marathon

The Next Step

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
-Walt Disney

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Can you all guess what I did today?  Anyone?  Okay I’ll just tell you then.  I started my book!  I wrote the whole preface/introduction today.  That means that writing a booking has gone from being one of the dreams I want to accomplish someday to one that I am currently making a reality.  Holy cow!!!  It doesn’t matter if it’s only a few pages because it’s started, and someday it will be finished.  To be honest, I don’t care if it is ever published.  It’s more about the principle of following through on something I’ve always wanted to do.

Up until this point I’ve have been doing the ground work.  I’ve gotten into the habit of writing regularly.  I put a lot of effort (and myself!) into this blog.  I have found my voice and identity as a writer, and been more open and honest than I ever thought I would be.  I’ve even built up my media presence.  All these smaller goals I’ve set for myself have been stepping stones for this major leap.  

I’m sure there are people who will be surprised or think I’m not qualified, but as far as I’m concerned their opinions don’t matter.  Every great author was once an everyday guy or girl just like you and me.  People aren’t born into greatness; they set out and create it.  I will succeed because I am crazy enough to believe I can.  I am a writer not because I have been published, but because I write.  My message to the world is no less valid or needed than any other work out there today.  

I believe in leading by example, and I want the world to know that you don’t need to have a perfect life or upbringing to get somewhere in life.  Every life is full of setbacks and failure.  It’s how we deal with them that builds our character.  Does surviving trauma leave scars?  Yes, absolutely!  Does it mean that you are damaged? Heck no!  

I would never wish the trauma I’ve experienced in my past on anyone, not even my worst enemy.  However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the lessons I’ve learned from it.  We all know that bad things can happen to good people.  What we sometimes fail to realize is that good things can come from bad situations, good things like growth and strength. 

I want people to know it’s ok to embrace your past along with your present and future- even if it’s ugly and full of mistakes.  Take what you’ve learned and draw from it.  Don’t for even a second stop to be ashamed.  We all have made poor choices in our lives.  They make us human.  They don’t define us.  It’s never too late to let go and start living fully.  Nor is it ever to late to set a new goal or chase your dreams.

It’s not about living a perfect life.  No one is perfect.  Perfect is the enemy.  It’s unachievable.  Authentic, however, is achievable; and it’s a great way to go.  

There is nothing particularly original about sharing my story from victim to survivor and ultimately thriver, however that is the point.  I’m not some elite super athlete.  I am an everyday women who took a rather round about journey to finding herself, a journey that involved a lot of anxiety, tears, self doubt, and crazy mileage and dreams.  Never in a million years would I have ever believed that I would be a survivor of domestic abuse, but I also never dreamed I would be a marathoner, ultra runner, swimmer, cyclist, or triathlete.  I am not fearless.  If anything I am a huge chicken.  I’m clusmy.  I was cut (repeatedly) from my track team and kicked out of swim class, but I never quit.  Now I am training for a Half Ironman.  

Believe me when I tell you that “If I can do it, so can you!”

Boston Strong

“Every serious marathoner should do Boston,

to experience the close to a million spectators,

the three generations of families out cheering,

the little kids handing you water or orange slices.

The whole city really appreciates the runners.”
-Neil Weygandt

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I am not sure what being a “serious” marathoner entails, but I do know that I am seriously into running!  Perhaps that is why I was glued to my twitter feed all morning (in between entering orders and caring for patients) drinking up every ounce of information as if I had been stranded on a dessert island with no other source of sustenance.  Truthfully, I was rooting for Shalane Flanagan more than any other runner out there.  It was clear how badly she wanted it… Plus, I am a sucker for a hometown hero.  Add to that the fact that she is no taller than I am and a totally bad ass lady; and you can start to understand why this women has won my support.

If not, watch this:

Hello! She is wearing a polka dot jacket and she compared running to church… clearly we were separated at birth and I just happened to miss out on the super athletic genes.

