Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Perfect Fall Day

This is where I am privileged to run every week with great matter the weather. Fall is my favorite. I am so blessed!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What next?

Running is about finding your inner peace, and so is a life well lived.
Dean Karnazes

My mantra from now on is "Forward is a Pace". So I will keep moving forward....but where to? What is the goal? Where is my final destination? Right now I have more questions than answers.

For now I will keep moving forward...enjoying the sun on my face, the wind in my hair and my dog by my side again....running for the sheer love of the run. Searching for a destination but enjoying each step of the journey....searching for a peace of my sole.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Forward is a Pace!

“I've learned that finishing a marathon isn't just an athletic achievement. It's a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible.” John Hanc, running writer

Well...I did it! I have the aches and pains to prove it. I did not set any records nor did I come close but I FINISHED! I finished with my head high and a smile on my face! I got through it with the help of some very special angels on my shoulders....or under my feet helping with each step!

I got up at 4 on Sunday and was chauffeured downtown by a friend. My running buddy and I were dropped off and chose to walk the 2 blocks to the Congress Hotel where we would meet our fellow runners. The streets were alive with the activity of runners and spectators. We arrived at the hotel, met up with our friends, ate a little something, used the bathroom and then it was time for prayer.

We headed for our start corral about 7am to wait for the start of the race. It was a beautiful morning! We watched the sun rise over Buckingham Fountain as we waited for the race to begin and chatted with other runners. At 7:30 we heard the start gun go off yet it would take us about 30 additional minutes to get to the actual starting line to begin our run. We crossed the starting line and we were off….the beginning of the last part of my journey had begun.

The first few miles went well until my friend realized she had forgotten her inhaler. While running we made a few quick phone calls (thank goodness for cell phones!) and made arrangements for the inhaler to show up at mile 14. Now we just had to get that far. We slowed our pace a bit and kept moving forward.

Running through Lincoln Park a little boy stuck out his hand for a ‘slap’ as I ran by. I had slapped him ‘five’ and kept running. I heard him tell his dad, “That lady slapped me five. A real Marathoner slapped me five, Dad!” “WOW! The kid thinks I am a real marathoner” I thought to myself!!

Moving into mile 7 I saw a man dressed in full fatigues with a pack on his back. I caught up to him at the water area and as he slowed, I could read what was pinned to his pack….he was running in his brother’s fatigues because his brother had been killed in Afghanistan a year earlier. I was crying as I looked at him and just said, “Wow!” “That is all I need,” he replied as he disappeared into the crowd of runners.

At mile 13 we met up with a member of our running group who had planned to run with us about 10 miles. She was welcome support! She kept us talking and moving in the right direction. Forward!

Mile 14 finally arrived and my friend got her inhaler from my husband….and he got a bear hug from her! Jack ran into my arms and yelling “Yea Mommy!” The rest of my kids were there cheering along with my ‘other daughters’! I am blessed with the greatest support team a girl could ask for! We took a few pictures and I was off again. A few yards away the Girls On The Run group saw me and slapped a bracelet on me that said “Dream. Run. Celebrate.” Words to keep me moving...forward!

We headed out and then back into the city and onto mile 16. At this point I saw my dad and beyond him my mom and my Aunt Vicki. They were so happy to see me looking good at this point in the run. Hugs and kisses and I was off again ….only to see my husband, his cousin, and all the kids again about a half a mile further down the course! This time I did not stop…I waved and headed towards the tough part of the course....forward.

At mile 17 there were two men sitting on the grass with carbon graphite running prosthesis. They were icing their legs….and then passed me a short while later. Just another reason to keep moving forward.

At this point the alert level had gone from yellow to red…meaning severe conditions. I was in the difficult part of the course as there is little to no shade, no relief from the heat and the crowds are scarce. I kept moving forward.

At mile 19 there were firefighters spraying the runners with water. What a welcome relief! My feet got soaked and I knew this meant blisters in my future but at that point the only thing that mattered was a cool down!

Finally I saw the marker for mile 20. I knew the end was in sight I just had to keep moving forward. Every medical tent I passed was filled with runners in distress. I lost count of the times I had to move to the side so that an ambulance could pass. I realized that I had stopped sweating and was so very hot. It was at this point I had to make a choice. I could continue on at my pace and risk injury, I could slow down and finish, or I could walk into the nearest medical tent and quit. Quitting is not something I considered for anything longer than a split second. I had come too far …….I decided to slow down and finish. Forward is a pace. I had been moving forward all day…now it was time to move forward a little slower.

