UnPause

When the “Great Pause” as in my mind it will be known started in early March, no one knew what it would mean.   No one knew how long it would last.   In the beginning, most of us treated it as a snow day where time stopped.    No rules.   No expectations.   PJ’s all day.   Then again, maybe that was just my house.   The only one who remained on a regular schedule is my husband who immediately started working from home.  

So while life as we knew it changed, we only thought it was temporary.   Yet, here we are …months later still trying to figure it all out. Realizing this is not a pause but a temporary new way of life.  This is what we need to do…… for much longer than we ever imagined.   In ways we never thought of.

So now it’s time to hit the play button and take our lives off pause. Slowly…. Cautiosly…. Smartly… Taking things off of pause and restarting in small steps.

Here it the thing though….. It is also time to evaluate what things that we paused that didn’t serve us, our families and our lives. Prior to the pause everyone wore “busy” as a badge of honor when maybe it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Many for the first time in years have been able to have family dinners because everyone wasn’t over scheduled. There were not parents heading off in opposite directions with different kids only to meet exhausted at the end of the day. There was time to do puzzles together, game nights, and just time to putz around the house to actually just be.

I’ve kind of done the same thing with my running. There were no races to train for. No events that I felt I would miss if I didn’t do. There were no expectations. I could just be. Leading me to get back into practicing yoga and slow things down. And while I have signed up for virtual events, the expectations for them is much different.

So with that I Started walking. Taking that step back from running. Enjoying just being. At first it was not intentional. It really started just because it had gotten extremely hot and humid, so I thought walking would be better. Then I realized that this is what I needed. I began getting out every day and while I am not “on a streak,” I am going on 3 weeks without missing a day. So now I have a small goal of hitting a month streak.

At first, I felt like I should be doing more. Than I should at least attempt to run. That this was not pushing myself. Then I realized that I didn’t want to push. That I had no need to push. That sometimes you have to go back to the beginning to get where you need to go. With that there was a mindset change.

My walks are not Sunday Strolls, but more of a power walk pace. Walking with purpose as they call it. I want to get my legs used to a set pace for walking because I also know that when I do add running back in that walking MUST be part of the conversation. Eventually, races will start again. Eventually, I will sign up and be training for one again. When that time comes, I know that in order for me to be consistent, be effective that I will need to do a mix of walk/running.

So as with life, I will start to evaluate what has not served me well in my running. I will evaluate and adjust. Until I am ready to take the next step in running (the C25K), I will walk with purpose using the time to listen to some Podcasts and just be.

I know that I may not have been using this pause as efficiently as some, but to me life isn’t always about the finish line but the way you get there.

Walking, Walking, Walking…..

Those who have been around a while know that I became the Accidentally Running Mama by accident.   Hence the name.   This blog and my running really was just to track and share my training for what was supposed to be the one and done Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon.   Obviously it took a life of it’s own and here we are.

Now though I am making a conscious decision to purposely become the accidentally walking Mama.

Say what?????

I’ve talked before how I can’t get a handle on my paces.   Running too fast.   Then needing to stop and walk.   Repeat.   Repeat.  Repeat.   There was a time where I could do negative splits without really looking at my watch.   I just knew by feel and adjusted accordingly.   Now I’m just so jerky with being fast and then slow and can’t get a handle on it.

I am not concerned about pace, so it’s not like I am trying to intentionally run faster paces.   It’s not like I even care about my pace or as we know not training for anything.   I just lost the ability to regulate it.   After a jerky run where my fastest pace was 7:16 (even if it was for a second), I had an epiphany.    I learned to regulate my pace because I was in touch with what my body could do and in tune with it.

Right now I’m out of tune.

At last years New York City Marathon I ended up doing a very brisk powerwalk for most of the race.   This explains my 6:10 finish time.    The thing is when it was over, I still crossed the finish line.   I still got a medal.   I still did what I set out to do.   I felt all the joy, elation, and pride of completing the NYC Marathon.  The next day though, I felt the effects of powerwalking a race that I was trained to mostly run.   Walking got the job done, but it does engage your leg muscles differently than running and I was sore in a different way from running.

