Friday, June 28, 2013


Sunday was the Chicago Women's Half Marathon. I registered to run this a long time ago but now I
was no where near prepared. I needed something to motivate me to the finish so I asked my friends,  family and Facebook who would like a mile dedicated to them. The response was overwhelming!  Each mile was accounted for within minutes!

I wrote the miles and initials on my arm on race morning as a reminder of who and what and why I was running. It looked crazy but hey...I wear a tutu!  Crazy is who I am! We drove to the race site, prepped at the car and then walked to the start.

A bathroom stop then a large sign provided a place to meet other friends and take photos prior to race start. We soon lined up, listened to some speeches (some better/less frightening than others) and the National Anthem. Then the gun went off and we were on our way. I was excited to start and was running with a new friend. I wanted to have a good run but  knew right away I had started to fast. Now it was all about covering the miles and finishing.

Mile 1 - Newtown
One of the last things a women in our group did was kiss her son. This was her first half and she was unsure if she would see him before the start. I was reminded of all the parents who would never have this opportunity again....or ever. I ran the mile feeling blessed with sassy, smart, independent kids who never fail to drive me crazy yet make me burst with pride every day.
Mile 2 - LS/GS
Two of my favorite little girls. I love my god daughters.  They light up the any room they enter and the lives of many. This part of the course took me past the Lakefront. I thought about how much those 2 girls love the water. Some of the best times with them happen on a beach!
Mile 3 - ZK
My former student who still makes me proud every day. He was a handful back in 6th grade but has become a responsible young man who makes a difference. This part of the course took me past the Chicago Police Memorial which is fitting as Z's dad was CPD.
Mile 4 - LME
A running mom pal of mine. She has just started training for a half marathon and espouses my mantra, Forward is a Pace. I wanted to prove that forward really is a pace and I could finish.
Mile 5 - C/K/E/S/J
My kids. Through is all...good and bad...I love them with all my heart. They are one of the main reasons I run. I want to live a long time to enjoy them and make them as crazy as they make me.
Mile 6 - GL
Another former student. She was one tough cookie...and so was this mile. I knew it was going to take all I had to get through it just like I got through to her.  With a little tough love and a lot of just plain love...she turned around and now makes my so very proud every day. She gives back and helps others every single day.
Mile 7 - ALA
Oh my...I was ready to throw in the towel at this point. I wanted to quit. I wanted to raise the white flag and get a ride back....I was done. Then I heard a voice. It was loud and Italian and was yelling at me. I yelled back and for a whole mile we argued  and she yelled in Italian .... hand gestures and all!  I knew then there was no fighting her...she won. There was no quitting. I had to keep going.
Mile 8  - CA
My cousin. She and I have recently reconnected and I love it. Her mom, my aunt, was always one of my favorites. Funny, as I ran, the Journey song, "Be Good to Yourself" came on. C's mom took me to my first concert...JOURNEY. She got me my first concert tshirt and I thought I was so cool!  Memories flooded back and kept me moving....and smiling.
Mile 9 - SD
A running pal, firefighter, and cancer survivor. He is an amazing guy and great dad. Prayer is a large part of his life and so I prayed....for many things, mostly to finish.
Mile 10 - DM
Another running buddy and truly amazing man. He is a rockstar role model for runners and for dads everywhere. He can make the best of the worst situations....with a joke and a smile. He is a great cheerleader for everyone...especially our running group members.
Mile 11 - CW/BD
This mile was for 2 people. One is the son of an old friend. He is another great dad and first responder. He goes towards trouble when others run away. Funny that it was during his mile that I passed the firefighter statue and there was a woman receiving medical assistance as well.
The other person I was running this mile for was an unborn baby. A baby that is already blessed by the  love of many. This is one lucky little child whose extended family will never let those little baby feet touch the ground! I finished the mile running past the Police Memorial. Baby D's daddy is a cop and, like my own husband, knows too many names on that wall.
Mile 12 - DL
This mile was for an old teacher pal of mine. A man who loves his job, loves teaching and loves music. He is a reminder of the passion of teaching and learning. He is always so supportive and a plethora of information, as well as prayers. I was honored to run this mile for his intentions.
Mile 13 - My husband
Lucky 13. I ran this mile for my husband...the gambler. He took a bet to buy me a drink many years ago and has been betting on our future ever since. He is the backbone of the family and a true workhorse. This mile was really one of the toughest. I was so done. I kept thinking that our marriage is not easy. There are days I am done and there are days he is done... but we persevere. We keep going. We find the good and forget the bad. We need reminders, sometimes, as to why we keep going...and it was then that I pulled out my phone to check the time...and saw a text from my son, "I love you momma" . A reminder....
Mile 13.1 - GOTR
This short part of the run was for my Girls on the Run and all Girls on the Run past present and future. I ran as fast as I could to finish...just like they do. I ran with all my heart...just like they do. I rejoiced at the finish....just like they do.
The Finish Line - KW
I crossed the line and heaved a deep sigh. This was for my dear friend and hero, K. She is one of the most dedicated, determined, hard working, faith filled, fabulous women I know. Life is never easy for her but she makes it look easy and handles everything with such grace that I wanted to channel all that as I ... finally...crossed the finish line. I didn't want anyone to know that I had struggled or doubted ...I wanted to be strong...just like her.

