Wednesday, December 19, 2012

a message from newtown, connecticut

on friday morning my husband called me and said there was a shooting at a school in the town where our friends live.
this morning i wrote messages to them through a fury of tears.  i wanted them to know we have been thinking of them constantly through these terribly dark days.
as i ran today, all i could think about were the email conversations i had with chris and kevin, both of whom live in newtown/sandy hook with their families.
with each step, every thought was on their kids, their friends, their neighbors, the kids they coached on soccer teams who have siblings that are now gone, the kids who shared a bus together who have siblings who are now gone, the first responders, the police, the volunteer fire department, and the amazing teachers.  

as i ran, this song came on my ipod.  
and with each step, overwhelming feeling of sadness and so many tears. 


prayers and love and blessings to those who need it more than ever.

for those precious children and heroic adults whose lives were cut short senselessly and whose families have woken up with a broken heart every day since friday.

here is an email from our friend chris who lives in newtown:

First, thanks to all of you for sending well wishes over the last few days.  It has been trying but your thoughts have been very helpful.

To give you an update, today was another emotional day as I brought my daughter back to school.  Lots of hugs and tears for Parents and Teachers.  It is very difficult looking at the staff knowing that it could have just as easily happened at our school.  We could have also seen the same heroics.

Which leads me to this note.  While all the craziness was happening at Sandy Hook, the other schools in Newtown were in lockdown.  Up to 6,000 students had to be cared for and watched over in the most trying of circumstances.

Many of you have asked what you can do.  One thing I say is please hug and thank your children’s teacher, or if you have a teacher in your family recognize them for the love and stewardship they provide.  To me they are the real first responders (no offense to the police which I hugged this morning at my daughters school).

This morning, Mrs. Baron, the 4th Grade teacher of Taegan, gave us a letter detailing what happened in her classroom on Friday.  I really felt the need to share it.  I am writing it verbatim (she gave me permission).

“To My Wonderful Parents of Room 5,

There are no words that can express the deep sadness our community, our country and our world feels at this time.  Understanding that we can and most likely will never makes sense of such tragic events, we take tiny steps forward to begin the slow healing process. Your children will be supported well in school.

My first commitment is to each and every one of ‘our’ children’s well-being.  I do not take advantage of that fact that you entrust your child in my care every day of the school year.  It is not only my duty to educate your child and bring out the best in him/her, but to help shape them into strong, independent, empathetic, critical thinkers who will contribute to society in a positive way when they are older.  Please understand that I consider my role in your child’s life an honor and a privilege.  Every day you send your children to school, you are sharing one of your most precious gifts in the world with me.  I am aware. (‘I see you’)

As a habit, my students are often told that I love them (before every test), sometimes when we walk in the hallways, sometimes during our meetings on the rug.  On Friday, I did my best to keep the children (childlike) happy, busy and feeling carefree, distracted from the indescribably, unbelievable, happenings of the world, just a short distance away.  Much of the afternoon consisted of brainteasers, puzzles (math), reading, song, and yes, even my dancing.  Mrs. Jones even met with them for a half hour.

I made certain each child knew that I loved them before they were either picked up or went on the bus at the end of the day.  I told them the true spirit of the holiday season was not getting their favorite present wrapped up in the prettiest paper, but being with family and letting them love you (the child).  And the best gift they could give any family member in return was not anything that could be purchased in a store.  It wasn’t anything that cost money.   It was something they already had, the love they have in their heart for you.

That’s when it happened.  The children rushed me with the biggest, the tightest hugs imaginable.  Some even said that Friday would be a day they would remember forever, the best day of their school career.  Imagine that.

I just wanted you to know that I did my best to make the children happy and safe, even though my heart was aching, crying on the inside.

We are all in this together.”
Truly incredible.  And I know all of the teachers we know are doing the same thing.  I think we often forget what Teachers do for us and this is a side of the story that hasn’t got as much attention.  It is the Mrs. Barons’ of the world that are my superhero’s!!

