Tag Archives: outdoors

Finding My Running Legs — Again

Since I started running, that has always been a safe place. It was where I went to process what was going on in my life. It was where I went when I needed “me” time. It was where I celebrated victories and mourned losses.

And after Penelope died, I was certain running would help me heal. And, once I got the A-OK from the doctor, I was so excited to get back out on the trail.

But, then something happened. I got back out there. And it was different. It didn’t feel like my safe place anymore; it wasn’t comforting to get back into my old routine. Rather, it was emotionally painful — almost to the point of being physically painful.

I periodically went for walks, and I tentatively returned to the gym. At the gym, the same thing happened. It just wasn’t the same. And no amount of T2.5 “counseling” time could fix it.

So, I turned away from it. I learned long ago that if something wasn’t good for my soul, there was no way I could make it good for my body or my mind. 

So, I took some more time off. Some more frustrated time off. For a while, I couldn’t figure out why I was having such a hard time returning to my routine. But then, in the middle of writing Penelope’s story, it dawned on me. 

Those things? The gym. My favorite running path.  They were exactly as I had left them when the doctor told me I needed to back off the running and weight lifting. But me? I was different. Very, very different. 

And I needed something different — healing in a different way — from the gym and from running. But I wasn’t ready for it yet.

You see, the last time I’d done all of those things? I was carrying Penelope. And the grief was too fresh, too raw to be able to fully put myself back into it.

Then, I started writing a book. A book about Penelope Joy and all of the amazing things she taught me — taught all of us — in her short 38 days. And it was cathartic.

And, slowly, as I wrote the words and re-read them over and over, my healing truly began. Then, I returned to the gym to hit the treadmill for some short run/walks, and I started lifting (lightly) weights again.

And one cold, cold Saturday morning I  bundled up and strapped on my running spikes. And I went for a cold run.

A Saturday run

Scenes from my chilly Saturday morning run.

I had the trail pretty much to myself that day — it was that cold. And step after step, I found my running legs. I wasn’t as fast as I once was. And there were a lot more walking breaks that I’d have liked. But I was out there. And it felt so good.

As the “Polar Vortex” hit, I was sent back indoors for my workouts. I don’t enjoy the treadmill — never have — but it was better than nothing, and the routine was nice.

Then, January Thaw came for a visit. And it got a bit warmer. Which meant I could head back outside. So, yesterday, joined by a friend, I hit the trail again.

I felt every single muscle as they compensated for the uneven, icy trail. But between chatting and enjoying our time outside, we ended up getting in just over 7.5 miles. It was definitely a run/walk — I still have a long way to go — but it was just what my body needed, just what my soul needed.

And, so, I’m starting to feel that old passion return. Even Mr. B sees it — commenting on the dopey grin I had on my face for most of the day after my run yesterday. My excitement was clearly showing.

Running is starting, once again, to feel like a safe place for me. It is not an unchanged place; it’s different now. I am different now. I have different goals as a runner than I used to have — just as I have different goals for myself, my life.

But, for now, I’m just going to enjoy being back out there, taking it step by step.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Running in Winter

I got a question the other day about running in the winter — and if I wear YakTrax. But, I accidentally “answered privately” instead of publicly. Here’s my response, in case anyone else is curious:

First, let me start out by saying that winter running is my favorite running!

running trail in winter

Silence. Solitude. Beauty.

Second, I’m glad they make “tools” to make winter running a little less slippery/dangerous for clumsy people like me.

I don’t wear YakTrax because I don’t think they’re that comfortable. A lot of people wear them and love them. Personally, I felt like I could feel the coils with every single step — particularly on my longer runs. And I couldn’t get them to stay put/fit right.

But, I did find something I like. I don’t remember the name of them (I think maybe “Get-A-Grip”) but I got them at one of my favorite local running stores. I want to say they were about $30(ish).

shoe grippers

These have, quite possibly, saved my life numerous times.

They slip on like a bootie and, as long as you get the right size, stay put the whole way.

grips seen from above

The grippers, as seen from above. Also seen: My cute running skirt that helps keep my thighs warm.

They have a number of mini spikes in the bottom of them (and come with a few replacement spikes in case one comes off). I can’t even feel that I have them on, and I’ve not once slipped on ice or snow in them (knock on wood). I highly recommend this product, and I sure wish I could remember the name. But, I also suggest you give YakTrax — or other similar products — a try because, like running shoes, everybody is different and every body is different. What works for my feet may not work for yours.

winter quote

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Our First Married Christmas

‘Twas Christmastime at Casa B;
The family gathered ’round the tree.

