The New York City Marathon |Experiencing Magic

“There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One, you see. And the only laws are paradox, humor and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life, just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too! It’s all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don’t worry, just be happy. You are already free!” ~Dan Millman

I don’t know where to begin, so perhaps I just need to start. This theme of not knowing but also moving forward became a thread that ran through my entire marathon journey, so it’s no surprise I find myself feeling the same way 4 Days Post Marathon.  Don’t search. Just go!

This journey started with a simple yes! When a friend I’ve always admired asked me to join her at the New York City Marathon during her chemo treatment, I screamed yes. Would I fundraise too? Yes! Every time she asked, I said yes. It lead me here to this place of pure joy and satisfaction. 

This weekend was magical. Every moment. Every detail. Every mile. It was all magic. 

But how do you explain magic? You can’t. You have to see it and you have to believe in it. That is what this race has been for me. Seeing and believing in team, in community, in dreams, in friendship, in myself, in a cure, and in achieving. What started as a dream of a friend conquering cancer ended as a dream come true. She did it! We did it! I see and I believe! 

With Karen and Janet (world’s best race support!)

The way the details unfolded can only be described as magical. My job at J&A Racing granted our team Race Director credentials. We were given VIP race bibs, VIP transportation, and access to the VIP pre and post race accommodations. Karen’s story of survival allowed our team to be invited to walk in the parade of nations. We shared dinner with our favorite Olympians, Ashton and Brianne Eaton. We were invited to run the first 10K of the race with the Eaton’s in the first wave of Runners. 

When you defeat cancer you deserve every ounce of magic. Karen deserved every bit of happiness that was showered on her this weekend. As her supporter, I ran beside her in disbelief that this experience belonged to me too. 

***********

In all my weeks of training, I felt insecure. My running has slowed down. My team mates are fast. Every time I heard them say they wanted to run as a team, I secretly wished they’d run their own race. I didn’t want to hold them back. I didn’t want to be the weakest link. 

They wouldn’t let me run alone. That wasn’t what this weekend was about. We are a team. We are friends. We are unit. We got to New York together, and they would not let my insecurities get the best of me. We were running together. 

***********

The race cannon went off. A few minutes later we were running across the Verrazano Bridge. It was magical. Our group of 20 Team In Training member were running with the Eaton’s. We ran together for the first 10K at a pace that was faster than I have run all season. I didn’t care. I felt alive. My pace dropped into the 9s. I felt alive. Karen, Steve and I kept glancing at each other. Our faces all said the same thing. This is really happening!

Go Team! Go Kristy! Go Karen! Go Steve! 

We were flooded with cheers! 

With the Eaton’s

*********

My race plan was simple. Run the first 10K with the Eaton’s. Cool down for 20 Miles. Have fun. Share the miles. 

***********

The first 10K flew by. We said goodbye to the Eaton’s. We didn’t slow down. The energy on the course was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It propelled me forward. 

We hit the half way mark. I couldn’t stop smiling. 

Our friends were at mile 17. I couldn’t stop smiling. 

There are very few times in my life that I’ve felt so alive. 

At Mile 17

********

Those fast early miles and my lack of training caught up to me around mile 18. I didn’t care. I didn’t want the race to ever end. 

Running through The Bronx was the toughest spot for me. I was in a lot of pain, but for the first time ever I didn’t doubt myself. I knew it would be tough. I knew I would hurt. But I also knew I could do it. 

There is no joy without pain. 

For the last few miles I experienced both at a magnitude that can only be described as magical. 

Approaching the Finish Line

*************

This journey was for Karen. Every mile, every dollar raised, but I was rewarded with a priceless gift. I was given magic. 

I got to witness the magic of conquering cancer. 

I got to witness the magic of team. 

I was given the magic of friendship. 

I gained the magic of belief. I saw my strengths. I saw my teams strengths. I saw our strengths magnify as we worked together. 

********

This journey isn’t over. In my heart we haven’t crossed the finish line yet. We are just beginning. There is so much more  magic waiting for us to see it. I don’t know where to begin. All I know is I’m getting started. 

