Self Doubt


3 Hours and 40 Minutes

That’s the time I need to beat in order to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

The first time in my life that I ever remember having people doubt my abilities was when I registered for my first Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run…in under 17 hours). The amount of hurt/anger I felt from hearing people say, “You can’t do that. You’re crazy.” was enough to motivate me to train harder than I’ve trained for anything in order to make it to that finish line. And I did. In 2011 I finished my first Ironman in 14 hours and 44 minutes. And in 2012 I completed my second 140.6 mile race. Then, in 2013 I ran my first 50K, and in 2014 I finished my first 50 mile ultra marathon.

When I decided a few months ago that I wanted to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon, instead of having people tell me there was no way I could do that, most people have responded with, “Well, I’m sure you can do that if you really want to.” And they REALLY believe that I can. 

So, why is it that I’m not sure I believe I can?

On Saturday I was scheduled for a 5 mile “pace run.” I had a full day, and ended up running the 5 miles on my treadmill around dinner time. Two miles into the run I felt pretty bad and was filled with an overwhelming amount of self doubt. Thoughts like, “What are you thinking? You’re never going to be able to run 26.2 miles at this pace. You should probably just quit now…” were filling my head. I pushed through the run, and was able to remind myself that not every run is going to be easy. And I went back to remembering all of the people that believe I can reach this goal.

I am so thankful to be surrounded by people who believe in my abilities, even in those moments when I’m filled with uncertainty. 

Am I going to qualify for Boston this year? Who knows. But I’m going to give it my all.

Sparkle.Pounce.Be a Dreamer. 


On A Roll

Somehow, it’s already January 20, 2015. Craziness. It feels like just yesterday that I was trying to come up with a few New Year’s resolutions and get my training schedule nailed down. And now, here we are, three weeks deep into a new year. 

I am proud to say that so far, 2015 and I are getting along pretty well. Granted, we’ve had a couple mishaps (no heat for three days and burst pipes – insert grumpy face), but when it comes to things that are within my control, I’m definitely on the right track.

Our Winter Won’t Win January Challenge has been a fantastic motivator for me and has helped me start my marathon training on the right foot. The excitement of the ladies in our group has been awesome, and I love posting guilt-free declarations of my daily miles.  Honestly, I’m a bit worried for this month to end because I’m not sure the rest of the Facebook world wants to hear about my awesome speed workouts or my last treadmill session with my favorite Netflix series!

But in all seriousness, I’m wondering why it is that this excitement of a “New Year” and a chance for new beginnings will eventually wear off? Why is it that only 7% of people actually stick to their New Year’s resolutions? 

So, this is what I came up with. We have to realize that change isn’t easy. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone behind in order to reach the goals you have for yourself. You can do this. Stick to it. And you know what, if you already started to slide on those resolutions, the time to get back on track is now! You don’t need a new year to make a change. All you need is a new day.

Sparkle.Pounce.Step outside your comfort zone. 


Just Another Manic Monday…

“It’s just another manic Monday
I wish it was Sunday
‘Cause that’s my funday
My I don’t have to runday

It’s just another manic Monday”       – Prince

I’m going to be completely honest, my weekend wasn’t all that awesome. It started with a cancelled run date Saturday morning because the windchill was 15 BELOW zero. Upon arriving home after said cancelled date, I discovered that we had run out of propane. No propane means no heat, no hot water, no stove, no oven, no washing dishes… You get the idea. And let’s not forget, the windchill was 15 BELOW zero. Deep. Breathes. 

Luckily, we have a wood burning stove, and we’re able to keep the house warm enough that we didn’t have to completely vacate. And we have family close for shower rentals 🙂

So, why is it, that even with a rough weekend (note: we still don’t have propane), Monday can still be so hard to handle?! 

I think a lot of it just has to do with attitude. And I think for some of us, it’s time for an adjustment! Here are your options for facing this new week.

Option #1:

Please don’t be this person. You know who you are! 

