The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: 2013, You Confused Me.

2013 is coming to a close and society deems this a time to reflect. To be entirely honest, I have no idea how I will remember 2013 when I’m older and wiser. Right now, I’m simply confused by it. 2013 say the best days of my life as well as the worst. I was blessed with so much positive change but also had to go through so much emotional turmoil that I honestly never thought I’d return to my old self. I guess I probably haven’t.

I like to think of myself as an optimist who sees the positive in any situation, so let’s start with the amazing moments of 2013.

  • The first 22 miles of the 2013 Boston Marathon. There are no words to really describe the crowds at Boston. They look forward to Marathon Monday as much as the runners every year. They take their job as spectators seriously and are prepared to help or offer encouragement to anyone who passes by. They are the reason this race is, and will continue to be, the greatest 26.2 in the world.
One of the highlights of the greatest race on earth.

One of the highlights of the greatest race on earth.

  • Moving to the beach. Let’s face it. This view doesn’t suck.
My backyard and daily running route.

My backyard and daily running route.

  • Returning to full-time student status. For so long there were so many reservations about returning to school full time: I can’t leave a full-time job. I can’t go back to bar tending. I can’t go back to wearing yoga pants 5 days a week. Turns out, I can, I did, and my lulus have never looked better or felt more loved.
  • I got Kooienga’d (or as the rest of the world calls it- Engaged) By far, the highlight of 2013 was saying ‘Yes’ when Jim got down on one knee (and was still a little taller than me). As much as I love my new bling, it means nothing in comparison to the security and comfort of knowing that I get to wake up to my best friend every day for the rest of my life. No one has ever supported me in the way he has, and I don’t think many men would have stood by me through the bad months of 2013. In short, my future husband rules.
Our engagement party was so good it gives me hope I can have a real wedding without a panic attack. Almost...

Lesson from our Engagement Party: In 4″ heels, I make it to shoulder height with Jim. When he bends one knee really far.

  • Oh… and one new announcement… We have a new addition to the family! No, I’m not pregnant. But back to that whole “my fiancé rules” thing? Jim had to work Christmas but came home this weekend and told me we needed to go car shopping. Apparently “car shopping” was a rouse to get me to the middle of nowhere to a breeders house where the new little love of my life was waiting for me! We pick him up for good on Thursday and I couldn’t be more excited. Name is TBD, but I’m still gunning for Manning. It fits. He’s a winner.
I need a name!

I need a name!

The not so pleasant moments

  • Having our first home purchase fall through… On closing day. Yeah, that sucked. A lot. But it allowed us to move to the beach and have some serious freedom which we have used to our advantage these past few months. 
  • The rest of April 15, 2013. I have never been more terrified, grateful or selfish than I was in those hours after 2:50pm. Jim called at 2:54 and told me what had happened. The hours of blocked cell reception while he walked 5 miles to get me were some of the worst of my life. Not knowing where my loved ones were, what was happening and feeling so helpless were awful. That day changed my life forever in good ways and bad.
  • The month following April 15, 2013. Jim and I didn’t sleep through the night for weeks. I would wake up at 3:02 on the dot for weeks, frantically squeezing to make sure Jim was there. Then I would lie there and… think. Jim was always either already awake by the time I shot up or was holding on to me so tight I had to wake him up so I could breathe. We watched the news in the middle of the night (probably not the best idea) and reminded each other how lucky we were. We both still wake up some nights a little frantic, but we’re getting there.
  • Being reminded the hard why to be grateful every single day for the freedoms we take for granted. This week saw one of the bad moments as well. Losing a high school classmate who was serving in Afghanistan. His bravery, service and love for life remind me just how much I truly have to be grateful for. Semper Fi Danny, may you rest in the sweetest peace.

Looking ahead to 2014 I have no resolutions. I don’t want to eat less, exercise more, do more charity work or hold a plank for an ungodly amount of time. My only hope for 2014 is to remember all I learned in 2013 and truly enjoy the little things every day. Find joy in the mundane and thank God for everything I’ve been blessed with. And with that…

Happy New Year! 

