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

 

 

Once upon a Wicked….

In every fairytale there is a moral of the story. Tucked between “once upon a time” and “happily ever after” is a life lesson waiting to be learned. This weekend was no exception. Tucked between the Wicked 10k and the Monster Mile was a moral to race day that led to happily ever after. Perhaps life really is a fairytale.

The anticipation leading into race weekend was intense at times, but I had a race plan. I was feeling confident. My family was ready. All four of us would be competing again. Christian and I ran the Wicked 10k. The boys ran the Monster Mile.

Once upon a time, it was the night before race day…

As bedtime neared on Friday night, I took a mental stumble. A few clicks on Facebook, and I found myself facing details from my past that shook me once again. It happened fast, and I felt my body fill with panic. I knew it was time to go to bed before my emotions got the best of me. My sleep was broken at best. Dreams kept me awake. Anticipation of racing left me tossing and turning.

It’s felt like forever since I’ve toed the light hoping to fight.

Morning preparations and the drive to the race also left me tripping over myself mentally. My race felt doomed.

A few deep inhales and intentional exhales cleared my mind. I was ready. Christian and I went our separate ways. It was time to race. It was time to run forward.


The race details…

I lined up in Corral 1 surround by friends. Our pack of wolves was ready to run. I was lucky enough to have two Steves promise to get me to the finish line fighting. They stuck by my side the entire race, and they made sure I fought. Before the race started, Steve #1 stole my garmin. I was running blind. All I had to do was follow Steve #1 and Steve #2.

Mile 1 felt fast. My legs felt heavy.

Mile 2 I found my sweet spot: working hard but feeling confident.

Mile 3 I focused on being entertained by the costumes in the crowd. (Steve #1 may have yelled QUIT THINKING just as I was getting lost in my own brain.)

Mile 4 lasted forever.

Mile 5 hurt incredibly bad.

Mile 6 took every ounce I had to keep going.

The final .2 I opened up and finally trusted Steve #2 that I had more to give. I should have listened sooner. I had maybe another ounce to give.

Steve #1 and Steve #2

I crossed the finish line exhausted, aching, and so so proud. I’ve never run a race that hurt from step one to the finish line the way this race hurt (in a really really good way). I’ve never sat on my edge for an entire race. I’ve never trusted my body so much. I’ve never allowed myself to rely on people to show me my strength. I’ve never fought for my potential as much as Saturday.

 

Terrible photo but I kind of love it

Moral of the story: If you want to be strong, surround yourself with strong people. Life is a mental game, and if you surround yourself with people who believe in your strength as much as you, everything is possible if you’re willing to fight for it.

 

Shortly after I crossed the finish line, my husband crossed the line far faster than I had expected. He soared through his first ever 10k (the longest distance he’s ever run) in a time I only dreamed of running just a few years ago. We I first met Christian, he told me he couldn’t run because it hurt his knees. A few years later, he started running. He told me he wasn’t a runner because he only ran for beer. This weekend he not only ran, he raced and crossed the finish line 56:39 (9:07 pace). Sounds like he’s a runner to me!

After our 10k, we were joined by our boys who individually ran their own amazing race in the Monster Mile. Cole was the second runner to cross the finish line, and Chet ran nearly the entire mile. Both boys soared.

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#mauteornice

 

The rest of the day was a celebration of this new running family that seems to be thriving more and more each day as we tackle races together. Our happily ever after may have a pair of running shoes attached to it.

Three more weeks until we get to do it again at the Norfolk Harbor Half Marathon Race Weekend.

(And for you folks that like numbers, my Splits: 8:29, 8:42, 8:36, 8:41, 8:36, 8:37, 8:04 final push. Official finish time: 53:45, 8:39 pace)

#trainjanda

Running Forward

I want nothing more than to conquer the race course. I want to push past the pain and the discomfort of running hard. I want to overcome the voice in my head that begs me to find my comfort zone.

I want to thrive.

This week is a race week for me. The Wicked 10k is a mental tune up for the races that are on my radar over the next six months. I’m scared. I’m nervous. I’m afraid on race day I won’t be enough. These fears have haunted me for at least three years. In some capacity they have haunted me my whole life.

The first time I failed to run a sub 2 hour half marathon, my confidence was rocked. It was the first time since I started running as an adult that I fell terribly short of my race goal. It was the first time I didn’t have the satisfaction of success. If you look at my race history, 2013 is a year filled with PRs and heartbreaks; thriving and falling short.

The truth is I’ve been fighting myself ever since I ran that failed sub-2 race in 2013. It’s been a tug of war battle between comfort and courage. I’ve beat myself up for not conquering courage. I’ve beat myself up for chosing comfort one too many times.

