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 worst...in 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 other.....it 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 possible...so for now I will enjoy every fight, argument, and gut busting laugh.....it 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 off...my 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 Jackson...one 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


So....today 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!

So...off 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 causes....you 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 run...it 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 crazy...it 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...