First Grade Draft

My boss is a fitness competitor. As I walked into his office recently, I was distracted by all the shiny trophies proudly displayed on a top shelf. There were 6, I think. As I stuttered for a second in what I was sharing with him, it made me take a quick look at my own accomplishments.

Memory Lane

When I notice the rack full of medals, I don’t see the end result. I do see the work I put into earning them. And they were earned, for sure. Granted, it’s nice to have them, but it’s what isn’t written on them that makes a difference. Which leads me to this point – you can’t make someone want something they don’t want for themselves. If you’re doing it because it’s another person’s dream for you, the value is minimal, if real at all. Not to say there isn’t value, but it probably isn’t the full value you would have instilled.

All this to say…I believe there’s a draft system in public schools. Very loaded statement, Kel. As mini goes to a small(ish) school – but certainly not as small as mine was – there are 4 kindergarten classes and, I presume, as many first grade classes. So as she has begun peppering me with questions like who will be her teacher next year, I gently remind her I don’t know and probably won’t until about a week before school returns in August. Then she asks who her classmates will be. Wash, rinse, repeat.

photo credit: pexels

Which got me thinking how are classes decided? Is it a drawing? A lottery? Do the teachers drink heavily one night and pick names from an empty wine glass? There’s an idea! My predominant belief is a draft system. As the school year goes on, their teachers are keeping score. Since kindergarten is a (typically) rookie year, they get a wild card pick. So when you see kids getting traded within the first week of school, it’s because a teacher has decided to use her wild card. For the remaining years, trades can only happen when the owner, ahem principal, deems it necessary. At the end of the year, by popular vote, the teacher with the worst class gets first pick in the new school year. Indeed there lives score sheets, mugshots…I mean school photos, and printouts on how annoying the student’s parents were. Sorry, Toots, I bugged the crap out of your teacher.

I’ve been assured the draft doesn’t really take place; it’s all up to chance, so they say. Can’t fool me. I’m convinced there’s a secret society of school personnel who wait all year to call dibs on the class that will rule the school. For one year, at least.

First rule of fight club…

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I ask you –

At what point should my boss stop bringing his big trophies to work?

How many kindergarten classes did your school have? Just one.

Draft: yay or nay?

Gym Faux Pas

As I’ve made going to the gym a regular occurrence, it’s time to report on what I’ve witnessed thus far.

  1. Stretchy Lady – the one who chooses to stretch in the locker room, centered in the walkway, the only entrance/exit to said locker room which forces the remainder of us to navigate around her with our gym bags. She’s going to get whacked. Sorry, not sorry.
  2. Treadmill Guy – who leaves his gym bag and various other paraphernalia behind the treadmill which impedes patron’s ability to reach other treadmills and equipment. Then, he laughs obnoxiously loud whilst watching Fox News. What could possibly be funny is beyond me.
  3. Weight Whiners – these pieces of work take one of every single weight of dumbbell back to their bench lair and hide them under it like little trolls. I’m thankful we have a gym with multiples of the same weight, but it’s annoying to go search for another dumbbell. My obvious glare should be enough to reason with them.

Sort of gym-related, I need a shirt that says DO NOT FEED DONUTS! This is not a weight issue. It’s a serious problem for me! I see donut. I eat donut. What’s self control anyway?

The weather is completely uncooperative. 98° in April? Someone told me we beat a previously held record in the 1920’s because this particular day it hit 103°. I’m not ready! For those of you who faithfully read my blog and mention snow or rain, I’m jealous. Texas is in a pattern of tornado-wind-drought-hell. Send rain!

photography skills are exceptional

As time goes on, I feel even more strongly I must have some Italian heritage because I can’t talk without my hands. The injury above proves it. How does one scratch the skin off of the area above their eye whilst telling a story? Oh so gracefully! I’m sure it won’t be the last time.

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I ask you

Do you relate to any of the 3 aforementioned gym fanatics?

Are you a hand talker, too?!

Go ahead. Tell me what weather you’re experiencing this week. Hot, hot, hot.

Following Along

Allison of The Broad Running Broad published a great article in early April on the popular InsideTracker. You can check it out here.

