Thursday, April 18, 2013

It's Personal

I have been pretty quiet this week, not really able to match words to my emotions. Still, as I type, I am not sure anything I put here can properly convey why this week has been so tough for me.  It didn't even occur to me until yesterday, that this has been the view from my living room this week.  

I put my Shamrock Shuffle bib up on my window a week ago to take a picture, and never took it down; the meaning it had to me then, now takes the backseat (trunk) to the loss and suffering that these half mast flags represent.

I suppose I have known this all week, but it wasn't until I was watching the Boston memorial service this morning that it really clicked.  Why it felt like the wind was knocked out of me on Monday, when I was casually walking through the lobby of my building and someone asked, "Did you hear about the explosions at the Boston Marathon?"  Why I can't tear myself away from the news reports, abandoning the items on my to-do list for the day/week.  Why I glued my phone to my hand on Monday, anxiously waiting for check-ins from people I know, who were hoping to cross the finish-line that day. Why I have hugged my kids a little tighter this week.  

It clicked, this is PERSONAL.  

As a runner, I have run those final .2 miles of a marathon, when the finish line is in sight, your body is literally brimming with excitement as you find that last little bit of energy you were certain you left back at mile 18, and you somehow propel your body toward that finish line with a big fat smile on your face.  Elation.  Bombs don't cross your mind at this moment, why would they? 

Beyond that finish line, all marathoners can appreciate the special kind of pain you feel after you have stopped running....and then start moving again.  On Monday, finishers RAN themselves to hospitals to help.  Wow.

As a spectator, I have stood along finish chutes, cheering-on people who have the courage to race.  If you know me, then you know I am a race-junkie.  Can't get enough of them!  I love watching pros/elites cross finish-lines like machines, but I REALLY love watching the people who never thought they would make it there.  I cry all the time while watching races.  

A friend and fellow coach remarked in her own blog, as runners/triathletes, we often bring the most important people in our lives to watch us race; 
ING Miam Marathon, 2008

Lake Zurich Triathlon, 2012
Shamrock Shuffle 8k, 2013

I have been a parent for less than 3 years, but my kids have already shaken cow-bells, high-fived and to be very honest, slept through countless 5 and 10k's, marathons, cycle-cross races, and triathlons.  No doubt, they will end up being race-junkies just like me.  I want them to love watching races like I do.

As a mother, to say my heart aches for the parents of the 3 people killed and others who were injured, is an understatement.  To finish, what in its own right is a spectacular challenge, only to be presented with the unspeakable challenge of facing a life where your wife and daughter are critically injured...and your 8 y/o son is just gone!?  I am pretty sure when Bill Richard woke up on Monday, he thought the most difficult part of his day would be somewhere between miles 18-23.     

As a human, I am at a total loss, and this picture pretty much sums it up for me. 

I am registered for the Chicago Marathon on 10.13.13.  I will probably cry at that race too.

Stay strong, Boston.

Run on,


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New Project

P.S. This counts for one of my New things AND a blogs for 2013.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Happy 2013!

13 is sort of a bastard number that has been getting a bad rap for a LONG time.  This year, however, I have decided to embrace it; 2013 is the year of thirteen for me.  Here is what I am planning:

13 Blog Posts- that's right, I am re-committing myself to my blog, after barely touching it in 2012.  Considering it has taken me until January 18th to get this one post out, it looks like I need to get a better handle on this.

13 Races- I am a race junkie. I have yet to find a race I don't like.  I love doing races, I love watching races, I love taking my kids to races.  It never gets old to me.  I love how they feel, and get just as excited to see the first-time 5k'er finish his/her race, as I do seeing a professional Ironman triathlete finish.  I. Love. Races.  After missing out on races all last year due to pregnancy, I can't wait to toe the line this year.  Race schedule TBA.

13 Books- This number may not seem impressive to some, but since Gracie was born, I noticed my TV viewing had gone up, and book-reading had gone....well, out the window!  I have already finished my first book of the year, Unbroken, and loved it.  I will be starting Killing Lincoln tonight. 

13.1 miles (half marathon)- One of my already scheduled races is the Chicago Rock n' Roll Half Marathon in July.  As if I needed ANOTHER reason to love Brooks Running, they gave me a comp entry to this race, which I have been wanting to do since I moved to Chicago.  It is just convenient that it fits into my 13-themed year.  Thanks, Brooks!

13 New Things- I have no idea what this category will include, but I guess that is the point!

13 Thank yous...every day- I know this should be easy, but I have to say, with my mind scattered all over the place with the kiddos, work, life....I get nervous/upset that I may forget to thank people.  The other day, I was getting off a bus with like 15 other people, and not a single one of them said, "thank you" to the driver.  I don't think they are bad people, I think they were just preoccupied,  It made me realize how easy it is to forget to simply say, "thanks!"

