Self Care

My Fall Bucket List

I’ve always loved Fall. It makes me so sad that its super short in Chicago. It feels like we have it for 2 days and then the dreary yet, sometimes beautiful Winter sets in. I’ve never made a Fall bucket list. I don’t know if I’ve ever made any kind of bucket list before. It seems like the time to do it now more than ever. Whatever brings you joy, I say.

So I this is a list of ideas that are traditional and a little out of the box. I don’t enjoy a lot of the traditional Fall tasks, for example: carving pumpkins. I have literally no desire to do that. Why? I don’t know. Never was my scene. Seems like a lot of energy. Baking pumpkin bread though? That sounds great. Okay, okay now I’m just giving it away.

1.Read a really good thriller
I read thriller & mystery novels all year round, but I really want to make a night of reading or listening to a really spooky tale. I’m talking red wine, a blanket, out on my porch kind of reading. I’m currently reading “The Woman in the Window” by A.J. Finn. I’m hoping that will spook me enough. I have a date with the book and a glass of wine this weekend.

2. Classic horror movie marathon
I must have been the weird kid growing up because I used to watch horror movies….by myself….in my room starting at like…the age of 10. I remember watching all of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. The funny thing is, I’m way more of a wimp now about scary movies, but when I was a kid – all about it. I want to re-create those weird kid memories and have a weekend where I watch the classics. I’m thinking Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Rosemary’s Baby and of course…Nightmare on Elm Street.

3. Bake pumpkin bread
Listen, if you think I’m going to make home-made bread you are sadly mistaken. I love pumpkin and I love bread, but the boxed kind works great for me. I’ll eat it with some steamed milk and live my best life.

4. Dish out my favorite Halloween candy
I never let myself have candy in the house. Watching my girlish figure and all that nonsense. I’ve decided that’s nonsense. I’m going to eat my mini milky ways in my cute little owl candy jar and I’m going to LIKE IT.

5. Go apple picking
This is the one thing on my list I am not quite sure I’ll be able to accomplish. The reasons are two fold. I don’t have a car and I’m not sure what will be open for me to go to. I assume since apple picking is outdoors it will be fine but this is the one bucket list item I have accepted may go south. I just want to pick an apple off a tree and wear flannel while I do it, is that so much to ask???

6. Bake homemade apple pie
If I’m able to execute my brilliant apple picking plan I will use said apples to bake a homemade apple pie. If I can’t pick apples from a tree, I will pick them from my Trader Joes and live my best life. I’m way less judgy about homemade apple pie than I am about homemade bread….I won’t be making the pie crust myself. I can’t wait to eat some apple pie though….with some vanilla ice cream…and whipped cream….a cherry?….oooo cherry pie too…ok I’m done.

7. Run a marathon…
This one seems like I’m cheating BUT I am supposed to run my marathon while in the heart of Fall. October 18th. I think it warrants a spot on this list. I want to get it done. I’m really excited and really nervous but I’m glad I’m doing it during my very favorite season.

8. Spend time with family
I plan to do this virtually for the most part. Luckily we have some family in St. Louis so we’ll be able to pop down there for Thanksgiving. I want to make a habit out of calling my parents and brothers more. It’s the easiest thing to forget, but the most important thing in our lives. So, my bucket list item is to form a habit out of connecting with my family.

9. Buy some really nice fashionista boots
Sure, I have bought many a clothes in my lifetime, but I must say that I have been very good about my shoe collection. I never buy myself shoes. I guess never is a strong word. Once a year, maybe twice, do I actually purchase shoes and it’s always cheap. I’ve always wanted a really nice pair of high legged boots. You know, the kind Lorelai Gilmore wears. Those kind of boots. I want to save up and buy myself a great pair of quality boots and match them with a knee length skirt and tights. Picture TBD.

10. Run a 100 mile week
Okay this seems kind of crazy after running a marathon but hear me out. Right now I run anywhere between 25-50 miles a week. I’m hoping to run a 100 mile week some time in December. Do I think it’s crazy? Yes. Do I think YOLO? Also, yes. I don’t know how to explain it. It just sounds fun. This is the last thing I plan to do.

I wanted my Fall bucket list to be one part traditional and one part different from the norm. It’s brought me a little joy to even write it out so – I hope this gives you some ideas or inspiration. Don’t take Fall for granted. We only get it for a few months, and if you live in Chicago… you get it for 5 minutes. Clocks ticking.

