Happy National Running Day!!!

04/06/2014 | Posted in Kat's Conscientia | By

Whew, what a day!  It’s National Running Day, which means runners from all walks of  life are celebrating by getting a few decent miles in.  I woke up late, so I am unsure whether I will get to run this evening, or have to wait until tomorrow.  What is amazing is that a decade ago, barely anyone would have known it was Running Day, races were easy to get into, and hardly ever sold out in hours.  Now we have added literally thousands of runners to our ranks in a movement towards health and wellness.  It also means that races sell out within minutes.  Take for example the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at DisneyLand.  Pre-registration for Disney Annual Passholders and Vacation Club Members went on sale this afternoon.  While they do not put out all of the registrations on pre-registration day, those allotted for early registration sold out in under 15 minutes.  It takes me longer to shower than it did for the race to sell out!

This is great news for runners.  It means new races are introduced and new opportunities to join running clubs.  On the other hand, there are no more spur of the moment races.  PR’s are set by running vigorous racing programs rather than running multiple times a week for health while enjoying the scenery.  That’s not to say speedwork and training aren’t important, they are, but we lose something in our community when it becomes a fad; we also gain support and more attention from the community.  It’s up to us runners as to how we use this new influence.  We need to keep our focus strong and our mission clear.  Running is a healthy and effective way to stay fit and well – as long as you train smartly!

As for me, whether I get out for my run tonight or not is still debatable, but I am still celebrating.  I received my second Sparkle Skirt, Orbitz:

Orbitz Sparkle Skirt

Orbitz Sparkle Skirt

 

My son told me that I should never take it off (which was his reaction to my Diva Blue).  He promptly hid my pajama pants and requested I wear this skirt “forever because it is almost as beautiful as you my princess” in his words.  It made me smile, and feel really great that not only is my son a gentleman, but he is already so supportive!  I can’t wait to see him watch the races I’ll run.  He’s such a great kid, he’s almost to the age where we’ll be able to start to run together – he’s fast, so I need to build a better mileage base before I try!  :)

So this National Running Day, no matter how you opt to celebrate, be sure to participate.  Go for a jog or run.  Buy a new running accessory.  Write a note of support to a runner you know and love.  Sign up for a local race.  Whatever you do, just be sure to celebrate running for its roots – health and wellness rather than to follow a trend.  Happy National Running Day!

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Florida’s Summers

04/06/2014 | Posted in Kat's Conscientia | By

I’ve lived in the North my entire life.  I mean my entire life.  I am still getting used to Florida and it’s tropical climate, but one thing I’m rapidly realizing is my seasons will be flipped from now on.  Back home, as soon as fall hit and Halloween had passed, I’d start lamenting about how it would be a long winter.   Here, I’m already lamenting about how it will be a long summer.  Not only are the temperatures and humidity outrageous, but it is rainy/hurricane season which means several days a week must be relegated to indoor activities.

This isn’t all bad, in fact, it’s quite refreshing to look out my patio to hear and see the rain falling.  Even more interestingly, is that it seems to rain while being sunny out far more often than while it is overcast.  That is the opposite of what I am used to, but it is a pleasant change, reminding me the sun can shine through anything (and the temperatures are likely to remain high).  The warmer temperatures mean that I can take full advantage of living in a state surrounded by and filled with water – from pools to the ocean, it surrounds everything, and there is nothing like a nice swim on a hot day.

Another nice change is the longer days.  Even in the winter, the sun simply shines longer in Florida than the Northern half of the country, because of its geographical location.  Come summer and we easily have sunrise at 6:20 a.m. while not having sunset until 8:20 p.m.  The extra hours of daylight facilitate doing more activities throughout the day and not feeling completely trapped in the house.  I might not want to sweat, but as long as I stay hydrated, I can go outside, whereas with snow and ice that is not always feasible.

I’ve swapped raccoons for geckos, and oak trees for palm trees.  I’ve also inherited a beautifully tropical atmosphere.  Because of the allergies some people have, we have to keep our air conditioning running almost 99% of the time.  But that 1%, where we shut the forced air conditioning off, open all the windows, and turn on the fans is a wonderfully organic type of day.  Life moves a little more slowly, and the sun melts the ice from drinks within minutes, but it is a lifestyle that seems long forgotten.  It is a way of letting nature in, and suburbia out.  With the wind and air circulating throughout the house, there is a sense of newness.  While the heat becomes slightly more intense, the fans seem that much more precious.  Sitting and reading with my child becomes more appealing than sitting with a hot computer in my lap.  It’s almost like when the power goes out.  At first, there is the hustle to find all of the flashlights and candles, and then the simplicity of not having to worry about daily chores or schedules based on electricity settles in.  Families become closer.  Laughter becomes a little louder.  People let go of the stressors of life and embrace the situation.   Similarly, when the heat is let into our home, I feel that sense of living in the moment.  I don’t worry about much other than the company of my family and the pleasantness of the day.  And I feel a sense of peace.