Please hug your teacher.

imagine all the people living life in peace
~j. lennon 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

happy trails to you

Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadow and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.
Make a new watermark on your excitement
And love.
~hafiz, persian poet

lots of happy can be found in the simplest of things. 

today there was happy in running outside on the trail.  a brisk run in the 30 degree chill beneath the amazing blue sky and bare winter trees with my friend kerry. 

happy kerry

three miles out to our tree then back again.   we had some company on the turn around.

i took this picture as we ran, hoping not to trip over my shadow

it's true, you rarely regret the run when you're done. 

kerry and i  had more catching up to do after the six miles so we grabbed a quick breakfast.  
sometimes a little refueling makes a world of difference.   mind.  body.  soul.

then of course the trick is to sustain that happy.

promise yourself.

on my desk since...always...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

thanks and giving

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. 

Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” 

~roald dahl

from a few cheerios.

 to share with a friend.

as we go through the next days of thanks and giving, 
may we remember to fill our hearts and minds with the wonderful surrounding us
and be thankful for all of it, every little bit.   
be authentic.  be passionate.   
be exactly who you are.  
share your magic.  
breathe all those little breaths of happy.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

scenes from sandy

before the coming of sandy, i finished my longest run to date.  i took a picture to remember the day and to show off my cool sleeves.  it was a pretty awesome 18 miles.  i was ready to taper and then on to the nyc marathon.

 then sandy came.  as anticipated, we lost power.   hurricanes take us back to the prairie life, but thankfully without nelly (well, she is always lurking...we all have a nelly).   fires at night to keep warm.  and some mobile pics for the blog.... 
we had necessities....  candles, flashlights, itouches, ipads, and phones.  the only thing that lasted were the flashlights and candles.

some reading by the morning fire. 

 and then, again, no school.  just cold.  but still blessed.

lost track of surrendered...fridge and freezer clear and uncluttered.... 

 keeping warm and fed at our favorite watering hole.... 

 then on the seventh day there was power....  and one brand new box of waffles..

and then the postponed (quite chilly) halloween....


oh, and throw in election day. 
 then the snow came. 

and came....

the neighborhood squirrel fared well from single-handedly eating all the waffles and bread from our freezer.  he needs an intervention and perhaps a good pair of running shoes.
i got these sneakers in september on the dawn of my four week summer bronchitis...  i wanted to keep them for after the marathon.
rather, i wore them for the first time after darkness.
it's always brighter after darkness...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

suck it, sandy

In every winter's heart there is a quivering spring
and behind the veil of each night there is a smiling dawn.
~kahlil gibran

winter came early in these parts.  she came in the form of a hurricane named sandy.  she brought us darkness and cold.  but she also brought us humbleness and a kind of calm we haven't appreciated in a quite some time. 

the last few weeks have been a whirlwind.  a bitch of a hurricane.  no power.  postponed halloween.  a badly timed nor'easter.  a complete emptying of the lifeless fridge and freezer.  many school-less days.  gas rationing.  a presidential election.  and a very controversial new york city marathon.

by friday of marathon week we had been without power for almost five days.  it was a blessing to have only lost our power and have no heat while so many others in our surrounding areas had lost so much more.  we listened to the radio (the one with the old fashioned batteries) in the mornings and q 104.3 would keep us updated on the goings on as a result of the storm since those of us on the prairie had no tv.   each day they spoke about the status of the marathon and each day i wanted to run less and less.    

