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Tag: motherhood

Connecting With The Unexpected

Connecting to others is really important to me. It’s why I have a degree in Communications and a Master’s in Health Communication. It’s really something special when connecting comes unexpected, though.

If you put your device down and have your head up, you leave yourself open to connecting. You give yourself the opportunity to connect with people who probably wouldn’t be on your radar. The other day, when I picked my children up from school, I hung around for a bit talking to a mom. She’s a parent of a high schooler and 5th grader. I coached her daughter in track and field for two years. In that two years I hadn’t really ever had a solid conversation with her.

Within five minutes of connecting, we seem to have a few things in common. Mom guilt is high on the list – dangling over our heads, pretty much. Balancing the work-mom life is a thread that we both seem to share even though our children are fairly spread apart in age. We share the same views on running in adolescence and the growing pains associated with the sport. The need to be grateful for what we do have and discussing that with our youth. Lastly, our Bucket Lists! What a deep conversation for a 1:30pm, after school, sunny, warm, playground connection.

The mom guilt is real, but is it necessary?

Our mom guilt is about wanting to do more with our brains and interests but also wanting to be there for our kids. The both of us want to take a step back and analyze our energy and efforts. To consider and possibly execute the notion “can we step a bit farther away yet?” is in our head space. This guilt seems to be a popular one among many moms I speak with. Although mom guilt is an obstacle, it’s not anything we can’t hurdle over.

Student-athelets go through a ton of growing pains and we need to support them in figuring out what works for them.

A common ground between many parents and coaches is adolescent bodies in sports, specifically running. As adults, we can forget what it was like to have a growing body. Coaching middle school and high school athletes is a daily reminder of those growing pains. Knee pain and shin pain are the most common, but of course back, hip, and ankle pain pop up as well. Everything is connected, so when we become an athlete our bodies are tested as a unit – the entire body. If one area is weak, it will effect everything.

When athletes reach puberty a number of changes take place. Hormones, in particular. From our mental state to our physical bodies, so many changes occur in the high school years. In boys, they get a surge of testosterone which makes them stronger and faster. They also switch to a higher metabolism and typically have a lower BMI due to an increase in lean muscle. On the other hand, females get a surge of estrogen, higher body fat percent, and a lower rate in metabolism. Often, there will be girls who are faster than boys in 8th grade but in high school the girls plateau or get a bit slower and the boys excel. The whole process of growing can be frustrating and exciting; it can also be a rewarding experience with the proper support.

Having patience, listening to our body, making sure we rest when we are supposed to, and also pushing our limits while also understanding and accepting the body we were given are all necessary. It’s important as parents and coaches to teach this to our kids/student-athletes. This is a conversation that I wish I could have with every parent who has a child entering athletics.

Occasionally, we can get caught up in what we can’t do or don’t have.

Bringing into our awareness to have gratitude for what we do have is so much more productive than to dwell on what we don’t have. Maybe our time isn’t the fastest, but our legs are working. Maybe we don’t have the best training shoes, but we do have a pair. We can often get caught up in the details of life, rather than the big things that make life brilliant.

Drive is a good thing. Having a drive to do and to be is how we end up getting to a place within ourselves that we love!

It’s pretty magical causally talking to someone when a ‘bucket list’ conversation pops up. My bucket list seems to grow every day. Some days I feel like I don’t come close to reaching one bucket, but other days I feel like I can smell the bucket being checked off the list. To have that drive inside, to push us to do something and be someone more than we were when we woke up is a pretty incredible feeling. It may take a month, or a year, or a decade, but we will keep on driving ourselves till we do it!

As I finish writing this post, four days have past. I thought for sure that I’d get it done that night. It’s ok. I did it and I didn’t abandon my initial words. I still feel completely connected tho this conversation that I had no idea would transpire so naturally. If we can just keep our heart, eyes, and minds open then who knows what type of connections we can make.


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Journey to Be Incontinence-Free

Have you ever sneezed and then suddenly felt a spot of wetness down there? Or lost all motivation to jump rope for fear of unloading your bladder with each jump? Or maybe you really do want to play “Red Light, Green Light” with your kids, but it’s just too inconvenient to prepare? I think as mothers, we deal with it. We deal with a lot. This is just one more thing we slap a bandaid on and then continue on with our life. We make it work. However, if you pay close attention to what you are feeling inside, you will notice a little piece of you gets lost. That lost piece gets larger each time you can’t do something or if you hold back to prevent/stop/slow down the pee.