At Mile 22 I saw runners from my group again. This was so great! They gave me a hug and told me to keep moving forward. I knew I could have sat down right then and there and called it a day…but didn’t! I turned onto Michigan Avenue and headed towards the finish line.

This is the part of the course that always gets to me…it is lined with pictures of fallen police officers. This is so moving for me as I worry about my husband and his friends every day….I also know that 3 additional pictures were added this year as three more officers had given the ultimate sacrifice…they had given their lives in the line of duty this year. I started to pray the rosary and kept moving forward ….

At mile 24 I passed a man who was running wearing a giant Eiffel Tower. I have no idea why he was wearing it or running with it on but it made me giggle as I continued moving forward.

There were three young men at mile 25 made me laugh so hard I started to cry. I had moved as far to the side of the street as possible to find some shade and relief from the heat. They saw me coming and started singing, “Kris is gonna finish! Go Kris” over and over. I soldiered on forward laughing……towards the HILL!

I turned the corner and faced my last challenge…Mount Roosevelt. As I headed up the hill, I knew this was the end. I knew I could finish! I crested the hill and turned the corner. There it was……the finish line! I tapped into the last bit of energy I had left and started running again…forward….as fast as my worn out legs would carry me.

I crossed the finish line and was met by a wonderful high school volunteer who, as he put the medal around my neck, said, “Dang, Girl! You did it! You finished! I could never do what you just did!” “Yes you can!” I replied, “Never say never!” and I moved to the next volunteer who wrapped me in a warming blanket and on to water…….then I got a text. It was from one of my girls….’Tears of joy, Mommy! I am so proud of you!’ I spent the next few minutes in tears trying to explain to the medical team that I was fine, just crying tears of joy that I had done it….I had finished a marathon….a second time!

What a day! What a journey! My first marathon was all about the finish. The goal was to get across the finish line. This time the journey was so much more important. Crossing the finish line was icing on the cake.

On this journey I learned so many things about myself. Every lesson learned got me to the finish. I learned that I am a better, stronger, smarter runner/person than I was a year ago. I learned that people can change you for the better in a split second. I learned that a finish time is just that...numbers on the clock. Sometimes other things are more important than the numbers. I showed my kids...all of them...that quitting is not an option. If you work towards a goal you can achieve way or another. I realized that I did something that many people can’t do, won’t ever start...or finish....I ran a marathon...TWICE!

Thank you to all of you for your months of encouragement, generous donations, and abundant prayers. I am forever changed......
A mom
A teacher
A 2 TIME marathon FINISHER!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Putting things into Perspective

I have spent the day putting things into perspective after the marathon yesterday. Several people helped me see things more clearly and then I was sent this from a friend. It is am Erma Bombeck piece. Life is full of signs....I do not ever want to live with any Could Haves, Should Haves and Would Haves....

"I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the “good” living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television, and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love you’s.” More “I’m sorry’s.”

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look at it and really see it… live it… and never give it back.

Stop sweating the small stuff. Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what.

Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who DO love us.

Let’s think about what God HAS blessed us with.

And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, as well as spiritually.

Life is too short to let it pass you by.

We only have one shot at this and then it’s gone."
Erma Bombeck

Life is what you make it...get out there and live it!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part
"the Waiting" Tom Petty

The waiting is the hardest part....the running few if no miles, the lack of structure, the lack of endorphins, the lack of stress relief.....all add up to a stressed out, frustrated, nervous running momma!

I visited the expo yesterday and picked up my number. I met some old friends, met some new friends, picked up lots of samples and goodies for my children. It was good to be on my own for a bit. I think the time alone in the car on the way into the city was priceless to me. This year I felt like I knew what I was doing and where I was going. I felt comfortable instead of like an outsider. I felt like a member of the club.

So now I am home and waiting....I am waiting and wondering what tomorrow will bring. I have waited and trained and prepared for this day for so is hard to believe that in a few hours the waiting will finally be over.....

Monday, October 4, 2010

Angels Among Us

"I believe there are angels among us, sent down to us from somewhere up above. They come to you and me in our darkest hours. To teach us how to live, to show us how to give, to guide us with the light of love. They wear so many faces, show up in the strangest places, and grace us with their mercy in our time of need. Oh, I believe there are angels among us." -from "Angels Among Us" by Alabama

Look for angels. Be an angel to someone in need.

Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.--Anonymous


Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.
~Ruth Ann Schabacker

This past weekend was all about gifts. My daughter turned 15 on Saturday and there were many gifts! Most of the gifts were those that did not come wrapped in pretty paper or tied with pretty ribbons. There were so many gifts of friendship and love to mention.

However, I think I was the biggest recipient of gifts. I received the best gift in my daughter. She is so responsible, practical, and really the best friend a girl could ask for. It is a joy to be her mother and watch her grow. There is never a dull moment when she is around. She makes my life exciting. She is the trailblazer for her siblings as she forces me into new and uncharted parenting territory on a daily basis. She challenges me to be a better parent at every turn. We are so alike (much to her dismay) in so many ways yet different in others. I envy her at times with her circle of friends, love of life and joy with which she approaches life most days. She is studious and has great attention to detail that I do not. She really is a great kid and I am blessed to be her mom.

We may never really realize the gifts we receive on a daily basis. There are so many times I have to stop and acknowledge the gift before the moment escapes me. I am so blessed in so many ways. I am so abundantly gifted!

Yesterday is a memory.

Tomorrow is a mystery.

Today is a gift.

That’s why they call it the present.

Go unwtie some ribbons......

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Countdown's On!

"Standing there alone
the ship is waiting
all systems are go
are you sure?
control is not convinced
but the computer
has the evidence
"no need to abort"
the countdown starts"
Major Tom - Peter Schilling

This is it! Only 9 more days until the marathon! I am getting a bit nervous but I know that this is is Taper Madness.

During the taper the miles decrease and the time spent NOT running increases. This causes fear, dread, and panic. More time to think about what can go wrong. More time to catch up on things put aside due to training. More time to wonder what will happen AFTER the Marathon.

I am in that space now. Trying to catch up on things and trying not to think about the 'What if's' of next week. I am trying not to eat too much. One thing about running it really curbs the appetite (also allows me more leverage with what I eat). When I am not running my mind often drifts to food! I love FOOD!

So...this is it. All systems are go. Control (my brain) is not convinced. The Compter (my body) has the evidence and says no need to abort. The Countdown Starts.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Life is Overwhelming!

Wow! Life sure is overwhelming! The milage has ramped up, school is in full swing, Girls On the Run has started, and it is football season. All these things chew away at my time and energy. Just when I feel like it is not worth it and it is all too much....amazing things happen to remind me what is important.

Today is the birthday of my youngest daughter. It is a day filled with music, treats and balloons. She is the light in my eyes. She has a spark and an edge that challenge me on my best and worst days. She has a smile that can light up a room. She has a spirit that never gives up and never gives in. She has a positive body image and positive outlook that I have never possessed. She has the most tender heart and a soft spirit that endear her to everyone around her. She is such a gift to me. I am blessed every day to be her mother.

My children never cease to amaze me. Each and every day is new and different. They are growing and changing faster than I would like most days but they are becoming such wonderful human beings that it is hard to believe they are my children.

There are times when I feel so overwhelmed by life and all that it takes to get through a day......then something wonderful happens. Most times it is a minor thing that only I notice but it is there...a sign that it is worth it....every day is worth it.

So when life gets overwhelming...look for the little things....every day IS worth it!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Life is in the journey, not the destination

Life is in the journey, not the destination, so do what you can and take it one day at a time. Go slow, do it right, and make your changes permanent — then help out others who are where you were.

Friday, August 13, 2010

When the going gets tough....

Last week marked the half way point in my training program. Now is when the going gets tough.

The miles ramp up and the reality that the marathon is only but a few short weeks away sets in. This is the time that the training program tests you. This is the time that you need to really focus on the end result. This is the time when the nagging doubt sets in. This is the time that things get tough.

This training season has been very different for me. I am training with a group on the weekends and am learning about my pace and enjoying the company of other runners. I am doing more cross training and walking on days off. I am doing more runs on the treadmill to work on speed and pace. I am more aware of my eating habits and food intake...what works and what doesn't. I feel slower but stronger than last year.

Last week was tough. I did not want to run. It was no fun. It was sheer work. It was torture some days to get through the miles. I had to keep my eyes on the prize so to speak. I got through each mile but they were not pleasant nor meaningful.....or so I thought!

I did some reflecting on those tough miles last week and realized that I had felt the same way during other parts of my life for example the last month of pregnancy as well as miles 20-24 of last years marathon. end in way out. Quitting not an option.