This race was really NOT a race but more of an endurance event. It was so cathartic for me. I feel as though I sweat out all my doubts, worries and other bad 'stuff'. I had to push through and deal with many emotions but I just kept moving forward...pushing through it get to the other side. Forward was my pace and  I finished. Not fast. Not first. Not easy. But I finished....for all of you. Thank you for running the miles with me. Forward is a Pace. Peace.


Some days running gets the best of me. Last weekend I ran a very HOT half marathon. It was miserable. It was hot. I was unhappy. I was angry. It was my slowest time ever but I finished. I pushed through it all and finished. I didn't think I wanted to run after that so I put it off every day...until yesterday. I ran 5.5 miles and it was again...miserable. I was hot and I was ready to quit. I wanted to quit running forever and burn my running shoes as well as clothing. I decided to give it one more shot and try today. If it was bad...I was done forever.

Well today I got the best of running. I took off and was unsure of myself but as I kept putting one foot in fron of the other I was moving faster and feeling better. I wanted to keep going but knew I had to stop as this was a training run and I have further to go tomorrow...I also didn't want to tempt fate.

Its funny, just when you are ready to throw in the towel, you change your mind and use it to wipe the sweat off your face. Never quit...forward is a pace.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


So today I took off for a short run just to get in the miles. It was warm and I was not in the mood. I needed to get in my weekly miles now that training season has begun so I filled up a water bottle, laced up my shoes and headed out the door.

I started slow and my pace was way off. I knew I had to pick it up or head home. So I chose to pick it up. Heck... It was only 3 miles! I ran my usual route and before I knew it, I was into my happy pace.

At mile 2 I was heading down the street and saw I man I see often. I have written about him before. He was heading west and I was heading south. I called out, "hey..there's my hero!"

He turned, looked at me and smiled wide, "Hey, young lady!"

"I am so sorry. I see you all the time and have even talked to you at Happy Foods before but I don't know your name."

"Kenny" he answered.

"Kenny, I see you all the time and think that if you are out doing your thing here I can do what I have to do too."

"Listen, you lose. And I am no loser. I am not losing my ability to walk or my life."

"Hey, forward is a pace is my motto."

"You got dat right, young lady. What is your name?" he responded his best Chicago accent.

"Kristine," I responded.

"Nice to meet you, Kristine but I may still call you young lady!!."

We chatted a bit more before we were off in our different directions. What you have to understand is that Kenny is a '50 something' that had a stroke a few years ago and was told he would not walk again. He is paralyzed no one side of his body and walks with a limp and a cane. I see him walking all over the neighborhood. He told me he tries to walk for at least an hour a day just so he retains the ability to move. He is my hero and inspiration.

I am honored and blessed with angels in my life. Angels that are constant reminders of the good things, the many blessings, in my life. Kenny is one of those Angels. Forward is a pace. Peace.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Bullies…they are everywhere. I have been the victim for much of my life and perhaps this is why I am who I am today. There are bullies I never confronted from my past and issues I have never dealt with that are all coming to the forefront now. Why now? Who knows. Everyone thinks of bullies as something kids deal with but there are plenty of adult bullies. I deal with those folks on a regular basis. Perhaps it is the bullies who made me into the person I am today. Perhaps I am who I am in spite of them. I am not sure but I think about it often like on a recent run.