We Did It!
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Coastal Delaware Half Marathon: Placing my Exclamation Point on Race Day

When this training cycle all began back in January, I wasn’t trying to accomplish anything. My only goal was to recommit to my training. I saw gaps in my previous training cycles, and I wanted to over come them. I wanted to conquer early morning runs so family time in the evening wasn’t sacrificed. I wanted to tackle tempo runs that terrified me. I wanted to be invested in myself and my family, and I knew my running shoes would take me there. I knew those early morning wake ups would result in better days. I knew tackling my tempo runs would add vibrancy to daily interactions.

#theyearofwakingup was born.

With each training run, I felt more alive. I became more engaged. Work flourished. My commitment to the running community took off. Every corner of my life felt fulfilled.

When life is good, running is good.

While the weeks between the Shamrock Marathon and my race in Delaware were not picture perfect (hello Flu and goodbye husband who was out of town for work commitments), my coach was quick to remind me that there are many chapters that make up our race day story. I was ready for race day.

I was confident. I was scared. I was excited. For the first time in a long time, I wanted a personal best. I didn’t just want a strong race and a happy race, I wanted to be my best.

There is no better time to risk failing than when life is good. I had nothing to loose. I finally had the confidence to recognize that I do want a 1 as the first number of my half marathon PR. I’ve never doubted that my legs have the ability to move so much faster than they ever have, but I have always doubted that my training was perfect enough, that my body felt strong enough or fast enough for it to happen on race day.

Going into this race I still wasn’t sure, but I didn’t care. I wanted to try. I wanted to take the risk. I needed to take the risk.


Race day arrived. I had nerves, but I knew this was good. It was a sign of my desire to reach for something just out of my reach. I knew I could do it. I felt it. It was mine to claim. With my dear friend Karen by my side, our race started as corral 2 was released on to the course. We made our way north along the coastal highway. The weather was perfect. The light breeze felt refreshing. The course that was waiting for us was gorgeous. It was going to be a great day.

We were running. My body felt engage. I wasn’t having hip pain. As doubts appeared, I quickly pushed them away. But something wasn’t right. I had no energy to give. I hoped that mile 1 was a liar, but mile 2 told the same story. So did mile 3, 4, 5 and 6. By the time we crossed the 10k mark, I had used every trick I knew to keep myself going. All I wanted to do was nap. I wanted to stop, lay down, close my eyes, and try again. My legs felt great, my breathing was easy, but I was so fatigued.

In my self proclaimed year of waking up, the last thing I expected to feel on race day was a deep desire to sleep. When I couldn’t will myself to move forward any more, I walked and all those ugly doubts I’ve spent a lifetime telling to move on took my break as an invitation to move back in. I was sad. I was embarrassed. I was disappointed. I felt like I let everyone down. At mile 11 after run/walking for the last 3 miles, a sob came out of nowhere.

I wanted that 1:xx half marathon time not just for me, but for my husband who has supported my crazy love of running for longer than our marriage. I wanted it for my coach who has invested so much into me as a runner but even more so as a person. I wanted it for my boys and my parents who give up weekends so I can race.

My race plan was to place an exclamation point at the end of this training cycle for myself but also as a thank you to everyone who invests in me. At mile 11 I felt like the opposite of an exclamation point. I just felt sad. And tired.

I crossed the finish 11 minutes later than I had hoped, and I knew I needed a few minutes to digest everything that had just happened on the race course. After a few intentional inhales and exhales, I wiped the tears off my face and joined my husband (who just so happened to place 2nd in his age group at the 9k) and friends for a celebratory beer!


The disappointment clung to me on Sunday. It followed me to dinner and to coffee and to a walk on the boardwalk. It hung out through dinner and while playing scrabble with my husband. I fell asleep with my sadness, and I slept more deeply than I have in ages.

I woke up on Monday with a fresh perspective. I woke up with gratitude for everything that went wrong the day before. I woke up and loved every moment of the 2 hours and 11 minutes I spent on the race course.

On Sunday, I showed up to race day ready to take the risk. I took the leap. I didn’t fly this time, but I showed up to the race with the courage to try. I showed up with the desire to want more.

This race brought me right back to the reason why I run. I’ll always run happy. I’ll always run for the community of running. But I also run for me. I run to be the best version of myself. I run to polish my heart. Chasing dreams is what I’m made of. This race connected every dot for me. In my failure to fly on race day, I saw all the beauty around me as I made my way back to the ground.

