Tuesday, November 20, 2012


382.2 miles. That's how many miles I've run since August 6 when I began training for my Third marathon, which I ran on Sunday.

4:32:10 was how long it took me to run the 26.2 miles throughout Philadelphia.  4:30:00 was the goal I set for myself back in August when I started training.

It was a lofty goal, and I liked having a new challenge added to a race I had done twice, but honestly, I didn't think I would even come close to making it.

But sometimes, you just have a good run. And that's what happened on Sunday. More intensive training, a good understanding of how to hydrate and feed myself in a marathon, and a lot of hill work (training in Pittsburgh makes "hills" in Philadelphia seem quaint) certainly contributed to 4:32:10. But it was also just a great run.

I didn't stop or walk at all until after mile marker 16 - that's the longest I've ever run without walking before. Every time I checked my watch as I hit another mile marker, I remember thinking "I can't believe I'm still on pace! I can't believe I'm still running!"

In Manayunk, as we approached mile 20, I began bracing myself for the wall. The point in which your glycogen stores are totally depleted, and you begin cramping, your legs start seizing, and you generally feel exhausted.

Have you ever experienced your eyelashes and fingernails and teeth being tired? That's the level of fatigue you feel in the last leg of a marathon. Not to mention the parts of you actually involved in the run.

Instead, at mile 20, I experienced one of the most intense runner's high of my life.  Rather than feeling tired, I felt terrific. I ran back up the "hill" out of Manayunk towards Kelly drive for the final stretch with enough dopamine flooding my system to get me to mile 22 smiling.

When my legs did finally start cramping up at mile 24, I had less than a 5k left, and it's way easier to talk yourself through 2 miles of pain than 6 miles.  I started to slow down a bit, and crossed the finish line with not much left to give. And that's the goal in a race - to finish having used everything you've got.

I finished just 2 minutes over my goal time. Half an hour faster than I finished one year ago.

It's scary when you push yourself to the edge of yourself. Not just in running, in anything you do that is totally out of your comfort zone and away from anything familiar. But it is incredible and surprising what you are capable of when you do.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Notes from Hanging out with my Sister

While waiting for food at the deli...

Me - "I'm sorry, I keep staring at this woman behind you, because I really like her hair. Between this and seeing Emma Watson's short hair, I kind of just want to chop mine all off."

Lynn - "Don't."

Me - "...ok..."

While watching an episode on Parks and Recreation...

Me - "Sometimes I worry that I will lit-relly become Chris Traeger."

Lynn - "Yes."

Me - "No! You're supposed to tell me I'm too well-balanced for that to ever happen, and I'll be fine."

Lynn - ::blinks::  ::sighs:: ::raises eyebrows:: "No Kelsey, you'll be fine."

While walking home after ice cream procurement...

Me - "Do I sound crazy?"

Lynn - "No. You sound like you need to be more comfortable not being in absolute control over everything."

Me - "Have you met me?"

Lynn - "You just need to spend more time in the woosh. Like me."

For as much as she drove me crazy growing up, I'm so grateful for her.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

High Standards

High standards. I have them. Every personality test I've ever taken, astrological chart I've ever consulted, and most people who know me has told me so.

I try to surround myself with people who are the same.  You know the theory that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with? I hope that theory is true, because I really like those people.

The Thread team has incredibly high standards. Everything I work on is worked, and re-worked, and then revised again, and again, and again.  I can have a fairly high level of attention to details, but I will be honest, sometimes the revising stage drives me crazy.  I want to yell, "It's good enough!" and move on to the next project. But it's not good enough, and luckily for me, I work with people who will not settle until we have reached excellence.

It is exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time to work like that.  On the one hand, you can't be starting a business without caring about everything that much. On the other, nothing is more miserable than being a perfectionist, and its nearly impossible to maintain the bandwidth to care that much about everything you're working on.

"Does it bother you," Lee asked me the other day, "that what you present is technically a final product, but that then we all pour over every detail and offer a ton of feedback and ask for 50 revisions?"

"That is what will make us great!" Ian responded before I had a chance to.

But I agree with him, and said so. Because I've worked the other way, where my first draft was the final copy, and while you can exist like that, you don't grow.

Growth is not comfortable. It's hard work, it's scary because it exists largely in unfamiliar territory, it is tiring and sometimes hurts.

And so, while receiving a million suggestions and requests for changes, or being told, "it's almost there, keep working with it, you'll figure it out," when I think it's good enough, can make me nuts.  I also know that when all is said and done, what we've completed is high quality work we are proud of. I am being pushed to do more, and learn more, and create more.  I hope we never stop challenging each other like that.

And that, is what will make us great.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Dress

Sometimes, you find a piece of clothing just in time for a specific event that fits you like it was made for you, and you thank the fashion gods for your good clothing karma.

Personally, I belong to the more practical school of thought that believes when you find something you love that fits you well, you buy it whether or not you have someplace to wear it to, because that way, when events/dates/presentations/whatever do arise you already have something to wear. Also, it's pretty much stated in Murphy's law that if you go shopping for a specific event, you will inevitably find nothing you like, and no one likes to have a break down in a dressing room.

So, when my boss and CEO of Thread was nominated for this year's 40 under 40 and I knew a dressed up evening was in order I mentally rifled through the dresses I have for occasions such as this, and decided on a cocktail dress I made for a cousin's wedding a couple of years ago, and that was that.

Until, that is, the perfect dress literally showed up on my doorstep the night before.

My grandparents recently moved full-time to Florida, and my parents spent a weekend in Chicago helping them with the packing and organization and general awfulness that is moving.

My grandmother, it needs to be noted, has impeccable taste and I have been fortunate enough to have inherited a few of her pieces over the years, which I love.  My mother, has a knack for knowing when something will fit me well even when its not obvious on a hanger. (She spotted my prom-dress in an overwhelmingly crowded vintage store, and to this day I've never loved a dress more.)

Anyway, my Mom saw a dress my grandmother was donating to Goodwill while helping to pack for the move, thought it would look good on me, so took it and shipped it to me, where it came into my possession the night before this event.

And it was perfect. Fit like I had made it myself. Accentuated everything you want to draw to attention to, while hiding everything you want hid. It was comfortable, glamorous, and elegant.

The event was a blast. My team and friends and adopted extended family had a great time celebrating some awesome 'burghers and eating, drinking, dancing, and being merry. It had been a long week, and having a couple hours to simply celebrate and enjoy each others company was a joy.

And I felt beautiful, which is such a trite and shallow thing right? Except that it's important. It's important sometimes in the midst of living to get dressed up, go to a party, and feel beautiful.