The truth is the tug of war battle between comfort and courage lasts a lifetime. You don’t choose courage once, and it automatically becomes your mindset. With every choice you make, you are faced with a decision. Will I choose comfort or courage today? Will I choose comfort or courage during this race?

I’m done beating myself up. By focusing on a race from 2013, I’ve used all my mental energy trying to overcome a race that didn’t happen. I’ve been chasing a race clock that exists in the past. I’ve been trying to prove that I’m better than, stronger than, and faster than the girl who raced that year. I’ve been running backwards.

That girl isn’t here today. I am here. I am here with my whole heart. I am here as more than enough. I am here right now in this present moment. I am strong. I am unbreakable. I am enough. But I’ve been racing in the past. I haven’t been present.

I’ve been flirting with this lesson all year. This year has been a year of tremendous growth. It’s been a year of letting go and creating new. It has been a year of healing and living.

#team9ja. Stronger together.

On Friday I asked my coach for a race plan. I needed something tangible to wrap my head around to ease my fears. He delivered this life-lesson wrapped up in a simple sentence: I wouldn’t focus on your 2013 race as that seems like a lot of pressure. I’m not sure if he realized the magnitude of the message he just delivered, but he just captured the last three years of my racing (and perhaps life) in one sentence. I’ve been chasing my dreams backwards.

It’s time to chase all my dreams forward. It’s time to run for today. It’s time to show up at the start line knowing that today I am strong, I am unbreakable, and I am enough.

“Expire the past, inspire the present” ~my very own dear friend Enrica

I will always face the decision of choosing between comfort and courage. This weekend I will choose courage. This weekend I will race. This weekend the race clock will be a reflection of one day and one race, but it will be a celebration of continued growth in life. It will be a celebration of team and new dreams.

This season of running is the start of something new! This year I am thriving.

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Overcoming Darkness

“…the morning with the whole day waiting, full of promise, the night of quiet, of no expectations, of rest. And the certainty of home, the one I live in, and the one that lives in me.”

~Karen Hesse

I have been afraid to run since the early morning hours have become filled with darkness. I’ve felt unsettle, unsure, and scared. Running in the dark isn’t new to me. I’ve spent many seasons logging most of my miles before sunrise or after sunset, but this season has felt different.

I am certain my new found fear has nothing to do with the dark. I am certain it’s a reflection of my uncertainty in my ability to race. It’s a lack of confidence to take ownership of my goals.

Last weekend I turned a corner. When my heart finally committed to racing, to going for it, my head followed. It was time to silence my fears, and the obvious place to start was running before sunrise.

Last Wednesday I was determined to run my tempo run before work. I woke up. I got ready. I stood at the door paralyzed. I didn’t feel confident in my route or the darkness. Mind over matter wasn’t working. I was scared. I abandoned my running plans.

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave.”

~Cheryl Strayed

I had to rewrite my story.

Rewriting isn’t always an easy process. I had to start with the basics. I found two team members and neighbors who run routes near me in the early morning hours. I asked where they ran. I asked if they feel safe. They both reassured me that the main roads are well-lit and safe.

Obstacle #1 conquered. A new-to-me route was found.

This morning I was ready to test out the new route, but I had to commit. I had to not hit snooze. I had to get out of bed. I told anyone who would listen. I was getting up, and I was conquering speedwork. My cousin became my sounding board. He was also waking up early to tackle his day. We raced to see who could be the first one to text when we woke up.

Obstacle #2 conquered. I was out of bed ready to run.

As I left my neighborhood, I was focused. I had a mission. Fear was still there, but it wasn’t driving my morning. It took a backseat to all the other narratives I had created for the morning.

This morning I conquered my workout. I took a while to relax. It took a while to wake up my body.  It took a while to find ease in my running, but I got there. I beat the voice that said the dark was scary. I beat the voice that told me it was impossible to run six more intervals when the first two felt nearly impossible.  Half way through the workout, I turned off the voice that was tired, hungry and thirsty. I focused on what felt good. I found beauty in the stars and the moon. The streets came to life with people starting their day, and I let it fuel me. I finished my run with my fastest split wishing there was more time before work to keep going. I finished the workout finding beauty in the darkness.

“I saw that worrying had come to nothing. And I gave it up. And took my old body and went out into the morning, and sang.”

~Mary Oliver

I’ve been chasing the finish line and the race clock for so long that I forgot. I forgot about all the beauty that happens when you conquer something. There are no more “new distances” for me to achieve. I’ve run as far as I want to run, but there are still so many successes along the path to race day. I forgot. I forgot that it’s very rarely the finish line that brings the satisfaction. It’s the successes leading up to race day that fuel the race.

