Today you are going to meet one of my first friends + one of the most positive people I know! 🙂 Kelly and I have known each other since grade school and have stayed close ever since. We lived together for a couple years post-college in Chicago and nicknamed our apartment the most positive place in the city. We’ve got exciting events coming up together this spring/summer including CrazyLegs + the Madison Triathlon + MS 150. She’s already made several appearances on the blog, but I wanted you guys to formally meet this rad chick.
Kelly: I grew up playing every sport under the sun. It was these years that really shaped, athletically and competitively, who I am today. I (luckily) found an early appreciation for strength training with my teammates (especially Amy) and combating the intimidation of the weight room. From my early sports years, I developed a commitment to daily athletic practices that I still feel the need to fulfill – its programed in to be a part of my day. College, I maintained (key word) my fitness at the U of Minnesota through intramural sports. I’d also hit the gym, and I actually picked up a side gig as an ACE certified group fitness instructor my junior and senior year. And now: I’m 27 living in Chicago working a very busy full time PR job. Thankfully my co-workers and clients inspire me to keep moving every day. I navigated my way to doing PR in the fitness and endurance sports space and it’s the perfect fit. For the last three years I’ve committed myself to becoming a stronger athlete – no longer maintaining – but trying to be competitive again. It’s a challenge, but something to dedicate myself to which I like. I do enjoy working out and keeping active but have plenty of vices to go along with it: dinners with friends, late night dance parties, pizza, diet coke, lazy Sundays, traveling, etc. I’m human, but my hope is my health and fitness out-do the bad. I’m 100% for living a little, well actually a lot. Balance, as Amy would say, is the name of the game. My Mottos: “Make it happen.” And one from my dad “You’re either living or you’re decaying. We all need to live.” A: We love that quote from her dad, that phrase is on repeat in our lives. Essentially, you are either getting better or watching your life pass by from the sidelines. A: Tell us about your job.
Kelly: I work for a public relations agency on beverages specifically targeting athletes including Gatorade, Propel and Chocolate Milk. This gig has ignited a spark in my fitness to be able to keep up with the folks I ‘rub bows’ with every day – like IRONMAN World Champions, elite marathon runners, the best high school athletes in the country and challenged athletes conquering incredible feats (to name a few). When I wasn’t in that great of shape – I felt horrible about myself. I see how much passion, strength and dedication each of these athletes put in and I thought, “I can do that.” So I started taking my job to heart and more actively racing triathlons and experimenting with new group fitness workouts/gyms. It’s been a lot of fun personally and I’m a better employee for it, learning how to connect and communicate with athletes better.
A: I know you are a busy girl! What works best to prioritize your workouts?
Kelly: Prioritizing – and then planning a schedule that fits everything in (sometimes that might call for all morning workouts or all evening workouts, having the ability to be flexible is key). I also stick with the mindset “something is better than nothing” so that keeps me progressing little by little if I can’t get a full workout in. A: I really like what she says here. Being flexible. Maybe you’ll have to experiment a little bit. My husband was working out after work for a while, and it just wasn’t working. He wasn’t as consistent or motivated. He has to switch back to working out in the mornings 🙂
A: What gets you into your workout gear and out the door?
Kelly: I’ll just say it, cute workout clothes (they very easily inspire me) A: Cute workout clothes are the BEST. In full transparency what gets me out the door are two things:
- The disease MS runs in my family and I want to do everything I can to keep moving, and celebrate that ability while I’ve got it.
- Secondly, once you start a workout routine you feel a shift in how quickly you can think and your productivity sky rockets. I’m a better employee, friend, and family member when I workout. I feel alert and energized – a morning workout is my coffee. A: YES!
A: I’ve mentioned this before, but we’re on a daily stream of motivational text messages…how does that help you?
Kelly: I know others are working hard, so I can too. It’s that simple. It’s like a competitive edge; I know Amy has a leg up on me because she got in 5 miles…I better get out the door!
A: What does a typical workout week look like for you?
Kelly: I shoot for a daily workout during the work week with a combination of running, biking or swimming and adding strength to the end of the cardio sessions three days a week. I try for a class with friends at least once a week (usually Fly Barre, a spin class or Yoga Sculpt at Core Power Yoga). I take the weekends for one longer, endurance training day (and I make myself swim) and the other for rejuvenation like yoga or something more adventurous and entertaining like rock climbing or a bike/hike adventure. A: I suppose I should get a few swims in before this triathlon? 🙂
A: Favorite healthy snack + meal?
Kelly: My favorite work day healthy snacks are hard boiled eggs, greek yogurt and an apple. My favorite healthy meal is kabobs on the grill (shrimp/chicken with lots of veggies) eaten over a bed of spinach or seared tuna with grilled veggies (nom, nom, nom). I love getting new, healthy recipes from POPSugar – they’re always quick, good and healthy for week nights.
A: Favorite restaurant in Chicago? Favorite quick, healthy spot?
Kelly: My favorite meal of all time in Chicago – wow – I’d have to give it to Avec. One of my first, fancy restaurant date-spots so maybe I’m biased. Maude’s Liquor Bar is a close second. My favorite quick, healthy spot is Freshii (kale effect bowl with ¼ quinoa and ¾ greens as the base, please).
A: You finally got me on board for the MS 150. Tell us about the event and what it means to your family.
Kelly: This ride (although 150 miles) is the perfect entry into road biking. The MS Society does a fantastic job mapping a course, coordinating housing and food and providing a LOT of fun along the way. It’s a two day ride with 80 miles per day (broken up by 20 mile increments throughout the day). What to expect: a pretty sore butt, wicked tan lines and a new found love for road biking. The ride is a celebration and a time to show (through action) how much support those with MS have. And also, what you can achieve when you are backed by awesome people. Without any words being said, at the end of the ride you feel how powerful a team of friends and family can be. For anyone reading this, Join TEAM FAST EDDY!
A: I know you’ve had the opportunity to work at some pretty cool events. Tell us about the most inspiring.
Kelly: Two have been super inspiring:
- Challenged Athletes Foundation San Diego Triathlon Challenge: This event is a weekend celebration of abilities, bringing together hundreds of athletes with physical disabilities. There is a Celebration of Hope dinner/awards, running clinics for amputees and a challenge triathlon to cap off the week. It. Is. Amazing, moving and so inspiring.
- IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, HI: I got to see three-time (female) IRONMAN World Champion Mirinda Carfrae throw down a 2:50:26 marathon after swimming 2.4 and biking 112 miles. Say what?!
A: You have competed in some pretty awesome events in your time. What was your favorite and what do you have coming up?
Kelly: My favorite event was IRONMAN 70.3 Steelhead . This race, I was finally able to commit to a training plan and I worked really hard for that finish line. I had such a sense of pride in myself at the end of the race. It was perfect conditions and a beautiful day. Coming up, I’ve got a few sprint and Olympic triathlons this summer, along with the MS 150 bike ride! I’m getting the itch for another 70.3 but nothing is confirmed just yet.
A: It’s been a while, but we did an AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge together and you rocked it! What was your favorite part of the challenge?
Kelly: My favorite part was having strict guidelines and really trying to hold myself to them. If there is one thing I need, it’s a “treats” overhaul. I love them – and this helped me stay focused and realize how much I indulge. Seeing results (in my performance and appearance) by following the clean eating plan didn’t hurt either. A: Kel continues on Thermoplus + Catalyst.
A: Alright girlfriend, cannot wait to see you soon for CrazyLegs!
Thanks again to Kelly! You are such an awesome friend to have!
Look for the post on Friday, I’m posting pictures showing you guys what some of my meals look like + taking you on my journey to better eating! Love, Ames