Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Make your list and move on...

Things I don't like about myself
-I am messy
-I am a grazer
-I have a sweet tooth
-I often have dark circles under my eyes
-I seldom say no to things
-I don't have immediate family near by
-I can rarely say no to dessert
-I am a big time procrastinator
-I am stubborn
-I yell at my kids
-I go a day without giving my hubby a kiss
-I am not artistic

Things I like about myself
-I am a mulitasker
-I am a good mom
-I am a supportive wife
-I will always try my best
-I love a good challenge
-I speak my mind
-I am not afraid 
-I have faith
-I lead by example
-I will walk the path alone
-I would do anything for my family
-I think outside the box
-I believe in myself

So great...I made a list of the good and the bad.  What is the point of this??  I need to remind myself that faults are good.  Faults allow you to see the good.  Faults show you where you put attention.  Faults show you that you are human and and that there is always room for growth.  I just had another discussion with my four year old.  For as sweet and lovable as he is...he is still four and is learning to test his boundaries with me and everyone he encounters.  I see him duplicate motions and words and tones that he sees from those around him.  I had to tell him that I am done with the yelling and we will work through this together.  I used small words, talked slow, and in a quiet voice.  I stopped what I was doing and took the time to have him understand my frustration as well as his.  Wouldn't that be nice if all adults would do the same.  If we would just take the time to truly interact and explain our feelings.  Apologies can be said but the feelings are still true.  His current fault brought out some of my current strengths.  Together we are balanced out and we need to realize that we can do this with everyone we are with.

Social media brings so much judging and comparing and putting down.  When I see a friend kick butt on her run or sign up for some big momma race that I would never have the guts to do...I am not jealous of her, well maybe for a hot second, but I am in awe of her.  I am in awe that despite her doubts and dislikes, she is pushing though to release the strength and likes.  There is nothing I should do but lift her up, encourage her, and help her along the journey.  I know that we all have struggles and we all have skeletons in our closets, but together we work through them.  I have had so many great run therapy sessions with friends and even some ladies I may have run with for the first time have been great connections.  The different perspectives from other people I have met brings such a great spin to this journey.  Makes my likes and dislikes blend into one.

oversharer & overcarer
I am not afraid to talk to anyone or share a story or a remember when.  In chick fil a yesterday a lady that I sold some sports bras too came up to me and said that they are working great and she loves them!  I love how some people choose to keep a connection...as silly as it seems over a sports bra...she could have just walked past me and chose to go on with her day.  Social media not only makes people feel less about themselves...but it is removing the human touch.  If you have ever met me...you know that I will probably never lose the human touch. I will be the one that keeps talking when everyone else has stopped listening.  I want to know what you are up to...I am genuinely curious, intrigued, and inspired.  I want to know what your good and bad are...I am an oversharer and an overcarer.  

So make your list and get it out of your head.  Find the people that lift you up, that compliment your faults, that you can help.  Know you are far from perfect and some of the things that you like about yourself may be viewed as faults by others.  But, as I have drilled into my head so many times...other people's thoughts do not matter.  This journey is about you, what you want for yourself and believing in you!  Confidence is an amazing thing...stand tall...be proud...tackle the challenge...do the hard things...accept your faults...embrace your strengths.

Choose you...embrace the suck...be more human.






Thursday, June 22, 2017

A whirlwind

What a crazy few weeks it has been since the summer season has truly started.  I have divided my day into pieces to get the things done that I have wanted to do and have not made the time to sit down and empty out my head.  I am barely treading water on some days and others we are moving in perfect harmony and look like a bunch of synchronized swimmers!  Just yet another reminder that everyone struggles, everyone has bad days, everyone is a little bit crazy and doing their best to get by.

The thing that gets me through those days, other than starting the day off with a great workout, is the company I keep.  Community is such an important part of life and having people that are amazing sounding boards for all the many spaces of life make this journey that much more rewarding.  Having the resource to talk about so many different topics that trigger your frustration or excitement makes tackling that obstacle so much easier.  These are people that genuinely want to help, are here to help, and all you need to do is ask.  Something that is so hard, asking for help but so rewarding to both sides when it happens!


my crazy crew
As wonderful as my external support crew is I can't say enough about my own little family circle.  Things are not always easy and burdens of all levels hit everyone at some point.  Life throws big huge curve balls at you and some days they can just knock you on your butt.  Trying to keep it all together not only for yourself but for that circle is really challenging at times.  What I find has worked best for us is to just stay the course.  We were off course for about six months and we kept the focus, the family and the fun.  We remained as whole as one could be.  We stayed positive and encouraged one another every day that today was going to be a great day and things are looking up.  Trying to convince yourself of this is probably the hardest...keeping it cool for outsiders may be a bit easier.

