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.

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.

Creativity + Projects

One of my New Year’s thingies (that’s the Greek word for whatever word isn’t resolutions) is to stop telling myself and others I’m not creative. And when I have moments of self-doubt, I remind myself of all the times I was creative.

Like when I refinished this entire wooden chest. Including removing hardware, it took several months because I couldn’t decide on what finish coat to use. And I think it was cold, too. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

disregard the dust – it’s hard to clean around the butterflies

Or when I repainted and reassembled this tired, wallpaper-ensconsed RELAX sign. Seriously. Wallpaper! It was hideous.

honorable mention: fake flowers

Don’t forget the time I decided to make my own poster as leader of yet another Freedom group. Early birds get the Word! I’m on a role for all time leadingest Freedom group leader, currently at 1.5 semesters. It’s a thing. The 6am group rocks it!

still needs work

The snowstorm threw a wrench in our starting date plans, but someone smarter than I decided it was always a good idea to give us a few spare weeks in case of emergency. Or blizzards.

I’ve also successfully kept up with two calendars for going on 3 months! My work calendar has become a lifesaver and my home calendar is extremely motivational. I tend to overlap lots of events just because it’s fun to write in them. Paper or keyboard, writing is my thing. And mini’s crafting desk is always a source of inspiration. Truly it’s an anxiety-producing nightmare, but let’s be positive!

I’m positive it gives me anxiety! There’s glitter everywhere. And these foamy ball things for slime that stick to every-effing-thing. Let’s not forget the paint. Ohhhhh, the paint. Ugh.

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I ask you –

When was the last time you created something?

Are you known for being crafty?

I’m team no glitter! Agree?

Reunion Tour!

It doesn’t happen as often as we’d like but occasionally I get to catch up with one of my very best friends, Sam. She and I were inseparable for several years, especially during the formidable early-Navy days. In fact, it was a running joke how if you saw one you would see the other; even around people we’d never met before, our easy banter and knowledge of the other’s life led them to believe we’d been friends since childhood. The military has a way of helping you get to know someone really quickly. Because if you’re going to trust your life with someone, you best know a few things first. Anyway, Sam and I were thick as thieves. No word yet on any actual thievery but admittedly we did a lot of shady stuff. Don’t ask about the 4am inspection. We learned together how to navigate some really tough situations and live to tell about it. Sam was always my go-to for great advice. Even now, our conversations pick back up right where we left them. Those are the friendships I value the most. Can’t forget the Joker. We have countless inside jokes, memories of late nights and even later coffee dates, too many tears, and laughter that can be heard miles away. No matter our distance, a best friend like her is hard to come by. She hails from the great state of Illinois now; however…

Further good news is Sam may be visiting Texas in the upcoming months for some military required training and you know what that means! Batman and Robin Reunited!

Reminiscing about the Navy is like taking a manic car ride down a crowded street in Mexico. Let me improve your image. A clown car overfilled with good idea fairies on a dirt road between overgrown buildings surrounded by pedal carts. A hell bus, if you will. Different story for a different day. Being in the military is like living another life, like having a separate personality, like being one person in a skewed reality. At times, it’s lonely while simultaneously so loud you can’t hear yourself think. There’s no outlet. A constant circus meets board room. So if debilitating anxiety is for you, I’ve found the place!

Unrelated but on an equally uplifting note – Jamaica has a bobsled team for the 1st time in over 20 years!! Check out the full story here.

Everyone knows one of my all-time favorite movies is “Cool Runnings”; which, by the way, is more than 30 years old. Geez, I’m old. You can guarantee I’ll be tuning in to watch Jamaica hurl themselves and their light-as-a-feather bobsled down a sharp concrete chute in February. “It’s bobsled time!!”

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I ask you –

What’s your oldest friendship?

Will you be watching the winter Olympics?

Tell me a nickname your friends called you! Clearly, I’m Batman.

Drinking from a Broken Cup

I got this idea from Bossy Babe in her post The Lonely Block to check out the following website: London Writer’s Salon. I love following other bloggers who come across other avenues or groups to write in besides the standard local library group (not that there’s anything wrong with those).