B Family Photo

We opened gifts — we each had a few:
A book, a cue ball — a bracelet, too.

My RoadID

A new RoadID — complete with new name and new emergency contact number!

In lieu of going overboard with gifts under our tree,
We bought gifts for those who might not have any.

Angel Tree Cards

Admittedly, I probably had more fun shopping for an infant boy than for my grown-up husband.

Then we made a breakfast treat,
And headed back to bed to eat.

Breakfast in bed

Blueberry pancakes (and one with gummy bears, too), bacon and tea.

After that we held hands and strolled,
Down the street, into the cold.

Mr. B all bundled up

Bundled up — aka “Representing the Lions”

The phone rang, and what should we hear
But the voice of my sweet mother dear,
“We’re on our way, we’re coming down.
Make a smile from your homesick frown.”

Mr. B then left for work.
I cried and cried like a mopey jerk.
But not to worry, a knock soon came,
And Mom and Dad came in the frame.

Mom and Dad's visit

Two of my most favorite people.

Christmas went from sad to happy,
Leaving this Mrs. B so sappy.
My parents only stayed a bit,
Just long enough to talk and sit.

They had to go and visit others.
(I have a lot of sisters and brothers.)
After they left, I headed out;
When I get to run, it’s hard to pout.

Ready to Run

Christmas runs deserve a skirt.

Six miles ahead, in the cold winter night,
Just me, myself and winter’s bite.

Snowy run

I found snow on my run!

Though it got a little dark for me,
And mile six turned quite speedy.

After my run, I walked around
To see the lights of this cute town.
They wrapped around my favorite dam.
So glad I had my telephone cam!

Christmas lights

At home I took a nice, hot shower
And realized ’twas the dinner hour.
I poured a bowl of cold cereal
And enjoyed my quiet Christmas meal.

After dinner, I had a nice chat
With my favorite Rosebud (fancy that!)

Christmas trees

Even our Christmas trees had some FaceTime!

We talked and laughed and had some fun.
Then, sadly, good-bye had come.

I still needed to call the rest of the crew.
And tell them all “I love you.”
At Christmastime and all the year,
Family is what I hold most dear.

I said my hellos and then my good-byes,
A little misty, around the eyes.
Then the time finally came to await Mr. B.
Work was ending; he was coming home to me.

Waiting for Mr. B

We were all eagerly awaiting Mr. B’s arrival home.

So Christmas had come, and quickly it went.
Our first married Christmas we had so spent.
Mr. B working; I doing “stuff.”
Being apart, yeah it was tough.

Lucky for us, we’ll have many more;
The future has lots of Christmases in store.
This year it never really felt right,
But I still got to hug Mr. B tight.

And that, in itself, is a gift I adore.
His love, his sweet hugs, you can’t buy at a store.
I counted my blessings, then counted them twice;
My life is so full of gifts oh-so nice.

Yeah, Christmas this year wasn’t quite like I’d planned,
But I’m still the most blessed girl in this land.
I have love, I have light, I have the very best life.
I’ve got family and friends — and I’m Mr. B’s wife.

Mrs. and Mr. B under the tree

The best gift of all — my Mr. B

9 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Hardcore or Hardheaded?

As I was huffing and puffing up the hill at bootcamp the other 85-degree morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about one thing:

Am I, as a runner, hardcore or simply hardheaded?

And then I realized that maybe my stubbornness is why running works so well for me:

  • Too stubborn to quit
  • Too stubborn to skip a run
  • Too stubborn to hide from the weather

You get the picture. (Some may say that translates to stupidity sometimes. But who am I to put words in their mouths?)

Take that hot morning’s workout, for instance.

Hill repeats. It was hot. And humid. Way too hot and humid to be running. Especially up and down the hills.

By the fifth trip up the hill, my body was ready to give up and I had to rely on my mind to know what to do. I do not like the heat. At all. I even threatened to take off my shirt and run in just my sports bra (who was I kidding, though, no way it was that hot).

  • 5.58 miles, 59 minutes (five trips up and down the hill; the week before I got in 6 trips in the same amount of time — still amazed how much near-90 degree weather and super high humidity slows me down)
  • Half-mile cooldown walk (though “cooldown” was more like walk while your drenched clothing sticks to you and salty sweat burns your eyes out)
hot and sweaty workout

I sure wished I’d brought a towel to put on Boo’s seat. She’s not ready to smell like a stinky runner yet.

