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. 

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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. 

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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

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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

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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. 

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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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Fulfillment.

“Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

There’s a reason why the word full is part of fulfillment. In order to be fulfilled, life has to feel full. Your heart has to feel full. This weekend I came head on with the meaning of being full. If you’re not careful, if your perspective isn’t right, fulfillment can feel heavy. 

My alarm went off Saturday at 4:20am, and I contemplated sleeping in. I knew if I did I’d be robbing myself of my Sunday, so I woke up. I headed towards the beach to tackle another long run in this training cycle. I was tired. I’ve had a full two weeks that included travel, working a race expo, racing, and a charity gala on top of my daily duties of self, wife and mother. As Saturday approached my full week was tipping the scale towards exhaustion instead of fulfillment. 

I ran predawn miles with a new friend. I met my training team for more miles as the sun rose. As the miles ticked by, I felt heavy. I felt tired. I started to feel overwhelmed and burden by all that I’ve been carrying. I knew it was time to let my pack run ahead of me. 

As I slowed to a walk, my running partner Jaime slowed down too. With nothing but compassion and encouragement in her eyes she said to me I’ll slow down if you need me, but I’ll let you be if you need that too. In that moment I knew I needed to turn inward, and I needed to do it alone. 

I moved forward. Slower than my new normal pace, but I was moving forward. 

Our team ran trails on Saturday. When I came time to head towards the exit of the park, I made the decision to turn left. I still had at least 7 more miles to conquer. The moment I turned left to head deep into the woods on the back trails, I knew I was going to be okay. I didn’t give up. I didn’t give in. I kept moving forward. 

I walked most for those 5 miles in the woods. I walked, and I sorted things out in my brain. 

Things can be hard, and I can be okay. 

A run can be slow, and I can be okay. 

It’s a new concept for me. When things have been hard, it’s defined my entire life. Hard things equal a hard life. Turning left into the woods was a defining moment for me. I realized while wandering through the woods that sometimes to get out of your head you have to be willing to go into you head. Hard things simple equals a hard thing. 

I’ve been busy. I’ve been tired. I’ve also never been happier. My new busy and tired has forced me to reprioritize my time and where I place my energy. It’s made me more intentional at home as a wife and as a mother. It’s made me reflect on how I take care of myself and my body. 

Never in my life have I felt more fulfilled. That fulfillment, that feeling so full, can be quickly twisted into exhaustion and being overwhelmed if you forget to approach life with gratitude. 

After my five miles of walking, a little running, and a lot of thinking, I left the woods feeling renewed. I was greeted by my Training Team the moment I emerged. They sent me off to finish the last 2+ miles of my run with a smile on my face. 

The moment I finished I knew it was worth it. I had my Sunday back to spend time with my boys. This particular Sunday was better than most. It included squeals of delight as Chet experienced flying through the sky for the first time. It included Cole experiencing freedom as he wandered Busch Gardens with a friend by himself for the first time. 

Life is full, and my heart is so incredibly fulfilled. I may just need to go to bed a little earlier to fight off the exhaustion. 

RNR Philly: The City of Runner Love 

2:23:17

This is the number on the race clock as I crossed the finish line beaming today at the Rock n Roll Philly Half Marathon. 

Let’s start with the truth. I’ve been struggling with confidence as my running has slowed down. Years of chasing sub 2, and missing it by one minute and missing it by a lot left a void in my journey. Somewhere along the way faster equaled better. Sub 2 was good. Everything else felt like failure (for me and my personal journey). I’ve had so many wins along the way, but a cloud clung to me as I failed to perform physically at the speed I wanted to perform. 

Summer running rocked my confidence some more. With a marathon on the horizon, I’ve run more miles this summer than I’ve ever run. Runs have been slow. The 9 minute miles are a distant memory. Not running 9s anymore caused me to doubt my ability to run. Somehow running 10s, 11s, and 12s seemed less than (for me and my personal journey). 

Let’s talk about the reality of this race. I was in Philly to work the expo. This meant standing for hours each day on concrete floors. This was also my first visit to Philly. This meant walking double digit miles each day to explore. My goal for this race was to run faster than 2:30. Based on my recent runs, the humid and hot forecast for race day and my lack of confidence, this felt like the appropriate goal for me. 

The first 3 miles hurt. My legs and feet were fatigued. My calves were cramping. I doubted my race. I held on. I knew I’d walk through each water stop to hydrate, so I just needed to make it to each stop. 

