Tis Adding Up

I should definitely consider managing my blogging expectations before this semester officially begins. By the time you’re reading this post, the semester will have started (at least with student access) and I will be exponentially grayer. Solid assumption. My plans are to continue blogging and posting twice a week, but the posts may not be my finest work. Short of a quick blip week recap and a hail Mary, I have no content plans.

Fall half marathon training has officially begun. Did I already talk about this? I’m not planning to find a race; rather I just want to have a run on the books so I have a valid excuse to escape my computer at times. Strangely enough, this particular Garmin-created training plan does not include a warm up or cool down as part of each workout. It is an intermediate level plan so maybe that’s why? They just “assume” you know you best be warming up and cooling down. Sure, I guess. The good news is I have a pretty solid base – finally – for once in all the years – and I didn’t balk at a 5k right out of the gate. There’s no time goal because…no race…

This has been fun and all, but I know you just came here for the laughs. I shall indulge you. As I’m eagerly attempting to get my gradually climbing weight into a range I’m comfortable with, there has been a conscious effort to eat less donuts and (honestly) total crap. With the addition of a handy dandy food tracker app…ok, I really can’t remember where I was going with this entire diatribe because I intended to make jokes about my caramel-making skills which really doesn’t sound as if I’m trying to lose any weight. No, that part isn’t the joke. The funniness is/was the caramel-making. Initially I made toffee, maybe? It was hard as a rock, caramel-colored, and tasted like a candy bar I’ve never had before but might otherwise be known as Heath. My trusty sidekick stepped in, turned the heat up to high, and I frantically stirred while the pot alternately boiled over and melted the caramel rock. Alas I was successful! A caramel-cooker I am.

P.S. the oatmeal caramelita bars were delicious. And I stayed within my daily goal.

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I ask you –

Have you ever taken an extended break from something?

Are you training for anything?

Tell me your favorite dessert! Cookies. Or ice cream. Preferably both!

(The post Tis Adding Up first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2022 Running on Fumes

Day in Photos, island edition

Let’s talk about my two favorite things: coffee and running.

Cafe Padre at Yummies Bistro

Perfectly cinnamony, any artisan-level coffee is just right for me. Yummies makes fantasticly fancy coffees for every taste. I’ve never ordered anything bad from there. They also have food, but who cares. More coffee, please!

Too bad I’ll be writing papers during this event because it sounds like everything I love in one weekend. Post-doctorate plans are already being made. Note to self: research how many times you’ll have to run the island because it’s not 13 miles long.

(not pictured) broken Keurig. Apparently it is an issue the company is well aware of because I have called in twice just on my own machines. There’s a particular model with a faulty mechanism which pops the heat sensor rendering the machine kaput. Or something like that. I bring my own Keurig on vacation and didn’t even get one cup of coffee before it broke. Hmmpphh.

Hoka running shoes seem to be the shoe du jour on the island. I never saw one runner in Brooks the entire week. Maybe they just don’t know what great shoes feel like. Or else they prefer their sandy toes in a different brand. Whatever works. I did see one sponsored cyclist mid-week. He had a fancy kit. Perhaps I should have asked if he would be participating in the HHH at the end of the month. But since I was dying from the humidity there was no way I was chasing him down.

Overall, I ran three times that week and walked dozens of miles…beach to condo, shop to shop, vehicle to restaurant. You know the drill. I won’t miss the humidity, but I do envy 80° days and nights. And fried fish. I adore fried fish. It’s practically healthy! For those of you sick of my island recaps, I’ll be back to regularly scheduled silliness soon. Right now, I’m still basking in my tan lines. Mini goes back to school this week. Standby.

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I ask you –

On a scale of 1 to I-would-literally-die-without-it, how much do you love coffee?

Do you find yourself walking more while away from home?

Please comment your bets on how tired mini will be after the first 3 days of school! Mine: she asks to go to bed after dinner.

A Weekend Away

My good friend Dan sends me some of the most thought provoking articles.

“I Tried Slow Living in a Remote Welsh Cottage, and This Is What I Learned” by Kayleigh Dray was just what I needed. It was truly perfect timing because I was already fielding questions from mini regarding our trip to NE Texas to visit my parents, aunt, and sister. Her actual words were “What will we do?” Answer: just be. I spent my time wandering around a giant field and watching dozens of hummingbirds. They’re so fun!