I also was thinking about what I need to do to complete the NJ Virtual Parkway challenge.   I’ve got 18 days and about 60 miles to go.    So that averages out to 3.33 miles a day.    I can’t run that every day but I know I can walk it.   A challenge is a challenge and I never back down from one which you can view as good or bad.

I know that when I am out and about, I am going to want to run.   I’ve already gone for 2 walks and had to pull myself back.    I am going to feel like I should be running.   I am going to tell myself… Just this once and try to sabotage this quest to just walk thinking I should be doing more.   The truth is I think this is right want I need to be doing and am planning to stay firm.

I need to go back to the very, very beginning.   Not going back to couch to 5k, but the very very beginning.   Then I can do C25K to start running again.  As it is, I am heavier than I was back in 2013 when I started training for that Sprint Triathlon.   This will allow me to both finish my virtual challenge and get expectations (even internal ones) off the table.

So for now, I am out and about walking.   Not strolling like I’m on the boardwalk, but like I’ve got to get home before the storm comes in.   As a runner, it is important to stay true to your abilities.   True to where your body is on any given day.   True to what you need to do.   Often we push past what we should do in the name of vanity, in the name of meeting a goal, in the name of trying to be better.   Sometimes it works.   Sometimes we crash and burn.

Right now I am on my way to meeting my goal.   I know that I don’t need to do this step back to meet it, but I think it might be the smartest way to both meet it and give my body the reset it needs for my running.   As I said in my last post this is the year to regroup, refocus, and adjust.    I want to run.   I’ve got dreams of another 50K one day (seriously, why can’t I shake that one – I am trying).    If I want to be able to get to where I am going, I need to go back to the beginning.

I’ve also come to the realization that if I want to get back to the longer distances then I’m going to need to incorporate more walking. So this will help me find not just my running stride but my walking stride. Walking with a purpose

So here we go……

 

 

The Ups and the Downs

If 2020 were an object, it would be a pile of dog poop.   You would be hard pressed to find anyone who would say as a whole this year doesn’t suck the big one.    For some it sucks more than others and it doesn’t even take into account the pandemic.

2020 is also the year that one by one major races and events were cancelled.   Boston while shocking was not unexpected since it was in the beginning of the pandemic.   One by one other large events fell to the wayside.   Many of the larger fall events have been holding out hope.  NYRR just announced that they were cancelling the  New York City Marathon.   Not unexpected but still sad.   For those that were planning to run they are giving great choices for deferment which also unheard of from NYRR.    I believe they did the right thing both in canceling it and before most people started training.

This is the years for runners to decide why they run.   This is the year for runners to decide weather they run only for the bling or if they run to run.   Now don’t get me wrong…… I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my bling.

I get a lot out of running besides bling, but when you are not training for anything it does get easy not to stay motivated.   Not to get out the door.   Not to go for longer runs.   Not to push yourself.    One of the reasons, I have been doing the NJ Virtual Boardwalk challenge.    21 days left and more miles than I would like, but I will get it done.

So while 2020 has sucked and seems like is on the path to sucking till the bitter end, we need to regroup, refocus, and adjust.

What if we took this time as a gift.    What if we viewed everything not through the lenses of what has been taken from us, but what has been given.   What if instead of thinking of all we are missing, we embrace all the things that we have.

Time

I currently have no part time job.   I have no practices to run my son to.   I have no this or that to attend, but instead of thinking about all that I’m missing what if I view this time as a gift.

I now have the time to practice yoga.

I now have the time to go for runs/walks.    I have even started walking the dog with my oldest son just about every night.    This is a gift.

Races

I am missing the thrill of big events.   The fun of small events.   Missing my running crew.   Missing training (really).   Missing a lot…. BUT…….    every since my surgery left me with Hypoparathyroidism, I have continued to push myself.   I’ve continued to train, race, and while I have cut back on number events I was doing, I still kept pushing.   Doing a marathon ever year since surgery in 2016 (actually every year now since 2014).     Now, I have no choice though but to stop chasing events because even though I was realistic about them, I still pushed myself.   FOR ME – instead of being upset that I can’t run NY again, what if I use this time to reconnect.   Not just with running, but the way I need to run.   Think about what works best for me as far as miles, pace, and calcium instead of chasing distances and time.