Any normal person in her right mind wouldn’t have worked out that morning. But there we were, runners all, trudging up that hill, stubbornly tackling one repeat after another. Because we could — not because we necessarily should.

Then came today. A three-a-day kinda day. Not planned. But once it was in motion, I was too stubborn to step back from it.

So, yeah. I worked out three times today. Not because I should; because I could. Yes, I know my body needs rest and recovery. But circumstances beyond my control made this necessary. It is not a regular occurrence and (most likely though I can’t promise) won’t happen again. And, no, I certainly don’t recommend it. (Though, I can say I do feel a little hardcore tonight. That will most definitely turn into hardheaded regret when my DOMS sets in. I won’t say you didn’t warn me.)

Today, in a nutshell:

Bootcamp in the morning. One of my favorite sessions: Marathon Don‘s Obstacle Course. It goes a little something like this:

Six rounds each. Running between stations (total for each lap is just over half a mile).
-10 pushups (good form, proper pushups)
-Up and over climbing wall
-30 seconds abs (each round was a different exercise)
-Shuffles between the cones
-10 step ups on picnic tables (I add an extra knee lift after each step up)
-Up the ladder
-Down the slide
-Once down the hopscotch “board”
-Sprint to the next station
-10 reps various upper body exercise with dumbbells

Jump to this evening. I had promised a friend I’d go to an EcoTrek session with her tonight. It was meeting at a park very near my house. A park I was pretty familiar with — or so I thought. Who knew there was a giant sand hill the led waaaaaay up into the sky hiding at the back of that park? Apparently our fearless EcoTrek leader did — cuz she took us right up it. Twice.

What I love about EcoTrek is that it offers a full-body workout that people of all fitness levels can do. And it’s outdoors! And it’s fun! And you can push yourself really, really hard (if you choose)! And everyone is so encouraging! And you get to get all sortsa dirty!

dirty ecotrek feet

Dirty feet make me happy. A pound of sand in my shoes? Maybe not quite so happy.

After I dumped the sand from my shoes, I laced ’em back up and headed to the gym for a quickie session with T2.5. He got held up and had to miss last night’s session, so we rescheduled for today. I mean, he’s getting married this Friday, so we could hardly meet Thursday night. Right?

I wasn’t too worried about pushing myself too awfully hard after two pretty tough workouts already today. I mean, T2.5 was just walking me through my new weight program.

But, I should have known better. He wanted to make sure I knew how to do everything on the program. As well he should, though. Because, truthfully, I’m kind of a dunce when it comes to weight lifting. And I need a lot of reminders about and help with proper form. And, honestly, I need him to show me how hard I actually can push myself. I can always lift heavier than I think I can. (You probably can, too.) And just as a reminder, T2.5 put a very special reminder on the bottom of the program sheet for me:

If you can’t feel the heat, the workout’s not complete.

So, yeah. I stubbornly — and knowingly — scheduled three workouts today. With barely a breather between the last two. Strong and hardcore or stupid and hardheaded? Your guess is as good as mine.

But one thing I do know for sure? I sure do feel better about things when I push myself hard. I like to think that every drop of sweat equals a drop of stress or worry or fear or sadness leaving my body. And today, I lost a lot of sadness and worry. And it felt so good; I feel so good. Better about myself than I have in a while, in fact. So if that makes me stubborn, stubborn I’ll be.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Oh, For the Love of Running

It’s no secret that I’ve been having a hard time getting back on my running feet after a pretty intense schedule of races over the past year. My legs have consistently felt heavy, and my lungs have been fighting me the whole way. Truthfully, I know it was mostly mental. But, it was what it was. And I wasn’t enjoying running like I used to.

And then this morning I opted to stay snuggled in my warm bed listening to the rain hit my window — when I “should” have been getting in my four-mile run. The thing is, I knew I had a completely free afternoon, since our summer half-day Fridays started this week. And my still-sore legs were begging for a break after some intense lunges and deadlifts yesterday. Plus, I’d woken up with a tweaked neck that would require a morning visit to the chirporactor. (It’s still not 100 percent, and she suggested I get a massage.)

Not excuses — I know I chose not to run today. And I’m not apologizing for it. Just giving the full picture.

All day — all four hours of it, anyway — I was nervously looking forward to this afternoon’s run. It’s rainy and cool today — my FAVORITE running weather of all time. And it was broad daylight so I could comfortably run on the wooded trail instead of the sidewalk by a very busy but well-lit road. But, what if this run stunk as much as the last one? What if I truly had lost my love of running for good?

