She teaches yoga, she runs (like...really really far), she basically never stops! You've met her if you stopped by Mika Denver, talked to her if you've ever called Mika Customer Service, and now we would like to officially introduce this months featured #mikachica, Kendra Miller!
1. How did you get into running?
I've been a runner for as long as I can remember, being in Track throughout middle and high school. Throughout high school, my PE teacher would always give me a separate time goal for any distance ran than the other kids. For example: the mile. He'd yell out "Girls have 8 minutes, guys have 7 minutes, Kendra has 6 minutes!" The pressure was always on. However, it made me feel like I was actually pretty decent at it, making my love for it only grow! My junior year of high school, my track coach would find me running 6 miles on this trail around our school before practice. At that point, he then pretty much made me do Cross country whether I liked it or not! It wasn't until after I graduated high school that I really fell in love with long distance. I remember dating a guy at the time that loved to watch football- me, not so much! I would take that time instead and go for a run... sometimes finding myself getting in 30 miles on a whim! I did so many solo ultra length distance runs before I even thought about signing up for a race.
2. So, what IS an ultra marathon?
A ultra-marathon is technically considered anything longer than marathon distance (26.2 miles). There are several different distances ranging between 50k and even 200 milers now & beyond!
3. Tell us about the race you have coming up!
I am signed up for Run Rabbit Run 100! It is a 100 mile foot race in Steamboat Springs, CO! It starts at 8am on Friday the 14th and runners have until Saturday the 15th at 8 pm to finish. It's a long day/night in the mountains. Basically you continuously eat a lot of food & keep putting one foot in front of the other for however many hours it takes to finish. Instead of sleeping Friday night, I will be running. It's going to be a struggle fest to say the least, and it's going to hurt... everywhere! There will be some highs, and a lot of lows. You definitely have to have just as much if not more mental strength than just physical strength alone! Wish me luck!
4. We know you are YTT certified, can you tell us about your experience getting your certification and how it has impacted your life today?
Ooooof! My YTT experience goes down as one of my biggest life changing experiences to date...
Getting yoga certified has been a dream of mine for many years. I fell in love with yoga and the idea of perhaps one day teaching it over 15 years ago! After a couple years of much more serious thought and desire, I soon realized things in life don't always come when you want them to but rather when it's what you NEED.
Things had finally lined up just right and I signed up in March 2017 to get YTT certified in November in Montezuma, Costa Rica! Between March and November I had some really big highs, but also some extremely big lows that came with it. Ultimately, I found myself in the deepest state of depression in the final months leading up to my YTT. When people would ask how excited I was, I remember even trying to crack a fake smile was near impossible... I felt completely dead inside. I couldn't care less at that point if I were to go or not. I remember being in tears most of the flight down there. But once I arrived, I felt a sense of relief. Not just because I was in such a beautiful place, but I was also surrounded by some beautiful souls. As everyone was getting to know one another over the first week or so, I found myself not making any effort. Throughout the weeks- I found myself opening up more and more. This group ended up learning a lot more about me than most still do. I found my sangha :)
An intense Yoga Nidra session, healing circle on the last day, our closing ceremony.. just a few memories that'll be forever engraved in my mind. I can't really put into words how much those few weeks changed my life. I do know the experience came into my life at the exact right time it was supposed to, and it honestly saved my life. Ever since, I've looked at life and all it presents in a much more beautiful way :)
5. What is one thing you can't live without?
6. What does a typical day look like for you?
Lately, waking up as late as possible to get ready for work and make coffee as training and just life has gotten me straight up exhausted! Then I get to go spend the day in literally the best office possible, MIKA <3! Best job ever!
After work, I typically drive west and go for a trail run, sometimes grabbing a beer at a local brewery afterwards- because balance!
Most nights lately are spent out at some fun outdoor event or at home- simply filled with good music, yummy food, an amazing boyfriend and of course my Italian Greyhound Louigi! Zero complaints!
Many weekend days, I fill up a good chunk of time with mini trips/adventures or long runs. Oh, and I also teach Goat yoga! :)
7. How do you motivate yourself?
I love learning, I love growing, I love seeing just what the human body is capable of. That's all the motivation I need :)
8. How do you manage running and yoga together?
I've been a runner longer than I've been a yogi, but once yoga came into my life the physical benefits alone were pretty noticeable. I started doing yoga here and there roughly 17 years ago. At the time, it was just something new for me- a different type of workout. Soon realizing, the more I stayed consistent with it- the better I felt inside and out. My hamstrings especially have taken a major beating over the years with a lot of running and not any where close to the amount of stretching I should be doing! Soon enough I realized that the 2 went pretty perfect together. The yoga definitely helped with my tight muscles keeping me injury free. Also, giving me a reason to chill out a bit, compared to always going full speed through life. I even came up with an idea to create a class called YoRunGa! I bet you can guess what that entails?!
It wasn't until a few years ago where I learned the real essence of yoga (being the mental/spiritual and meditative side) would provide just as many benefits, if not a hell of a lot more! In Ultra-marathons, you of course have to be strong physically and have the endurance. However, more important is a strong & positive mind. During an ultra, you WILL find yourself not only in physical pain, but also in a really dark place mentally. Having a strong mind leaves you capable than a lot more than you ever thought your body was capable of at the moment. However dark it may get- it only makes me more thirsty to get deeper into yoga and running, with a desire to keep growing!
9. Whats one piece of advice you would give your younger self?
'Whatever you do, keep doin' YOU!'
Not that I was ever in a stage where I didn't or don't need improvements, but all my 'bad choices/mistakes' and hardships in life have made me who I am today.. and I'm pretty in love with that person!
10. What is one of your lifetime goals?
Infinit happiness... to forever strive towards me being the best version of me possible. Being able to be the light and shine that light on others.
Also, getting a Dole or Del Monte sponsorship so I can eat endless delicious pineapple the rest of my life!
Keep up with Kendra on her Instagram page here.