From January even before Covid, this year has had a lot of downs.   Lots of things have gone wrong.   Lots of drama.   Lots of things that I wouldn’t wish to happen to anyone.   But with each of these events, there has been an upside.   Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to have gotten to the upside without the rollercoaster ride but that isn’t how life works.   Sometimes you have to let go of the handles, put your hands in the air, scream as the roller coaster is racing down the tracks and just be happy when you pull into the end.   You can’t enjoy the highs without the lows.

So while many of us our in lows now, we have no choice except to enjoy the ride as much as we can.

So for now…..

I will continue to run.   I will continue to see if maybe I need to do more power walking especially in the heat instead of running.   If maybe, I just keep moving that is enough and for the next 21 days, I have to not skip a beat and apparently I am a streaker.

 

 

 

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This week I had my 6 month check up with my endocrinologist. Not surprising, my blood calcium level was low. The good news is that it is just below the low end of normal. Yeah me. The good part though is by maintaining this low level that my 24 hour urine calcium level was normal which is something I haven’t seen in 2 years. At my highest this level was more than double what it should be. So since my Natpara is gone, I bounce in the low blood calcium levels to protect my kidneys for the higher output levels. Go me.

All was good at the appointment. When I commented to my doctor that I was “happy” with levels to protect kidneys, she reminded me that we also have to worry that if we allow my blood calcium levels to get to low we have heart issues. Did you know that if your calcium is important for heart health. Such a balancing act that makes life so fun.
I am good about balancing these things. (seriously Mom… no worries). I am also very lucky that I’ve never had any issues with my kidneys or heart. I pay attention. I adjust. I pop pills all day and adjust as needed. As said before, I really think being a marathon runner prior to surgery helped me learn to tune into my body. All those long runs adjusting fuel, pace, and runs gave me an inside track on how to listen to my body with calcium levels.

I have a few running magnets on my car. I have one that says 50K. Sometimes I think that I should take it off as I only ran one, but it is a reminder of what I once could do and maybe one day will do again. It makes me proud and a little sad at the same time. At my “peak” I finished this event in 7 hours and seven minutes. Obviously, I did not run the entire time, but I did run enough to actually complete it. I’ve run a sub 2 half marathon and a 26:26 5K.

I am no longer at my peak. I’m no longer close to my peak. Today I struggle through 5 miles which used to me my normal run. I used to run every day in training. Teaching myself to run on tired legs. Now I have to pace myself as my legs are tired before I even start. I can’t run every day, but have been trying to walk at least a mile every day.  It sucks. And yes, I know, that it could be worse but  this is my pity party. I miss the “old” me and I when I was on Natpara I kind of felt like her.   Sometimes I get annoyed at my missed opportunities.   Blowing my 4:30 marathon because I didn’t pace myself.   Thinking I would get another shot at it.   I was wrong.

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When you have an invisible illness no matter what it is often times people think you are exaggerating, it’s all in your head, or think you are just complaining. It is easier for people to understand when they can see the toll an illness takes on a person, but often times people with invisible illnesses keep a lot to themselves. What is the point… You know what you need to do and you just handle it.

Al my life I’ve struggled and overcome the impossible. I’ve come back from the bottom and realized that in life you really only have two choices….. Keep moving forward or give up.

I’ve been wondering if it is time to give up running, but I get so much out of it that I think that is not a valid option. I’ve been lower before. I’ve crawled my way from the depths of depression where I realized that giving up is not an option. The truth of the matter is when you come back from that, you realize that your only option in life is to keep pushing forward one step at a time.

Today’s run was hard. The heat effects me. I felt tingles in the lips (low calcium). My legs were cramping. I thought about just walking home. I realized that most of my problem with running really is my ego. I can run fast in short bursts. I can’t run fast for the long haul. I need to readjust, refocus, and learn to pace again. If the truth is that running is worth pushing myself than I really need to push myself smarter. So with that, I added some calez (powdered calcium) to my water, cut myself some slack, and reassessed what I realistically want from running.

Unrealistically…. I still want that 25 minute 5K or that 4:30 marathon I was chasing that I will never get. Realistically, I just want to keep running. I need to let go of expectations, excuses, and ego……. easier said than done especially when I was on Natpara injections which made me feel like my old self for a bit.

