doesn’t have the father/daughter option. Still cool, though!

    Enjoy the rest of your break!!!! Can’t wait to hear about Cleveland!

  4. hahaha I love that– “first team practice”! And I can’t believe you did so many miles on a one mile loop near your friend’s house… I would go crazy running the same loop so much!

  5. I always LOVE hearing about your father-daughter workouts! So cute! OMG those tacos look AMAZING! I’m obsessed with peonies! Oh and tulips. 😉

  6. Now & Then AND Shawshank?? Two of my favorite movies of all time! I wish I could find the Now & Then soundtrack – it’s never been available / downloadable when I’ve checked. 🙁

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