Injury Prevention (not always possible) – Anticipating a Derailment

You can’t expect not to have an injury, illness, or life event during an 18 week training program. Well, you can…but prepare to be fooled. So at week 6, I got a little ahead of myself and prematurely began patting myself on the back for a job well done. Then it happened. Karma. She’s so sweet.

Cracker Stash

After a night of illness that carried over into the following 2 days, I was forced to re-evaluate what training and nutrition looked like. A diet of crackers and 7-Up isn’t enough for any kind of strenuous exercise. Though it may not sound like a big deal, training is very strategic and we don’t want to miss much because this is how we help our body adapt to the weight we’re placing on it. It’s like a second job! A second job that eats away at our time and forces us to pay for it. But, look, a banana and a medal! Score!

Too familiar with First Aid

Nevertheless, the show must go on. More importantly than keeping to a schedule is the ability to let go of the schedule for a short amount of time to focus on recovery. Rest is best! If this is where you say “but rest doesn’t cross the finish line” – I happily disagree. Rest is a rather large building block of performance. Without it, you got nothin’, friend.

Rest is almost considered indulgent nowadays. Who has time for rest? Today, we go, go, go without a second thought to what rest looks and feels like. The guilt of allowing ourselves the luxury to rest is real. How dare we take care of ourselves as if someone else will do it for us? Pshhh. You said it, Kel. No one else will. And when you don’t, many times, it ends in injury to mind or body. Unfortunately there will be times preventing an injury is out of your control. You could have the best plans and have your nutrition completely on par, but still suffer from illness. The body can’t fight everything all the time. So what do you do then?

Rest. Be gentle on yourself. Say it louder, Kel; the ones who just closed their browser at this ridiculous advice didn’t hear you. Be kind to yourself. Let a few sessions go. Eat crackers. Hold out for the day when you’ll feel better and ready to return. Granted, this isn’t permission to say screw the plan and go rogue. Ummmm no. In focusing more on living for today (post forthcoming), I’m not losing sight of my goals and dreams. I’m just re-adjusting to a temporary norm. Very temporary.

But don’t be mistaken. That 12 miler is still calling my name.

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I ask you –

What was the last injury you experienced?

Is rest really best or do you have some other great advice?

How many crackers can you eat without going completely insane? (package 3 and counting)

Friday Favorites

A life of dreams

According to my post schedule, it’s not Friday. But Friday is usually a happy day for people, so allow me to pretend. Just let me have this one thing.

Recently I received some reader questions about my favorite things. Since the questions weren’t specific and I could go many ways with this, I chose to do a whole post on faves! I’m preparing my Christmas list as we speak…errr…write. I even included price points so you all can rest assured I’m a cheap date.

Buy myself all of my favorite things…

On my face/body:

Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara $25

Softlips Lip Balm in Vanilla (pack of 2) $3

ULTA complete eye palette $12

Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Water and Mimosa Flower Body Lotion $11

Same as above in Body Wash $7

Acqua di Gioia Perfume $75

Wearables:

Saucony Endorphin 2″ Split Short $40

Brooks Greenlight Essential Tight $60

Fitbit Ionic $250

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 $118

Sports Bra: anything in the Champion line from Target (whoohoo small-chested girls!) price varies

All the running gear!

Perhaps I was wrong. This list is extensive and, combined, quite pricey. Now I definitely didn’t accumulate all this in one swoop so I should get brownie points for that. Or at least brownies. Did I mention I’ve been on a no-shopping sabbatical since April? Technically, it’s not “no shopping”, but it is no purchasing. I’ve not bought one new article of clothing in 5 months. And I’m using all the cosmetic products I own before buying any more. No impulse buying! My bank account and closet are enjoying the reprieve.

Always the question – what does this have to do with fitness, Kel? So happy you asked!