I am lucky in a way that I had my hubby by my side, literally,  during my training for my April marathon.  His ongoing support of me was one for the record books.  He made mid day runs possible, he joined me for many of them, we talked shop daily, and he keep the positive vibes flowing.  He never doubted me and never let me doubt me either.  He is one amazing cheerleader and husband.  Being dedicated to something or someone when you may have your own set of doubts is not easy.  We both learned a lesson this year.  We learned how to persevere, to push forward, to keep going when you want to stop.  Sure we do this with our workouts but regular life does not always afford the same level of challenge.  This year we were given a new test.

He was home with me and the kids for six months.  Our community supported us in every way possible.  Sometimes things just have a way of working out and the hard work you put forth is finally rewarded.  Now that we are back in our old routine we miss him, especially the little guy that would have picnic lunches mid week while the big kids were at school.  The special things that happened while he was home drew us all closer together, at times maybe it was too much, but now that we are on the other side of this, I am bizarrely grateful.

There are so many days that just don't make sense, things that happen and we just don't understand why.  So many times I would love to just scream my head off and find myself alone for any amount of time to just have silence.  But after going through this year, and being on the other side, I am thankful for the crazy, for the daily tests, for the ongoing challenges.  What we do every day molds us into who we choose to be.  I choose to be positive, loving, happy, determined, driven but  also sad, lonely, and tired.  What I have learned is that I have amazing support to help me get out of those low places and lift me up...and lift up my family as well.  We all have off days but we all have a community around you...just don't forget to reach out to them.  People are wanting to help...it makes them feel good...and it will make you feel good too!

So week two of summer is coming to a close.  I am tying my best to keep some semblance of order in the house but six bodies and 100 pool towels every day is  A LOT!  We are just going to keep on keeping on and roll with the whirlwind.  I thank each of you for being a part of my community on some level and please know that I love to help and always have an open ear!! 
Enjoy this time...it won't last forever!

Embrace the suck...choose you...keep on keeping on ;) 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Across the border and pushing out of your comfort zone

Just like I have for the past two years, I trained all winter long for a grueling spring marathon and then get to reward myself with a Ragnar Relay with 11 amazing women that I am lucky enough to call my friends.  This time a passport was required as we headed north to Canada to run the 200ish miles from Cobourg to Niagara Falls.  I have only been to Canada one other time in high school for a band trip, we will leave that there, and I was looking forward to seeing many different places along our journey. 
Start of the Relay...Leg 1 of 36
For those of you that do not know what a Ragnar Relay is...it can involve either 12 or 6 runners and covers about 200 miles on the road and is a point to point relay.  It takes about 36 hours to complete and there are multiple teams doing this at the same time.  The route in which we have to run is marked with signs from the race but generally speaking the individuals running may just look like your every day runner in the area unless you know that this relay is taking place.  The teams with six runners is referred to as an Ultra team and they would then run double the miles that the team of 12 would run.  I have done that once and not jumping in that van again too soon.

Coming in at Leg 1
This whole idea of creating a Ragnar team starting one summer afternoon sitting poolside with some ladies in the neighborhood. I am not even sure who brought it up first but it was discussed and a few of us thought it sounded like a good idea and thought we may know a few friends that would be silly enough to fall for it as well.  Our first one was done in DC, then Cape Cod, then Nashville Tennessee and then our latest, Niagara Falls Canada.  If you have followed me for some time you know that I like to run, I like to run long, and I like to try and run as fast as my body will let me at that given time.  Ragnar Relays for me are not about the speed or grueling push that I put myself through on a regular road race.  This is about the moms/friends that were sitting pool side and thought this might be a good idea to get away, to connect with women that we may not normally be with on a given day,  This relay was about trying something out of the norm and comfort zone.  Who knew it would be something we would fall in love with.
Leg 1 done

