Putting the Pretty into Power Walking

Running was my response to every single emotion that I had.  If I was stressed out: run until all of those knots you've tied up in yourself have loosened.  If I was sad: run until the tears mingle with the sweat running down your face and you can't tell the difference between the two. If I was in a good mood: put on your favorite album and run your smiling face up and down every street in your neighborhood. Running made every bad feeling dissipate, and amplified  every good feeling. It was a fast forward button I could push to immediately feel confident and strong.  Even though I was sweaty and exhausted, I never felt more beautiful than I did when I was running.  Felt is the operative word here, kids. Felt.

While I was running I used to see walkers and think to myself, "You guys! You're so close! Just a little more leg work and you could be running! Running is THE BEST!"  I could never understand why they wouldn't push themselves harder, try a little more. I couldn't help myself but assume they were lazy. 

That opinion changed right quick when my doctor stood over the body that used to be able to run 5:18 miles and told me (with waaaaay too much confidence, might I add) that I would never walk again.  Walking was no longer a lazy persons game. 

I may not have had feeling in my legs, but the feelings in my heart were FULLY functional, so I immediately started sobbing. How could something that I used to do every single day suddenly become impossible? The more that I thought about it, the more that another one of my fully functional heart feelings started to show up - aggressive defiance.  

His diagnosis became a challenge. 'This dude may know science, but he doesn't know me.' I thought to myself. 'I'm going to walk everywhere, like a goddamned hero.'  Because the bar was set so low, I found myself delighted by the tiniest wins - I moved my toes! I lifted up my own arms! Someone was able to sneak champagne into my hospital room! (that last win had nothing to do with my own body, but everything to do with my recovery!)

After 6 months of aggressive physical therapy and a lot of toasting to my small victories, I was delighted to find myself standing upright and slowly, carefully, putting one beautiful foot, in front of the other.  I had never noticed how gorgeous my footsteps were, how many different muscles, tendons and bones all had to work in one fluid motion in order to propel myself forward. I was deeply in love with every single step.

As I continued to recover, I found myself not satisfied with just walking, I was desperate to run.  I don't like to tell myself no, but I knew that running was not in the cards for me.  The screws that kept my back plate in place caused too much pain when there was a lot of impact - even walking was still incredibly painful.  I looked for a workaround, and power walking seemed like my best bet.

Even after all of the arduous and amazing work that my little body had done to get me to a place where I could walk for exercise, and not just to get from point A to point B, I was still ashamed of being a walker. I would only workout very early in the morning, I would avoid the track, or places that I thought that runners would be.  If I did see any runners, I was sure they were judging me the way that I used to judge others. I wanted to get a t-shirt that said "Running: I would if I could, but I can't." 

Over the last few years my opinion of myself, and of walking, has changed a lot. I am still not really comfortable walking when others run, but I'm out there doing my best to go as fast, as far and as hard as my body will let me. Because of walking I've seen so many amazing sunrises, I've done more mileage than I have since high school, and I've gained the nickname "Smiley" from my old Italian neighbors who are the only other people out and about at 6 in the morning. 

Getting up 5 days a week, strapping on my sneakers, and power walking (pumping my arms, like someones over enthusiastic aunt) through the the very hip streets of Williamsburg is my little victory.  Its a reminder that life is fucking amazing, completely imperfect and that everyday I have to work to create the life I want to live.

When my feet start rolling into those lovely first steps, no matter how painful or how slow, I can't stop myself from smiling, and feeling so, so beautiful
One of my lovely power walk sunrises 


  1. Replies
    1. Success! Both the test, and this pretty post that made me tear up. Kisses!
      -Colleen Donnelly

    2. Hahah thanks so much Colleen! The test was a success, and you are a success! Thank you so much for your sweet comment, and for reading this you gem! Missing you friend! xo

    3. Beautiful Katie!!! Your perseverance and determination paid off in a big way. So happy for you. xoxo

  2. Rockstar of all rockstars all day every day. Beyond inspiring. xoxo

  3. Katie, your strength and beauty are baffling, you have always been a rockstar as long as I have known you, but your soul shines so brightly through your words, keep writing and keep dreaming! Love ya!

    1. Thank you so much Nicole, you are seriously too kind!! Love you too and hope to see you soon! xo


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