Seasons of Change

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I knew going back to work was going to be tough, in many ways, but I did not expect it to be so overwhelming. Change is inevitable. Change is necessary. But working through change can be exhausting. This last week, I experienced many changes, and many emotions, and literally had no time to just sit and breathe. Take it all in. Reflect.

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I’ve experienced the back to work, from stay at home mom thing before, but it still didn’t prepare me for this second round of back to work shenanigans; especially after a long summer together. Clayton is older, wiser, and busier. He is at such a fun stage. Like crack you up till you pee your pants, constant on the go, can’t sit down for a second, curious, outdoor EVERYTHING stage. He is the best. He makes my world go round, and I his. The first couple of days were hard, but different. He enjoyed himself, and didn’t miss me too much. Although, the welcome home hugs were just as strong. But by mid-week, he began to make the connections. He knew if I was dressed, make-up on, ready to go that I was leaving. He started to stop sleeping through the night, after so much work to get him to that point (totally understandable), but it wasn’t just waking up and crying. It was mommy pick me up and I am going to cling to your neck and hug you kind of waking up. It was the mommy don’t put me down kind of mornings. It was the when you get home, I am going to cry kind of changes. This time around was much harder than the last. He is smarter, and makes connections to everything. He knows how to read my body language and when I am trying to play him over (to sneak out and leave). And the transitions are not over for him. This last week, he was at home with my mom, who was kind enough to fly up from Florida to watch him for us, as his nanny’s daycare isn’t open yet. But next week, he transitions back to his home away from home, and yet again learn to adapt to a different environment (a familiar one, but one he has not been to in a while). I’m hoping this transition will be a little easier because he will have his little friends to play with.

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With the change came a week, yes I said an ENTIRE week, of no running/biking, real intense exercise. Instead, it was filled with rainy evenings splashing around, evenings going for walks and doing things Clayton wanted to do. It was filled with grace and patience, family dinners and porch hangs. Travels to PA to see my family, and my brother and his wife visiting, before his big deployment to Afghanistan. We celebrated my birthday a little early together.

We watched Clayton run around the billions of acres my dad has, picking apples and pears, and running until he crashed. We (meaning they, mostly), were open-minded enough to make and eat a vegan meal, including my very yummy, and beautifully made vegan and gluten free birthday cake. The time we had together wasn’t nearly long enough, but it was exactly what I needed to celebrate the BIG 3-0!

So, I went on a little tangent, but the point was that I needed this time of grace and rest to get me through the changes happening at one time. I may not have put on my running shoes once this last week, but I spent it with my favorite people, doing the things that they love.

Anyways, back to changes, because I am not quite finished. Sorry. I know. This is a long one. Going back to school, and leaving my boy and our fun together, wasn’t the only change happening this week. There have been some big changes at my job, my position, my world pretty much. For those of you that have known me for awhile, like the past 6 years of my life, know that I was the Life Skills Program teacher, for Special Education. I created it, I molded it, I transformed it. For four years, that was my baby. My world. My everything. My first and only job as a new teacher. I ate, slept, and breathed that program, the students in it, and their futures. Then I got pregnant, went on maternity leave, and came back to changes. Changes out of my control. Changes without explanation. Changes I didn’t want. Changes that took me out of that program and into a different aspect of special education. This year, I am an English collaborative. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is still a great job to have. I am still changing lives. It’s just different. I am a little out of my element. The change is new. I have a lot to learn. My needs are different. My job is different. And the change into this new me has been overwhelming. It’s not just me and my ideas anymore. It is me and the four other teachers I work with, in four different classes. I went from knowing my same eight students for five years, to learning the names hundreds of students and their needs. I am learning new curriculum. I am learning the teaching styles of others. But I am embracing it. I am working through it. I am learning my new normal. It’s necessary. It’s life.

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It’s for this booger right here. And the new hundreds of students who need me. It’s for our community. It’s for the future. I may not understand why it happened, but I understand the importance of working through change, and making it the best it can be.

So this week, running/riding, and getting strength workouts in just wasn’t what I needed. This week I needed family. I needed rest. I needed stress free evenings, going to bed early. I gave myself the grace it needed to adapt to so many new changes. And now, heading into the new week, I have a sense of my new normal. I have a better understanding of when and how I am going to focus on some ME TIME. I still have a lot to adapt to, a lot to learn, and a lot to practice before I get my new schedule under wraps. But I am ready to tackle it all, and become that super hero mom, teacher, wife, daughter, athlete that everyone needs me to be.

