Into the Unknown!

…and if you didn’t sing this title with all the gusto of Elsa the Ice Queen, I may have to reevaluate our relationship…

In fully contemplating my upcoming half marathon may very well be virtual, I faced a tough decision: where exactly would I run the miles? a) treadmill or b) outside -> which left me with many more questions, like if I chose outside (no brainer) where would I go? a) neighborhood or b) Gordon Lake aka my go-to running location. But what if there was another option; say a previous unknown location with many open miles of pavement and gravel?

c) Eureka!

During recon of new location, I’m mildly disappointed I didn’t know about this before. Too little, too late. But it’s not really too late because at least I know now! Intending to join a running group upon transitioning to my new job in the spring, apparently the rest of the world had other ideas. Surely they would have schooled me in the fine art of new path discovery. Locals refer to it as the Circle Trail; I’m sure by the end of this I’ll have my own name for it. Definitely not family friendly.

According to the maps I’ve located online and what’s posted around the trail, there’s over 20 miles of available running surface area. Translated: no reason I can’t do a half marathon (even a marathon) here. Might as well put all this training to good use. Granted this isn’t my first choice. I WANT to run with my childhood friend in San Antonio; however, if a wrench gets thrown in our plan, then I have a backup option. It may be my final chance to get some kind of event completed in 2020. In other words, why not?!

So as I plan to train on these trails, amidst the wildlife and foliage and abundance of wasps – all I need is to get stung; hello anaphylaxis – I’m both excited and reserved. This trail gives me all the feelings of last year’s Texas Double so we’ll start there. As always, standby for tall tales.

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I ask you –

Have you ever been the last to a party? Seems I’m way behind on what everyone else knew about.

Anyone else completed a virtual race this year? Suggestions?

Tell me what you’re allergic to!

Where Forgiveness Finds You

With a rather dark anniversary in my life approaching, much of my group discussions have centered on peace and forgiveness. As I explained, I expected a washing over of divine peace and all the good feelings when I said aloud the words “I forgive you”. Yeah, not so much.

Fast forward to the good stuff. It didn’t come. No butterflies appeared. No washing of anything. End of post. Haha you don’t get off that easily. Seems I was mistaken – don’t tell anyone – when I thought it was the end of my journey into forgiveness. Granted it’s been an almost 25 year process, but surely it can’t last forever, right? Right?!

Though not forgotten

Doubts begin to creep in regarding my ability to forgive my dad for his actions surrounding his death. I think the fallout and unanswered questions were more hurtful. I remember running on the treadmill in/around Dec 2018 and stopping mid-run because the tears wouldn’t cease. It felt like everything I’d bottled up was exploding from me (again). Maybe it was because I had finally experienced a profound love in my life; maybe it was destined to happen then. Who knows. But I somehow knew I had finally found forgiveness for the man I only knew for 10 short years.

It was miraculous. Life changing even. There was an inner smile, a light no one could extinguish. But all lights eventually go out. Time went on, patterns changed, and although I found my own forgiveness of him that day, every day since has been a battle. My heart gets heavy, I retreat inside myself, and I vow never to feel that type of hurt ever again. News flash! Hurt happens regardless.

Without a true sense of closure, I imagine I’ll live with this until I die. Little reminders will always trigger me. Dates in November and December may have me crying, unable to express the loss I feel, but dark days don’t last forever. Peace is found in the little things; He who watches over me ensures sorrow is replaced with light.

I believe it, if only by faith.

_____________________

I ask you –

Are there dark times/days in your life?

Have you ever intended to forgive someone?

If you or anyone you know is considering suicide, please call 800-273-8255 or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline using the Home link below. Your life is important!

Home

Movin’ On Up + End of an Era

The last time I wore a uniform, circa 2017

With the end of my Navy career coming to a close in T-minus, oh, 4 days or so, but who’s counting?!, I jumped off the deep end by deciding to “make some big moves” as those young people say. I’m not old. Yet. I’d be lying if I said the thought of wearing those uniforms again wasn’t enough to make me cringe. Now I have a closet full of gear I don’t necessarily have to keep in waiting for a call to action. Recently someone told me it was now acceptable to stop taking care of myself, working to stay in shape, and refraining from anything that could land me a few steps in front of the UCMJ. I laughed good-naturedly, but tuned out the rest of the conversation because it felt beyond short-sighted and, frankly, was offensive. I’ve known many who subscribe to this way of thinking, but it won’t be me.

