Marine Corps Marathon Recap and Reevaluation

My apologies there’s no photos for this post – since I didn’t personally attend the marathon myself, I would have had to use stock photos and those just aren’t as much fun!

After conversing with several people who ran the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM), I’m toggling between keeping my commitment to running it as my first (read: potentially only) marathon. As much as I love people, 50,000 of them makes my heart race. Even if I was to start and stay in the back of the pack, the chance of being exceptionally close to any runner is still high. Though course support is definitely what the MCM has in full force, my decision is based on other factors, as well.

Location, travel, training, and weather have me questioning the MCM. I can only imagine how beautiful the DC area is in the Fall and I love traveling so those aren’t my concerns. The training plan is a little iffy, but the weather I have to train in is highest on my list and the sheer amount of other runners is numero dos. It may seem silly to worry about these things; however, when you pour your time and money into an activity you always hope for the best outcome. Control freak much?

Training through the summer is limited in my own situation. The notorious Texas heat translates to a lot of indoor treadmill running which, in my opinion, doesn’t mimic outdoor running well. I can definitely tell a difference when I’ve trained primarily on a treadmill vs. outdoors. Also, and I know I keep circling back to it, I have no desire to run within arm’s distance of hundreds of people for 26.2 miles. That’s a big no thanks from me. So what’s my other options?

Option A: Find a new marathon. Not a bad idea. Although I loved the idea of the MCM because it’s a veteran’s support community, there are tons of other marathons available. By being a little more choosy on what marathon to participate in, I can decide what fits my training cycle best, too. I could find a local (Texas) marathon in the Spring – I’d already looked at a few of them before. Or…

Option B: Run the MCM. Surely I can recruit at least one other person to run with me that day. Perhaps someone who has already completed it and would like to voluntold themselves to be my pacer/motivator/conversationalist. Also someone who won’t allow me to take a hard turn to port when the going gets tough. Anyone? No? That’s ok because the beauty in being voluntold is it’s not really an option! Standby for heavy rolls. Side note: it took 3 tries to get that verbiage correct and I know 95% of my readers have no Navy experience but for the 5% who do – please appreciate my intent!

The bright side is there’s still plenty of time to decide. Unless I want to go with a marathon in Spring 2020. But I committed to writing then. So writing I must. Training will continue, but I don’t know for what race. The show must go on!

______________________

I ask you –

What races are on your horizon?

Are you Option A or Option B?

Any volunteers?!

Abbreviated Day in Photos, part 482

Have you read the story of the person who changed their Roomba to curse when it bumps into things? That’s me! I’m the cursing Roomba! How do you think the gym gets clean? Fairies?!

The other day I mentioned a need for someone to follow me around and take notes of the great things I dream of when running. It’s mostly nonsense and can span the range of highly emotional to very inspirational. Any takers? Bring your own golf cart.

That time I fell into a washing machine (not really) but it’s very possible

Friends and family joke about the volume of calls I’ve made to local law enforcement on the drive. Seriously though, I see the most random s**t! The other night my own neighbor tried to run me off the road in his white challenger. If I hadn’t been too tired to fight back and also fearful he had a gun, I would’ve stopped and yelled. I’m only assuming it was a male, I really don’t know. Women must band together. But I would’ve yelled at her, too!

Here’s a few other random things:

Lucky Charms. Yes. The end.

Cereal and books – all a girl needs

Look at all these leaves! One day it was 75° and beautiful out. The next was 25° and wind gusts to 40mph. The aftermath –

Nevermind the sucker

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving to you all. I will return next week with stories of family, humor, and, let’s hope not, violence. But have you met my family? Anything is possible. Please answer all collect calls.

_____________________

I ask you –

Is there a patent on the cursing Roomba or is there still room for me in that market?

What’s your favorite cereal? – Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch: my top 2

Where are you traveling for Thanksgiving? Any tips for keeping my sanity?