Every climate has its advantages, as does every season.  But while I am lamenting “it’s going to be a long summer” I am also excitedly waiting to see what a tropical summer actually entails.  I am still getting used to the ducks walking up to my door, and finding the right schedule for our new lifestyle.  I’m also learning that there is a lot more than one way to do things.  My clothing is slowly changing to a more casual style, with far more sports skirts than jeans, and flip flops replacing my sneakers.  I’ve gone from feeling as though I have to cram a year’s worth of activities into one summer, to realizing each day will bring new opportunities for adventure.  And in the meantime, I’m simply enjoying Florida’s Summers.

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“Step in Time”

04/06/2014 | Posted in Kat's Conscientia | By

I went for my second run of the season today. After adding “Step in Time” to my playlist from “Mary Poppins”, I knocked two minutes off my 2.5 mile run. Thank you, Dick Van Dyke! Some of that is muscle repetition and I will be getting faster with every run; but I can honestly say, the song got me to “lift my knees up” while running. Now that I’ve seen this work in action, I’ll be hunting for Disney songs with a faster rhythm and beat to add to my playlist as I train for the runDisney races I am signed up for. As my distance grows, so too will my playlist. I’ve already gotten a ton of suggestions from friends and family, but I’ll be needing more and more. As each song is recommended by a loved one, I’ll have the added bonus of thinking of that loved one, while being excited to be running at Walt Disney World so soon. This isn’t the first time I’ve observed the correlation between pace and music, but I was amazed at how drastically music can alter it.

Needless to say, yesterday was a bit of a mental struggle. The training plan I’ve decided to go with is run 30 minutes Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then do distance/practice runs on Saturdays and Sundays. This will allow me enough time to build my base, while preparing me for the “Goofy Challenge” which is a half marathon on a Saturday, followed by the WDW Marathon the following day. But I started to train on a Saturday, which meant I needed to decide if I’d be running the following day as with my training plan, or taking a rest day, as a “beginner”. While this won’t be my first racing season by a long shot, it will be my first in a while, and I am determined not to let over confidence or overtraining be my downfall. Since I had slept in until 7:00 a.m., the humidity was already unbearable, and after going back and forth, I realized I’d have to run on the treadmill or wait for night fall. As it turns out, I was exhausted from taking care of my five year old come nightfall, so I just took time to stretch and altered my training plan for this week. Being flexible, both in my planning and in my stretching will help me achieve my goals, so it set a good tone for the season.

Sunrise June 2, 2014

Sunrise June 2, 2014

This morning was a nice run, there was a slight breeze, and the sunrise was beautiful, as usual. I felt confident and healthy during the entire run, and my knee was (knock on wood) not an issue at all. It was absolutely wonderful. I still have another 30 minute training run on Wednesday, and my long runs. I know I’ve got a long road ahead, but if I remember to “Step in Time” it should be okay. We’ll see what this weekend brings with the long runs, but I’ll be ready – at least my play list will be!

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Blue Diva, Yes Indeed!

31/05/2014 | Posted in Kat's Conscientia | By

Blue Diva? Yes indeed! First training run of the season out of the way.

My pirformace muscle and IT band were acting up, but I managed to get 30 minutes of running in, without any walk breaks (save my 5 minute cool down walk afterwards). I am fairly certain the same police officer was driving up and down the road I was running on, because I either saw him 5 separate times, or I saw five separate police cars. The weird thing is that I never left Coral Springs, yet this was a Tamarac officer. I thought it was strange, but perhaps the laws are written differently here than in Illinois. In Illinois, an officer only has jurisdiction within their own towns. Quite frequently one can see the cars making u-turns at the city limits. Here, they apparently share cruisers. I really don’t know, but it entertained me while running at any rate.