If I’m not committed to racing, if I’m not actively making fear ride in the backseat, I’m cheating myself out of the fulfillment I get from running (and life). I need to risk failing in order to succeed. I needed to be all in before I could whole heartedly love this journey.

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Enjoy the Ride

 

Enough is Enough

On Election Day in 1920, millions of American women exercised their right to vote for the first time. It took activists and reformers nearly 100 years to win that right, and the campaign was not easy: Disagreements over strategy threatened to cripple the movement more than once. But on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified, enfranchising all American women and declaring for the first time that they, like men, deserve all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. ~History.com

Nearly 100 years later the fight continues. You don’t have to look far for an example of women being treated as less than. The news and our everyday lives are riddled with examples of women being viewed and treated as less than human. I wonder how many women can say they have never experienced being made to feel unequal? I wonder how many women can say they have never felt violated?

Because activists and reformers fought for 100 years to declare that all women deserve the rights and responsibilities of citizenship like men, I believed in my voice when I was eighteen years old. Even when my pleas to stop weren’t heard, I believed my voice mattered. I believed in my right to protection when I was raped. I called the police. I filled charges. When the court system failed me, I fought hard to hold on to my voice. It slipped away.

Year after year my voice slipped away. I wanted to bury my past. I wanted to pretend it never happened. I was silenced.

This summer a very brave girl came forward and shared her voice with the world when her rapist was sent to prison for three months in order to protect his future. Her words cracked me wide open, and my story of rape came spilling out. Because of her strength, I found my strength. Her voice gave me my  voice back. I will never be silent again.

On Election Day in 2016, we have a choice to make. We aren’t voting for the constitution to be ratified. We are voting to continue the movement. We are voting for forward progress for humanity. We are voting for the millions of American women who showed up in 1920 to exercise their right to vote for the first time. We are voting for every girl who has been made to feel less than and whose body has been abused. We are voting for every boy who has been raised to be good and honest.

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Hearts of Gold

 

Finding our voice as women and as Americans gave a voice to every other minority group in American. This led to equal rights for even more Americans. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. In 1965, African Americans were legally granted the right to vote. In June 2015, same sex marriages were legalized. Our country is better because of it. We are gaining momentum. We are one day and one step closer to living in a world where every single person is valued.

But we are being challenged.

It’s time we use our voice. There is no better way to silence the Donald Trumps of the world than by putting a woman into the position of power that they seek.

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Never again will my voice not matter

 

For one hundred years, activists and reformers fought for equal rights for women. They were met with disagreements over the strategy to make this possible that nearly crippled the movement. One hundred years later, we are faced with another choice. We can be crippled by disagreements over the strategy on how to continue to grow our country into a place where everyone’s voice matters and every person has value, or we can use our voice to say no.

No, I will not let a system silence my voice.

No, I will not someone represent my country that doesn’t believe that others have basic fundamental human rights.

No, I will not let our country slip backwards.

We have everything we need to stop this madness. You see, while our mothers and grandmothers were often powerless to change their circumstances, today, we as women have all the power we need to determine the outcome of this election.

We have knowledge. We have a voice. We have a vote. And on November the 8th, we as women, we as Americans, we as decent human beings can come together and declare that enough is enough, and we do not tolerate this kind of behavior in this country. ~Michelle Obama

Our system may be flawed, but our roots are strong. At our root, we are country that believes in freedom for all individuals. On November 8, 2016, I will be using my voice in the hope that it does what our country does best. It gives strength to others.

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There is no better lesson to teach our youth than to learn from our mistakes

 

If you haven’t heard or read Michelle Obama’s words, please read them all here.

Exposed. 

Thursday afternoon I had coffee with my friend from Roc Solid Foundation. It was the first time sitting down with him since I turned down his job offer earlier this year. I was nervous and excited, but I knew it was long over due.

After we talked and caught up, he asked me a question in the way that only he can. He asked me if I needed anything. He asked me my goals for moving forward. He asked me what if – what if my life could look like anything.

Long story short, I walked out of the coffee shop inspired and little sad. Had I lost some of my passion along the way over the past few months?

I found myself asking myself the same question I keep asking myself about my running but this time in the context of my life. Do I play it safe or do I fight for myself? (I still don’t know if I should thank him or kick him.)

getting comfortable with being uncomfortable

This morning I woke up with one thought. I miss being stirred and inspired. Now this sounds crazy coming off the best race weekend of my life that left me with an emotional hangover for days. I thought on my way to work. I thought some more. When I strip away all the layers, the thing that I miss the most is being inspired by myself.

