On the eve of my 25th Half Marathon

Tonight, as I sit in my Bethlehem, PA hotel room watching Fixer Upper, I am feeling all the feels one encounters on the eve of a milestone.

Tomorrow, I will toe the line at my 25th half marathon and 125th race.  The Runners World Half Marathon feels like the PERFECT place to celebrate.

As I have shared MANY times, running saved my life.  Since lacing up my running shoes after M was born, in the fall of 2012, I have crossed 106 finish lines.  I have logged thousands of miles.  And along the way found more than I can share here in a way that gives depth and meaning to that statement.  I sit here tonight because of those finish lines, those miles, and EVERY person who ran them with me.  Never an athlete, running became a saving grace for a life riddled with anxiety and doubt.

Today, I am a better mom and a better wife and a better friend and a better human.  All those miles significantly shifted my fate and my future.  And the best part – in the most secret part of my heart – is that I did that through the power of my own perseverance and hard work.  I made choices every time I set a 4am alarm clock or showed up when I wasn’t ready or signed up for a race because a friend asked. That might be the most empowering part of those miles.

And now, it is time for new adventures.  I will keep running and growing and being inspired.  But I’m ready for MORE.  Next to me on the bed is a binder just waiting for the ideas in my head to land on paper.  Over the next weeks and months, I will be doing the hard work to make those dreams come true.  Just like running, I know it will take small moments that eventually become something bigger.  And I am so excited.

I may pop back from time to time, but the role of running in my life has shifted.  It’s a beautiful shift – based in soul searching and hard questions and big answers.  Without all those miles, I would never had found the courage to ask those questions.  It still astounds me what the power of the human spirit can do.  So just for today, I am signing off my blog so I can sign on to something brand, spanking new.

Thank you for your running fellowship.  I look forward to seeing you at a race and giving you a huge, sparkly hug.

Onward…

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Life Begins Beyond your Comfort Zone

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For the past two+ years, I have been regularly attending classes at Easy Day Yoga .  On a good week, I make it twice and on an even better week – three times.  My classes have ranged from quiet Restorative to very intensive (sweat dripping down your nose) Vinyasa.  The variety of practices and excellent teachers have made it easy to pop in wherever I happen to be.

Truth be told, I started going consistently to help my running.  I knew I wasn’t stretching enough and yoga seemed like a really good idea.  AND I felt like yoga would also help with elongating muscles (aka – make me look long and lean!).

Over the past two years, my experience has shifted.  Easy Day became, and remains, a place of calm and light and safety.  It is where I see God in myself and in others.  A place I feel connected to the universe.  I feel my heart rate slow as soon as I walk in the door.

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One sunny evening this summer, I headed off to class with one of my favorite teachers to discover two things.

First, the class had been extended by 15 minutes.

And second, we would have time for “FUN” arm balances – at times with partners!

The 15 minutes was fine, but arm balances are not my jam.  And I go to yoga to be one with my mat – not touch or interact with other humans.  But I was already there and figured, how bad could it be?

It was bad.

And I had more than one moment where I wanted to cry.

Twice I almost ran out of the room and just left my mat behind.

But I made myself sit through the discomfort.  For 75 minutes I stayed.

In retrospect, I realized it was emblematic of what my clients go through every time I show up and recommend change to their roles, processes, and organizations.  Every time I ask them to shift what they have been doing for years.

Beyond the work application… it truly was a concentrated version of the day to day struggle we all go through when we strive to be better than we were the day before.  Because change is HARD.  We are not wired to be OK with evolution.

BUT – I also know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that is where the magic happens. 

Shortly thereafter, an opportunity presented itself to me… I had been on the wait list for this year’s Camp Good Life Project after hearing about it on the Good Life Project podcast.  And a week after the crazy yoga class, a spot opened up.

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After I read the email saying there was a place for me at this year’s camp, I thought of every excuse – it’s too late, it’s the first week of school, it’s not in the budget, you have meetings that day… But I called a dear, brilliant friend and she said – just say yes.