13 Burpees each day- This helps me remember how good exercise can feel, and that everyone should do it every day.  Usually after my burpees, I am totaling itching for more exercise.  Ryan loves doing burpees with me, and I have to say, he is pretty damn good at them!  For now, my burpees are without the bells & whistles, AKA push-ups and jumps; I figure I have a year to switch things up as needed.  Don't know what a burpee is?  Check out this video:

I think that is it....wish me luck!



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Running with a Toddler

Recently, a friend asked me to share some tips for running with your toddler, i.e. how to keep them happy while they are in the jogging stroller.  Here are a few thoughts I shared:

1. Snacks! I never leave for a run without food and water for my little guy. Easy to eat finger foods like dry cereal, crackers or pretzels in a munchkins easy-to-grab-no-spill-container have worked best, as well as any type of squeezable fruit/veggie pouch.

2. Spray bottle with water. This is especially fun for kids on the warmer days.

3. a toddler-friendly, no-spill container, of course.

4. On early morning runs, pajamas are optional, along with blankie and other favorite stuffed animal or "lovey."

5. I learned early on that toys and books, unless connected to the stroller, were usually more trouble than they were worth, inevitably finding their way on the ground mid-stride.

6. ipod stays home. Any mother of a toddler knows how much these guys like to point out exciting things like bulldozers, bikes, and dogs.  If Ryan is in a talkative mood, than we both point stuff out along the way and chat about them.

7. For cold days, use a Bundleme, or any type of blanket that attaches to the stroller instead of loose blankets that will be blown every which way. The windproof version of these is even better for those of us in chillier climates. Nothing ruins a run faster than a cold kiddo!
Have fun!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Almost there...

I am just a couple weeks out of from my due date (even sooner, if my d-day prediction is correct), and I have to say, I am feeling good.  Uncomfortable, yes, but it is not a get-this-baby-out-of-my belly-uncomfortable.  Just the pregnancy norms of not sleeping well, early morning wakefulness, swelling, etc.  I actually ran twice last week, and it felt great!  Much better than the week before, and it gives me hope that maybe I will be able to keep on running right up until my delivery!  

Generally, I can't complain!

This is Ryan and I out for a little evening walk the other night.  We were dropping off my hospital preregistration papers that were supposed to be taken in "no later than 6 months into pregnancy." Oops.  

When people saw this picture, I received a plethora of you-look-so-great-comments that no pregnant lady can ever get enough of- so THANK YOU!

I don't love being pregnant (gasp!).  In fact, I am already counting down the weeks until I can get on my bike again (hopefully before the Chicago weather takes a turn for the worst), and I can NOT wait to go on a real run.  

That being said, this pregnancy has been so much better than the first, and when people ask me, "why?" This is what I have come up with:

1. It was planned. Period.
2. I started off in great post-Ironman shape.  Even when I wanted to throw up all day, I made myself exercise because I just didn't want to stop and try to start up again. I have continued a pretty well-rounded cardio + strength regiment throughout.  
3. Eating well.  I have not deprived myself, as I type there is an empty quart of ice cream in my sink that was one of my meals yesterday.  But, I also haven't gone crazy eating junk food the whole time.  Mostly, I have tried to follow a high-fiber diet, eat more protein/less pasta, and drink lots of water.  
4. Having a toddler!  Half the time, I forgot I was even pregnant because Ryan keeps us all on the move.  Not to mention, the energy it takes to keep a toddler entertained/safe/out of trouble!  
5. No car.  We live downtown and walk EVERYWHERE.  On any given day, I would say I walk 3-5 miles just as a part of our daily living.  Although, I don't consider this a workout, it is most definitely a great form of exercise.  

So, as I head into the final stretch, I feel good...maybe even great! I am so excited to meet this little baby, but a tad anxious thinking about what life will be like with 2 little ones.  I am not signing up for an Ironman next summer, but I have some other goals that I am pretty excited about and will be happy to share later.  


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Run Happy.

So, I am at the 36 week mark now, and still running! People keep asking me why I am still running, and the answer is really quite simple: Running makes me happy.   

Last week's crazy heat made it a little difficult, but I was able to get a short run in.  My doctor has given me the green light to keep running as long as I stay hydrated and don't overheat.  I also managed to get out on Saturday morning, and I could not imagine more perfect running weather!  The only problem, is that now I am seriously feeling the weight of the baby's head on my bladder, and as nice as the weather was on Saturday, it is starting to not be so enjoyable.  Still, it makes me happier than when I don't run.

With my first pregnancy, I continued running up until 37 weeks, and with that time point just one week away, I have been asking myself how much longer will I keep at it?

My answer:  Until it doesn't make me happy.  

Even when I have to slow my pace (this has been happening a lot these days), walk, stop and soak my shirt at a water fountain to keep cool, etc..  I just feel better when I run.

It just makes. me. happy.