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If you’ve made it this far, thanks for being such a supportive and caring part of my life. Cheers to the long weekend. ❤

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Currently….

 

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When Angela (@Runlikekale) posted a fun blog about her currents, I was excited to play along.  She always has awesome, informational posts that you should all follow. It will definitely make you smile and laugh out loud. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see ridiculously cute pictures of G?  🙂  So currently, I am….

Loving: Watching CT explore the world on his own now that he can crawl, stand, sit, and walk with assistance. He is loving this new freedom, and it makes me smile from ear to ear.  Overnight, he has become fearless, independent, and so grown up. Gahhhh! ❤

Working On: Finding some kind of summer job, something that includes Clayton.  It’s almost I M P O S S I B L E! 

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Inspired By: The fierce mom club we have established on IG. 


Thinking About: S U M M E R break, and starting new traditions with our family of three. Day trips, hiking, teaching Clayton to swim, the beach, and oh so much more.

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Watching: The Leftovers, and driving my husband crazy, because I ask a million and one questions. Even after watching it over and over. It’s so confusing, but it hooks you.


Reading: Hands Free Mama…..Hands Free Mama is the digital society’s answer to finding balance in a media-saturated, perfection-obsessed world. It doesn’t mean giving up all technology forever. It doesn’t mean forgoing our jobs and responsibilities. What it does mean is seizing the little moments that life offers us to engage in real and meaningful interaction. It means looking our loved ones in the eye and giving them the gift of our undivided attention, leaving the laundry till later to dance with our kids in the rain, and living a present, authentic, and intentional life despite a world full of distractions.

Eating/Drinking: I’ve been on a mission to go more wholly with my foods and eating habits. So, I started Whole30, cheated once and it went downhill from there. But in the first week with no cheating, I lost 7lbs and learned a lot about how food makes me feel. So now I am starting over, and really trying to stick to it for the 30 days. #noms


Learning: To read braille. One of my students is partially blind and to help her become more independent we thought it would be a good idea to learn it.  And it grabbed me in, so now I want learn too


Dreaming of: Being a stay at home mommy. I miss it. I need it. I want it so bad. 


Trying: To juggle everything that goes with being a working mom, and finding time for myself, while still getting all the chores and daily house hold shenanigans done.

Missing: My little peanut.  Is it 3:00 yet?

 

Planning: Clayton’s FIRST birthday!!  Say what?!?!?  It came way too fast.  Like seriously, I get so emotional thinking about the last year and how far he’s come.  Why can’t they stay little forever? 


Needing: To get a hair cut desperately. And maybe going back to blonde……

Screenshot_20170417-161828-01.jpgExcited About: All the stroller races Clayton and I have, and the fact that some of them are letting me run with the stroller ((as they haven’t in years past).

 

Want to play along? Copy and past this in the comments and let me know what you’re currently up to.

Loving:
Working On:
Inspired By:
Thinking About:
Watching:
Reading:
Listening To:
Learning:
Dreaming of:
Trying:
Missing:
Planning:
Wearing:
Needing:
Excited About:

Cross That Off the Bucket List- NYC Half

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If I am going to be completely honest here, I thought when I entered the lottery for this race that I was actually entering the lottery for the marathon. Enter face palm here. 🙈But when I got the email that I made it, I quickly realized it was for the half. And while I was slightly disappointed, I was still super excited to run a race in NYC. EVERYONE WANTS TO RUN A RACE IN NEW YORK!!  🙌But before I can get into the good stuff….

Enter back story here….So, many of you know that I am a country girl, through and through. 🐮But for those of you that do not, let’s just say I grew up with cows in my backyard and the smell of manure was, and still is, like the best thing ever. 🐄 Why am I telling you this? Well, for you to fully understand the anxiety and fear I have with BIG cities.  [[Why would any one be afraid of cities? ]] It sounds silly.  But the fear of traveling alone, and one way roads, and traffic, and horns honking, and people filled streets, and the overall rush, rush of everything.  It’s more than overwhelming.  IT IS SCARY && causes me to have some serious anxiety.  🙊 Then you are probably asking yourself, well why do you have to travel alone?  I don’t, usually. But my hubby had to stay with the baby, and my BFF had to cancel her entry due to an injury. And there are so many others I could have, and would have traveled with, but the cards weren’t working out and everything was up in the air, and the fear of not knowing was also causing me to stress out. But God has a funny way of hearing your prayers, and last minute, a friend from church got an entry into the race. Yay for traveling buddies!🙏

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EXPO! EXPO!– Well besides meeting MEB (@runmeb ) and running into Erin (@thelittlerunnergirl), the Expo was disappointing!! Where were all the vendors and fun stuff to look at?  For being a HUGE race, the expo was nothing short of picking up your packet and leaving.  Talk about a waste of a trip to the city. Luckily, I had better things to attend to, like the WeRunSocial meet-up!