Option #2:

Ohhhhh…how much better does this sound?! I want to be around the people that are taking on this attitude today! What a great outlook. Monday doesn’t have to be something to dread. It can be the beginning of something awesome!

For me, my hope is that today is the day things start to look up. I’m fully clothed in an armor of sunshine, optimism, and motivation.

Today is MY day.

Sparkle.Pounce.Make Monday Your Day.


***Side note:  Am I the only one who didn’t know that Prince wrote “Manic Monday”?! Thank goodness for Google, because I would’ve totally messed up that quote!

Four Things I Want to do in 2015.

Less Likes, More Hugs.
I love writing letters (says the girl that didn’t send Christmas cards this year. It was a tough December, I promise!). I usually keep a stock pile of cards around my house to send anytime the perfect occasion arises or just because I feel like someone could use a card with glitter in it.
Technology is great. I can schedule a spin class with a friend, send my husband a quick and super cheesy note that I still love my wedding rings six years later, and tell my dad that I’m at the office so he is more than welcome to drop off a new batch of pomegranate seeds. All these texts happened this morning within 5 minutes of each other.
But technology creates a false sense of belonging and interaction in the fact that I equally celebrate a baby announcement, new engagement, send birthday wishes, or appreciate a recipe for dilled pickles all with a single “like” or text.  So, on my 2015 to-do list: less likes and more coffee dates, letter sending, hugs, happy hours, and family time.
Cross Something Off my Bucket List.
After my failed “see a moose in Michigan” backpacking trip to Isle Royale in 2013, I’m more determined than ever to get working on this bucket list of mine. So far, watch the sunrise from the top of a mountain while drinking coffee or see the northern lights are top contenders for 2015.
Isle Royale was a blast. But not a dang moose in sight.
Give More of My Time.
My husband and I are pretty plugged in at our church. A lot of new friendships have been formed through this and while staying late or getting there early can be an outright hassle sometimes, I always leave the building or event with a heart full of gratitude. Later this month, I’m starting a volunteer opportunity with a low-income school district to help run a math program. Let’s keep it a secret that I’m actually super terrible at math, but I’m looking forward to getting more involved in a community that I commute through every single day, but rarely step foot in. I know that our knee-jerk reaction to volunteering usually starts with “I would love to, but I’m too busy…” but I find that prioritizing these opportunities are well worth schedule flip flopping and time sacrifice.
Volunteering- because when else can you dust off the clothes you haven’t worn since college?

Chill Out.

This is the first year in over five years that I do not have any big endurance races on my schedule. I usually like to spend January planning some type of trip that involves dragging my husband on yet another race related “vacation.” We have a lot going on this year as a family, so the long races need to take a back burner in 2015. But this does not mean that I still don’t plan on hitting the trails with girls for a run and post-run breakfast and participating in local races as much as possible.

4 Things I Have Learned About Running

I have “officially” been a runner since my senior year of college at Western Michigan University when my roommate convinced me to sign up for a training team and train for a half marathon. That was 14 years ago. Gulp. Over those 14 years, there have been many ups and downs, and a considerable amount of “time off” as I adjusted to life as a wife, a teacher, and new mom (twice!). But throughout all of that, running has taught me many things. Here are four of them!

1. Running takes you places. 

These are the places that I’ve traveled to for races! As I get older, I’m finding that I want to run more and more destination races. I catch myself surfing the web in hopes of finding the perfect trail race in the perfect location for a family vacation. That’s a win/win situation, right?! Our last family vacation was to Pictured Rocks in Michigan’s beautiful upper peninsula. It was amazing! And a few hours of my trip were spent running the Grand Island Trail marathon 🙂  

The boys fished, and I ran. The perfect family vacation!