33% – Odds are Not in My Favor

Need a blank card? I have drawers full

Should be no secret cards are my love language. I enjoy the process of writing a message inside a blank card, addressing it, placing the correct postage on the front of the envelope, and raising the small red flag on my mailbox to indicate I have something important to be delivered.

Recently I mailed 3 cards within a few days of each other, for various reasons. Usually cards are a ‘just because’. Remember opening the mailbox when you were a child and receiving a colorful envelope with your very own name on it? Did you feel excited? Even as adults that same feeling still exists. And it’s amazing. My grandmothers and great aunt instilled in me a sense of thankfulness. It was required as a child to send thank you cards after holidays and birthdays and any other time you received a gift. Some may say this is an antiquated practice now – who has time to send a thank you card. I do. You do.

Truth be told, I felt a little disappointed when I didn’t receive a response from the cards I sent. Only 1 of the 3 recipients said thank you for thinking of them. A real thank you. One didn’t reply at all. Tis better to give than to receive. However, acknowledgment goes a long way. My feelings may have been a little hurt at the lack of thanks…but I think the real culprit was the level of appreciation, i.e. I’m not sure if it was there.

Practice thankfulness

Do you appreciate what your body does for you? How often do you consider all the work your fingers, hands, and feet complete in a day? It may seem silly. We often take for granted what others do for us and, in that, we’re taking for granted what we do for ourselves. We treat our bodies like garbage cans, feeding it junk and expecting it to give a peak performance. Trash in, trash out.

The symbolism between writing cards to express your feelings for someone and showing your body gratitude is not lost on me. No, I don’t see anyone writing letters to themselves, though maybe we should, but your soul’s love language may be equal if not greater than the love you show yourself by treating your body well. Massage. Healthy foods. Strength training. Conditioning. Working on balance. All ways to treat your body right. I know we get busy and we forget to say thank you. But you should thank yourself every day in some small way.

Written with love

__________________

I ask you –

What’s your love language?

How does the above indicate how you treat yourself?

Do you know how to mail a letter and address it properly?

“When did this happen?” and other things we wonder

Juggling life feels exactly like this

Let me set the scene:

PRT (physical readiness test for all you non-Navy people) next week so I should probably start running today. Right? Ummm no.

Swimsuit season begins tomorrow so Monday should be a good time to have the body I want to achieve. Right? Again, no.

Are you getting the drift or do I need to input more examples of how this never works? Honestly, I don’t get it. In our society of instant potatoes (that’s what I call our propensity to have everything we want immediately) why do we wait so long to make changes to ourselves? Why do we wait until the doctor says we have heart disease to realize our weight, lifestyle, and choices are out of control?

I think it’s because we don’t notice the small changes day to day. For example, you mowed the grass last weekend. Each day it’s been slowly growing back to its prior form. But you won’t notice until next Friday when you drive by. The grass didn’t grow overnight. It gradually made its way to shin-length. Same with our health. But the more you “let it go”, the more it goes. I’m a free agent – I cannot be controlled!

So when did this happen? Today. Yesterday. It keeps happening! But we’re busy people and we don’t realize it until it is too late. Except it’s never too late!

What is wrong with starting today? NOTHING! I post regularly about making changes immediately. We both know if you say tomorrow then something will come up and tomorrow will be pushed further into the future. Today looks like the only choice to me. Do it.

“candy wrapper dreams”

A very lovely lady in my life likes to use the phrase “I’m in good shape for the shape I’m in!” Her advanced age brings about a certain wisdom and truth that can only come from living as healthily and happily as possible. Do you wonder what you’ll be like as you age? All the time! Will I be an angry old lady because I didn’t live the life meant for me or will I be teaching the millenial alternative to step aerobics at age 95? Time will tell. Days progress and march forward like tiny ants on their way to the candy wrapper dreams are made of.

What else do we commonly wonder?

_______________________

I ask you –

What have you been putting off getting started?

What instant expectations do you subscribe to?