Don't get me wrong, the logistics behind it all is crazy and our captain has been amazing for the past three years getting us all in a line.  The guilt we feel leaving our families and little people is something we just have to let go of so we can go and make the weekend about us and our hopes and goals.  We pack in ziploc baggies and triple check the packing list that nothing is forgotten, especially the body glide.  We fill our tummies with sweet potatoes, coconut cookies, pretzel thins, and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.  We look forward to showers and a soft pillow to lay our head on even if it is only for a few hours.  We are always excited for the first leg where the energy is amazing...the night run is sometimes a bit scary and lonely but this year it was perfect...I saw the skyline of Toronto along the lake the whole time...and the dreaded third leg is something that just has to happen in order to find that finish line
despite being so very tired.  I had just over nine miles and about 980 feet of elevation gain..it was a dozy but so beautiful!
Running in at the finish

My one girlfriend who was here for her second Ragnar kept commenting on how one of the great things about these relays is that it is filled with so many walks of life.  There is no pre-determined shape or body or mindset for these things.  These relays are about people that want to think outside the box, see a different part of the world, be a part of something bigger than a lonely run on a Sunday morning.  When I was on my first leg of the relay I was not feeling it as I passed a nuclear power plant, I was bumming out that I was not seeing the lake and all the beauty around it.  I looked down at my wrist and saw the slap bracelet that I had to bring to the next runner on my team.  There was no other way that she would begin with out me showing up.  These relays are about teamwork, about showing up, about being present in the presence of others.  In a time when we are all so connected via the social interwebs, this allowed us to disconnect and just be with each other.  I then rounded a corner on the path and came out on a beautiful view of Lake Ontario...the beauty was there...I just had to have patience.

Running is hard and not always rewarded with a fast time, or a feeling of euphoria as we cross the finish line.  There is nothing easy about pushing your body again and again on the same route to see if you can make that hill in your neighborhood not suck on that given day.  I have learned through my years of running that I always feel better after a run, I always enjoy the sweat and strength that is clearly present, and I always want to see what I can do better the next time.  My first race that I trained for was Army Ten Miler...I just registered this morning for my sixth one.  This race is so much more than a ten mile run...this is about a girl that listened to a friend and tried something different.  My first runs were done with a stopwatch on my wrist, whatever "running apparel" I had and sneakers that were probably too small for me and past their prime.  My training runs started with 1-2 mile runs...I did not start out running marathons.  Every runner starts somewhere and it is only one foot in front of the other...no skill required there.

Realize that you can do hard things.  Realize that you will be rewarded for completing these tasks, and the rewards may be intangible.  Realize that you only have to focus on one day at a time.  Realize that we are all in this together and it is hard for everyone but somehow when you have a group around you it makes it a little bit easier.  If anyone asks you to do a race with them or a relay....say yes.  That person will be your accountability partner, your cheerleader, your motivator and your inspiration.  You will also find that you will be that for them as well.  The community that will develop from that one simple step will be amazing.  You will do things that you never thought were possible and you will find yourself wanting to do more, testing your own limits.

Team You Ran Me All Night Long
Embrace the Suck...choose you...hard is possible...enjoy this journey...one foot in front of the other...you got this.




Friday, May 12, 2017

Dying a little on the inside...loving a whole lot more.

So I am a runner, a fitness enthusiast and a mother.  Some times those three things play nicely together and other times I find physical conflict and internal conflict having them all happen at the same time.  I have coached a runner program for our kid's local elementary school for a few years now and my children have participated each year.  This year we moved to a new school and I am not sure if that made things more of a challenge for my daughter but it has not been easy.

follow in my footsteps
The running club is about nine weeks long and we meet two times a week.  I try my best to make this club fun, make sure there is a buddy or two for my girl to rack her laps up with, and occasionally may make up silly songs and cheers along the way.  Most of these kids start out with less than an interest in running.  Their parents know the benefits of running beyond physical and want to encourage their kids to start this passion at a young age.  I so much want my kids to have this spark lit as soon as possible.  By the end of the season they no longer are comparing how many bands they have to a friend...but how many bands they have to their own last run.  It makes my heart happy!