These are the times that test you. Test your fortitude. Test your strength both mental and physical. Test your heart and soul.

When the going gets tough.......I run.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Main Reasons I Train/Run a Marathon

the main rasons I train for and run a marathon are clear to I would like to share them with you. My training has been a long, difficult road but nothing compared to the road a parent of a child with special gifts walks each and every day. I am running this Marathon for many reasons. I am running to raise funds for the Alexander Leigh Center for Autism and Girls On The Run. I am running to raise awareness of autism. I am running for every girl’s positive self image. I am running to honor my hero, Kelly Weaver, her daughter, Gillian Weaver, and all other children with special gifts, as well as all girls everywhere.

I am running to raise funds for the Alexander Leigh Center for Autism and Girls On The Run. Here is where I really need your help. Both charities are in need of financial assistance. My goal is to raise $1,000 for each charity.
You can make a donation directly to the school here
Donations to Girls On The Run may be made directly at this site.
Please be sure to mention my name when making your donation!
To learn more about the school, please visit their website
To learn more about Girls On The Run go to

I am running to raise awareness of autism. Did you know that one out of every 150 children born this year will be diagnosed with autism? Did you know more children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined? Autism costs the nation 90 billion dollars per year and the cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention. There is no medical detection or cure for autism.

I am running for every girl’s positive self image. Girls on the Run is a life-changing, experiential learning program for girls age eight to thirteen years old. The program combines training for a 3.1 mile running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. The goal of the program is to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development. Girls on the Run promotes physical as well as emotional, mental and character development. The girls complete the program with a stronger sense of identity, a greater acceptance of themselves, a healthier body image and an understanding of what it means to be part of a team. As a coach for two seasons, I have seen the positive outcomes of this program. These girls inspire me!

I am running to honor my hero, Kelly Weaver, her daughter, Gillian Weaver, and all other children with special gifts. Eleven year old Gillian Weaver is autistic. Gillian’s father, Kevin Weaver, passed away from an undiagnosed brain tumor when Gilly was very young. Kelly, now a single mom, has opened a school for Gillian and other autistic children. The Alexander Leigh Center for Autism was founded by Dorie Hoevel and Kelly Weaver, who are both parents of children with autism. These two dedicated mothers have created a place where children can reach their full individual potential, in a caring and safe environment, a place where each child's differences are what make them special.
I run for each of my own children, the children I teach, the children that face frustration of autism, the children who doubt themselves, all children who daily face challenges no matter how big or small. As some of you know, music is a large part of my life. I am going to compile a playlist of musical inspiration to keep me moving during my long runs and workouts. I want to be reminded of each and every reason I run. If you have a song you think would be a good addition, let me know!

Last but not least, I would ask for your prayers. I would ask that you pray for The Alexander Leigh Center for Autism, that this school will continue to be a place where each child can reach their full potential. I ask that you pray for the young women who participate in Girls On The Run that they gain a strong sense of identity. I would ask that you pray for my children as well as the children I teach, that they may grow in wisdom and understanding. I would ask that you pray for all runners and me on race day so that we finish safely. Finally, I would ask that you pray not only for children with special gifts, but their parents as well. They all face challenges each and every day that many of us will never know nor understand.

Please forward this link on to anyone that might want to help!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What are you going to be today?

Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'
Peter Maher

Today I was stronger than usual. I got up and out of bed early....that was the hard part. Getting dressed and ready for a run once I had left the comfort of my bed was not too difficult. Once out on the pavement and with a buddy, the miles just ticked away. Just 3 today in the thick early morning air...but 3 more to add to the bank that gets this mind and body ready for October.

Training for this marathon has been different in so many ways from last year. Joining a group, creating new relationships with other runners, and seeing a new perspective on training have been just a few of the benefits. I was so keyed into my training last year that I had to run every mile by the book...never long and never short. I am beginning to realize that every run is one that adds to the bank and, while not every run is a good run, they all add up. I am also learning more about myself and my pace. I am learning to listen to my body more than ever. I am learning that rest is good. Rest is important... I do not have to be doing something every minute of the day! One of the biggest things I have realized is that running does not CLEAR my head....running allows me to sort through things in order to be a better mom, wife, friend, teacher....

I already know that I am strong enough to run a marathon...once....however, am I strong enough to run a marathon a second or third time? Only time will tell but for today I was strong...strong enough to get out of bed and run!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

In Memory....

