From the desk of the least creative person on the globe –

Before

You may have a hard time believing this. Trust me when I say my astrological sign did me no favors. I have zero creativity. I am not the good idea fairy. I’m a left brain with very little common sense and no fight or flight response. I just stand there. Like an idiot. True story.

But in an attempt to be more creative and see what I can accomplish, I drove past an estate sale in my neighborhood over the weekend and decided to stop. You know what they say about trash and treasures. I was not disappointed! I found an incredible treasure! The chest of my visions. This exact chest was the one I envisioned when I transformed broken eggs into beautiful butterflies. For $20, my dreams could be realized.

Ok, so it wasn’t exactly the dream I had pictured. This one seems to have been decorated with wallpaper. The chest in my mind is bold and dark and symbolic of the mental strength I’ve been diligently working toward for months. Insert elbow grease, a sander, and some wood stain. Ta-Da!

a work in progress

I removed the hardware and began sanding it. Gone is the tan finish and the wallpaper inlay. P.S. it smelled like a very, very old home. No offense to the nice ladies who parted with it. I hope it kept safe many fantastic memories.

I also purchased a decorative wall thingy ($4) and a large corner table ($6). Apparently there was a sale going on after 1pm and everything was more than half off the original price. Now I see why garage-sale’ing is a sport. Separate post forthcoming.

Unfortunately for my readers, this post doesn’t end with a photo of the finished product. I promise to have a big reveal when the wall thingy, table, and chest are 100% complete. I don’t mean to tease you. That’s not my intention. But I am so excited about this project and I hope you’ll be as amazed as I am. I won’t make you wait too long!

_____________________

I ask you –

Do you enjoy attending garage or estate sales?

Fun fact: my parents are notorious for buying loads of junk at these sales for pennies on the dollar.

Have you ever refurbished something? Tips?

A Muse Amused

Recently it came to my attention the term “self care” is millennial in origin. Forgive me, I had no idea. I don’t really identify as millennial although I’m sure many would argue my point. You see, as a child of the mid-80s, growing up with older parents lent me a perspective of drive and self-sufficiency. Also, I was a middle child. It was hard! Millennial, aka Gen Y, alludes to traits of entitlement and laziness. Most certainly I am not. But, to be fair, I can’t change what year I was born or what catchy name it will be given so here we are. Written from the desk of a Millennial. You’re welcome.

I shall anoint an area of stress free zonage

The topic here is self care which can mean something different for everyone. Your idea of self care might be a glass of whiskey and a guitar (here’s looking at you, Dan). My idea shifts between a cup of coffee and a 35,000 word count book. Or a bubble bath. Basic. At one point I was referred to as a close friend’s muse. We must’ve missed the mark because a muse would never be this funny! Or would they? I take relaxation very seriously. So seriously, in fact, I don’t even know when I have time for it so when it does happen, it’s a very real luxury. Parents, please raise your hands and glasses high.

Inspiration for others I may lack – but I do know we don’t take care of ourselves well. I write this from my laptop, with my desktop computer set at full volume so I don’t miss emails, whilst (trying out my English lingo) juggling the phone and making calls, beside an empty refillable water cup. Nailing it, Kel! Essentially, I’m over-multitasked, dehydrated, and potentially deaf. Let’s not forget I’m a perfect candidate for carpal tunnel. Fantastic.

My home coffee station is self care at its finest

Self care is unplugging and self-exploring. But who has time for that?! You best make time, that’s all I can say. The chance of you suffering from a stress-induced ailment is so high. If you won’t take care of yourself, who will? Is this that millennial notion to believe others will always take care of me, my every whim will be catered to, and my protective bubble shall save me from my own mistakes? Good try.

Even the muse must find her own muse. Or else suffer the wrath of becoming amused. Ta-da. An amused muse. In taking this to a fundamental level, I can only hope I bring inspiration to more than who simply find me annoying and long-winded. I come by it honestly, trust me. Looking for your own muse? Well, sorry, I’m already obligated to another. But I can find you a lovely candidate! Kidding, this isn’t a muse delivery service. However, obligations extend beyond providing another inspiration. The obligation should foremost be to yourself. Do as the millennials do: practice self-care. And amuse yourself.

___________________

I ask you –

Do you have a muse? What inspires you about them?

Self care: take it or leave it?

Are you a Millennial?

Solo Date

Everything important makes it onto the calendar

I found myself in one of the happiest places on Earth. Not Disney World. This is Texas. Guess what? No matter what state you live in, you, too, have the happiest place near you!

A bookstore! Gotcha. As I aimlessly wandered each and every aisle simultaneously searching for everything and nothing, I easily became lost in this other world. Picking up one book after another and carefully reading the synopsis of both the book and the author. Time stood still.

Granted this was a busy Saturday afternoon in only one of a few bookstores in my small town. Thinking back on it, I don’t recall the volume level of the store as I was so lost.