By mile 3, my legs loosened up! The course entertainment was amazing, and I reminded myself to smile. I wasn’t there to prove anything, but I was there to prove to myself I could embrace my race regardless of pace and all those false lies I have told myself for years of faster being better. I could have my best race yet without setting a personal record on the race clock. Mentally I felt better than I’ve ever felt in a race. 

At Mile 5, my favorite elite runners ran by cooling down from their own blazing fast race. I love the sport of running and sharing the course with these athletes is one of the many reasons I run. What other sport allows you to compete with the pros?

By Mile 9, I was feeling the fatigue, the hills, and the humidity. But that’s race day. Mile 9 shouldn’t feel good. Mile 9 is the place to start working. After my third stop at medical for Vaseline for my chafed thighs, I spotted a girl I had seen at every medical tent dealing with the same issues. We said hi and decided to run together. I found energy in my run again. 

By mile 12, I felt like a brand new runner. All the fatigue had left my body. All the doubt had left my mind. A mile later I crossed the finish line feeling more confident than I’ve felt in a very long time. 

The cloud of doubt that was lingering over my ability to preform at the New York City Marathon disappeared today. I’m working on getting physically ready, but today I proved I’m mentally ready. 

Faster doesn’t equal better. Not for me. Pouring my heart into something I love, dedicating my time and my effort to achieve something great, and overcoming mental doubts and insecurities, that’s my version of best. That’s why I run. I run to know that I can handle whatever gets thrown my way and I’ll always cross the finish line feeling proud. 

Thank you Philly for filling my heart with love!

Illuminators and Lighthouses. 

It’s every where: t-shirts, mugs, pretty graphics on social media, and even my blog. Staring back at us daily are messages of courage, strength, dreaming big, living bold, choosing joy, etc. We must live big. We must embrace the present. We must chase big dreams and push harder than we expected. We must over come. 

I believe all of this. I do. I embrace it. I try to live it. But sometimes life demands you stop. It slams on the brakes. If you don’t stop, you’ll crash. Thursday was one of those days for me. As I got out of the shower, I saw the look on Christian’s face. I hoped he wasn’t grumpy because we had a vacation waiting for us on the other side of the work day. When he opened his mouth and no words came out, I knew it was so much more. Then words came out, and I couldn’t comprehend them. Justin died. I made him repeat it over and over again. There was no way. Those two words never belonged together. We just talked. They just went surfing and had beers. 

Justin wasn’t just a friend. He was our glue. He was the one person who could always steer Christian. He was honest. He was authentic. He saw the path people needed to take for themselves. He was light. He was an illuminator. 

When Christian and I started to plan our wedding our biggest challenge was how we’d actually get married. Church isn’t our place. Getting married in a courtroom didn’t feel authentic to our marriage. We wanted intimacy. We wanted someone who knew us, saw us, and celebrated with us. Justin was that person. He married Christian and I on the beach 7 years ago. It was everything we wanted. 

With tears I made it through the work day Thursday. Christian and I hazily packed up our truck and our kids, and we headed south. We were headed in the direction Justin had just headed days before. 

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This weekend was bitter sweet. For every squeal of delight as my boys caught wave after wave, a quiet sadness followed. All of a sudden being strong and courageous has no appeal. Chasing big dreams doesn’t matter. Existing in the small moments does. I’m embarrassed for ever claiming something bigger mattered more. 

Catching Waves

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Saturday morning I headed out for my first long run of this training cycle. I had 8 miles to conquer. I made it a block. The feels-like temperature of 90 degrees at 6:00am took my breath away. I made it another block. Sadness clung to me. I ran one more block, and I gave in. 

I’m sad. And it’s okay. I don’t have to be strong or brave. I don’t have to be anything other than sad. I walked for two miles. I reached out to a trusted friend. I sat on a bench overlooking the sound, and I let the wind blow away my tears. 

I walked back to the beach house. I still let myself be sad. 

Initially I felt defeated. All my teammates overcame the heat. They overcame their obstacles. They fought back, and they won. I lost. I gave in. 

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Today we took a detour on our way home. Every summer I say I want to climb to the top of a lighthouse. I never go. Today that changed. 

Today more sadness clung to me. I learned of another loss with a nearly identical story to Justin’s: a medical emergency that ended in loss. Another illuminator in my life is gone. A person I secretly had a crush on is gone. The person who made me feel pretty during my divorce is gone. 

I don’t think my boys realized how much I needed to see that lighthouse today, but I’m so grateful they all wanted to go.  I needed to stand on the ground of a home that illuminates. I wanted to climb to the top to see a path before me. I wanted to share it with my boys. 

