Remaining Small

In a yoga class a few weeks ago lead by Jessica Johnson, co-founder of the Bhav Brigade, my body felt unsettled. I was unsure before I even arrived in class. I convinced myself to show up, to walk inside and to unroll my mat. Unsure of my place in the class, feeling unsettled in my body, pushed beyond my physical comfort zone, I wanted to flee. And then Jess guided us. Sharing the words of Glennon Doyle, she created a welcome mat for my practice.

we’ve got it all backward down here. We want to be on the mountaintops, but we’re not called to be victorious. We’re called to be wise, strong and kind. We are admired on the mountaintops, but we are beloved in the valleys. All the magic is in the space between mountains, where we have to unbecome everything we thought we were and start from scratch. This is hard to do, because when pain comes in the form of uncertainty, our instinct is to scramble out of it, to grab blindly for the familiar. But when we rush out of the valley, we miss gathering all the wisdom, strength and kindness we need for the next climb. We have to learn how to sit by the river and be still enough to claim its gifts. ~Glennon Doyle Melton

So here I am again. I’m in the middle again, the middle of the mountain. This is where the magic happens. But this is also such a hard place to exist. It’s a daily battle to not give up or give in.

The yoga practice that night challenged me. With sweat rolling down my back, I wanted to retreat to child’s pose. It’s always available, but did I need it. I knew I didn’t need it. I just wanted easy. I stuck with hard.

I was still unsure when I left class that night. I still didn’t feel settled, but that practice has remained a constant in my daily thoughts. Jess asked us in the moments when our legs want to give up, when our hearts are straining, to observe. What we are feeling doesn’t matter, but making note of how we are feeling does. When we are challenged, how do we respond? There is no right answer. There is only our answer.

What is my answer? I scramble. I flee. I feel panic. I become unsettled.

I sat with my feelings of being unsettled that night. I used my breath to calm me. I used the flow of my body to feel alive. The more I felt graceful and powerful in my movement, the more my anxiety disappeared.

Yoga is more than a class. It’s called a practice because it’s something we do every day. It’s something we practice in every aspect of our lives.

This Saturday before sunrise I drove to the trails. As I drove passed the Chesapeake Bay, I found my mind wandering. How can I feel so alive and so unsettled at the same time? This is the best I’ve felt mentally, physically and emotionally in a very long time yet part of me is still so unsettled. My thoughts wandered some more. I was drawn back to my yoga practice. If the movement of my physical body is what settles me, I need to move more. I was headed to the perfect place to move my body. The trails are my yoga practice.

That morning the trails were flooded with light and frost. They were flooded with fog and mist. They were alive, and my body carried me to a place of feeling settled. My running feels fluid again. It moves with ease.

As I ran with the trees I was reminded of all the shared stories and dreams I’ve whispered to these trees. I’ve spent so many years and miles wandering through these woods they are part of who I am. The trees with the greatest reach also have to strongest roots. To reach high, you have to be deeply rooted.

I feel myself reaching higher and higher every single day. I can’t help but wonder if my roots are a little shaky? For the rest of December, I’m returning to my yoga mat and the trails. I’m returning to the relationships that nurture me. Instead of glancing up to the top of the mountain, I think I’ll take a few steps back to the valley. Dig in, get dirty, and allow the movement of my body to settle me.

In my roots, at the base of the mountain, I am reminded that I am small. When I am small, I am reminded that I’m part of a much bigger journey. I am much bigger than myself. I am small, but I matter. This is the space that feels like home to me. This is were I become settled.

To read Glennon’s full article, click here.

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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. 

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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

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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!

Magical Maine

What if there are no rain clouds? What if there is only sunshine? 

A very good friend said this to me as we discussed sharing our joy! I have no problem exposing my weakness, sharing my heartache, and exploring my failures. Sharing my success is hard. Existing in a place of joy doesn’t always seem to fit. It’s what I’m trying to grow into right now. I am forcing myself to be comfortable with joy! 

