When you see Kirsten Baseley, owner of Blu Sky Creative, you would never think she battled with weight problems as a child. She’s fit and exudes confidence. But it didn’t start like that. When Baseley was a teenager, a family friend, who was a doctor talked to her about weight saying, “you’re obese.” She knew she was overweight, but those words stung because they validated her thoughts. She was self-conscious about her weight and could have muddled in her misery or she could make a change. She chose the latter and went to the library to find out ways to shed the pounds.

Fast forward decades later, another friend who also happened to be a doctor, told her she was thin,  and she should consider adding muscle. That’s when Baseley, who never felt athletic, got into running. She thought running would be an easy way to get started on her fitness journey.

Frozen Tundra 5K

Ice was on the ground

Not having the right gear

In January 2020, Kirsten heard about a 5K race called the “Frozen Tundra” and she decided to take the plunge. It was cold, there was snow and ice on the ground, and she was nervous, so much so, that she didn’t even sign up to run until that morning. Around her were dozens of other runners who all looked prepared. Kirsten was not prepared. She later realized she didn’t have grips on her shoes to power through the race. But to her amazement, something special happened on that day that gave her the confidence boost she needed. Kirsten came in first place in her age group, despite not having the right gear. By February 2021, she had increased her speed and distance and decided to run a third winter trail race, breaking her other records. This time she was prepared, including shoe grips, which saved her close to a minute on her pace! Even though she didn’t win a medal, she realized having the right footwear made a world of a difference. 

Becoming a trail aficionado

As a novice runner, it wasn’t until her feet started to blister and her toes started to bruise, did she search for the right shoe fit. She went to Dick’s Sporting Goods, initially to get a pair of shoes. Then she went to another running store to get fitted, but the blisters continued. The third time, she found a local running store , called “847 Running Company.” The employee there was a Lake Forest College student athlete with a scholarship for running and she provided Kirsten with a wealth of information. The young woman fitted Kirsten for an Asics shoe, which ended up being a size-and-a-half up from the original shoe size. That was it. That made the difference and Kirsten got the perfect fit. She could now run in comfort in her Asics and the right fit saved her another 20 seconds on her very next run.

Kirsten had set goals in 2020 to race every month, but then the world literally shut down because of the pandemic. Kirsten became a trail aficionado and continued to run near her house. Running outside can be done anywhere, offers a chance to get out in nature, and doesn’t require any equipment– just a pair of shoes and will. “Running in nature frees my mind. For those moments, the worrying, pressure and stress go away. You see the trees, the snow or the flowers and the wildlife; like a coyote, a fox, cranes or turtles and it just brings me solace. I put on a good podcast or music and I let my mind wonder,” Kirsten said.

It took 15 months

After 15 months of running and building up stamina, eventually she became accustomed to the activity and longer distances. She now runs 3 to 5 miles a day, 5 days a week. She’s learned a lot during her fitness transformation. Having the right clothing, shoes and socks matters. And listening to classical music makes her run faster. Yes, classical music. You may not consider that genre of music with a workout, but science proves otherwise.

Losing weight and building muscle are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the positive effects of exercise on your health. For Baseley, she started feeling happier, being less stressed and more energetic, building discipline and staying focused. 

Kirsten realized that whether you go for a run around the block or on the trails, you’re a runner. It’s all in the doing. If you’ve been thinking about running a mile or a 5K, but you’re worried you can’t do it because you’re just not a runner. Stop. Put your best foot forward and do it and you won’t look back. 

Resting heart rate

Kirsten resting heart rate

Run manageable distances

Running Blu Sky Creative, Baseley is busy with emails, phone calls, and strategy sessions with her team and clients throughout the day. She’s learned that a good routine is directly linked to higher output and she hits the ground running every day, both literally and figuratively. Running offers health benefits like lower blood pressure. Her average resting heart rate now is about 50 beats-per-minute, and she’s noticed her stress levels have improved immensely.

Runners just like business owners need to have a plan. You run manageable distances in the beginning, eventually increase your distance, rest, then do it all over again. With her business, Baseley feels, the way you improve is by setting consistent, incremental goals which will have a direct link to increased productivity. 

Turn success into a routine

It’s not too late to successfully start running to improve your mind and body. Baseley started running in her 50s. Her goals now are to run a 10 mile race and a half-marathon before she turns 60. Her biggest advice for others is to start slowly, just don’t quit. Baseley says whether it’s running or running a business, success isn’t by accident. There are similarities between the two. You set goals and throughout that journey, you become the best version of yourself. The key is to stick to it. There will always be obstacles along the way, but don’t give up because that’s how you turn success into a routine.

The team at Blu Sky Creative is looking forward to hearing from you, contact us anytime.