Aiming to be your best does exactly that. It makes you your best. Just like I knew my running shoes would deliver me to my year of waking up, my running shoes will also deliver me to be the best version of myself. Whether I snag a PR on race day or not, its the journey of wanting it, going after it, and showing up for it that matters most.

Running is never just running for me, but it is also just running. This entire training cycle has been layered with so much success. My worlds are colliding in the best possible ways and this race brought that all into focus for me. I’m awake. I’m engaged. I’m loving this life of mine.

Revisiting the gorgeous course on Monday

I wanted an exclamation point on race day. I didn’t get it. What I got instead was a training cycle and a life worthy of ending with a exclamation.

Perfection is found in the process. 

Our best is found in trying. 

Give me a life of striving! 

I’d much rather enjoy the journey than simply celebrating the finish line.

Happy Girl

Shamrock 8k: Running my own Race 

As much as I love pacing my training team and supporting on race day, I have discovered that in order to push my teammates, I need to push myself. Since I’d be on the sidelines during the half and full marathon on Sunday, I took the opportunity to race the 8k on Saturday. 
I had two goals: PR (sub 44:09) and run faster than I did at the Wicked 10k (8:39 pace). 

I didn’t taper. I didn’t prepare for this race. The day before I worked from 6:30am until 9:00pm. There was a lot stacked against me and if I wanted to look for an excuse to have a bad race, there was a lot I could have grabbed a hold of race morning. 

Quite frankly, I’m sick of not PRing. I’m sick of having mediocre races. I was either going to hit my goal, or I was going to crash and burn. I was going for it. 

Race morning I took my place in the second corral with my kickass friend Karen by my side. She was ready to be my reality check if I started to falter. In front of me in corral 1 was my husband. Given the day and our own individual races, I knew he had a great shot at beating me for the first time. I also had a shot at catching him. 

Karen and I started fast. Heading south we had the wind in our face. We both laughed knowing I was too fast for a conservative start, but sometimes you just have to roll with it. The first 3 miles felt like work, but in a five mile race I knew I needed to work the entire race. 

8:26 8:39 8:44


After mile 3, I was freed from the boardwalk. I may have let out a primal moan as Karen and I made our way North. I was ready to be done. At mile 4, my teammates had created an epic cheer zone. I felt like a celebrity. 

8:33

As I hit my last mile, I felt the all to familiar feeling of panic. My head started spinning. Breathing felt impossible. For the first time ever in a race I said out loud “I need to calm myself down”. As soon as the words left my mouth, my anxiety followed. I had acknowledged it, and I had let it go. Mile 4 felt awful and amazing all at the same time. I knew a PR belonged to me. 

8:20

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I saw my husband’s smiling face. I had forgotten about him on the course as I ran my own race, but was curious to see who won the Maute show down. 

Run pretty

The race wasn’t even close. He destroyed it with a finish time of sub 40 (sub 8 minute miles). Christian is the official owner of the fastest Maute crown.  Not too shabby for a guy who ran 11 minute miles a year ago. 

My official time: 42:40 (8:33 pace). A new PR and a perfect set up for my half marathon next month. 


While the PR and the pace feel amazing, I’m even more proud of my ability to mentally overcome the panic that normally takes me down. The wheels didn’t fall off. I’ve got this! 

“On a given day, a given circumstance, you think you have a limit. And you then go for this limit and you touch this limit, and you think, ‘Okay, this is the limit’. And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.” ~Aytron Senna 

31 days until the Coastal Delaware Half Marathon. With Shamrock behind me, I plan on being selfish with my running for the next four weeks to see what my legs (and my head) can do for a half marathon. The goal is the same as always! Sub 2. 

Fancy. Just for us!

Shamrock Marathon 2017: Strong, Smart and Brave 

“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.” ~Mark Amend 

If I could pick the shape of my heart, I’d draw a shamrock in the middle of my chest. Shamrock Marathon weekend is my heartbeat. It’s the place I discovered my strength. Over the course of 13.1 miles in 2010, I became the narrator of my own life. Prior to that race, I lived the life I thought I should love. After I crossed that finish line, I began to live the life I wanted. Shamrock Marathon weekend empowers me year after year. 