Okay, now that we are on the same page… Let’s talk about why I am obsessed with the Boston Marathon.  For starters, Boston is the brass ring of the marathon and distance running community.  It’s a goal that so many people dream about.  The amount of blood, sweat, tears, and months to years of preparation and training it takes is unlike any other marathon.  The time qualifiers are so competitive that I will easily be in my 60s before I qualify by their standard, and that is only if that don’t up the qualifiers by then!

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Boston is not a race you run on a whim.  It’s a race you pine and dream about.  Every runner in that race has earned a spot there; and before you point out that there are plenty of people who get in by fundraising for charity- I would like to just invite you to take a look at the minimal fundraising requirements to get in.  When you find a cheap one, you let me know.  Point being every runner out there deserves every bit of support from the crowd.

I have always been a fan of Boston; however, after last year’s marathon it has become even more significant.  The tragedy that happened last year shined a national spotlight on the marathon and running community.  It carried marathon running into the mainstream more than it ever had been.  It inspired more people than ever to want to run a marathon and to want to run Boston.  It brought the spectators and runners together.  It drew people who never had interest in running into the sport (yes, it is a sport).  The Boston bombing didn’t scare anyone away from the Boston Marathon, rather it attracted them in droves.

Why?  Because it was a tremendous display of community and indomitable strength.  The aftermath of the explosion was filled the city with terror, but even more so it was filled with courage, selflessness, charity, goodwill, empathy, and compassion.  All the best parts of human character showed through more luminous than any damage those terrorists could have inflicted.  People risked their lives to help complete strangers. Runners continued (after running the full marathon) to the hospitals to donate blood.  Finishers gave up their medals to those individuals who were stopped short of their goal.  The whole nation rallied in support.

The Boston Marathon was not defeated, rather it became an even greater symbol of resilience.  It brought Patriots Day from a little know local holiday into national consciousness.  Perhaps, the next step should be to declare it a National Holiday, and we could all celebrate the Marathon together…  Should anyone decide to start that petition please let me know!

In the meantime, I showed my support in the best way I knew how.  I started by joining the 118 For Boston Movement and logging all my mileage with the tag #118ForBoston in RunKeeper.  If I can’t run Boston in person, then at least I can run miles for Boston!  In case you were wondering, I included the #118ForBoston tag on my Ultra mileage on Saturday as well.  It was my last official contribution before the race this morning.  I also wore my race shirt and sneakers in support of Marathon Monday as well!  My newest shirt addition from the Traprock Ultra just happens to be Boston Marathon colors, and super awesome to boot.  I think it may be my favorite race shirt yet!  I am pretty sure I am the only person who dressed in support of the marathon today at work, but I just assume that’s because everyone is living under a rock…

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Luckily for me, my coworkers were pretty tolerant of my exuberance about the race.  They even humored me with feigned interest when I rattled off the standings every 15-20 minutes.  I was sad that Shalane didn’t win, but happy for her that she ran the first half faster than the course record and got a PR.  I was also pumped that Rita broke the course record with a time of 2:18:57.  The women totally rocked that race!!!!   Way to represent ladies!!!! I think I even heard that Rita ran a 4:47 split at mile 24 which was one of the fastest splits for any of the racers- male or female.  By the time they announced Meb as the male winner, I think I was ready to jump out of my skin with excitement…. luckily this coincided with my lunch break.

So after spending my morning finally fully recognizing just how useful (and what a God-send for those of us stuck at work with no TV!) twitter can be, I texted the hubs to share my enthusiasm about the results.  Can you believe he didn’t know what I was talking about?  And he is a runner?  Before questioning how we are married, I decided that he must have just woken up.  Obviously, if he had been awake, he would have been equally as captivated by the days events… like every other runner on the planet… hello!

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Poor hubs… He had no idea what he was getting himself into when he met me.  And to think he once made a comment about his ex-fiance not being a “real” runner because she “only ran half marathons” (Pfff as if there were such a thing as fake runners… At the time we weren’t even officially dating and I don’t think I had ever run more than 8 or 10 miles).  Oh hubs, how many times have you had to eat those words in the past 3+ years…

What did you all do to show your support for the Boston Marathon today?

