Monday, December 30, 2013

So long run 2013

"Running is the classical road to self consciousness, self awareness and self reliance. Independence is the outstanding characteristic of the runner." Noel Carroll

Today was my last long run of 2013 and it was a pretty reflective run. I think the title came to me by the time I had hit mile 2 because any which way you say it or interpret it, it just applies. It's been a very long year. So long.

I listened to music on my run today. I have been really selective in my music lately, sometimes opting to not run with it at all. I've found that music has a direct impact on my emotions and my thoughts. It can take me instantly back to a time and a place or a feeling. I have been trying really hard to stay in the present these days.

But today, I purposely ran with a mix of music as a way to process through the past year. I left eager to open the door and revisit memories I had not allowed myself to think about in a very long time. 

My musical journey went something like this.

I hope life treats you kind. And I hope you have all you dream of. You raise me up to more than I can be. One step closer. Ordinary? No. Really don't think so. You lost the love I loved the most. You're going to catch a cold from the ice inside your soul.  Regrets collect like old friends. It's hard to dance with the devil on your back. Better than I was. More than I am. Try as I may I could never explain. What I hear when you don't say a thing. Do you remember how it used to be? There is no guarentee. That this life is easy. And when my world is falling apart and there's no light to break up the dark. That's when I. I look at you. 

Then I turned the volume up.

Who died & made you King of Anything? All my life I've tried. To make everybody happy, while I, I'd just hurt. And hide. Waiting for someone to tell me it's my turn. To decide. 
You gotta get up and try. And try. And try. 
Do you know that there's still a chance for you? Cause there's a spark in you. You just gotta ignite, the light. And let it shine. 
Made a wrong turn. Once or twice. Dug my way out of blood & fire. Bad decisions. That's alright. Welcome to, my silly life. Mistreated. Misplaced. Misunderstood. Miss no way it's all good. It didn't slow me down. Mistaken. Always second guessin. Underestimated. Look I'm still around. Pretty, pretty please. Don't you ever ever feel. Like your less then....

I thought 2013 was all about a marathon finish line I never ended up crossing this year.


"Running is the classical road to self consciousness, self awareness, and self reliance. Independence is the outstanding characteristic of the runner."

I came to realize 2013 had nothing to do with finish lines and everything to do with showing up at the starting line and never giving up. 2013 was all about the journey. At the end of the day, I did cross some unexpected finish lines this year. And while my legs most definitely got me to them, it was my heart that received the medals for making the journey.

If I had to sum up 2013, I would say in 2013 I found my courage & I learned to dare greatly.

I conquered both biopsy & bikini. Last spring, I made the decision to leave my shame behind in the dressing room & I left with my very first bikini in over 20 years



I ran a total of 889 miles and 157 hours in 2013. I conquered my longest distance of all time, a long run of 18 miles with a stamina & endurance I never knew I had in me.

I conquered broken bones and broken dreams & I kept going and never gave up.

I said goodbye to another layer of grief in the loss of my mom. I discovered this year that happiness is not merely the absence of sadness.

I succeeded in developing a new blog and I made over 430 new friends that I learn something from every single day. Special mention to my online running community for all the support they give me & my trans-Atlantic running partner for the snippets of wisdom & motivation. 

I made some new "real life" friendships as well :)

I chose forgiveness. 

Like my sister Mary, I try every single day to choose happiness. 

I learned the meaning of faith. And I learned to accept things as they are.

I am closing 2013 with a new sense of self and hope. I am beyond excited to greet a whole new adventure in 2014. I'm ready to make a difference in the world. I can finally say I am grateful for the lessons I've learned along the way. Every person, every experience, every moment; they all brought me here, to this place. It feels good when you are finally able to say, thank you, in spite of the pain, for teaching you what you needed to learn. 

Thank you. 

My wish for you. Is that this life becomes all that you want it to. Your dreams stay big. Your worries stay small. You never need to carry more than you can hold. And while your out there gettin where you're gettin to. I hope you know somebody loves you. And wants the same thing too. Yea this. Is my wish.

Rarely can I pass up the chance to stop, close my eyes & wish.

So long. Catch ya on the flip side.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Stabilicers LITE

I was super excited to find these Stabilicers LITE at LL Bean this past week. They fit over your sneakers and are advertised as snow tires for your feet!

Just what I need if I am going to run through this snowy winter in NY.

The sales representative highly recommended them. He said most of the sales associates there used them while running and loved them.

SOLD! And for 20 bucks I was on my merry way home to try them out.