This year my shamrock story began to take shape as I stood on the sidelines of the Richmond marathon last November. I witnessed “coaches” running up and down the course encouraging their runners. The moment I saw it, I knew that was the role I wanted to own race weekend. 

It didn’t take much convincing for my coach  to say yes. In fact I think he said yes before I finished asking. My friend and fellow pacer, Steve and I would strategically place ourselves outside Fort Story before mile 10 and mile 23 of the Shamrock half and full marathon. 

Race morning arrived along with terrible weather. You won’t read a race report that doesn’t talk about how the cold/rain/snow/sleet/hail/gail force winds impacted everyone’s race. As course support, I couldn’t let this impact me. I packed multiple outfits, extra shoes, and four coats. I needed to be ready. 

My job as a spectator started with the half. I watched the first half of the race head north from 80th street. With enough time to catch the front runners, I made my way to 89th street. This is when my real work began. It was time to run with my team. 

Our fast runners came through. Tucked in with pace groups, they looked strong. I knew the race belonged to them. One by one my teammates came off the fort. They arrived faster than I expected. 

Every half marathoner looked strong. They were focused. They had fight. Not a single one faltered. Steve and I ran up and down Atlantic Ave between 89th and 82nd street running with our teammates and cheering on every other racer. It was a tough day, and if I could give someone a boost of energy, I was going to do it. 

As the last half marathoner came through, the weather took a turn for the worse. Maybe it had already been that bad but when I was running with my team I was oblivious to the weather. When I stopped moving and waited for the marathoners to make their way to us, my body began to falter. Wet, cold, shivering, and a slight shade of blue, Steve and I took cover under a tree. Time stood still, and the ugly doubt that creeps in on race day found me. Trembling, I wasn’t sure I could endure several more hours of the weather.  Steve saw me falter, and like a true friend and pacer he came to my rescue. He was able to move my car from 80th to 89th so I could remove my wet layers, blast my heat, and warm my body up. He took over so I could stop shaking. 

Next year we need the tree to provide more rain coverage

Our first marathoner came through. Seeing Steve run with our dear friend unfroze my brain. I had a job to do. I put dry socks on my feet, layered on clothes that felt the least wet, and I resumed my position on the course. 

The marathoners needed us more than ever. By Mile 23, everyone hurt. Everyone was frozen. Everyone had doubts. Everyone wanted to be done. My job was to shower them with positivity and praise as they attacked their final 5k. 

One by one Steve and I ran with every runner. The race course felt like a ghost town. Unlike the crowded half, the marathon felt empty. The familiar faces of our team were easy to spot. We tied shoes. We opened Gus. We dug water bottles out of camelbaks. We ran. We high fived. We didn’t stop until we found our last runner. 

After nearly 8 hours of running with our team, Steve and I had crossed our finish line. The race was done. 

All that is left is the course sweeper!

While the logistics of the day are easy to describe, the emotion of the day keeps slipping away from my finger tips. I got to witness everything. I saw hope and strength. I saw gratitude and fight. I saw desperation and panic. I saw courage. I saw the spirit of what it means to be human for 8 hours, and for a moment I was able to add positivity to someone’s day. 

While every single runner responded to Mile 10 and Mile 23 in a different way, there was one common theme amongst all my teammates. When they were at their edge and at the point of breaking, they all had one question. They wanted to know how everyone else was doing? They wanted to know if a teammate and friend was on pace for their goal. They wanted me to know a teammate was right behind them. They told me what they were wearing so I wouldn’t miss anyone. Everyone was more concerned about a teammate then themselves. At their lowest, my teammates wanted to make sure their teammates were given the support they needed. 

I learned more than I ever thought I would on Sunday, and yet I saw once again the same lesson every marathon I’ve ever run has been trying to show me. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you run. It doesn’t matter how many miles you conquer. 

Strength matters. Be strong enough to stand alone. 

Being smart matters. Be smart enough to know when you need help. 

Bravery matters. Be brave enough to ask for help. 

Collectively our entire team was strong, smart and brave on race day. This is the magic of our team. We are our best when we are together. 