I’ve been picked over. I’ve been picked last. I’ve been ignored. I’ve been on the outside looking in. I’ve been on bumpy roads in life….. And while none of these are good and no one wants these things to happen to them or anyone they love…… When you’ve been dealt these hands , they do make you stronger. I root for the underdog, because I’ve been the underdog. While not that now, I do know that if I can get through all the things that brought me to where I am today; I can get through this.

Luckily there are no races on the calendar. There is no training. There is just getting miles in and keeping myself moving. This year will give me time. To think of what goals I want when there are goals to be hand. To be smart. Most of all to just keep running…
Most of all no matter what….
To never give up.

 

And I know that some of you have heard this before and might hear it again.   I am only human and some days you move forward and some days you move backwards but as long as you have more forward moving days than backwards, you are doing ok.

Transformational

When the history books are written about 2020, there will be much to be said.   Probably volumes could be written already and we are only at the half way mark.

I think the biggest takeaway when we are all said and done and so far the best way to describe it……  2020 is a transformational year.    It was the year the world stopped, caught fire and transformed.

I wish I could tell you how it transforms.   I wish I could tell you how it all turns out.    I wish I could say that it all works out for the best.    I wish I had the gift to see into the future to give that peace of mind.

Transformational…..

It’s not just the world transforming, but individual people.     Your life is not written in stone.    How are you transforming because that is the only part of the story that you have control over.   No, you don’t have control over the outside forces of your life but you do have control over how you face these things.  Sometimes it is easy to forget that and feel like it’s all spiraling out of control.

So may transformations.

Life is one big transformation.   We grow.   We learn.   Sometimes we need to relearn.    We transform with life experiences.   We change.   Our circles change. For many right now life is never changing, yet still not the same.   Always transforming even when it all feels the same. Different, yet the same.

Right now I will say 100% that the books I bookmarked to read, but never did have nothing to do with time. That the “chores” I said that I would get to but still have not tackled have nothing to do with time. All those things we said we would do…. if only we had the time. Now we know if time was really what was holding us back. For many things, time had nothing to do with it but became a good cover story.

I’ve realized that I have enjoyed this step back.    This time to just be with no expectations.   This time to get back to basics.   To realize that I didn’t start running for the medals on the wall (although I do like to look at them).   I ran just to run.   Much like what my mother is doing now.   I have enjoyed just getting back to basics.

So as I am at home with my family, it is the same but different.   I have taken another running challenge (I think I mentioned it) of running the distance of the NJ Parkway (172.4 miles).   Another challenge.   Same but different.   This one there is no fan fare.   There is no big event.   There is just getting out there and getting as many miles in as I can.   Same, but different.

Currently I am plugging away.   I haven’t been keeping up as well as I thought, but I will push through and get it done.   I’ve got a little over a month to go and it will be time to pick up the pace.   Ok, not really the pace but the miles.  If I’ve calculated my miles correctly, I am only at 58.8.   I don’t see why I can’t get to the finish line.

Here is the thing…. What always seems impossible is right up until it isn’t.   So I will keep plugging away.   I will plug a little further, but I won’t stop until I get to where I need to be.

What if I fly

Welcome to the Tribe

I tease my Mother that she is not a spring chicken anymore.   Truth of the matter is at 73 that she has more strength, endurance and will to push herself than most people half her age.   Some days even me.

She has fire.

My mother is inspiring for many reasons.   I would bet that she has no idea how many people in how many different ways are inspired by her.   By her love of family.   By her faith.   By the way she lives her life.    By the way she sees the best in people.    By the way she lives her life.    Like many, here life has not always been easy and it’s not my story to tell but through it all she has never given up and kept moving forward.

That is how she got running.

Moving forward.   Starting with one step at a time.   Starting with walking.   Then walking and running.    Then setting small goals turning into bigger goals and sticking to it even when it didn’t work out.   She is primed and ready for us to run her first 5K and she knows it won’t be any time soon now.   So rather than put her shoes away, she made a new goal.

She decided she wanted to run 5 miles.   Then she did.

Then she ran 7 miles by mistake the first time but has since done it again and again.