I love giving myself to others. I love sharing. Maybe too much. I love thinking and analyzing. So how does this fit into this new life I’ve just created? I’ve created a life that provides the perfect foundation for living. But what do I want this life to look like?

I think it’s time to see what I’m made of. And there is only one place I always find my best self. Racing.

I’ve gone back and forth. Do I want to race? Do I want to race shorter distance? Do I want to stick with carefree?

Processed with Snapseed.
getting comfortable with being uncomfortable

 

The truth is I’m afraid to race because for three years I’ve come up short. It’s easy to hide in pacing and carefeee running. I have nothing to lose.

As I’m writing this I’m laughing. All last season my biggest struggle was that I couldn’t hide in pacing. Every run was on display for the entire team. Every thought. Every emotion. Every struggle. Belonged to the team. Now this season, pacing has become my hiding spot.

Do you know what this tells me? It tells me I’ve grown. It tells me I’ve found new strength. It also tells me it is time to build.

I NEED to race this fall. I need to risk it. I need to keep myself exposed. That is what inspires me. That is what drives me. That is what fulfills me.

I’m terrified I’ll fail again. So scared that I’m willing to use pacing as an excuse not to race.

But if the thing I love most in life is to give, is to help people see their potential, is to catch people when they fall, then don’t I have an obligation to them and to ME to stay exposed.

As my other great friend said to me, it’s time to Jump! I took one leap of faith earlier this year. I caught myself. I found my wings. I flew and landed exactly where I belong.

46 days until the Norfolk harbor half marathon. It’s time to leap again. It’s time to strengthen my wings.

Processed with Snapseed.
getting comfortable with being uncomfortable

 

(Blog Post originally appeared as an email to my running coach!)

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!

The Promise of a Rainbow

“Love was a feeling completely bound up with color, like thousands of rainbows superimposed one on top of the other.” ~Paulo Coehlo

I’ve always believed in the promise of a rainbow.

As a high schooler, I learned that the world was filled with answers to our deepest questions if we kept our eyes open. My family was visiting home in Wisconsin. A huge part of our heart will always be there. My parents lost their first baby. Three months after she was born, they were faced with the unimaginable. She quit breathing. On the day that I learned about the magic of our world, we were leaving the cemetery. My little brother asked how we knew Jennifer was okay, and a rainbow appeared. In that moment, no one needed to answer my brother. We just knew.

Every time I see a rainbow I think of her. I think of the sister I’ve never met but have always loved. I think of the grace, strength and courage of my parents who plowed forward with life.

Last night after work I drove towards the oceanfront like I do every Thursday. I was headed to meet my training team for a fun spin on our Thursday night run. Instead of conquering tempo miles, we split in to teams to race. The inaugural 4×400 was launched. Before heat 1 kicked off the event, a rainbow appeared from behind the cloudy skies. I smiled.

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#trainjanda

Promise.

Grace. Strength. Courage.

My team, team #17 (#teamjeck), was in the final heat. I was the final leg. As my teammate made her way towards me for the symbolic passing of the baton, my stomach was filled with nerves. I had 400 meters to fly.

My legs moved faster than they have ever moved since high school, and I think I had a permanent smile on my face as I approached the finish line. I had the honor of being the last runner for all 19 teams to cross the finish line, and all 19 teams greeted me (me! seriously it was a pinch me moment!) with a celebration tunnel.

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The Magic of Team

This is why I run. In the moments when I get frustrated with myself for not performing at the level I know I can preform at, when I beat myself up for missing a run, or when I think it’s just not possible to balance it all, this is what keeps me coming back. The team mates. The cheers. The celebration of being our very best – not tomorrow – but right now. It’s meeting myself exactly where I am at and knowing that it is okay.

Every single teammate tackled that 400 with grace, strength and courage. The finish line was the promise that we are exactly where we are meant to be.

It’s race weekend, and for the first time (possibly ever) I’m taking a very different approach to this race. I’m not aiming for a goal time. I’m not aiming for effort. My goal for this race is friendship. When one of your dearest friends is diagnosed with cancer and is fighting her way through treatment with nothing but grace, strength, and courage, you make life a celebration. My only goal is to keep up with her for 13.1 miles.

“Shine your soul with the same
egoless humility as the rainbow
and no matter where you go
in this world or the next,
love will find you, attend you, and bless you.” ~Aberjhani

I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. To get to do what I love every single day and to get to do it with people who genuinely care about the person standing next to them, love has most certainly found me. It attends to me. It has blessed me.

Every time I see a rainbow, I will smile. I will think of my sister, but I will also think of my family: my parents, my boys, and this wonderful community that has given me a home: a promise that is fulfilled through grace, strength and courage. 

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Strength. Grace. and Courage.