Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Brooklyn, Brooklyn Take Me In

This past weekend Brooklyn (or any other NYC borough for that matter) did not want to take me in. Or my running friends. Or our supportive families. Or thousands of other runners from around the world. Little Texas said it best when they sang “there’s a first time for everything”. I just finished unpacking suitcases for a trip I never went on…for the first time. This weekend I was supposed to be in one of my favorite places on earth, New York City, running a marathon that ended up being canceled…for the first time…ever... It really is a surreal feeling. I write this not to get in to the debate over the decision to cancel, as I fully understand both sides (if you want it though, simply put, I feel it was the RIGHT decision, POORLY handled by NYRR and Mayor Bloomberg, made FAR too late in the game). Rather, I write this to get out the emotions I have experienced because of what happened this weekend.

It is really unbelievable to feel so many different things at one time. I will probably never forget watching my friend Yolanda get the phone call from our friend Jamie that the marathon had been canceled while we were sitting in the airport restaurant making plans for our exciting weekend ahead. My initial reaction to the news was shock, which quickly turned to anger over why that decision couldn’t have been made sooner, and then I was in “go mode” to get things in order and waste as little money as possible. Within the hour our flight was canceled, our hotel rooms were canceled, our bags were traced to return home (at least something got to go to NYC…), and our rides were on their way to come get us. While we waited, I sat with Yo as tears streamed down her face realizing this thing we dreamed about for months was not actually going to happen. I sat, still trying to wrap my head around what had actually occurred. We got out the verses we had picked to recite during our 26 miles and tried to remind ourselves of the things that really matter. We, along with our fellow marathoners, are smart enough and caring enough to realize why the city needed to cancel, but it doesn’t lessen the heartbreak. We grieve for the losses the people of New York suffered and cannot imagine the things some of those families have gone through. Nor do we want to do anything to cause them further harm. We are compassionate, sensitive, empathetic people. At the same time, within our group we have overcome stress fractures and knee surgeries to get to that starting line. We have put in months of training, many in the 90-degree Texas mornings. We have given up endless Friday nights to go to bed at 9:00 so we can get up and run early. We put the hours in on the pavement and on the trails. We poured money into training programs, registration fees, shoes, endurance gels, matching marathon shirts, etc. Those things don’t just go away. When you fight so hard for something it can be difficult to let go, no matter how insignificant it might seem to others.

My personal low came Saturday night. As I was driving to meet my boyfriend’s family for dinner (grateful to being doing so because it is something I have wanted to do for some time and they are as wonderful as I figured they would be) I thought about the fact that I should have been sitting in a hotel room in New York, getting ready for bed, and being nervous for a race. The tears streamed down my face and continued to do so because my sadness turned to shame thinking I was selfish about wanting to run a race when there are people in this country who faced real tragedy this week. I felt guilty because my amazing friends and family took time and money to give me gifts of encouragement for a race that wasn’t going to happen. I hurt because I have read over and over again about what “awful” people the runners are for wanting to go on with their race. I was saddened by the hatred towards the runners, and even about the way some runners reacted towards the city and those who made the decision to cancel. This weekend opened my eyes to how much negativity there is in our society, and it made me question why people can’t focus their energy more positively. It pains me to see how insensitive people are and feel that they can say whatever they think. Even people I know couldn’t help but share their two cents on Facebook as if they could really know how my heart and how my friends’ hearts truly felt this weekend. I’m disheartened that the city I cherish so much issued such hatred towards a community I feel is full of amazing, caring, thoughtful people. That night Yo reminded me that this dream would happen when it was supposed to and this year simply wasn’t the year. I believe that to be true and I am okay with that because the 2012 NYC Marathon is not the reason I run.

I run because it gives me a healthier life. I run because it allows me to spend time with some of my best friends. I run because it brings me JOY. I run because it has taught me I am not the one in control. I run because the Lord gives me the strength to run. I run for the journey, not the finish line. I run for the feeling of accomplishment that crossing finish lines brings (I mean that feeling IS hard to beat!). I run because it clears my head. I run because it lessens my anxiety and stress from life. I run because of ALL the faces that will be up to meet me so we can run together. I run so I don’t feel quite so guilty about that trip to Sweet Sammies. I run because I have gotten to see dozens of BEAUTIFUL sunrises over the city I love and the stadium of my Alma Mater. I run because I have learned about the generosity of others in more ways than I could begin to describe. I run because it gives me goals to achieve. I run because it allows me to do things I never imagined I would do. I run because I am accepted by people who are just like me and also by those who are total opposites. I run because there is chocolate milk at the end. I run to escape the worries that teaching 19 8-year-olds can bring. I run because it makes me stronger, physical and mentally. I run because I am stubborn and determined. I run because I am a runner.