I set out for my run hoping for a decent run — knowing that most of it is all about the attitude.

pre-run smiles

Hopefully setting out on a four-mile run in the rain.

I walked down to the apartment office to drop off my rent — it is the first of the month after all — and counted it as my warmup. And then I started my GPS, covered it up with my sleeve and headed out on the run. Before I knew it, I heard the one-mile alarm on my GPS. “I haven’t been running that long,” I said out loud, confused. And then I really looked around me and saw where I was. I had been running a mile. I didn’t uncover my GPS to see how long it took me. I didn’t want to know. I just wanted to run for the sake of running. (That’s how I do “spontaneous” too — I like to do things on a whim, as long as I can assign some measurement or order to them when I’m done.)

But, when I heard the second mile alarm go off, I had to pull the sleeve up of my running jacket. By the time I fought with the elastic to uncover the watch, I saw a very quick flash that said 8:57. What?! I haven’t run that quickly in a long, l-o-o-o-o-o-ng time. I quickly sent off a post that may or may not have included a swear. And may or may not have admitted that I was crying — justalittlebit.

I put myself back together and headed home, smiling the whole way. And then, I turned the corner to head up the hill — into a cold, rainy wind — toward home. Soon enough, I was passing mile three. All I could think about on mile four was how amazing I felt — even those two sore legs of mine. My mind was in it. My body was in it. Most importantly, my heart was in it.

And then, soon enough, I turned into the apartment complex, heard the GPS and walked myself the rest of the way to my apartment. I felt like I could run forever. But I know better. And I certainly didn’t want to overdo it on my very first good (GOOD!) run back.

at mile four

What a fantastic four miles!

When I walked in the door, I was soaking wet. My legs were covered in mud. And pollen. And grass. And I couldn’t stop smiling — filled up to the brim with that love of running I haven’t felt in some time.

The verdict? Four miles, 35:52 — an 8:58 pace. I’m extremely happy with this. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for a long, hot shower and a mug of green tea.

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Race Recap: It’s An Urban Adventure

When my dear friend Abbey originally suggested that we sign up for the winter Grand Rapids Urban Adventure Race, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. But I was game. Because, wasn’t 2012 supposed to be about me putting the fun back in run? And what’s more fun than running through the woods with a map, a friend and some good ol’ Michigan snow?

Except Michigan hasn’t been cooperating on that whole “snow” front thing. It’s been warm. And melty. And smooshy. Not that I’m complaining — because it’s certainly made my weekend expeditions to Mr. B’s much less of a white-knuckle nightmare than it could have been. But it threatened to make the adventure race a little less adventure-y.

And then there’s that whole “I don’t know how to read a map” thing. Yeah, orienteering was part of the race. And I haven’t done that since once in Girl Scouts. (I still maintain that I should have been a Boy Scout.) Thankfully, the organizer of the race and one of my very favorite stores put together an Orienteering 101 clinic. It helped. But not enough.

The week leading up to the race was warm. No snow. Grass was showing. And then, Friday came. And it snowed. A lot. And the roads turned to ice. A lot. And it was, magically, winter once again.

Winter

Winter returns to Michigan — just in time.

When I woke up dark and early Saturday morning, my Weather Channel app told me it was -6 degrees (I was too scared to check the “feels-like” temperature). I didn’t even want to get out of bed. Because I knew what was waiting for me outside. But, alas, there was a friend — and a race — waiting for me. And race day means … oatmeal pancakes!

oatmeal pancakes

Protein oatmeal pancakes have never failed me.

It also means … race hair!

Race hair

I only share this because I love you.

I got ready in my many layers of race attire:

  • Tank-top base layer
  • Short-sleeve tech shirt
  • Long-sleeved tech shirt
  • Wind-breaker running jacket
  • Running tights
  • Two neck gaiters
  • Calf sleeves
  • Two pairs of Smart Wool socks
  • Hot-pink, zebra-striped leg warmers (as awesome as they sound)
  • Hat
  • Ski band
  • Gloves
  • Hiking/running shoes
  • Spikes (thanks to Abbey for the encouragement on wearing these!)
  • Sunglasses

Once I got to the race site, Cannonsburg Ski Area, it took all of 3.6 seconds outside of my car to know that the clothes I brought to change into afterwards would need to be on my body. Immediately. So, I added one more pair of socks and a second pair of pants. And Abbey contributed a thicker, warmer pair of ski gloves.

I think we both could have talked the other one out of the race. I mean, it was cold. My nose was frozen shut. Abbey had crystals of sparkly ice hanging off of her hair. But we decided to be brave adventure racers.