A Christmas of Perspective

As the years go by we look back at the holidays each year and remember them for different reasons. When you’re little it’s normally tied to the year you got “that gift” that you later can’t believe your parents spent three hours searching (and eventually bribing the business savvy teenager working) Toys-R-Us for. You get older and the meaning of the holidays takes true form and you remember the people you spent it with. The first holiday spent with a significant others family. The first Christmas at your new house. You get the point.

This year was supposed to be the first year we spent Christmas with Jims family in Michigan, and our first holiday season as an engaged couple. Then, last Saturday Jim got a phone call from work. He was needed to work the ice storms in upstate New York and had to leave. NOW. Twenty minutes later he was on the road with a bag packed for a week and our holiday plans were ruined.

Thankfully my family lives an hour away so I had fallback plans. Even knowing I truly wouldn’t be alone for the holidays I was still bummed that our week together was taken away. With his new job as a lineman, my work and school schedules and, you know, life; we haven’t been able to spend much time together lately. I was in the midst of a self-pity party when a Facebook post forced everything into perspective for me.

Monday morning a high-school classmate of mine who has been serving as a Marine in Afghanistan (on his third tour) was KIA. He leaves behind a beautiful wife he has been with since high school, a loving family and more friends than anyone could count. My small hometown has been rocked and devastated by his passing and the loss of a true hero in this world.

Immediately I felt so petty and terrible for the pity-party I had been having for myself. No, Jim wouldn’t be home for Christmas. But he will be home. Which is something I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful for.

Hold your loved ones a little closer this holiday. If there’s someone you didn’t get to see, just give them a call to say you’re thinking of them. Send a card. And above all, be grateful.

Merry (belated) Christmas Everyone!  

I’m Busy. And Engaged.

Yesterday I talked about the past. The past two Boston Marathons, the past few months and the uncertainty of the road ahead. Well, in terms of running there’s uncertainty. One thing in my life is very certain in this moment.

I’m getting married.

Jim proposed the day after my birthday back in October. I know, it’s been a while and I still haven’t written about it. I just wanted to let it all sink in and enjoy the ride a bit. I won’t bore you with all the details, but the basics are that he proposed in our living room at 11am on a Friday while I was wearing sweatpants and no makeup. That’s how I know he meant it.

Since then we have been fielding all the regular questions (which no one prepares you for pre-engagement) so I’ll answer the basics here.

  • We have no date.
  • We have no location.
  • The theme of our wedding is “We’re getting married so we threw a party. Enjoy”
  • I am the worst bride-to-be ever.

I guess some little girls dream about their weddings from the time they’re little. I always figured I’d elope. I was never against the idea of a wedding and don’t judge people who have a very specific idea in mind or plan. I’m just not one of them. Since Jim is firmly against the idea of elopement (his argument is you never meet a person who says ‘I really regret having my family and friends at my wedding’) I am now blindly attempting to plan a wedding. We got through our engagement party without any problems so it gives me a little more hope I can pull this off somehow.

With the help of these amazing folks, I just might pull this off.

With the help of these amazing folks, I just might pull this off. Jim creeping in the background is my favorite part of this pic. 

 

I have done one thing. I hired a personal trainer.

This decision was personal and is not necessary for every bride. The way I thought about it was I know how to run marathons. I know how to attend Group Power classes and downward dog at Yoga. I have no idea how to schedule these workouts and tone the right areas that need to be toned for a wedding dress. And since the dress and the photos are the only two things that matter to me, I guess I should consult with someone who does.

For the time being, we’re meeting once a week starting January 1 and doing Pilates while I do my marathon training and strength work on my own. Weddings are expensive and a trainer is a luxury, not a necessity. So we compromised.

Other than that exciting news, I’m still in school and working towards my Masters, substitute teaching and bartending. Adding marathon training, blogging and wedding planning on top of it, I’m a busy girl.  So apologies in advance if I miss a few days here or there. I’m trying, I promise.

