From the old to the new

I got my haircut today.  And registered to run the NYC marathon.  Two things that really needed to happen.

While my haircut is pretty great, we all know this isn’t what this post is about.

I earned my guaranteed entry by deferring my entrance from last year to this year.  Last year I wasn’t ready.  I thought getting in by lottery would make me ready.  It didn’t.  Life happened.  And then more life.  I stopped running. I stopped trying.  I stopped everything.

But now things are different.  I’m still not ready for this marathon.  Not by a long shot.  I’ll be one of those last finishers that everyone waits for, but I don’t care.  I’ll do it anyway and be proud of any amount of time it takes me.  Going from zero to marathon is no small feat.  I know this.

I knew my guaranteed entry was coming but I hesitated signing up again.  I would think yes, then no, then yes again, then no again…I think you get the picture.  Then the lottery opened and my emailed arrived confirming what I already knew.  And still I waited.  After posting on social media about how I was unsure of which decision to make my friends and complete strangers encouraged me: it’s a once in a life time opportunity, don’t hesitate – just do it, I have faith in you.  The words resonated with me so much and I began to think maybe I could do this.  Maybe I could “run” a marathon.

But still…I waited.  $295 dollars is no small amount of money and for someone who is paying the bills in two households, it’s more than I can waste.  What if I chickened out again?  What if the self-doubt and fear overtakes me?   What if I really can’t do it?  That’s a lot of money to flush down the drain.

And then, on whim, on a random Thursday night, I sold my old engagement ring.  A ring I had picked out and essentially paid for myself.  A ring that represented a marriage and a union that no longer existed.  A ring that was bought for a person who no longer exists.  I didn’t get a lot for it.  Not nearly as much as we paid for it almost 16 years ago.  But you know what it was enough to cover?  An entry fee to the NYC marathon as well as some left over (training gear, perhaps?).

With a few clicks of a button it was done, and I was registered, letting a piece of who I once was turn me into someone I know I can be.

NYC 2018…here I come.



Nostalgia is a funny thing.  I usually try and shy away from it as it tends to make me sad.  I sugar coat the past at times, putting the shiny crystal sheen on things making me think I had it better when, in actuality, I probably didn’t. Charleston, kid free times, college – all things I think back on fondly, wishing I was still there in those moments, never really remembering the times that weren’t so good.

Today, though, was different.

I’ve been contemplating the idea of accepting my guaranteed entry to the NYC marathon since I dropped out last year.  I told myself that maybe this was the year I would *actually* do it if I could just take the first step and get out the door to exercise.  Today made three days in a row and I’m pretty damn proud of myself for that.

Today is cold.  And snowy.  But I managed to get the workout clothes on and out the front door to run/walk/jog/slide for 30 minutes.

As I began navigating the neighbor streets where I now live, the neighborhood streets where I lived years ago when I first began running, the nostalgia was overpowering.  This is where it all began…my love for running.  The shiny beacon in an otherwise tumultuous time in my life where I could barely stay afloat.  And then out of the blue “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey came on and my heart stopped.

This could be the fall of 2013 when I first started running.  That song took me right back to those moments so many years ago.  The early mornings and sore legs.  The darkness of running pre-dawn.  The excitement I felt when I ran down certain streets and crested certain hills and the annoyance I felt with others.

Not only did I fall in love with running on these streets and sidewalks, for the first time I actually fell in love with myself.

This girl.


And this one.


The girl who completed her first Runner’s World Run Streak.


And her first half marathon.


The girl who was happiest and had the biggest smile when completely covered in sweat.


This wasn’t the same kind of nostalgia that I was used to.  It wasn’t so much remembering what I had as discovering what I can absolutely have again.

With this short 30 minutes this morning I began to realize that maybe I never lost my love of running or even myself.  Maybe it’s always been here.  In this neighborhood.  On these streets, waiting for me to return.  Because this is where I belong.

We’ll all float on Ok.

I don’t seem to know who I am anymore.

Not so long ago I felt like I had it all figured out.  I’m a mom.  I’m a runner.  I’m a teacher.  I’m a friend.  Things were going well.  I had a wonderful new daughter, two amazing boys, and a fantastic support system of friends and family.  I literally had no complaints and was perfectly content any happy.

And then I broke…again.

This wasn’t like the first time I felt that I had broke, when my dad had died.  When that happened I feel apart all at once so it was almost easier to out myself back together.  The pieces were right there and easier to find, not scattered over space and time.