My mother calls me her coach although she doesn’t always listen.   She sometimes does her own thing without telling me till it’s too late, but that is a different story.    While that may be true, I am impressed with her stamina to keep pushing herself.    I give her lots of advice…. Make sure she stretches.   Make sure she rests.   Make sure she pays attention to time on her feet and recovery. Lots of advice that she listens to 80% of the time.

Right now I am actually trying to reign her in because although she is doing great, I do worry that she is going to injure herself as she jumped her miles too quickly (not my advice) and her longer runs can be almost 2 hours.

I need to pay attention to the advice that I give her too.   Although it is always so much easier to give advice than take it.

Anyway today on National Running Day, I wanted to celebrate a new member to the running tribe…. My Mom.

There is no test to take to be a runner.   There is no pace required to be a runner.   There is no distance required to be a runner.    No races that need to be run. The only thing required is that you run and YES… she runs. So I herby decree that she is the Accidentally Running Grandma:)

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What if???

What if there is no easy answers?   What if we have no idea what tomorrow will bring?   What if as each day is just like the day before, we still have no idea what the future will bring?    How do we plan?   How do we accept not knowing?   How do we move forward and not stay stuck in limbo?

Why are there so many questions and not enough answers?

What if it is easier to ask the questions than answer them?

What if?

What if?

When will this happen?

When will that happen?

On and on it goes with no clear cut answers.   No answers that you like.   No answers that make things easier.  No answer that doesn’t lead to another question.

What if I tell you that it won’t always be like this?    What if I tell you that even in the best of times that tomorrow was never promised?    That plans fall through.   That life is more complicated and much simpler than we every realized.  That even when you make plans, sometimes plans change.   Sometimes things that you never thought would happen…. happen.    Things that you only dream of….. happen.

Right now so many of us feel in limbo.   We miss people that we now have to be “socially” distant from which really just means physically distant.   Do you even remember the last person not in your home that you gave a hug to before this all started?    Have you thought about how good it will be to give that person a hug when this is all over?   I, honestly, can’t remember the last person that I hugged and that makes me sad.   Althugh I believe it would have been either my mother or my friend, Jen; but I’m not sure.   It was such a normal thing that at the time I might not have given it a second thought.

Second thoughts are the problem now.   Second, third…. a million.    We are all searching for answers but right now there are no answers.    That is hard for so many reasons.   How do you plan for the future when you don’t know.   So many things that we took for granted before are now gone.   A hug goodbye.   The ability to pop in on a friend.   The knowing that even if plans had to change that the world didn’t.    As hard as some people want to put this pandemic behind us, it is here in our lives for a while.   We have no choice but to give up the reigns and that is a hard pill to swallow.

Right now many people are planning for fall races.   I was asked if I wanted to be part of the Sandy Hook Promise Team and as much as I support their cause…….as much as I like to plan….. as much as I want to; I just don’t think I can for several reasons but I go back and forth.

My first thought really is how much harder this year it would be to fundraise.   People are hurting and many disposable income is gone.     Businesses that have been very supportive in the past are doing all they can to survive now.     While these last 2 years I have had great success with my fundraising and had expected to do it again this year, I just can’t see how that would be possible.    It bothers me too because I think Sandy Hook Promise mission is worthy of all of our support.

On top of that honestly, I know so many runners are holding out hope of fall races but I don’t see how that can happen.   How in a matter of months can NYC expect to host an event with 50,000 runners and their supporters.    It seems like a foreign thought to me.   For those holding out hope, I hope I’m wrong.   It will be a strange November without a NYC Marathon but I’m sure the people of Boston felt the same way.

It is hard to plan for the future when the future is so uncertain.   For me, that means just doing the things that I can do daily to make my life seem like I am not a house plant.

Exercise Daily – Check

Shower Daily – Usually

Daily walk – Usually

Try not to eat all the chocolate – I’m trying

For me….   Making a conscience effort not to plan is my plan.      I would love to plan for a fall race, but I just don’t see how that can be.    I would rather let that go now as, for me, that is what I need to do.    This is not to say that I am giving up planning and doing.   I am just going to plan and do things that are in my control.   Right now I am in the process of deciding weather I want to run the NJ Parkway (172.4 miles) or the NJ Turnpike (117.2 miles) – Virtually, of course.   There is an online challenge where you are in control from running the distance of the boardwalk (28 miles) to going as far as taking the Jersey Devil challenge (579 miles).   These distances will be run starting May 15 through July 15th.   Mile wise I’m leaning towards the Turnpike but I’m more of a Parkway girl, so I have not figured it out yet.    That will be something I control.

