Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards is a physical therapist, author, speaker, educator, and entrepreneur. With a passion for revolutionizing treating and caring for runners, Kate is on a mission to expand the perspective of what it means to be successful as a runner.
In a world where success is often equated solely with physical performance and race results, Kate challenges this notion and advocates for a more holistic approach. Drawing from her 13+ years of experience in treating thousands of frustrated athletes, coupled with her personal journey through injuries and health challenges, she understands that an athlete’s victory goes far beyond their body or their sport.
As the CEO and founder of Precision Performance & Physical Therapy in Atlanta and her newest endeavor, Fast Bananas, Kate has been a guiding force for athletes seeking a fresh perspective. Her belief in the need to shift the sports paradigm is evident, emphasizing that sometimes, we need to slow down to go faster, and finding balance is key to reaching one’s highest potential.
Check out our full interview with Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards below.
You first started your career in marketing and then decided to not only leave your job but to transition to an entirely new path, making a full career change. What was the pivotal moment that spurred this change? Additionally, what guidance would you offer to those contemplating a similar leap?
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: It comes down to what you want to look back on when you’re at the end of your life and say that you are proud of. And what do you want to wake up to every morning? Do you want to be stressed out and not love what you’re doing? Or do you want to be doing something that you love and making a difference in the world?
For me, that’s what it came down to. I didn’t find tons of joy in what I was doing initially right out of college. And, I had a lot of passion for running and health and wellness. I found that by going down that path, I not only was really enjoying my every day, but I was also successful in what I was doing.
You have an incredible story that led you into your specialization – and that journey involved you listening to your body (which so many of us actively try to avoid doing). Can you talk a bit about that?
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: Early on in my career, I was not a person who was very good at listening to my body. I tried to be the best, pushed the hardest I could, and pushed past every warning sign or red flag my body ever gave me, to the point where I pushed myself so hard that I couldn’t come back from it.
I was diagnosed with my rare genetic heart disease, ARVC (Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy), about eight or nine years ago now. At the time, I was in a practice that was really cutthroat. Everybody had to work a lot of hours and none of us really collaborated very much.
I kept pushing until I couldn’t anymore. And I almost died running, which made me stop for several months. At that time, everything was taken away from me. So it started with, you probably shouldn’t run very fast and then you shouldn’t run very far. Then it was you shouldn’t bike or swim or really run at all.
All of my coping mechanisms were exercise. And they were taken away. I was left with everything else. You know, how do you feel? Whether you’re thinking all of the things that we actively try to avoid through exercise, overworking, and everything else. And when I was really broken down and left with all of that, I had a chance to see how important it was to take time to reflect, heal, and address all aspects of my health so that I could be a healthy person from the inside out.
That’s when I started to go on that journey of recognizing the signs that my body was giving me. Taking time to slow down when I needed to. And realizing by doing all that and listening to those cues and those flags, I was able to accomplish much more and push myself in ways that I didn’t realize I could. Because I was giving myself the recovery that I needed.
After deciding to open your own practice, you had a waiting list from day one. Looking back at that time and that business launch, is there anything that you wish you had done differently? Or realizations you had where you recognize if you had done this or that it would have been an easier launch for you.
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: [Laughs] Sorry, there are a lot of easier ways to do everything that I do. So, if I’m completely honest, I am the kind of person who runs off a cliff and jumps without looking. And I think that it would be much easier if I had a plan sometimes.
I’ve gotten a lot better about having a plan and rolling things out as I’ve gone through business and worked in different businesses. But I would say that I’m so passionate about things that I just believe it’s gonna work. I just have this feeling that it’s going to work. So I just do it.
So, I think that for my opening of my first clinic, I probably should have stepped back and known what was going to happen in terms of my waiting list and how busy I was going to be. Because that’s how it was when I was leaving the practice that I was working at.
I wish I had really thought through it and said, ‘Okay, why don’t I plan for the worst instead of pretending that it probably wasn’t going to be that busy or that big of a deal?’
When you were starting that first clinic you only had one employee at that time, right?
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: Well, it was just me at first. But very quickly, within probably a week or two, I realized I couldn’t be alone. So, my friend, who is my running partner and has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, was my first administrative assistant. She was on a break from school at the time and was so overqualified for the position. But I just begged her for help.