Two weeks into this season...my daughter was not feeling it.  Every day after practice should we be crying and upset.  She was saying how she is missing time with her friends to do something she really didn't want to do to begin with.  I explained that I would be there every week coaching and she would have to be there with me either way.  I explained about her friends being there to run along side of her on the days she didn't have the energy or desire.  I would go in at night to give her a kiss goodnight and she would be so very upset.  She finally broke down and told me that she really doesn't want to do running club, but she know how much I love running so she does not want to let me down.

UGH!  Punch to the gut a million times in a row.  I was at a loss.  I felt like I failed!  It was a cross road and I didn't want her to take the place of a kid that truly wanted to be there.  I wanted to encourage and motivate and did not want to push and turn a deaf ear to her reasons.  She does not have to love running. She does not even have to like it.  She has been to many races to cheer and support, she sees the training that her parents put forth to propel themselves forward in our crazy adventures.  She knows all the smiles and love I have for my running community.  She doesn't want to do it.  It was a tough mommy moment for sure.

I brought her into my room that night a few weeks back and told her to give it one more week and if she really didn't want to do it, she could stop.  In a selfish attempt to keep her going, I told her that she did not have to do the 5k race at the end of the season if she didn't want to.  I asked her to try her best at each practice and if she just kept doing that, I would be very proud.  The mommy runner part of me broke a little bit.  The coach that tries to inspire these little feet felt like I let her down.  We were both kinda sad and a bit let down by each other.  We agreed to this plan and with race day two weeks away she is still not signed up...it kills me but I am okay with that.

some days she is my running buddy
Being a mom is hard and lessons are learned and taught each day.  Molly and I both each taught each other something this season of running club.  We both had to bend a bit to make it work, we had to meet in the middle. I could have pushed her and had her truly hate it, or I could have let her fully give up and I would be so very sad.  So we compromised.  She has her days at club where she sticks with her speedy buddy and racks up the laps and she has days where she is more social and will run four in a row every once in a while.  But the part that I see when I call out one minute remaining and they have to cross the finish line in time to get an extra lap band...I see her push, I see her want to make it, I see her legs stretch and her face turn red by the end.  I see her want to do that for herself...not me.  I know it is in there, I know that runner athlete will come out soon,,.I know all that potential is locked up in there...I know it will emerge in good time...just like it did for me.  As Tom Petty says...waiting is the hardest part...but as a mom we do a lot of waiting and my gosh I love her so much...I'd wait forever.

Embrace the suck..choose you...happy mother's day...love those monkeys.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What I am no longer...today is my day.

For the past three years I have trained for a spring marathon and I find a way of not closely watching what I am eating because I am so hungry from all the running!  I choose to not deprive myself and generally a few weeks post race I am up a few more pounds than I would like to be.  I know the tools I have in my back pocket to get myself back on track, I know certain foods that are my triggers, I know water is key to my overall success, I know the workout portion of the equation is the easier part for me...I know, I know, I know.  So much easier said then done.

seems like forever ago
But I also know this.  I am not the girl I was three years ago, two years ago and most definitely not 15 years ago.  I know today that those girls were great girls, girls I am very proud of, girls in that moment were rocking it and so very, very strong.  We all know things change and change is not a sign of weakness.  Change is the space within that allows us to grow and find something even better than what was there before.  I used to step on my scale every morning and hope that the number was where I wanted to be and then count the hours until the next time to step on the scale.  I was most definitely driven by the number.  Now I step on the scale but it is more of a weekly occurrence and one I am okay with the outcome...it is my gauge.

Today is my day, not yesterday, not last week, not last year.  Every morning that I wake up I tell myself today is my day.  I cannot wrap myself up in a pity party looking at old pictures of me when I was 15 lbs lighter and in laser focus.  Today is the day that I get to make the choice of what I am going to do with me, and not have it be such a narrow view.  There is so much more to this journey than a number on a scale, so much more than how I look or don't look in a bathing suit.  At the end of the day I am the only one that is holding myself to some standard.  I am not saying to lower my standard, but to understand that you can only do what you are capable of at a given time.