To keep you in the loop, here are this weeks workouts. It incorporates the first week of marathon training (beginner schedule for me this year. I am terrified of over training again and blowing something a couple weeks before Marathon Monday), strength training from my trainer and cardio cross training.

Monday: 1 mile, easy run

Tuesday: 1 mile, easy run

Wednesday: 45 minute elliptical followed by 45 minute Group Power Class

Thursday: 1.5 mile tempo run

Friday: One hour spin class, 45 minute Group Power Class

Saturday: 2 mile (long) run

Sunday: 45 minutes on the elliptical

 

So that’s what I’ll be up to! How about you? Did you start training for a Spring marathon this week? Am I seeing you in Hopkinton? I want to hear from you!

Third Time’s The Charm

Today is the first day of my 2014 Boston Marathon Training schedule. And I woke up to this.

Festive- yes. Convenient? No.

Festive- yes. Convenient? No.

Ever since I got the news back in May that I’d be returning to the start line of Boston to finish what I started back in 2011, I’ve had mixed feelings. While I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to finish the Boston Marathon there is part of my mind that keeps going back to the “What if…” scenarios. No, I’m not worried about another terrorist attack on the marathon. My concerns are more personal, more targeted.

If you’re fairly new to the blog, I’ll give you some background. In 2011 I was accepted to run the Boston Marathon for Children’s Hospital Boston. I was beyond thrilled and followed the training plan down to the mile all season long. Every Saturday morning was dedicated to long runs, I didn’t go out socially if it would impact my running in any way and I was determined to cross the finish line in sub-4 hours. Everything was going perfectly according to plan until the team 21-miler four weeks before the marathon. My IT band in my right leg seized up so badly I didn’t make it past the 5 mile mark and I was sidelined for the rest of the training schedule. I went to yoga almost daily, got a cortisone shot and was still mentally prepared to run the full 26.2.

That was the plan, until the forecast came out. 88 degrees on race day for an asthmatic is already a worst-case-scenario; but for one who hasn’t trained properly for the past month, it’s a death sentence. Within 5 minutes of the announcement of the deferral option from the BAA my phone was ringing off the hook. My coach, saying it was the smart option for me. My doctors office gleefully explaining that I no longer “had to put myself through it” this year. And finally Jim, trying to calmly explain that this really was the best option and no one could fault me for doing what was in the best interest of my health.

So deferment it was. I was sad. I was angry. I was ready for 2013 training.

Unfortunately by the time 2013 training rolled around, I was not mentally prepared for it. We were in the midst of buying our first home (via shortsale- a process I do not recommend for anyone), I changed jobs and went back to bartending (which ate up most of my weekend time) and “training” consisted of fitting in the occasional 5-miler whenever I could get to it. It wasn’t ideal, but I still felt ready for April 15 when it rolled around.

We know what happened that day. I’m not getting into it again. The end result is that today, I’m staring down another Boston Marathon training season.

My body is healthy, my mind is burnt out from school but looking forward to working marathon training into my fitness regimen again. My worry has nothing to do with my ability to train properly or balance my running with my life. It’s the unexpected that I’m worried about. The thing that might stop me from crossing that finish line yet again that I couldn’t possibly imagine in this moment.

The what-if’s.

I know all of us who were there on April 15 are dealing with these emotions in different ways. Most of us are grateful to return, some of us are nervous. Others feel it’s their rightful place and some are just going back because they think it’s what they’re “supposed to do” to help themselves fully heal. No matter what we say, I think few if any of us have any idea how we’ll feel in Hopkinton that morning.

I’m looking forward to sharing this training season with you more than any other. At times I’m sure I’ll be exhausted and wonder why I chose to put myself through this again. At times I’ll be elated on a runner high and remind myself I never want to NOT be doing this, and at times I’ll forget to blog at all because I’ll have fallen asleep at 2pm after an 18-miler morning. Mentally, I want to take each run as it comes and deal with the emotions of it all on April 21, 2014.

At the finish line.