Running Reel – a short story

…that thing about one door closing…

Occasionally I enjoy reminiscing about past accomplishments. Helps with the current lack of running events.

Though I’m a little bummed about making a choice not to run a marathon – yet – I can’t help but feel super excited about what I was able to do in 2019 alone. I mean, I ran a double, people. A back-to-back half marathon AND I pr’d. Hellooooooo! There were a lot of changes going on then; who would have known despite them I could still pull a glorious race out of my assssss, I mean hat. This may forever be my running ace.

2 years ago, I was coming off a spectacular failure. Remember that DNF? Because I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, right?! Although I didn’t doubt I’d overcome it, there were a few times I heard “Hey Kel, you shouldn’t do this again.” Lucky for me, I make my own rules. Well…Kel does. More on that later.

Post VA Beach, which I haven’t run since, sore subject and all, I bumbled my way through another half, then traveled across the US to train on the West coast for a few weeks. In many ways, that trip changed my entire trajectory. As a last minute decision, I decided to run with a pacer at the next race. Good move! It gave me the confidence I needed and I pr’d.

Digression to current events: approximately 5 days before Labor Day (is it approximate if I say approximately and then give a specific number?), I found out the Texas Triple, always held Memorial Day weekend, was rescheduled to Labor Day weekend. Ooooof. I could’ve been training for that! I wanted to run it!!! Damn the luck. Needless to say, it’s on my race radar next year. Any running friends want to join? Hey, Coach, I’m pointing my finger at you.

so much more to come

Basically this synopsis brings you up to speed. I ran several other races during this course of events, but these are the highlights of my race reel. Maybe I’m just weird (no input, please) but I take an unusual amount of time analyzing the good/bad of my past runs so I can improve.

Because isn’t that a small part of life? Finding ways to do better, be better, and get stronger.

_________________

I ask you –

Do you make plans to improve some area of your life?

Anyone interested in the triple?

Tell me your biggest success! Dare to also share your biggest “failure”?

Welcome to the Show!

the shit show…

Let me tell you about my friend. She’s with me all the time and has known me my whole life. As an integral part, I’ve had to accept her shortcomings, her nuances, her idiosyncrasies. For some, she’s the only one they know. Her name? Kel.

from deep inside

Did you know many writers have an alter ego or, at the very least, an ability to ‘become’ their characters? It’s true. No more weird than a child pretending to be a dog – there’s a ton of psychological and growth patterns in these behaviors. But I imagine when an adult says this, it prompts some uneasy stares.

Not to worry – there’s nothing overtly wrong with my psyche – that’s what I’ve been told anyway. Truly I’m going out on a limb just sharing it here, but I think if we were all truthful with ourselves we’d realize everyone in our lives receives a certain part of us. Lucky for my readers, you are invited to the party between Kelly and Kel.

Allow me to explain. Anything in italics is Kel. She’s my sarcastic, funny, no bs, speaker of the heart. Kelly though? I’m forced to be what is expected of me, what society can dictate, what so many only know me as. Kel’s the fun one. Interestingly enough, there exists a handful of souls who give me an opportunity to merge both sides of myself into the true me, if you will.

I promise I don’t suffer from any personality disorders or the like. Some have even said I’m normal. Probably paid to say this, but I’m not complaining. My goal here is to explain what I think most people, if they dive deep, will find within themselves: a merging of characters due to life events. Surely I’m not the only one! Kel has been around for a very long time, but I didn’t really understand her role until I was much older.