Just a little more inspiration for you…

You can also see her dance again and learn about the technology here

Congrats to all the Boston Marathon Finishers!!!!!

Fairfield Half Recap- Take 2!

“The battle of life is, in most cases, fought uphill…

If there were no difficulties there would be no success;

if there were nothing to struggle for, there would be nothing to be achieved.”
-Samuel Smiles

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This past Sunday I took on the Fairfield Half Marathon for the second timebecause I didn’t learn my lesson the first time!  I am probably the only person who was wishing for rainy weather that day.  Last year it was a scorcher, so hot my nail polish melted!  

All the hills and sun made for such a brutal experience.  I can honestly say that there wasn’t any part of the course that was flat or shaded.  Thus, I was almost relieved when the race organizers announced that they had eliminated many of the hills and changed the course to make it more amenable to first time runners.  (In reality, I think it may have had to do with all the runners that dropped and crazy ambulance traffic.)  

I say ALMOST because I found it very difficult to believe they could make the course much easier given how hilly the area was.  I was right to be doubtful!  The announcer on race day claimed there were only two hills on the course… I’m still curious which two exactly he was counting.  I’m thinking it’s the ones we doubled back on!  For the record, I didn’t believe him for one hot second!

Anyway, the race itself was indeed as awful as last year in every respect.  It was hotter, more humid, and STILL HILLY!  Granted most of the hills were less steep, but the course was NO WHERE close to flat!!! They did, at least, add some more coastal views- which was greatly lacking the first time around.  Of course, the main reason I did the race remained the same, and that is the finish AT THE BEACH.

The entire time I ran this year, I was running to that water.  It was all I could think about… aside from how miserable I was….I did also think about how badly I wanted to quit...frequently! Of course, then I would just remind myself that if I didn’t feel like dying or quitting then I probably wasn’t running hard enough.  lol  Once I did finish, it was SO REFRESHING to FINALLY wade in that the water.  Conveniently, it worked as icing as well.  Despite the heat and hills (which I ate for breakfast btw!), I finished to course in under 2:05, which was several minutes faster than last year.  Mostly, though, I was happy just not to have gotten sick… or died of heat stroke.

I think the best part about this race- aside from the beach– was the fact that I went on my own.  Being there by myself gave me the opportunity to meet new people and make some awesome new friends.  In fact, shortly after I arrived, I bonded with some people parked next to me who happened to all be friends and belong to a running club.  Since the racers are basically required to come hours before the start (or risk not finding parking!), we had lots of time to chat.

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Not a bad place to finish!

So I spent my free time before and after chatting with Lee (a triathlete from Philly), Beth (from NY and training for her first marathon), George (CT local and ringer leader), and Lindsey (super mom and total running beast)… all very nice people by my standards!  To be honest, I NEVER would have spent the better part of my afternoon on the beach after the race if I hadn’t met these people.  It was such a great relaxing experience to chill out with them and just enjoy the moment.  We had all conquered this torturous run, and now we were reaping the reward- soaking up the sun AND BREEZE on the beach 🙂

I think I was even more excited about making all these new friends and my time on the beach than my finisher medal… and you know that’s saying something!  Spending the day with them reminded me of so many reasons why I love the running community. There was no show boating or one up-ing.  Everyone was just happy to be there and genuinely supportive of each other.  That is what running is all about… in my opinion anyway. 🙂

 

Give ’em Hell

“When life pushes you over, push back harder”

Since I started training for the Ultra Beast, it’s safe to say there have been a lot of set backs.  First my shoulder, then my sister’s miscarriage, then my dad in the hospital, and now frequent extra hours at work… PLUS to top it off- I think I tweaked my back.   (I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that I can avoid the chiropracter on this one) The way things have been going, I’ve been getting stressed at times that I’m not where I should be or pushing as hard as I could be.