Essentially, there’s a writer’s group via London Writer’s Salon that meets virtually throughout the week. It would be so nice to connect with other writers and just be. Wholeheartedly, I want to complete my book this year. And I know an amazing woman who is publishing her first book soon so she’s been a valuable source of information on what to do/not do. I shall pick her brain like any good friend would do.

mood improvement techniques

Since I’m not running, I guess now is the best time to get started on cover art, contents, and publication challenges. Really, though, this walking thing is garbage. My mood sucks, my digestive health is blah, and I’m still fighting to get into PT sooner than March. I’m going nowhere at the speed of my government-approved desktop computer. Good thing my building has no windows. I need to run!! My first question will be this: can I at least cycle? Give me anything more than walking! In related news, the constant pain is mostly gone. There’s only twinges and an occasional achiness now. Yay progress!

available at Amazon

Somehow I’m still maintaining a book a month. Don’t get excited, Kel. It’s just February. Recently I finished Matthew Mcconaughey’s book, which I originally purchased for my dad but he loved it so much he gave it back to me to read. The writing style was unexpected; however, it was a great book and I could hear his voice with every line. I remembered a time when I had “the drive” each day…I would listen to books on Audible. My favorite was listening to Anna Kendrick narrate her own story. Some say we bear a resemblance. Her sense of humor has me snorting laughing. Perhaps that’s our only resemblance.

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I ask you –

Have you ever published a book or some other publication?

What’s the last book you read (or listened to)?

Share some reading suggestions!

How God is Better than a Cup of Coffee

Like the coffee pot that beckons me from the comfy confines of bed, He speaks to my soul, enticing me to return to Him. To share a cup of coffee and a chat early in the morning before the world awakens.

  • Don’t check email until you check your heart.
  • Don’t turn on the news until later in the day. I guarantee it will still be there when you’re ready.
  • Protect your mornings like you protect your coffee cup, just as He protects you.
early morning magic

His reservoir never needs refilling – He refills mine. His endless love is like a direct tap to the machine. It never runs out. Like the routine, the ritual even, of making my coffee exactly the way I like it, He requires no standard except to worship Him with my whole heart.

Appreciate the smell and body of a well-seasoned coffee cup, listen as it pours into your favorite mug, moving your hand slightly to stir in the creamer and sugar source, then raise it to your lips for a brief sip of your creation. He appreciates who we are because He created us, in is image, perfectly imperfect, wonderfully made. He listens as we pour out our praise and petition, our goals and dreams, according to His perfect will. He moves His hand within our life, making all things new, even us, making the trees and flowers grow. We raise His name on our lips, the name of the Most High, of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

As the day goes on and I find myself drawn to a caffeine fix to make it through the final push of the day, His word reminds me to pray first. He listens intently and watches all knowingly. My path is His will.

afternoon details

Before I came to Texas, someone amazing told me not to drink the kool-aid of the Bible belt. This person tops my daily prayer list. If only you knew how freeing it is to put your hope in a higher power, the highest power. There’s a spiritual element in everything we do and touch. I pray for God to touch each and every life, but even more for those to willingly come to Him, with an empty cup and a willingness to be refilled. He has an endless supply of love to give. It never runs out. You were bought at a price. Inflation could never touch the debt that has been paid for our life.

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I ask you –

How many cups of coffee do you drink daily?

How do you take your coffee? Sugar-free vanilla creamer and SF cinnamon roll syrup.

Choose one: making coffee at home or patronizing a coffee shop.

Failed It!

I think I intended for this title to be about something serious. But I’m a child. And I lost my train of thought. Instead, the following is my spin on the common phrase “nailed it”.

speaking of trains

It doesn’t really bother me too much when I’m stuck at the train tracks. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo when I saw two trains passing each other at this same intersection. Also, I laughed a lot when a car behind me backed up to the prior intersection and went the other direction, presumably because they didn’t want to wait. But I don’t think they paid enough attention to notice they went the direction the train was going instead of waiting with me, i.e. the intersection I was at would open sooner than the direction he/she went. Patience is a virtue.