Do you believe in the power of today?

Military Fitness Evaluations

And on this Veteran’s Day, let’s talk about fitness and the military!

Not to be confused with a FITREP, otherwise known as a performance evaluation of the officer variety. If you care to know. Please note I had to do quite a bit of research for this post due to the fact I have only limited knowledge of fitness evaluations in each branch of the military besides the US Navy.

Oh the days of old

It’s interesting and long overdue in my opinion the military is finally updating their standards of fitness. From sit ups (harmful and ill-advised) to treadmill running (not ideal, but sometimes necessary), there has been a shift in standard (read: old school) training to functional fitness.

NOFFS: Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling System. I was offered extensive training and for the better part of 2 years trained other Sailors using this curriculum. The levels and stages of NOFFS prepare Sailors for functional and operational fitness whether on surface ships or submarines.

Changes are being realized within the Navy’s Physical Readiness Test (PRT), i.e. perhaps planks are a more accurate representation of core strength and rowing is a great alternative to cardio conditioning. Testing is ongoing regarding the feasibility, due to limited space most often, of changes to the (PRT). I eagerly await the final outcome of these measures.

The US Army is also on board with updates to their physical requirements. The Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) requires soldiers to complete a 2 mile run, 2 minutes of push-ups, and 2 minutes of sit-ups. In October 2020, however, soldiers will be required to complete a six event series titled the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). Parts of this new curriculum will include the Leg Tuck, a Standing Power Throw, and a 3 Rep Max Deadlift, among other exercises. The physical toll of moving gear and their own person across vast lengths is now emphasized and soldiers are being trained to protect, and strengthen, their bodies overall.

Gives new meaning to parasailing

The US Marine Corps is hanging on to their Physical Fitness Test (PFT) which includes pull-ups/push-ups, sit-ups, and a 3 mile run. (Push-ups can be completed as an alternate to dead hang pull-ups.) 2020 is an important year, though, because in January, Marines can replace the sit-ups with planks, previously discussed as a much more effective and safe option. Interestingly, Marines also have a Combat Fitness Test (CFT): 3 exercises of varying difficulty that test an individual’s functional fitness.

Lastly, let’s look at the US Coast Guard. For the Physical Fitness Test (PFT), it includes 60 seconds of push-ups, 60 seconds of sit-ups, 1.5 mile run, the Sit and Reach, and a Swim qualification event. I’ve not seen any updates to the USCG’s PFT, but have no doubt they will eventually begin to modify their requirements.

Under da sea

It is understandable there may be very little interest in what our military branches are doing for fitness. The real importance can be found in what civilians are able to do to train like the military. Functional fitness is well-rounded and encompasses all levels of fitness. This is what we embody at Anytime Fitness: functional fitness. We want you to do your daily tasks with ease whether it be climbing endless ladder wells to reach the top deck of a destroyer or swimming in the open ocean while practicing rescue operations. You may never do any of these things, but you can train for them regardless. Why? Because you climb stairs to get to your desk and many of the same movements you use while swimming translate to reaching above your head to get to the canned vegetables in your pantry.

Need I say more?

_______________________

I ask you –

What does functional fitness look like to you?

Who is the strongest of the military branches?

If you didn’t answer Navy to the question above, we can’t be friends anymore. 🙂

Passion + A Calling

Indeed, it did

At a recent informal event attended by women of varying ages, the discussion centered on finding your passion. Apparently it’s the rule, not the exception, to set your passions aside for numerous reasons.

Ha! And only a few weeks ago, I think we had a conversation about committing publicly to a goal (or quest, as I’ve seen it written these days). Side bar – on the topic of quests, I’m beginning to come around to this terminology because a quest can be lifelong. A goal, on the other hand, tends to lead the belief we must conquer and create anew.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming – Excuses. That’s what I took away from the women’s group discussion. Whether of our own design or otherwise, reasons for being unable to follow our passion are never-ending. Something always keeps us away for a period of time. Money, life, parenthood, time itself, the list goes on. So what does it take to find your passion and hold it at the forefront of your quest? Beats me, I just write this blog. I’m obviously kidding. Did you really expect there not be jokes on even a serious subject like passion? I joked about death before. See post: https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/running-on-fumes.blog/273. Let’s move on quickly before my boss notices.

