Summer Planning

With an impending TN summer on the horizon for mini, I need to find things to do with my time. Things that don’t include cleaning or working.

  1. Read all the books
  2. Create a photo album of mini’s 2021 summer vacation photos + kindergarten photos
  3. Organize mini’s massive amount of outgrown clothing
  4. Write copious amounts of blog posts to make up for all the times I’m scrambling on Sundays.
  5. Do nothing until approximately 24 hrs before mini returns, then frantically attempt to complete the above list.

All jokes aside. I sort of got a headstart on #1. Morgan from Oregon (soon to be known as just Morgan) gifted me this fantastic set of books by author Sarah Centrella. Her writing style is fun yet also very real. No spoilers from me. I love workbook-style books, too, so these are perfect for me. As I received my performance appraisal a short time ago, the final question was “What does Kelly see in her 10 year plan?” Can we just make it through today?! Luckily, I had already begun working through the guide for th we books so I was able to answer in the best way possible. “Let me get back to you!” No, I didn’t say that. For the most part.

a gift!

Broken record alert! Considering another run streak. Just to have a summer goal. Maybe June-July? One easy mile/day. More if I feel up to it. Obviously it would mostly all be treadmill miles because Texas summer is similar to the pits of hell. Pretty sure I’m right. The 5 day break we got from the heat was most appreciated, but don’t anticipate it happening again until…oh… probably November. Just something to consider. …the running. Not the heat. It stays. Moving on!

Short of registering for another degree and finishing up a book, I don’t know exactly what I want to accomplish this summer. Since those are revolving projects, best I stay the course. Hello, library!

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I ask you –

What are your summer plans?

Do you like self-help type books? If not, what is your favorite genre?

Vote yes or absolutely not: 60 day running streak!

First Grade Draft

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

Memory Lane

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

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

photo credit: pexels

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

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

First rule of fight club…

_______________________

I ask you –

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

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

Draft: yay or nay?

Do You…?

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

Gwen Stefani

Part One

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

Part Two

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

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

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

Now What?

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

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I ask you –

Can you do anything for two weeks?

What’s on your bucket list?

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

 

Sensing a Theme…

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

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

I sure would!

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

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

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

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I ask you –

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

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

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

On the life scale … + PT Update

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

I like to call these “truly awful”

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

these are called “one-legged wonders”

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

the beloved Ms. Dory! (hoodie)

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

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

_______________________

I ask you –

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

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

Tell me your favorite cold, sweet treat!

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!

Year in Review

So as 2021 will be closing out in just a few days and I will be on my way to retrieve mini from her holiday, today is my – surely anticipated – year in review!

In actively trying to remember how many races I’ve run, I returned to admiring my medal and race bib holder. There’s a lot of jingle on that wall! Pre-pandemic, I was accustomed to training for and scheduling at least 2-3 half marathons per year. Since then, I’ve been extremely lucky to complete one per year. 2021 was a wash/rinse/repeat of 2020, but I don’t let it get to me. Sure, I could blame the lack of events for my injury (which makes no sense and still doesn’t make me feel better); however, one is more than none! Knowing I run much better in the cold, a December race just works for me. I tried to establish a base through the summer, but between the heat and the dreadmill, it sucked. Not only did my base not get built, in retrospect, perhaps I should have used that time to ensure I wasn’t dealing with an injury before I started fall training. One day I’ll learn the lesson the first time!

10 – is how many half marathons I’ve run. Technically, I only completed 9. But I’m still proudly saying 10! Never did get around to counting the assorted 5k and 10k medals. Instead, I took a trip down memory lane. It was fabulous! I have made some amazing friends who also run. I’ve talked to people from different areas and connected with them solely online. I even get super excited when they complete a race because sharing in another’s accomplishment is such a rush of emotion! There are people whom I still refer to as my running buddy, my coach, my mentor – life brings with it different seasons but those people stay in my heart. I imagine for forever. Running just does something wonderful for me.

Ok, moving on…

I love when an app puts numbers together for me! Sometimes I don’t number well on my own. What can I say? – I’m a writer, I like words! Since I won’t be running much (any) anytime soon, I shall live vicariously through my previous endeavors and your stories! Give me all the stories! Disclaimer: for 2021, I only started using Strava in April so this doesn’t include any miles I ran January – March.

thank you, Strava

Being uncertain of which of the past years have been my favorite, I am extremely grateful I chose running! Or maybe it chose me. There’s joy in the adventure running brings to me. It is a huge sense of accomplishment when you complete a run, no matter how fast or slow it was. Running gives back tenfold what you put into it. I want other sports to BE that for me; alas, I don’t know if it’s in the cards for the dream to ever be a reality. Time will tell. Some days I’m rushing to know; others are a slow crawl. Guess it just depends on the mood of the day. I’m anxious to ditch the brace and lace up my trusty running shoes, but I know it can’t happen. Yet.