Race bib

I don't care who you are, Abbey and I had the best team number ever.

So, here’s how it works:

  • The race is completed in teams of two, in three different waves: male/male, female/female, male/female. (Our team name? Aquatic Powerhouse. Because we’re both super Pisces.)
  • Teams are given a passport with squares on them, and at each checkpoint there’s a unique punch to mark the square
  • Teams have to make their way around the “course” using a map, a compass and — in our case — Abbey’s sense of direction
  • There also are challenges to complete throughout the race — you can choose to complete them or skip them (we did a little of both)
Ready to Run

We're either completely crazy or super hardcore. I'll let you judge.

Abbey and I had one goal in mind when we started the race: Have fun. Let me tell you, it was one of the most enjoyable races I’ve ever run. And I would do it again in a heartbeat. (Good thing there are spring, summer and fall versions of the race!)

passport

Passport in hand, we found our way over the river and through the woods.

The first checkpoint was at the very top of the ski hill. (Yeah, the hill behind us in the picture above.) It was a tough climb. But, honestly, up was WAY easier than down. I don’t know how many times we nearly fell.

And, yeah, by the time I got to the bottom of the hill the water in the Camelback had frozen in the tube. So, basically, I was waterless — save the drops Abbey kindly shared with me from  her Camelback before hers froze.

We had “mapped” out our plan and headed right off the ski hill — pretty certain most of the other teams went left. Somehow we ended up passing about six of the first checkpoints. But, but, but! We got to the very farthest checkpoint before any of the other teams.

grabbing the checkpoint

Abbey punches our first checkpoint box like a pro.

Then, we Abbey got our bearings and we were able to make pretty good time to the rest of the checkpoints. Some were up. Some were down. There were hills. And mud. And lots and lots of brambles.

Checkpoint punching

There was definitely some satisfaction to be had in the punching of the passport.

Another checkpoint

I made Abbey climb the ladder. I don't like ladders.

Checkpoint by the river

Look, Ma! I found a checkpoint by the river!

We're running

Run, Aquatic Powerhouse, run!

slingshot

One of the obstacles involved a tennis ball and me with a slingshot and Abbey with a fishing net.

all done

We made it!

Just over two hours and 30 minutes later, we called it good. With a three-hour cutoff for disqualification, Abbey and I weren’t certain we could get out to the checkpoints we missed earlier in the race before the time limit. After seeing our results online, we both realized that if we had actually tried — rather than just went out for fun — we could have placed. That’s what next year’s for, right?!

After the race, we headed inside where there was food and beer (for Abbey) and Mr. B (for me). All in all, it was a fantastic experience, despite the ridiculous cold.

me and Mr. B

After the race Mr. B and I enjoyed a low-key afternoon of hanging out and ...

hot cocoa

... hot cocoa! And well deserved, if I do say so myself.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Race Recap: Mackinac Bridge Labor Day Run

OK, this is way overdue. And it’s going to be long. Also, it’s not really a “race recap,” as it wasn’t really a race — it’s a “run.” They timed it only for the sake of a study they were conducting in partnership with Michigan State University.

Anyway, I’ve been having trouble writing this recap because this run was so much more than a run to me. It was a culmination of so many things: taking control of my life, facing my fears, celebrating my accomplishments and spreading the fitness love. As part of this run, the state of Michigan selects several Fitness Ambassadors, appointed by the governor to share their personal stories of living a healthy, fit lifestyle. I was honored to be selected as one of these ambassadors.

Fitness Ambassadors

The Fitness Ambassadors with Gov. Rick Snyder before the run.

As part of it, I got to share my story with several media outlets. (If you care to read them, you can see them here, here and here.) Honestly, I loved telling my story. But, it was a little strange knowing it was out there for so many people in my current community and my hometown to read. Someone at work hung it up on the fridge in the kitchen; my bootcamp coach brought it to one of our sessions and made everyone read it under the streetlights at 5:30 a.m.; some random gym guy brought it in and hung it up on the giant bulletin board in the gym. Flattering, humbling and … a little unsettling. But a positive experience all around. It even allowed me to start a conversation with several different people about healthy, fit lifestyles and the small changes people can make to improve their health.

Talking about health and fitness is fun for me. I’m certain most people’s eyes glaze over when I come back from a run, sweaty, sore and smiling — and dying to talk about it. But I don’t care. I am so happy to be where I am in my life, and I was so blessed to have this opportunity to tell my story to people — let them know that it’s not impossible, it’s not too late.