However, it seems like the more I push my body, the more it pushes back!  Maybe I’m not designed to work out at maximum intensity for hours a day after all!  I have been doing P90X and recently started hiking with a daypack filled with sand (probably 40lbs in total… may have overdone it the last time = back pain), but nothing I do ever seems like enough.  I’m so terrified of failing that I’m almost not enjoying the workouts.  Instead I look at what everyone else is doing and think “I should be doing more” or pushing harder.  I feel like I have to make up for only having 4 days a week to train; and I find myself feeling guilty when I take any time out to have “fun” instead of workout.

The truth is, I’m being ridiculous because there’s no reason I can’t prepare even if it is only 4 days of intense training a week.  After all, I worked the same schedule when I trained for the marathon, and I survived that.  Sure, I can’t do a pull up (yet) or climb a rope (yet!), but I do have experience with covering long distances. Not that long along, I walked for hours on end and covered a full marathon at the Relay for Life.   Maybe obstacles aren’t a strength of mine, and maybe there are a number of “elite” athletes competing in this event, but that doesn’t mean I’m not qualified.

A while ago, someone posted in the Ultra Beast group on Facebook that the Spartan HQ was intentionally letting in a bunch of under-qualified racers to increase the dropout rate and make the race look harder.  I found the comment a little offensive as I’m sure I fall into that category in this self proclaimed elite (more like elitist) athlete’s eyes.  However, I would venture to guess that anyone who would feel the need to make a comment like that is grossly underestimating the capabilities of many of the registrants.  Sure, I may not have a big name is the obstacle racing world (or anywhere else in the fitness realm for that matter!) and I may not even have been able to train as much as I have wanted. However, I do have one strength that will work in my favor- I can push though physical pain and exhaustion, and even more importantly: mental pain and exhaustion.

I spent over 5 years in an abusive relationship and have experienced betrayal by people I considered family.  I have lived through pain I thought would kill me and have come out on the other end smarter and stronger.  NO PHYSICAL PAIN COULD EVER COMPARE to the pain I endured then.  Strong people don’t just happen.  Strong people are CONDITIONED.  They live through pain no one should have to suffer, pain you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.  If I could come out of a situation like that still standing (and running my mouth… haha) then no marathon length obstacle course is going to take me out, even if I have to crawl!

There’s not much I can’t stand more than quitting.  I would rather risk seriously injuring myself than quit.  I would rather suffer and be miserable than quit.  As much as I would like to have done more physical training, at can at least take solace in the fact that I have had top notch mental conditioning.  If spending five days in a hospital with little to no sleep at a time of crisis in my family didn’t break me, and spending five years with a person who constantly tried to beat me down and make me feel like I wasn’t good enough didn’t break me then this race isn’t going to break me (at least not mentally…)

When life knocks me down, I come back stronger.  All these “curveballs”  are just going to have to serve as fuel to keep pushing because ,at this point, I don’t have time to stress about them.  Anyone who thinks I’m under-qualified or just plain crazy (probably the more likely of the two) will just have to eat their words when I work  that much harder and finish.  I WILL NOT BE DISCOURAGED.  I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED.  As long as there is breath in my lungs, I will continue to drive forward from one goal to the next.  I am a fighter.  I don’t stop when I’m tired (or discouraged!).  I stop when I’m done.  

My New Anthem.

Relay for Life (A Marathon for Kelly)

“Rare as is true love, true friendship is rarer.”

-Jean de La Fontaine

This post is a bit late.  I blame the third season of Drop Dead Diva being released on Netflix and the massive amounts of drama going on in my life equally for this!

**I had already written a post about the Relay for Life, but scrapped it because I didn’t want to undermine the cause with all the drama that occurred that day.  Instead I decided to wait a while and start over with a focus on the positive points of the day.**

Last weekend I did the Relay for Life with my super awesome friend Kelly.  It was raining and I was pretty mopey that morning (for obvious reasons), but nothing was going to keep me for getting out there and showing her my support.  I arrived around 10 am and was a little surprised to see just how many people were already there- especially given how cold and rainy it was!  Of course, what’s a little rain when you’ve already battled cancer, right?  These are not your average Joes.