And just like that, the season is over. The bad weather moved out. The sun started to shine as the finish line came down. Spring is here, and we all endured more than we every thought we could. 

So long Shamrock 2017! This year we learned there is nothing we can’t handle. 

Until next season….

Surf n Santa 5 Miler. Do you Believe?

“From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other – above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” ~Albert Einstein

On Saturday evening I stepped out of the Virginia Beach Convention Center to a sea of Santas. Our running community had shown up to attempt to set a world record. Could we join together to set a new Guinness Book World Record for the most Santa’s to finish a race?

Lost in the crowd, I was one of 5,025 Santas that ran the five mile route along our coastline. The previous record was set with 4,961 santas. While I was lost in the crowd, I mattered. Every single one of us mattered. Together we set a new record.

📷: Chelsea Nuzum

 

While it may seem to be a silly task, showing up and running a race dressed up wearing a Santa Suit for the sake of a world record, the truth is it was so much more.

The truth is showing up matters.

The truth is we are stronger together.

The truth is life is better when living light hearted.

The truth is believing in the magic of Santa is what allows us to set a record: world records, personal records, and life records.

📷: J&A Racing

 

Every single person who showed up to the race on Saturday believed we had a chance at setting the record. By mile two when I was dripping with sweat and desperate to remove the hot polyester suit, I left it on. I kept running. I pushed through the last hot and hard miles because I trusted that every other person on the course was also committed to running in their suit. I could have slowed down. I could have stopped to embrace the lights on the boardwalk, the gingerbread stop, or the candy cane giveaway, but I kept going. As much as I wanted to set this record for J&A Racing, I also wanted to do it for me.

This year I have worked hard to believe in my voice and my ability. I’ve worked even harder to share them with my community. I’ve worked hard to recognize that even if lost in the crowd, my voice matters. Slowing down wasn’t an option (for me). Not today.

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#trainjanda

 

“Life isn’t worth living, unless it is lived for someone else.” ~Albert Einstein

While I was only one of the 5,025 Santas on the course, the record wouldn’t have been set without me. While my voice is just one in a world of billions, my world wouldn’t exist without it.

In the true spirit of the season, the more I love the better our world becomes. The more we show up, put on our Santa suits, push through hard, finish what we start, and chase down new records, together we will change the pulse of the world.

There are so many world records begging for us to beat them. Grab you Santa suit. We’ve got work to do. It all starts with one person believing, and it becomes possible when 5,025 commit and believe too.

As we enjoy the holiday season, ask yourself what you believe in.

Race stats:

Official finish time – 45:25, 642/5221, 39/461 age group

Splits – 8:52, 9:04, 9:07, 9:17, 8:47

Norfolk Harbor Half Marathon

“The more I pushed myself in running, the more I discovered the weaknesses of my mind. These were the same dragons lurking in my life. To compete is to voluntarily come into contact with your dragons so you can learn to slay them.” ~Lauren Fleshman

After watching my husband, my parents, and my son compete in the Norfolk Harbor 5k and 1 mile race on Saturday, I felt completely overwhelmed. All the race nerves I didn’t feel the entire week flooded my body.

Watching my husband set another new PR (and inching closer and closer to my very own5k PR) filled me with motivation. Nearly a year ago, he was overjoyed by 10+ minute miles. On Saturday he ran in the low 8s. Seeing my dad smile as he crossed the finish line for the very first time in a sport he taught me to love validated everything I’ve been chasing. Seeing my moms joy as she ran reminded me why I love this sport. Witnessing the fight in Cole as he out kicked another boy for 2nd place fueled my competitive fire.

befunky-collage

As we left the race on Saturday morning, the motivation and surge of joy was quickly replaced by nerves. On Saturday I was a spectator. On Sunday it was my turn to compete. Having committed to competing (against myself) early this season, I knew there was only one goal to chase. Would Sunday be the day that I finally broke 2 hours in the half marathon distance?

I wanted it.

I was confident.

And when the nerves settled, I was ready.

I read Lauren Fleshman’s quote later in the afternoon on Saturday, and I wanted to shout out “Yes!”. I am competing (against myself) because this is how I always become a better version of myself. It was time to line up beside myself to see what work needed to be done.

