We Have a Winner!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Typically I have several ongoing posts in varying stages of completion. It’s rare I feel compelled to hurriedly write a post for quick upload. And I like to protect mine and my family’s privacy so events and things reported here are most likely at least a week behind.

But today I have something important to share! On Monday, I received an email stating I was one of 30 first prize winners in a contest hosted by Brooks – a well-known running shoe and apparel company headquartered in Seatle, Washington. I love their brand and run in their shoes, specifically the Adrenaline GTS. Huge fan, if you can’t tell.

These are but a few

My first thought was I’ve been spammed because who actually ever wins these contests? No one I know. I verified the email came from the company Brooks was using to distribute prizes, completed the information, and refused to believe it could be true. Later, I browsed the Brooks website to see if anything substantial had been posted. Ask and ye shall receive.

I found my submission complete with photo I had uploaded for the 20 Year Drop contest. I may have screamed out loud, saved 40+ screenshots of the page, and called my parents. Does this mean I’m famous?!

Screenshot 1 of a lot

So what’s the prize, you ask? Only something incredible! I won a free pair of Adrenaline GTS shoes every year for the next 20 years. 20 years!!! I’ll be almost 54 years old then. I hope I’m still running at that age. Running my mouth, definitely. Running on fumes, absolutely!

A huge thank you to Brooks for creating a shoe literally designed for PR’s, as well as a contest with real people who can win. I never knew such a thing existed.

Unbelievable as this story is, because of course that’s how most of my life has been, credit be to the perfect one watching over me. Everything in my life has changed since I accepted that my spiritual health is even more important than I ever believed. Another bullet point in my testimony.


I ask you –

Have you ever won a contest? If not, know anyone who has?

Does this mean I need to play the lottery?

Share a story of spiritual life!

The Apples are Falling

Wall of wonder

In speaking to my mini human the other night, she was practicing unscrewing a bolt from a nut. Cue the lost your marbles jokes. She was asked how did she get to be so smart and she calmly answered something along the lines of “just like Mommy” or “Mommy taught me”. As flattering as this sounds, it really got me thinking.

I tend to shy away from labeling anyone ‘smart’; as a child, it wasn’t a compliment to be called smart. Probably because smart was a prefix to ‘alec’ or ‘ass’. Smart was often synonymous with being taken advantage of and having a group of friends that maybe not were real friends. I did well throughout school. Top 3 in both middle school and high school. My graduating class totaled less than 30 – don’t give me too much credit. Yes, I mean three-zero. “Smart” meant I received several scholarships which I am most grateful for. But there’s a dark side to being smart.

Picking flowers in East Texas

It did absolutely nothing for me when I went to college. I had no study habits because those smarts gave me this false belief college work would come as naturally as it had all the years prior. What a surprise. I didn’t know how to take notes. I didn’t know how to follow along to a lecture and extract the important pieces. I struggled. A lot. In my mind, being smart would carry me through 4 years and I’d emerge with this fabulous degree. You can laugh at any time. I am. Smart meant peanuts in college.

Resting on my laurels I did not

I had to learn how to study, how to succeed in a higher education setting, and how to do what worked best for me to get through. I made it. But, again, it was a struggle. So being smart? It’s just a word with a whole lot of promise and no deliverance. And I don’t like to call anyone such lest they learn the struggle like I did. I prefer words like strong, brave, and a good thinker. These words mean more to me than the book smarts that would have failed me had I not quickly realized the only way I was going to make it to a degree was by my own merit. So whenever my mini does something extraordinary or I see her little mind moving as fast as it can to figure out a puzzle, I compliment her on her perseverance and determination. Those are the skills I want her to notice about me and others. That’s what I want her to believe she has inherited from me. Because supermodel beauty and above average talent won’t pay my bills. Unless you count humor. I could pay about $2.93 of the water bill.

If I paid myself!

_________________________

I ask you –

How do you compliment your child(ren) and self?

Were you truly prepared for any type of higher education?

Tell me you went to a huge school with hundreds of people! What’s that like?

“Fail Until You Don’t” – that’s what Bobby Bones says

Perhaps this would appropriately be titled “How things don’t work out”… but it would give you a sense of negativity and an unappreciative mood. Definitely not what I’m going for.

Working on a professional image – first, fingernails

Let’s just say: I didn’t see that coming! Funny how things work out in their own way, in their own time, with more than a little nudge from above.

The employment opportunity I firmly believed was for me was not to be. I don’t know why. I’m qualified, available, driven, funny!, and personable. So why not me? Again, I don’t know. It was rather disappointing at first. Then I was blindsided by a different opportunity – the interview was swift, they stayed in touch, and the offer was a no brainier. It’s almost surreal.