In speaking to a very amazing woman, she regaled us with tales of her 3 or 4 “children”. These children represent different chapters in her life: childhood, adolescence, etc. It was explained that anyone who has gone through any type of trauma may develop the practice of naming and “unboxing” (my word, not anyone else’s) different parts of themselves. To be brutally honest, when I first heard this woman’s descriptions I was very resistant. I thought perhaps this wasn’t exactly what I had signed up for and maybe I should move on. But the more she spoke the more I realized I had done the same. Don’t forget about me! I even acknowledged how peaceful it feels to recognize this part of me.

a seamless combination

So there you have it. To be called Kel is actually a very personal part of my life. It’s rare and treasured. I can count on one hand how many refer to me as Kel – it’s not an invitation, rather I believe when it happens I am being seen for my true self. It’s a pet name, a private nickname, a word of adoration and understanding. She is me and I am her. And if you have the chance to be invited into this world, consider yourself lucky. Really though – I’m the lucky one.

_________________

I ask you –

Are there any other parts of you?

Did I go too far in sharing this post? Religion, death, and psychological topics: very taboo.

Tell me what you refer to yourself as: full name or a nickname!

Snippets of Comedy

Whilst typing a work email, I wrote “1 bird, 2 stones” and if that doesn’t epitomize my whole year, nothing will. Then I laughed very loudly out loud which warranted a puzzled look from my boss. You remember him? The one who didn’t fire me? Always pressing my luck.

On the (short) drive home, I passed a home with a tall ladder leaning up against an even taller tree. First thought: this f*ckery isn’t going to end well. Spent the next few days watching the news for his (because it must be the male species) coverage. I guess everything turned out well. Maybe he was a professional.

Everyone is safer when I’m teleworking

Discovered the bliss that is non-padded bras and if you see me fondling myself, then just ignore it. Ladies, you get me. I birthed a human and breastfed that human for over a year…pretty damn proud of this body’s accomplishments. My boobs may not be worthy of pornhub, but they’ve done everything I asked of them.

I almost forgot! Another work-related fail. A few days after the email snafu, as I was driving into work, my ID abandon ship’d it out the window. Granted I was already at the gate, window rolled down, preparing to gain access, but nonetheless it flew from my fingertips and landed behind the very kind Airman (who was very much not amused) while I laughed. Because what else was I supposed to do? I apologized profusely, but his expression was one of ‘why me?’ I still don’t understand why he didn’t think it was even a little bit funny. Oh well.

1 hr of free play

And, finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for = Ta-Da!! I successfully received my daily Gummy reward for 365 consecutive days! Gummy addiction anonymous hired me. I’d like to thank my patient friends and family who….nevermind. No one cares, but me. And I’m happier for it!

____________________

I ask you –

Do you regularly scale ladders in an attempt to do should-only-be-done-by-professionals work?

Have you ever thrown your ID out the window? I recall a story of a concert ticket seemingly disappearing out a car window…

Go ahead; tell me. Do I have a gaming problem? It doesn’t interfere with my life so I’m saying no.

Never Too Old to Learn

Around mid-February, I became involved in a “group project”, if you will. Typically held 2x/month, we would meet and discuss very important subjects related to life, military, and anything else that came up. Our host served as a mediator of sorts, but there was no syllabus nor direction to our meetings. Throughout the past 6 months, give or take, we battled our group being involuntarily disbanded, technology issues once reunited, and an assortment of other small decisions impacting our ability to meet in person vs remotely. Shaky at best.

Looks different under bright lights

Now we’ve come to the end of our project. We tacked on a few extra months because the world went crazy. The question was posed what will we each do with the time we’ve spent devoted to attending? Suddenly we all have 90 mins back in our life – decisions, decisions. Perhaps I’ll write more or include an extra workout per week or solve world peace. The options are unlimited! Each of us has our own answer, but I think I might continue to make this date with myself. It’s already on my calendar. I could work; who does that? This time has already been carved out and I’m my best project anyway.

Now the sappy stuff. Without this project, I feel confident I would have eventually gotten to where I needed to be, but it wouldn’t have happened as efficiently. I certainly wouldn’t have made new friends. Although they may balk at my use of the word “friend”, I consider them such. Believe me, it’s almost impossible to share very intimate and uncomfortable details of my life with strangers and not consider them friends at the end.