 

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Yes, we know, the flag is upside down. That’s just how we roll.🙃 Well that’s how Gregg rolls, and he’s the best thing since sliced bread, so you know, we be the cool kids!  Anyways, when you’ve been dying to meet @NYCsweat ((Gregg)) for your entire running career, and then he happens to be there when you walk through the door, you do a crazy lady happy dance and hug him without warning. That’s the amazing thing about the running community.  Even though you’ve never met in “real life”, you know there are a million people you can count on, and turn to for support about running, and life outside of running.  And when you finally put a voice, a hug, a laugh, a face to face conversation with one of those friends, it’s an experience like none other. 🤗💙 It was so much fun finally getting to meet Haley, Gregg, Anne, and Kim and learning about their lives outside of a square. And to catch up with friends you met before (Dani) is pretty awesome too! This BIG world we live in, is really quite small, and I am so, so happy to have met these awesome people.  THANK YOU Brian and WeRunSocial, and for everyone who came out, and for the running community on IG.  Gahhhhh!!




 

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The night before the BIG race, I laid out my outfit, and contemplated pants and an extra long sleeve shirt for hours.  I packed and repacked my bag. I checked and rechecked that I had the Metro card, my bib, and the reserved parking ticket a million times. ✔ I made sure the babes and I were ready for bed by 8:00, because that 3:00 am alarm comes way too fast. And wouldn’t you know, I COULD NOT FALL ASLEEP!  💤😴I tried and tried and tried. The last time I looked at the clock was like 10:00 and it was after I just fed little man.  At 12:00, that boy was up and crying again, and he thought it’d be the cool thing to do to cry until 2:15. So I got max, 2.5 hours of sleep. Talk about nerve wrecking.I thought for sure it was going to the death of me during the race.

20170319_070834Race mornings always have me a bundle of nerves.  I am so paranoid of being late, and rushing, and the unknown with parking.  I’d rather get there early and hang out than have to run to my corral.  That happened once, at the Disney Princess half. At 17 weeks preggers, I was sprinting to my corral that was two miles away! NEVER AGAIN! So i stood in line for what always seems like forever to go pee, and made it to my corral with plenty of time to spare and freeze my tushy off. Hence the old man sweatshirt and sweatpants. But hey, Lauren (@lauren_runs_here) found me and we talked about running a different race. Forget the one we are in line for, let’s talk about future  races.  But seriously, she is so awesome.  She said she would pace me for the second half of my marathon in April.  Who does that?  I know I am going to need it if I want to get that 4 hour marathon!  Okay, okay, back to the race.

The anthem was sung, the corrals were moving, and before I knew it we were running. I kept saying is this it, did we start, because we never crossed a line, but then it appeared and the watch was started. Guys, it’s only normal to take off like a clown is chasing you, and I did, but I kept remembering what everyone told me about taking it easy the first half because of the hills in Central Park. So I found myself having a continuous conversation with myself, telling myself to slow down, you’re going too fast. In hind sight, I wish I wouldn’t have listened, because I was so close to breaking the two  hour mark, but at the same time, this race was part of my marathon training plan, and going off plan wasn’t a major concern of mine.  I wanted to have fun, and have fun I did.  GUYS, I DID NOT STOP SMILING!  That has never happened at a race before.😀




 

Central Park was amazing! I never realized how big it was, and every time I saw a part I recognized from a movie, I would get all excited.  Like, this is real life, it does exist. Or I would think about Home Alone and Elf, and basically every Christmas movie, and who doesn’t smile about that?