Last week my boys and I boarded a plane heading to Maine. It’s been my dream to show my boys the world. When I was pregnant I would daydream about exploring with my children. I wanted to wander into nature and get lost with them. It always felt like a dream. After having Cole, I quickly became a single mom. When we moved back to Virginia, my dream was to create a life for the two of us. I craved roots and my dreams of wandering shifted to creating stability. 


As I boarded that plane last week I couldn’t help but feel proud. It was a dream come true. I was taking my boys to see part of world that remains untouched beauty. We’d hike and explore. We’d climb mountains. We’d splurge on ice cream every night and lobster dinners. I’d say yes more than no. As I boarded that plane, I was exactly the mother I have always wanted to be. 

Maine was magical. Every morning I woke up feeling alive. In my unwashed hair and no makeup face, in my recycled outfit from the day before, I felt at peace in my own skin. I felt my most beautiful. I’ve found this feeling in so many places around the world. I’ve found it in movement. I’ve found it in friendships. 

As I climbed mountains with my boys and discovered tidal pools filled with ocean treasurers, I realized my dream isn’t to show the boys the world. My dream is for my boys to discover a place of existence where they feel like their authentic self. For one week they got to see me at my best. I got to show them how I embrace life. 


They sat beside me in an old theater as we listened to an acoustic concert by Brett Dennen. Tears freely fell down my cheeks as his words healed my recent heartbreak. My boys stood beside me on the top of a mountain as we took in the beauty of the world from up above. We watched humpback whales breach. We explored islands that can only be reached at high tide. We skipped rocks on a secluded beach. 

Every night we sat down at dinner, and we all took a turn saying our favorite moment of the vacation so far. I can’t pick a favorite. The entire week is woven together to create this magical masterpiece that I’ll never forget. 


As I write this I feel compelled to tell you about our struggles during the week. I want to tell you how Chet wouldn’t eat. And how Cole and Chet battled over silly things. I want to tell you how Christian and I didn’t agree on our approach to both situations. That’s my habit. I highlight my weakness. In this new space of growth I’m deliberately  (and some what uncomfortably) focusing on the sunshine. 

I feel myself shifting to this new space. I feel myself expanding. I’m in a place in my life that feels like my own. I’m my best self right now, and I’m surrounded by people who are helping cultivate it. 

What if their is only sunshine? What if I really am stronger than I think? What if I finally give myself permission to be my best self? What if I learn to grow from my happiness in addition to my heartache? 

I’ve arrived at a place where I get to live my dreams, and I get to dream new ones I never thought would be within my reach. It’s amazing what happens when you give yourself permission to celebrate your own joy. 

What if there is only sunshine? It’s time to find out. 

Staring at the Start Line

Tomorrow morning is Day 1 of marathon training. I’m staring at the start line of a new chapter that I know will transform me. Marathon training has a way of stirring my soul. Every marathon has a story. I can’t wait to run my way through this one. 

New York City Marathon Prologue: The Day before Training Begins.

I’ve lost confidence in my physical ability. My body feels weak. My running feels clunky. Staring at my training plan scares me. 

How I got here doesn’t matter. How I move forward does. My challenge at the start of this training cycle is to meet myself where I’m at while allowing myself to grow. My challenge is to not look back and compare this training cycle to the other 3 marathons I have run. This marathon is new. The good and the bad of previous trainings have nothing to do with right now. 

I know the only way to start this training cycle is to write. Words are how I face my emotions, yet my writing right now feels as awkward and as clunky as my running. While I know exactly how it feels to train for and run a marathon, I have no idea how this training cycle will go. While I know how to write, my words aren’t coming naturally right now. 

And that’s okay! Starting this cycle feeling insecure about my physical ability is making me want to control every outcome. Isn’t this how it always work? When uncertainty appears, my need to control kicks in to overdrive. 