So, for me, when the world is our of my control; I will take the control back where I can.   How I can.

What are you doing to stay in control?

 

 

 

You Have to Start Somewhere

Many people want to head straight for the finish line before they have even gotten to the start line or even started training.   I, myself, am no exception.   Patience isn’t always my specialty or a virtue that I posses.   To be honest, I’m not sure that I have any specialty but live by the expression Jack of all trades. Master of none.   That’s me.   I’m cool with that.    A little of this.   A little of that.

Right now like so many people staying at home, I’ve got a lot of time on my hand.   I’ve filled a lot of it with baking.   This week alone I have made Mocha cupcakes with espresso buttercream, Rose Water Cupcakes with Rose Water buttercream, and today I’ve made bagels for the first time.   That is a lot of goodies.     I need to balance out these extra calories with a more sedentary lifestyle by adding more exercise.

I’m not sure if I mentioned that we semi converted our garage into a home gym.   We don’t have a lot but we’ve got more than others and enough to get the job done.   I’ve also been dabbling with the Nike Training App which currently has free upgraded access to the premium workouts.    I’ve really been enjoying the workouts.   They have all different types of workouts.   I’ve done tried all the different types (endurance, mobility, strength and yoga).

I will further say that I enjoy the endurance workouts on days that I am not running which due to the weather has been a decent amount.  I feel that these will help me push myself while running.   The Mobility has been great for cool downs, hip opening, and general flexibility.    What I’ve really been spending some time on is the different yoga routines.  Several years ago, I regularly practiced at a Hot Yoga studio.   It was intense.   It was a workout.   It helped with flexibility and balance which I could desperately need.   I loved it and I really don’t know why I stopped.  As I said before, I let other workouts fall to the wayside as I focused more on my running.   I’m reminded recently how these all go hand in hand and can be beneficial.

What I also noticed besides how tight my legs are is that I forgot how strong you must be to do yoga.   I remind myself that when I am holding my body with up that is a pretty decent amount.    I also thought that in order to improve, I will need to continue to practice because as the saying goes practice makes perfect.   Although is their perfect in yoga?   Just good form which I don’t have either.  A work in progress.

So I will practice.   I will remind myself that as cool as it would be to be able to a handstand or any of the inversion movements that I must start at the beginning.   Like a marathon, you can’t just show up and expect to get to the finish line.   So I begin at the beginning with the basics.    The basics for me are not so basic anyway.   I need to find muscles that I forgot to use.   I need a core which has gone MIA.   I need to start at the beginning.

It is these beginning steps which make crossing even the smallest finish lines worthwhile.   If everything came easy, they would be no sense of accomplishments.   And while I have a long ways to go, I am still proud of how far I’ve come even if that just means entering my garage to practice yoga or any workout.

I further admit that I needed to remind myself of all of this because it is easy to throw in the towel and say, “Well I can’t do it.”    Really what we need to say is “I can’t do it today but I will eventually be able to do it and if I can’t I enjoyed the process.”

So here I am enjoying the process.

Take a Stand

As a women runner I, obviously, have thought about my safety while running.   I’ve thought about lighting.   I’ve thought about what routes I should take and what to avoid.  I’ve thought about where I could go for help if needed.   I have run with a whistle.   I have run with pepper spray.   With all of those thoughts though, I have never run in fear.

Here is the truth…….

I am a white woman runner.   I have ALWAYS known and NEVER thought twice that I would not be helped if needed.   I have known that in times of need, I could and have easily without a second thought asked for help.

I’ve asked for water from strangers.

I’ve asked for directions.

I’ve had strangers stop and ask me if I needed assistance if I looked in need.

I have this luxury.

I have this privilege.

Call it what it is….

White privilege.

Ahmaud Arbery had no such luxury or privilege afforded to him.

He was not asked if he needed help.

He was not afforded the privilege of just going for a run that I don’t think twice about.