me and my love bug
Life is beautiful and wonderful and joyful but my gosh is it also stressful, hurtful and dark at times too.  Any day can bring a mix of all those feelings and more and you cannot hold yourself to some crazy high standard of...that is what I used to be and I am nothing if I cannot be her again.  That is BS!  My littlest is in his mommy love stage right now.  His eyes light up when he sees me in the morning as he runs across the room to give me a hug, he asks me to snuggle with him at night before he falls asleep, he sees me put on human clothes and tells me how beautiful I am even without properly washed hair or makeup, he fills me up everyday with so much love I can't do much more than try to hug him extra tight and kiss him till he tells me to stop.  To think that I am anything less than wonderful because I can't fit into the dress that I bought 3 years ago to wear to Ben's work party would be so very wrong.  This girl right here is strong, driven, determined, loving and those qualities don't disappear if a number on the scale changes or I run a slower mile.  Don't get me wrong...I know I feel better when I am eating healthier and getting my proper sleep but I also know that I am not less of a person when that doesn't happen.  

I know I put a lot out there and it probably seems like I am spewing rainbows all day long.  I want you to know that I spew rainbows because I truly feel rainbows...I feel like if I can make someone's day a little bit better than that is a good day.  It feels good to make someone smile, it feels good to thank people for the little things, it feels good to be a good human being.  We all rush all day long to get to the next thing and stay focused on our goal...glad we have goals but don't forget other people do as well, and...you can be a huge part in them making it to that goal if you give them some of your time.  Lift your head, smile at a stranger, thank someone for the service they provide, remember, this is them trying to make today their day too!

Embrace the suck...choose you...today is your day!


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The self driven marathon

Three days post marathon and I am able to walk a little easier and the stairs can be taken one step at a time.  Sunday was a day I will truly remember forever for so many reasons and yes the Boston Qualifying time is one of them but not the only thing that made that day special.

weather forecast
Ben and I decided it was going to be a solo trip to Delaware for this race, leaving the kids at home with his mom so they can continue in their weekend activities of all things sports and birthday parties and we could focus on race logistics and traffic as we drove the long drive in the rain.  The weather was something I was checking constantly and when we finally realized it would rain all day Saturday but race day would be cloudy and perfect temperatures I was beyond stoked.  We changed our hotel to be right next to the finish line the day before, figuring this would help with the painful walk back after the race was over.  We arrived late afternoon Saturday and although it was a very small race there was still excitement in the air.  We parked and walked over to the expo and took all required pre race pictures!  

expo pic
heading to start
After a great shake out run a few slices of Grotto's pizza on Saturday night we headed back to the hotel and stretched and talked over race day logistics again.  Ben was going to drive me the one mile plus to the start and then head back to the hotel to park and have his breakfast to then be at the 1.5 mile mark for some cheering.  Sure enough he was there and I ditched my throw away at his feet.  The first few miles always feel good as the adrenaline is in full effect and you are ready to tackle this crazy task ahead of you.   

mile 1.5
I knew this race was small and after a very rainy NJ full last year which  left the streets of spectators fairly empty I was prepared.  For that reason I do like to run a lot of my training runs solo...the only person that will get me to the finish line is me.  I can run with whomever that has had all this great success at amazing paces, but at the end of the day it is up to me and my legs and head to find that coveted arch that reads FINISH.  Well this course was A LOT more quiet than NJ on a rainy day.  There were big sections that were through large parks were the only people for six plus miles were the people at the aid stations.  That solitude is hard but not impossible.  I knew I would see Ben after this long stretch in the park and that is what was keeping me going.  

Again-as this is a smaller race they only have a set number of pacers for the marathon.  In the NJ full they had two pacers for every 5 minute increment.  For DE they had one for every 10 minute increment.  I knew I would not make my goal if I went with the 3:45:00 pacer so my other option was 3:35:00 or try to go it alone.  For my two previous marathons I ran with the 3:35:00 and managed to run 3:40:13 and 3:42:40.  I felt strong for this race and wanted the help from the pacer so I started with the 3:35:00.  By mile 9 I knew I could not hang with him.  Two other women around me said he was going to fast and also were going to drop off.  He had mentioned early on that this course was a bit longer, as they always tend to be...but we were already .17 at the mile 9 mark.  He said he was going to be picking up the pace to make up the difference.  With that I had that moment, and was so proud of myself to realize it, that I needed to run my race.  I decided to pull out of the pace group and just run...trying to say sub 8:20s for as long as I could, it didn't last that.  I knew that 8:23 was a 3:40 and that was my goal for the day.