Tomorrow is Training Day 1. I will tackle Day 1. I’ll put a check next to tomorrow’s workout. Then I’ll tackle Day 2. The only thing I can control is the moment I’m in. 

Cancer Better Run

Because of work obligations, I won’t be pacing for the J&A Racing Training Team this fall. While I’ve run for myself for years prior to pacing, the last two years I’ve been pacing others towards their goals. Running for myself feels forgeign again. 

I’ve always relied on my running to fulfill all other aspects of my life. Running has made me a better wife and mom. It has pushed me to explore. It has given me friendships. It has given me success. For the first time ever, I’ll be relying on my confidence in other aspects of my life to fulfill my running. My confidence in every aspect of life has grown because of running. My career is blossoming because of running. 

Running will be simply running. It will be just me and my running shoes tackling miles every week. I’ll be running simply for the joy of running. I’ll be running for me. This is new, awkward, clunky, and slightly terrifying. But tomorrow it begins. Tomorrow I start training. 

It’s just running. I’ll find my stride. I’ll get there, but for now, it’s simply time to start. 

Live, Love, Run.

I can be a Dreamer 

Earlier this week I found myself scrolling facebook. I was full of energy, nerves, anxiety, excitement, and anticipation. Unsure what to do with this overwhelming energy, I stared blindly at my phone. My own name jumped off the screen.

“I can be a mother and a wife. I can be a dreamer” ~Kristy at Breath of Sunshine.

Three years ago Nicole from My Fit Family, a woman whose words and running I admire whole heartedly, quoted my blog. Every now and then she reshares her post with my words attached. This week she unknowingly reminded me of how grateful I am for my journey.

If you’ve been following along, you know my story. Three years ago I found myself sad and heartbroken over an unexpected “No” in my life. I was rejected from my dream job. Words are how I process life. They are how I think and feel. They are my logic. When big things happen, I use my words to navigate the space. The blog that Nicole quoted was my way of healing.

If you would have told me on February 24, 2014, the day I wrote that blog post, I’d ended up getting that job 3 months later, I would have never believed you.

If you would have told me one year later, I’d find myself in Peru living out a lifelong dream, I would have never believed you.

If you would have told me another year later, I’d have my heart broken again by that dream job, I would have never believed you.

I would have never believed you. None of it felt possible on that day when I questioned all of my dreams because I received a “no”. I didn’t believe any of this would be part of my story.

I also would have never believed that next Friday, June 9th I’d walk away from a job I truly enjoy to explore a new dream. I would have never believed I’d be starting a new chapter with the two people I found on top of Machu Picchu Mountain in that life changing trip in Peru. I would have never believed that my passions would collide, and I’d be given the opportunity to combine words with running.  I would have never believed I’d be joining a team that already feels like family.

I promised myself on February 24, 2014 that I’d never stop dreaming. I promised myself I’d embrace every “no” as a “yes” to something unexpected.

If my journey has taught me anything, it’s that the only way to live my life is to commit with my heart and trust the outcome. It’s okay to feel unprotected. It’s okay to leap. It’s okay to fall. It’s okay to fail. And now I’m learning it is also okay to succeed.

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Planting myself in something I love.

 

You have to be willing to let go of the expected to make room in your life in the unexpected. I shared my news with a sweet friend this week, and her response sent a shiver down my spine.

“Keep dreaming big. Life is even bigger than our dreaming.” ~Lucia Claire

Dream big. It’s words we hear all the time. It’s easy to dream big. It’s hard to let go of expectations of what those dreams should look like.

A piece of advice to myself when I find myself on the receiving end of a heartbreaking “no”:

It’s okay to aim for the top of the mountain. It’s okay to set out alone with nothing but a backpack and too much water. In fact,  the only way to get to where I’m meant to be is to climb my own mountain.

Don’t be afraid to climb the mountain by yourself. Keep pushing. Keep going. You have no idea what you’ll find at the top. If you hear someone calling your name at 12,000 feet above sea level in a forgeign country, turn around. Change your plans. Accept their invitation.