So, this weekend I chose to look at the good that came from this “bad”. While I should have been running the race on Sunday, I was at the park with my boyfriend and his niece. While it may not have been CENTRAL Park, I cherish that time and feel like it was an equally great way to spend my day. It brought me joy, laughter, friendship, etc. I got to know his family better. I got to watch an AMAZING TCU win with two of my favorite Horned Frogs. I was able to rest instead of exhausting my body further than it already was in the weeks of preparing for my trip. I had good food prepared by someone who cares about me instead of off a cart in NYC (although I do love a good falafel – don’t get me wrong). I was reminded of the true reasons I run. I was given the opportunity to remember what a great community I have around me. My friends and family reached out to me in a time that they knew would be a disappointment, and made me feel so loved. So, this weekend may not have been the weekend I got to see my dreams of my redo NYC marathon come true, but in a lot of ways this weekend will be one full of happy memories that I will remember for a long time for different reasons than I had originally envisioned. I can’t be too upset about that.

Oh, and NYC marathon, don’t think I’m not coming for you eventually. I will cross your finish line without limping across it. Our story isn’t over. Boston Qualifier in New York?? There’s a first time for everything…

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wind Beneath My Wings

I had to find the cheesiest song lyrics possible for titling this blog. SUCCESS!!! Now that I can go on feeling satisfied with that life accomplishment, let's get to the point.

There is so much that I want to write about the experience that was the New York City Marathon. In short, it was the most challenging, most incredible, most indescribable experience of my entire life. Definitely more on that to come…but the thing that must come first is a blog of gratitude. Never in my entire life have I felt so loved and cared for as I did in the days before and after the race. I’m definitely one of those people who has days where I feel like the song “nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms” (anybody out there remember that one from their childhood? Shout out 1988!?!?!) applies to my life. While I know this is silly and I know I have awesome people that I can call my “community”, I guess it’s just sometimes easy to forget that people care as much about you as you do about them. Here’s a look at the “short” list of things that touched my heart throughout “marathon week”.

*every single positive thought, prayer, word of encouragement that came my way the weeks leading up to the race when it came to my knee injury (see previous blog)
*my roommate creating a goodie bag for my trip (yes I’ve mentioned this before but it was just that awesome)
*my fellow running friends in the “core four” that wrote me the sweetest letters, loaned me their race belts, gave me sayings and verses that I literally read every night before I went to bed the entire time I was in NYC, and put up with my moments of panic
*my principal, and friend, who gave me a card with a sticky note for every day she wouldn’t see me – I can’t say how much I looked forward to every morning where I would get to see the sweet words for that day
*my two BFF’s who came to NYC, ran with me before the race to decide if it was even going to happen, gave me a tshirt and card, trudged down to the basement and stole a cart to bring me bags of ice for a post race ice bath, hauled PVC pipe on an airplane so I could have a TCU flag at the race (glad every other Horned Frog racing in NY got to enjoy it – as I missed it), and even dried my hair after the race b/c I couldn’t move
*my cousins who came and spent their entire day watching stinky people run by for five hours so they could cheer me on for a whole 34.2 seconds
*EVERY SINGLE comment on facebook, like of a picture or post, text message, and phone call. Seriously, I wish I could go into detail of what that meant to me, and thank the people who sent them, but it would take too long to thank 80+ people (I didn’t even know I KNEW 80+ people) who probably won’t ever actually read this blog. But, even if just one of you does – THANK YOU. It was those comments more than any that went through my mind as I limped through mile 10 – 26.2. I dedicated my miles to y’all, remembered your sweet words, and let that positive thinking keep me going.
*My kiddos who wrote me notes to let me know how much they wanted me to win – yes WIN the NYC marathon – they don’t get it clearly, but the Flat Stephanie/Jakus/Stanley (we never could quite decide a name for the girl Stanley designed to look like me) who was, literally, by my side (pinned to my belt) the whole race, reminded me of the 20 little people who “get” to spend 8 hours a day with me 5 days a week and that I just adore – they helped me through that race too
*the kids who high fived me in the hall when I came back to work and continued to ask me if I had won – must be what it feels like to be a celebrity
*the poster and flowers that were waiting for me on my desk, courtesy of my roommate once again, when I got home at 1am, exhausted, slightly defeated, and hardly able to move. Not much was making me smile at that time, but that sure did
*the marathon celebration dinner my sweet friends had for me when I got back to FW where I got to run through a sign – dream come true!
*the cards of congratulations from friends and family close and far
*my sweet 2005 Tremont girls that sent me flowers and a pedicure gift card to work my first day back – one of the sweetest surprises of my whole life
*the letter my aunt wrote me congratulating me on my accomplishment
*last, and saved for last for a reason, my parents love, pride, and encouragement. A whole post could be dedicated to their involvement and dedication to this thing that meant so much to me – so maybe I’ll do just that. For now, Mom, Dad, without you guys this would not have been possible. At all.
*Finally, I guess this is really the last one, the knowledge that the race was only possible b/c of a God who loves me, gives me legs that work, even if only partly ☺ and makes 26.2 miles possible. With as bad as my knee/leg hurt the day before, there is NO WAY I could have raced without some divine intervention. Pretty darn sure of that.