K, a seat just for you

Dear K – Thank you for being raw and unapologetic. From day 1, your candor was refreshing. I will never know what it’s like to walk in your shoes, but you wear them so well. The work you’ve done in your life, the self reflection you employ, and the take-no-shit attitude you developed drove our group forward. The path your life has taken put you in this moment, I believe, for many reasons. Your heart is so big. The rescuer in me wants to take away the pain you experienced, the unfairness of giving many years to the military that eventually took so much, but you are strong and brave and I am honored to have met you.

DW, this sign led you here

Dear DW – Thank you for having the courage to join us. I have met many strong individuals, but you represent this project for those who often don’t come forward. There’s a deep appreciation of your work in recovery and the lessons you’ve shared with us. I’ve heard your stories of overcoming loss and navigating anger. These experiences paved the way for my own self-understanding. When you speak, I know I’m not alone. I have appreciated from afar what you stand up for, the grace you give your children, and the listening ear you provide to us. We began as strangers; I will never forget you.

Because of the two of you, I owe you each so much of me. My heart will continue to heal, my soul can sleep in safety, and the uniforms we served in will stand up for what we, and others, deserve. We are not victims; we are survivors.

In a turn of events, there will be no asking of you, my dear readers, for feedback on this post. I welcome your comments, but I choose to honor some amazing individuals in this moment. There is no question I have met some of the bravest our country has ever seen. For this, I am truly thankful.

Little Big Things

Really everyone? No one called me out on my misspelling of “thou” on last week’s post? Come on!

Sometimes I panic on a Thursday afternoon when I realize I’ve not written a single post for the following week. Other times I have many options awaiting a small edit before I can publish. Rarely do I make any snap decisions to re-work what’s already scheduled. Just the times when you win free shoes for 20 years or when the love of your life returns. You know, just the little things.

Are you going up or down?

I believe there are moments in life when it’s easier to live ignorantly. Think about it. When developing a new friendship, do you blurt your entire life story immediately or does it slowly reveal itself in time? To complicate things, maybe there’s a huge secret you don’t wish them to know for fear of judgment or worry it will end the relationship before it can even begin. It’s not too wild to consider. So if it started off this way, who’s to say it can’t restart the same? Always with the rhetorical questions.

This post won’t seem overt to many, but it’s momentous in my own life. I’m patiently reminded there’s only one captain of my ship; no other power can make decisions for me. What has been built up will not easily be torn down. My feelings lie squarely within this blog, but they can have infinite meaning. Remember being bonded to another soul gives no right to their suffering. Putting in work to rebuild what is broken, lost, or overlooked is not an easy task.

Shadows that bind us

As a recovering rescuer, I find it too easy to fall back into the same trap. Not this time. Our words are somewhat guarded yet expectation is a tone all its own. I have questions…where have you been, what has changed, and why now? Were you waiting on me to make the first move? Are you going to quit trying again, without warning? I may be stronger, but I am not invincible.

Sleepless nights reveal much; but one thing remains the same: no matter the hour, my heart belongs to you. I don’t need labels. I just need to know you’re going to be there.

_______________________

I ask you –

Is preparedness a key to happiness?

Do you answer your own questions?

Tell me something good!

Oh Sandman, Where for Art Thou Sandman? It’s Me!

It has taken an exponentially long time to realize being a Veteran as well as a mom is isolating. Because when things are bad – at home, in life, with relationships – the ton of bricks hits to remind me ‘Kel, you’ve seen worse’. Maybe anxiety speaks louder than reality, but I often feel the sorrow of what could have been, what I wanted the military to be.

Even knowing it can only be what it is, I believe change is not only possible but also very warranted. Perhaps more inclusivity training? Is training really the answer though? How about an open-minded mindset that one person’s goals manifest unlike another’s? Not sure how to train someone in being open minded.