Here is my experience as promised:

The Stabilicers LITE are made of a rubbery material. They are easy to get on and they fit very snuggly over your sneakers. My sneaker didn't move in them or slip around at all.

I ran 4.3 road miles in them in a mix of fresh snow, packed snow, slush, wet areas and somewhat clear and dry pavement.

The metal studs on the bottoms felt weird on pavement. I felt unsteady at first but that went away as I got used to them. They did a good job providing traction in the the snow and slush. The sound and sensation on the patches of wet and dry pavement was hard to get comfortable with.

Overall my pace wearing the Stabilicers LITE was significantly slower than my usual pace, by almost a minute per mile. My legs also felt pretty tired pretty quickly. To be fair, however, I am not used to running in the snow so it could just be the nature of snow running.

I felt really safe in them toward the end of my run. I only slipped once at the very end and in really deep snow and slush around a turn.

My left foot was sore immediately after the run. I noticed a hot spot on the inside of my foot. It looks like it may end up a blister. My socks were wet so it could be from the combination of my feet being wet and having a wide foot. Stabilicers LITE are designed to be super tight so they press on your sneaker. This proved tight for my wide foot!

More troubling was noticing the 4 stud indentations on the heel of my left foot, I assume from the studs on the bottom of the Stabilicers LITE. I'm not in pain but my left foot is definitely a little sore.

So overall, the jury is still out for me. I need a product like this to get me through the winter. I may try to wear thicker socks and do a shorter run with them and see how it goes. I really want them to work! The price is right at 20 bucks but I also have my eye on some Icebugs thanks to my G+ friend Terje that are on clearance right now :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

7 miles in pictures

My body doesn't want to run today. I'm tired. I'm tired to the core of my being. Plus I have a ton of candle orders to get out. My eyes burn. I feel feverish. And did I mention I'm exhausted?

Blood work tomorrow.

Today my heart and my head needed to run to a new place. The problem? My body wasn't cooperating. My body was anchoring me to a place I didn't want to be. I had been doing really well changing my thoughts up to this point. But how do you change your body?

It started with my mind winning the battle that got me out the door. It turned out that was more than half the battle.

It was warm compared to the frigid temperatures I had been running in lately. It was a comfortable 38 degrees. It instantly felt great. I started out purposefully slow. I ran 9:53 the first mile. I noticed immediately how good I felt after mile 1. My feet were on autopilot heading to my favorite running spot along the lake.

I turned left on West Lake Rd and my pace picked up. I looked up before hitting a mile and a half. Big hill. Really big hill. But it's the only way to get to my favorite place.

Up we go.

What goes up must come down. 

As hard as it was to make the climb, I'm learning to love hills. Did I just say that??

Hills make me feel strong. 

"It's not the hill we conquer. It's ourselves." said Sir Edmund Hillary.

The climb led me to these guys when I finally reached the top. I first saw them on my early morning long runs last spring and summer when they were just fawns.

For some reason the site of this little deer family totally inspired me. It was bittersweet reaching the top and meeting the mama with her babies nestled up next to her, papa standing strong in the background. 

God I still miss my parents.

Well what do you know. Feverish exhaustion is gone. My mind wins.

Miles 3, 4, and 5 clicked by in record time. I became keenly aware of the beauty surrounding me. It seemed an entire world away and yet it was familiar at the same time. As far away as it seemed my brain reminded me that it was my own two feet that brought me here. The gigantic houses I usually oohed and ahhed over were now just markers along a beautiful path. I barely noticed them. 

Instead, the beauty of nature had my full attention. 

The best part of today's run came after the turn around point. I had done a straight 3.5 miles out and 3.5 miles back. As I was heading home I passed one of my favorite views of the lake. Last year was a much different experience running past this spot. The water was rough back then and the waves were hitting the shore with an intensity I had never experienced. The heat of that day was also gone today. The lush greens and vibrant blue of the sky were replaced with a stark and cold gray. 

But in spite of the starkness and cold, today the lake was calm. It looked like glass. My mind reflected on all this as I snapped a picture. If I had stopped to look closer I swear I could have seen my reflection in the mirror of the water. The lake somehow contains the intensity of yesterday, the peace of today, the stillness of now and the hope of tomorrow. 

Yesterday, today, now, tomorrow. The seasons of my ever changing life. 

As I glanced back for one last look at the water it seemed to whisper, "Just be still. It will all work out."

All the true things must change and only that which changes remains true.
-Carl Jung