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But nothing in the history of running history will ever compare to the thrill of running through Time Square.  Though it was some what creepy, because it was quiet and almost dark, it was the most exhilarating, ridiculously fast paced miles I have ever run. Like where did that speed come from //a 6:54 and 7:10 mile//????. And the tears?  Why?  I don’t know why. I couldn’t even tell you if they were happy tears or sad tears, or maybe a mixture of both.  But it was overwhelming.  The crowd. The kids fun run starting and their contagious smiles. The posters from fans. The lights. The smells. I wanted pizza so badly running through Time Square.  The random bursts of cold air. The  crazy wind gusts before turning onto the west side highway. So many experiences in one small stretch. It is something everyone needs to experience.🚕

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No lie, the stretch along the high way was a tad difficult mentally.  The crowd dies down, you hit a wall, your watch leads you to believe you are like a mile away from the finish, only your two miles away ((at the end of it all, my Garmin said I ran 14.2 miles in 2:03//8:43 pace)).  I should have known that wasn’t true, because I have yet to hit that pace for races postpartum and that would have meant I finished the race in 1:54, two minutes shy of my PR.  YEAH RIGHT!!  But I’m not gonna lie, it messed with me so mentally.  And the water stations….I usually wear my hydration vest, but we weren’t allowed for this race.  I’ve never been one to have to use the water stations, but I made sure to grab one at every stop, except for one. That was a whole new ball game. I choked a couple of times, because i refused to stop, but then by the end, I realized I needed to slow my roll, and I didn’t like that that affected my time. Anyways, the tunnel at the end was a tad creepy.  I got light headed when we first entered it, I am assuming because it was bright out and then almost black and windy.  But I adjusted before coming out the other end and I knew we just had to round the corner and the finish line was there. 400 meters.  I started to take off, but not too much for fear of the dry heaving debacle happening to me again.  That seems to be a common thing for me now when I hit the end of races and try to sprint, I guess I can’t keep up with myself and my body shuts down.  So in fear of that happening, I didn’t take off as hard as I could, but definitely got them legs moving. I was even able to finish the race off with an obligatory finish line jump! 🏁

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Regardless of my finish time (2:03), I am so happy with this run.  I didn’t stop.  I didn’t walk.  I SMILED the ENTIRE TIME! I met new friends.  I conquered some serious fears. I high-fived kids cheering us on.  I pumped up fellow runners and told them not to quit. I ran through the streets of New York with some amazing runners.  I made memories to last a life time.

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If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you, New York, New York!

You’re a Runner When….

You lace up your sneaks && you go.

That is all there is to it.  


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This has been a topic of many of my conversations lately && it is something that has become quite transparent across social media.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love the running community, and the the people I have become friendly with.  Most of you out there are genuine and real, and respect everyone for their own unique running abilities.  BUT I’ve been noticing a trend of runners posts that solely focus on how great it is, or that they are, because they are “fast”, or that they bounced back from an injury//illness at the exact same place they were at before they had to stop running, or because they can run a million marathons in a year//back to back//every weekend ((kuddos to those of you who bust your butt to get to where you are)). This is not meant to bash anyone in any way.  But there is so much  more to running then being the best, unless  of course it’s  doing your best day in and day out. And there is definitely more to running than being able to “brag” about how great you are.

I’ve always considered myself a runner since I started this awesome hobby almost three years ago, but for a very long time in my running journey  I didn’t consider myself a “good runner” and it is because of those very same posts I continue to see day in and day out, as mentioned above.  It is because many runners on social media make other runners feel less of themselves because they boast about their abilities daily.  Or they only engage with other runners who are just as fast as them, or run marathon after marathon.  But does that really make them a “good runner”?  What is a good runner?  Is a good runner fast?  Is a good runner young?  Is a good runner experienced with years of running?  Is a good runner someone who has thousands of followers? Is there really such a thing as a “good runner” anyways?

Aren’t we all good runners, because we simply love to run?  When I first started documenting my running journey on IG, I was embarrassed to post because of the overwhelming amount of people on there who were “better”than me. But as I continued to run, and continued to share my story, I became more confident in my abilities.  I still wasn’t fast, and I could barely make it past a 5k distance, but I was feeling better and better with each run and I was making connections with people who only inspired me to continue doing my best.  That is what it is all about folks. WE ARE ALL RUNNERS, because we love to run and we love to share that love with others.

