How I’m Getting Back on Track (slowlysurelyhopefully)

First things – a new issue of Freeplay Magazine is out and I have two pieces in it I’m pretty proud of: Jewelry You Can Sweat In, and an interview with Pam Smith, winner of Western States 100-miler and professional Ultra badass. Check ‘em out:

Fashion Nov-Dec

In The Bag - Pam Smith Nov-Dec

(you can e-subscribe to Freeplay for free here. no, I don’t get any commission or referral perks, just looking out for y’all)

Also Julie included me in her feature on “Why Would I Run?” where I shared my two cents on what gets me out the door (most days)

* * * * * * * *

Alright enough diddle-daddling, I’ve been doing way too much of that here, there, and everywhere. Also I woke up feeling like Dr Seuss? On to the main event, whozits!

The past few months have been a pretty serious life-change adjustment. Transitioning from a full-time (boring, un-fullfilling, deconstructive) office job to working a variety of part-time’ers at home has been… goodbad. My schedule is all willy nilly – if I wanted to stay up until 3am editing because that’s when I was motivated, fine. I’d just sleep in the next morning. If a creative bug bit at dinner I’d take out a notepad and get it all out before the moment slipped away. And “I have all day to work out” sure kept things fresh and flexible. You know, when I actually felt like it.

Except… I miss some of the structure. Routine. Schedules.


Ok maybe you weren’t thinking exactly that last part – too many brahs outside my window waxing boards and throwing shoulder length salt-waved hair around for my own good.

But before you roll your eyes too hard (don’t do that! they could get stuck!), let me clear the air. I am over-the-moon grateful to have the opportunity to have left a soul-sucking morals-eating dulldrum career I wasn’t passionate about to chase after something I am. And in my attempt to make that Passion Project everything it can be and more, I find my perfectionist self battling with my “Smile, Mon! Be Happy!” new self that’s budded from this freeball work-lifestyle. It’s a learn-as-you-go kind of deal over here, finding that right balance.

It’s all about balance, right? Balanced diet. Balanced exercise. Balanced work life. Balanced “hey brah!” and “yes sir.” Everyone’s geeked on balance.

SO! I have a plan of attack. Because if you complain without attempting to solve then you’re just a whiny brat looking to bitch about shit. But if you present a problem AND a solution to fix it, then you’re a grown-ass adult with a head screwed on straight headed straight for the path of world revolutionism (not a word) and bountiful success!

Here are my four small-enough-to-not-be-too-intimidating but big-enough-to-make-a-change focus points for the rest of November, catalogued by life segments, and starting tomorrow because I definitely snoozed this AM and am still in my pajamas. Oops.

LIFE, GENERAL ::: Waking to a Trigger

Oh alarm clock, you cranky old frenemy. I’ll rekindle our relationship in the name of starting my day on a regimented foot, but I won’t like it. Currently I wake up when Brian leaves for work, but then take my sweet time checking my phone from under the covers before finally getting motivated to start the coffee maker (and in turn, my day for real.) While the actual wake up call won’t be much different, having an “up and at ‘em” hard start time will hopefully help my discipline and set the day in a controlled, focused path.


I like having a different song each day – Fall Out Boy, Phillip Phillips, and Hawthorne Heights currently responsible for rousing grumpy Sarah

WORK ::: Set a (flexible) Schedule

Yes, a benefit of working at home is the flexibility. Mid-day errands? Afternoon run? Writing whenever I feel inspired? Those are nice, but I’ve decided they need built into a more standard schedule. Each week I’ll review my appointments, deadlines, workouts, and necessary to-dos and set a plan. For instance, today I worked on email from 8-9, project planning and blogging from 9-12, and will go for a run at lunch time. When I head out to my 2pm doc appointment I can feel good about the work already accomplished and set the rest of my day accordingly. It sounds so simple and “no duh,” but it’s surprisingly easy to fall victim to a jello’y day plan and suddenly realize you’ve worked all day and have 6 half-finished tasks to show for it and deadlines looming. For focus and micro-deadlines.


the last “messy” calendar — that’s a mirror, not a framed headshot, btw

RUN ::: Back to the Skeleton

Similar to the work schedule, I’m ready to get back into a running routine. Running whatever I want, whenever I want was fun and freeing, and I enjoyed it. But Carlsbad Half is just over 10 weeks away and I’m excited to have a focus and a goal again (more on that later, probably). I’m going to get back into my S rest M easy T speed W xt/easy Th hills/tempo F easy Sa long template again and start hitting the training log hard in the next few weeks. Good thing we got the Track Party band back together (K and Margot are running the Cbad full) – any other OC’ers looking for some training buddies??


just screams, “I’m happy I can run whenever but am glad we scheduled in this time to do it!”, right?