Today's nasty, hot, muggy, sweat, miserable 5 mile run was dedicated to the memory of PO Thor Soderberg who was killed in the line of duty yesterday. My discomfort was nothing compared to the loss and discomfort his wife, family and friends feel at this time.

People ask how the wives and families of police, firefighters, military personnel and other first responders do they live with the fear. I can speak for myself when I say that I put it out of my mind. I trust my husband and his partners to keep each other safe. It is nights like last night that bring the fear back home. When the phone rings late at night my hair stands up on the back of my neck. I worry....always....but put it out of my mind to get through the day. If I let the worry and fear consume me, I would never leave the house. I pray...a lot....for all those who put their lives on the line each and every day to keep us safe and protect our freedoms. They do not take risks alone as each has a family and friends they long to return to at the end of each tour of duty.

So today...and every day... thank a first responder or military person. Thank someone for putting their life on the line to keep you and your family safe...because yesterday Chicago lost one of its Finest and Bravest and a family lost a loved one.

We will never forget.....

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I am what I am

Slow-but-sure has always worked for me, in running and in most other arenas. I wouldn't mind being a Carl Lewis or Usain Bolt, but I've found little payoff in attempting to be what I'm not.
Amby Burfoot

Being what you are. Feeling comfortable in your own skin. This is something it took me years to understand and I am still not totally there yet.

After a wonderful long, hot and hilly 9 miler with my cousin (who is MUCH younger and faster than me) I began to think about what it is to be. Just be. She is so confident...getting ready to spend a year in Thailand traveling and teaching. Leaving her comfort zone and experiencing life. Taking a leap of faith. 44 I have begun to realize who I am...I am slow...but I am sure that there is great payoff in being just who and what I am...just being me.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Forever Young

“Having a child is like pouring Miracle-Gro on your character defects.” Anne Lamott

This morning's run was a short pleasant run with my puppy. She does not get out with me much, especially in the summer as it is too hot and my miles long. She gets angry when I fail to take her along. Her sheer joy as she is leashed up and heading out the door with me is a sight that would make anyone smile! She is a great running buddy!

On my run this morning I thought about..... Kids.....they are a blessing and a curse! They do bring out the best and worst in me! I love my kids...don't get me wrong...but there are times they make me nuts! There are times I go to the bathroom and lock the door just to be alone for 2 seconds. There are times my patience is way to short and I allow my temper to flare. Many would like us to believe that mothering is all sunshine and roses. That may be true for others but...well ....for me that is not the case! The summer brings out the best and all of us here in my house! The fighting, arguing, tattling, teasing, yelling and screaming all begin to wear me down. However there are moments of pure joy. There are gut busting, tear inducing laughs that feel so good!

The summer allows the kids to get bored and then find things to do...not always good things...but hey, that is part of the fun! The summer allows kids time to do things we don't have time for during the school year. The summer allows us to slow down and enjoy each allows me to get reacquainted with my kids!

There are moments of sheer joy in the summer....
-My daughter painting my toenails yellow.
-Long discussions with my 12 year old over Edward vs. Jacob (Twilight Saga)
-My older daughter putting together a playlist for me to discover new music. (Who knew I liked Jay-Z or the new Eminem?!)
-Listening to my son's stories of camp.
-Teaching the kids to play backgammon.
-Mancala tournaments.
-Time to enjoy a drink with my husband and talk about more than just the kids.

I wish that they could stay forever young (to quote Jay-Z and Mr. Hudson) but I know that is not for now I will enjoy every fight, argument, and gut busting is all good!

Friday, June 25, 2010


I have to make myself take a day off. I get addicted, and I feel guilty if don't run. I have to remember it's the recovery days when you actually get stronger. When you take a day off, you can run fast and hard next time you get out there.

Danica Patrick, Professional race-car driver

Wise advice but difficult. Today is a rest/recovery day. Tomorrow will be the shortest 'long run' of training...5 miles. I do feel lazy and sluggish when I don't run but need to remind myself that my body needs time to recover from the torture I put it through on a daily basis. So, while my brain may not like the day body sure enjoys the time to repair and recover...and prepare for the next run.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I praise God for I am wonderfully made.

I praise God, for I am wonderfully made.
Psalm Ps 139:1b-3, 13-14ab, 14c-15

O LORD, you have probed me, you know me:
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.
My soul also you knew full well;
nor was my frame unknown to you
When I was made in secret,
when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth.