I imagine I’ve saved at least $200, most likely more, since April because I haven’t bought any new clothing. Also, I don’t wear relatively expensive items anyway. So there’s further cost savings. With this money, I can afford a gym membership or at least use the money to focus on my health: food, vitamins, etc. The list of favorites doesn’t have to cost a lot to be worth more than face value. Are certain items costly? Yes. But they also last a long time and are worth the money (to me). You may have other ideas and that’s fine, too!

There was a short radio clip the other day on the drive that mentioned downsizing Maria-what’s-her-face style as a key element to focusing on what really makes you happy. Cleaning out the clutter makes me happy! I took it to mean that by shedding excess weight, literally and figuratively, I can find peace in less material things. Working out makes me happy and keeps my mind and body strong.

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I ask you –

What items do you spend the most on? Personal items?

Is my Christmas list unreasonable?!

Have you ever been on a no-shopping spree?

Weekend in Photos

I love red bowls

I’m of the mindset your body will tell you what it’s needing. My body said ice cream. Specifically pecan pralines and cream.

Featured in Women’s Running

Fitrwomen is what I’ve been searching for. For years, I’ve known and understood women’s bodies …well, my own…reacts differently to exercise depending on where in my cycle I am. It is not enough to state some days are more difficult than others. When I say difficult what I really mean is I run the gamut of weak, dizzy, and/or unmotivated to emotional and anxious. Fitrwomen is a free app for women to track their cycles while also receiving insight into how their body will react during various types and levels of exercise. This is huge! Future post forthcoming on my review of the app.

All the Gummies!

And then this happened. Grumble, grumble. I had reached approximately 428 days. It wasn’t even my fault! Not entirely. I had already collected my reward for the day. But as I was playing the 5th Anniversary Birthday World Tour special city, I noticed it wasn’t allowing me to collect a different reward upon level completion. So I logged in and out. I’ll save you my tears and make this brief: this is why I don’t log out of things! Because I get screwed over! Insert pouting.

Brooks GTS 18

But also there was running. Many miles were conquered. I feel like a different person with the future of more mileage under my soles. Even broke out the new shoes! I figure I’ll wear my “older” Brooks on day 1, then switch to the barely broken in pair on day 2. I’m an advocate of giving shoes a chance to breathe between run days.

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I ask you –

Highlights of your weekend? Photos?

Have you tried Gummy Drop yet? …you’re missing out!

Favorite ice cream? Or other treat?

Restart / Addressing Fear

How often does fear hold you back? Fear of the known, fear of the unknown, fear within ourselves.

I love this:

I won’t forget the first time I read the above from A. A. Milne. My best friend had sent me a letter in boot camp and she included that quote. I cried my eyes out. At the time, I was grasping for anything to make me feel like the days weren’t so loud. There was so much noise night and day, inside my head, in every room, even outside was a constant barrage of voices. Endless is the best way to describe it. As someone who enjoys alone time, I was struggling. Reading her words calmed my soul. On the days I couldn’t remember what anything except Navy indoctrination was, I held tight to what she had written. Spoiler Alert: I survived.

Interestingly (or not), I began this post yesterday before I ever knew how today would feel. Granted I do write when the mood hits me and not as a job with a deadline, but somehow my heart always finds what I’m needing when I need it. Much like when your body is starving for a certain nutrient, it tells you what is needed. Side note: during a certain time of the month I crave peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Mainly the peanut butter. I do not like peanut butter. Point made.

(pause in this writing while multiple four-letter words spill from my lips because I pressed the back arrow and nothing had been saved so all original writing below this paragraph was lost) sigh

Had to take a break to settle my mind

Let me recap what you didn’t read:

It seems I have an issue with victimizing myself. Wow, it sounds even worse in written form. As one with rescuer tendencies, my knack of swooping in to take pain, pressure, or hurt from another has done me very few favors. I’m hindering my own ability to be a well-rounded friend, spouse, and mother. What lessons are learned if I fix it before it becomes a problem? How will my munchkin learn important life skills if I’m always ready to save her? Same of every relationship. Conflict is inevitable; suffering is a choice. In this grand triangle of thought, the persecutor removes power from a person who then becomes the victim. The rescuer saves the day by restoring peace and placing power back into the hands of the victim which encourages the persecutor to continue doing what he/she has done before because there are no consequences.