Credit: hardcorecomedy2.0 via Instagram

Have I ever mentioned my mug shot philosophy? Surely? Just in case, here goes nothing. If arrested and in the position of having a mug shot taken, I firmly believe you should give it your best face forward! Now, I understand when you’re arrested, you’re probably not in full makeup and a ball gown; however, if given the choice, you should attempt to fix your hair. At the least. Bald male? Just smile very big. Problem solved. To sum it up, in the court of popular opinion, always smile in your mug shot. You never know what potential juror may see it. Just my two cents. The guy above? He looks happy and probably didn’t realize they were magic mushrooms. Maybe he was trying to make chicken marsala.

one thing is not like the other

In a genuine, please-help-me-get-it-together effort to basically get it together, my goal is to do some sort of strength training for 10 mins daily. Forevermore! And instead of waiting for the usual start day (hello, Monday!) I got started as soon as the thought hit my mind. On a Saturday! As those usually not too difficult shoulder presses began being very difficult at rep 2 of set 1 – I chalked it up to weakness. But as I laid… hurled…the weights to the floor, the culprit became quite apparent. Me. I am the culprit. The one who can’t read. No wonder these measly weights felt so heavy on one side. Then, the perfectionist inside me made wrongs right and completed the next set with opposite unequal weights. Because balance is so very important.

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I ask you –

Which of the examples above is your favorite fail?

How many times have you smiled in a mugshot? Do tell!!!

Tell me your own failed it story!

Reach for the Stars

I recently caught myself using the phrase “I may never run again”. The weight of that short statement was not so obviously downtrodden until it was the time of year where my favorite shoe company releases a new iteration of my go-to shoe style.

If you’ll recall (new readers may not know this), I won a contest in 2020 titled the 20 Year Drop. Essentially, Brooks Running supplies with me a free pair of shoes each year for 20 years. Wow, right?! This is my only claim to fame, but I’m claiming it forever! My favorite shoe is the Adrenaline GTS. Each year, I receive a new pair as the contest winner. However, pandemic and supply chain issues have caused a slight problem with my ability to locate the newly released Adrenaline GTS 22’s. They were advertised online, but out of stock at my local Academy and even on the Brooks Running website, as well as Amazon. Figures. I had resigned myself to not needing any new shoes because I’m doing a whole lot of no running right now.

And then this happened.

L: 22 R: 21

I was wandering around an Academy in a different part of the world (not exactly) and stumbled upon these. Two pairs of shoes flew into my cart. The rest is history. Ok, not exactly. But kind of. I successfully located my size in the new 22’s; then, I found my size in a pair of 21’s. Stars: aligned. Thank goodness for shoe money. The fun part of this whole expedition is, unbeknownst to me, the 21’s were nearly half price at checkout. I don’t question these things! Stars, remember?!

So allow me to land this plane. As I slipped my feet into the Adrenaline GTS 22’s, I felt the SPARK. You know…the one where you dream big and see yourself in front of millions of people singing on a stage! No? Really? Too far? Oh right, the plane. I felt that tingle of remembrance on what it feels like to run just to be running. Just because I can.

And I thought…Kel, you may never race again, but you will definitely run. And it can’t come soon enough!

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I ask you –

Have you ever won a contest? Or lottery?

Where do you typically purchase shoes?

Name something you thought you’d never do but have been able to!

Producing Vision

“A vision clarifies purpose, helps establish priorities, motivates commitment, maximizes productivity, and fuels passion. A vision is a specific desire that God has for our future. It gives us a direction to head in. A vision grows out of a need that we see around us, something so strong we can’t get it out of our minds.” – Anonymous

He had a dream. I need a vision statement. As part of my (ongoing, yearly, monthly) goal to grow my blog not only into a widely read source but also into a business, a clear vision statement is necessary.

