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.

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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.

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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.

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!

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.

Wk 13, HM Training

Clearly this week’s schedule doesn’t think I have a job. Sheesh. I know it’s Thanksgiving, but that’s doesn’t mean I have the week off. Anyway, I did have several days at home so I made do.

Typically my VO2 max is 45. One day it was 46. Honestly I don’t pay much attention to it, until Monday, when it reached 47! No idea what this means, but whoohoo. Garmin also said my training was peaking, so there’s that, too.

Funny not funny story: this training cycle has resulted in some strange chafing situations. And by strange I mean incredibly painful in places one would never wish to be chafed.

For Tuesday’s goal pace run, I went to the track so I wouldn’t have to think about crossing roads. But when the headwind hit me, I had a hard time sticking with it. My legs were seriously struggling but I managed to stay on track (pun intended).

haHA! Check out that 9:12! Learning I really don’t like progression runs but I do rather well at them so there’s that good moment. Considering it was pre-turkey, pre-stuffing, pre-pie…and extremely windy…

Long run completed! Super early, super cold (real feel 15°), and super long! I started with 23 layers, a hat, gloves, and a whole lot else, but I made it.

Lucky #13 (week) done. Just a few more remaining!

Race Ideas

Brainstorming future race ideas led me to this one: the inaugural Rock n Roll Atlantic City event!

I’ve only ever seen New Jersey as I raced through it on the way to Connecticut, though I do vaguely remember vast toll areas. Perhaps that was a different state, like Oklahoma. Nonetheless, I’d like to enjoy a proper visit and run a little race!

Credit: #myfavoriterun via Instagram

I’m also very interested in the Blue Bell runs in Brenham, TX. Held annually in April, the finish line party includes Blue Bell ice cream, which is my most favorite ice cream of all time. Pecan Pralines ‘n Cream anyone? I want to explore more 10k distances so why not start there?!

Credit: #bluebellfunrun via Instagram

I’m about over this training plan stuff. 15-16 week plans are just too long for me. Week 8 is about my cutoff. Maybe 10 if I’m feeling generous. Never before have I ever given a moment’s thought to running a virtual half marathon just so I can say I did the run and be done with it. A few weeks back – I hit that point. And I know that particular week was kind of a struggle, but I don’t feel like my fitness has increased much since. If I didn’t know that Morgan from Oregon was traversing the plains to attend, I probably would have called it quits awhile back. Alas, she has been training so I’m self-motivating to make it to the start line. My Garmin goal meter says it’s very confident I will reach it. My internal doubter has serious reservations. All I can do is run the race laid out before me knowing I’ve put in work to the best of my abilities.

break in an emergency

Now, with all that said, I just want it to be over. Thankfully start line emotions are a very real phenomenon and 10 mins after I’m done I’ll be kissing strangers and hugging babies. Jokes, lots of jokes. To keep myself on track I’ve been brainstorming things I want to do post-race. For example…

Short Term –

  • Take a long nap
  • Eat copious amounts of Mexican food, specifically tortilla chips
  • Lay on the ground contemplating my life choices
  • Call everyone I know with the great news I have a shiny new PR

Long Term –

  • January run streak?
  • Train for a March/April half marathon
  • Train for a March/April 10k unrelated to the above half marathon
  • Resume keto
  • Survive the winter months
  • Fantasize about vacation

Surely I’m missing many additions to my listing endeavors. I’ll keep thinking and update you all soon.

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving – filled with turkey and ham and as many rolls as you can stuff in your mouth at one time. And pie!!!

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I ask you –

Anyone have an upcoming race or race potential near northern Texas?

How often do you make lists?

Please share some thing(s) on your short/long term list!

Random Thoughts

-My calves are sore. -I would like to do at least 15 min of foam rolling everyday. Wasn’t I supposed to do yoga 3-5 times a week? -LOL @ me in avitar form -Well damn, I guess someone told Airbnb that Turin, Italy will be the host city for Eurovision 2022. Left: prices the week […]

Random Thoughts Thursday

Borrowing the above from my good friend (he’s my friend even if he doesn’t know it) Run There, Drink That .

I now have a reminder in my phone to “Write Something” every single day this month. So far, it’s working well. There’s this neat gadget that schedules events in your calendar based on preferences and how often you tell it to shut up because you’re too busy. Unfortunately, no extra points for completing it early. Thanks, Google.