I wish I could say I knew the exact moment that it happened, but really it was a series of events that started small, each one separately almost microscopic in size, but together crumbled my world into a million pieces.

I cut back on my running and dropped out of the NYC marathon.

An old friend came back into my life just when I thought I was finally over our past.

I lost a person in my life who I thought was a good friend.

The separation began…and ended…and began…and changed so much that I don’t even know where we are at this point.

Most recently I’ve done things I probably shouldn’t have.  I’ve eaten things I probably shouldn’t have.  I’ve stopped running altogether.  With each passing day, the numbers on the scale keep inching closer to where I said I never wanted to be again.  And the worst part of it all is that I just don’t seem to care.  Not about being a bad person, or losing certain people from my life, or even losing everything I worked for.  None of it.

I feel like I’m on the roundabout on the playground spinning more and more out of control each day.  The sad part is that I know I’m the one that’s pushing it to go faster and faster.  I am in complete and utter control of this and I can’t seem to jump off and just stop. Because I know that when I do I’m going to break even more from the impact.  I know that I’m really going to have to work to find all the pieces and put myself back together again.  Not only in the “now” but in the past too.  The task seems daunting and so impossible that 99% of the time I don’t even have the desire to try.

But then, out of the blue, today happened.  The 1%.  The one glimmer of hope I had been hoping for.

We’re driving to the park and the library and all three kids are squeezed into the back seat.  Charlotte is singing along to Modest Mouse playing in the background while Oliver and Max argued about how many sheep are in an adjoining field.  The sun was shining in the blue sky as wispy clouds float by, my hand out the window rising and falling in the warm air.  I finally felt it.  What I had been longing to feel for so long lately.  A sense of peace and contentment.   A sense of placement.

This is where I was supposed to be.  Maybe not forever, but at least for right now.

And with that tiny feeling of hope, I know that pretty soon I’ll have enough courage to make the leap off the roundabout.  And maybe, just maybe, my feet will actually hit the ground and I’ll be able to pick myself up and begin to collect all the pieces.

I’m not me. But I will be soon.

I started the post awhile ago and then stopped.  There are so many truths within it that I just didn’t know if I was willing to face them.  By admitting these things, I feel like my life course, my life as I know it, essentially all that I am, will be different.  And I’m literally writing this after I had a mental breakdown on the side of the road at 5:30 in the morning.

I started running when my dad died.  Ok.  That’s not entirely accurate, but that’s the truth that I tend to tell people because it seems more acceptable than the real story.  More acceptable and less ugly. But really, what have I got to lose at this point?  Nothing.  They say the truth will set you free.  Well, maybe that’s just what I need.  Freedom from who I think I am so I can become the real me.

After my dad died I fell apart.  Which was odd to me because we hadn’t spoken in 5 years.  But I had often seen myself in him.  He was angry a lot and tended to push those who were closest to him away.  As I watched him die sick and alone I worried that this is what my life was destined for.  And I tried to run away from everything.  During that time I got caught up in a relationship that I shouldn’t have.  I thought it was healing me when in reality it was slowly dismantling me.  When it ended, leaving me heartbroken and empty, I had no idea how to handle two losses in such a short amount of time.  So I went for a run.  And it truly saved me. I had found something that could put me back together, slowly and piece by piece.

And it worked…for a time.

I loved being able to say I was a runner.  It helped me feel accomplished, like I could do anything.  It made me feel more confident and pretty bad ass. But it also gave me an escape from my life, the escape I thought I had needed before; a way to “run away” so to speak.  In reality, it didn’t save me from myself.  It simply gave me the outlet to gloss over my problems; to bury them deep down and save them for another day.

Cut to me crying on the side of the road because I couldn’t run.  I have so much going on in my life that I had begun to use running as that escape again.  Now I have an injury and can’t run.  What am I supposed to do?  Without the running, I’m actually going to have to face the demons in my life.  I’m actually going to have to figure out what’s wrong and get to the root of my problems.

And I don’t know if I can do that.  I’ve been putting them in the background for so long that I don’t how to face my problems without running away.  I don’t know if I’m entirely ready to make these hard decisions that I know have to be made.  I don’t think I’m disciplined enough to make the changes that I need to make in order to actually survive.

But maybe that’s why this happened.  Maybe this injury is the universe’s way of telling me to grow a pair and handle my shit.  Because life is short.  And time is not guaranteed.

I need to say good-bye to running for awhile.  I need to learn how to cope without it. I need to learn how to love myself completely without the label of being a runner.  Once I’m whole again, we can start our journey all over, when running is something in my life and not the only thing.