Machu Picchu Mountain

If  you hear someone calling your name while running down your favorite trail in your hometown, turn around. Change your plans. Accept their invitation.

Say yes! Embrace every no!

I am still having a hard time believing that on June 12th, I will start a new adventure with J&A Racing. I’m having a hard time absorbing my happiness and gratitude. Over the years I’ve become really good at finding my silver lining. This new chapter of life is already pushing me to welcome and trust that dreams come true.

As I step into this next chapter, I have to take everything I’ve learned from hearing “no” and apply it to hearing “yes”. It’s time to welcome living in a place of dreaming.

My last time running the Shamrock course! I can’t wait to be on the other side next year!

 

 

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. 

 

A Rising.

I woke up this morning after very little sleep way before my alarm went off to the news that Donald Trump was elected. I cried. I cried not because Hillary lost, but because  a campaign that we built on fear, hate, and prejudice won. I cried because the man who was elected has a court date set for December for raping a child. I cried because I couldn’t find any words to tell my boys when they woke up.

I sat on Cole’s bed for a long time before he woke up. What was I going to say? As the sun started to peak above the horizon and into his bedroom windows, he spoke before his eyes opened. Who won? Trump did. Trump won. We are all going to die.

As I told him we would be okay, that we would rally, that we would take care of our community and our world, I realized something. I was afraid. Not for me, but for this little boy tiptoeing into puberty because a man who isn’t respected by the world was just elected President, and my little boy’s (who is almost 13) dad is flying a helicopter in a warzone in a location we can’t know because he has dedicated his life to protect our country. My fear became real, and I could see on his face he was worried about his dad.

In the midst of my tears and heartbreak, I needed comfort. I needed something to believe in about the man who was just elected President. I reached out to my cousin Mike who is as opposite as it comes to me in his political views, but is someone I love and respect. I knew we could have a honest dialogue. I knew we could talk without judgment of emotion, without taking personal each others opinions, and I knew he could tell me why he voted for Trump. I love and respect his family. I trust his family. We’ve had so many healthy conversations about life, politics, and raising our families that I know he wants what I want in life. He welcomed my questions. He took time to explain his perspective. I found comfort in his words.

I would describe Mike as a conservative Christian.

Mike would describe me as a liberal hippie.

But for the past few months we engaged in so many healthy conversation about how to raise our families and how to shape our country. Our approach may be different, but our outcome is always the same. We’ve never offended. We’ve never insulted. We’ve never defended. We’ve discussed. Although my heart is sad today and my mind is in disbelief, I am choosing to trust that the rest of this country voted for Donald Trump for the same reason as my cousin. I’m choosing to trust that it is because they want change in politics and not because they believe in the fear and hate based rhetoric of the Trump campaign.

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grateful for family in spite of our differences

As I was getting ready to walk out the door to work this morning, my husband said to me You look pretty today.

Do you know how I responded? I said Great because that’s all I’ll amount to in this country.

And for a moment I believed it. Shame on me. We didn’t elect our first female president yesterday. We didn’t support a campaign that is based on human rights for all humans, but no one will ever determine my value. Only I can decide if I’m worthy, and I know I’m more than just a pretty face.

With my Rise mala around my neck, I drove to work today and one thought kept echoing in my heart. Now is not the time to sit pretty and be quiet. Now is the time to rise. Now is the time to feed my passion, to use my voice, and to push so generations after me don’t have to push so hard. Change never starts at the top. Change starts at the bottom. It starts in our communities and with our families. It starts with the individual.

From our roots we rise
When every single person in this country knows that they have value, we will have succeeded. When we all feel safe, we will have won. When we all know our voices are heard (even if it’s just healthy dialogue with the cousin who appears to be nothing like you), we won’t be threatened by the voice of an other. We will celebrate our diversity. We will change the world.