mile 13-14
We came out of the park and there was Ben by the car with his music blasting, "I am Titanium." It was a very "Say Anything" moment.  He was telling me to stay strong and to keep going.  It was so lonely after the park and here we were again on a very quiet strip.  I was holding well, 1:47:31 for the half, 8:13 pace.  When you are running and trying to do math at the same time things get a little tricky.  I knew I was well under the 3:45:00 time goal but also knew that my legs were already getting very tired.  There was no down hill to hope for on the back half, it was still all me, pushing, tired, and just having thoughts in my head.  There was a little bridge up around mile 17 and the girl next to me started to walk, I said "no you don't" to her, and sure enough she started to run again, and thanked me as she got up next to me.  I was still feeling good and knew again Ben was waiting for me around mile 20 and I had to keep on going to see him.


mile 23
mile 20.5

My nutrition and hydration were good for the race.  I carried two 9oz water bottles on my waist for as needed and planned to drink and dump as I ran from the aid stations.  I would have a gel 45 minutes, 1:45, 2:30, and 3:15 in...give or take.  I had an issue opening up my third gel, pulled it too short.  So I ate my 4th one in that time slot and would hope I could open up the last one when I needed it at mile 22.  We came off the board walk at mile 22 and I went to try to open up my gel.  I remember feeling very light headed and a bit swirly.  I knew I had to eat and I knew I still had four miles left.  Ben had seen me coming towards him and was chanting for me to beat the bus.  In my mind all I had to do was run to school and run home however I knew my legs were not going to get me to the pace of those easy morning runs.  They were tired and I was feeling very off.  I tried to open up that last gel and sure enough, it would not open.  I was squeezing and trying to just pop it and deal with the explosion all over me...I knew I needed food ASAP or something bad was going to happen.  I asked a spectator if she had a gel on her and she did and gave to me.  I ate it as fast as I could and got water and just kept on running.  Ben took a video at that aid station and I look like I am floating and not really there.  I have never had that happen before...I was giving this race everything I had.  With the gel in me and water on my head and in my mouth, I was feeling better.  I don't really remember miles 22-24 but I knew that Ben again would be towards the finish and that is all I had to do...just keep moving.

final stretch
With that final stretch you have some moments of, what are you here for, in your head.  You have moments of, this is not going to happen, you can just stop now, and then there is the moment of you are so close and you are doing this...there is no longer a doubt.  I didn't start to run effortlessly, it didn't start to become easy, but I no longer had a doubt that I was not going to make it. I knew that the months of training leading up to this were for something, something great.  I knew that there were so many people believing in me, tracking me, cheering me on, and for as quiet as that course may have been, it was so loud in my head.  This is only my fourth marathon, I am not a professional, an elite, a girl that knows much about anything real as far as training goes.  But I am a girl that knew I was not going to give up on myself in that moment.  I knew where that 26 mile marker was and I was going to be able to stop soon, I just had to push through a little bit more of the pain.

last turn
Coming into that final turn and knowing it was straight for just a bit then turn and finish at the bay.  I had two girls in front of me that I was really trying to catch and hope to have them help me get to that finish.  I just wanted my legs to stop moving and I pushed and pushed until the curve with Ben yelling the whole time.  At last the finish line was there and sure enough, I made it in under my goal of 3:45:00.  My watch read 3:43:13 and 8:27 pace.  Their official time had me at 3:43:05 and 8:31 pace.  I had made my first qualifying Boston time.  I didn't start crying or celebrating...in that moment I was just so happy to have stopped running.  Ben came over and met me and I don't really even remember what he said.  I didn't feel well and I just wanted water and to sit.  We walked so very slowly to a lounge chair on the beach area and I took my shoes off and just sat.  The pushing and was done and my legs were finally at rest.  I was still in a bit of shock that I had made the time...but if you know me at all by know...you know that I wanted it still to be a little faster than that.  And three days later I can say that on that day there was nothing more I could have given and I am so very proud of my time.  Each race is a different animal and I did my best on Sunday to tackle this one.  I would have loved to have been 25 seconds faster to get me a little closer to last year's time...but my gosh...I raced my heart out and nothing more can be said than that.