2. Running is the best therapy.

Whether you need a time out from work, bills, kids, laundry, dishes, pets, sickness, or any other kind of stress…running is the perfect break. Scientifically speaking, it releases chemicals in your brain that fight off depression and anxiety. Sa-weet! And studies have shown that running leads to increased quality in sleep, mood, and concentration! All of those things sound pretty great to me. But, even if there weren’t official studies out there to tell me this, I would still believe it to be true. When I’m getting my workouts in regularly, everything just feels better. When I’m off from a normal routine, I’m more stressed out, less organized, and just flat out crabby. 

Just look at these faces!  PURE HAPPINESS!!

Yup, this is the best therapy!

3. Running keeps me healthy and confident.

I can’t count the number of times that people have told me that all of these miles I’m running are going to wear out my knees, and that I’m going to regret all of this when I’m older. But honestly, the people I know that have the worst knees are NOT runners. In fact, they don’t do much of anything. And, not doing much of anything leads to weight gain, which leads to sore muscles and joints from having to carry around that extra weight.

What I’ve found is that running helps me to have a healthy weight. And a healthy weight helps me to have a positive body image, which leads me to having confidence! 

Besides my own experience with this, research has shown that running actually strengthens your knees, as well as your other joints and your bones! It also reduces your risk of cancer, and drastically slows normal “mental decline” that comes with aging! Ya, running is pretty great.

4. Running always gives me something to work for and look forward to.

For me, running always leaves me with a goal that I’m working towards. I am almost always signed up for a race and following a training plan.

That is what works for me. I need to have something that I’m looking forward to and working at achieving. It helps me develop into a stronger person and keeps me focused and driven. Obviously, I have LOTS of other things to focus on in my life, like being a good mom, wife, and educator. But running, running is just for ME. And it allows me to be the best version of myself in every single one of those roles.

Those are just a few of the things I’ve learned about running over the last 14 years. Here’s hoping these knees have at least 14 more years in them!! 😉

Sparkle.Pounce.Love the Run.


And…We’re Off!

To kick-off our Winter Won’t Win Challenge, the ladies of Sparkle.Pounce. decided it would be a fabulous idea to meet for a morning run on New Year’s Day. And, at the last minute we decided we should go ahead and invite any of our challengers that wanted to, to join us for 6 chilly miles around our favorite paved loop at Stony Creek. 

We didn’t get much of a response, and I was left to believe that we would be jogging our first 6 miles of the New Year at a very leisurely pace. So, I didn’t really think twice about staying up late on New Year’s Eve and stuffing my face with enough holiday goodies to leave me with a sugar induced stomach ache and a thin crusted layer of frosting around my lips. (Slight exaggeration, but you get the idea.)

So, you can imagine my surprise when I got a text from Sarah on my drive to Stony Creek that morning that went something like this: “My sister is meeting us. I told her she was going to have to slow down, but I’m not sure she’s capable of that. I hope you’re in the mood to run fast, Kendra!”

Ummmm…nope! And even if I was, I’m not THAT fast! Sarah’s sister is FAST. Like…running Boston this year fast. And running her last half marathon at a 7:04 pace fast. Surely my sugar induced holiday hangover was not going to be able to hang with this girl.

But alas, I’m the one that got to run with her. And although it was kind of awful (I had to ask for a walk break once and thought I might throw up…but did a good job hiding my discomfort…I think), it was exactly what I needed. And she was wonderful company, since she wasn’t even slightly winded and could hold up her end of the conversation. (Thank you, Katie!!!)

And, the best part of that run, was the fact that it made me realize that it’s time to get moving. The holidays are over, and it’s 2015. The year that I’m going to be a fast runner! And that run did not feel like I was anywhere near reaching my goals. So, as soon as I got home, I drew out a calendar (literally drew it because I didn’t have one and my printer is broke), looked up a few different marathon training plans, found a couple I liked and kind of meshed them together to create my own, and then wrote it out for the next 20 weeks.

Obviously, writing out my training plan doesn’t make me faster. But, it makes me feel more confident in reaching my goal. I now have a plan. And it’s written down. I know what to do, and the time to do it is now.

2015, watch out. I own you.

Sparkle.Pounce.Get Moving.