You see, unexpected doesn’t even come close to the magnitude I’m describing. Within the government and federal employment system, there is some sort of unknown, magical, subjective algorithm which decides what resumes to ‘hit’. Needless to say, I’ve submitted hundreds, read that again in numerical form, 100’s, of applications within the past 5+ years and never received a hit. Never. Then suddenly I landed on someone’s desk – this time not the President’s and not for “inflammatory” writings – I’ll post about this soon, you don’t want to miss it! – and they thought I was a perfect match. Ha!

Everyone starts somewhere. Barring the ability to retire in 16 years (hey, that military service came in handy!, the ability to continue to support my family and ensuing shoe/running habits, as well as be a part of a new-to-me organization, I best go brush up on my Air Force lingo. I have multiple programs to oversee. No one wants to look like an idiot on their first day. The third, maybe, but not the first.

Would they mind if I arrived with my trusty foam roller?

I’m sure there will be jokes: here comes the Navy girl on an Air Force base. But I have a way of chameleonizing (like that word? It’s my very own!) and I know this opportunity could be my best work to date. Wish me luck! Here I go!

_______________________________

I ask you –

Are some things just meant to be?

Thoughts on perseverance? Is it just a lesson in futility until one sticks?

Rhetorical question: will they think I’m funny? Of course they will, Kel!!

And we shall call her –

Betty. Betty White, of course. Why are you not laughing with me? I am a competent, mature woman in her early 30’s, a patient and loyal mother – what better time in my life to name an inanimate object?! Ok, so you could probably list a million other times, but why start all that?

New whip

She’s a beautiful hunk of steel! The only way she could be better is if she was actually made of steel. Of the tank persuasion preferably.

She drives smoothly and gets a whole 35.5 mpg. I’ll take it! In fact, I drove the 3 hours home with 1/4 tank of gas. Winning! I’m slowly becoming more comfortable driving again. It’s much worse in stop/go situations, like traffic, and in any weather conditions that aren’t full sun and dry roads. So basically a lot of the time. I’m testing some cognitive techniques – will update soon. Many people I’ve spoken to state the accident may have been taken so hard by me because I’ve never before been the driver in an accident and I was already dealing with the daily stress of driving long distances. Either way, it can be overcome.

Chauffeur, not pictured

So I will love her and clean her and call her Betty. And she will patiently chauffeur me and my mini human around until, one day in the far far far far (are you getting the point?) future, her wheels fall off. Then I will be sad.

_______________________________________

I ask you –

When was the last time you purchased a car/truck/van/tank?

Have you ever named your vehicle?

Do most people expect to keep a vehicle for the life of the vehicle? Unrealistic?

All Good Things – Do They Really Have to End?

Ta-da!

Here it is – in all its glory. The big announcement you’ve all been waiting for. Drumroll, please. I have decided to run the Texas Triple! You probably already knew this but I did not. I painstakingly designed the training plan with 13 full weeks of training – give or take the random things that come up. I hope to minimize any obstacles, but you just can’t be so strict as to decide they will never happen. So if you need me on a Sat/Sun/Mon anytime between now and end of May – just look for the nearest treadmill or lake-front track. That’s where I’ll be.

So the paragraph before this very one was what I had originally written for the big reveal. However, I’ve changed my mind. Sorry, folks. I keep reflecting on the weekends I won’t get back and the hours I spent dedicated to running every last mile in preparation for the Texas Double. I’m not ready to commit to such a plan again. Not yet. Maybe next year. At this moment, I’m unemployed and working on my mental, physical, and spiritual growth. I love running. This you know! And I want to incorporate a base-building running plan into my current strength routine. While also maintaining a “normal” weekend routine with my mini.

I know it can be done. I’ve done it before. But it seems a little reckless to begin training (and paying for) a race I don’t know if I’m ready to complete. Maybe this isn’t what you thought was going to be said here – I had my own doubts, too! Yet I know this is the best decision for me at this point in my life. Not to worry, that plan will be utilized. I’m thinking next year!

Lo and behold

Semi-related: Morgan of the Portland Oregon-area Morgans (aka Mo Money Mo Tacos) and I have verbally committed to running Rock’n Roll San Antonio together next December! She also has her own plans to run a Seattle half marathon early summer then train with a group of like-minded crazy runner people in the fall pre-San Antonio. I couldn’t be happier for this unexpected turn of events because after New Orleans about a year ago I was almost entirely certain she’d never run again. Much less with me.

Funny how things turn out.

__________________________________________

I ask you –

Disappointed in my 360° take on the Texas Triple?

Any upcoming activities/events you have planned?

Tacos, tacos, tacos! Tacos for everyone!