When I arrived home, I looked up how far I went on my test 30 minute run. 1.4 miles. That was it! 1.4 miles. I started to do the math in my head, figuring it had to even out to about an 18-22 minute mile, and trying to figure out how I possibly could have gone so slowly. Philip asked me how far I went and I gave the cross streets. He reminded me, that since I had gone there and back, I had actually knocked out 2.8 miles, WHEW!

sunrise25.31.14

Now that the blood has returned to my brain, I’m feeling great. 2.5 miles as a base isn’t a bad start. If I make sure I run 2 x mid week for 30 minutes, and then do my weekend runs, I should be set for all four upcoming races. I’m feeling pretty wonderful. I tried out my new skirt, it was fabulous! First of all, the pockets, oh the pockets! How I love the pockets – I brought my bulky keys by accident, and put them in one pocket. I put the timer and music on my phone and put that in the other pocket, and I ran. The items never moved, never came close to falling out, and remained secured in place. Blue and sparkles flicked in the wind and with my movement. It felt wonderful.

Blue Diva Sparkle Skirt

Blue Diva Sparkle Skirt

I’m almost certainly going to have to buy a few tee shirts that are plain but look good with the skirts so I feel that confident all the time. It helps that my son loves the skirt and thinks it’s “beautiful” but it is completely functional as well.

I have also realized I need to update my playlist to include more upbeat, running songs. The list I have now isn’t bad, but it could be much better. I think I’ll include a bunch of Disney tunes to pump myself up for my runDisney races. I showed James a few options for “costumes” for the races, and he said he liked Tinkerbell the best. I’m not wanting to wear wings, so I’m hoping we can sway him towards Princess Jasmine – she doesn’t have anything ornate, and her hair is already tied back and my color! He did agree to me being Minnie Mouse for one of the races. He is arguing that I am a “super hero first, then princess” so I should go as Mrs. Incredible. I can’t argue with that logic, but I think we’re still quite early in the planning phase, so hopefully we have time to change his mind.

I’m tired and my legs feel slightly rubbery, but the endorphins and stress relief are certainly worth it. I really feel that it will take my full attention and dedication, but I will be able to meet my goals, and I have come home with a renewed confidence. Hopefully tomorrow goes smoothly to continue the momentum. The beauty of living in Southern Florida is that when you run at 6:00 in the morning, the full humidity hasn’t hit yet, but the sunrise is visible and beautiful. I obviously didn’t have time to snap pictures except for a few,

Sunrise 5 31 14

Sunrise 5 31 14

but it was phenomenal to see the melody of yellow, gold, pink, red, blue, silver, and clouds. The palm trees cast unique shadows as the canal system shimmered in the sunlight rising steadily.

Blue Diva turned out to be a fantastic purchase. I have the feeling she’ll be accompanying me on multiple runs in the near future! ToT 10 miler – I’m going to own you!

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In Over My Head?

30/05/2014 | Posted in Kat's Conscientia | By

Being slightly Disney crazy, and OCD on top of that, I decided that getting back into running would be a great idea. runDisney has expanded to include numerous races, and now that I live in Florida, it is actually feasible for me to run these races. Back in 2006, I had trained with Team in Training and completed the Chicago half and full marathons. Some of my fondest memories are from this training and racing period, and I was able to learn so much about myself, as well as raise money for such an important cause. That also means I know for a fact, if I train smartly, I can cross that finish line. I might not have the motive of running to stop Leukemia this time around, but I am motivated for my five year old son to see his mother completing athletic endeavors and crossing the finish line of a seemingly impossible race schedule. The OCD I mentioned means I didn’t just sign up for one race, but have already signed up for four, with the intention of signing up for at least two more, I proved once more that I cannot say no to the running bug.

Now I’ve signed up for the “Tower of Terror 10 Miler”, “Wine and Dine Half Marathon”, and the “Goofy Challenge” – two races, a half marathon and a full the following day during WDW’s main Marathon Weekend. I intend on signing up for several more, with the “Princess Half Marathon”, “Tinkerbell DL Half Marathon” being amongst the others I intend to sign up for. I am wrestling around with running the “Rebel Challenge” in DL, (see here for my dilemma) as well. I will complete the Coast to Coast challenge as well as physically challenge myself to maintain half marathon pace for a full year. It’s both terrifying and exhilarating.

Walt Disney World Castle Oct 2013

Walt Disney World Castle Oct 2013

Facebook recommends groups depending on the user’s history, and as a result, I’ve joined runDisney groups, race costume groups, and a “Sparkle Skirt Princess” group. I’ve already received my first Sparkle Skirt, and it is brilliant, full of pockets, and comfortable, while being girly at the same time. I can’t wait to take it out for a run.

The only issue is that I *have* to start training. I have the calendar’s downloaded and synced with my phone so I will know what miles I need to be running every weekend and how to train properly. I will be doing a mixture of the Galloway and my own way training methods. I know where my running bras, shirts, and shorts are. I have enough music on my phone to last for at least a 45 minute run. I am completely prepared. Except for the actually going out and training to safely build my mileage. My schedule starts this Monday, but I should already be running a few days per week. And the issue is that my first race is in October. My “Goofy Challenge” winding throughout Walt Disney World is in January 2015.