Privacy is ingrained in me. Never will I willingly disclose enough to be dangerous, but I’ve come to realize I typically live in fear of what could happen. And now I’m saying enough. If I want my blog to grow, then I have to take some risks. Risk management is kind of my thing.

So as I set the privacy icon to public and changed a few things to promote status, a little thrill and some happy feelings embarked upon me. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard to press complete. What’s the worse that could happen?! A stalker, a weird knock at the door? Good news! Been there, done that.

Now we wait! And reorganize my closet space.

_______________________

I ask you –

Biggest fear?

Are you a risk taker or do you consider yourself more conservative?

Tell me your blog-growing ideas!

Dumdum

Always starts off strong…

Lately I’ve fully realized I’m just not as smart as I originally believed. Fine. I said it. You know I read these mystery/thriller/murder-ish books. Michael Connelly is my favorite. But even after reading nearly all of them, I can never peg the correct killer. I’m always surprised and tell myself ‘you should’ve seen that!’ Ugh. I’m pretty dumb to be so smart.

Nanners (MIL, from the flower collecting generation) calls it “murder porn” and she’s obsessed. Pointed look in your direction. Somehow she always knows who did it, why, and how they almost got away with it. Me? Never. I never get it right! Kel, you suck at this game.

Maybe I just get lost in the details. Oh yeah, that’s it. And I’m very particular about the details which is a hiccup in the whodunnit tales. If they’re gory, nope. If they’re overly heinous, double nope. I can’t even watch a fish being cut up, why would I think a person would be excusable.

On second thought, perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. I’m always surprised at the end! Those of you who have already guessed correctly? Where’s the fun in that?! So what you got it right. Good for you! Me? Ehhh. I’ll be over here shaking my head at the preposterousness.

_________________________

I ask you –

Do you typically guess who the killer is before it’s revealed?

Where did I go wrong?

Fun fact: I always wanted to work in the criminal justice field.

She’s Doing It Again

The title is what I imagine runs through the heads of family and friends when I tell them I’m training for something. Again. More realistically, can you imagine the massive eye roll and sigh of annoyance? Me three.

My bank account probably cringes, too. In my defense, think of how much money I’ve saved working from home, not going anywhere, and not racing! Bring on the race fees! I say ‘fees’ like I have plans to run more than once knowing damn well I don’t. Moving on!

Half marathon shirts keep me motivated

Today starts my official training cycle! And Mondays are rest days! I’m already winning! The past few weeks have been spent getting enough sleep and (semi) base training. By base training I mean walking a lot and eating pie. Details. But today the bs stops; it’s time to get serious.

As always, I’m amazed at how 3 miles can feel like death and only a few weeks later a 10-miler is completely normal. Runners are psychotic. My plan – as it typically is – is to attempt to do more hill training than usual. Read: never. So even though I have to brave the roads with all the wild dogs, I’ll get some done.

investments clearly

Remind me to check how long it’s been since I had a tetanus shot.

___________________________

I ask you –

What hobbies do you spend the most money on?

For such a short plan, how many rest days per week should I have? Answer: I should probably run 8 days/week.

Do they give preventative tetanus shots?

Reflect and Deflect

Anyone else feel like October is running them over? Oh great, it’s just me.

my version of Bridges of Madison County

Maybe it’s the change in weather – love! – or the promise of new races – or not – or the upcoming UFC battles – we call them debates – or all the activities I somehow committed to – what were you thinking, Kel? Probably a small bit of them all. Either way, I’m tired and we’ve only just begun.

I’ve packed my calendar to the very edge of its sanity and mine; now I’m having second thoughts. It can be tough keeping the same momentum there was when I first said ‘I’ll do it!’

Now I sit here in the quiet stillness of the morning, drinking liquid joy (have you tried vodka in a coffee cup? recommend!), evaluating the schedule in front of me. Quickly I remind myself to be thankful I’m able to have this moment before the whirlwind that is my mini awakes and off we go again.