there was no shortage of devastation, especially on staten island and down the shore in new jersey.  fires were burning in new york neighborhoods and people were found dead in their houses and drowning in their basements.  the beach communities where many of us vacationed since we were little were blown away and torn apart by the wrath of sandy,  

i woke up friday and made my decision to defer until next november.  i made my phone call and wrote my facebook status (from jeff's office because we still were without power). 
i just can't see running through the streets of nyc this sunday while there are many people still suffering and devastated by this storm. i deferred and am now looking forward to running 26.2 next november.
by friday afternoon my friends at q 104.3 announced that the marathon was finally cancelled.  and ING sent out this message to the runners:
The City of New York and New York Road Runners announce that the 2012 ING NYC Marathon has been canceled. While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of disagreement and division. We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event — even one as meaningful as this — to distract attention from all the critically important work that is being done to help New York City recover from the storm. New York Road Runners will have additional information in the days ahead and we thank you for your dedication to the spirit of this race. We encourage runners who have already arrived in New York City to help with volunteer relief efforts.
my friend, terry the amazing writer, ( ) sent me this message:
And hey didn't you call it first about the Marathon. YOU knew before they did that it just wouldn't be right !

i've been asked if i was disappointed that the race was cancelled.  i can honestly say no.  i don't think it was a time for celebrating in the new york city streets.  and all the energy could be used elsewhere to help all those in need.   could it all have been handled differently, absolutely.  but that's a discussion for another day.
as for the training, none of it was wasted. 
i am a runner.  and i love it.  i find peace in running.  so those 12, 13, 15, 18 mile long runs were hardly wasted.   each mile is all part of my journey, regardless of  the finish line, because i am going to keep going anyway.  sandy took away my running mojo for too many days but i'm embracing that peace again.  behind the veil of all the darkness is that smiling dawn.   and damn, is it good.

26.2 nyc....2013. 

lifting the veil, by nail polish artist... jessica

Today, be grateful. Be grateful for your favorite music, for movies that make you feel good, for your phone that connects you with people, for your computer, and for the electricity that lights up your life. Be grateful for air travel that
flies you everywhere. Be grateful for the roads and traffic lights that keep the traffic in order. Be grateful for your pet, for your child, for your loved ones, for your eyes that enable you to read this. Be grateful for your imagination. Be grateful that you can think. Be grateful that you can speak. Be grateful that you can laugh and smile. Be grateful that you can breathe. Be grateful that you are alive! Be grateful that you are You! Be grateful that there are two words that can change your life.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

From The Secret Daily Teachings by Rhonda Byrne

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

what's in your pocket?

You have this mother (bleeping) track meet 
right in the back pocket of those 
damn black running shorts you wear every day. 
No doubt.
~ my artist friend, nicole

17 days to go. 
with my longest run behind me, i am in the tapering stage of training.  i will be running less miles in the next few weeks so i recover, recoup, and re-alize that i am REALLY going to run 26 point 2 miles in new york city.  

i came across this picture today on facebook.  the beginning of the marathon. breathtaking. 
my long run last thursday was 18 miles and i am still trying to process that i went that far.  in one day.  and i did it with a pretty good pace.  i am pretty darn pleased.  and i lived to blog about it.
i am a little bummed that i didn't do a 20 mile run, but i will forever blame it on the august plague that sent me back to square one and cut my training time short.  my training started up the last week of august and i could barely run 2 miles.
training over the last nine weeks has been amazing and invigorating.  my sneakers have logged plenty of miles and i am proud of my progress and growth.  my bathtub and epsom salt have been used in overdrive, my man has given more foot massages than he would care to admit, and my friends and family have been busy planning where they will hydrate while they follow me through the city.   (i hope they make it to the finish line.)

i got me some compression socks today.  love them.  and my family loves to make fun of my outfits.  i'm here to entertain.  
but i will be wearing my black running shorts for that little track meet in new york city.
with the finish line in my back pocket.