It would serve us well to remember this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” My own reactions to another’s choices are simply my own. I can’t be MADE to feel anything; what I feel is an emotional reaction.

And, finally, probably the same question you, my loyal dear reader, ask every time you embark on this blog, what does this have to do with fitness?

I don’t know; I just like to ramble. Kidding! Let me tie this back into fear. What makes us uncomfortable we shy away from. Something that causes us physical, emotional, or mental pain is not readily accepted. Deciding to make a change is incredibly difficult. But to obtain the changes we want to see in our lives, we have to accept difficulty and trust that it will lead us down the right path.

Health isn’t just a set of numbers on a scale or a score on a test. It’s our emotional well-being, our soul searching, our desire to make a change no one else can see.

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I ask you –

What role do you play in the triangle?

Have you ever desired to make a change?

Share your favorite quote!

Guest Post – My Biological Other Half

Rep’ing our respective businesses, circa 2018

Some may know I have a twin sister. Now you all do. Brandy was born 1 minute prior to myself. To hear our mother tell it, the timing was much closer together, but our birth certificates read 7:58am and 7:59am, respectively, so we have no choice here. Don’t think for a minute…let the jokes begin…I don’t give her hell for me being the youngest. I know it isn’t her fault; she’s my sister, I do what I want.

(Herein referred to as) Bran has 2 beautiful babies, now 14 and 12. Let’s not get technical; those are her babies. She’s successful in the design and printing business. And she can speak so directly sometimes you’ll think she has drill sergeant tendencies.

L to R: Brandy, Garrett, & Stacey

Growing up, Bran and I played volleyball together. However, our first sport love was badminton. We’d play for hours in our front yard, until one of us got too mad at the other or we wore holes in the rackets. Sometimes this happened simultaneously. Truth be told, Bran and I are just about as opposite as can be. Blonde/brunette. Artistic/left-brained. Loud/quiet. Ok, so the last one is a lie. We’re both loud. I still find it funny we were often confused with the other until adolescence. Sure, as babies we were much more alike, but nowawadays, standing beside each other, clearly we’re related. You’d most likely guess sisters, but probably never believe twins.

Circa 2017 – same shirt, different year

Below is a short synopsis of our conversations together, written in real time, while utilizing video chat so I can type faster than she speaks – maybe we are more alike than I thought:

Me (K): How do you feel about having a twin? B: I’m actually really proud of it, I think it’s an awesome thing, I get excited when I meet other twins because it’s kind of a rare thing. It’s pretty neat.

K: What are your favorite memories of us? B: (laughing) (lots of laughing) I wish you would’ve sent me these ahead of time so I could have time to think! (cuckoo clock goes off – more laughing) (we discuss how to spell cuckoo) There’s so many! When we would go out on Friday and Saturday nights. Remember when we would take turns driving and we’d make the other person who hadn’t done their makeup be the passenger when we’d go to school? Remember the time the pasture caught on fire and you asked me how to dial 911? (K: (laughing) I was hoping you wouldn’t say that one! I felt like such an idiot!) (more laughing) The time Kenneth (our step-dad) was riding a bicycle and you ran into the glass doors. (Side note: I almost broke my face.) Let’s see. I remember the way you were bound and determined to be there when Stacey was born and then you stayed with me for like a month and half. And I kept telling you “you can go home, you can go home!” When we were younger and we jumped hay bales in that old barn. I remember when Brian (our younger brother) and I talked you into jumping off the top of the stairs and you hit the coffee table and had to go get stitches? (Me: laughing but it’s not funny). You had your arms out like you could fly. (Bran is now losing her shit laughing imagining the song “I Believe I Can Fly”) (Me: (also laughing) this isn’t that funny) (B still laughing like this is the funniest thing she’s ever said) I was not amused.