Whoa that was getting really deep. To resume a lighter tone, I find my best thoughts appear twice a day: while running and right before I go to sleep. Although these aren’t the best times for writing (anyone seen my pen?) I try so hard to remember snippets to share the next available time.

Hotel life

Sleep has proven difficult lately. It began shortly before vacation; pressure from trying to get some end-of-year things done at work, planning a vacation, imagining the long drive, etc. So, even while in paradise, the nightmares would push me from my bed to the couch. I considered I was allowing my stress over not returning home to a prescription refill a source of said stress. Even though I have lots of letters behind my name, “MD” isn’t there. Yet! You see, I take a medication to help me sleep. During/after military service, my normally light sleep pattern suffered. Instead of waking up at every small sound, movement, or even no real reason at all, I began having nightmares and still waking up a million times per night. Restful sleep? What’s that?

Unbeknownst to me, nightmares happen during the light sleep stage, not REM as commonly believed. Since I spend 87% of my sleep in the light stage, tada!, nightmares. Clearly I rely on this medication to ensure I’m getting the best sleep possible. Not one to take medicine at all, this is a pretty big deal! I’m not very medicinally tolerant; most make me fall asleep (even common pain relievers) so I guess a medication you take in order to sleep is right up my alley.

I feel like I said this would be a lighter note and here we are talking about nightmares. Anyway, if you, too, suffer from light sleep and nightmares, please know help is available. Now I don’t remember where I was going with any of this. ….Oh right! Sleep! Get some, make it count, talk to your doc, someone important, whoever if you aren’t, and report back. I’m always listening!

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I ask you –

What time of day do your best thoughts manifest?

Suffer from sleep problems?

I’ve probably asked this before, but do you remember your dreams more often than nightmares or vice versa?

Flora y Fauna y Comida

I considered writing this post in Spanish, but figured no one but me would appreciate the work. How ungrateful!

As threatened, this is the post of vacation food, flowers, and whatever other randomness I can find. Because if I don’t memorialize it here, what kind of blogger would I be? Don’t answer that.

All the flowers

The above are all phone photos – apologies on the quality. Below are from my camera. Keep scrolling, you’re not finished yet!

My dearest mother in law (affectionately referred to as Nanners) would have chopped off her right arm to be able to transplant these back to N. Texas. Fat chance. With nightly rainfall, 148% humidity, and sandy soil, these flowers are best suited to their current conditions. Besides, it’s less for me to kill.

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I ask you –

Do you speak other languages? Bonus points for pig latin and smartassery.

How many photos of flowers do you have on your phone?

Coffee v Alcohol. Pick your poison!

Vacation Takeaways

Hello, Gulf of Mexico

The humor mini me imparts on every situation is too much. Example numero uno (with many more to come), upon seeing palm trees for the first time in her long lived 4 years, she proudly proclaimed they were coconut trees. Later she conceded to their proper name and adopted the term “coconut palms”. Not every battle fought must be won.

From angry mosquitoes to the forever walk – the extent of my exercise regimen involved using the stairs to climb 3 flights multiple times a day and running away from tiny hell creatures bent on sucking my blood.

I attempted to eat my weight in crustaceans. Surely the scale would agree.

And cake, too

The Gulf of Mexico has some of the warmest waters I’ve ever encountered. The sand bars are my favorite because just as soon as you lose sight of your feet they suddenly reappear again like magic!

“surf board”

Homemade tortillas and the hottest salsa on the planet. I could eat it every day.

As I re-tell these short vacation blips and use my photograph collection as a handy reminder, I believe I may have to write a separate post on just flowers and trees, as well as one on just food. Skip it if you care not.

There was alcohol, too!

Gabriella’s

On that note, I will be here reminiscing seven, short days in paradise. And nursing my sunburn.

______________________

I ask you –

Did you vacation this year? Where? Staycations count, too!

Did you take vacations as a child?

Name your best sunburn remedy.