Friday, October 12, 2012

this is why we do it

when you wake up in the morning 
just remember how fortunate you are to be alive, 
to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love 
and of course to run.

yesterday.  18 miles on the trail.  longest run i've ever done.  in miles and time.  epically long.

thankfully i had good company with kerry for the appetizer six miles.  it made the next 12 that much easier to chew and digest.  at mile 10 i hit the wall.  i felt pain in my knee and my legs were dragging.  so i walked for about twenty seconds to the next tree (mile marker hell).  then i started again, i was deep into the trail and figured i had no choice but to keep going unless i used the "phone a friend" option (i didn't even know what town i was in).  by mile 13 i felt really good again (probably numb) and with the 18 written on my heart i just went mile by mile to get to the end.  by mile 14 i was getting lost in my music.  by mile 15 i knew i had already gone that far once and could do it again.  and it was only three more miles to finish.  by mile 16 i figured, what the heck is 20 more minutes?  and at mile 17 i was in the home stretch and seeing the light.  what a beautiful feeling to realize i freaking did it.  18 mother-grabbing miles.

i was aiming to run for three hours as part of the training for the marathon.  and because i had lost some time (the entire month of august because of the bronchial plague), my coach (superstar joan... suggested to go a max of three hours so i don't risk injury.    i was so close to the 18 miles that i was so hellbent on completing.  so, of course i carried on and finished in 3:13:26.  i figured those extra minutes wouldn't completely break me, and thankfully they didn't.
nyc, always a good journey, found this sign on tuesday eve

i drank my thermos of ovaltine and milk on the way home and once i got into my driveway, i wasn't sure how i would get myself out of the car since my legs had now revolted.  i dragged myself into the house, had some brunch, and plunged into the epsom salt bath of forgiveness.  wonders.  i can't say enough.

ice on the knees during the epically long yankee game.  i found my win today, they lost.  we fall down but get back up again.  there's hope for all of us. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

still going

on instagram the other day i came upon a quote i posted to facebook.   
i noticed my daughter re-posted it.   
she hadn't told me she added the quote or her wonderful words.  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

a colonic and some mud

don't be fooled by the calendar.
there are only as many days in the year as you make use of.
~charles richards

i was going to blog on monday, but i didn't.  i don't even remember monday, aside for picking up a bottle of pills.
i was going to blog on tuesday but i was too busy taking care of business before inducing the pills.
i was going to blog on wednesday but i was too busy getting violated at my colonoscopy.
i was going to blog yesterday but i was busy catching up on everything i didn't do on tuesday and wednesday, and i had to do my long run.  a long run that turned into a short 3.33 painstaking miles on the treadmill at the gym.
today i have a small window of opportunity.
so here goes...  and if you aren't interested in graphic material, skip the middle.
i had my first colonoscopy this week.  and it's true, the prep is worse than the actual procedure.  i ran tuesday morning prior to prepping and didn't get to breakfast until late in the morn.   then by mid afternoon it was time to start the colon evacuation.
so after taking the first 20 pills, the latrine was in high gear.  
later on the second round began, i somehow got the last 12 horse pills down and only gagged on two.  the colonic was extremely successful and thankfully there was balmex in the drawer from the last baby born in our house. 
i don't remember the procedure, compliments of narcotic napland.  the anesthesiologist made good on his promise that i would be asleep in a matter of seconds....  i woke up under a warmed blanket and a coffee cake at my side.  i asked if i could stay the rest of the day, but she responded to my request by making me sit up.
all is well within my colon.  i'm glad i went and got it over with, even though i did want to postpone it until after the marathon.  i'm glad i didn't wait.

the beginning
today i went on my long run on the zen trail.  my friend kerry ran the first five miles with me, along with her friend roxy.  then i continued on to do the final ten.   running with a friend makes the miles pass quickly, it's much different when you're deep inside your own head doing laps of the same scene.  over and over.  and over.   most of the trail was closed today because they were paving it, as reported by the young man guarding the bridge to sanity.  so i had to make some adjustments.  needless to say, the bridge guarder saw me five more times.  he got bitched at by a tiny lady on a bike because she couldn't continue on her planned route.  

the scene at the end
i wound up going around a lake in a different part of the park four times (big ben, parliament) because i couldn't remember how to get back to where i started.  but it helped me log some mileage.  and i also got mixed up with a flock of crazy geese.   there were some pretty major areas of mud where i hoped i wouldn't find myself slipping and sliding into a mess.  

i went 15 miles.  my longest run to date.  a good week of firsts.  but my sneakers have seen better days.