Seems all the running influencers are somehow a part of the biomarker and nutrition tracking app, Inside Tracker. The premise is you submit your labwork to them, it’s analyzed for nutritional, hormonal, etc deficiencies and then a customized plan is sent to you detailing how to improve your health. The fine print though. Turns out you can pay upwards of several thousands of dollars per year for their customized plans and labwork costs. Until now I hadn’t heard anyone share the deep, dark details.

Using a clothespin as a hairclip = distortion

And, on that note, the Navy really distorts what health and fitness looks like. Probably all branches but I’m only speaking to my own. Maybe distort isn’t the correct word, but it certainly played into my distorted views. I haven’t looked lately – there’s no reason to – but the height/weight requirements are completely impractical. Truth time. I currently weigh 150 lbs. That’s a lot in my little, distorted, unhealthy mind. I don’t like that number. I don’t like it at all. However, I’m liking how my clothes (still) fit, I can run, I can keep up with mini, I can do my job without restriction, I can LIVE. So what’s the problem? Well, nothing, I guess. Again, it’s just a number! Kel! It’s just a number! Ugh. I hate how society places value on the number on the scale. How many times have I said it doesn’t matter – but that stupid voice inside my head says something is wrong.

Deep breath. I’m trying. There’s a fitness friend I follow along with in social media who also weighs the same. It was a bit of a news flash when she casually stated her weight. It clearly doesn’t define her. But going back over her story, she seemed to have struggled many years ago, too. Hmmm. I’m sensing a pattern here.

Nonetheless, I’m sticking with my plan of “training” for a 10k and strength training 3-4x a week. Last week was the highest mileage week since December…a whopping 8 miles! Tell the press! Or is it hold the presses? Meh. I sincerely feel strong this time around. It’s incredible how much we rely on our back end to propel us forward when running. Of course I knew all this. I just had to break something before being reminded.

Isn’t that always how it goes? The little things creep up on us and, then, BAM. We’re in over our heads with lab work plans and physical therapy and who knows what else. Meh.

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I ask you –

Have you heard of InsideTracker? Have you tried it?

What things in your life do you believe you may have a distorted view of?

Tell me your word du-jour! Lately mine is “meh”, but I use “whackadoo” daily.

Released Unto the Wild

I graduated! For the fifth time (or something like that).

(L to R) PJ, me, Max

PJ and Max at Reneau Rehab have been quite incredible on this entire 6 week journey. When I started there, I could barely stand on my left leg for any amount of time. The pain levels were intense, I was pretty depressed about the status of my injury, and I wasn’t entirely sure I would ever run pain-free again. Disclaimer: I know I get dramatic, but I was seriously in a rough place!

PJ continued to challenge me until even the final minutes of the last session. I learned to focus on the mind/body connection of the muscle groups I’m working instead of nonchalantly going through the motions. My left knee tends to just do whatever it wants (falls inward, acts ridiculous, etc) so I really have to put thought into what I intend it to do for me. It’s more than strength training – it’s using the muscles for a purpose. Mind and body!

As I completed a few 5ks – distance, not races – throughout the course of physical therapy, the changes were noticeable. I really had been slacking off. Wayyyyyy off!

Now that I have a whole week of on-my-own training under my belt (minus a few days of insanity), I’m especially happy I wrote the exercises down as I went through them at Reneau. The exercise band is kept in my purse so it travels wherever I go. That’s not weird at all. My goal has been to dedicate 3x a week to strength training. I only got in 2x this past week but they were good because the soreness was real! Indeed I received some odd looks when, at the gym near my workplace, I was surrounded with “toys” aka a bosu ball, a weighted bar, a medicine ball, and a yoga ball, among others. Yes, you can get a great strength session without actual weights. Shocking, I get it.

Indeed I noticed several gentleman with a huge upper body and stick figure legs. Excuse me, Sir, can I interest you in a medicine ball? Allow me to show you a few things. Maybe next week.

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I ask you –

What did you last graduate from and when?

Did you know it’s possible to strength train without dumbbells?

In a scale of 1 to an uneasy staring contest, how well will a “let me help you train your legs” conversation go? Knowing my ability to be humorous, probably a 2.