But I digress … I was lucky enough to have my mom join me for this little roadtrip for the run that kinda changed the game. We headed up Sunday afternoon, ready to have a pre-run dinner with the rest of the runners — only about 270 total of the 400 selected showed up for the run. Dinner was a pretty traditional spaghetti, salad and dinner rolls. Nothing fancy, but the evening was fun. I got to dine with a man who has done the run in his wheelchair four or five times. He was quite inspiring, and the joy he spread when talking about the event was enough to warm the coldest hearts.

Headed across the Mackinac Bridge with a smile and a wave. He's done this event for four or five years.

At the dinner, we got to hear from Bobby Crim, former State of Michigan Speaker of the House. He’s a fitness buff and able to perform the most ridiculous stretches. Oh, yeah, and he’s in his late 70s. It was pretty inspiring to see his zest for life and his drive to improve the physical fitness of Michiganders.

That night we had to go out and grab me an under-layer for the run. It was going to be in the very low 40s the following morning on the bridge, and the T-shirt alone simply wasn’t going to cut it.

T-shirt

All my gear waitin' for the morning.

We then headed back to the hotel and soaked in the outdoor hot tub a bit. It was nice to visit with my mom and just enjoy each other’s company. Called it a somewhat early night — had to leave for the shuttle buses around 5 a.m., as we were being shuttled from the south side of the bridge to the north side of the bridge for the run.

It would be a lie if I said I wasn’t a little lot nervous before the run. The Mackinac Bridge has always freaked me out. It’s big. Tall. Long. Intimidating. Oh, and it’s a suspension bridge, so it sways in the wind. And it was windy. I was kinda freaked about running on it — heck, I can barely drive on it. My mom, who has an amazingly comforting way with words, was there to support me.

conversation with mom

I can always count on Mom for love, support and "keepin' it real" when I most need it.

Plus, I received a perfectly timed text message from a wonderful fellow blogger that was super encouraging and meant so much to me. (I hope she realizes the difference it made.)

As all us runners huddled together, watching our breath fog up the air, I was wondering if I was going to be able to do it. Fear aside, I’d been having some issues with my ankle that had me worried. But, before I knew it, the Fitness Ambassadors were called up to the front of the line to meet the governor and start the run, the other 260 runners starting behind us.

One foot in front of the other, I started the run with barely a twinge of pain in my ankle and a giant smile on my face. Yes, I dopily ran the entire bridge with a grin on my face, thanking every single National Guard soldier along the way. Many looked like they didn’t want to be there, and I like to think my “thank you” warmed them as much as their cups of coffee.

I barely remembered to pay attention to my GPS and just ran. Ran to my heart’s content — never slowing, even for pictures. Yeah, I carried my camera the whole way, too.

Running on the bridge

Almost too happy for my own good, as the sun rises behind me.

The sun rising over Lake Huron was, perhaps, one of the most glorious things I’ve ever seen. I felt like I was seeing, feeling, experiencing something truly special. Something that not everyone gets the chance to see. I felt like it was just me on that bridge, the sky on fire with the joy of the moment — my heart on fire with the joy of the moment. I will forever look back on that day as one that changed me. It reminded me what a blessing this life is — and that it’s too easy to take it for granted. It’s too easy to forget to stop and enjoy the simple beauties, like the sunrise or a few quiet moments with your mom or the privilege of being able to put one foot in front of the other.

sun rise

Running under the rising sun, above the sparkling water — there's nothing like it.

Oh, and did I mention that as the sun rose over Lake Huron, a rainbow appeared over Lake Michigan on my other side?

Rainbow

A rainbow of hope and joy and beauty.

I may have gotten just a little misty-eyed at the beauty of that morning, of that experience.

I crossed the finish line with my fastest time yet: An average pace of 8:46. Wait, now, what? Sore ankle, ridiculous fear and my FASTEST run ever? Hm. This whole “overcoming your fears thing?” Kinda awesome.

But, you know what’s even more awesome? Having my mom at the finish line to give me a hug — and a cup of hot tea.

me and mom

A finish-line hug was the icing on the cake — or the cherry on top.

This run was a gift that came just when I needed it, just as I was starting to doubt my abilities to run a marathon, just as I thought my injuries would keep me from running, just as I started to feel the exhaustion from a summer of intense training. And I did nothing to deserve this gift. This was THE most amazing run of my life. My words don’t even begin to do it justice. I am a lucky girl.

certificate

I continue to feel inspired and empowered from this run.

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized