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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Trail run recap

Today was my longest trail run. Thirteen point one miles in a local state park. Out of all the training runs and miles I have put on these legs, it was by far the hardest and most enjoyable run to date.

Signing up for the Ultra marathon in Iceland I know running in places that offer varied terrain is going to be key for success. Jackie and I have done a few shorter training runs on trails but, there hasn’t been any over 4 done on a trail. I corrected that today. I met up with an awesome bunch of runners at a local state park and hit the trails. Here is my recap:

I started out this morning at 8:00 A.M., terrified of what was going to transpire. I had 14 miles on my schedule but, one of the guys I ran with had to do 12 so the leader of our little hoorah split the difference and led us on a half marathon trail course that’s ran every year at the state park. Right off the bat I was nervous; I had on new shoes, new hydration system and running in a new environment.

The first half of the run went quick, the three of us stayed together and talked off and on about gear and trails. I got some great advice for my future trail runs from some super experienced trail runners. My legs were holding up, but my feet were screaming. Running on different terrain uses different muscles than what I’m used to. The only thing screaming more than my feet was my bladder. So, new experience forced me to make my first trail running bathroom break. Not pleasant. Now, I have used nature’s facilities before, but never in the midst of a trail run and without toilet paper. Ouch. There is chafing in all kinds of areas post run. Enough said.

The second half of the run was rough, the elevation gains and hills were starting to wear on my legs. I tripped a few times and even fell at one point when I hit a slippery mud patch. I was told all of this is part of the fun. If not for the fellas though, I would have been miserable. They definitely pulled me through today! As the run went on I kept getting lost in my thoughts, talking between the guys had slowed down and we were each going steady at our own pace so there was space between us. The lack of music or some sort of entertainment in my ear was something I had not thought about until the talking stopped. Being able to just think in the quiet was a welcome difference. The last few miles were rough but we made it. Slower pace than I had expected but I think trail running is less about pace and more about the adventure. The run ended where we started and we all parted ways.

Post run my legs are sorer than after a road marathon and I think that’s in part to my body adjusting to the new terrain. I know as I hit the trails more often my ankles and legs will strengthen and it will be second nature.

The gear I had today worked out perfectly. My Nathan camelbak fit close to my body and I barely noticed I had it on at times. I actually think I prefer it to the waist belt I have used up until now. The Brooks Adrenaline trail shoes I wore held up, they are unrecognizable at this point but they were sturdy in all the right places and I was surprised how much water they kept out. My tights saved my legs a time or two when I ran through briar bushes, which was nice. A good tip I was given was separate my running clothing into trail and road; that way there is less worry about snagging or destroying al my running clothing because it will happen.

Even though it was my hardest training run to date I am putting it in my favorite run category. Trail running reminds me of being like a kid. Hitting muddy puddles, running aimless through the woods and just being out in nature. Overall an amazing experience I can’t wait to do again!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Don't be afraid

The unknown is frightening. Not knowing what to expect, is the reason a lot of people avoid trying new things. I have been through periods in my life where I have stayed with the safe option. I didn’t take chances and I certainly didn’t try new things. Looking back, I think that's a sad existence. I have learned to embrace the unfamiliar. I approach new things with passion and excitement. Now, we all are creatures of habit and sometimes there is nothing wrong with routine.  The problem is when you stop exploring because you're afraid of the unknown.

When I entered my first race I was petrified. I didn’t know what to expect and what was going to happen. Sure, I had run the distance but I was still new to running. Of course after I did it, I was hooked. I am grateful that I didn’t let my fear keep me from entering that first race. My own anxiety could have prevented me from finding one of the things that makes me happy. This moment of embracing my fear led me to a snowball effect in my life.

When I went through my divorce, I was afraid. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn't know how hard it would be to be a single mom. I didn’t know how to deal with the drama that was inevitable in divorce. But honestly, it was one of the best decisions I have made. I took my own happiness into my hands. I took back control. I am so much happier. My only regret is that I lived a lot of years in an existence I didn’t like simply because it was comfortable and easy.

When I met Jackie, I was scared. Never had I been so attracted to someone. Besides the fact that that someone was a woman; the feelings I had were completely unfamiliar. I had spent so many nights speculating what my life would be like if everyone knew; if she knew how I felt. That fear engulfed me for nearly two years before I finally just embraced the unknown. I am so unbelievably glad I did. The unknown ended up being so wonderful.

I use those examples because; some of the scariest experiences of my life led to something amazing. I will never spend my life unhappy because I'm afraid of the unknown. Trying new things is what life is all about. Trying new things is how I found happiness.

So, stop being scared. Better yet, embrace the fear! Try something you have always wanted to but have been afraid. Go somewhere you always wanted to go. Make big changes you have been avoiding because of fear. This life we have is so incredibly short; enjoy it. Do something that scares you! 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Advice from a woman..

With Valentine’s day on the horizon, everyone is shifting their focus to love. This Valentine’s day is a wonderful time to commit to focusing on your relationship. All relationships, no matter if you’re married, dating, gay or straight, are delicately intricate. Women in general are immensely complicated. So, I feel like as a woman who has been through marriage and divorce I have a duty to enlighten those of you who may be clueless on how to treat a woman.

Below are a few of the ways you can make her feel like the most important person in your life.  

Your partner is unique

    Celebrate the fact that your darling is one of kind. Love her exactly how she is and don’t try to change her.

Big your partners biggest fan

It’s easy to take for granted that she needs someone in her corner. She needs someone who is going to have her back no matter what. Be her number one fan, root for her!


Make mental notes of what your darling is saying. Don’t go through the motions, really listen to what she is saying.

Show gratitude

Every day make a point to show your darling she is appreciated. Simply saying thank you will go a long way. She doesn’t have to take out the trash or fix dinner, but she did. Say thank you, and show gratitude.

Communication is crucial

If you don’t make it an important part of your relationship you will both be lost. Without communicating you don’t know how she feels or what she is thinking. She could be blowing a situation way out of proportion. Take the time to talk about things, no matter how big or small.

Respect her

Show respect to your darling in all things, every day.

Build her up

Your darling may or may not hold an outside job, get paid more, do more physical or mental work. None of that matters. What does matter is that you build her up. She is your equal and your partner. Put her on the pedestal she deserves.

Make the choice

Every single day you must wake up and chose to love her.

Make the time

With work, kids and life in general it can be easy to let alone time fall by the wayside. Make the choice to have date nights. Put her first. Go on an adventure together and try new things. Never let your relationship get in a rut. Show her she is the most important person in your life.

Be kind

Show kindness. Speak with kindness. Hurtful words hurt the most coming from someone who is supposed to love you.

Best friend

Be her best friend. Be loyal, keep your word, share secrets, make her laugh. Friendship adds a wonderful kind of closeness.


Learn everything about her. Find out what makes her happy, what makes her who she is. Celebrate these things.


Get naked. Have sex. Cuddle. Fall asleep in each other’s arms. There are so many ways to be intimate with her. Know what she likes and make time for that. No matter how tired you are, take time to connect in the most intimate ways. Always keep the flame burning.

Be a real partner

Share the load. Help with household chores. Buy flowers. Do small things that take little time and money, they mean the most.

Growth is a part of life

She will change and grow, this is a wonderful thing. Life is about growth, be there and encourage her. Grow with her.

Say I love you

And mean it…

Relationships start to crumble when you make her feel like she is replaceable or not enough. You will lose her a little more each day when you make her feel like she needs to change or hide herself from you. Make her a priority. Make her feel needed. Know every single day you are the luckiest person in the world to get to love her for another day. Don’t take your love for granted. It took me a lot of years and finally being loved to know what I was missing. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
The woman who has shown me what love and happiness is..

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Hearts and Rainbows

Having a real connection with someone is extraordinary. When you really connect with someone it doesn’t matter the circumstance, the distance, the situation, your life will change. The connection can be ignored, set aside or even walked away from but that doesn’t change anything. When you connect with someone, it’s a deep penetrating link that will not let go.  You will know it’s real when no matter how much times passes, the second you’re in their presence you are instantly swept back into the moment you left them. A real connection is undeniable.

I believe there are many people we will meet in our lifetime.

There are people who we love. Those people come into our lives and it’s a nice feeling but doesn’t cause waves and it leaves as fast as it arrived.

There are people who come into our lives that we settle for. Those people may be what you think you deserve and sadly they can knock you down to their level if you let them.

Then, there is the person you’re meant for. That person comes into your life and it feels like home. Your souls find familiarity in one another.

I have met each of these people. I have spent a lot of years seeking affection. I would momentarily obtain it but it was never satisfying. I gave bits and pieces of myself to people that never really earned it. I was hurt repeatedly but was okay with that because I thought I deserved it. I had a resentment buried down inside of me so deep it had tainted my being. I let myself believe his words. I was told I wasn’t good enough and I believed it. I had never looked in someone’s eyes and saw love.  I just kept living with mediocrity. I had pieces of completely different puzzles patched together that created a sad looking picture.

Then I met her.

Meeting her was an instant connection, a gravity that was impossible to fight. I realized in that moment every person I had encountered and every decision I had made led me to her. All the hurt and unhappiness seemed insignificant. My soul had finally found a home and I knew I was bound to her.  I knew I would always love her.

I love her because she is my best friend. I can laugh and be a complete dork with her and it feels so good.

I love her because she has seen me at my absolute worst and didn’t even think twice.

I love her because she is the first person I call or text when something good or bad happens in my life.

I love her because she puts effort into knowing who I am as a person. Not who she wants me to be.

I love her because no one has ever loved me like she loves me. No one has ever made me feel worthy of love like she does.

I love her because pouring my heart out to her is second nature. I have told her things I have never told anyone and she knows the deepest darkest parts of me. I have told her my hopes and dreams. I have told her my disappointments and the low points in my life and she holds me like she feels them too.

I love her because she speaks to me in a loving way. She doesn’t try to hurt me. When I cry, she is there to wipe my tears no matter the reason. When I am a mess she picks me up and when I am stuck in my head she is patient with me.

I love her she is never jealous or spiteful or hateful in any way. She loves me with an unselfish love that is wrapped up in trust and mutual respect.

I love her because she is the strongest woman I have ever met and I admire her more than she will ever know.

I love her because she has made my life better in more ways that I can put into words. She makes the ordinary extraordinary and I am lucky to be loved by her.

No matter where life takes us, I promise to treat her like every day is Valentine’s day because she deserves it. She deserves more than I could ever give her but I will spend my life showing her. I will spend my life making her smile. I will spend my life devoting myself to her and loving her with a deep and fierce love. I will never take our love for granted. A connection like we have is once in a lifetime, and I know that.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Rising after a fall

Failing is always a part of life. The way you handle failure is what defines you.

This morning was a big fail. I went out for a long run, I had a distance scheduled on my training plan and I came up short. Failure. Why couldn't I finish? What happened? What went wrong? A million questions went through my head and I still don't know if I have an answer. I just know, I didn't run what I was supposed to run.

Generally, a run is tough at the beginning. Long runs especially; but I always get to a point where I am in the zone or at least in some kind of groove. Today was not one of those days. I struggled from the beginning all the way to end and then bailed with 3 miles to go. No matter what I said to myself I couldn't force myself to continue. I got back in the car and drove home feeling defeat. Worst. Feeling. Ever.

Now, how I handle this failure is the tricky part. When I first started I would have held it with me for the entire day, week or maybe even that entire training cycle. I would have contemplated quitting. Now, I have found I have to cut myself some slack. Training is a learning process. I know there are going to be days when I just can't get it done. I know there are days when I have to go back to the drawing board and figure out what the hell happened. Today was one of those days. Today is a day I have to be okay with the fact that I couldn't get it done. I will be proud of myself for getting out there. Then, tomorrow, I will get back out there. I will try again. I will continue on despite my failures.

We all have bad days. Days when things just don't as planned. Days we feel like we are losing. Those days are apart of life. Those are the days you need to be easy on yourself. Those are the days you need to love yourself the most. Bad days happen. Just pick yourself up and try again tomorrow.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Good energy is contagious

The work that I do I interact with people on a daily basis. Most of the time, the people I see are probably at the lowest points of their lives. Those people come in and I can instantly tell whether they are genuine or giving me a line. Most of the time it’s the later. But, sometimes they report to me and genuinely believe what they are saying. They want to change; they want to live a better life. They want to do well.

Regardless of whether I am meeting with someone who just got out of prison or someone in my personal life I always feel like people give off energy. That energy is a part of who you are as a person.

I am a very positive and energetic person. I was married for a long time to someone who had the opposite energy I did. I don't say that in a bad way, but it was what it was. Being around someone with negative energy was really exhausting. It was a fight just to see the bright side of things. That's a really sad way to live. Now I know for me to be happy, I have to surround myself with good energy.

I talk about energy because last night I feel like I did something really positive. I had my first successful group run. A small thing like bringing strangers together to run turned out to be the most energetic run I have had in a long time. At the end, I left the coffee shop smiling from ear to ear. Yes, I am a huge dork and this is proof of it; but I felt such a good energy running with these guys. I felt like I was bringing people together in a positive way.

As of late, it's been so discouraging to even turn the TV on. I feel like there is so much negativity in the world everyone is disconnected and falling apart. I think doing small things will make a difference. Last night was small in the grand scheme of things but I think this is a good start. Even though only 5 people set out on a short run around Wheeling, I was smiling because I felt this immensely good energy. All politics and media aside, we are all people. We are all doing the best we can. Why can't we show kindness to one another?

I don't say any of this because I am siding in any way, shape or form with any political agenda. I say this because the way the world is right now, there has to be some good energy put out into the world. I am one person; I don't expect to change the world in any way but, I will always put out positive energy into the universe. So, I am asking you to do the same. If you never read another post I put out there, I hope you read this one.

Be open. Don't say you are, then turn around and judge someone you know nothing about.

Be positive. Even with all of the negativity in the world, there is always a way to see the positive side of things.

Be kind. Every person is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs. They will be different from yours and that's ok.

There is enough hate in the world. Put good energy out into the world, it will make a difference.