And I hear a whisper. There’s some new wine in the cabinet.

__________________________

I ask you –

Is October a gear up or gear down month for you?

Do you have a habit of overextending yourself?

Funny thing is I rarely drink. It’s just fun to make jokes about it.

Whole, but like an Orange

Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

James Baldwin
caterpillar -> butterfly

A few nights ago, there was a discussion on wholeness and what it meant. Granted each person can go a million directions on this one word alone, but a similar premise regarded growth. As buzzword as growth seems to be now, I haven’t found an adequate replacement yet. And so it begins!

For all the darkness, uncertainty, and confusion this year has worn like a shroud, I can honestly say my life has been overwhelmed with growth. Though it may be easy to overlook it’s definitely not lost on me. My inner strength has multiplied! Of course there have been tough times. But overall I’m better off now than I was in 2019.

Responsibility has not been mine alone. Let me rephrase – I take full responsibility, but wholeness is the sum of many parts. Not too long ago, I shared how something(s) were missing in my life. More so inside me. Disjointed pieces unable to come together, like several puzzles accidentally mixed up. Not only did I not feel whole but I was bordering on the edge of simultaneously feeling everything and nothing. Only recently did I accept how dangerous that place is. When you continue to chase a high, it always takes more to reach it.

(neighbor’s yard)

A friend used these words: if you’re not growing, you’re dying. If you came here today thinking I’d have funny stories, sorry to disappoint! Without continuing to seek growth or, in my case, sort out those puzzle pieces, there will be a point you, and I, can grow no more. All downhill after that.

I encourage you all to keep growing. Find the things to facilitate wholeness, whatever it looks like for you. Never forget we all struggle, but one person’s struggle is another’s time to grow.

_________________________________

I ask you –

First impressions of the quote I used today?

Are you feeling growth or stagnancy in 2020?

Name your least favorite buzzword! Balance. That’s mine.

New Plans – New Goals?

Indeed I love sharing my plans on this platform. However, I’m always afraid of what could happen once I post it here: what if I fall short, what if I decide not to do it, what if this, what if that. Who cares, at least you tried. If all else fails, at least it’s the final day of September and what more could go wrong this year?

Fall makes me excited! There’s pumpkins and cooler weather and races and lots of coffee. Thanksgiving, leaves falling, no more mosquitoes, and extra blankets. Shall I continue? No matter how basic you may think I am, fall is hands down the best season.

Notably this fall I am not racing; however, I will be training for a race early December. Surely I’ve mentioned it, ohhhh, 5 times. December is winter, not fall, no matter where you live. Except on the other side of the globe. I made my race plan, consulted with no one, and intend to dig deep for approximately 8 weeks. It’s not long. Could be my demise. So we’re just gonna wing it!

Morning? Night? Same view

While everyone else is soaking up the final hours of daylight, I’ll either be lacing up for a post-work run or going to bed early to capitalize on an AM run before the world wakes up and ‘needs things from me’.

Bring on the gloves! It sucks when my fingers are cold.

____________________________

I ask you –

Do you, too, enjoy pumpkins and leaves?

Who else has perpetually cold hands/fingers?

Why are people so needy?!?

#girlmom

One day I will regret sharing so much on a public platform. But it won’t be today! First and foremost, I just warn you about the following. Some may find it entirely too revealing, others may gasp in shock. Still you may even laugh uncontrollably. Just remember, you’ve been warned.

I say again…

As most of you know by now, I have a toddler daughter. She’s incredible in every way, bright, ambitious, caring, and, notably, funnier than I am (which is saying something). Affectionately referred to here as Mini Me, or Mini, the stories she tells will soon be infamous. But, for now, allow me to share a few she doesn’t usually remember and a few she may never want to see in print. Most revolve around feminine-specific issues; again, I warned you.