So here I am writing this to remind those runners  who are questioning themselves and their abilities that if you love running, you are a runner. If you step out the door, you are a runner. If it’s your first run, or your millionth run, you my friend, are a runner. If you run for pleasure or you run for competition, you are just as equally a runner. Don’t ever let the mass array of media posts swooning over how fast people are, and how many marathons they run, ever deter you from thinking you are not worthy of being a runner. Whether you run half a mile or run ultras, whether you run without stopping or you run taking walk breaks, whether you are fast or not as fast, whether you are coming off of an injury, or maybe you just had a baby ( =] ),  MILES ARE MILES. You are putting one foot in front of the other and pounding the pavement.  That’s the nice thing about running. It’s yours && yours alone. I said this the other day, and I am going to say it again.  Running is a special kind of love.  It is a one of a kind, totally unique, make your heart happy kind of love.  It will never leave you, fail you, or desert you, until you decide you no longer want it.   ❤

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Alexa’s Thunder Run- Trail Half Marathon

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So I came back for some more torture, only this time around it was 13 miles of mountain climbing, instead of 8.  But you can’t beat a good time that benefits an amazing cause.  Unlike last time, I went into this one slowly && by feel.  The only time I looked at my watch was to see the elevation climbs as they took place. And it worked out in my favor.  I was able to run the entire race, minus the vertical mountains, because let’s be real.  Even when I thought I was running up them, I was basically hiking them.  I don’t think anyone can run up them and maintain the same pace.  NOT POSSIBLE!  I mean just take a look at the elevation plot…

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That last one is no joke.  And coming down it was no joke either.  That is where I busted out in song, singing my new jam to Alicia Keys’ song, “My quads are on fire!” There were points coming down that mountain that I thought my legs were just going to buckle underneath me.  They were beyond jello legs, but it was a battle of one foot in front of the other, and when I hit the bottom, I knew it was almost over && had myself running in the low 8 minute pace. After all that.  I was pretty impressed with myself.

Anyhow, maybe I should take it back to the beginning. I got ahead of myself. So sorry!  🙂  Let’s see, I had oatmeal and coffee for breaky. Then on my way there I had myself an Evolv energy drink ((all natural, no caffeine)) && met up with my people.  We joined in prayer and toed the line.  ((it’s an imaginary line)) and I’ll talk about that later.  As usual, the start is very slow, because hundreds of people are cramming into a single track trail.  But this time, I was okay with it.  It helped me pace myself.  I wasn’t worried about speed or placing.  I just didn’t want to burn out like last time.  This course followed the 8 miler in the beginning, so I knew what to expect for most of the run.  That also helped me pace myself.

Because I didn’t need to stop and walk ((except the vertical climbs)), I did not take any pictures during the run. I am borrowing these from a friend who also ran the race. BUT it was gorgeous.  This is why I run trails.  It’s not for speed.  It’s not for wins.  It’s for the views. The isolation. The challenge. The stillness during our chaotic breathe, as we place one foot in front of the other, just so, to get the perfect position to make the puzzle come together. The adrenaline rush. The satisfaction when it’s over.  There is nothing quite like it.  NOT EVEN A MARATHON!  ❤ And to cross that finish line with a smile on your face.  That is EVERYTHING!

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I know I’ve raved about this organization and these races before, so it pains me to have to say what I am going to say next, but it wouldn’t be a true recap if I didn’t express my real feelings.  The course itself and the run are by far one of the best races I have ever done.  The negative happened when the race was over.  They have what they claim to be chipped timing, but one, you never cross a start line to get your actual start time, and two there wasn’t a line to cross at the finish either.  So an accurate timing is not justifiable even though there is a computer involved.  Second, they hoot and holler about having kiosks at the finish to check your standings.  So naturally I did, and it to my surprise it said I had taken third in my age group.  SAY WHAT?!?!  Obviously, I got super excited….

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BUT HOLD UP…Don’t get too excited for me.  That title of a win was taken from me due to a computer error. BUT going back to what I said earlier, there weren’t any chip timer lines to cross at the start or the finish, so none of it makes sense.  BUT whatever.  I got over it.  Here is the other negative of the day.  The awards ceremony was non existent.  As people finished and saw that they placed, they just asked for their medals so they could leave.  Now, I get things happen and people do have to go.  But it started a trend, to where every single person who won, got their medals and left.  BEFORE EVERYONE EVEN FINISHED RUNNING.  In my opinion, that’s just tasteless.  WE are all runners, and each of us works just as hard as the next to cross that finish line.  Everyone deserves a crowd of people cheering them on at the finish line.  And then having people cheer for them if they placed.  Now we don’t know who placed, or what they even look like, or if they truly even won those medals.  Racing isn’t about the bling, but when it comes to it, everyone who crosses the finish line deserves one.  This race did not have finishers medals.  That is kind of unheard of for a half marathon, and a trail run at that. And the course was short of 13.1.  This happened for the 8 miler too. BUT then I keep reminding myself that all the proceeds go to a good cause, so I should just shut up.