This was today's Responsorial psalm when I took my daughter to serve Mass this morning. I thought it so thought provoking that I reread it and meditated on it during my run this morning (3 miles).

I praise God for I am wonderfully made. I often fail to realize that I am wonderfully made. I complain of all that is not working properly or not looking like that of a model. I wonder why things do not work the way i wish them too nor look as I would like. I must focus on the fact that I do many things others can not. I am allowed to do things others dream of accomplishing.

I praise God for I am wonderfully made. I can create life where there was none before (with the help of my spouse) and nurture that life inside me. I can feed that life once birthed like no other. I can continue to guide and nurture that life for as long as my child will allow me to do so.

I praise God for I am wonderfully made. I can run...not barely more....I can run. I can cover distances no one...not even me ....thought possible. I am able to get up out of bed and use my body to its fullest.

I praise God for I am wonderfully made. I may not be perfect in my own eyes but I am perfect in the eyes of my Creator. I must praise His holy name as I am wonderfully made.

What do praise God for? How are you wonderfully made?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.

Muhammad Ali

I thought about courage as I ran today. What is courage? What does it take to have courage? When do we exhibit courage?

I see courage in the face of the parts of children with autism and other special gifts. I will never know the challenges these parents and children face fist hand but as I look at them, I see courage. Courage to face whatever comes their way. Courage to care for a child that is in need 24/7/365. Courage to give 100% of themselves all the time. They are heroes to me.

I see courage when I look into the faces of the girls I teach, coach and mother. The life of a girl is so much harder than when I was growing up. There are so many more pressures. There are so many more expectations. There are so many more challenges for girls today. We are a society obsessed with appearances. Girls are forced into a 'box'. If girls do not look, act and dress like the others, they are teased, make fun of and bullied....not only by other girls, but by boys and adults as well. There are so many ways for children to get bullied now. They can not have a 'safe zone' to escape and quiet the nasty voices. I see courage in these girls when they stand up for themselves and stand up for others in order to quiet these nasty voices. It is no easy task to stand up for yourself. It is no easy task to stand up for another person, but these girls stand up! They have learned empathy and feel this for the bully. It is up to all of us to help girls learn to love themselves for who they are RIGHT NOW....something I did not learn until I was older. If I had learned that lesson at a younger age, perhaps I would have been more courageous in my life. Instead, I tried to fit in the 'box' and never had the courage to step out and like myself.

Courage....what does it look like to you?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

(Not So) Rest Day!

Today is scheduled to be a rest day. Well...that is sort of an oxymoron around here....I rarely have time for rest!

We had scheduled a grad party/Father's Day party for the family today. I was running around getting everything done for the party...and thank goodness I ran errands early. I was making the salad and cutting veggies when I stabbed my hand (I was looking away telling the kids what chore to do next) and blood was everywhere. There went the salad and I went to the ER. 2.5 hours and 3 stitches later I returned just in time to shower and get ready to welcome guests looking a bit like Michael glove and all! I was blessed to be using a very sharp and specially shaped knife that minimized the damage to my hand! No tendon, ligament, and nerve damage...thank heavens!

After a successful party I am finally sitting down having a drink and starting to feel the pain...hoping the drink helps ease some of that pain!!

Here's to a 'not so' restful rest day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

BEST DAY EVAH! has been a great day and it is not over yet! I ran with the group today...well...It was just my pace leader and me today. We had a great run and chatted as we ran. I realized that she was as big a Hawks fan as me....well...perhaps not as big as me but she knew her hockey! We ran and chatted some more and by the time we were done I was BEAT but we realized that we ran a SUB 3 today! Great for us...ahead of pace! BONUS!

Then I came home, showered and changed, and headed to local Park for a date.....with LORD STANLEY! Yup...that's right, John McDonough brought the cup home to My little corner of the world! It was so exciting to be that close to the cup...only thing that would have made it better would have been to actually touch it! to clean and prepare for a party tomorrow......what a day! I am still living Lord Stanley's Dream.....what a great life!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I Run....

I run for many reasons...the main reason I run is for my own sanity! There are times when my kids ask, "Mom, do you need to go for a run?" like running is a magic pill that makes me feel better. There are times it does feel that way.

I run because I can...really....there are so many people that can't run...that can't move. So I run for them. I run to set a good example for my kids. I run so that I can live a longer (more time to torment my kids!!) and healthier (less of a burden) life. I run the marathon for two charities...Alexander Leigh Center for Autism and Girls on the Run.