At the Top

Today as the weekend comes to end, I don’t care about 8 miles turned into a 2 mile walk. I don’t care about dreaming big or living large. Living small feels really important right now. Living exactly where I’m at feels really important right now. 

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I’m fortunate to have an office across the hall from my running coach. I’m also down the hall from my other running coach. I’m surround by mentorship and inspiration. I’m surrounded by people who shine their light on me. A day doesn’t pass that I’m not given a tidbit or a reminder of how to thrive. This work environment is nurturing me to be my best. 

Before my first run of this training cycle I was reminded that my gift in life isn’t running. It’s not my writing. It’s my ability to connect. This training cycle is another opportunity to tell a story someone may need to hear. 

Today all I want is to abandon being strong. I don’t want to show anyone that they can tough it out through hard times. I am not an example of overcoming. I am sad, I feel a hole in my being, and I walked 2 miles instead of running 8. 

Today I’m existing. Today my existence includes sadness. This weekend getting out of bed and stepping outside took all my strength. I couldn’t run. I walked slowly. I allowed myself to be sad. I allowed fresh air to nurture me. That is all I had to give. 

The timing of this couldn’t be more perfect. I’m not pacing this season. My friends are getting speedy. I’m slowing down. Now is the time to turn inward. It’s time for selfcare. It’s time for me to give to myself. 

I’m craving small and real. I want meaning. I want to feel whatever the sunrise gives me. Last training cycle I want an exclamation point. This training cycle I want the empty space between paragraphs. I want the pause between moments. 

Somehow I’m hitting pause and running a marathon. They don’t naturally go together. I’ll figure it out as I go.

Sunrise over the Atlantic

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.

Cancer Better Run

“The only credential the city asked was the boldness to dream. For those who did, it unlocked its gates and its treasures, not caring who they were or where they came from.” ~Moss Hart

On November 5, 2017, I’m taking my dreams to New York City. Twenty six point two miles through all five boroughs is waiting for me. Truth be told, the New York City Marathon has never been on my bucket list. I’m not a city girl. But when my friend Karen started dreaming during one of her rounds of chemotherapy about how she was not only going to beat cancer but how she was going to help other people beat cancer too, her dream became my dream too.

Through out the course of Karen’s chemotherapy, we shared more miles than we ever had. Cancer slowed her down enough to be my perfect running partner. Together we crushed the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon. With our partner in crime Steve,  Karen and I ran from the Richmond 8k. Chemotherapy on Friday. Race day on Saturday. When Karen started dreaming of running the New York City Marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I knew I needed to be beside her.

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Richmond 8k

 

Cancer Better Run was born.

Karen, Steve, (fancy) Karen, and I have teamed up to conquer Cancer and this marathon. Our dreams are big. We have 10 months to raise $14,000 dollars to earn our spot at the start line. We have 10 months to prepare our bodies for 26.2 miles. We have 10 months to celebrate Karen’s fight.

Every single person on our team has been touched by cancer, and Karen has defeated it. The New York City Marathon is so much more than a race. It’s a celebration. It’s a start line. It’s a finish line. Its our way of celebrating life and making a difference.

Training for a marathon is hard. It’s a huge sacrifice of time and energy, but it is always worth it. Fundraising is hard. It’s a huge sacrifice of time and energy, but it is always worth it. Combining both is a guarantee that this year is going to be grueling and exhilarating.

If the quote above is true, the only credential the city asks for is the boldness to dream, then our team, Cancer Better Run, is well on its way to unlocking the gates of New York and our fight against cancer. Treasure is ours to claim.

Please donate to our team page here: Cancer Better Run

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Cancer Better Run

Expanding my Comfort Zone

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarding genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” ~Calvin Coolidge

Today I hit the “submit” button on the registration page of my fourth marathon. On April 9, 2016 I will tackle 26.2 miles again. It will be different this time. This race is like no other race I’ve run before. It will be 26.2 miles of trails along the Potomac River. 

I believe that marathons are filled with magic. I believe marathons are the place where my heart comes to life. 