There is no point in rehashing all my failed attempts at breaking the 2 hour mark on race day. I can tell you about every race. I can tell you when I fell apart. I can tell you what was going on in my life that left a void in my race day strategy. I can tell you what work I needed to do, and I can tell you what work I’ve done since each of those races. But none of that matters. Not really.

All that mattered was Sunday and the two hours and three minutes and ten seconds it took to get from the start line to the finish line.

I didn’t break two hours, but I won this race. In those 123minutes and nine seconds, I realized I’ve made it. I never let the dragons join me on the race course. When my ankle started hurting during the first mile, I thought “not today”. Today my ankle will not hurt. When my hip buckled at mile 10, I thought “not today”. My hip will not hurt today. When a doubt about my ability crept in, I thought “not today”.

I ran strong.

I felt in control.

I fought back when the wind knocked me over.

When the miles got tough, I kept going.

I finally didn’t fall apart in a half marathon.

I finally fought for my race regardless of time.

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Crossing the finish line was the exact opposite of what it’s intended to be. I am no where near finished. The finish line was my welcome home mat. The finish line delivered so much more than a finish time. I finished with the same group of friends I’ve been running with all season. Our team (J&A Racing and #team9ja) ran strong because we ran together. I finished fully aware that I gave my all to race day. I finished with a renewed sense of confidence in my own ability. I finished eager for so much more.

“A glimpse is enough to initiate the awakening process, which is irreversible.” ~Eckhart Tolle

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And if you’re curious, here is what my race looked like according to numbers:

8:56

9:15

9:12

9:07

9:05

9:02

9:13

9:12

9:20

9:26

9:25

9:22

9:11

Final push 9:01 pace (.4 miles according to my garmin)

Official Time: 2:03:09

Stay tuned. There is so much more to come. 

 

Crawlin Crab Weekend – Crushing and Conquering

This won’t be a typical race recap. There truly are no words that can capture the magic of this weekend, but I’m going to try anyways.

Wednesday evening when I had about given up on running for the week (because it just felt impossible to make it work) I asked both boys to go for an evening run with me. To my surprise, both said yes. Cole put on his running shoes, and Chet got in the stroller. While my husband made dinner, we ran 2.5 stress free miles. I was shocked that Cole only need to take one walk break during the entire run.

A seed was planted.

My husband was already racing Saturday. There was a kid’s 1k offered after his 5k. Both boys enthusiastically said they wanted to run.

Saturday – Crawlin Crab 5k

The boys and I arrived at race just before the 5k kicked off. We were ready to cheer. My husband has had quite a transformation over the past six months. He’s lost nearly 40 lbs, and his fitness level has sky rocketed. Last weekend we ran a trail 5k in Richmond, and he set a PR. I had no doubt he’d do the same on Saturday (and I was nervous he would beat my summer 5k time).

It didn’t take long for the lead runner to make his way to the finish line. Soon I saw friends. Our good friend Jon ran his first race ever, and showed up sooner than I ever anticipated. Just behind him was my husband. Right on Christian’s heels was Debbie (the woman responsible for his huge transformation!). As much as I was cheering for him, I was also cheering for her to pass him. He’s already surpassed everyone’s expectations,  I need to be able to hang on to one last bragging right. It was a show down to the finish line, and Debbie walked away the winner by one second. I’m sure a rematch is coming soon!

Christian’s Finish: 27:21 (8:48 minute mile)


As much as we compete, as much as I like winning, to say I’m proud is an understatement. Watching my husband come back to life over the past six months has been the greatest gift to our marriage. (Now he just needs to slow down or I need to get faster! or he’s becoming my pacer!)

Saturday – Kids Kilometer

The kids race started after the 5k finished. Cole toed the line in the front of the pack, and Chet and I stayed near the back. Given Cole’s running history, I knew he had a chance to be in the front of the race. It’s almost time for him to advance to 5k races, and the boy can run.

