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Running Life: A Fitness Protection Production

Coach MK (Fleming) is the founder of Fitness Protection, LLC. She is a run coach not life coach, but we're never really talking about the running! She isn't afraid to call out, and push back against, Diet Culture and its impact on her runners. She is committed to ensuring that no runner discounts their own badassery while combatting fatphobia and sizeism in the fitness industry.

This podcast is geared towards every runner who won’t lose their home or health insurance if they show up to the corral with a hangover (though we do not advise it!). Whether you are a marathoner or a hobbyjogger, you will find something to enjoy when the coaches start talking as we run through this marathon of life, together.

Jun 15, 2020


You’ve probably heard it said that “running is therapy.” Though we push back HARD against that idea, therapy is our therapy and nothing else comes close, we can see where this comes from. 

We see our running buddies every Saturday and rarely socialize in between. Most of my running friends have never met my colleagues, my coworkers, my spouse or my friends outside the running community. They exist totally separately.

I tell you that to tell you THIS:  conversations can get DEEP on long runs. The lack of connection to the rest of our lives means we can be more ourselves, speak more freely, talk more openly. It is a safe place to ask dangerous questions. What is said on a run, stays on a we thought it would be fun to host some of these free, TMI conversations on the podcast, covering topics as well as details that wouldn’t be appropriate to share anywhere else.

We are kicking off this series with one of our Sponsored Athletes, who also happens to be my running buddy, Kade, who is 9 months into his gender transition. It won’t take long to see why we’re friends- we are both loud, proud, and outspoken AF. When Kade posted about his new appendage arriving in the mail, my clients had QUESTIONS. Then, I realized I had questions, too; we hadn’t run together in awhile so we hadn’t yet a direct conversation about his transition. Kade, amazingly, agreed to have that conversation on our podcast.

Come on now, you KNOW you’re curious! Get ready to be a fly on the wall for this amazing conversation where we learn everything I’ve ever wanted to know about Kade’s transition, questions I would only ever ask him on a run; which frankly is the only time and place for my totally ignorant and taboo questions, like, “do you ACTUALLY have a D^ck in a box?” and “is it like...a neuticle?”


Note: We want to be exceptionally clear: the purpose of this podcast isn’t shock value, but there will be a lot of talk about anatomy. We are not exploiting Kade to expand our audience, we are trying to draw our audience closer to one of our Sponsored Athletes.  All of the questions have been filtered by the team, and I’m proud to say nothing really needed to be edited, softened or changed. We have a really amazing community, and I’m proud that Kade is a part of it. 

Questions from MK

  • So, it’s hard to know where to start- because I still fumble when I try to talk about us in the past tense! Like, “you aren’t dead, but you’re kinda like Voldemort! I can’t say your old name!  When I slip, and we both know I do, does it hurt your feelings or make you not want to talk to me?
  • So, is it like “deadnaming”?
  • Can you give us a brief rundown on you, then tell us how would you describe yourself at the time we met?
  • You’re the most confident human either of us have known, so this didn’t make sense to us, it really surprised us. To be clear: we love you and support you 100%, we just didn’t see this coming. Was it just us? Have others been surprised, or admitted they were surprised?
  • Tell us a bit about your gender journey (is that how we describe it?) Because when we met, you struck me as SO sure of yourself. I realize the parts of you that I LOVE won’t be affected by the transition, how do you feel about the parts that ARE changing?
  • Looking back, its hard to think that wasn’t 100% you, so how are you more you, now?
  • So, once you realized it was time to transition, what does that look like? Is there an infographic, is it case by case? How did you decide where to start and what to do?
  • Which surgeries do you NOT want to do and why?
  • Which surgeries are the most important and why?
  • Your transition has prompted some DEEP conversations with my therapist! I generally speaking don’t feel safe around white men! It took FOREVER to get there with my husband. I’m still working out how your pee-pipe will change our relationship….how do you think it will change us? How is it changing your other female friendships? 
  • How is it changing your male friendships?
  • What is your best day ever, has it come yet or when will it be?
  • How can I, as your friend, I as the founder of a media company with a platform, and everyone listening, support you as well as the community?

Questions from FPP Clients

  • Did MK pressure you into this? Why did you say yes, did you feel like you could say no?
  • How has FPP made you feel #coachedandloved?
  • Has running helped through your transition?
  • You post a LOT about your t-shots. How do those feel, and what’s the recovery like? (separate, similar question): my son has type1 diabetes and has to give himself injections, is this anything like that? Are you injecting into your muscles or do you have to find a vein and change location each time?
  • can Kade recall any reactions to his transition that were well-intended, but hurt his feelings? Or can good intentions make up for a stumble?
  • Kade we greatly appreciate your openness about your experiences.  It seems like people have a wide range of comfort levels with what they are willing to discuss.  How is the best way to determine what’s appropriate to talk about with people in our social circle who may be transitioning.
  • I cannot wait to hear more from Kade! I think it's so important to hear other perspectives. My question is what are the phases of transition and what happens during each phase. I'm hoping to better understand the journey and the struggles at each phase (I'm assuming each phase has a different struggle but could be wrong!) And what I could do to help support someone who is struggling! Thank you Kade for being so open and honest for us
  • A lot of emphasis is put in the media on labels and pronouns.  When we meet someone who we aren’t sure whether they are a male or female how is the best way to handle this respectfully if we are in a situation where typically a label or pronoun would be used.
  • What’s the difference between gender fluid, gender non conforming, and transgendered?? How is this different from being a male or female who prefers things that might not be typical in the cultural archetype (I.e tomboy or boy who dances or does flag team?)
  • How does Kade identify his sexuality currently and did this change when he began to transition.
  • How does dating work as person who is transgendered.  Do you tell potential dates that you are transgendered before you have a date, on the first date, etc?
  • Kade said his appendage came in the mail (I.e prosthetic penis), will it work?? 
  • I mentioned this upcoming podcast to my neighbors because to them there is nothing off limits in any conversation and I thought they would have some good questions...and they did! I know Kade is having his top surgery, but they were interested in learning more about bottom surgery if Kade can give more information on it. 
  • Are you sure you want a penis as a runner?? I mean there jock rot and ball chafe, wearing cups, why would you want that mess?
  • Given that you can’t change the underlying chromosomes that caused you to be born with female anatomy, do you think changing the outward appearance of your anatomy will clear your gender discomfort or do you think you will have feeling of discomfort even though you are living as a male?
  • There seems to be some debate about whether health insurance should cover transition surgeries as a necessary medical procedure or if it is self covered as a cosmetic procedure.  Are your surgeries covered and could you speak to why or why not they should be covered.  
    • Follow up - from my reading some people say that the procedures should be covered because the surgery will treat the extreme psychological discomfort that having the opposite sex parts causes to a person who is transgendered has.  How is this discomfort different or more valid that the extreme discomfort caused by a biological woman who wants breast implants because her AAA breast’s cause her to feel not like a woman or someone who has extreme discomfort of because of other body features, birth marks, etc?
  • Does Kade have any advice for parents raising children in our very gendered society?

100% of the proceeds from our Pride line will benefit Project Semicolon, the organization that supported our Sponsored Athlete Kade Schuldt.