Kelly had already covered several miles by the time I arrived and had a necklace with a bead for each lap to keep track.  Colorful beads!- of course I wanted one!!!!  Which reminds me that I still owe her the $3 for it…. It’s funny how a simple thing like collecting a bead each time around the track could turn something otherwise monotonous and torturous into a fun activity.  In fact, I purpose that they start passing out beads every mile of a marathon. 🙂

I initially planned on staying most of the day to keep Kelly company and make sure she had someone to walk with her the whole time (YES- she walked the FULL 24 HOURS!!!- The girl is a BEAST!!!).  Several friends from boot camp kept us company at various points in the day- including Meghan (Jenna Marble’s doppelganger and my sister from another mother) who (GOD BLESS HER HEART!!!) took the night shift with Kelly. Between the two of us, we were able to keep her company the entire time with some overlap in the middle.

As the day wore on to night, and then the middle of the night, Meghan and I began to get sillier and sillier.  We did the Cuban Shuffle, danced around the field with our glow sticks, and even tried to get Kelly to do the Macarena as we went around the track. I not sure she was as entertained my our antics as we were…  In fact, there is a possibility we may have embarrassed her slightly.

In total I walked 20 miles between 10 am and midnight.  Then, realizing that I was reaching my expiration point in terms of fatigue, I ran the last 6.5  just for the sake of having finished the distance of a marathon.  That’s 106 beads worth for anyone wondering!  I was in some serious pain when I finished (and exhausted, and hungry, and cold, and wet, and cranky… you get the idea lol) I literally could not walk- or move for that matter!

At the same time, though, there was definitely a sense of satisfaction to have covered that kind of distance, especially without having trained for a marathon ahead of time.  After having spent so much time injured, it was a great boost in my confidence.  If I could spend that many hours on my feet in the rain, cold, heat, sun, and still pull out 6.5 miles of running at the end, then maybe there is a good chance I can make in through the Ultra Beast in September.  After all, by then I will have significantly more training under my belt.  While I understand that it is a significantly tougher course than walking on a flat surface, it’s the idea of having to be moving and on my feet for hours on end that was really frightening me.

Despite all the drama of the day, it was an extremely positive and rewarding experience.  No matter what happened, I kept reminding myself that I was there to support Kelly.  There was nothing that was going to distract me from being there for her while I was there… once I got home it was a different story (I basically cried my eyes out).  Even with the drama that occurred, though, I would do it all over again because it was worth it to let her know how much we all care about her.

I Just Did Something Crazy…

“Do just once what others say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.”

James Cook

Ladies and Gentle,

I have done something completely insane, but before I get into details I figured I catch you up on my most current fitness failings. 😉

BUILDING SUSPENSE PEOPLE!!!

So lately my left knee has been bugging me a bit.  It’s always the same spot- where I twisted it snowboarding a few years back.  I’ve had an MRI which was normal and got the green light to go balls-to-the-wall with my fitness craziness.  Anyway, I think with all the extra time and intervals on the new month of Insanity that there’s a good possibility I’m doing something to irritate it when I’m bouncing all fatigued (it’s more like thundering when I’m tired actually- case in point).