So I did.

And this line on their website is why —

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THAT is what I want from my life right now.  I want to be around positive people with a forward focus.  I need it in order to continue my own little journey on the third planet from the sun.

So next Thursday through Sunday, I will join 300+ friends at a camp for grown ups in Rock Hill, NY.   The program is incredible and everything I’ve read/heard about sounds amazing.  There will be good moments and bad moments and life changing moments.  My job is to show up and be present.  So I will do my very best to do just that.

Namate, friends. Go be magic.

 

 

My Health Matters 5k Recap

I am lucky enough to have an AMAZING group of girlfriends who live in my neighborhood.  We all have school age children who are also friends.  While running one morning, the four of us to run together often got the idea in our heads of doing a 5k together.  Somehow, we convinced the others to join in the fun.  And TEAM FEARLESS was born!

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We signed up for, and made AMAZING shirts for, the My Health Matters 5k in Herndon, VA.  First time races are always a little tricky, but we figured we were just running for fun, so no big deal!

On Friday afternoon, before the race, I picked up our packets and delivered them around the neighborhood.  And, of course, set out my flat mamma with my new unicorn sparkle skirt!

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Various ladies in our group love to write what we affectionately call “positive graffiti” with sidewalk chalk all over our neighborhood.  One of the ladies added our team name to each of our driveways (with the help of her 3 year old cutie pie son).

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Three of us arrived early to get in 2-3 miles before the race to keep up with our training plan.  I couldn’t sleep before picking the gals up, so I drank my coffee and watched the sun rise up over Ashburn.

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After our warm up, we got cleaned up a bit and met our team for some pre-race photos.

Hadley and Molly positioned themselves at the front of the pack because they were both shooting for places in the small, home town race.  I had consumed WAY TOO MUCH wine the night before and put myself a bit further back in the pack.

The race started on the road and wound through the trails in Herndon.  As we got going, I felt a kick in my step and decided to chase my friends.  Going over a bridge, I saw Hadley’s blond ponytail swinging behind her as the first woman – a lead she held all the way through the race and maintained at the finish line!

Molly finished 1st in our age group and I was second, with the rest of our friends all finishing within 5 minutes behind us.  I felt great and really proud of kicking it up a bit, but want to see that 24:xx flashing soon.  I know the speed work we are putting in will get me there…  PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE!!  I guess.

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We stayed for the awards celebration, but were very disappointed when the awards given did not match the website promises for recognition.  We tried to address it at the ceremony and afterwards, but it doesn’t seem that they can get it 100% right.  They were very nice and apologetic, and we realized it was a first time race about HAVING FUN, but never the less – we felt slighted.

Regardless of that snafu – we had SO MUCH FUN together and I cannot wait for another race with these amazing, fearless ladies!

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2017 Frederick Half Marathon Recap

Yesterday was my second running of the Frederick Half Marathon. In 2015, I ran it as part of the Nut Job Challenge (5k Saturday night, half marathon Sunday morning).  Originally, I had planned this race as my sub-2 attempt, but I ended up shooting for, and making it, at the St. Luke’s Half two weeks prior.

On Saturday morning, my son and I headed up to Frederick in the rain to pick up my packet and do some adventuring in Maryland.  We arrived at the fairgrounds, found parking fairly quickly and went to pick up my bib (one building) and my race premium (another building).  After wandering around the small expo, we headed over to see the farmers market.  Puddle jumping was too tempting for my little buddy to resist, so I ushered us back to the car to continue our adventure.

The rain was slated to stop by 11 and I had hoped we’d make it to the South Mountain Creamery to learn about ice cream making on our way home.  Sadly, there was no end in site to the rain, so we headed over to Brunswick, Maryland to check out a small train museum.  My father-in-law loves model trains and has a huge set up in his basement, so Michael is quite familiar with watching trains.  This particular exhibit wound all the way through the third floor of the museum and followed the train from Union Station up through Maryland.

