Will You Accept My Challenge?

There’s power in the hands that hold you up

A few days ago, I found myself in a situation needing advice and wondering who to turn to. Over the course of a conversation with someone whose experience and wisdom inspire me, she shared how brave and strong she believed me to be. At the time, I was very puzzled by her words and thoughts perhaps she was saying this just to make me feel better. However, her opinion matters deeply to me – she speaks her truth.

But isn’t that how it goes? Being our own critics and negative cheerleader, we can’t find the good in ourselves. We feel weak, deem ourselves unworthy of love, and place unrealistic expectations on our lives. P.S this is where social media fails us as humans.

Why is it so hard to see how amazing we truly are? In my case, it was a family values flaw, most likely. Having confidence was considered vain and talking about what mattered to you was shunned. I could go on forever how terrifically awful my childhood lessons were but we don’t have time. Nevertheless, I have a daily goal to uplift one person. One! In a day, I probably meet/see over a hundred people so my goal is a miniscule 1%.

There’s one lesson so large I can only hope to instill in my mini human: be kind. Like Ellen always says. It seems so small, just be kind, but apparently it’s the toughest in practice. Elements of kindness exist in each part of our day; the opportunities are forthcoming every minute to share kindness but for some reason we choose not to. Perhaps we don’t know how? Well, I know how and I’ll be d*mned if I sit around waiting for anyone else to show the person I created inside my own body how to be kind. She will know it very well.

A smile is worth a thousand words

At this point, I think it’s appropriate to challenge you, my lovely readers and friends, all 3 of you, to also establish a goal to share with someone how valuable they are in your life. It could be anyone. It could even be your pet – I’m not picky! But please share your feelings and emotions. Your words could have the impact of a lifetime to those needing to hear they’re not alone. We are all worthy.

_______________

I ask you –

Have you ever had an experience of being on the receiving end of someone’s truth?

How many people will your kind words impact?

Smile at a stranger. It may be the difference between living and living.

Weekend in Photos…random (wo)man

Had a date night with my little Munchkin over the weekend –

Braum’s – it’s a southern thing

The next morning, we longingly stared out the window because we knew it was our last day of warm weather for awhile –

How else will I rid my home of Halloween candy if she doesn’t have a ‘lollipop’ each day?

On Monday, a beautiful Veteran’s Day punctuated with snowflakes –

Photo captured the day before the snowflakes

Working from home was a whopping success minus the support desk tickets I’m constantly submitting because I have a horrible knack for programs requiring testing to malfunction mid-test and I can’t complete them. Ugh.

On the bright side, my Christmas decorations, tree, and lights are in place. You can bah humbug me all you want, but a) with Munchkin’s blended state lifestyle we make the most of every holiday and b) did you realize if we put up our Christmas extravaganza December 1st, then we only have approximately 4 full weekends to enjoy them? I’m not home much during the week so in order for me to experience the entire holiday season, I must start early!

Excuse the train off the tracks – typical of our lives aka a train wreck

_______________________

I ask you –

Weekend activities? Anything fun?

What are your thoughts on those who decorate early? (To be clear, I have never, NOT EVEN ONCE, been a proponent of this until I had a child.)

To please thank a Veteran.

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

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?

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?