As I ran the Chicago Marathon, I did something I’ve never been able to do in a race. I stayed positive. What could easily be considered a terrible race considering my marathon history and my fitness level, I found myself loving every mile. There were a few moments when the negative thoughts tried to creep in. At mile 14, I found myself think not yet. I wasn’t ready to feel so weak just yet. At mile 17, I found myself think I miss my husband. It was the first marathon I didn’t have him cheering on the back half of the course. (Ironically he was at mile 17. He ran all over town to get to that point which was never part of the plan. I never saw him.) At mile 22, I begged my legs to keep going because there was no way I was doing this for another hour. But as quickly as a negative thoughts surfaced – and there were so few in comparison to my training and my race history – I let it go. I welcomed the thought, and I let it pass through me. This marathon was my marathon to own. It was slow in comparison to anything I’ve run before, but my heart stayed a float. 

 

Missing this city already
 
The end result of that race was a healed heart, a happy spirit, and a deep desire to do it again. The Chicago Marathon left me hungry for so much more. How can I layer on speed? How can I push myself while keeping my heart engaged? I’m going to attempt to answer these questions this winter. While I have signed up for marathon #4, my goal for winter training is a speedy spring half. 


Marathon #4 won’t be about speed at all. Marathon #4 is about celebrating friendship. (I’ll be running with my best friend!) Marathon #4 is about adding fuel to my dreams. Marathon #4 is about finding the courage and the confidence to push myself out of my comfort zone and embracing the process. 

Winter is my season to shine! I can’t wait to tackle another season of training! 

Finding our balance: miles with Chet while he fishes

The Road to Chicago

Twenty two weeks ago I got the email telling me I was accepted into the Chicago Marathon. One week from today, I will stand at the start line, I will run 26.2 miles, and I will cross the finish line. This training cycle has been everything I expected, it has been everything I didn’t expect, it has surprised me, and it has pushed me. Each week had a life of its own. One week was filled with confidence boosting runs where the numbers on my garmin surprised me. I’ve been amazed by the speed I have found on the boardwalk as the sun rose over the Atlantic ocean. Another week was filled with doubt and questions. I have stopped on that same boardwalk two miles into a long run and cried. I have questioned my own ability and my own strength. My thoughts have consumed me. My body has rebelled. My hip reminds me that I’m asking a lot of my body. The only consistency in this training plan is that I showed up every single day determined to run this race.

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Last weekend my mom and I headed to DC. We had a date with Elizabeth Gilbert. She is currently on a book tour that celebrates her newest book Big Magic. The evening started with a reading. I sat in the second row of the historic synagogue with my heart glued to her heart. I had purposely not read one single word of her new book. I wanted it all to be fresh.

  
Her words were delivered at the exact right moment.

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”   ~Elizabeth Gilbert

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Every marathon has it’s own story to tell. More important than the story of the marathon is the story of the hundreds of miles ran to prepare for the start line. There is a jewel buried within each mile.  This training cycle has been riddled with fear. The list is endless. What if I don’t run fast enough? What if my hip doesn’t behave? What if I disappoint my coach? What if I just can’t do it? What if? What if? What if? 

It’s paralyzed me. At times I’ve fought back. At times I silenced the fears. But fear has won more times than I’d like during this training cycle. But then I found my sweet spot. Life shifted. I found myself buried beneath the debris fear left behind. I dug myself out.

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Last Tuesday I sat across from my running coach for one last time before I run the Chicago Marathon. As I listened to my plan for race day fear was still present, but fear wasn’t my driving force. 

“It seems to me that the less I fight my fear, the less it fights back. If I can relax, fear relaxes, too.”   ~Elizabeth Gilbert

My race plan is simple. It makes me smile. My running coach crafted a plan that is exactly what I need for Chicago. I sat across from Jerry and absorbed his words. My heart was glued to his as he reminded me of the magic of the marathon. 

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. One day Kristy the person and Kristy the athlete can run a race together. Chicago is not that race. The first ten miles need to be slow. I need to run 10:xx. I need to get to mile 10 feeling fresh. If I run the paces I know I can run, I will get to mile 10, and I will think I have a shot at breaking 4 hours. That isn’t my reality for this race. If I run slow, I will get to mile ten excited for 16 more miles. I need to be okay with walking if my hip hurts. I need to run this race with a smile.

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Today I ran my last run in Virginia Beach before leaving for Chicago on Tuesday. A hurricane is swirling off our coast. The winds were wild. They danced between the trees. The trails were flooded. My shoes were quickly filled with water. My legs felt strong. I felt myself pulling forward. I wanted to run, but I heard Jerry’s voice in my head. Kristy the athlete isn’t invited to this race. I practiced this strategy, and I digested it mentally. Fear crept back in: am I taking the safe route? am I choosing comfort over courage? am I making excuses for a slow race?