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The rain stopped long enough to check out the old caboose in Brunswick.

We headed home, still in the rain, and I went about gathering items for my “Flat Erin” for the race. Since the goal was to have fun, I really went all out for this one – channelling the character Poppy from the movie Trolls.

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Skirt: Sparkle Athletic, Headband: BAMR Bands, Shirt: Run Happy by Erin on Etsy.

Saturday morning at 5am, I met my friend Kim at a local Starbucks to head to Frederick for the 7am start.  I knew that it was an absurdly early hour to leave, but if we didn’t we would sit in massive traffic upon arrival into the small town.  Packing 4,000+ runners is never an easy feat and I did not want to be stressing for no reason.

We arrived in plenty of time, got organized, and met up with our friends for some silliness before the gun went off.  It was COLD out, so we spent our time being goofy and staying warm.

When we lined up for the starting line it was STILL COLD, but we seeded ourselves around the 2:20 pacer and off we went.

 

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It remained fairly cold and the sprinkles that had begun right before the national anthem turned into full out rain by mile 2.  The course was much hillier than I remembered or was expecting and my legs were super tired, but we were all about fun — so fun we had.  We chatted about everything and everything as the miles flew by.  I was not carrying water and had a bit too much before the start out of nerves, so we had to stop for me – which took over 5 minutes because two of the potties were just not OK for female use.  Before we knew it, we were at the final 2 mile stretch a crazy up hill climb back to the fairgrounds.

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We finished at 2:14 and change.  MUCH slower than 2 weeks prior for either of us, but as speed was not the intention – we focused on what a lovely catch up we had for 13.2 miles.  Shortly after crossing the finish line, we met up with two of our MRTT buddies and proudly showed off our new bling.  The wind was picking up and it was getting COLD, so Kim and I headed back to the warm car to trek home.

This year they offered the option of posting FREE photos directly to Facebook for finishers.   VERY COOL, but two caveats. They come posted with not just the race logo, but a full advertisement for the race on the bottom.  AND they post all your photos – even the ones you would never post yourself.  We have had a lot of laughs looking at one another’s pics and quickly deleting them before too many of our friends get a good look.

It was a fun race and one I’d do again, but not on tired legs after two weeks of racing. Overall – Frederick does a GREAT job of putting together an A+ race with a wonderful vibe!

Race Linkup: April 2017

This morning I am joining my friend Deb at DebRunsFit for her monthly race linkup.  Coming off of yesterday’s GOAL half, it’s hard to believe that there is more to come for 2017!   I promised my hubby that I would try to do less, but sometimes it’s hard to say no.  I WILL NOT run 27 races, like 2015, or 21, like 2016, but with the 5 I have already done this year, and the 11 (OOPS!) I have on the calendar — it will still be a fun year of racing!

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Thus far I have run:

Race Location Date Time
St Luke’s Half Marathon Allentown, PA 4/23/2017 1:57:25
Van Meter 5 Mile Run Brodlands, VA 4/1/2017 0:47:17
Rock and Roll Half Marathon Washington, DC 3/11/2017 2:19:58
For the Love of It 10k Reston, VA 2/4/2017 1:00:59
New Year’s Day 5k Reston, VA 1/1/2017 0:30:39

Up next:
April 30: Northface 10k in Sterling, VA
May 7: Frederick Half Marathon in Frederick, VA
May 20: My Health Matters 5k in Herndon, VA
June 4: NJ Sharing Network 5k in New Providence, NJ
July 4: Firecracker 5k in Reston, NJ
August 20: Leesburg 20k in Leesburg, VA
September 10: Parks Half Marathon in Rockville, MD
October 22: Runners World Half Marathon in Bethlehem, PA
November 13: OBX Marathon in Outer Banks, NC
November 23: Thanksgiving 5k in Ashburn, VA
December 10: Jingle Jog 5k in Ashburn, VA

Hope to see some of you there!!!