K: Do you cook well? What about baking? (lots of laughing) I can bake! And I can cook. What? What more is there to that? (Side note: this is my way of getting back at her because we both know she can’t cook well!)

K: Remember the time you poured 1 cup of molasses in the cookies instead of the recipe-directed 1 tablespoon? B: No, I don’t remember that. (K: Of course you don’t!) I really don’t remember. Me and you used to cook all the time. And we would bake all the time. They pretty much just turned us loose and we could do whatever we wanted in the kitchen. I really don’t remember that! (referencing the molasses incident) It was that old cookbook, wasn’t it? The Betty Crocker cookbook? (K: Yes, I still have a Betty Crocker cookbook.) They’re not really the same anymore but close enough.

K: Volleyball or badminton? B: Volleyball. We had really good memories playing volleyball. K: We did.

K: Is it true I was so outspoken that you didn’t have to speak for a long time because I did all the talking? (laughing) B: Yes! I tell everybody about that!

K: What’s it like being my sister? Difficult at times? B: (shaking head) I wouldn’t say difficult. Even if we have disagreements, we still talk to each other. Just because we have that bond. We get mad at each other and we disagree but we still depend on each other. Maybe depend isn’t the right word but it…we still like to talk to each other. And when stuff happens, I still think I need to call her and tell her about this. Even if we’re mad. She’ll tell me advice and listen to me. At least that’s how I feel. (K: I agree!)

K: Tell the readers about the difficulties and triumphs being a single mom. B: Oh Lord, now you’re really getting into it. It’s not easy for sure. Ummmm, I guess in my case it was a little different because (coughing) I had done it by myself mostly the whole time so it wasn’t really hard to do, it was just the adjustment for the kids and how they would adjust to it. In fact, when we came to VA to see ya’ll for the first time, that was the first time me and the kids had done something, just me and them. When we came home, it was like a really big triumph for me because I had never taken just the kids and done something with us. Before it was me and Ben (Stacey and Garrett’s father) and I relied on that. It was a huge boost because I did it by myself. I mean the kids were older, they weren’t tiny babies, but I’m one of those moms who visualizes everything that could go wrong and I was like what if airport security says ma’am these are not your kids and tries to take them (laughing). Ummmm. (pause while I check a text). I guess the hardest part was just the adjustment to it and explaining to the kids why I did what I did.

K: Advice for others? B: My biggest one would be as a mom you have to take care of yourself at the same time. You can’t put yourself off. You’ve got to have that time where you can take care of you. Even if you feel guilty, you have to say ok, you find something you like to do and you take the time to do that and you give your body time to rest. Mine would’ve been when the kids were gone on weekends with their dad and I would take time to do what I wanted – clean the house, whatever, read the book, crochet, that was my thing. You have to have that time for yourself.

K: Your weight has fluctuated through the years. What do you think is the biggest barrier in maintaining consistency? B: For me, it’s always been my will to do it. After the kids were born, I wasn’t worried about it and I didn’t care. When I did lose weight, I did it because I wanted to. When I gained the weight back, it was because I wanted to. It’s your will to do it. Now, I’m back down to where I was, again, so…that wasn’t…I lost my appetite and when I went to the doctor recently I had lost 20 lbs but that was stress. As I sit here and eat a sausage biscuit out of the microwave (laughing).

K: Activities you enjoy doing? B: (chewing) I like to crochet. I like reading books.