Sunday I took off for what I thought was going to be an easy 5 mile run. I had not run in a week and was anxious to get out and hit the pavement. I had planned out my route in my head and took off. I felt as though I was at the starting line of a long awaited race …. this was the first real run of summer! I was soon lost in my thoughts and the music. Strangely enough when I got a little over a mile in, I found myself heading off my planned route and towards a trail I normally run with my group. I had not been to the trail in months. I realized my feet were in charge, not my head. But then I heard a voice in the distance….taunting me…teasing me. Every bully and every mean comment every directed at me started to flood into my head. I started to wonder where the voice was coming from. Was I crazy? Was it a person in a passing car?

I soon saw the trailhead and wondered if I should turn and head back home. But then I heard that voice again…the teasing and taunting…. So I headed onto the trail. I am not sure what possessed me but I started to get angry. As my feet pounded out the miles, the voice grew louder and my anger grew like a fire fed with gasoline.

I realized I was going faster than my normal pace and was struggling but the voice in my head was so loud now, I could not drowned it out. That is when I passed a sign on the trail that said, “Run through them like a Tank”. I smiled and kept going. The fire of anger continued to grow as I recognized the voice taunting me….it was Wanda! That brutal bridge on the path was the one that was causing me to doubt myself and my ability.

As I got closer, her voice grew louder. I paused at the base and took one last look….it was decision time…fight or flight. I took a deep breath and ran….head first, full steam ahead into Wanda as she teased me. “You can’t take me!” “You’ll give up!” “the top? You can’t get there without walking!” “You are fat and slow!” “You are not good enough to get to the top”….and on and on…. Until I realized that I was at the top. Without a word, I ran to the top and then caught my breath. As I stood there keeled over, hands on my knees huffing and puffing, I realized something. I realized that I have rarely confronted the bullies in my life. I just walk away and let things go. I turn and just ignore them and it just doesn’t ever end. The bully may go away but the words have stayed with me for a lifetime.

I caught my breath and continued on for a few miles before turning and heading back home. This was not a fast nor effortless run that turned out to be 8 miles but I needed it. I had to take on Wanda again on the return trip but this time she didn’t say too much, and what she did say was not all that loud. I know that there will be days where she rears her ugly Bully head again but I am more confident that I will be able handle her. I am more confident that I will be able to battle back the demons each time. Dealing with the bullies of the past and present will never be easy but I feel like I can stand a bit taller and remember the messages I teach my Girls on the Run. Be Strong. Be Confident. Be YOU. No matter what others think or say. Forward is a Pace. Peace.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Happily ever after? Does it really exist? I have been thinking a lot about this topic lately.  What makes us fall in love with someone? What makes us yearn to get married? What makes a marriage last? 

I love my husband, don't get me wrong, but there are days I don't like him much....and I am sure the feeling is mutual. I like having a partner to raise my children with but sometimes it is more hassle that it is worth. I often feel like I have 5 children living in the house and not 4. It is a constant challenge to be the adult. Some days my eyes see the romance and the man I married....but not every day!  So what makes us want to get married? When I was dating him, what made me think we could be together for the rest of our lives?

I have friends who have lost their spouse or gotten a divorce. Some are ready to move forward and find another mate and others say never again. What makes someone fall 'out of love' with another? Sure I know that there is abuse and infidelity and other things that cause a marriage to dissolve.  In cases such as those, there really is no other choice but others say they just 'fell out of love'. Why? Did the marriage become 'work'? No one knows what happens behind closed doors in any relationship. Only the 2 people involved really know what is happening in any relationship...all outsiders can do is speculate. Who are we to judge a marriage? Do we know all the facts? Hardly. I know my marriage is work every day. It is not constant sunshine and roses. I do not live in a romance novel. The day to day grind is tough.

Why do some choose to live together, having children and then get married? It seems backwards to me. Are they afraid of a potential divorce? Are they afraid to commit? What are they afraid of?

And why are so many against gay marriage? No, it is not for me but that does not mean that it is not for others. I am not God and it is not my job to decide what is right or wrong. We all have to face our Maker sometime. Why should others not be allowed to do the work of a lasting marriage? Why do those that can marry, choose not to and forbid others from that choice? If others are interested in joining me in the work of wedded bliss....why not? I know many gay couples that have more committed, longer relationships than most married people. So what's the problem?

So many questions and so few answers.