Books do this for me. Maybe they do it for you, as well. We’re able to travel to another world, the world an author has created for us. Better than movies, in my own opinion, because a book can be anything I desire. It’s not the picture painted by a producer and fancy visual effects – a book is what I see in my mind. Scary place, let me tell ya’.

Running books I’d never give myself time to read

When was the last time you enjoyed an hour or two by yourself? Doing dishes or scrolling social media doesn’t count! I’m referring to an actual activity you love to do; one you haven’t been able to enjoy alone for some time. We all have priorities and extended obligations, but how many times do I touch upon making ourselves the priority? Answer: all the time! It can make such a difference to our mental well-being when we put our own health at the top of the to-do list. I love meeting gym members who say working out is their “me time”. Exercise is funny like that. There’s very few other things you can do while running, strength training, or conditioning your body to burn off excess energy. (Listening to music or watching videos is a passive activity.) If working out is your idea of me time, you’re doing a great job because every part of you is getting in on the action. Quite literally.

Dating myself

It wouldn’t be fair to discount those whose idea of me time is definitely not breaking a sweat. You are my people, too. Ambling the bookstore aisles, retail therapy of any sort, watching a movie alone…all these activities are included. And it doesn’t have to cost money either. Take yourself to a local park, find a quiet park bench, and read the newspaper. They still publish printed newspapers, right? Sit on your back porch and stare at the birds or squirrels. Nature offers plenty of opportunities for me time. Go hiking or kayaking. Did I mention I own a kayak that hasn’t seen water in years? I need to take her out! Your solo date can be anything to strike your fancy.

Make an appointment and hold yourself to the date. I looked forward to it each day because I drew a huge box in my calendar and made sure nothing would interfere. Share your ideas with a significant other or a close friend; just don’t invite them. Remember this is solo. Enjoy yourself!

___________________

I ask you –

When was the last time you took yourself out? What did you do?

How do you do ‘me time’?

Books? Or movies?

Magical Motivation

What if I told you there was a magic weight loss pill? Lies. All lies. Imagine if I told you that magic pill lives inside you. Truth be told…

Living for today

The philosopher in me likes to quote Sir Webster – Motivation is defined as “the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.” Unfortunately for us all, motivation is an abstract concept, not a pill or drug to be ingested. Not even an idea to learn and accept. Damn the luck. Life without motivation is a proverbial half squat. You’re literally half-assing your life. Squats, even half, have a place (in life), but you’re not giving it even a good ol’ college try without motivation to complete the full squat. Maybe you have an injury and that’s your reason for being unable to do the full squat. I get it! But does it bode well for you if you’re fully recovered from said hypothetical injury and still only doing half squats? Herein lies the problem.

What does it take to motivate you to begin working on your self? Bribery? Gifts? A new wardrobe? Only you have the answer. I spend the majority of my day eliciting reasons for motivation from members and non-members. Why now? What has changed in your life to bring you here today? Do you have a support system? What results are you looking to obtain? (all actual questions I ask on repeat)

I can tell you I’ve heard it all. From “my wedding is in 3 months” to “my kids are unable to sit on my lap” to “I was recently diagnosed with (insert health condition)”. I share in every reason, every excuse and counter it with the motivational phrase that fits whatever particular puzzle each person is working through. It’s exhausting, let me tell you. But no matter what I say or do, I can only change so much. I can give you the key, the instructions, the time, and the space, but I can’t, as much as it pains me to say, actually MOTIVATE you. I failed the course on miracle-making.

The experts tout a few simple ways to be motivated:

Set a goal.

Get excited!

Commit publicly.

Think about it daily.

Find your WHY!

3 out of 4 isn’t bad! Here’s my advice: find something you love and do it! Think about how whatever it is makes you feel and dive in! It’s perfectly healthy to doubt your ability to complete something; however, don’t let that prevent you from trying. Ask why not instead of telling yourself I can’t. Whether it’s Free By Fifty or going to bed 1 hour earlier than usual, commit with your whole heart!

______________

I ask you –

What goals have you set for yourself?

Did you share those with anyone or keep them to yourself?

How do you self-motivate?

Healthy Roads, take me home…to the bod, I belong!

As I write this from the passenger seat of a 6 hour turnaround road trip – I realize it’s very difficult to make healthy choices on the road. Did I mention I just stopped at a convenience store in my semi-hometown of Avery, TX and purchased a chimichanga from the 7-11? To be clear, these are the only chimichangas I’ve ever eaten and they’re a treat to my eating habits. Point made.

Speeding laws? Who needs them!

Healthy highway food options can be limited. But not impossible. With proper planning (which I clearly did none of) making healthy choices while traveling is completely doable. Every place has an option or alternative to the regular menu. And even if they don’t, it’s up to you to keep marching toward your goals. Where there’s a will and all that.

Research is important. I don’t enjoy eating fast food or eating out at all really so I have to make plans. I need to know what’s along my route, when we’ll be there, and what kind of mood I’m in. Because we all know the female mindset is dictated at times by mood.