Given the knee issue, I have really been trying to back off the Insanity a little this week. That’s why I was really excited to do some upper body lifting this weekend.  Last night I ended up meeting the guys at the gym for some “light lifting”.  I don’t remember much of what we did other than the pull-ups.  Since I am still pull-up challenged at the moment, I had G-dawg as an assist. He had me do 3 sets of 3 while he spotted.  On the second set my shoulder popped and was feeling weak, but I managed to finish.  G-dawg insisted he was barely even touching me, and that I had improved dramatically from the last time we did them.  Since my shoulder was acting up though, we did the last set with a rope so my elbows were close together.  It definitely seemed a bit easier, but I didn’t appreciate having to come up twice each time to the right and left. lol

Unfortunately, my minimal assistance pull-up victory was short lived because this morning when we lifted again I totally flaked at bench.  My shoulder wasn’t feeling right and I just couldn’t get anywhere with my left arm.  Instead of using to two 10 lb plates on each side, I was down to 10 lb on each and struggling.  It was a little frustrating, but I was still able to get some decent lifting in by using lighter weights and changing my grip.  Adam and G-Dawg told me that I need to learn to focus more on my chest muscles when benching and stop relying on my shoulders, but it’s a little hard to do when your chest is female and not ripped with pecs- just saying. It’s a work in progress. 😉

Dead lifting makes me feel like a bad ass!

Although I love them both, working out with two former marines is not always great for my ego.  Today it definitely got to me a little that they make it look so easy and effortless while I was injured and feeling like a total wimp.  When I lift (with the exception dead lift) my arms and weights seem to go everywhere and everything feels awkward (I’m sure it’s worse in my head than it actually looks, and the boys assure me it’s normal when you’re starting out). lol  Then I look at the two of them and they are blasting out their reps with WAY HEAVIER weight (duh! I know, they’re boys).

It just sucks that I have spent the past year busting my ass while they both slacked and now they make the slightest effort and completely leave me in the dust.  I get that they have muscle memory in their favor and I’m building from scratch, but SERIOUSLY- they could struggle a little just for my sanity?  (Or add back extensions to every workout so I can at least demolish them at something, that’s a fair compromise- right?)

Anyway, at least I’m am getting somewhere with my pull-ups! Plus, taking a break from Insanity will give me a chance to get some running in- which I really need to be doing with another half marathon and Tough Mudder coming up in a month!  The vibrams should definitely help build my stabilizers in my legs, and I really need to get used to running in them again now that the weather is nicer.

As for the craziness- first, I don’t think I officially announced that I signed up for the Pike’s Peak Ascent– 13.1 miles of STRAIGHT UP- AT ALTITUDE.  Should be a good time! Adam and G-Dawg will be there, so at least I won’t be suffering alone.  Of course, the best part is the excuse to vacation in Colorado (one of my favorite places on earth!).  Interesting Factoid- the color for the race is purple because it was the first marathon officially run by a woman. How could I not do it knowing that !?! Girl power! (Plus I made a deal with myself that I would do it if I qualified, and I’ve qualified with 3 separate races times now.)

Second- and even more crazy– I sent my “running resume” to the officials of the Spartan Race to apply for a spot in the Spartan Ultra Beast.  For anyone living under a rock who is unfamilar with the Spartan Races- it’s a series of varying length of obstacle races ranging from roughly 5K to the Death Race which spans up to 48hrs.  Unlike the Tough Mudder, there are penalties for failing to complete the obstacles (lots of burpees!) and it’s designed to be as mentally demanding as physical.  The Ultra Beast is the first marathon length race- YES MARATHON, YES I HAVE LOST MY MIND.

Here’s the thing though- I have only been back at running a little over a year, and I’ve only been doing boot camp since October.  In that span of time I have become SO MUCH STRONGER physically and mentally than I ever thought possible.  I seriously doubted whether I could finish the Tough Mudder and the Marathon, but I finished both.  I used to doubt I’d be able to finish pretty much EVERY boot camp workout- now it’s never even a thought.  If you had told me a year ago that I would manage even one of the races or workouts I finished- I would have never believed it.  If I could go from a 10K to a marathon in 6 months, then there’s no reason I can’t go from running a marathon and 13 mile Tough Mudder at altitude to a marathon length obstacle course.  I’m stronger, I’m tougher, and I have a better training program and support system.  I know in my heart I can do it! (so of course I’m scared to death!)

What have you done to scare yourself lately? Step out of your comfort zone!