Do You…?

Meditation is my thing. But I’m not going to lie: sometimes I go into my closet and lock the door so no one can find me.

Gwen Stefani

Part One

Even before mini started school, I had wondered what parts of it would mimic my own school experience. Because things can change in —- ohhhhhhh —- nearly 20 years. I wondered about cafeteria food, her first book, and loads of other variables. Including the book fair! I’m pleased to report, indeed, there is still a yearly book fair, even for children as young as 5! However, it wasn’t the overflowing library of carts covered in books I remember from years gone by. Instead the book fair was only a small rendition; a miniscule scale of the elaborate week it once was. Mini enjoyed it though. She has no other comparison. Blessed be the innocent.

Part Two

Dan (the one and only) sent me this article: How to Use the Two-Week Rule to Become Remarkably Successful (and Optimize Your Bucket List)

Quotes like “I can do hard things” by Des Linden are prime motivators for really anything you encounter in life. But what if someone told you that in two weeks you’d know exactly how reachable your goal is…would you believe it? Probably not. I met interesting people during the course of 15 physical therapy sessions. Some I’d like to have coffee with; others I could do without ever speaking to again. Get back to the point, Kel. In particular, I met a previous runner now cyclist who was dealing with some knee issues. She stated she kept their business in business. As we discussed various running distances and the local, famous cycling event, she said she had completed 2 marathons and encouraged me to at least once in my life complete one, as well. When I raised my eyebrows as if to say ‘look lady, I’m here because I can’t manage a long run much less 26.2 miles’, she reiterated the word run. Not race. Run. Her words were ‘walk if you have to, run when you can; your goal is to cross the finish line standing up’. And in that moment I saw it all. Start with two weeks, then think about the next two weeks, and so on.

On the topic of bucket lists (and knowing I’ve shared much of this before), a marathon is included. As is a trip to Mexico and/or Las Vegas. Mainly because many of my friends have taken a trip lately and I’m feeling left out. Other to-do’s are to restore an old truck, then outfit a van into a camper and travel from state to state. I also want to complete a Ragnar. I’d love to see the northern lights. For now, I think I’ve got a good start on a list.

Now What?

I have no idea *massive shoulder shrug* When I wrote this post and decided to combine book fair with motivational statements, it didn’t work then either. I make the rules! You’re welcome.

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I ask you –

Can you do anything for two weeks?

What’s on your bucket list?

Name something from your childhood you fear (or know for sure) has changed. Definitely school lunch.

 

Mindset

Slave to the scale = allowing one number to dictate your entire day or life.

This is a tough topic for me because I’ve noticed the scale gradually inching upward. As a runner, that’s pretty much the last thing we want to happen. But when I factor in strength training there’s really no other place for the scale to go but up. Unless 15 years of lifting has changed.

Many of you who have followed along may remember I practice a keto lifestyle when not training for a race. But something changed this time around. I’m not sure if it was the injury part or if I’m just losing my resolve (unlikely), but I couldn’t stick with it. And it made me feel like crap. Not like…crap because I’m removing loads of sugar and carbs. I could have lived with that part! Crap like…I was wondering what the point even was and if my future would always look like this cycle. It was depressing.

So, instead of denying myself every good food in the world, I’m trying to do what I think our bodies were designed for and what is preached from day one. Everything in moderation. Tracking it via MyFitnessPal has been helpful because it simply tells me if/when I exceed my calorie goal for the day. Again, I’m not a slave to the number. Here’s the confession part of this post: I haven’t lost any weight. In fact, gasp I’ve gained weight. However, when I look at all the strength training I’ve been doing the past month, it makes sense!

My clothes still fit the same. The mirror reflects an image that looks no different than when I started training last time. The inflammation is gone. I don’t really have cravings, per se. The daily salad is still a part of my diet and I enjoy a weekly donut. My nemesis. Coming to terms with this is extremely difficult for me. The heavily conditioned, anorexic part of my mind still fights for control, even for something as necessary as what I eat in a day. It can be exhausting talking myself into accepting it. But it’s getting better.