My friend Morgan from Oregon shared with me a booklet called Unravel Your Year. It’s free and available on the website. Basically, you sit for a few minutes or hours, drinking your favorite tea or whiskey whilst reminiscing on years gone by and how you can incorporate lessons learned into not being a complete idiot the next time. That’s the gist. By the way, it’s 59 pages. But who’s counting. Short story long, I’m doing it! Because what better things do I have to do with my limited time. Truthfully, I jest, but I really do want to use some self-discovery in determining where and how Running on Fumes can grow. There’s also that book still needing to be published. But I can only fry one fish at a time – the blog is the fish in the pan at the moment. No one says that, Kel. Stop it. I have been more intentional about using my planner(s) – one for home, one for work – to set tangible, mini goals. Granted it’s only mid-January.

I write with pens, too!

Focusing on the vision part. I believe there are big opportunities for me in 2022. There will probably be big setbacks, as well; that’s ok. Nothing comes easy. A vision is a lot like expectations. You can’t tell someone you have no expectations when asked, then, all of a sudden, have expectations needing to be met that weren’t clearly communicated when originally asked. Bitter much? Perhaps revisiting vision should be a regular occurrence.

I think this is why I’m enjoying the pages in the Unravel Your Year workbook – because each month of 2022 there is room for monthly reflections. It’s extremely easy for me to say I should revisit the vision portion, but let’s be honest…will you? Not without some reminders!

And, frankly, I love to write in whatever medium I can obtain; be it paper, computer, phone, napkins; I’m not picky. I just want to write.

Oh how that book publishing goal is staring me right in the face.

_________________

I ask you –

Do you have a vision (statement or otherwise) for your blog, life, etc?

Any suggestions on writing a vision statement?

Tell me what you consistently find yourself writing on! Maybe yourself.

Stranger Things

…have happened.

My workplace is offering a class on how to deal with stress. Upon discussing possible attendance at said class, my co-worker stated she was offered the same class at a different job, but the class was cancelled. Cue the stress jokes. How does a class on being stress-free get cancelled?! The whole incident just speaks of stress!


I was approached at my desk by a kind woman who was having some computer issues. She explained she is accustomed to using Navy-supported technology resources. Upon further discussion, she explained she’s from Charleston and works with SPAWAR, now known as something else I continue to mispronounce. It was so nice to chat with someone who understands Navy lingo. Toward the end of our conversation, I secretly hoped she would have to use me as a verification source for her account just so we would another opportunity to speak about Navy stuff. I don’t miss it. Just sometimes.

From another source: “I’m sure most of you saw that former member of the Monkees singing group, Michael Nesmith, passed away a few weeks ago. Maybe their heyday was long before many of you were born. The Monkees were the TV answer to the Beatles in the mid-1960’s (I can recall watching each new episode each week); whereas the Beatles were known as the ‘Fab-Four’; the Monkees were the opposite as the ‘Pre-Fab Four’, a made for TV group, and though the Monkess could play instruments, all the songs were written and played by studio wizards like Neil Diamond and Glen Campbell and the Wrecking Crew. When the Monkees got their way to play their instruments on later albums, they fell off the rock-world. Mike Nesmith enlisted in the USAF and took his tech training as a B-52 mechanic here at Sheppard in the 1960 timeframe and was assigned to Clinton-Sherman AFB, OK. As a side note, his mother invented Liquid Paper, the correction fluid used extensively in the typewriter days.”

Never have I ever… considered I would be starting a new year without running. It feels lonely, like watching everyone get on the bus to do something fun and I can’t go. If you’re sick of hearing me talk about how I can’t run for awhile, then keep scrolling. But seriously. I feel genuinely left out. Strava has no problem reminding me of upcoming or current run challenges. The Facebook event tracker rubs it in even more with their stupid ‘your friend is attending race whatever’. Oh, shut up!

And I’m over here with my yoga and walking. Be so jealous. Did that stress-free class ever get rescheduled?

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I ask you –

Would you attend a workshop on stress management?

What are you doing for fitness goals in January?

Note: I only posted about the Monkees for the final sentence on liquid paper because it was so random to me.