As an added bonus- when I do run it (if I don’t make it, I’ll do the Spartan Beast which is half the distance) I am totally getting their Spartan Chicked Gear!  What would a woman not do in the name of awesome fashion?  It will also be pretty awesome to possibly meet some of the other amazing women I’ve been reading about (even before I ever thought I could complete an obstacle race) that are a part of their “chicked” movement. 😉

From Humble Beginnings…

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”
Napoleon Hill

And even then, sometimes life will surprise you beyond what you can imagine...

When I started this blog less than a year ago, my purpose was to provide hope and help for other victims of domestic abuse.  I started writing about what I had been through, the symptoms of PTSD I was still struggling with, and how I had started to regain my identity and sense of self through running.  At the time, I fully identified myself more as a survivor of abuse, than a thriver- despite my best efforts.  In spite of the fact that the abuse was in past, I couldn’t keep it from affecting my everyday life.

Then somewhere along the way I stopped being a survivor of abuse and became myselfa thriver with a passion for life and fitness.  I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but with the change in myself, this blog changed too (you may have noticed it’s been through a bit of an overhaul).  Instead of blogging my doubts about running and myself – or things I struggled with in life, I started blogging about fears I conquered and goals I achieved.  Over time,  this blog has became more about fitness and health than overcoming abuse.  Why? Because that’s why I’m passionate about!  Plus, once I overcame my past abuse, I didn’t feel like I needed to write about it anymore.  It’s not who I am; rather it’s just something incidental that happened to me in the past. Ultimately this blog became about aspiring to be the strongest and healthiest version of myself possible and hopefully inspiring some others in the process.

I went from struggling with a 10K and 15 K to finishing a half and full marathon and a Tough Mudderat altitude.  I grew from struggling with a single pushup to handstand pushups.  I became a boot camp and weight lifting junkie and found my happy self. Throughout all of it- I never expected much from this blog.  What happened instead exceeded more than I could ever have imagined: I became part of a community- a wonderful little network of amazing people who inspire me on a daily basis and blow me away with their kindness and encouragement.  This blog have grown so much in the past several months that I can hardly keep up with all the comments! (I still read every one!)  Even more amazing, are all the award nominations I’ve been receiving!

Just recently I have nominated for the Versatile blogger Award (Thank you Coach Crystal’s Padawan!!!), Kreativ blogger Award (Thank you Living Beautifully!!!), The Very Inspiring Blogger Award, and The Sunshine Award (Thank you PositiveBoomer!!!).

The rules for for these awards are all pretty much the same:

1) Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog (check)

2) List some random things about yourself that other people may find interesting

3) Nominate some worthy blogs and let them know

Since I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award a few times already, I thought I’d share the list of awesome bloggers I’ve nominated in the past.