Maybe this will forever be my cross to bear. I know I’m not alone because I also know isolation is very dangerous. Food is fuel. There will be no running if there is no eating.

Fortunately I love food, as well as running. Please remember eating disorders are very real and my jokes/lightheartedness are how I deal with things. If you or someone you love needs help, there are tons of resources, like National Eating Disorders Helpline or ANAD.

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I ask you –

Do you find it tough to maintain a stable weight?

Was there a time in your life when you struggled with a number on the scale?

Again, please don’t suffer in silence. If you need help, reach out.

Sensing a Theme…

I love reading about and watching the Barkley Marathon. There’s something so primal (and completely insane); it’s just fascinating!

I found this post: A-Z OF BARKLEY MARATHONS, THE WORLD’S MOST NOTORIOUS ULTRAMARATHON The people who run Barkley are both nutjobs and heroic. I appreciate these qualities. With so many races now returning from virtual-only, my entire news feed is flooded with photos and stories of runners doing what they do best. The familiar feelings of being inspired have returned. At this moment, I have 3 more physical therapy sessions before I am officially cleared to go forth and run! It’s exciting yet also a tiny bit terrifying. Granted I have run during the course of PT; however, it has been under their guidance. Now it’s time to leave the nest!

I sure would!

There is a 5k (my longest distance since injury recovery) scheduled next weekend – I did sign up with intent to run – and my therapist stated go for it! Note: it’s a run, not a race. Speaking of racing, recently I remembered meeting an Army officer when I worked in Oklahoma. He would never train lower body because he said as a collegiate and military-sponsored soccer player he received all the lower body training he needed on the field. I brushed it off as surely he knew what he was doing; I thought it sounded odd but to each his own.

Today, I’m dealing with the ramifications of this very same mindset because as someone who runs consistently I believed I didn’t need (or make time for) a solid strength training routine because everything I needed I could find out on the road/track/treadmill. Now look where I’m at. Just look at it! This faulty line of thinking forced me to take an extended break. But it also reframed my entire way of incorporating preventative training.

Now what, Kel? Well – I have the tools, literally and figuratively; I have the will; I have the reason. Nothing can stop me except myself. My plan is to prioritize strength training with the same schedule I’ve had for PT, i.e. 3x/week. As much I dislike the word balance (yeah right), my motivation is not finding myself in this position again. Don’t be like soccer guy! So, if you need me, I’ll be over here with my happy little stretchy bands doing what someone else more knowledge than I showed me how to do. And I will appreciate it!

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I ask you –

Can you imagine the mindset of taking on a challenge like Barkley?

Have you ever overheard (or been given) terrible advice?

Share your thoughts on activities like a Barkley or a Ragnar!

On the life scale … + PT Update

Just when I get accustomed to a routine at physical therapy – a collection of 8 or so exercises targeting core, hamstrings, knee, and glutes – I’m treated to a wonderful surprise. A new routine! It’s really not wonderful. But of course they didn’t remove the exercises that are the hardest for me. Oh no. Why would they do that? Ugh. Instead, they leave the super difficult ones and add some others in place of the ones I was starting to master. Sure. Why not.

I like to call these “truly awful”

In related news, I can tell my lower body strength is increasing. Because Texas graciously awarded us a week of beautiful Spring-like weather a week after the second ice storm, I was able to run outside. Not one to waste an opportunity, the run was my first since beginning PT and I could tell a difference in the way my hamstrings didn’t feel “wobbly”. There was a slight knee twinge around mile 1.5 so I walked some, then when I restarted, everything felt fine. It’s working!! I’m extremely thankful to Renau Rehab for guiding me; working with Max and PJ has been incredible. Beyond being very knowledgeable, they’re also kind, funny, and invested in my return to running.

these are called “one-legged wonders”

Also, have you ordered your Running on Fumes merchandise yet? There’s still time and many options available, from tanks to hoodies to coffee mugs to tote bags! You can find your next RoF item here!

the beloved Ms. Dory! (hoodie)

Last week was one of those weeks where if it isn’t one thing, it’s a billion others. From craving ice cream – all I could find were popsicles – to multiple days of gorgeous sunshine, besides the craziness, it was one for the books. Personally, I’m just glad we’re moving forward.