Random Day, part 36

In typical Running On Fumes fashion, here are several random thoughts to start your morning:

Many years ago, before I joined the Navy, my best friend and I stumbled – quite possibly literally – into a venue in Ft. Worth. As several mullet-bedazzled men in cutoff jean shorts and fanny packs took the stage, we were appalled. Our lives were forever changed. Introducing The Mullet Boyz! 3 intentional concerts later, any chance I have to see them I take. Like rock music and cowbell? I encourage you to visit us in Texas to see The Mullet Boyz! Sorry, they don’t play anywhere else. I tried to get them to come to Florida once. No dice.

A night of insanity – and so much fun!

Recently I discovered my blog audience includes one of my Anytime Fitness bosses. Guess I shouldn’t have made all those jokes. Though very taken aback, I am also secretly, not so secretly, proud and amazed. But I’m upset with myself because I’ve never given them the credit they are due. It was because of them I received the huge opportunity to write this blog. They hired me upon my return to Texas almost a year ago and have been nothing short of encouraging and accommodating. As a family running a family business with many other projects being run simultaneously, I can’t imagine how lively their holiday gatherings must get! And they’re originally from “up North” so the colorful language and accent are, by far, my favorite! We get along well. If you ever have a chance to do business or work for anyone in the Destefano family, please acknowledge you are a part of their family. And make sure you laugh at their jokes – up North and all.

Clean clothes, clean bear

Meet Mister Bear. Pronounced “Mist-uh Bay-yuh”. He’s been a staple of our household for approximately 4 years. Like a loyal teddy bear, he sleeps with us, occasionally eats dinner with us, and has his very own wardrobe which consists of “sleeping panties and a t-shirt”. Yes, I know he has a male prefix; I don’t make the rules around here. Clearly. You see, Mister Bear is my Munchkin’s lovey. In case you haven’t figured that out. And when she’s not home, it’s my job to wash his clothes and make sure he is happy. He’s an integral part of this family. …one time, I forgot to bring him on our road trip. Cue the mom tears. I felt so bad. My mini was devastated and the look of ‘HOW COULD YOU?!’ still haunt me. Not even joking right now. We’ve all only barely recovered from such a traumatic experience.

Training. I think I was supposed to start last week. Ooops. What with the snow and some other things to deal with, my plan is still in progress. Technically, I’m not late. Yet. I’m hashing out a few more small details then I’ll get started. If you negate the 4 hours I was driving each day, theoretically I should have all this extra time to run, right? But much like not paying for a coffee each day and putting that money into savings, something always comes up to spend it on instead. Time is the exact same way. I tell myself I’ll get up early and do something smart, but what really happens is I play gummies for another hour and get nothing done. Time management trickery.

I’ll keep you posted on the continuation of my sh*t show!

______________

I ask you –

Favorite obscure artists/band?

Have you ever worked in a family business? Perhaps you run your own business?

Tell me you also had a lovey. Bonus points if you still have him/her/it!

Snow Day! (but not for all of us) + Other News

Lake effect

As you can guess by now, the drive impacts many portions of my life, including work. So with personal things going on plus the chance for copious amounts of snow and ice, the decision was made for me to work from home. Good thing, too, because the Texas weather dictated a few hours of ice before the snow which makes driving obviously treacherous. As I stared out the kitchen window from the safe and warm confines of today’s workplace, i.e. my kitchen table, I hear children playing while the snow pelts the lake behind my house. It’s definitely beautiful, but I’m lucky to not have to be out in it.

Unfortunately for my co-workers, the snow in my part of Texas did not share its presence with them. A mere 2 hours away, all they’ve received is rain and above-freezing temperatures. Sucks for them. Sort of. This precarious balance of weather, work, and life brings me to my other news.

Do they make seat warmers for outdoor furniture?

I have resigned from my position within Anytime Fitness. The drive and the toll it has taken on my mental well-being came to a point I can no longer handle. I’m fairly certain if not for the car accident a few weeks ago, I would still be making the commute. To be clear, I love my career in fitness, especially with Anytime Fitness. The opportunities I have been presented overwhelm my heart and soul. The stories I’ve been blessed to hear, the incredible people I’ve met, and the generous work of my owners and their family will not be forgotten. This journey in fitness will continue for me and them but in separate capacities. These past 9 months have been incredible.

Do people still use pencils?

So what will I do now? I’m not fully certain at this point. Not drive? There are some other career passions on the horizon for me, I’m sure. I will regain the confidence necessary to drive in all weather conditions. And I will never take for granted the relatively simple task of traversing the roadways with other drivers. Also, I will continue blogging, right here, same time as always. These posts have become a sort of therapy for me – many emotions have splayed across these pages. I try to share the obvious, the not so obvious, and the deeper parts of myself in hopes I can reach others who may be struggling, too.

Thanks to each one of you, I believe life is a series of stepping stones. Some are slippery and covered in mud; others are a brilliant square of marbled beauty.

________________

I ask you –

Do you play in the snow or stay inside?

How much hot cocoa is enough?

Tell me your career passions. Entrepreneurs?