Have I gotten in over my head? Have I missed the opportunity to build a strong base and train smartly? Will I have the perseverance not simply to run every time I have one scheduled, but to be able to say no to the distractions and trust my husband will take care of things as I take care of myself and selfishly go out and train? This is the journey of me going from not having raced (long distance) in almost a decade. And this is how it starts. With fear, excitement, joy, and a plan. With the pre-training jitters, keeping me up early in the morning. My running journey is starting again. In a way, being a runner has never left me. But this is the start of running lifestyle once more. Here it goes….

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I Quit! 10 Tips for Every Freelancer

07/10/2013 | Posted in Kat's Conscientia | By

That’s it! I’m working for myself now!

Tips for every entrepreneur

1. Use contacts, favors, and your friends and family as test subjects

- practice requests, beta your work, and compensate. You will diagnose kinks in your system prior to learning about them from angry clients
2. Do your research: know fair market value for your goods and services. It may take you 10 hours to knit one top, but market value is $5, yielding a mere 50 cents per hour without supply costs factored in. This info will help you create your pricing guidelines, and will also let you determine your earnings for your time. If you are new to freelancing , assume you will take an extra two hours more than average as you do not have all systems in place. For services, look into guarantees and average turn around times.
3. Know your purpose – is this a career change? Something you’re already doing but want to reach more people? Something you’ve realized you can do in your spare time for extra income? A passion you’ve held since childhood? The answer may not fit neatly into one category, but you will probably find your own unique reasons for self emoyment. Knowing them helps when things feel rough or you haven’t had as many clients as hoped, and also let’s you know whether you can afford to be picky or if you need to build a solid client and reference base first.
4. Have advertising plans! Many freelancers, as word of mouth grows, will find advertising helps full in the dead times. Have business cards, participate in associations and forums that are in your fields, go to conferences and festivals, always continue education
5. Know start up costs and base price for each unit. Website domain and development, editing and promotional writings, association fees/requirements, insurance, shipping, travel, etc.
6. Know your guarantees and limits and state them up front. For example, as a freelance writer, I Guarentee my work to be free of spelling and grammatical errors. I let my clients know before hand that this Guarentee is there, as well as describe how I will fulfill it. Limits-posh- no holds example
7. Understand back end sales. In my last home town the 2 quaint boutiques I frequented most often were the conglomerates Express and WHBM. Why? Bc I received personalized and HONEST service. Yes, more often than not, the outfits looked pretty great in the store, but the few times I nearly spent $50 on something that wasn’t right for me, it was those employees who used honesty to prevent me from making an unwise choice. At WHBM, my ladies would grab a few accessories and see if we could use some style tricks to give me the most range on items I was already purchasing. At express, if something didn’t fit right, a similar item in my size would be immediately brought to me (and in the same price range to my delight!), as another person explained why that outfit didn’t quite work in their opinion. As we discussed, we built trust, and I found I was willing to pay a bit more for such a full range of honest service. Sharing your gift will not prevent sales, it will excite and empower your customers, leading to 5 star ratings
8. Schedule your time
- don’t forget to leave time for Ty’s, building your portfolio, searching for clients, promoting, and restocking
9. Acknowledge your mistakes- you will make them! Be humble, honest, sincere, and offer a fair and reasonable course of action to your client
10. Your project isn’t done, and your item is not sold just bc you have been paid. Do not forget that this person chose YOU and to support YOUR business when the freelance field has many options available. Make certain to acknowledge that and thank your client for utilizing your business. This allows a chance to show your appreciation, get feedback, and remind the client you do other things and love references!

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Welcome!

02/10/2013 | Posted in Doctor Whooligans, Hippie Earth Mama, Hungry for History, a Plate Full of Politics, Kat's Conscientia, The Fun Family Takes a Vacation | By

Annnnnd…. the blogging has officially begun! Each blog will be updated at least once a week. I have categorized the blogs to make my main page easier to navigate so be be sure to look to your favorite categories for frequent updates!

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Kat’s Conscientia

19/05/2013 | Posted in Kat's Conscientia | By

Welcome to Kat’s Conscientia! This is my home base, so topics will more rapidly fluctuate. It is a positive home for inspiration, knowledge, tips, tools, pictures, and stories as we aim to meet our mission by bringing power into your lives.

Why keep it positive? Respect.

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