My heart is overwhelmed just writing that list. I don’t have any idea why so many people would care that much about me, I certainly am undeserving of it, but at the same time, I am forever grateful for it. I venture to say that the outpouring of love I received these past few weeks was better than the race. Equal at least. THANK YOU for every little bit of it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ready, Ready, Ready. Ready to RUN!

Disclaimer: The follow was written in an extreme rush. I just wanted to get my thoughts out tonight so I can remember this feeling after.

Tomorrow night I leave for New York to run in the New York City Marathon. Yes, THE New York City Marathon. Yes, the same marathon I have talked about and tried to get in to for four years. The same marathon I have trained for the past six months. The same marathon that has kept me in and put me to bed on Friday nights for over 20 weeks. The same marathon that allowed me to meet new friends and realize how wonderful the ones I already had are. The same marathon that taught me I am not one of those lucky runners who doesn’t get injuries. The same marathon I have dreamed of for so long.

While I should be in bed right now and not restarting my entry into the blog world (more later on why I left), I can’t sleep from anxiety, excitement about being in my favorite city and thinking of crossing that finish line, curiosity over what this experience will be like, and my mind going 60 miles an hour wondering if I have remembered everything. I’m hoping my running outfit will be okay, I’m hoping the throw away clothes I’m bringing will keep me warm enough on my four hour wait at the starting line (or will attract the running man of my dreams to run the race with and fall in love with me). More than anything I am hoping that my knee will be all right come race day. As most of you know, during my last long run I had to stop early from extreme knee pain and was diagnosed with runners knee (inflammation under the knee mainly from tight muscles). I have diligently been doing my rolling, icing, stretching, RESTING, etc. every morning and night. I have bruises all over my thighs from my massage therapy. I’ve even gotten a steroid shot. Now all I can do is wait, PRAY, and HOPE that this will happen this year.

These past few weeks have been so trying, so frustrating, and so amazing. Yes, amazing. I have never felt so much love and never understood how blessed I am with the community I have surrounding me as I have these past few weeks. The encouraging words, the prayers, the advice, the positive thoughts when I had none, ETC. have touched my heart more than I can ever express. For example… My coworkers who have constantly asked about my training and my knee. My teammates who have helped me get ready for my four days out and listened to me talk about this to no end. My sweet friend who works in the hallway in the morning and gives me the best hugs and prays for me at the exact time of my shot. My bosses who have prayed for me along this journey and put it on our school calendar. My roommate who made me a goodie bag of the perfect items before the race and has told me so many times it WILL happen. My friends who have listened to my panic. My friends who have told me to stop being negative Nancy. My running friends who have let me vent, prepared me better than I ever would have been before meeting them, gave me verses to run through the race with. My best friends and family who are coming to New York to stand five hours in the cold to cheer me on. My parents who have made this day more possible than anyone else. I could keep going, but those are just some of the things that have brought tears to my eyes nearly every day the past three weeks when I think of them, because I am so undeserving of such love, generosity, and kindness. The Lord has me in His perfect hands and it is because of all of those people, you people, that I can see that. I hope will all my heart this is my year – FINALLY – but if it isn’t I will rest assured that those same people will be my support as I grieve the loss of not running it this year and gear up for next year.

THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart if you are reading this and have in any way been a part of this journey. I wish I could tell every one of you, in the million words it would take me to do so, what you mean to me. Instead know I am grateful for you and I love you. Please keep praying, please keep positively thinking, and please keep hoping for me!

Monday, May 3, 2010

To Hate or Not to Hate

Been quite awhile since I've put anything on here. Mainly because I didn't have much I thought was important to say. After all this time, this is going to be amazing then - obvi. Or really just something to help you waste time...