This is officially the week before my birthday week (it’s a Sunday this year) and I have big plans. Stay tuned!

_______________________

I ask you –

What part of exercising is your favorite? When it’s over!

How often do you do any task that requires standing on one foot?

Tell me your favorite cold, sweet treat!

In All My Years, a memoir

Things it took 35+ years to learn

  • Eat before taking medication, unless otherwise stated
  • Your phone camera is a lifesaver when it comes time to remember stuff
  • No one gets extra points for not asking for help
  • I enjoy watching grown men get beat up, sacked, and tackled. Football. I love it.
  • Move the tampon string out of the way before you pee.
  • We are the common denominator in all of our relationships.

Other Stuff

This was such a great article about why we are the way we are. Even if you hail from a completely normal, functioning family, surely not everyone you encounter or have a relationship with is the same. It may have resonated with me more than even I’m capable of understanding. More to come.

More Fascinating Things

I must confess. When others told me they were practicing “mindful eating”, I thought it was just another buzzword, a clique-ish term, a passing fad. Big eye roll. Same goes for “intuitive eating”. Of course I’m intuitive! I know if I don’t eat soon, I’m going to get angry! How’s that for intuition. But, lately, I haven’t been restricting my carbs or cutting out fruit or doing any of the other things I believed worked for me previously. Just a few weeks ago, I mentioned using the MyFitnessPal app and I’m happy to report it’s (still) really useful.

mini decorated my workout area – bands shown here

There’s even been a few instances of completing my PT routine at home. Necessity only. The booty bands in the photo above are worth every penny of the $10 I spent. I’m using them for squats, deadlifts, and knee rotational exercises, but the options are limitless.

In light of my upcoming birthday, the learning curve will – hopefully – never cease. But, if/when it does, my final piece of advice is this…Unbuckle the seatbelt before attempting to exit your car. I’ll be here all day.

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I ask you –

What is your best piece of advice?

Have you heard the term “intuitive eating”?

Tell me the buzzword you currently hear most!

Wonderland

Finally found – it wasn’t really lost – the 2 missing dumbbells to complete the set. Now I can begin doing a full workout in the prescribed time instead of half, then alternating sides. It was nothing more than an annoyance so no hard feelings. It’s not like I was really doing much anyway.

I vaguely recall a time where I was able to mix cardio with strength training and actually make it work. Let’s see. Circa 2018 or so. Never too late to get restarted! I’ve used running as an excuse to not lift and vice versa; whilst knowing full well the secret is their complimentary relationship. My struggle has been letting go of a number on the scale. Really need to address this. So I’m refocusing on what makes me feel best.

For some reason, thinking about the gym reminds me of an amazing woman named Geri. She was the food bank director when I worked at the gym in Oklahoma. We just clicked. She was hilarious and always had a listening ear. During one summer, she was getting ready for a female relative’s upcoming wedding, so she asked how to use the stand up tanning bed. I explained, got her set up, and went about my way. Weeks later, she told (showed) me how she was able to get the perfect tan for a backless dress (I may have the details wrong, but I know the dress was more open toward the top). Returning to the tanning story – she demonstrated how she’d use whatever top she was wearing as pants while tanning in order to prevent anything more than her ankles and top getting tanned. Not sure why this sticks in my subconscious. I recall laughing hysterically at her preciseness. She was so great. I don’t know what has become of Geri. I looked her up (stalked) her a few times, but no dice.

Credit: hardcorecomedy2.0 via Instagram

Hello, from this rabbit hole. Anyway, I think I’m probably not eating enough which is why I go through these crazy binge/restrict phases. And, once a month, my hormone swings are enough to drive anyone insane. Not so much the emotions, but the cravings and complete lack of self control. I really gotta get it together. To date, myFitnessPal is working really well though. The tracking functions are simple; I haven’t had to manually enter any foods yet either.

Has anyone seen Geri?

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I ask you –

What size dumbbells do you own? Any missing?

Have you ever used a tanning bed?

If you were Geri, where would you be? Probably hiding from me.