Houston Half Marathon 2017 & WHAT Sandwiches?!

I admit, I was really not looking forward to the 2017 Aramco Houston Half Marathon. Though I had signed up enthusiastically the same day that I ran the year prior and Mark was pumped up and excited for the Chevron Houston Marathon, I was  dreading it.

Year after year, I’ve been undertrained for this race. Now that I’m on the edge of thirty, I know that its getting more and more dangerous for my long term health. I sign up with the best of intentions,  but I always seem to find an excuse. This year, it was 20 degrees and windy on training days. Last year, it was that I was busy with the move. It’s always something, and it doesn’t help that the most important runs for the timing of this race are during the holidays.

It wasn’t just that. I was feeling really overwhelmed with the fact that I was heading to Houston and I knew I wouldn’t be able to see everyone who I wanted to see. I get lonely up here, so I was pretty bogged down about it. I kept reminding friends and family, “remind me I’m NOT doing this race again.” “The weather is too cold up here, I’m NOT doing this next year.” “Don’t let me sign up again.”

Spoiler alert: I signed up again for next year.

kelsie-oreta-2017-aramco-houston-half-marathon

What Sandwich?

One of my favorite authors and by far my favorite public speaker on the subject of creativity, Elizabeth Gilbert, says “The question is not, ‘What do I love?’ The question is ‘What do I love so much that I don’t mind eating the shit sandwich that comes along with that thing?”.

In her book, Big Magic,  the above video, and podcast, Magic Lessons, she argues that it’s not just about finding what you love, but it’s also about acknowledging that whatever it is you love comes with a truckload of things that are distressingly bad and accepting those things as well. Love something so much that it’s all worth it.

My Shit Sandwich

As I mentioned, weather here in Connecticut during training isn’t so great. The timing of the race isn’t ideal. Years prior, I saw far more people I knew from Houston–on the course cheering, volunteers, runners. That part was a little disappointing. The heat and humidity expected on the day of the race called for a yellow flag. And yeah, I was sore.

Then there was the waiting. Mark runs the full marathon, and though I thought I had made plans for someone to pick me up, there was a misunderstanding and I found myself sitting in my salty, sweaty, rained-on, yuck for a few hours alone getting more sore and exhausted by the second.

Why I’m Eating it Anyway

I saw my dear friend Kellie of Yoga-Run-Repeat before the race & we caught up. I joke about being raised by the streets of Houston, but it’s true: all of the stories of mayhem, madness, and juvenile delinquency unfold as I run this course. There was hardly a single spot unoccupied by people cheering for their loved ones, funny signs, helpful people who brought along donut holes and treats for complete strangers. The encouragement felt by the surrounding community is unparalleled.

Marathon spectators are what it’s all about. I know it can get boring on the sidelines, so I act really ridiculous whenever I catch someone’s eye, I cheer for them A LOT, say silly things, just act crazy and make people laugh. Though I was embarrassed that Mark put ‘Tiny Kelsie’ on my bib again this year, a volunteer saw it and said “You ran last year!” Then got embarrassed that she knew. I can’t blame her for noticing, I spend more energy encouraging people to cheer than I do running the race! The last mile I was raising the roof to the bigger crowds and it was like making a wave happen.

People were telling me that they were proud of me. Who I don’t even know. I’ve done so many bigger things in my life with little to no recognition, and all I have to do is run around for a couple of hours and that random stranger was proud. That’s spectacular.

I can’t not do this race. Remind me next year when I’m forcing myself onto a treadmill for a few hours while it’s snowing outside.

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2017 Resolutions

Tomorrow is day three of 2017, but with the boy returning to school, the man returning to work, and I beginning to freelance, it seems like day one. So much excitement, I can’t seem to sleep. I’ll keep this short and sweet.

In 2017, I will…

  1. Pursue my version of minimalism.
  2. Continue to improve with maintaining the budget.
  3. Spend more time creating, less time looking for inspiration.
  4. Social media: who needs it? I’ll take some time away from my online presence outside of blogging. It isn’t serving me.
  5. Hit “Publish” more often. Let go of perfectionism. Post those old drafts.
  6. Become an Ironman.

& I’ll be okay with having six resolutions and not seven. Yes, seven is a better number than six. Refer to resolution 5. 😉

7 Things I should have known before I moved across the country

Last week, I celebrated six months of living 1,690 miles from what I’ve known most of my life.

I use the term celebrated loosely. What really happened was that I started crying over something completely minuscule right after my son got on the bus, and minor setbacks throughout the day had me crying all.day.long.. Around 1 p.m. was when I realized it was actually the six month mark, so I can’t say it had anything to do with it. Upsets carried on into the next day, as well as my crying.

knew this was going to be hard.