In 1 day I will be undergoing something that, I believe, will change my world. For the last 7 1/2 years I’ve been dealing with incontinence from giving birth to a 9lb baby boy who had a huge head and the cord wrapped around his foot. For hours I felt like he was just plain stuck. The labor did some damage. About 3 1/2 years later my second baby boy slid on out without me even noticing – this time with the help of an epidural. There are a ton of other crazy things that happened with both pregnancies, and so I’ve come to the conclusion – despite a pregnancy book that said “Women are built to have babies” – that I in fact was not built to have babies. I wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I feel like I’m built to raise them, but not have them. 

One of my favorite things to do in life is run. Running is my best friend. I’ve cried, laughed, worked through relationship stuff, worked out professional struggles, and have been struck by stop-in-my-tracks awe over the surrounding beauty on many occasions while running over the last 20+ years. On top of running, I am also a personal trainer, fitness instructor, high school running coach, and mom to two amazing, happy, smart, ACTIVE boys. My life is filled with physical activity. I am not one to just sit around, unless I’m writing a blog post, planning workouts, or lesson planning for my Life Skills class. I never stop moving, much like my two boys. This activity also means that I’ve gone through a lot of laundry and pads over the years.

I’ve tried everything from diet (thinking that maybe my hormones were out-of-whack), to physical therapy, to even taking a ton of pelvic core and post-natal personal training workshops. I’m now vegan and have balanced hormones, don’t drink alcohol, have a really strong core, and have worked my body in every way known to help incontinence, yet I still have this problem. So, my next step? I perfected my coping strategies for incontinence: I basically don’t drink any water during the day, which is not good, if I know I have to be active in the afternoon (coaching or fitness class), bring extra pads wherever I go, the treadmill is less impact so if I don’t feel like dealing with being soaking wet I usually head there, change my stride from the hips/glutes when needed to avoid excessive leakage (which leads to injury I found), and lately I’ve been opting out of physical play with my boys so I don’t have to deal with it. 

The last one is what got me to call up the doctor. I’ve ALWAYS been physically active with my boys. We were always playing some sort of game that involved running, jumping, tagging, tackling, etc… I got so sick of having to change my clothes, that I just stopped. Plus, my boys got older and bigger, so I had to be even more active with them. But, after sitting in a lecture with the author of “Boys Alive” I realized that boys need physical play with their parents. It’s how they work things out. Also, before I know it, they are not going to want to run around with me. They are going to be off on their own adventures with their buddies in a matter of time and I am missing out on the present – this precious and short-lived time together. I have done everything I possibly can do decrease my symptoms, but nothing has worked. Now it is time to make something happen.

Three weeks ago I called to make an appointment with an OB I’d never met, at a hospital I’d never been to before. I was a long-time patient at UCSF and I had started incontinence care there, but we moved and I dropped my health needs. So, exactly two years later I found myself on the phone giving my information to someone new and suddenly they had a cancelation for the very next day. Was the universe speaking to me? On Thursday morning, I woke up and raced to get myself ready and to my appointment – early! I arrived and was seen straightaway and within 30 min I had my surgery scheduled. I couldn’t believe it. Years of trying different things and completely unsure about taking this step, and it happened so naturally and quickly. 

The tools used are smaller, but the procedure is the same as it’s been for the last 10+ years. They will be using mesh as a sling and inserting it under the urethra. The sling will support the urethra and help keep it closed – especially in those unexpected times of a cough or sneeze! There’s a 1% risk of it not working, getting an infection, making it worse, and/or making it work too good. I can’t run or lift more than 5lbs for 6 weeks. For that bond that I will regain with my boys, I think it’s worth the 1% risks and the time spent recovering. 

I’m looking forward to worry-free running, when I can race down a hill and not do the biggest kegal exercise ever, or sneak attack my boys in a game of tickle tag, or put on a surge in a race and not have to change my stride to avoid leakage, or race my boys around our yard without running in to get a pad first or changing pants later. It’s going to be good. I’m going to feel like a new person.

If you are like me and have been contemplating surgery for incontinence, follow me as I will be posting my recovery and road back to leakage-free physical activity!

Keely Grand – 


Keely is a plant-powered wife, mother, runner, personal trainer, high school running coach, high school health/life skills teacher, and freelance writer who doesn’t drink alcohol and is all about that PMA – positive mental attitude. She has spent her entire life trying to make people happy and healthy, but getting her master’s degree in Health Communication, certification in Personal Training, and later a certification in Plant-Based Nutrition is what gave her the tools to be successful in that pursuit. Keely’s belief is that the only way to lead people to happy, healthy lives is to live a happy, healthy life. So, she truly walks the walk.




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