After all the people had gone, we continued to cheer for those still running and let them see we were having a good time, and that their fight to the finish line was well deserved.  Despite some getting lost, and others taking some pretty nice falls, the trails will always have a special place in my heart.  ❤ I am glad I got to experience today with some pretty amazing people too.

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I’ve already got my eyes on some trail halfs in the future.  And I look forward to getting better and better with each one.  🙂 God is good.  Life is good.  And I’m just gonna keep on smiling with every accomplishment I tackle post baby!  ❤

20161107_075141The goods, in case people wonder about that.  🙂

 

 

Roxbury Community Benefit 5k-Race Recap

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Where do I even begin with this race?  This is one of those races you just have to keep coming back for more.  The atmosphere is so inviting and fun!  For the past two years I think, I’ve been doing this race with my church and our Run4God group.  BUT I’ve been attending this race for at least 5 years.  Two of those years I’ve had to run//walk it ((one year I had staples in my back && this year I was carrying little man)).



What keeps me coming back?

  • It’s local
  • It’s family//community friendly
  • You get free ice cream and pizza
  • The course is the same each year, so it’s the perfect place to keep pushing for PR’s
  • The love and support from the crowds
  • The traditional feel it gives off
  • I JUST LOVE IT! ❤


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We won first place in the group division!  🙂

This year was one of the biggest years I’ve encountered with this beautiful group!  We have grown tremendously in numbers since last year && have opened it up to walkers too!  I love how this group changes people mentally, physically, emotionally && spiritually!  It was life changing for me and my running career, as well!  Because of this group, I became a runner, a REAL, die hard runner!  && it all started with the half-marathon training program.  FROM THERE, I continued on my own journey to becoming a marathoner.  BUT it wasn’t without this group and their love, support, && unconditional devotion to our Lord and Savior.  ❤



PRE Race I found these two gems.  Love them! ❤ They make my heart happy && the goofiness we get ourselves into is priceless.  Runners truly make the best friends!  AND mine just happen to be the best, not to brag or anything!  🙂 ❤

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The belly bump is always a hit at these things!  ❤


I started out running this race.  Slow, painfully slow.  BUT I knew it wasn’t going to be a good running day from the moment I got up.  All day I complained about pressure and heaviness in my belly. I even spent a good portion of my morning in the nurse’s office laying on the bed there.  I was hoping he would move off of my bladder and super low, but he wasn’t having it.  So we tried our best, and made it maybe .75 miles in.  Reached the hill && said, “Okay, I am walking!”  Waved Heather on && hung out with my girl Christina. When I say she is a genuine soul, I mean she is something special.

I am not used to being the one that has to hold people up or apologize for walking.  She didn’t care.  She made the decision to stick with me and that is what she did.  BUT can I just tell you, it was one of my most favorite runs, because I just got to be.  IT WAS WHAT IT WAS!  We had awesome conversation, and the race flew by like that.  We stopped to take photo ops everywhere we could, because well, let’s be real, that’s just how we both are, hehe!  🙂

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I am not one to walk through finish lines, NO MATTER WHAT, so when we rounded the corner to the final stretch, I took off running, so fast we got down into the 8:30’s and Christina and Heather (( who came back to finish with us ❤ ) were yelling at me to slow down.  BUT when I see the end, something always takes over me and I just run. We decided to jump at the finish line and the capture of it makes me so happy!  🙂

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I am a lucky girl to be blessed with such amazing friends && running buddies!  Especially the ones who like to stuff their faces and eat all the food with me afterwards!

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Thank you to my loves from church, the volunteers and police officers, the cute cheering sections all over the course, and these two lovely ladies!  You all made for one perfect night for me and little man && I cannot wait to share this night with him!  ❤

UNTIL NEXT YEAR….

images❤ Tanya

Running to Myself

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Running. It’s a metaphor for so many things; running from something, running to something, running for something. We are always running. I was always running. I wasn’t always running for the right reasons, though. When I was younger, my parents got divorced. My first instinct was to run away; run to something happier, somewhere full of love and commitment. This notion of running was instilled into my lifestyle, into my thinking and being. I only knew how to run.

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For as long as I can remember, I ran from my feelings, from anything that scared me. I put up a front, and pretended to be happy. I let myself run for so long that I lost who I was, and what my purpose was in this crazy life. Then, after years of unhappiness I decided to run towards something, to find my why, my purpose, and myself.