me and JB
We walked into the after party, I had some chicken and pasta and the driest chocolate chip cookie ever.  I kept drinking water like crazy and the thought of a cold beer was nothing I wanted a part of.  Ben later told me I had no color in my face and he just wanted to get some salt in me to get me whole again.  We chatted with fellow racers and everyone seemed pretty happy with the day.  I had put on a big sweatshirt after the finish and didn't go into my typical hypothermia conditions.  I was so happy to avoid the teeth chattering freeziness I typically encounter post race.  We headed back to the hotel and I took a nice long hot shower.  There was minimal chaffing so there was not screaming when the water hit my body.  I put on my compression socks for recovery and more warm clothes.  Ben headed back to mile 20 to pick up the car and then we quickly packed up and headed to the boardwalk for some good food.  Not every day do you qualify for the Boston Marathon and meet the former Vice President Joe Biden!  I was in such an emotional place I went right up to him and talked his ear off.  I am sure he thought I was crazy but not crazy enough to say his code word to bring on his secret service agent.  

Our trip home was a quick one with minimal leg cramping in the car.  I was anxious to see my kiddos and give them all a big hug.  I spent the drive replying back to the endless texts and messages from friends who were tracking me along the course.  My heart was so full and I was so happy the day was over, everything happened as it was meant to, and my body was at rest.  When I first tackled my first marathon in 2009 it was just to have the experience.  In 2015 it was to see what the changes to my body and mind would have on my overall fitness level.  2016 was redemption for something I didn't even know I wanted.  Well 2017, although self driven on the course, was a community marathon.  I have never felt so much support going into a race as I did on Sunday and the weeks leading up to it.  To come home and find all of my supporters there ready to congratulate me and share in my joy and excitement for the day...was beyond amazing.  This race was felt by more than just my tired legs on the streets of Delaware...and my finish was celebrated by more than my immediate family.

What's next...well I get to celebrate my love of running throughout Canada next month with my Ragnar team of amazing women, there will be no time to keep on pace with or the quest for the perfect race...it will just be my feet and the endless miles of road ahead and lots of smiles and laughter.  I will wait to see what will happen in September with my qualifying time and if it was enough to be on the streets of Boston next April.  I know it was enough for me on Sunday...it was all I had...all I had hoped for...all I was capable of giving on that day.   

This afternoon I am heading to talk to an elementary school's running club.  My friend asked me to come as a guest speaker.  I have been thinking about what a few of my talking points will be. Pretty sure I will lead with these:

Embrace the suck...choose you...hard is possible...remember the journey.

One happy girl


Splits Delaware Full 2017

Monday, April 24, 2017

Support and thanks

Support: a thing that bears the weight of something or keeps it upright

my village

Today is the day after race day...I will write a separate post for my race recap...this post is more about the people that went into my race day...and every little part leading up to it.


Many of you know I am originally from NJ and have been living in VA for some time now.  I do not have immediate family around me to help at a drop of a hat.  Don't get me wrong, grandparents definitely are a huge part of our lives and they help with our monkeys when they can but there is so much of our lives that is apart of the village we have created.  Ben and I knew that we wanted to plant our roots here and for the past 16 years or so Virginia has been home and for the past 14 years of that our little quiet town of Leesburg has been where we rest our head at night.

When being among the villagers it is hard at first to find your people.  You want to find people that you can trust, that make you laugh, that share common goals, that are just all around good people and make you smile.  If spouses and kids get along as well it is an added bonus.  As the years pass you get to know a little bit more about your fellow villagers and start to let down your walls and your hair and let them see who you really are.  You start to share your personal hopes and dreams and sometimes these villagers start to join you in whatever journey you are on.  If you are like me, you at times may start oversharing.  You may start rambling about your hopes and dreams thinking maybe they might inspire someone to try something different and push themselves out of their comfort zones.  Before you know it you have found villagers in other areas and your village goes beyond the invisible lines of your neighborhood.  Your safe zone is expanding and your village is larger than you ever thought it would be.  This is a wonderful thing.