Here goes nothing.


I think I can’t

After two long months of injury, I’ve started running again.  Every morning when my alarm wakes me up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am, I throw on my running clothes and head out the door…and it sucks.  Not just in a way that all running sucks, but in a very real, painful, and depressing way.

My shin and my knee is still killing me.  And because of that I’m running all kinds of crazy causing other muscles to hurt.  My pace time is abysmal…and I don’t mean in the “I run a 13 minute mile, I’m so slow” way, but in an actual “people walk faster than I run” way.  And it’s killing me inside.

I don’t know if it’s the extra stress I have going on at work or simply the extra street I have going on at home (or maybe it’s a combination of both), but I can’t seem to get motivated to go any faster or do anymore.  I literally plod on and on and on praying that I get finished the run soon.

Yes, I feel great after.  Yes, I feel accomplished.  But the before and during are worse than they were when I first started.

And to top it off, I have a hard marathon in 10 weeks and I and scared out of my fucking mind.  I’m already having anxiety attacks about it and it’s 2.5 months away. I don’t think I can do this.  I will be nowhere near ready.  I am going to fail.  And it’s going to suck.  Big time.

I hate this feeling of inadequacy.  I hate the lack of self confidence I have.

But I hate more that I’m pretty sure I’m right about this.

Fall down seven times, get up eight

Everything hurts and I’m dying.

I literally don’t think I could get out of this chair if I wanted to.  And I only ran/walked 2.5 miles today.  This summer I was up to over 25 miles a week with my long runs between 10-14.  Today? The idea of running 10 miles at one time makes me want to kill myself.

And yet, I have an alarm set on my phone to sign up for a half marathon when it opens on Thursday.

I’m constantly starting over. And for no other reason than I’m constantly giving up.  Something happens when I get to a certain point in almost every endeavor in my life.  I leave it behind, trying to convince myself I won’t get any better, or that I’m just going to fail, or thatI have something more important that needs my time and attention.

But we all know this is crap.  And then I’m forced to start over again.

I constantly wonder how far along I would be if I simply stopped giving up.  When I first started I was “running” a 16-17 minute mile on a fast day.  And I would get better and faster, but never lower than a 12 minute mile and never for very long.  And now here I am,  not anywhere near where I started, but definitely not where I was.  And after just a day back into it I feel like giving up…again.

My word this year is (was) supposed to be “brave” but I’m not feeling very brave these days. I have all these plans and goals but I’m too scared to follow through.  Mostly it’s fear of judgment.  And a little fear of failure.

I want to do things.  I want to help people.  I want to make the most of this tiny amount of time we are allotted on this earth.  I want to claim my guaranteed entry to to the NYC marathon, but what if I flake out again?  I want to really start using my running to give back, like running with Back on My Feet, working with a population I respect and who needs so much love, but will always feel like I’m too slow. I want to write more, more than just these blog posts, but never feel like it will go anywhere so what’s the point?

I have so much trouble putting myself out there…really out there.

Brave?  Not so much these days…

But I guess the fact that I care at all is something.  I guess the fact that I always try again proves I’m meant for more.

I know who I am.  I know what I want.  I know what is important to me.

But knowing is easy.  Doing is hard.



Self help

“Remember your name. Do not lose hope – what you seek will be found.” ~Neil Gaiman

For the past couple days I haven’t been able to run and I have felt horribly cranky and awkward, short tempered and short breathed. I know that running has something to do with it.  Without running, I haven’t been myself. But what does that say about me?  Running is so ingrained in who I am that I don’t know who I am without it.  And I need to find out.

I began running as a way to cope with heart break and loss, but without it I feel like I’m right back there again, which means only one thing: I haven’t actually changed.  I’m simply a conglomeration of the old and the new;  a mixed up conundrum of personhood.

At some point down the road I lost my way.

It happened gradually rather than all at one.  A left when I should have gone right.  A zig when I should have zagged.  Staying long on the highway when I should have taken the exit.

And I’ve been here before.

I’ve made so many mistakes.  Mistakes that I know better than to dwell on, but I do anyway.  Mistakes that have made navigating certain roads impossible, almost as if my car was on autopilot.  I see myself making decisions, knowing they are bad ones, and yet I make them anyway.  I know what I am supposed to be doing and I don’t.

I need to get out of the woods.  I need to find my path.  I need to return to me.

I’m lost.  And I’m not sure if I can be found.