All because of the color of his skin.

He was not seen as a young man trying to be healthy.   He was not seen a runner out to feel the pleasure of going from a run.   He was seen as dangerous.   He was seen not as what he was, but by the eyes of hate and racism as someone to be feared.    He was seen only as the color of his skin.

Today is his birthday.   His family can not celebrate with him.    He can not celebrate with his friends, family, and loved ones.   His life was stolen from him and his family all because he was running while black.

period.

There has been no justice for him.   Actually until pressure, it appeared as happens time and time again it would be swept under the ugly rug.   Not this time.   Not in the future.

Today in honor of his life and his birthday, people are coming together to run 2.23 miles for Ahmaud Arbery.   2.23 to mark the day his life was stolen (February 23).   We will come together the only way we can now… Virtually.

He deserved better.   His family deserved better.   Our country deserves better than to let this bigotry and hatred thrive while pretending it doesn’t exist due to privilege of it not touching you.  Black men and women deserve to run without fear.  They deserve to not fear their cell phone will be seen as a weapon and unjustly killed.    They deserve to be able to say they can’t breath and allowed air.   They need to be able to wear a hoodie and carry a pack of skittles without being killed.  On and on it goes and it is shameful.   They can’t even take a knee to protest without being told they are doing it wrong.   It is well past time for EVERYONE to stand up against it in all shapes and form.

So today we honor Ahmaud Arbury, but we also vow to stand up and fight to end this type of hatred and bigotry when we see it in our lives because if you aren’t willing to fight to do that, you are just as much part of the problem.

Please join not just this day but in future fight. The ongoing battle that should have been won long ago #IRunWithMaud

To Bling or Not to Bling

Every group has their superstitions.   Their quirks.   Their thing.   Running is no different.   Now each individual runner obviously is different and different runners and groups think about things differently as well.

For example:

Some groups this it is bad juju to wear a race shirt on race day or before event.

Based on number of race day shirts worn during events that is not true for all.

Some people do not want a race shirt, bling, or goodies from an event that was cancelled.

Some people will accept it but they must “earn it” by doing a virtual race.

Running usually is not a participant trophy kind of event.    If you do not finish an event, you get a DNF instead of your bling.   I get that.   I respect that.  Stolen valor is stolen valor that is why runners can’t stand people who cheat at events.

That is kind of where I was.    As mentioned, I was training hard and I believe ready for my birthday half marathon (Unite Rutgers Half & 8K) in April.   I was good to go.   It was going to be fun.   When the race was cancelled some of us envisioned donning our tutus and heading out to do a group virtual run.    We realized quickly that was not a good idea which wasn’t obvious at beginning.   I then thought I would run the virtual half by myself.   It is not like I haven’t run miles and miles by myself before.   Most of my marathon training was solo, so running a half alone would be fine.

Then I thought about it and realized that I had no desire to do it.   The reason that I signed up for that event was because it was on my actual birthday.    I thought it would be fun to do a race on my birthday especially when I had friends sign up to join me. It wasn’t so much about running a half (because I can do that), it was about doing a half with friends.   So I lost my mojo.

Then the bling came in the mail with the race shirt.   Then the guilt came that I didn’t “earn it.”  I started thinking about running a virtual half, but my heart wasn’t in it.   I can run.   I know I can run.   I am still running.    I’m in a group challenge to run 2020 for 2020 as a group, so I’m not stopping.   I just hit 500 miles for the year.   I’m good.   I know many runners who will and have run virtual races for events that have been cancelled.    I know some who are restarting their training to run this race virtually, but I really have no desire to do it right now.

For my going out and dedicating my 5 miles today for the 8K was enough.   This race was never about the miles.   Maybe down the road, I will run 13 and dedicate it to this event.   If I do, great.    If I don’t, no big deal.

One thing that I keep thinking of during these times is that most of the time what is important is not the destination but the journey.   This race for me was always about the journey.   Of rebooting my training.   Of virtually training with a friend.   Of training in person with friends that are closer.   Most of all it was about coming together race day and just having a blast.

This separation is temporary and this medal will always be a reminder to me of this time.    For me….. this is enough.

To quote a line from my mother’s book.

I am enough.

Unite Rutgers