I’m starting small. I’m starting with my boys, and I’m starting with the girls who are just like me. I reached out to our local YWCA on my lunch break to inquire about working with their Sexual Assault Support Service group (Find your local group through the RAINN website). I found my voice, my courage, and my strength after I was raped. Maybe, just maybe, I can help someone else find their voice too. This year and this election have left my scars and my wounds feeling raw, but I know how to rise above it. I can share that gift.

Changing the energy of our world with one confident worthy individual at a time. I can’t control the next four years, but I can continue the campaign of human rights and equality. I can share my voice.

A rising is coming regardless of if we support today’s outcome or not. Let this election mobilize us. Let it stun us into action. Let us begin. We all have a lot of work to do.

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Rising. Everyday. Always.

Finding my Why all over again

When I signed up for my first race as an adult, my Why for running was an easy one (if you haven’t watch Simon Sinek’s TEDtalk yet, do it!). With every single run I was proving to myself that I could run further than I thought I could. With every run I proved to myself just how capable I was becoming. My self doubt started slipping away.

Then I started running faster.

And I ran further.

My heart became the heart of a runner.

Race days were filled with personal bests. I was fulfilled. Over and over again, I was proving to myself and reminded myself that I was capable.

And then I plateaued as a runner. My times evened out. I conquered the marathon distance. I no longer had to prove to myself I was capable, because I grew to believe I could do hard things.

My Why shifted at the exact same time my life shifted. Nearly four years ago Christian and I walked through some tough times as we said goodbye to his dad and my aunt. Running became my healer. I ran to heal my heart. I ran to put myself back together.

And then I healed as much as one can heal after loss. I became inspired. I ran not to prove I was capable and not to heal a broken heart, but to become the best version of myself. I ran to polish my spirit.

Before I headed off to the Chicago Marathon last fall, I sat across from my running coach Jerry, and he gave me the best advice I could receive for that race. I was a little lost and a little defeated by life, and he knew it. He knew my goal for the race was to fall in love with running and life, and he provided me the advice to do it. 

Kristy the person has to show up to Chicago. Kristy the person has to run this race. Kristy the athlete isn’t invited to Chicago. I need to run light hearted. I need run for fun. I need to fall in love with the marathon all over again. One day Kristy the person and Kristy the athlete can run a race together. Chicago is not that race.

I took his advice to heart, I ran Chicago, and I returned home with a renewed love of running and a renewed love of myself. I was back on track.

After the Chicago Marathon, I was asked to be a pacer for the J&A Racing Training Team. My running focus shifted. I ran for my team. They became my why. Their goals became my motivation.

One year after Chicago, I’ve been looking at my race calendar, and I questioned my Why. Why did I want to run? Did I want to race?

When the J&A Racing Training Team kicked off in August of this year, our coach Ryan kicked off the season with one thought: Why do you run? Cards were distributed. We all listed our motivation to run except for me. I didn’t write anything on the card. It was intentional. I no longer knew my WHY.


To prove I was capable no longer fit me as a runner. I am capable.

To heal a broken heart no longer applied. I am whole.

To find joy in my spirit didn’t motivated me. My life is filled with joy.

To run for my pace group was a shortcut. I was cheated them if I didn’t challenge myself.

WHY do I run today?

My card was left blank.

I didn’t have my answer when the season started, but when the jar full of cards resurfaced at our last training run on Saturday my heart finally knew my answer. I found it this season through my running coach Ryan, through pacing, and by racing the Wicked 10k.  Before the Wicked 10k, I sat down with my journal and I created my vision for race day. I found the words that spoke to me the most, and I made them my own.


I ran my way to my Why at the Wicked 10k. That finish line was the start line of this new chapter.

Why do I run? I run to share my spirit, to share my story, and to share my passion. This is what inspires me to be my best. This is what keeps me fighting when my mind wants to quit. I am alive when I run and when I race. I am capable when I run. I am whole when I run. I am filled with joy when I run. I’m inspired when I pace. Now is my season to share my spirit.

