Running Lessons

Last week marked the unofficial start to the cross country season for the team I once helped coach. I have to admit I am more than a bit bummed out about missing out on another season. Every sweaty season offered an incredible roller coaster ride of laughs, tears, celebrations, challenges, and life lessons.

As I reminisced about all of the ups and downs of my 4 seasons as a coach, I started thinking about all the lessons these runners were going to experience. The list seemed endless, so I decided to write them out and see just how many I could come up with. In just over an hour, I was staring down at a list of over 170 lessons.

I won’t list them all right now, but I’ll share some of the bigger ones:

  1. Don’t look back.
  2. Your level of commitment determines your future opportunities.
  3. You control whether you meet your goals.
  4. You get what you work for, not what you wish for.
  5. Be intentional.
  6. Dress for the weather.
  7. Keep your head up.
  8. You won’t see any progress if you don’t record where you started or where you’re going.
  9. Hard work isn’t always about doing more, but being smarter about what you’re doing.
  10. Your thoughts become your reality.
  11. The amount of pain you can endure is determined by your mind, not your body.
  12. Your limiting beliefs are your biggest obstacles.
  13. Waiting for the perfect time is a waste of time.
  14. Do what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it, not just when you feel like it.
  15. Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.
  16. Excuses or results: the choice is yours.
  17. Run through the finish line.
  18. Setbacks are only as powerful as you make them.
  19. Choose your running buddies wisely.
  20. Nothing goes as planned. Keep calm, adapt, focus on your goals, and keep going.
  21. You choose whether your PRs haunt you or inspire you.
  22. Run for your own reasons.
  23. Don’t miss out on the journey by focusing only on the destination.
  24. Hard work trumps talent.
  25. Pace yourself.
  26. Comparison crushes confidence.
  27. You’re stronger than you know.
  28. Breathe.
  29. Watch for opportunities.
  30. Believe in yourself.

It’s pretty amazing to think about all that running has to offer, both mentally and physically. I really hope this year’s runners will take full advantage of their season while they can.

100 Day Challenge: 100 Days of Creative Sparks Featuring Sealife

Since I was let go from my all-consuming nonprofit “day” job, I have been examining my decisions and my lifestyle. As one of the founders, I sacrificed quite a bit to ensure the success of this nonprofit—time with my family, my career as a designer, incredible design projects, a book project, friendships, my home (it was run out of my home until the day they “let me go”). Without warning or cause, I was told the board was moving on without me immediately* and did not need or want my guidance or input any longer.

*This was quite the shock, as the board and I had discussed my succession plan many times in the previous months. I had wanted to allow an easier transition for the nonprofit and also allow time to rebuild my design career, but the board decided to take a different direction.

I was devastated. Really devastated. This nonprofit had become my identity. Who would I be without it? Why didn’t I matter anymore? Would anyone care about me without my nonprofit connection? What would happen to the nonprofit?

As I sorted through the self-doubt, I realized that my life had been lacking inspiration. I had been battling a bit of burnout for a while (and attempting to recover from two concussions within just a few months of each other) and had sacrificed most of my typical creative exercises as I struggled to meet the nonprofit’s goals. While I had occasionally maintained my Saturday morning design inspiration hunts, I had stopped creating. Sure, I had some fun side-jobs once in a while, but I wasn’t doing enough to refuel my creativity.

I thought about bringing back my owl-a-day project, but that would be too easy…and the truth is, I don’t really like owls that much. I thought about joining a Creative Sprint, but I really wanted something illustration or drawing based. That’s when I learned about #The100DayProject and decided to join in. I wanted to do something with sea life and creativity—an odd combination, but that will make sense in June—and came up with my “Sea Different” project.

Follow along on Instagram!

Design A Pin

I recently bought a button maker (the real deal, not the cheap kid’s version). It’s a Tecre Button Making Machine as shown here.

Making designs to fit the 1.25″ buttons is a bit of challenge, but a fun one. I’ve created designs for Girls on the Run of Stark County and Jackson Cross Country, so far.

Download this sketch sheet and give it a try yourself. Pick a theme, set a time limit, and see what you can come up with!


Abstract Sputnik Creative Challenge

I’ve developed a bit of a fascination with Mid Century Modern bookcases, especially the ones with the asymmetrical shelves. I’ve started to notice these frameworks in vintage fabric designs. Two of my favorite fabric designers, Lucienne Day & Marian Mahler used asymmetric frameworks as the base for several patterns during the sputnik era (mid-1950s through the 1960s). Of course, Lucienne’s frameworks were much more organic, while Marian’s tended to be more rigid.

For this morning’s creative caffeine, I sketched out a few frameworks of my own and adorned them with random shapes. No real goals here, just taking 15 minutes to work out my retro design skills before jumping into what is most likely going to be another chaotic day!

In case you want to play along, download my worksheet below. (Or just grab a sketch book, and make your own.)