  

Maybe it was the wind or the trees or the puddles, but I found myself laughing at these thoughts. Jerry may have known long before I did what I need from Chicago, but I had glimpses of it all along.

“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”   ~Elizabeth Gilbert

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Two years ago after I crossed the finish line of the Richmond Marathon I was exhausted. I had run a PR. I was getting faster each week, but I was burnt out. I don’t want Chicago to have this same story. My only goal for Chicago is to cross the finish line craving more – more miles, more marathons, and more me.

I had no idea when I signed up for this race how much I was going to transform my heart over the hot and humid summer. On Tuesday I fly into Chicago, the place of my birth, to run a race of gratitude. This entire journey has delivered me to a brand new chapter of my life.

  

Rock n Roll Half Marathon Race Recap

I really don’t feel like writing this recap. In fact, I really didn’t feel like running yesterday’s half marathon. I knew it was a good time to run a race before Chicago, so I signed up. I also know that this race never leaves me feeling satisfied. But I showed up. And I ran. So I’ll write anyway because I know there is a silver lining in here somewhere. 

I set a modified goal for this race to execute my race plan for Chicago. The first four miles I kept myself in control. I consciously slowed my effort. I did my best to respect the weather. 

Mile 4-6 were a mental battle. Should I push? Should I take it easy? 

I started reading Brene Brown’s new book Rising Strong while we were on our mountain vacation. There is so much in that book that I need to absorb.  

I have become a master at reckoning. I am brilliant at owning my own story. I live it. I breathe it. I see, feel and recognize all my emotions. I know exactly how they connect to every aspect of my life. 

This is the space I ran in yesterday. This is the space I’ve been running in all summer (all year! For years!). Yesterday’s race actually had nothing to do with yesterday’s race. In fact, I doubt it has anything to do running at all. Running is never about running for me. Running is about life. Running is about living. Running is about breath. I often wish I could separate the two. I wish running could be just running, but that’s not how I’m wired. It’s not how I work. Right now I’m struggling to navigate The Rumble. I’m stuck in the middle. 

Mile 6-8 was a true rumble in my head. 

“We can chose courage or we can chose comfort, but we can’t have both.” ~Brene Brown

My friend Heidi wrote about this statement days before the race (read it here). These words hung on me during the race. I wanted to chose courage, but I picked comfort. I seem to always pick comfort these days. Miles 6-8 I tried to rewrite my story. I tried to write a different script for how my races have been playing out these days, but I picked comfort instead. 

If I’m being honest, I have no clue how to get to The Revolution. I’m stuck in The Rumble. 

Around mile 8, a familiar face appeared in the crowd. I jumped in beside her. I asked her what her goal was. She was right where she needed to be. So I happily ditched my internal battle and ran beside her. The last five miles are quite possible the most fun, I’ve ever had on a race. I drank a beer. I enjoyed Popsicles. I ran through sprinklers. I cheered my friend on as we ran up and over the final bridge. As we turned on to the boardwalk, I heard a woman coaching herself to the finish line. She was desperately pleading for the finish line to appear. I took one look over my shoulder, saw her struggle, and told her to come on. Run with me. We’ve got this. Stay beside me. You are going to finish strong. For the last mile I pulled her with me. My heart swells as I think about that moment. As soon as she finished she let out a thank you and tears. It was her first half marathon. She had cramping at mile 6. And then with a simple statement, she reminded me of why I love running – I just pushed through it. And somehow it passes. Somehow your body just works through it. 

Most days I feel like I’m nearly drowning in The Rumble. What is truth? What is self protection? What needs to change ? 

If yesterday has a silver lining hiding inside of it, it is this: I know what needs to change. I need to get out of my head. I need to find the celebration in my own race. I need to push through it. I need to trust that somehow my body will work through it. 

I am still struggling to squash the disappoint I have in my ability to preform in race day, but I know this is all part of the  process. 

If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fail…

The truth is that falling hurts. The dare is to keep being brave and feel your way back up.” ~Brene Brown

The journey is hard, I may struggle a lot, but there is no other way I want to live my life than with my whole heart. 

Yesterday’s race is proof that I can live through the entire process. I lived it all: the reckoning (miles 1-4), the rumble (miles 4-8) and the revolution (miles 8-finish). 

Maybe I do know how to do this! 

Tomorrow is a fresh start, a new week on my training plan, and a very exciting new chapter for our family. Cole’s middle school adventure begins, and I have another chance to rewrite how my story will end. I have another chance to live this life with my whole (messy) heart. 

Best spectators in town