As Chet and I made our way down the course, I could see Cole in front of us. He was about ten kids back. The next time I saw him, he came around a corner in first place. The tears came falling out of my eyes instantaneously as Chet and I cheered for him to RUN! I absolutely loved that he was in the lead, but I loved it even more that I saw him thriving. It wasn’t too long ago that Cole was a little boy walking and crying his way through the shamrock final mile. It wasn’t too long ago that he shut down any time he was in the spotlight. It wasn’t too long ago that he didn’t see his own potential. Saturday was different. Saturday he thrived. Saturday he pushed himself. Cole conquered himself during Saturday’s run.

And Chet! Saturday was his first race. He loved wearing a race bib. He loved the start line. As we ran down the course, he held my hand and said Mama this is so much fun. He held my hand the whole way until he saw the finish line. When it finally came into view, he took off and ran so fast! As soon as we crossed the line, I scooped him up and covered him with hugs and kiss.


This mama couldn’t be more proud of her boys! It was the perfect family weekend!

Cole’s Finish Time: 4:20 (6:59 minute mile)

Chet’s Finish TIme: 6:25 (10:19 minute mile)

Sunday – Crawlin Crab Half Marathon

Sunday was a race like no other. A few weeks ago one of my dearest friends was diagnosed with Lymphoma. This girl is a fighter. She always has been. Now that she has cancer, her fight is on fire. As one big “F You” to cancer, she committed to still running the half marathon regardless of the fact that she’s receiving chemotherapy. She also decided it was time to debut her beautiful bald head.

A few days before the race, she texted me her bib number. It was hard to digest that a girl who was supposed to be pacing the 1:52 pace group was being forced to slow. She told me she was supposed to crush this race. In that moment we decided to redefine crush. Crushing the race was no longer about race times or placing. It became about having fun and enjoying every mile. Redefining crush became about drinking orange crushes on the course.

My husband jumped into action. We got my mother in law to babysit so Christian could provide bike support. We hit up the liquor store for the appropriate ingredients. Christian provided us an orange crush break at miles 4, 8, 10 and 12.


As we made our way down the final hill towards the finish line, our friend’s husband was holding a #teamkaren sign. Our pack of friends was lined up around the last corner. I felt her happiness. I felt her strength. I felt her accomplishment. As we made our way down the finish line chute, I told her to take it all it. It was all for her. Every cheer and every teammate, they were all for her.


Official Finish Time: 2:26 including 7 minutes of Orange Crushing!

Sunday’s finish line was the epitome of crushing a race! It wasn’t the 64ozs of orange crushes we consumed (with a little help from our friends). It was Karen. It was her determination to take ownership of her life and her diagnosis.

This entire weekend was filled with inspiration. It was filled with hope. It was a reminder to fight for yourself, your goals, and your dreams. It was a reminder that family and friends matter the most. It was a reminder that the only way to crush a race (or life) is to conquer yourself.

Crawlin Crab Weekend – you will always be my favorite!

Chasing the 5k: Virginia Beach Rock n Roll 5k

“When there is nothing left to lose, we find the true self—the self that is whole, the self that is enough, the self that no longer looks to others for definition, or completion, or anything but companionship on the journey.” ~Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open

My 5k personal best was set in November of 2013. I ran a 24:50 in the middle of marathon training. I fought hard for every second on the race clock. This summer I wanted a new PR. I wanted to prove I had become stronger than I was three years ago. 

My quest started in May. All summer I chased the clock. 

Official Results:

ODU Big Blue – 26:44

CXB Lowrent – 25:56

Corporate 5k – 26:52

Summer Series (pushing Chet) – 33:22

Allen Stone – 27:01

Rock n Roll 5k – 26:24


Along the way, I realized how subjective the race clock can be. Some courses are short (CXB Lowrent). Some courses are long (Corporate 5k). Some races are hot and humid. Others are windy. Some days my legs feel great. Other days they feel like cement. 

Chasing the race clock is a gamble. It’s a roll of the dice. What will be delivered on race day? 

I can tell you the details of every race above. I can tell you what races felt amazing and which races felt heavy. I can tell you what races I loved and which ones I survived, and none of that has anything to do with the race clock. 

Two years ago I sat across from the coach of my training team at a coffee shop. I was debating if I should join the team again. I was a little burnt out. I was a little guarded. I was a little deflated by running. I was cautious. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be surrounded by a team. In that conversation I referenced an article I had read that resonate with me. In that article Elite Runner Lauren Kleppin commented on her performance at the New York City Marathon. 