In preparation for the visit, I had to move around a run scheduled for Saturday because I knew the humidity would be brutal and incompatible with any running plans. I started a 5k training plan – probably forgot to mention it. Not for a race though. I quickly realized if I’m not training for something, then my tendency to “get around to it” doesn’t motivate me well enough to actually “get around to it” especially where the treadmill is concerned.

Fortunately I have been able to accomplish two outdoor runs, both involving random rain. This is me not complaining. Except for the one that included lightning which made me run faster, it’s been good. Also, it was suggested I try graham crackers before a run. Quick carbs, easy to eat early in the morning before my stomach wakes up – simple, right? Well, my grocery store was out of cinnamon teddy grahams (my preferred alternative to graham crackers). I bought the store brand instead thinking there probably isn’t much difference. Wow. So wrong. Now I need to eat these individual packages of awful, pseudo-teddy grahams. Oh yay.

Thank goodness I can wash it down with ice cream which is exactly what I needed after a weekend of decidedly cooler temperatures (only 95°!) but with much higher humidity. Running out there would have never been a good idea. And it definitely didn’t epitomize the concept of slow living.

______________________________

I ask you –

Any interest visiting remote places?

Have you ever bought a food that didn’t taste like expected?

I’m on vacation next week. Should I bring my running shoes this time? I’m thinking yes.

Heat Wave

Change of plans. Nothing says get it together, Kel like a wake up call from your body, specifically when you’re too stubborn to acknowledge the signs before the fall. If that isn’t cryptic enough, let’s just say I got a little too close to the same experience nearly 4 yrs ago when I took an ambulance ride for suspected heat stroke. Coupled with poor fueling, I know better. And here we are. Unless the heat wave and triple digit temps break soon, the remainder of my summer will be spent on the treadmill. Surrounded by fans. Yay Texas.

I paused my training plan because I don’t desire to run 6 miles on the belt of doom. Possible, yes. Will… negative. However, I did see where there are a few upcoming breaks in the heat and MAYBE I can get outside one morning for a run. Perhaps I should have considered my running goals when considering Texas as a living option. I heard Utah was beautiful nearly year-round. Ehhh elevation isn’t my favorite either. I could use a summer home and a winter home. Let me get right on it.

My sister put it this way: “I have a few demands for going into the gates of hell this weekend! I need an ice pack, enough deodorant to bathe in and a fan!!! 😂😂😂👍🏻” Don’t we all. On the bright side, it “should” only be low 90s for the first part of this week which means it “might” be upper 60s on the overnights soooooo maybe I can run in the early mornings. Maybe yes, maybe no.

________________________

I ask you –

Are you currently training for anything?

Do you have a seasonal home? Mind if I borrow it?

Tell me your essentials to surviving unbearable heat! Ice cream!

Creature of Habit

Quick catch up –

As I seem to enjoy doing everything obsessively and excessively, nearly one year ago I made a decision to floss my teeth after every meal. Honestly, it wasn’t to ensure oral hygiene but a test to find out if it really makes a difference. I understand I had no true scientific parameters – control group, etc. – but I did it my way anyway. At my last exam approximately 6 months ago, the dental hygienist assured me she could tell a huge difference. This week I have another dentist appt so we’ll see. You can always find out where I am or have been by the floss that follows me. There are no less than 2 floss packages everywhere I go.

3 years doing what I love! Cookies! But, really, I love writing so much. I wish this was my job. For now, though, this is a hobby and I’ll keep writing as long as you keep reading!

Another example of obsessive and excessive – the run streak! Runner’s World hosts a run streak challenge each year immediately after Memorial Day and through July 4th. Since I’m a sucker for a good month of punishment, ta-da. Allow me to take it one step further. I’m mentally committed to running daily until August. It’s just a fun (my fun) way of filling the days until mini returns. So far, so good. Again, because I will never get tired of sharing this, the previous physical therapy sessions are my saving grace. My knee, hamstrings, and entire body feel incredibly strong. What a difference strength, flexibility, and mobility training can have when you’re expecting your body to “perform” every single day.