My first race was in my education. I ran a crazy fast paced race through university and student teaching. Coming out on top with a 4.0 and nailing a job within weeks of graduation. Choosing to run such a deep race, without any training, was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life. I worked full time, kept a roof over my head, and went to college full time. I was the first person in my family to obtain a degree. I felt unstoppable. But I was still destructible. I was still missing that one piece.

I gained weight, I lost weight. The stress of life and responsibilities was wearing me down and I didn’t know how to find my pace in life. I met my husband, and he helped me stop running from love. He changed my life for the better. He gave me a purpose. He made me a wife, something I wanted more than anything in the world. But getting married, and landing a teaching career still wasn’t enough to make me feel whole. Something was still missing. I was missing the love for myself.

It took years of soul searching to find myself. I tried the gym, workout videos, and some bizarre diet fads, but nothing gave me that moment. That moment where you finally feel like you are enough, just the way you are. Then I found running. It wasn’t the answer I needed right away, but after two years and a round of marathon training, I have finally run to myself. It was an 8 mile training run, near the beginning of my marathon journey, when I finally came to my own. I couldn’t tell you what exactly brought my self worth to fruition, other than the constant defeat of the world around me being cast to the side, as I placed one foot in front of the other. Or the countless thoughts running ramped in my mind. But on that trail, somewhere between giving up, and proving I was more than I felt, I ran to myself.

I was robed in a new confidence. A confidence that has since stayed intact, close to my heart. I turned a new leaf. A leaf veined with positive thoughts, self-worth, and unstoppable determination. Now that I have run to myself, I continue to run, to remain happy and healthy. I run to inspire others to find themselves. I run for the memories && the people I meet along the way. I run to keep living. I run to continually find myself. ❤

 

Why do you run?

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Run4God-Grace Church

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Many of you are probably asking yourself what Run For God is.  Let me just tell you a little about it.  The program//organization was started by a christian man named Mitchell Hollis.  Who much like many of us, he knew nothing about running, but ran a race and became hooked.  His obsession with endurance and running races led him to creating a running program that combined his love of running//training with devotions to our Lord && Savior.  It all started with a shirt, and the design above.  Now, churches across the nation use his devotional training books to start running groups.

The Mission

Preparing people to be better witnesses for Christ… Physically, Mentally, and Spiritually ❤

Physically – Create a healthier you and make it possible to reach a new demographic of non-believers – potential believers!

Matthew 28:19-20

Mentally – Learn the discipline and endurance that it takes to “Run the Race Set Before Us”

Hebrews 12:1

Spiritually – Learn always to give God the glory for all that we accomplish.

Psalms 86:12



So how does this fit into my life?

It all started the day I signed up to volunteer at one of our church missions, cleaning up local parks.  The leader of my group was one of the members of the Run4God group.  When we got to chatting, running naturally came up && she was so excited to have me join the group.  It was the moment I felt like I belonged to the church, the moment I knew this was the church I wanted to transfer to.

Two summers ago, I joined the group.  I missed out on that year’s training run, but still managed to run 5k’s and 10k’s with them, before training for a half marathon last spring.

Last year was one of the best times of my life && it was because of these people, their love for the Lord, and bonds we made through the ups and downs of running.

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So here we are again, starting the next round of awesomeness.  Today was the kick-off meeting && we had a whopping 85 people sign up.  THAT IS HUGE && so exciting!!  It puts the biggest smile on my face, seeing people ready to get off the couch and change their life.  SERIOUSLY, this group is life changing.  You cannot be a part of something like this and not have it change who you are mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  ❤

I am so ready to see the transformations that occur, and watch my fellow christians cross their first finish line on June 13th!  They are about to embark on a 12 week journey to self-discovery && hopefully find a new love for running!  🙂

Today, some of us ladies took it to the trail to crank out 5 miles.  It was nice to chat with them, and laugh, and talk about those things you only thought you experienced as a runner.  I love when the spring time rolls around for so many reasons && this being at the top!

Everyone here has a story to tell, and a story to create.

 It is going to be a great running season!  ❤

imagesTanya

 

Smiles for Margaret: Race Recap

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This race was a last minute sign up for me.  Coming off of a marathon, less than a week ago, I wasn’t planning on “racing” for at least three weeks.  But it came across my facebook feed, and it made my heart heavy.  This race supports a little girl named Margaret, who lost her life at 12 years old to brain cancer, and her continued memories, as her family raises funds for other children battling brain tumors, as well.