It’s so difficult to find good support, which is especially true when making those initial hires. Moving forward from your friend and finding someone that’s the right fit for you (and will be with you longer term), what was your approach? What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are looking to find the right support for their new business?
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: I think that it’s different for everybody. Actually, one of my husband’s bosses told him a long time ago that when you open a company, you learn the most about yourself and about who you’re going to hire when you hire your first three employees. I truly believe that because every employee I’ve hired, I’ve learned something from. It was with things that I didn’t realize I needed to know, obviously.
I think you have to figure out what you’re passionate about, what your brand is about, and how you are as a leader. That way, you can figure out who will work well with you. I know what I’m really good at and I know what I’m really bad at. I want people that will be really good at the things I’m bad at so that we can have a more complete, well-rounded team.
So, I think there’s a lot to it. And I think every company is different and every leader is different. It’s a lot of trial and error.
Even once you get off the ground and you’re rocking and rolling, finding good employees who care about your business as much as you do can still be really challenging. And to your point, people that you’re learning from as well.
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: I agree. I’m currently looking for a new employee, and every time I do, I go through the same process. And I revisit maybe things that could have been better, or things that you wish you had done differently with other employees. Then, you try to do a better job every single time and find a better fit.
When you were getting started with that first clinic, you started adding a lot to your plate fairly quickly. You opened another clinic, started a podcast, took on speaking engagements, became an author, and your involvement with Atlanta Track Club. The list goes on and on. So, how do you balance it all? What is your secret to being able to do all of that and maintain it?
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: Part of me doesn’t know how I do it. I do delegate a lot of things.
I think that I’ve learned over time that in order to make a big impact, I have to train other people to do what I do and bring other people into the fold. Without that, I can’t succeed at all. So, everybody that works with me helps me to accomplish what I need to accomplish, or what I’m setting out to accomplish.
Delegation is hard to learn how to do, especially if you have a very specific vision of how you want things done. But you have to let go of some of your control and trust that your team will be able to execute your vision.
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: Yeah, it’s really hard. Delegation is very difficult. I think that young leaders have a hard time with that. I’m still a relatively young leader, and I do have a hard time sometimes. But I think that when you fill your plate, as much as I have filled it, it becomes easier much more quickly. Because you don’t have a choice. You can either say, ‘I’m not going to do this podcast anymore because I have no time.’ Or you can say, ‘Hey, co-host, why don’t you take over this piece of it?’ And I’ll still be doing this.’
You start to give away the things that don’t need as much of your attention. But then it comes back to hiring the right people. I can rely on the people that I’ve hired. I absolutely wholeheartedly trust them to do a good job because I know that they will.
So, talking about all of this brings us to your newest venture, Fast Bananas. Can you speak a bit about that and what your long-term vision is for that brand?
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: I want Fast Bananas to be the place that everybody that ever runs goes to, to find information and resources. So we built RUNsource, an online platform for runners with everything from strength training to yoga, nutrition, and mental fitness.
We even just launched injury programs. So if you have a stress fracture and are coming back from it, it has a strength program and a running progression. Additionally, it has information about why you might have had a stress fracture. It talks about the nutrition components you need to consider and the mental and emotional pieces.
So, I’m building out what I hope every runner will use. It’ll become an everyday word, RUNsource. Have you checked out RUNsource for that? I know that it’s the one place where everything is directly from experts, and it’s good content that is meaningful.
Not having a background in website development or digital platform creation, what did the technical journey of bringing this brand online look like for you? And what advice would you offer to entrepreneurs who are launching a digital brand that may not know anything about how to make a website, but they know the content that they want to put out?
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: I think there are different types of entrepreneurs. Some have the idea and then delegate it all, while others learn on the fly and consume as much information and education as they can. I’m one of the latter, and I taught myself how to do everything. This can be good, but it can also be bad because there are things that you might not realize you don’t know.
My advice is to find people who know what they’re doing, whether to advise you or do the work for you if you can afford it. I’m bootstrapping the company. So I haven’t brought in as many people, and I don’t really want investors right now. If I took investors, I would probably outsource everything I’m doing now and focus on sales. It just depends on how you want to build the company and what your long-term goals are. There are lots of ways to do it.
Initially, it was overwhelming. However, by making phone calls, talking to people, and reading up, I was able to figure out the platforms and find a good editor. A good editor makes a huge difference.
That’s all the stuff you don’t need to know any tech for. The tech really comes down to building out the website and figuring out how to host all the information and content. I don’t know that we’re doing it the best way we could yet. I think there’s room to improve. And I think it comes down to needing to spend a little bit more money very soon down the road.
I love stories of bootstrapping. As the founder of the company, no one understands the vision of your brand better than you. Bootstrapping gives you the freedom and control of that vision, so you can make sure that your brand stays true to your vision. That’s not always possible when you have investors, who may have ideas that may or may not align with yours. Beyond financial considerations, what have you found to be the challenges and advantages of bootstrapping?
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: So, some of the advantages of bootstrapping are complete control, not having to answer to anybody, and being able to make decisions very quickly. Those are the important things, and I’m really glad that I still have that.
I think from a challenge standpoint, I know that this could go so much faster, and I would have more resources if I didn’t bootstrap it. I think that when you open up to investors, you also open up to all of their networks, expertise, and knowledge, which can make things happen pretty quickly.
Luckily, I have a very big network. So I’m still leaning on it, and they’re introducing me to other people. My network is still growing. But I do think it could happen much more quickly if I had brought on investors.
You have this quote that I absolutely love. “You have to slow down to go faster.” Can you talk a little bit about that concept and not just how it applies to runners, because it is very obvious there. But how it also applies to entrepreneurs building their own brand. There is this idea with entrepreneurs that when you’re getting started, if you’re not doing something all the time or you’re not going faster and harder and longer, then you feel like you’re failing at something.
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: Yeah, I completely agree. I have a lot of friends who are entrepreneurs. So I’ve seen both sides of it. I think that’s part of the reason I feel really lucky.
And that’s part of the reason I think of that kind of “you have to slow down to go fast.” I’ve seen several of my friends burn themselves out so much that it put them in trouble from a health perspective. They got sick, were injured, or had major health issues as soon as they sold their company, right near the end of it, or in the middle while they were trying to build it.
I had that happen to me, so having that perspective helps me. But also, going through what I went through from a health scare early on gave me the shift in perspective I needed to come into entrepreneurship.
For me, like today, I got up and I ran. Once a week, I run. It’s a run-walk. And I did my 2.5 miles with my girlfriend this morning. I had breakfast, then sat down and meditated. After I meditated, I did a little bit of yoga, just meditative yoga. Then I made myself a cup of coffee and started working.
If I don’t take that time for myself in the morning, where I’m moving my body and quieting my mind, then I can’t focus. I could sit in front of my computer for eight hours and get half the amount of stuff done than if I took that extra hour or hour and a half in the morning to take care of myself.
I struggle with this every day, because I work out every weekday morning. And I hate it the entire time I’m doing it. There’s a guilt or anxiety that I just need to be at my desk working so I don’t get behind. So, I try to frame it for myself that I need to treat myself as a client. I need to do this for myself and take this time. And after the workout, I’m always glad I do it. But it’s an internal battle. I wish I was an individual that enjoyed working out. But I just actively hate it.
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: Well, I think it comes back to the stories that we tell ourselves, right? That story we often tell ourselves, especially as female entrepreneurs, is that we are not enough. And if we’re not enough, then we’re never going to give ourselves enough time to do the things we need to do.
We are going to tell ourselves that we have to spend twice the amount of time doing something than we actually need to. And so there is some aspect of being a female entrepreneur where we have expectations that we have to maybe work a little bit harder, put in a little bit of extra time. But, I think it all comes back to how we feel about ourselves and the stories we tell ourselves.
At this point in your career, are there still challenges that intimidate you or scare you?
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: So Emma, I still feel don’t feel like I’m successful. That is the truth. Like I do not feel successful yet.
I actually hear this a lot. And I feel it myself. I think, specifically with female entrepreneurs, it’s this sense of, even though you are successful and you’ve done so much and you can look at all your accomplishments, we still don’t feel like we’ve made it.
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: Yeah, I don’t. I feel like I’m always scared of the next thing. I think that I’ve just decided that it’s okay to be scared. And that if I want to continue to move forward in what I’m doing, I have to do things that are uncomfortable. And so, for me, I love to stand up on a stage and talk to people. But it’s very hard for me to be in a big room full of people and talk and walk around in a social setting. And I need to do that. I need to talk about what we’re doing and the products. But it terrifies me. So, I’m really great when I’m in front of and on stage, and I love it. I’m also really good at one-on-one interactions. But the in-between is hard.
I feel it, and I also get drained from it. I’m an introvert, so going and doing those kinds of big things that you need to do to expose your brand is always scary and always hard for me.
It’s hard for me to talk to other CEOs that I want to do things with sometimes, you know what I mean? It’s really interesting. There’s a company that I’m going to be doing something with in the near future, and I’m actually going to be a speaker at their event. I was nervous to talk to them because I had this whole story in my head that I wasn’t good enough to be talking to them because their brand was so much cooler than mine, which is so silly.
It’s so common, though. So many female entrepreneurs that I’ve spoken to and interviewed have talked about that exact same thing. I definitely think that there’s something to continually pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. And then maybe one day you just turn around, look at what you’ve done, and realize, ‘Oh, no, wait. I am successful.’ And that imposter syndrome finally fades away. I keep waiting for an ‘aha’ moment with it. You know what I mean? Like, I expect it just to click one day.
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: I agree, and I don’t know what success means to me. I’ve tried to define it several times throughout my career. But every time I think I’ve figured it out, I realize that I’m not there yet. I think it’s an exercise that I have to go through again and again. Because success is not a destination, it’s a journey. I need to keep asking myself, “What does success look like for me?” and “Am I there yet?”
And that’s a moving bar, too. I mean, it’s not something that’s going to look the same for our entire lives. Like, hopefully, once somebody hits a goal, then they have another goal and another goal. So it’s always kind of a moving line.
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: It’s true. I feel like I have a lot of work to do still. There are a lot of things that I really want to do and that I’m meant to do. But I also really look forward to the day when I can sit down quietly and not have 10 million things on my mind.
Do you think you’ll ever be able to retire? I talk about it all the time. But I don’t think my brain would let me. I always feel like I need to be doing something. And I don’t see myself ever turning that part of me off. Do you see that for yourself in the future?
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: No, I actually had this conversation with somebody yesterday. I laughed because I couldn’t believe that their husband wanted to retire at 55. What is he going to do with the rest of his time? I probably will never retire. But I do hope that, someday, I have more time to plant plants and move more slowly.
What is next for you? And what practical management advice can you leave us with?
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: I think the most important part of my day is the first hour in the morning, when I allow myself to focus on what I need to do. Knowing when you work best is also really important. I work best in the afternoon after I’ve had some time to myself.
Trying not to overschedule yourself is really hard, and I definitely do that sometimes. But it’s important to build in some time for yourself. I also use a timer on my phone sometimes. For example, if I have 100 emails to go through, I’ll set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes and get through as many as I can in that time.
I start my day with a plan and have three top priorities. I have an obnoxiously large whiteboard in my office that I go through every day to list tasks and build out plans. So, all of these things help me with my time management.
As for what’s next for me, I really want to grow Fast Bananas as big as I can. I think someday I’ll want to sell the business. But it’s not something I’m attached to, like my medical practices. I want to make it great and take it as far as I can. I want to make it as amazing as it can be and then hand it over to someone who can take it further than I can alone.
It can be hard for an entrepreneur to detach from their business when a good opportunity to sell comes along. It can feel so personal. For me, I see my brands as my children. I know I should be open to a great opportunity if it comes along, but, at the same time, I can’t imagine selling them.
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards: I think it’s because I’ve seen it done before. When you see something done before, you know it’s possible, and that makes it easier to do yourself. And if you know what you’re good at, it makes it even easier.
I’m a dreamer, a creator, and a builder. I have big ideas. But I don’t want to run the day-to-day operations of my businesses. I want to build them, create them, make them incredible, and then send them on their way.
That’s a beautiful approach. You want to continue to build and send things on their way when they’re ready to stand on their own two feet. That’s the perfect note to wrap on!
Curious for more information on Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards and Fast Bananas? Be sure to check out Fast Bananas and the More than Miles podcast. You can also follow @fastbananasrun on Instagram and sign up for a weekly newsletter for running tips!
Emily Sprinkle, also known as Emma Loggins, is a designer, marketer, blogger, and speaker. She is the Editor-In-Chief for Women's Business Daily where she pulls from her experience as the CEO and Director of Strategy for Excite Creative Studios, where she specializes in web development, UI/UX design, social media marketing, and overall strategy for her clients.
Emily has also written for CNN, Autotrader, The Guardian, and is also the Editor-In-Chief for the geek lifestyle site FanBolt.com