Mood notwithstanding – another option is bring your own snacks! I’m notorious for having snacks in my purse. You just never know when an urge for plain, boring, no salt added, raw almonds will hit. You mean that urge never hits? Ohhhh. In any case, snacks are always in season! Fruit snacks for the mini and almonds for me. Personally, I like trail mix. Other choices are granola bars, cereal mixes, cheese, and/or beef jerky. At best, these snacks prevent you from stopping to indulge in fast food until you can get home. We stop for nothing!

The title of this post? So glad you asked! Munchkin is obsessed with the John Denver song “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and sings it endlessly. My favorite part is her rendition of the lyrics that go something like this: West Virginia, Mountain Mommy. Now you have earworms. You’re welcome.

Earworm enjoyment – when I can get my Munchkin’s version uploaded, I will update!

________________

I ask you –

Any songs you’re currently stuck on?

Did you read my post about earworms? If not, check it out!

How do you make healthy nutritional choices while traveling?

FitrWoman – Train Smarter!

Just some light reading

For many years, I’ve noticed the changes in my own training cycle would be affected by my menstrual cycle. As a woman who enjoys knowing things about my body, I use a few apps to track ovulation, estimated period length, and other symptoms. It seemed there was always a component lacking in these apps, though – they didn’t track the effect your monthly cycle has on your ability to train athletically, much less reach a goal.

Hey Diva!

Luckily, other women had this great idea! I found out about this app in an article posted in Women’s Running. Introducing FitrWoman, available via the App Store or Google Play. I had very high hopes and it has yet to fall short. There’s even a supplemental app, FitrCoach, for those who train female athletes. Though not free like FitrWoman, the coaching ability is a must-have for anyone instructing women in this capacity.

FitrWoman connects with Strava to track not only your workouts but also to meld it with your cycle. My personal favorite part of FitrWoman is the insights portion. The changes in hormones within our bodies affect every literal part of training, from nutrition to cravings to overall strength. I’ve always noticed during certain days of my cycle I would be unable to lift as heavy or my heart rate would be much higher than usual even if I wasn’t training any harder. Turns out these are all common physiology symptoms! Even sweating more and experiencing an increased body temperature are typical. I’m not crazy!

FitrWoman also includes recipes and food suggestions for optimal training during each phase of your cycle, as well as articles discussing topics like PMS and contraception, among many others. I think both men and women could use some extra reading material to truly understand these pieces of female life.

Screenshot of FitrWoman calendar

For more information, if you’re not sold by my words alone, check it out at https://www.fitrwoman.com. I continue referring to my app for daily insights and information on how to truly train for my body. It’s exciting to see the cycles run their course. Haha get it. Any chance we have to exceed our own expectations should be taken!

________________________

I ask you –

Are you using FitrWoman?

Did you know the connection between training and menstrual cycles?

What feedback do you have that would make FitrWoman better?

Injury Prevention (not always possible) – Anticipating a Derailment

You can’t expect not to have an injury, illness, or life event during an 18 week training program. Well, you can…but prepare to be fooled. So at week 6, I got a little ahead of myself and prematurely began patting myself on the back for a job well done. Then it happened. Karma. She’s so sweet.

Cracker Stash

After a night of illness that carried over into the following 2 days, I was forced to re-evaluate what training and nutrition looked like. A diet of crackers and 7-Up isn’t enough for any kind of strenuous exercise. Though it may not sound like a big deal, training is very strategic and we don’t want to miss much because this is how we help our body adapt to the weight we’re placing on it. It’s like a second job! A second job that eats away at our time and forces us to pay for it. But, look, a banana and a medal! Score!

Too familiar with First Aid

Nevertheless, the show must go on. More importantly than keeping to a schedule is the ability to let go of the schedule for a short amount of time to focus on recovery. Rest is best! If this is where you say “but rest doesn’t cross the finish line” – I happily disagree. Rest is a rather large building block of performance. Without it, you got nothin’, friend.

Rest is almost considered indulgent nowadays. Who has time for rest? Today, we go, go, go without a second thought to what rest looks and feels like. The guilt of allowing ourselves the luxury to rest is real. How dare we take care of ourselves as if someone else will do it for us? Pshhh. You said it, Kel. No one else will. And when you don’t, many times, it ends in injury to mind or body. Unfortunately there will be times preventing an injury is out of your control. You could have the best plans and have your nutrition completely on par, but still suffer from illness. The body can’t fight everything all the time. So what do you do then?

Rest. Be gentle on yourself. Say it louder, Kel; the ones who just closed their browser at this ridiculous advice didn’t hear you. Be kind to yourself. Let a few sessions go. Eat crackers. Hold out for the day when you’ll feel better and ready to return. Granted, this isn’t permission to say screw the plan and go rogue. Ummmm no. In focusing more on living for today (post forthcoming), I’m not losing sight of my goals and dreams. I’m just re-adjusting to a temporary norm. Very temporary.

But don’t be mistaken. That 12 miler is still calling my name.

_________________

I ask you –

What was the last injury you experienced?

Is rest really best or do you have some other great advice?

How many crackers can you eat without going completely insane? (package 3 and counting)