DIET ::: Damnit, You CAN’T Make Me Meal-Plan

With months of willy-nilly work and workout non-routines, as went my diet as well. My “eat whatever you want, whenever you want” privileges should have evaporated at the end of Ventura training, but they didn’t. I don’t own a scale but am pretty sure I’m a few pounds heavier than my usual, and while I’m not super butt hurt about it (the burgers beers and desserts were worth it) it’ll be helpful to my upcoming training to focus on nutrition again. I’m going to focus on eating three ACTUAL meals (not sitting down with a tub of cottage cheese and eating until full) and mindful snacks, and reviving the MyFitnessPal app. I received a copy of the Runner’s World Cookbook along with every other blogger and have a few pages flagged to coax me into the kitchen for “real meals.” I actually made the whole grain muffins a few weeks ago and loved them. Filmed the process a la My Drunk Kitchen (thanks for the reco, Courtney!) but am undecided whether the material is worth editing. Because, tequila, you know?


can’t lie I really want portabella and asparagus pasta now (and a marg)

So here’s to a life aboard a train with some tracks already laid instead of foraging aimlessly towards some  destination. Who’s coming with?

Sarah OUaL


22 thoughts on “How I’m Getting Back on Track (slowlysurelyhopefully)

  1. Long time lurker, first time commenter here. Just wanted to say, dude, your alarm tune selections…double thumbs up! Not quite sure how emo/pop-punk music managed to infiltrate the “we only have two radio stations and they’re both country” small town, hillbilly scene (NW PA, for me) but I swear it’s a thing. Makes my angsty 20-something self smile when other tiny towners mention any of those bands (also, Yellowcard, Something Corporate, Anberlin, Dashboard Confessional, Brand New, TBS? I could go on…and on).

    Anyway, just wanted to say I love your blog and thanks for the trip down memory lane!


  2. I 100% know where you’re coming from…I went from a cry-every-day-at-work career to student/freelancer. Yay freetime, but holy shit. I never got anything done. Seriously. The “I have all day” mentality will get you! Eventually I freaked out, melted down, felt incredible idiotic and ungrateful then did exactly what you’re doing. I made myself a schedule. A schedule I usually made myself stick with.

    Its all changing again – going into the land of full time, office employment again (so far, minus all the tears) – so I have a schedule forced at me. Definitely easier to deal with since I had a self-imposed schedule with the freelancing! Good luck with those alarms! ;)


  3. i want that runner block thing on your desk. and the large coffee mug. details, my friend. oh, and yes…love that you have found a routine for work. when I don’t have actual appointments in ATL i struggle with the wakeup and work thing…:)


  4. When I started freelancing I actually got less training in for a long time — I may still — because it’s just SO easy to end up rushing around in a mess all day without ever putting on a bra.


  5. You’re motivating me to get off the couch right now and go for a run. I’m a personal trainer and my morning is completely free until like 3pm. I have a lot of projects I should be working on, but it gets so easy to sit on the couch reading blogs or watching reality tv.. haha. alright! i’m going, i’m going…


  6. I actually just started working a 2nd job on the side as an It Works Distributor because I hate the office job routine. I really want to get the point of making money with a side job so I have more flexible hours, get my personal training certification so I can teach classes and pursue a fitness career. Yes that is alot of goals but I am going to do it! lol


  7. LOL I seriously thought you had a framed picture of yourself and was laughing.
    My alarm is set for 5am M,T and F and the title of it is “Fuck” I laugh everytime I see it. But I also think “Fuck”


  8. Great post! I don’t think I could ever work from home full-time, although sometimes I dream of flexibility since my current office job is overwhelming and stressful. My dad worked from home for about 10 years and had a strict work schedule. He would even set an appointment for a mid-morning coffee break. Good luck on your next half!


  9. is there room for one more on this journey of getting back on track? doing stuff we’re passionate about is SUPER fun/awesome/fulfilling/way better than those old crappy office jobs for sure, but this girl could use a little bit more structure (and less Panera/Jimmy Johns/Chipotle).

    at least I’m finally doing that blog catch up I was talking about! :)


  10. this has SO been my life since entering “funemployment”…thought i’d have all this time (which i do), but without structure i’m a disaster at making good use of it! (hence no blog post since before HTC- criminal)…been “writing” one similar to this in my head for a I’ll just link to yours. xoxo- thx! ;)



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