I was hoping to be an inspiration! I definitely survived, but I wanted to thrive.” ~Lauren Kleppin

I was stuck in survival mode, and I wanted to thrive on the race course and in life. He promised to change that. 

Two years later that coach and my training team flooded both the course and the sidelines of today’s race. At mile two I was greeted by a sea of cheers. I was reminded of how much I love this journey. 


I thrived on the race course today. I found my sweet spot. I pushed hard.  I silenced the doubts in my head. I ran harder when I wanted to quit. And I smiled the entire way. 

The journey hasn’t been easy. I’ve made progress and I’ve had setbacks. I’ve doubt myself and I’ve had runs that feel like anything is possible. It’s a constant tug of war between surviving and thriving. My 5k PR is still three years old, but I know that I’m stronger today than I was then. 

Today thriving is winning. 


I started the summer chasing the race clock, and I’m ending the summer feeling alive. There isn’t a time on a clock that can measure that feeling.

Today’s race:

Mile 1 – 8:09

Mile 2 – 8:20

Mile 3 – 8:41

Final push – 8:22

Age group – 5/199

Female – 23/961

Overall – 112/1520

While I’m incredibly proud of these numbers, I’m most proud of the road I’m on. I’m proud of my progress, and I’m excited about my potential. I’m proud of the team I call family. 

I’m proud I didn’t give up. 

Today thriving is winning. Thriving is winning because I quit trying to prove that I’m faster or stronger. Thriving is winning because friendship and team mean more than PRs. 

I can’t think of a better way to end summer!

Race Recap: Allen Stone 5k

“For me, running is both exercise and a metaphor. Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. At least that’s why I’ve put in the effort day after day: to raise my own level. I’m no great runner, by any means. I’m at an ordinary – or perhaps more like mediocre – level. But that’s not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.” ~Haruki Murakami


The truth is I’ve been in a bit of a funk the past few weeks – a summer fog. It happens every summer. I wilt. My head and heart struggle. I feel slightly disengaged and slightly overwhelmed. I can’t tell you what causes is it, but I can tell you it’s become way too familiar when the summer heat becomes prevelant. 

The only thing I know to do is to move through it. 

The Allen Stone 5k was the race I was looking forward to all summer. It was supposed to be the finish line after an intense focus on speed for twelve weeks. The training plan I created (with the help of Run Less Run Faster) is still taped to my fridge without one workout completed. 

Life has seasons, and I knew this wasn’t my season to focus on training. I’ve run when I’ve felt like it. I’ve slept in. I’ve taken afternoon naps. I’ve prioritized strength training over running miles. I know this is what I needed. I know this will reward me in the fall. 

But today was race day. I almost didn’t sign up because I knew it wouldn’t be the race I had envisioned. On Thursday I finally signed up. The only way to combat my summer blues is to move through it. I’d feel worse if I didn’t show up. 

“This is not the moment to wilt into the underbrush of your insecurities. You’ve earned the right to grow.” ~Cheryl Strayed

I had one goal for this race: fight. 

After walking in my last 5k, that wasn’t an option. Regardless of pace, I needed to fight for my potential. 

Mile 1: 8:18

This mile felt like it lasted forever. The fog I’ve been feeling followed me on to the race course. My quiet mantra for the rest of the race emerged: fight for it. Don’t give in. Fight to hang on. 

Mile 2: 8:48

Mile 3: 9:02

Final kick: 7:15 pace

The race felt overwhelmingly quiet. I ran by myself for most of the race. While I looked for someone to race, I seemed to be stuck in no mans land the whole race. 

Official finish: 27:02, 4th in my age group


The finish line was neither disappointing or satisfying. While I’m proud of my ability to hang on when I just wasn’t feeling it, I’m more than ready for this fog to move on. I’m ready for my next season. 

It’s only July, and I’m already craving fall temperatures and running. 

I’ll keep plugging away. I’ll keeping pushing through. Because I’m determined to not get stuck in this middle. 

I’ve got my eyes on another 5k before our fall training team kicks off Harbor Lights Half Marathon training on August 16th. One more race to help build a solid foundation for fall.