Running always deliveries me to where I  belong. With every race that I have on my calendar over the next year, I have one goal: to run exposed, to let myself be seen, and to share my spirit. It’s what I have always done, but never before have I had a platform for which to share it like I do now. I can use my running to tell my story.

It’s time to enjoy letting my spirit shine!!!!

Running is a gift. Tonight as I ran 3 easy miles after work, I realized just how much I love running. Life is a continuous flow between moments of doubt our capabilities, heartbreak, and joy. Running is my thread that weaves it all together. Running allows me to live my life. Running allows me to share my story. 

Sunset views

 

#iamstrong – one year later

One year ago, I made the best decision I could possibly make as a runner and as a human. I walked into the doors of EVOFIT for the first time to fix my broke body and my broken confidence. I was on a quest for physical strength, but little did I know, it would be my spirit that was strengthened.

One that day I shared the following quote:

“To reach only for that which pleasantly enchants you is the least of imagination, if even imagination at all, by the obvious reality of remaining within your means. The greater of imagination is parallel to risk. It extends beyond your comfort zone or haven, or sense of beauty, or what you personally believe suits you in exploration of what may not.” – Criss Jami

Sunrise. One year ago.
Sunrise. One year ago.

It was time to move beyond my comfort zone. I knew nothing about going to the gym. I knew nothing about lifting weights or doing burpees or pull-ups or rowing. I only knew how to run. I am a runner. It’s what I do. It’s what I’ve always done. After the Chicago Marathon, my body felt weak. Running wasn’t sustaining me anymore, and I wasn’t sustaining my body for running. My well had run dry. I had asked too much of my body without giving it anything in return.

My running coach Jerry practically pushed me in the door, but today you’d have to drag me out. My gym, Evofit, has changed my perception of myself, my body, and my life. It’s given me more than I ever imagined.

Today my body is strong.

I am strong.

My husband has followed me down this path. It’s transformed his life and our marriage. My parents have joined, and I am watching it transform their lives too.

Physically lifting weights has emotionally lifted my spirit, my confidence, and my approach to life. It’s given me focus. It’s given me a family.

Tuesday after work I walked through the doors of Evofit ready to tackle the day’s workout. The nervous and self-doubt that followed me in that same door a year ago feel like a lifetime ago. I was ready to tackle whatever workout was listed on the board.

The workout of the day:

5×5 power cleans

Then 4 rounds of 200m run, 5 hanging cleans, 10 wallballs, 12 pushups, 15 hallow rocks.

Power cleans have become one of my favorite workouts. It was one of the first workouts where I surprised myself. Back in April the workout was powercleans 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 increasing weight with each round. I ended with one rep of 68 pounds. It took several attempts, but I finally did it. My confidence grew. This week I did 5×5 with 63 pounds for the whole workout.

As much as I love knowing that I can lift heavier weight with each visit to Evofit, it’s my approach to the workout that I appreciate the most. I used to be scared. I used to look at the workout and doubt myself. I was timid. I used the lowest weight afraid anything more would be too much. Today I like a challenge. I’m okay with getting to the point where I have nothing left to give. I enjoy finding my edge because I know nothing bad will happen when I get to the spot.

I’m finally confident with being uncomfortable. This weekends Wicked 10k was proof that I can do hard things and finish with a smile.

The ego says, ‘I shouldn’t have to suffer,’ and that thought makes you suffer so much more. It is a distortion of the truth, which is always paradoxical. The truth is that you need to say yes to suffering before you can transcend it.” ~Eckhart Tolle

Over the past year, I’ve found my version of strong. I have defined #iamstrong for myself, and today I believe those words. One year ago, I wanted to feel strong. Today I not only feel it, but I know that my strength is so much more than muscle, pounds lifted, and pace per mile. My strength comes from my core, and nothing can take that away.

My evofit family