I knew that growing pains occur with all change–that’s just how it is. But, still, I don’t think I was ready for this. Continue reading

Microadventures in Fairfield County, Connecticut: Mill Hill Open Space

Last year, I read an article in The New York Times about NatGeo’s 2012 adventurer of the year, Alastair Humphreys and The Virtue of Microadventures. At the time, it struck me. It’s a lesson that took me too long to grasp: in pursuit of living a big, adventurous life, you don’t always have to go far from home.

Connecticut is perfect for microadventures. As I mentioned in my post about how settling in to CT, there is an abundance of open space areas to wander through & break away. On a run one day, I stumbled upon Mill Hill Open Space.

Town of Fairfield Mill Hill Open Space April 30 May Sign

Continue reading

D.I.-whY?

“Why do you do it yourself? Why not buy it instead?”

“Yeah. What’s your why?”

During Monarch Workshop, I was asked this, and I started overflowing with answers to the question. I thought I’d share some of my reasoning.

I’ve been a maker for as long as I remember.

When I was a child going through chemotherapy, I spent much of my time in the local children’s hospital, where they had a well-stocked toyland of a playroom on every single floor. Every time I was recovering from my latest treatment, all I wanted to do there was use their canvas and paints, and I could care less about any of the other toys.

The women before me were makers.

My Granny owned a business selling her pies. My Meemaw taught me how to embroider when I was five. One year, when our mother asked what we wanted to be for Halloween, my sister aInswered, “a princess on a pony,” and I, “a flower in a pot,” and that’s precisely what we were.

I have expensive taste.

Good design isn’t cheap. By the time lower-end manufacturers catch on to trends, their attempts at creating something “just as good” often falls short of the mark. (Not to mention that you have to consider HOW things are made cheap to begin with.) With a few tweaks and a fraction of the cost, I can get the look for less without breaking the bank. And who doesn’t love that?

I want to reduce my environmental footprint.

I’ve got serious guilt issues when it comes to throwing things away. When I was growing up, we didn’t have a whole lot, so I always wanted to keep what I did. It’s like the old ladies that survived the depression and hide money everywhere, I guess. When I was older and learned about how our consumerist culture is affecting the planet, it gave me fuel to my thrift-and-adjust or change-don’t-toss ways of life.

It is all mine.

Don’t you love the feeling when someone compliments something you’re wearing or something in your home? When you’ve got an awesome story about a great deal you got on it, it’s even better. But putting your BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS (or, more often than not, just a little bit of effort) into something and getting kudos without the other person knowing? Knowing that they can’t go out and buy it? Golden.

It’s the climb.

Cue Miley Cyrus when she was still a doe-eyed teenager. Yeah, it takes more time than heading to Target and making it happen. I find making things fun, though. Like prefer-it-over-a-Saturday-night-rager fun. Not that I’m invited to those anyway, I’m a cool mom, but not that kind of cool mom.

Pride.

I could finish projects a lot more quickly than I do. And it’s not because of piled up housework, responsibilities as a wife and mom. It’s not because of procrastination, or because I’m second guessing my creative choices. Though the latter plays a role in the time frame I start a project, what slows me down during the process is the roughly one hundred or so times I step back, admire what I’m doing, and get overwhelmingly excited about what I’ll be looking at upon completion. It’s the pause, the thought, “This is going to be so awesome,” the bask, then resuming.

 

I’ve heard of people saying before that their hobbies are like breath, they can’t live without it. It’s not that way for me–I can live without being a maker. I just wouldn’t chose to.

Why do you DIY? Leave your answer below in the comments.

Why do people Do it themselves when they can buy it in a store

 

This February, I’m getting out of my funk

Man, what I year this last one was.

I know, I know. This started out sounding like the post that everyone makes during the first week of January. I’m okay with that.

Last March, after going through the first months of 2015 with fervor, focus, and a plan for the goals I wanted to achieve, I was caught off guard by a sudden life change: we were moving cross country. If you’ve read my blog the few times I’ve posted in the last year, you know this well. Maybe a little too well.

I touched on the subject a bit, but I hardly elaborated on the despair that I went through in the months preceding the move. Continue reading

All moved in!

We’re finally moved into our Connecticut home. It’s been a long time coming, as we first learned about the possibility of moving to the Tri-State area back in March. We closed on Tuesday, the movers came and dropped all of the boxes off in the appropriate rooms on Wednesday, and here I am Thursday with the rest of the work that moving entails.

I wanted to take a break from unpacking, laundry, and the madness to show y’all some before photos from our new house. I just love the space. It’s smaller than our first house in Houston, but it’s much cozier, the floor plan works better for us, and there’s not going to be any minimally used spaces like we had before.

Another big difference between this house and our Houston house is that it’s been recently completely redone. New windows, roof, kitchen, baths, everything. And everything is WHITE. As the cable installation man left yesterday, he said to us, “I can finally say that I’ve visited the white house.”

This is perfect for me, because it is a blank slate to decorate as I wish, but without the headaches and never-ending project of remodeling.

Without further ado… Continue reading