In discovering our passion, or quest, as it may be, (I’ve written other posts on a similar aspect), there is a lot of back and forth on how to begin. Do you want to know the best way to get started? Just Do It! By overthinking, you lose the momentum you’ve built up in your mind. Passion can be lifelong; it can also be fleeting. Strike while the iron is hot – and all that jazz.

Often I wake up with these fantastically great ideas – an urge to DO something! Not like eat cereal at 1am (though if you’re called to do so, I have no complaints), but an idea of greatness. This being said, I’ve needed close friends and family to talk me off the proverbial ledge when my ideas and reality don’t quite meet. This Pisces blood is strong. I’m a dreamer. And let me express as vividly as possible: my dreams are incredible! I’m called to be an author, to be a trainer, to be a legend (if only in my own mind).

________________

I ask you –

Are you called to do something?

Activism is also used a term for calling. Do you know any activists?

What are you most passionate about? It can be anything!

What’s New?

Much like spring cleaning, join me on this exploration of old and new stuff I’ve located in my house (aka mind and body) in no particular order

Pixel-y and beautiful

Book writing: let’s add some more stuff to my fully-loaded proverbial plate and take on the project-in-progress of many years. I began writing a book the year between my undergrad and grad school. As life got more hectic, I put it away and haven’t revisited it since. No better time than the present! In developing myself as a person, a woman, a mom, I decided to begin writing again. There’s no EDC (estimated date of completion), but I plan to maximize effort after December’s training cycle comes to a close. Which brings me to another topic…

Training: is going well! Committing to a plan to run 4 days per week is definitely less stressful than the previous 5-6 days a week. Even knowing I have to run both days of a weekend is somehow easier to accept than I originally thought possible. On other plans, I would dread the weekends. I was a super b-word until I got my one long run in and I would feel like a complete failure if Monday came and it hadn’t been done. Now? I run Saturday and Sunday. It’s a normal part of conversation. The schedule pretty much runs itself (puns for life). I aim for outdoor running – occasionally I can’t make it happen, but usually I’m successful. The only pitfall was the length of the runs. With some slight adjustments, I’m back on the track to success.

First double digit run went smoothly!

Motherhood: Some days I amaze myself at what I’m able to show her – my patience knows no bounds. Other days we each need a time out and I consider adding wine to my coffee cup. Your shaming has no place here. As a smaller version of myself, mini-me can push every button I have and create ones I didn’t even know were there. And then she smiles. If she wasn’t so cute… Being her mom is the greatest blessing of my life. Nothing compares. At times I don’t know who I was before her, then I feel a tingle in my heart and I know she and I were created to meet.

We drink coffee together. It’s half caff. Shut it.

Lastly, work: busy is an understatement. Building a brand, a vision, and melding the minds of multiple people is a job not for the faint of heart. It’s time consuming. But creating connections between people with the same goals is awe-inspiring. Daily (seriously, not a day goes by) I encounter people who share their stories with me, a stranger. Some are wilder than others; many settle heavily in my soul. It could be a story of perseverance or a synopsis of loss – collectively, it makes an impact. My goal is to bring out the best in these warriors who have come to me looking for someone to help make a difference in themselves. Every task brings us closer. Anytime Fitness fulfilled a passion within me; I can’t imagine not being the face of another’s desire to do so. Also, I got a green light to begin training. Training others, specifically. It’s a natural progression in my line of work while also adding a few tons to my already heavy plate. However, I’m stoked to begin this path again.

Stay tuned for another episode of Kel’s Crazy Life. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Always,

Kel