My race yesterday was hard, scary, and exhilarating all at the same time.  It made me push myself hard knowing that I might not make the goal I had set for myself.  That race was all consuming for 18 long weeks.  I shared so much of my race preparations with friends that agreed to running at 5:30 in the morning, on days with extremely high wind gusts, and temperatures that required two pairs of socks, hats, gloves and maybe some hand warmers.  Friends genuinely asked how I was feeling, if they could be of help in anyway with logistical needs of my kiddos as we tried our best to be in multiple places at the same time.  


my daughter and her friend running mile 11 & 19
the bridge next to my house that my friend ran across race morning
In all of my oversharing for my race preparations, I asked 26 friends to each run 1 mile on the day of my marathon.  I asked them to pick a mile and share a picture of themselves after their run.  I promised to think of them during that mile on marathon day.  Well each one of them brought me to tears.  Another friend ran her first half marathon on Sunday as well.  My village goes so beyond my little town and it makes my heart so very full.



my friend ran with her Orange Visor for Mile 21...Blackjack

So the race start time came...and went.  Ben went live on fb as best as he could to catch me throughout the course and share with family, friends and fellow villagers.  People were cheering and texting and calling, asking my dear sherpa how the day was going and if I looked like I was going to pull this off.  I had many moments on the course where I felt like I was done...and in those moments I pulled from all the advice I was given in the days leading up to it.  I repeated many mantras that friends shared, I tried my best to be bored in those first ten miles and just enjoy the course and the people I was with, I tried to control my face and stay loose.  I thanked the race officials and volunteers that were out there, I did everything that was suggested to just enjoy the run and not focus so much on the goal.  My goal was sub 3:45:00 and I managed 3:43:05.  Goal was attained.

I had a great race and had my husband by my side for as many miles as he could be.  I had the vision of my six year old daughter in my head when I said goodbye to her on Saturday, telling her I would see her Sunday night, she gave me a hug and did not say bye mommy I will miss you...but she said Run Hard Mommy!  I had so many positive voices in my head wishing me well and congrats before and after the race.  I ran as hard as I could on that given day, I ran my race, I never stopped, and I ran really really hard.

my ugly cry
We then drove our three hour return trip back to our village and I was thinking some of my friends and family to be outside with chalk drawn in the driveway to then find practically my ENTIRE village there...balloons...flowers, an amazing cake, and a certificate for a massage post race...I was beyond OVERWHELMED.  Kids were running in every direction and people were gathered, people that I care about, trust and are just really good good people...and I am lucky enough to call them my friends.  This whole thing was done for me...I don't think I have ever had a surprise party of sorts and this was just the best day ever.  

orange cake with my mantras around the sides
The thing about support is this.  It is there no matter what, for the good or the bad.  Support is there if you need it and when you don't.  I asked Ben if he was going to go ahead with this party even if I did not BQ that day...and he said yes.  He said that I had worked so hard this year it was to be celebrated and it was a win no matter what.  I felt like I was on a episode of "this is your life."  Not everyone was right there when we got home so more cars kept pulling up and more people joining in the celebration.  These people choose to support me.  They choose to lift me up and encourage me with their honks, waves while I run through town and our neighborhood and on going encouraging words.  They were going to be there if my goal wasn't met just like they were last year.  They don't think twice when I show up in my trucker hat and sweats and sneakers and understand that some days that is me...who am I kidding, most days.  Running is my passion what makes me feel stronger than I ever knew I would.  Running may not even a part of their world but because I am in their world, so is running.  This village had a million other places to be and things to do but they took time to be there with me, to give me that hug, to ask how I am feeling, to give me a full and honest congratulations.  Life is too short to not set goals and give it our all to try to reach them.  Life is to short to not encourage a friend along the way of their journey.  

26 beautiful gerber daises
The words thank you are not enough.  Just because I do not see you every day does not mean you are not a part of my village.  Your positive thoughts and vibes were felt on Sunday, you were just as much of this celebration as me getting to the finish line.  Thank you so much for listening to me go on and on about my goals and still choosing to be my friend.  Thank you for carting my kids around while I may be away at a race, thank you for caring more than you have to.  Thank you for taking time to be a part of my world and village.  This whole running thing is so much more than just running.  Yes I encourage you to try running...it has changed my life in a way I never dreamed of.  Running isn't your calling...find your passion and don't let anyone stop you.  This journey is about what ever you want it to be.  I will keep going down my path that is paved in all things orange and surrounded with so many amazing people.

Embrace the suck...choose you...love your village...lift up those around you.