I’ll leave you with the above image. After posting it, I received some interesting feedback. The best was from my friend Jason who stated he thought my underwear were around my knees and I was peeing in the driveway. Other comments were unsure exactly what I was doing but it also looked questionable, as well as the thought maybe I was praying or having a moment of silence. To be clear, this is one of my many exercise bands I use for hip and knee strengthening. They’re amazing.

No word yet on what the neighbors might have been thinking. Hopefully everyone was still asleep.

_______________________

I ask you –

How long have you been blogging?

In what areas of your life are you obsessive and excessive?

Floss – yay or nay?

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!

Following Along

Allison of The Broad Running Broad published a great article in early April on the popular InsideTracker. You can check it out here.

Seems all the running influencers are somehow a part of the biomarker and nutrition tracking app, Inside Tracker. The premise is you submit your labwork to them, it’s analyzed for nutritional, hormonal, etc deficiencies and then a customized plan is sent to you detailing how to improve your health. The fine print though. Turns out you can pay upwards of several thousands of dollars per year for their customized plans and labwork costs. Until now I hadn’t heard anyone share the deep, dark details.

Using a clothespin as a hairclip = distortion

And, on that note, the Navy really distorts what health and fitness looks like. Probably all branches but I’m only speaking to my own. Maybe distort isn’t the correct word, but it certainly played into my distorted views. I haven’t looked lately – there’s no reason to – but the height/weight requirements are completely impractical. Truth time. I currently weigh 150 lbs. That’s a lot in my little, distorted, unhealthy mind. I don’t like that number. I don’t like it at all. However, I’m liking how my clothes (still) fit, I can run, I can keep up with mini, I can do my job without restriction, I can LIVE. So what’s the problem? Well, nothing, I guess. Again, it’s just a number! Kel! It’s just a number! Ugh. I hate how society places value on the number on the scale. How many times have I said it doesn’t matter – but that stupid voice inside my head says something is wrong.

Deep breath. I’m trying. There’s a fitness friend I follow along with in social media who also weighs the same. It was a bit of a news flash when she casually stated her weight. It clearly doesn’t define her. But going back over her story, she seemed to have struggled many years ago, too. Hmmm. I’m sensing a pattern here.

Nonetheless, I’m sticking with my plan of “training” for a 10k and strength training 3-4x a week. Last week was the highest mileage week since December…a whopping 8 miles! Tell the press! Or is it hold the presses? Meh. I sincerely feel strong this time around. It’s incredible how much we rely on our back end to propel us forward when running. Of course I knew all this. I just had to break something before being reminded.

Isn’t that always how it goes? The little things creep up on us and, then, BAM. We’re in over our heads with lab work plans and physical therapy and who knows what else. Meh.

_____________________________

I ask you –

Have you heard of InsideTracker? Have you tried it?

What things in your life do you believe you may have a distorted view of?

Tell me your word du-jour! Lately mine is “meh”, but I use “whackadoo” daily.

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.

______________________

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.

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.

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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!

It’s Race Week!

Disclaimer: I didn’t bring my laptop to edit posts so I’m sure the photos below are not centered and are probably so large everyone in space can see them. Apologies.

Garmin conveniently says I’m in Recovery mode, but on Monday, it felt like anything but. The wind was 90,000 mph with a wind chill of 30-something°. I opted out of the optional 10 mins on the end of the run which gave me a solid 2.48 miles.

the gloves in my reflection saved my life!

More “recovery” work, even at a tempo pace. Seriously, Garmin, I don’t understand you. I suppose working harder than what is expected during the race could be considered a recovery. In some worlds maybe.

Final run before race day was as expected…I don’t know what I mean by that because I had no expectations. My hamstring was really bothering me, even with the medicinal regimen, but my plan is to power through it all and reach my goal. I’ll keep you posted.

Beautiful day!!

Tomorrow morning is the big day! I didn’t sleep well last night due to a comedy of hotel errors but tonight my plan is to get to bed early and rest up. I’m excited about an actual, real life expo because I realized I haven’t been to one of those since Morgan from Oregon and I ran NOLA in 2019! Time flies when you’re having fun (that’s my mantra for tomorrow!)

Hotel life

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

Hope you all have an amazing day!