Before having children, one never considers the amount or type of questions they may be asked as said children blossom into adulthood. Being female and having a female child, I was confident I’d know what to say. Although I was a little taken aback at having to explain to males, in great detail, how to care for a young lady’s needs. Extending grace and all that, I took it in stride. Until the day my twonager yanked on my tampon string. To be frankly clear, it was inside my body! The yell of shock emitted from my lips served to reinforce how hilarious the situation was as Mini began to laugh hysterically and chase me around the bathroom. Assumedly to repeat the action. Because when there’s a string, what’s the harm in pulling it, right?!

Fast forward to age three. Pretty sure her third year of life was the most eventful. Digging in a cabinet, I find what I’m looking for and move onward with the day. As I approach the kitchen, the tiny light of my life asks “Mommy, what you doin’ with those? Those your running sticks?” Before I go any further, can we all appreciate how creative this is?! I run, therefore tampons must be considered running sticks. From now on, I will refer to them as such. Glass half full, you know.

– when in Rome –

Biological differences notwithstanding, I wasn’t quite sure what to say, or how much to explain, when implored to show her how to pee whilst standing up. This was definitely not in the brochure. Believing I had done the best I could with an explanation of ‘we’re not designed that way’ and that was the end of it, time went on without mention. Then life came back to haunt me. Apparently she didn’t believe it couldn’t be done because she had clearly seen the male figures around her be successful at exactly what she wanted to do. I applaud her dedication to cause. Upon returning home from work one day, the following story was shared with me –

paraphrasing : she entered the kitchen sans undergarments and shorts; when asked where her clothes had gone, she explained they had gotten wet when she went to potty. Probably seeing the look of confusion, she further explained she had also used a towel to clean the bathroom floor. More questions later, she proceeded to demonstrate how she forward-faced the toilet and attempted to pee standing up “like you do, Papa”. Perhaps I suck at truly sharing why we can do some things but not others.

For sake of space and what little sanity is remaining, I shall allow you to draw your own conclusions. Why do we not share stories like these with other generations? Do we deem them embarrassing or otherwise? Why? Hello, natural parts of life.

Personally I think we aren’t doing ourselves any favors by not being forthcoming with others. At least in all those books they give us at the hospital. You know, when it’s too damn late anyway.

____________________________

I ask you –

Did I scare you off with the many warning signs?

I’m curious how males raise their sons – did you give lessons on potty training or just let them go for it?

Story time! Dare to share?

Running Reel – a short story

…that thing about one door closing…

Occasionally I enjoy reminiscing about past accomplishments. Helps with the current lack of running events.

Though I’m a little bummed about making a choice not to run a marathon – yet – I can’t help but feel super excited about what I was able to do in 2019 alone. I mean, I ran a double, people. A back-to-back half marathon AND I pr’d. Hellooooooo! There were a lot of changes going on then; who would have known despite them I could still pull a glorious race out of my assssss, I mean hat. This may forever be my running ace.

2 years ago, I was coming off a spectacular failure. Remember that DNF? Because I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, right?! Although I didn’t doubt I’d overcome it, there were a few times I heard “Hey Kel, you shouldn’t do this again.” Lucky for me, I make my own rules. Well…Kel does. More on that later.

Post VA Beach, which I haven’t run since, sore subject and all, I bumbled my way through another half, then traveled across the US to train on the West coast for a few weeks. In many ways, that trip changed my entire trajectory. As a last minute decision, I decided to run with a pacer at the next race. Good move! It gave me the confidence I needed and I pr’d.

Digression to current events: approximately 5 days before Labor Day (is it approximate if I say approximately and then give a specific number?), I found out the Texas Triple, always held Memorial Day weekend, was rescheduled to Labor Day weekend. Ooooof. I could’ve been training for that! I wanted to run it!!! Damn the luck. Needless to say, it’s on my race radar next year. Any running friends want to join? Hey, Coach, I’m pointing my finger at you.

so much more to come

Basically this synopsis brings you up to speed. I ran several other races during this course of events, but these are the highlights of my race reel. Maybe I’m just weird (no input, please) but I take an unusual amount of time analyzing the good/bad of my past runs so I can improve.

Because isn’t that a small part of life? Finding ways to do better, be better, and get stronger.

_________________

I ask you –

Do you make plans to improve some area of your life?

Anyone interested in the triple?

Tell me your biggest success! Dare to also share your biggest “failure”?