K: How do you think a history of depression and/or anxiety affects the ability to be healthy? Mental health? B: This really goes back to taking care of yourself. I didn’t notice what was going on with myself before I resumed taking medication. I was crying, didn’t want to talk or be around anybody. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. And, I told (B’s best friend)…she realized ok Brandy this is what it is…I wasn’t eating, sleeping, I just wanted to sit here and go to work, nothing more…she was the one who said Brandy you have to go to the doctor, you have to do something. It really goes back to taking care of yourself. You have to stop and look…(the friend said) you make a goal and I’m going to overcome this…and if you take the medication for the rest of your life that’s ok. The doctor explained depression and anxiety is like a short in your brain and your body doesn’t receive the correct message. And it’s something, like mine, I’ve been off and on medication since Stacey was born and some people don’t have that, some people are on it for their whole lives and there’s nothing wrong with that. You have to do what’s best for you to take care of 2 kids and…life. One time, a doctor, I didn’t realize what was wrong with me, when I started talking to her about how I didn’t want to leave the house with my kids because we’d be in a wreck or someone would try to kidnap my kids. I thought everybody had those thoughts. With her, I’d go back every month. I’d try to put the kids in the car and drive to the end of the driveway. I had to be on the medicine and overcome my fears. I thought this was normal (being scared) but it’s not.

K: For people who deal with these things, how does that affect their overall health? B: Exercise and going for a walk would be an awesome thing. It’s the endorphins that stimulate your brain. (still eating her biscuit) (cuckoo clock chimes 11am, lots of laughing)

K: Further discussion on people who want to lose weight, get healthier, etc – how do you think people can accomplish this? B: Dedication and will because people make time for what they want. They go before work, after work; it’s a will to want to do it (to make change).

As I’m finalizing this writing and we’re recapping what I’ve written, Bran says “I’ve always wanted my name and Betty Crocker’s name published in the same article!”

This kind of banter is our life.

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I ask you –

Any questions you want me to ask Brandy? I promise she’ll answer!

Cookie Conundrum

Not sure why it’s a conundrum because there’s really no problem with the amount of cookies I eat. The problem exists when I run out!

No one: Man can not survive on cookies alone!

Kel: Challenge accepted!

Desperate times. desperate measures

Must be no secret how much I love baked goods.

A lovely member brought me this strawberry cupcake

Weekend activities:

Chocolate Sheeth Cake (don’t knock my spelling, there’s a story behind this)
Baking with my mini human

Even the Munchkin gets in on the action. She’s a super helper!

All the cookies!

More evidence of addiction.

I love to run. Most people know that about me. Truth is, I have to run. Because I like to eat cookies. I don’t have a problem!

It’s that balance we’ve spoken about. I balance cookies with a 60% keto, 30% active lifestyle. The other 10%? Reserved for baked goods. Sometimes the scale tips one way or the other and I fall off the wagon for a short time. Inevitably I get back on. Begrudgingly. Complaining the whole way. But I do it! And life is good for awhile. Until that craving hits me again. You’d think all the getting up/falling off would knock some sense into me.

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I ask you –

What’s your comfort food of choice?

Baked goods…yay or nay?

Thoughts on practicing mindful eating? (look it up)

Did. Not. Finish. (COMPLETE)

Actual IG Post several days post-run

DNF might be the toughest words for any runner to bear. When you pour your heart and soul into a training cycle: modify nutrition, beg your family to understand why you must run 10 miles on the weekend, and then get up at the ass crack of dawn for the event, it can be a huge letdown when the race doesn’t go as planned.

Heat exhaustion is defined as “…a condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of your body overheating. It’s one of three heat-related syndromes, with heat cramps being the mildest and heatstroke being the most severe.” Complications of heat exhaustion include nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and muscle weakness. Or you could just pass the f*** out. I’ll take option E for $500, Alex! Better yet, I’d like to double my money and add the first 4 to it, as well!

Allow me to paint a pretty picture for you. There I was, valiantly running along when all of a sudden I was struck with muscle cramps, passed out, and came to in a medical tent. Not exactly. The warning signs had been with me since mile 1 of the 13.1 mile race. Running in the humid environment of Virginia Beach, VA on Labor Day weekend already had its challenges but I had trained for the heat and humidity. Really. I had! Alas, it wasn’t my day.