Grassy Colors

Just as often as I crave sweet treats, my body craves vegetables. Ok, maybe not “just” as often. I enjoy my workday lunch of grilled chicken salad. Really, I do! But as it continues to heat up outside, I find myself seeking out new recipes for Brussels sprouts, green peppers, and fresh corn. If I didn’t love meat and fish, I would find it easy to subscribe to a vegetarian way of life. The more colors the better! There’s very few I don’t enjoy; then again you can fry anything and I’ll most likely eat it.

Shades of green

Perhaps it’s way off, but I once had a headache for a month while on a long underway. 30. Straight. Days. Sure, the Navy isn’t known for being relaxing, but no amount of rest, ibuprofen, or caffeine helped. Eventually diagnosed with migraines, I thought for sure that was the end of it, but it took some time to realize my nutrition played a large role. Onboard the ship, the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables begins to lag as time goes on. Naturally things spoil. And no matter how much iceberg lettuce I would eat, the headaches would return. Much research has been done on the link between what we eat and migraine triggers, although I’ve heard more about chocolate and some “-hypnols” than anything else. Maybe I’m on to something.

Veggie Scramble

Call it what you will: placebo effect, wishful thinking, whatever you like. However, intuitive eating is possibly more important than anything else. When my body has had enough cookies, I know. And when it says hold up lady it’s time for greenery, again, I listen. Thankfully I was raised with a deep appreciation for fresh-from-the-garden wares (although I suck at gardening). My parents would spend weeks cooking and canning fresh salsa, okra, and pickled everything. Oddly enough to me, many children aren’t exposed to this natural, live off the land upbringing now. Even then it was becoming obvious this way of life was falling by the wayside. Long gone times.

On a lighter note, my strengths include shelling purple hulled peas and endlessly complaining about ants. But…if you need some help pulling weeds or over-watering your plants, I’m your girl. Pay no attention to me stealing your vegetables.

____________________

I ask you –

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you love vegetables?

Name your favorite veggies!

Did you have a childhood garden or know someone who did?

Nuance. The Polite Term.

If only we were so lucky

As promised (or threatened, whichever way you choose to see it), the inevitable post on things that annoy me. Pull up a chair. These are numbered only for you to comment on your favorites; in no way does it signify preference.

  1. The populations’ propensity to legally plagiarize another’s words. As the saying goes: imitation is the highest form of flattery. I disagree. It’s okay to occasionally repost and republish memes, etc on your social media account, but if you have time to repeatedly do this throughout the day, then you have time to come up with something original.
  2. A previously mentioned annoyance: wearing a mask the incorrect way. If your nose is uncovered, you’re doing it wrong. Look it up. Perhaps you could use your imitation time (See: #1) for self education.
  3. Lack of common courtesy. Move yourself and your shopping cart out of the middle of the aisle. Give the right of way. Use some situational awareness! I actually see this more on the running trails and tracks than anywhere else. It’s not designed for 4 abreast. Get out of the way!
  4. The amount of emails I receive is ridiculous. It’s mostly junk or advertisements, but what most annoys me is I signed up for these things! Sometimes I spend much longer than necessary debating should I unsubscribe. Then again, when we receive junk mail, for a minute don’t we get excited there was actually mail in the mailbox?
  5. When I have to pee really bad and can’t find the tampon string. Sorry, maybe I should have put a warning on this one. Ladies, you get me.
You can draw your own conclusions

The polite thing to do here would be to leave you with a tiny glimmer of my humility and good-natured humor. But what would a mostly complaining post be without some cynicism? I received the Newcomer’s Award during the 2nd Quarter Awards in my workplace. Truth: someone took the time and effort to nominate me and route a package. Cynic: with hiring at low levels, fairly certain I was the only option. Realist: I’m quite flattered and proud of my first award in what I hope amounts to a long line of many.

________________________

I ask you –

Can you relate to any of my complaints? Which one really hits home?

Please share your additions to the above list!

What award are you most proud of? Extra points to something with the words “Guinness” and “World Record”.