  • Tina Running For Freedom:  This blog is bran-spanking-new.  It belongs to a close personal friend of mine, and fellow CT-ALIVE board member.  She is a survivor of domestic abuse, thriver, and hosts a network TV show called Beyond Violenceto raise awareness about abuse.  She is currently running in an effort to lose weight and raise money for victims of abuse.  Today she is participating in her first 5 K!  I am SO PROUD of her!
  • The Healthy Push: I would recommend this blog (and Facebook feed) to anyone interested in working out.  They have great images, recipes, exercise tips, motivational quotes, etc.   Conveniently, there post today is tips on how to avoid over stuffing (bad pun intended) yourself on Thanksgiving.
  • Heikewrites:  Heike is a talented writer, an optimist, and also a survivor of childhood abuse.  She is very open about her own struggles and always has something interesting posted and I definitely recommend checking her out!
  • The Everyday Warrior:  Well, she is just that- an everyday warrior (better known as a super woman ;) ) She is a wife, mother, and runner who happens to be training for a half marathon and Tough Mudder.  She is also tirelessly working to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project and could use our support !:)
  • Cerridwen’s Cauldron: “Wit, Wisdom, Humor, Nonsense, Rants and Raves, Brewed With a Pinch of Individuality Since 2009″- that pretty much sums it up!  I especially appreciate the wit. :)   She’s already been nominated, but I’d like to recommend visiting her blog anyway.
  • Remember the H:  A fellow marathoner with an awesome blog to get you motivated off the couch. (or maybe I’m the only one you wants to run a marathon after reading someone else did it- either way it’s worth the read!)
  • Thetortoiseruns: This blog seriously cracks me up- on a regular basis. Love it!
  • Soles of a Mom: “shoe addict, workout queen, wife & mom celebrates motherhood one shoes at a time!”- my kind of gal. Plus she’s a runner!
  • Conchsaladesque – Thank you for making me laugh and inspiring me!
  • Lean Girl’s Club– Great motivation for women who love to run or just want to stay fit
  • Fit and Feminist– Not only because we have so much in common, but because it’s something every girl should read
  • Tikk Tok– A fellow barefoot runner documenting her journey
  • Undeterrable– Love to read about another goal setter!
  • The Skinny Pink Ninja– Way to prove the doctors wrong girl! Can’t wait to follow in your footsteps (fingers crossed)
  • My Pink Ribbon Journey– Talk about survivor- this super woman just completed a triathlon after taking on breast cancer!
  • The Thinks I Can Think– Besides being generous, she is also incredibly funny!
  • Eat:Watch:Run– This blog cracks me up (and the bunny is adorable)!
  • Running on Empty– Love that this couple is training for a marathon together- and he documented his proposal in the blog!  Lots of luck to you both!!!!
  • Love and Running Shoes– Another CT local. Ashley, you rock! Good luck with your running and future triathlons :)
  • Motion and Rest– Love to read about another runner’s progress- especially when that runner is a fabulous woman with a sense of humor!
  • Breathless Runner– I totally relate to this blog!
  • Slow Happy Runner– Because Lori, you are an inspiration, and I love reading about your journey.
  • Fat Girl in a Skinny World– A great blog about living healthy :)
Also- just in case you missed it- here are the amazing folks I nominated recently for the Kreativ Blogger Award:
  • Soles of a Mom– I find this blog to be full of positive energy and always find something inspiring to read.
  • The Everyday Warrior– Why? Because she’s AWESOME!!!! and someone I can totally relate to.  She is also running a Tough Mudder and raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project, so head over there and show her some support!
  • Fabulous 50′s– Because she truly is FABULOUS and so is her blog.  I especially love her travel photos!!!!
  • Feminist Figure Girl- What can I say? I’m a feminist at heart.  This blog is totally worth reading.
  • Conchsaladesque- This lady has been through some recent heartache, but continues to face each day with strength and gratitude.  Her posts are always thoughtful and insightful.
  • Manbicep– All I can say is you have to read it.
  • Run. Dog. Cat. Me.- If for no other reason (and there are others) then because this post totally cracked me up.

In my opinion, ALL these bloggers of the Very Inspiring Blogger and Sunshine Awards. 🙂 However, in the interest of sharing the wealth I’d also like to add the following blogs to the list:

  • Coach Doug Bowers: love his blog and ever-encouraging comments on my page.  Be sure to check out his recent post on love handles and see what I mean. 😉
  • Mojo’s Movement: a fabulous fellow fitness junkie… like makes us practically soul mates right?
  • My Struggle- Losing 400 Pounds: 100 pounds down already! Sounds pretty inspiring to me, don’t you think?
  • Once and Future Runner: A fellow runner battling injuries with optimism and enthusiasm.
  • Coach Crystal’s Padawan: Fellow fitness enthusiast suffering through P90x while I sweat it out with Shaun T.

Hmmm and as for the random things…

I have developed an adulthood love of avocados and guacamole.

I love paisley and have it all over my house- not just on this blog. 😉

I can cook but stink at baking… not sure that’s a bad thing though!

I haven’t cut or colored my hair in over a year- changing that today!

If I could summarize this blog with one picture- and it's not just applicable to working out!