I’m doing all the right things:

  • Carbs
  • Hydration
  • Rest
  • Vegetables

So why won’t my legs turn over? Could it be the quality of workouts, i.e. I don’t respond well to speed and progression runs, etc? The only reason I mention this possibility is because I designed my own race plans the past 3 years and met (exceeded) my goals. Am I just not meant to run fast? Was the 2:18 the best I’ll ever run? I refuse to concede! I’m going to get this figured out.

frustration at its finest

Never fails – on the weekends I wake up early (hello, internal alarm clock), excited to have a few uninterrupted hours to work on the blog, but I’m thwarted by the update screen. It’s my own fault. I don’t think about this requirement until Friday night; by then, I’m tired and just go to bed, always telling myself ‘don’t worry, Kel, it won’t take long tomorrow’. Then here I am. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. You really need to learn.

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I ask you –

Are you following Run There, Drink That? You should be, he’s hilarious!

Do you have a “Remind Me Because I’m Forgetful” feature on your phone? Bonus points if you use it daily!

Tell me about your regular sleep patterns!

Wk 11, HM Training

Garmin says it has the utmost confidence in me reaching my goal. Utmost! I remind myself constantly.

With several appointments and work obligations with a holiday thrown in there for good measure, I adjusted the training schedule to make sure I hit all the workouts.

We celebrated Sheppard AFB’s 80th birthday with a 5k/8k – keeping in line with the prescribed run, I chose the 8k. Started out great, then gradually got slower. It was warmer than expected. Even though Garmin said I was unproductive, I felt very good!

As I took off an extra day at work – because why would I have a holiday on Thursday, them return to work on Friday – what better way to kill two hours than by running circles around my favorite lake. Two hours.

Done and done! Too bad it was 10.98 – I could’ve run the extra 0.02 to round up!

Nonetheless, another week has been conquered. Almost there!

When You Get Excited to Run!


I knew it! Check out this article here!

There you have it, folks! Notwithstanding it was written in a trail runner magazine, doubles really are beneficial! Now…I have to forewarn. Doubles in the article and doubles I was originally thinking of are not the same. According to the writer, doubles are what you do when you run twice in one day (separated by a few hours, of course). According to me, doubles are when you run same pace/same distance multiple days in a row when planning to run back-to-back half marathon or marathon distances. Details. Ehhh.

I’ve not yet registered for the BMW Dallas Half Marathon on 12 December. I’m procrastinating because that’s what I typically do when I want to pay last minute fees and freak out about the cost. What can I say? I’m a smart person in an idiot’s body. Maybe I have that backwards? Anyway, I’m how many weeks deep into training and still haven’t registered. There’s just so much commitment when you take that final step! Alas, I am excited to race again; my goal is within reach and my fancy Garmin says the confidence I can reach my goal is very high. Even if it does occasionally say my training is unproductive. I still don’t get that part. Unproductive is doing nothing, like literally staring at my watch whilst daydreaming about running. That’s unproductive. If I’m outside running – or even inside running – I’m being productive! You’re not the boss of me! Which reminds me…I really need to find out if my running buddy is traveling to TX.

Update: Morgan from Oregon is traveling to Texas. Whoohoo!!!

Have I mentioned my tendency toward meditation lately? I finally downloaded an app – Smiling Mind – because it felt like I was more frustrated with trying to learn how to meditate than actually meditating. The app has helped a lot. It even includes meditation practice for children and families. Mini and I have done a few together; personally I like her lessons better than mine. Smiling Starfish. Look it up! I was able to use what I had learned during a long run recently – what a difference! I felt like I was in the right headspace, I was light on my feet, and the miles melted away. Nothing prompted my lean towards meditation except for a friend mentioning she was trying to embrace it and I wanted to be supportive. On my own wasn’t working, so here we are!

Back to doubles – I’d like to complete the Texas Triple, but it just seems too risky to try to race in May. The final weekend in May. A holiday weekend in May. In the summer. Do I trust my body and train and hope for the best? Or do I err on the side of caution remembering what heat illness feels like and cut my losses? Running doesn’t matter to anyone but me, yet I still want to be smart about it. There’s time.

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I ask you –

Thoughts on doubles, double runs or double races?

Have you tried meditation? What app, if so?

Stay tuned for an upcoming list of future race options! Share yours with me!