ALCA is a unique place. The Alexander Leigh Center for Autism is a 501(c)(3) non profit, developmental learning center and therapeutic day school for children with autistic spectrum disorders. The Alexander Leigh Center for Autism was founded by two mothers both parents of children with autism. One of these moms, Kelly Weaver, is a good friend and I run for her daughter Gillian. She is my hero! The two dedicated mothers are determined to create a place where children can reach their full individual potential, in a caring and safe environment, a place where each child's differences are what make them special. To provide an environment where children on the autistic spectrum can develop their potential academically, emotionally, socially, communicatively, physically and gain functional independence using programs and methods that are selected for each child based on their individual needs.

Girls on the Run is a life-changing, experiential learning programs for girls age eight to thirteen years old. The programs combine training for a 3.1 mile running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. The goals of the programs are to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development. I am a coach for this program and have seen the benefits firsthand.

If you would like to help either of these worthy could be a hero to any one of these kids...

Thank you in advance.

I run for many reasons....why do you run?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Here Comes the SUN!

The sun is out and already heating up the day. It was 68 degrees at the start of my run with high humidity. My run this morning was a short one but was one that was needed...more mentally than physically. The schedule called for 3 but I ran 4. Saw several people I know and stopped for a minute to say hello to a friend on the way to Mass. Funny, the only people up at that early hour are runners or the seniors! I say good morning to everyone I pass on my run. I ran the 'street loop' near my house just to be close to home. Took water and am glad I did as it was humid and I often forget to hydrate while running.

Now time to rehydrate and on to the rest of the day.....

Running is....

Running is so many things. Running is something different to each runner. Running is something that, unless you are a runner, few people understand. My 12 year old daughter really 'gets it'. She is a runner like me. She wrote an essay on running that I think sums it all up....

"Running is a challenge. Running is when you step out of your comfort zone to achieve your goals. Running is an individual sport. Running is about pushing yourself to do well. It is a personal game. It doesn't matter how fast you matters that it is fun and challenging. Running is a way of life. Either you like it or you don't. Running doesn't make runners makes us different and daring. That is what running is to me. In my dreams, I am a Kenyan!" Miss E

That little girl makes a momma proud! She is so very insightful. I can see the lessons of Girls on the Run sinking in. I can see that my actions speak louder than my words.

She understands the deeper meaning of running. She understands that it is more than just a workout. To her running is fun and exciting. To me running is my sanity. Running is my escape. Running is a way to clear my head and think things through. Running is a way to better myself and challenge myself. Running is a constant journey. Running just is....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Marathon Training Begins

So...this will be my second marathon. I trained for and ran Chicago last year alone. It was a trip. I knew others that were training and running and sought support from all kinds of sources but the bottom line was....I was on my own. I trained and finished and thought I did well...for my first attempt at a marathon.

My goal this year is not only to finish again but to do better than last time. This time I have enlisted the help of CARA (the Chicago Area Runners Association) Training team. We meet once during the week for midweek short runs and once on the weekend for the weekly long runs. We are following the same program I followed last year...the Hal Higdon plan.

Training began last week and last Saturday I had my first group run. What a riot! I have never run with others before....always just me, the dog and the iPod or me and the music. I headed straight towards the turtles in the back and what a time we had! I am not used to that much adult interaction and discussion. It was wonderful! At times I longed for the peace and quiet that comes with running alone but there is time for that during my weekly runs. I need to learn to run at a consistent pace.

Today was a 3 miler and had to be done on the DREADMILL! It was raining and stormy and while I do not mind the water...I do mind the lightening! I have made the treadmill my friend as we get together occasionally for runs. I have made peace with the machine as I need it as much as my running shoes! I would rather take to the DM than miss a run.

For crosstraining today I cleaned the 'junk room' and I think I must have gone up and down the stairs 50 times if I did it once! Time to relax and watch Jillian Michaels for some inspiration....

A New Start

This is a peace of my sole....part of me as I pound the pavement looking for some peace and sanity.....looking for my happy pace.

The blog will follow my training for a marathon while raising 5 kids, managing my house and working full time. It is a constant juggling act but everything always seems to work out in the end...for the best! It may not always be interesting or exciting but it is my life.

So...journey with me as I share a piece of me looking for peace, sanity and my happy pace...