Mile 1 included “side stitches” aka muscle cramps. Honestly, probably every runner has experienced these during training so it wasn’t a big deal to me. When I had to walk at Mile 2, I knew something was off but I told myself it was just nerves. I had run this event at VA Beach the year prior so I knew the course, but I get nervous about nothing sometimes. I continued to drink Gatorade and water at each water stop (approx every 1.5 miles). The cramps weren’t dissipating but I would run until it became unbearable then walk until the cramps subsided. Mile 3 began an incredible headache. Literally. My head felt like it was exploding with every step. I remembered at this time that my dad had experienced a heatstroke many years ago and he kept mentioning how his head hurt so bad. So what did I do? Shrug it off and keep going.

Miles 4-8 are a blur. I can’t recall much of them except stopping to get a drink and soaking wet towels to wrap around my neck. It felt incredible – the cold water dripping down my back. My clothes were a wet mess, but I realized I wasn’t sweating at all. Hello, dangerous! I was vaguely aware at this moment that something was very wrong but I told myself once I reached the finish line I would seek medical attention. But the finish line never arrived. There’s a photo of me walking extremely slowly between Mile 11 and Mile 12. It’s an overhead shot where runners are about to enter the VA Beach Boardwalk. I have no recollection of this part of the race. At approximately Mile 12, I remember sitting down on the boardwalk and a woman approaching me to ask if I needed help. I suppose I said yes, maybe I didn’t answer at all, but I came to with a nice medical support officer leaning over me and asking if I could stand. I realized I was laying on the bricks of the boardwalk, confused and shivering. The paramedics picked me up, laid me on the gurney, and put me in an ambulance.

I’d never ridden in an ambulance before. Quite possibly I’d never even seen inside an ambulance. You could say I’m fortunate. During the ride to the medical pavilion, the paramedic asked me a bunch of questions I don’t remember answering and he attempted, unsuccessfully, to start an IV. I recall apologizing profusely for shaking so badly I was trying to grasp his leg in an effort to hold my arm still for the IV insertion. The joke is I’d be a terrible drug user, but maybe it won’t be received well – so I’m sorry. Some hours later, after being pumped full of fluids, both via IV and drinking 2 huge bottles of Gatorade, the decision was made to release me with instructions to follow up with my own doctor ASAP.

In all this, I have beaten myself up for allowing the heat to get the best of me, both emotionally and physically. Statistically, those who have suffered from heat exhaustion and heatstroke are at a much higher risk of experiencing these events again. With my own history of health issues, it’s agreed I no longer run in the heat. Over 80 degrees outside? No thank you, I’ll pass. Obviously humidity plays a large role in the real feel temperature so that’s accounted for when making a decision to train outdoors. I lost about 8 lbs of fluid that day; insane, right? Recovery was an uphill battle.

Even crazier, I had scheduled VA Beach as the first half marathon in my line of 3 subsequent halfs: Sep – VA Beach; Oct – Crawlin’ Crab; and Nov – Norfolk Harbor Half. I knew I had only a few weeks between VA Beach and the next race. Emotionally, the race in October was a test. I was figuratively running scared; afraid the heat (still hot but had cooled down some) would force me to cancel or not finish the race. I hadn’t trained much since VA Beach because I needed to focus on re-gaining the weight I had lost and maintain hydration. Crawlin’ Crab went well and in November I hit the PR I had been working so hard to attain. Did it all end well? Yes. But it was certainly a rocky road getting there!

Moral of the story: keep pushing unless it’s a battle of your health and your ability to finish an event. Know the signs of heat exhaustion and get help early. Please don’t wait until it’s too late…and you never know when late is too late. I knew all the markers, but kept pushing and stubbornness is not always a virtue. I’m thankful to the lady whom I’ve never met who recognized my silent distress, as well as the medical personnel for their efforts. We pay a lot of money to run races – some of it goes to the emergency warriors who help those of us in need. In my opinion, they deserve more because you just don’t know when you’ll be in need of their expertise.

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I ask you –

Have you had a scary experience during a race?

Tips on staying hydrated?

What was the last event you completed?