 

I asked the family for permission to blog about this race, and feel honored to share this little girl’s story.  Meet Margaret. 🙂

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Margaret starting experiencing vomiting and headaches, that lasted over a time span of 6 weeks.  She was eleven years old. She went to her Pediatrician, who sent her to the hospital once for a spinal tap.  The ER doctor said she was dehydrated and sent her back home.  Her symptoms continued and the pediatrician told her mom to call a neurologist.  After he examined her, they went to the ER for a CT scan.  The scan showed a tumor in the middle of her brain. She had a biopsy the end of November 2012. By January 2013, Margaret had most of her tumor removed. The tumor was found to be malignant, and she started chemo and radiation just three weeks after her surgery.  Her treatment was set to be a 12 month cycle, but unfortunately, she did not make it through all 12.  Margaret’s brain tumor exploded and she passed away. 

 Before Margaret passed away, her family discussed continuing Smiles For Margaret, when she was all better, so they could help other families. Smiles For Margaret, Inc was started to make other kids fighting the fight, smile. And helping those families that are now in the ocean swimming for their families survival. For more information, and ways to contribute to such an amazing cause, please visit: smilesformargaret.org.

Statistics

  • 40-80% of the children diagnosed with a brain tumor survive 5 years post-diagnosis
  • brain cancers account for 15% of all pediatric cancers

I feel so blessed to have been a part of today’s race, and honor this beautiful little girl’s life.  The community came together, and put on a very nice time.  Her infectious smile was felt and her memory will never be forgotten.  My heart goes out to her family.  I admire their courage and heroism.  I want to thank everyone who made today happen, and send my love to the Walling family.

Please, please, please, check out their cause and make a contribution.


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imagesTanya

The “Taper Crazies” Are a Real Thing

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People always joke about tapering, and how it affects you.  I used to laugh at them and say it couldn’t possibly be as bad as they make it out to seem.  WELL HOLD UP, because I can 100% check off every item on this list.  My taper time has been at an even bigger all time low, because I haven’t run for the last two weeks.  And now, as I enter the final week of tapering, I am honestly going bat s*** crazy!  How am I going to make it to the starting line sane?

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1. Are those “phantom pains” real?  Am I just “feeling” aches and pains because I’m worried about my foot pain, or is my foot honestly still bothering me?  If it is still bothering me, am I going to finish?  AHHHHHHHH!! Three weeks of rest should be enough time, right?  I mean the doctor didn’t seem to think anything was wrong with my foot to begin with, so running 26.2 miles should be nothing.  FINGERS CROSSED!  😦

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2. WHY CAN’T I STOP EATING?!?! For real though, I even got nervous that I might be pregnant.  The need for food, like all the time, is crazy business.  I’ve even been craving food I don’t usually eat.  Hello poptarts! ❤ Will I really be able to run after eating all the food? Why do we crave food more anyways? Where my doctors at?  Help a girl out.

bedtime3. S L E E P. nap.  S L E E P some more.  Think about bedtime. Ask yourself a million times a day why you are so tired.   I felt like my students this past week, whining and complaining that I was tired.  BUT WHYYYYYY?  I was getting my usual hours of sleep each night, but it never felt like enough.  Doctor, are you still here?  Answer me this one too, please.  🙂

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4.  I NEVER GET SICK!  So why now?  Seriously, a week before the marathon and I’m over here crying about a sore throat, and blowing through tissues like it’s my job.  I’d like to blame it on my students, but is it really their fault?  I’m drinking all the vitamin C I can and airborne has been my BFF.  Prayers that it’s out of my system by Saturday.

mood_swings_by_vidiescal123-d33ff8t5. CURRENT MOOD:  content, but ask me again in five minutes, and it could be raging b****!  If eating a lot of food, and constantly being hungry gave me pregnancy scares, then you can only imagine adding E X T R E M E mood swings on top. God Bless my husband for coming out strong on the other end of it.  Love you babe!  ❤

Thank you taper week, for keeping it real, for bringing me down from my runner’s high, and letting me know that I’m still human. Next time, I only ask that you not be as intense, and come a little later.  Please, and thank you!

How does everyone else handle taper time?  What are the crazy things it has done to you?  Please share and make me feel better about myself, because right now, I feel so yucky. Literally, like yucky physically//mentally//emotionally! T-Minus 6 days!  EEEEEEKKKKKK!!!

imagesTanya