Self care, self flare.

xoxo

Kelz

Mental Health

5 Tips to soothe a Mental Breakdowns

Last night I had my 4th or maybe 5th mental breakdown of this year. I can’t even keep track anymore. If you’re unfamiliar, a mental breakdown is a period of mental distress. Similar to a panic attack but it sometimes varies in intensity. I find panic attacks to be way more intense. Usually it’s hard to breathe. In my experience, panic attacks are more physical and Mental breakdowns are more, well, mental.

I have mental breakdowns when I’m severely overwhelmed. It happens when I put way too much on my plate and I’m not conscious of how much it’s hurting me until it’s too late. Sometimes my mental breakdowns are… kind of… funny? Not only am I crying, but I”m laughing. It’s funny that I’m so emotional and it’s funny that it came out of nowhere. I don’t know if that’s true for every one but, definitely for me. Panic attacks? Not funny.

Here are 5 tips that help me in the moment of a breakdown:

1. Find someone to talk to ASAP.
When I’m breaking down, I often need someone to vent to. I just have to get all of my daunting, crazy and even sometimes silly thoughts out in the open. Sometimes when I hear what’s coming out of my mouth, I realize things aren’t as bad as they seem or I realize that I’ve been harboring feelings for far too long. Find someone you can open up to. A partner, family member or friend. If you have a good therapist, shoot her an email. It’s instant relief when you can get everything on your mind, out in the open.

2. Let it all out.
Cry, baby. Cry. Get it out. Don’t hold anything in. You’re going to feel really exhausted after, and you should. It’s like when you wring a soaked towel out. The more you hold it in, the longer it will take to move forward and you risk another breakdown the next day.

3. Treat Yo-Self
Get yourself a pumpkin spiced latte, a scoop of ice cream, candle from Anthropologie or a glass of wine. Honestly I don’t think we treat ourselves enough in our lives. Having a mental breakdown means you haven’t been taking care of yourself. Period. That’s okay. It happens! Buying yourself a nice treat, even something cheap, is an easy way to get back in the self care saddle.

4. Write about it
I journal every day. If you want to read more about how journaling helps your mental health, you can read my blog post about it [here.] Sometimes you just need to get it on paper. Writing down how I’m feeling has been one of the most useful tools I’ve ever used. It’s helped me through some of my toughest break ups actually. I’m a big fan of writing a letter you never send. I’ve written letters to exes that I kept in a folder on my computer, went to sleep, woke up the next day and felt like a whole new person. I swear by it. There’s a science to writing out everything that’s going on inside, especially if you feel like nothing that comes out verbally can compare.

5. Take a walk
A simple piece of advice but it works every time. Studies show that 30 minutes of exercise a day keeps anxiety at bay. Walking releases the brains natural painkiller – endorphins. There’s truth to the whole “Take a walk and cool down” saying. I love a brisk walk around the block. It makes me feel oddly accomplished and more importantly, calm.

If you’ve never had a mental breakdown in your life, consider yourself lucky but not completely out of the woods. Every one feels stress and anxiety. Every one gets overwhelmed. If you find yourself breaking down, maybe even laughing crying and feeling like your head is going to explode, try some of these tricks. I can promise at least one will soothe your troubled mind.

Self care, self flare.

xoxo

Kelz

Running

6 Weeks until the Marathon Update

The amount of random trails I have found in Chicago is astonishing. I ran down California Avenue one day and stumbled on a running track right along the edge of the Chicago river. It wasn’t large by any means, but it was there. It led me into a small forest surrounded by rocks, leaves and mounds of dirt I’ve recently learned are there for dirt bikers. Further down California is Bloomington Trail. An elevated bicycle and running path heading East towards the Lake. It’s beautiful and modern, elegant yet understated. It’s the kind of path that makes you feel like a real Chicago runner, which, I guess I am now. Just today I found another path along the river in the middle of a park off Montrose. It was a nature path filled with flowers, buzzing bees that steer clear, singing birds and tall grass that hugs you in without touching you at all.

There’s been a lot about my training that has not been fun. I could do without the shin splints, the balmy heat, the cramps and scabbed feet. The scrapes, falls and aching toes are everything but a distant memory. Worrying if I’ll be able to keep my toenails is not something I ever thought I’d need to worry about in my whole adult life, I’ll tell you that much. However, through the stitches, scars and shaky shins I have also found the deepest sense of peace. I think I finally understand what you’re supposed to feel when you meditate. When you reach 10 miles in to a long run your brain does this crazy thing where it all goes quiet. Even with “Green Day” screaming in my ear, the world is asleep and I am the only person in it. I thank my drive for that but also, those mysterious, treasured trails.

6 weeks out, my first instinct was not to reflect, but to pout. I’m nervous. I know I’m prepared. I know I’m ready. It’s hard to describe why I’m nervous. I guess I’m scared that I’ll wake up that morning and feel sick to my stomach and not be able to see it through. The real sweet spot though about doing this on my own is that I can do it whenever I want. I don’t make it one day, I try again the next. So, that can’t be where the nerves are coming from, no. Too fixable. I know what it is and it’s all mental.

Despite popular myth, running long distance hasn’t put me in the best shape of my life. Not yet at least. I’m still holding out hope for that. I am a beginner, after all. It hasn’t made me fast or necessarily “athletic.” Sure, I’m definitely fitter than I was right before. My endurance is great and I’ve never seen so many muscles in my legs before. Fitness, however is the last thing it’s done for me. What it’s done the most good for is my mental health. Like I said, I’ve found peace in my rustled mind but I’ve also found a lot of confrontation as well. It’s given me the time to think about my life; where I’ve gone wrong and where I’ve gone right. I’ve thought about what I like about myself and what makes me cringe. I’ve felt lonely and crowded and taken aback and even bored. I’ll never forget dropping after 15 miles and crying like I’ve never cried before. It was gross. Sweat and tears are gross, but it was also so cathartic.

Maybe I sound like a mushy idiot. I can’t help it. It’s my whole life lately. All I talk about is running and my anxiety. They go together perfectly like eggs and toast, pen and paper, MaryKate and Ashley….

The moral of the story is – I am 6 weeks out and yes I’m scared but I’m much much more excited. My mental fears are all the things I will face in my brain while running 26.2 miles. I know I’m going to want to give up at some point. I’ll probably have to tell myself at various miles to stop having limiting beliefs and to halt the endless feelings that I’m “not doing it right” when I’m inevitably walking and not running. I thoroughly expect to cry but I also expect to enjoy it and hold a cheeky smile on my face as I jump, skip and swing my legs to “Fountains of Wayne” and “They Might be Giants.”

You know what I also can’t wait for? The finish line. When I knock Andrew down and rub my sweat all over him. I’m so thankful for him during this entire journey. After he endures my sweat he will also get a kiss and one of my beers from the 6 pack of beer I will absolutely be buying to celebrate after.

Lastly, I thank you for reading this post. If you’ve read all of my posts, I thank you even more. Being able to express myself through this whole adventure has been a key to my ability to keep going. I will update again once I am a month out. Then I am sure I will write about the whole experience after the marathon is over. Wow, aren’t those the most beautiful words. you’ve ever heard? “Once the marathon is over.”

Sounds so bittersweet.

Self care, self flare.

xoxo

Kelz

Mental Health

Why Journaling is Amazing for your Mental Health

I’ve been writing in a journal or diary of some kind since I could learn to write. Some time in elementary school I was given an adorable purple notebook with white cats all over it and I decided – I can’t wait to write down all of my 8 year old thoughts in this notebook. Thoughts varied from my crush on Ryan, my homework I didn’t understand, my spice girls birthday party, my crush on Brian (yes I liked a Ryan and a Brian) and why my brothers are “so totally unfair.” To be honest…my journal now looks vey similar.

So, I never really stopped. Sure, I’ve taken a few month hiatus’, but my loyalty to always have a journal handy remains tried and true. There are mornings I jump out of bed itching to write. Sometimes I need to vent, or get thoughts out of my head but more often than not I just like to write out what my day will look like and how that makes me feel. It helps me get my head in order for the day.

Journaling should be freeing and fun. You shouldn’t need to put any kind of barriers on what you write. I, like a few other creatives I know have been told completely ridiculous and isolating rules around journaling. Rules such as; you must write no less than 3 pages, you must write no more than 3 pages, you must never pause – write continuously even if you’ve run out of thoughts, just write anything, “The sky is blue. There’s a cat in the room. I’m hungry” just get your thoughts out. I say, bologna. Isn’t putting rules on journaling kind of defeating the purpose? Yes? I agree.

Figure out what works best for you. If barriers around journaling helps you then go for it. You can write any time of day of course but I find the morning works best for me. However, if I wake up one day and I don’t feel like journaling – I don’t. Journaling should be freeing. It should be a tool not a task, cherished not a chore.

It can help not only your mental health but your physical health as well. In 2013 Researchers in New Zealand found that 76% of adults who spent 20 minutes writing about their thoughts and feelings for three consecutive days two weeks before a medically necessary biopsy were fully healed 11 days later. There’s also evidence to suggest it helps your memory. Your brain will make stronger connections with information that you write down, which makes it easier for you to recall down the line. It also harnesses your creativity! There have been plenty of creative ideas I’ve manifested while writing in my journal. Everything from writing a solo show to decided to start this blog.

It’s also fun to reflect back on your life. Well, sometimes it’s humiliating but mostly it’s fun. I find it so wild how much I’ve changed over the years. How much I used to worry about things that I know now were not worth the stress. It’s literally an archive of your life and feelings, your worst nightmares and your greatest accomplishments. Have I sold you on journaling yet?

If you’re feeling stressed, alone, overwhelmed or sad I highly encourage you give journaling shot. Especially during times like these. Grab yourself a coffee or a glass of wine (if you’re journaling at night, but then again – who am I to judge,) grab an empty notebook, your best pen and get writing.

I promise you won’t regret it.

Self care, self flare.

xoxo

Kelz

Mental Health

Revamp your 2020 goals – it’s not too late!

I had so many goals at the beginning of this year….

I was going to read 75 books, run the Chicago Marathon (ya know, with people,) audition for a Chicago tv show, lose all the weight I had put on during my depression, the list goes on and on. Then I got off of a cruise ship (another goal was to take a vacation with my partner for the first time in 4 years that I luckily got to achieve) and all of a sudden the world stopped.

3 months went by without looking at my goals. I figured, this years a wash, why bother? Then I met with my therapist, ah my therapist. She had me sit down with all of my goals and find a way to make them work. Some I’d have to discard of course. I can’t force the Chicago Marathon to happen, but I can do it on my own. I don’t have the time any more to read 75 books, but what about 50? Even 20? Maybe I don’t have the ability to pay off as much of my debt as I want to but maybe there are other savings goals I have.

Here’s a look at what my 2020 goals were for the year:

  1. Run the Chicago half marathon and the Chicago marathon.
  2. Audition for one of the Chicago television shows.
  3. Andrew and I take our first vacation together.
  4. Read 75 books.
  5. Pay off ___ in debt.
  6. Shed weight I gained during my rough patch.
  7. Write first draft of play.
  8. Complete 1 year of Therapy.
  9. Be able to do 100 push ups in a row.
  10. Grow my Youtube channel to 100 subscribers.
  11. Grow my instagram to 2,000 followers to drive traffic to my blog.
  12. Reach 300 followers on my blog.

Some of these goals I’ve accomplished which is awesome! Some – I didn’t stand a chance with COVID. Mostly due to a lack of motivation. You know, the pandemic blues. So I revamped my goals and realized I could actually make them more actionable.

Here’s what my goals look like now:

  1. Run a half marathon ✔️ and a marathon… solo!
  2. Send headshot/resume and note to casting remind them all I still exist and while I’m focusing on other ventures now, I still have my toes in the acting business.
  3. Andrew and I take our first vacation together. ✔️
  4. Read 30 books.
  5. Meet with a financial coach/Educate myself on my finances.
  6. Create meal plans weekly and stick to them till the end of the year to help shed/maintain my sadness weight. (That’s what I like to call weight you gain when you’re all depressed.)
  7. Write 2 scenes of a play, even if they’re shitty.
  8. Complete 1 year of Therapy ✔️
  9. Be able to do 30 pushups in a row.
  10. Post a video every Sunday, be consistent.
  11. Follow bloggers on instagram, join a community.
  12. Consistently post on my blog twice a week and use instagram and Pinterest to promote.

Even if I accomplish nothing else this year, I still checked off 3 goals from this list which, if I do say so myself – is impressive, and enough. Especially for this year. Wow. F*** this year right?

So take another crack at them I say. You might be surprised to know you accomplished more than you thought, you created more actionable goals than you intended or some goals aren’t as important to you anymore as they were before this crazy year.

I hope this helps you! Go forth and be goal oriented. It can’t hurt.

Self care, self flare.

xoxo

Kelz

Mental Health

Quarantine Coping

5 months. I can’t tell if it’s gone by fast or slow. Maybe a mix of both. When this all started back in March (lock down I mean, not COVID) I, like everyone, didn’t know how long it would last. I didn’t know how serious it was, just that it was serious. I didn’t know what else I would face this year. And yet, I cried. We had just came back from a cruise and magically got off the boat no problem. While sailing, we were completely in the dark for five days. Urgency was at about a 3 when we left and moved to a 10 by the time we were back. There was nothing gradual about it. We came home. Knowing we’d be working from home for who knows how long. I unpacked my bag. I sat on the couch and I cried. I didn’t even know what I was crying for or about. I was healthy and so was my family and all of my friends. But still I cried. It was instinct. If you’re reading this, I know you know what I mean.

Now it’s August, almost September . Friends, it has been a journey of major highs and major lows. I’ve had 3 panic attacks which, are the first I’ve had in 2 years. I’ve had pet health scares, family health scares and doubts about where I was going in my life. I’ve eaten too much and eaten too little. I’ve run out the door like a post-haste and I’ve fallen to the floor in sadness. I’ve watched friends move away while I grew closer to this city I call home.

I’ve stayed in therapy. Twice a week a zoom session with my therapist where I either unravel or stare off into space babbling blankly about my woes. It’s helped. Therapy helps even when it feels like it doesn’t help. I’ve journaled, meditated, cooked and most importantly I’ve run. Some things have helped and some things happened. Or they helped one day and didn’t the next.

I’m a planner by nature and not knowing an end date to something is seriously my worst nightmare. That means I am forced to be in the moment. I can’t really even think beyond tomorrow. I’m trying to see that as a good thing. I’ve always been kind of flighty with my thoughts. I worried about the future so much and my goals and being “stuck.” Well, now I am kind of stuck, yet it’s set my thoughts free – because I literally cannot plan for anything. I just have to take it day by day. Weirdly, it turns out being “stuck”, isn’t so bad.

And so we take it all in stride. Count our blessings. Pray we stay healthy and that a vaccine is just around the corner. In the meantime, I don’t want to take this moment in our lives for granted. It’s made me pause and reflect. It’s shown me what I’m mentally capable of and what’s beyond my reach – and how to cope with that. At least there is one thing I know to be true. None of us are in it alone.

I hope you’re finding some kind of solace in this confusing and scary time as well.

As my Grandma loved to say “it is what it is” and “this too shall pass.”

Self care, self flare.

xoxo

Kelz

Recipes

Power Muffins – My Pre-Run Breakfast Recipe!

Credit for this recipe goes to one of my favorite cook books “Run fast. Cook slow. Eat Slow” by Shalene Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky.

I’ve been struggling to find the perfect food to eat before my run. Short runs and long. I’ve tried protein shakes, cereal, frozen waffles, toast, you name it – I’ve tried it. One would make me feel nauseous while I ran and the other would leave me hungry 20 minutes in. I thought I’d never find a good pre-run breakfast until these muffins came into my life. They leave me full, energized and ready to run out the door. They also have hidden veggies so you can get in a serving first thing in the morning. Here is the recipe: enjoy!

2 cups almond flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3 eggs
1 cup grated Granny Smith apple (usually just 1 apple)
1 cup grated carrots (about 1 apple)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup honey

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with muffin cups.
2. Take a large bowl and combine the almond flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.
3. Separate bowl; whisk the eggs, apple, carrot, melted butter and honey. Add the wet ingredients to the dry slowly until combined.
4. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins. You can fill each to the brim. Bake until browned ( about 25-30 minutes.

Eat with some butter and a little added cinnamon on top and enjoy! These make 12 and last a week. I usually eat 2 before a long run. 1 before a short. Also – I highly recommend Shalene and Elyse’s cook books. I’ve linked them below.

https://runfasteatslow.com/pages/books

Grab a muffin and get runnin’.

Self care, self flare.

xoxo

Kelz

Running

2 Months to the Marathon: My plan, goals and flying solo

6am on a Friday morning. I was off work preparing for friends to come into town to surprise Andrew. I decided it would be a great day to run the longest distance I’ve ever run thus far. 15 miles. I wouldn’t be able to do it over the weekend, and I’ve been warned that skipping your long runs forms a kind of runners regret I’d rather avoid. I set out right on time. Mmm more like 30 minutes after on time. I was tired, ok? I don’t need the 3rd degree here.

Slugging my way down the stairs I thought the thought I always think….”I might not even make it 3 miles but if I can step out the door and say I tried, well that’s something. Ugh, its only gonna be 3 miles I just know it.” Then suddenly, my foot hits the pavement and I’m off.

Mile 3, the caffeine is kicking in. Mile 6, I’m almost halfway through. Mile 7.5, oh my God I’m halfway through! Mile 9, eat some salt and vinegar chips on a bridge looking out at the Chicago skyline. Mile 11, wow I’m almost done! Mile 13, wow my legs are dead. Mile 14, so this is what runners delirium feels like. Mile 15, I’m making noises I’ve never heard myself make before. Mile 16, collapse. Andrew comes outside to bring me Gatorade. I tell him how much I can’t believe I just did that. How bad I wanted it and didn’t even realize it. How proud I was of myself. Then….I burst into tears. Ugly, sobby, hot tears that, combined with laughter, makes for a great audition for “One Flew over the CooCoo’s Nest.”

I don’t know how to explain it, but something about running several scary miles has a way of making you feel so free.

Then – the next week I could barely run 15 miles in a week. That’s the nature of the beast, the nature of training for a marathon. It kicks your ass while showing you what you’re made of. Now I am 2 months out, and even through all of the tears, injuries, forced rest and mental breakdowns, I want more.

About 10 months ago I had decided I would run the Chicago marathon in 2020. Now I am 2 months away and pretty much everything I thought as to how it would be is completely different now. For starters, it’s canceled so, I’m running it solo. Did you really think I was going to let some bogus “cancellation” email stop me? Psssssh. You can’t cancel my crazy ideas, okay? I also thought I’d be training with a coach every week along with a group of other runners. That got changed real fast to virtual check ins which, I stopped joining a long time ago…Nothing against the coach or other runners at all but – I just felt like I couldn’t get anything out of it. I didn’t want to be joining a zoom meeting at 6pm when I’m virtually in meetings all day at work. So, I did a lot of research myself, but still followed the training program my coach gave me.

I’m at a cross roads now. 2 months is not far away. It’s eerily close. I can feel it creeping over my shoulder like a vampire..and I don’t feel ready. I mean – I probably won’t feel ready when the day comes either, but – I want to feel much more fit and much more energized than I do right now. So, that brings me to my plan for these next 2 months, the next 60 days.

Here is what I’m striving for during this time; I’m calling it “Clean 60”

Clean eating and clean training. You know what’s funny? I think it’s probably going to be pretty messy. That’s okay. The point is to do my best to eat as clean as possible and train as clean as possible. What I mean by clean training is:

  • Hit my running mileage every week
  • Stretch and roll out
  • Strength train
  • Sleep 8-9 hours a night
  • Take care of my mental health

What I mean by eat clean is…well…eat clean:

  • Eat whole foods
  • Nothing processed
  • 3 meals a day, making sure I am getting in enough calories
  • As organic as possible
  • No alcohol (yikes)

This is hard to do in a week let alone 60 days, but the point is that I want to feel as fit as possible before running 26.2 miles, all by myself. I’m not afraid of “hard.” It’s already been hard, and the more I take care of my body, the easier it’s going to be.

Here’s roughly what my training schedule looks like over the next 8 weeks:

I’m nervous excited. Kind of how I’ve felt before my entrance in a play. Honestly, in times like these, feeling excited about anything is something to cherish. I’ll be filling you all in on my journey over these next 60 days (give or take.) Thanks for rooting me on in advance!

Okay – time to not drink and go to sleep.

Self care, self flare.

xoxo

Kelz

Running

Burnout Weeks, what’s the deal?

Last weekend I ran my third half marathon of the year (13.1 miles) and, while it was really tough, I felt awesome after it! It’s the farthest I’ve run. I felt confident going into my 11th week of marathon training since I had already run 13.1 miles 2 other times this year. However, when I started out on my 6 mile run on Tuesday, I was immediately stalled. My calves were on fire, my hips were achy and there was this strange strain on the outside of my shin. It was happening – the word I had always feared: burnout.

(Shudders) I didn’t want to believe it. So I tried again on Wednesday and on Thursday but by .5 miles into both run I was absolutely wrecked. I kept trying to tell myself that I would pull it together the next day but, I knew I was going to have to take the whole week off. It took me till late into Thursday night to fully realize it. By then we were halfway through the week.

Taking time off from running is a pain in the ass. It sucks. Especially when you’re training for a race. Not only did I feel I would lose momentum, but I was scared of what it would do to me mentally. I’ve always used running to reduce my anxiety and wade off stress. How much more anxiety was I going to have this week because I couldn’t run?

Then I realized I was already anxious. Worrying myself about not being able to run due to injury was inducing more anxiety. And thats the thing friends. That’s how you know you truly need a break. When your mind won’t connect with your body any more.

So, I took the rest of the week off. Over the weekend I slept in, had some delicious bagels, watched some good movies and had some good quality relaxation time. I went to the gym twice and spent the whole 50 minutes rehabbing my legs.

I thought – hey, on Monday, I’ll be good as new. HA. I sure do make myself laugh sometimes. No, of course I’m not good as new. I went for a run today and I was sore from the lack of moving, my endurance has definitely suffered a little and I don’t feel “as fit” as I did the week before. But, one thing I did feel is better. Not 100%, not 0% but so much better than I did when I was in pain. I listened to my body and it did reward me in the end.

The point is – rest is part of the journey. Injury is part of the journey. It was one of my biggest fears when I started training – knowing I was probably going to get hurt. I’d probably have some strains, bruised feet and maybe even break something (hopefully that never happens.) But you can’t not try because you’re scared and you can’t not rest because you’re scared.

Especially in times like these, we have to do what feels good and right.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Self care, self flare.

xoxo

Kelz

Running

This Weeks Short Runs: Embracing Lake Michigan

Hi, it’s been a minute. I have about 9 pre-written blog posts that I just haven’t completed and posted because, well, quarantine. It’s not like I didn’t have the time. It’s more like I didn’t have the motivation or energy. Then I woke up one day and realized, I need to be creative now more than ever, even when it feels like poo. It’s the only way to make me not…feel like poo….you know what I mean.

So, I’m training for a marathon that will very likely not happen. The Chicago Bank of America Marathon is scheduled for October and even though it will probably get cancelled – I’m going to run the 26.2 anyway. Duh. I mean I haven’t been training for several months to not do it! That’s just not how I roll. When I commit, I commit. So here we are. I’m about a quarter of the way through my training plan. Before I had an official training plan, I was already doing some training of my own. Mainly just doing fun runs and testing my endurance. Now I have set miles to hit every week. During the week I’m running 3 days that are anywhere between 3-7 miles. On the weekend I do one long run that’s usually between 9-15 for now…but will soon be in the 20’s the closer I get to the marathon. Insert scream here.

I thought it would be fun (and hold me accountable) to blog about my short runs throughout the week and vlog my long runs. It’s a way to channel my creative energy and to make my running more enjoyable. So let’s get right into it.

Tuesday: 6.5 miles
I absolutely love the first running day of the week. I purposely make Monday’s a rest day because I normally do my long runs on Saturdays and I need a solid 2 days of not running before I start up again. So on Sundays I normally stick to strength training (usually full body) and maybe go for a short walk. Mondays I basically do nothing but walk a bit, if I feel up to it. I try really hard not to do much of anything because I know how important it is to let my body rest and recover. It’s just as important as the days I run.

Tuesday was fun. I ran to the lake for the first time in ages. The absolute best thing about living in Chicago is not the architecture, it’s not the deep dish pizza, it’s not the comedy – it’s Lake Michigan. Hands down.

I can’t believe I didn’t realize it sooner. The first time I truly, full body, went into the lake was in 2017…I’d already lived in Chicago for 4 years!! Blasphemy. Unheard of. I’m thoroughly disappointed in myself. I ran onto the lakeshore running path and made my way over to Montrose Dog Beach. I saw dogs faffing in the water, living their best life. I saw people swimming as well. Pretty much all of the actual beaches in Chicago are still closed (thanks COVID) but the parts where it’s pretty much just concrete and water….are weirdly open. I mean….they seem to be open. people are chillin there, getting some sun and taking a quick dip. I paused and saw someone swimming fairly far out…just some chill morning laps and I thought….”wow, that might be the most put together person I have ever seen in my entire life.” I mean, I have no reason to know that but like, if you get your ass up early and the first thing you do is swim some laps in Lake Michigan, I respect the fuck out of you. I thought…I want to be that person.

I guess in a way I am partly that person. Slowly but surely. I’m training myself to get up even earlier than normal (I’m a morning person, hate me) just so I can get my run in before work. There’s something about going to the lake every day though that seems so…I don’t know…it’s like the height of self care to me. I find going to the lake by myself to be so therapeutic. Partly because you actually have to make an effort to go there. I do, at least. It’s about a mile and a dash away from my apartment. So I get the first mile in just making my way there.

I splashed some water on my face, my arms, the back of my neck and my chest. The water was cool and refreshing. Those desriptions do not give it justice. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling to be honest. It’s like coming up for fresh air. I decided I was going to make the lake a part of every run I did….as much as I possibly can.

Wednesday: 6 miles
Wednesday in general was, by far, the worst day this week. And it’s only Saturday so….there’s still time. I was so amped for my run. Just as I was about to head out the door – I last minute remembered to pop my contacts in. I’ve gotten so fast at it now that I barely even see the contact before putting it in my eye. Classic mistake. The second I put the contact in my left eye, I felt a stinging sensation that through me into a panic. What the hell was wrong with my contact? Was it ripped? Something in it? Did I poke myself in the eye or something? To this day…I do not know and I wish to be featured on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries but, I digress. I managed to get the contact out. I threw it away so fast, by the time I wanted to investigate it had disappeared. Again, classic mistake. Anyway, whatever it was caused a major eye strain in both my eyes somehow. So I had to delay my run for another half an hour while I closed my eyes, put a cold compress on them and relaxed. Trying to calm myself down. It was awful.

Once I got myself out the door though, contactless, I was okay. My legs were still sprightly and ready for the run. Just as I was feeling my most absolute fab – a giant possum came out of NOWHERE above me. I yelped and ran into the street where I luckily was not hit by a car. I was running by a cemetary and it was slighly raised from where I was on the sidewalk. (See picture) I didn’t see it coming at all. Just saw it right in front of my face and lost all sense of myself. I know I know…Possums are harmless, but they’re terrifying okay?? They’re HUGE! So – again, stress.

Once I got to the lake, my senses calmed. I felt at peace again with the lake. I splashed water all down my body from top to bottom and made my way back home. It wasn’t enough to calm me though. This led to a horrible day at work which led to a complete mid year breakdown….I think the breakdown was inevitable and needed but, never fun. I needed a day to reset.

Friday: 6.5 miles.
That’s right… I took Thursday off. Look I am a firm believer in listening to your body…mind included. I was in such an emotionally distraught state on Wednesday and everything in my being was telling me to sleep in and take a load off. I went to the gym instead and did a short arms and abs workout.

On Friday I made my way back to the lake. This run was and usually is the toughest of all my runs. I’m not too sure why. I guess I put a lot of energy in to Monday and Tuesday that the third run of the week loses its steam a bit. My legs were run down and very tight. I’ve been a real ass about stretching. It’s not that I don’t want to…I just…forget? Then when it comes to mind I say I’ll do it later and I don’t…I’m a work in progress…

My tired legs aside, I felt reflective on Friday. I ran from Montrose Beach up to Foster Beach. There is a section just before you hit the beach entrance where the water is shallow and the rocks are covered in a soft moss. There were a handful of dads there with their kids. Getting in a quick dip to celebrate the weekend ahead. It made my heart smile. I leaned over the edge and grabbed a handful of water. I let it run through my hair and soak my sun kissed cheeks. I thought about how hard the past few months have been, not just for me, but for every one. How much I want everything to go back to normal but also am so grateful to know some things in the world will never be the same.

Running has been the one thing, besides Andrew, that has kept me grounded during this time. I’m not fast. I’m not even very skilled. In a strange way, that’s what I love about it. I don’t have to be. It’s purely for me and for no one else’s gratification. It makes me feel accomplished and strong. I carried that feeling with me for the remaining 2 miles back home.

“There is no failure in running or in life, as long as you keep moving.”
– Amy Burfoot

Onward I go…I’ll see you next week my friends.

Self care, self flare.

xoxo

Kelz