_________________________

I ask you –

Anybody else love looking at their year’s stats?

Are you following me on Strava? Share your ID so I can follow you!

Goal time! Tell me what you have planned for 2022!

Making Strides – Not the Literal Ones

The results are in! I won’t be running anywhere for…awhile. Trust me, I’m devastated. After further instructions to do nothing but rest for at least 4 more weeks followed by lengthy physical therapy, I have resigned myself to doing just that. Well, except for those few minutes I attempted to bargain some “active rest” by way of cycling, but was quickly reminded this type of rest is literal. No exceptions.

view from the ground

Good news: I can walk! Albeit a hobbling “walk”, but a walk nonetheless. Sans crutches. Sans a walker. haHA My medicine cabinet looks like that of a much older, more frail human being and I’m now the proud owner of various compression garments. I also own an assorted collection of massaging tools, as well as something called “Spray and Stretch” which turned out to be a very cold spray-on analgesic. Not convinced on this one yet.

sorry about the language, but it’s too good to not share

In contemplating the future of my running habits (perhaps I’m a little too dramatic), I believe it’s important to chart out the many possibilities.

  • I can’t run again
  • I can run but with some pain.
  • I choose to do something else.

As someone who enjoys goals and making plans – here we are. I do think I’d like to explore cycling more. Remember, that was originally going to be my cross training activity. Instead, I ran and ran and ran and never cross trained. Hmmmm maybe that’s the problem. I’m an ‘all or nothing’ kind of goal setter. To my own demise. Fortunately, I work with and know several cyclers so I will talk with them. Living in the founding city of the largest and oldest cycling event ever, it shouldn’t be too hard to get set up if that’s what I want to do.

Credit: jmstormquotes via Instagram

Problem solved and there wasn’t even a problem!

____________________________

I ask you –

Beyond strength training and swimming, what other “sports” could I substitute for running?

What was your last injury?

Tell me your goals for 2022! Walk without pain.

Race Weekend is Upon Us! + Track Me!

You can track me using this link (find my name – Kelly Atwell): https://rtrt.me/ulink/RRSA/RRS-DALLAS-2021/tracker/RBRE5GLH/focus

I love races with real time tracking! There’s many cool things about tracking race participants, notably finding out if they finished, but also being able to receive real time stats (that’s my favorite!). And who doesn’t love a good stalker app. It’s literally permission to stalk someone. So weird.

So I don’t have a “real” post for today – this might be the only time I’ve ever said that. I’m really excited to race and then take an extended, forced break. More on that later. On Sunday afternoon’s drive home, I’ll re-cap the race, load photos, and give you all the ins/outs of racing the BMW Dallas Half Marathon for Monday’s post. I’ve tried to take it easy this week – doubling down on low stress, stretching religiously, eating well, and sleeping more to ensure I can meet my goal.

It may not be much to anyone else, but to me this goal is doable and a long time coming. I’ve really put my body to the test during this cycle – never before have I been so cognizant of tempo runs, cadence workouts, strides, and progression runs. Some of those have become dirty words in my vocabulary!

Wish me luck!

___________________

I ask you –

What are you currently training for?

How often do you use tempo and progression runs in your training?

Give me some words to use when it gets hard!

Wk 14, HM Training

Officially on the next-to-last week! My goals are to survive two full days of training mid-week, begin a successful taper, and end the week with a long conference.

Garmin says Monday’s 4 miles is just maintaining, so whatever. I think it was a solid effort!

Since the two days of training got cancelled, I went back outside for a tempo run on Tuesday. At first, I was disappointed because I only ran 2 miles, but then I realized it wasn’t so much about the miles…it was about the pace (avg 9:15-9:35). Duh, tempo run.

And THIS! 48 VO2 max!!

Did some cadence work on Thursday, then my final long run Friday! I had to shorten it by 30 mins due to lunch time constraints vs after work when I usually complete my long run. 5.84 miles with some tempo training toward the end. It was incredibly hot out.

“Chaos Coordinator”

Still stalking next weekend’s forecast. Hoping for mid-30s on the overnight! Trust me, I’ve never said that before.