So anyway, lately I have been listening to different music than I usually do. I've gone back to my middle school days and decided I like the music of Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Weezer, etc. I have not however gone back to wearing umbros, sambas, and No Fear shirts, as cool as that would be. So with my new found musical interests I heard this song the other day. Blue October's - Hate Me. I've probably heard it a million times but never paid much attention to it. For some reason it has really hit me though, so after downloading it and listening to it repeatedly, it has made me come up with a few thoughts.

Here's the video:

Here are the lyrics as well:

I have to block out thoughts of you, so I don't lose my head
They crawl in like a cockroach leaving babies in my bed
Dropping little reels of tape, to remind me that I'm alone
Playing movies in my head that make a porno feel like home
There's a burning in my pride, and a nervous bleeding in my brain
An ounce of peace is all I want for you, will you never call again?
And will you never say that you loved me, just to put it in my face?
And will you never try to reach me, it is I that wanted space

Hate me today
Hate me tomorrow
Hate me for all the things I didn't do for you
Hate me in ways, yeah ways hard to swallow
Hate me so you can finally see what's good for you

I'm sober now for 3 whole months, it's one accomplishment that you helped me with
The one thing that always tore us apart is the one thing I won't touch again
In a sick way I want to thank you for holding my head up late at night
While I was busy waging wars on myself, you were trying to stop the fight
You never doubted my warped opinions on things like suicidal hate
You made me compliment myself when it was way too hard to take
So I'll drive so f***ing far away that I'll never cross your mind
And do whatever it takes in your heart to leave me behind

Hate me today
Hate me tomorrow
Hate me for all the things I didn't do for you
Hate me in ways, yeah ways hard to swallow
Hate me so you can finally see what's good for you

And with a sad heart I say bye to you and wave
Kicking shadows on the street for every mistake that I had made
And like a baby boy I never was a man
Until I saw your blue eyes cry and I held your face in my hand
And then I fell down yelling, "Make it go away," just make a smile
Come back and shine just like it used to be
And then she whispered, "How can you do this to me?"

Hate me today
Hate me tomorrow
Hate me for all the things I didn't do for you
Hate me in ways, yeah ways hard to swallow
Hate me so you can finally see whats good for you.
For You
For You
For You

Here are my thoughts - b/c I know that's what you're here for:

I wanted to know what exactly the band was trying to get across with this song so being the cool person I am, I investigated. There seems to be some debate as to whether it was written for his mother or for a girlfriend, but either way it is about how his mistakes (seemingly drug or alcohol abuse - or maybe just that awful eye makeup) have effected someone he cares for deeply. So, because of how much he "loves" that person he has decided to exit their life and desires them to hate him and move on with life because it will be better for them in the long run. I guess I just don't understand that. I realize it is horrible to hurt someone you care about. We've all done it and it's one of the worst feelings ever. But what I don't get is not being able to accept the love and forgiveness of those who care the most about you. Why would you want to push that person away? Why is it so hard to let someone else accept you, flaws and all? I know I'm incredibly flawed but I hope that the people in my life will continue to love me despite that. How painful it would be to not accept their forgiveness of the times I have hurt them. This song is just so sad to me. Probably most for the person that has been asked/forced to hate the singer. When you care about someone, love them so deeply (like the love of a mother for their child) the worst pain would have to be not having them. I imagine anyway. The line where he says she should do whatever it takes to leave him behind really gets me b/c what if that's just impossible for her? Sure, it is hard when you are hurt by the people in your life and it is hard to see them make choices that you realize will be painful, but it's harder to not have them at all. Why is it so hard to trust that person's love to be stronger than the pain you've caused them? Personally, I believe that people are capable of amazing forgiveness. Seems to me that it's worth giving them the chance to do it. I would even say it's selfish to decide FOR them that they are better off without you. Okay, I realize I've put WAY too much thought into this but this is one of the many things that I LOVE about music. Lyrics that make you think. Just my two cents.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Obviously one of the greatest moments of television.

Pretty much how weddings should be in my opinion...both parts...personally I think I would go for the boat too.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Music of the Moment

Been quite a while since I've shared any songs, here are a few songs off my "recently added" playlist this week. (Yes just this week, I spend entirely too much money on music)

FM Static - "Tonight" (really loving this discovery, guy wrote the song for his girlfriend who was killed in one of the towers on 9/11) Thinking this could be my favorite musical discovery this month...
PS - Since they are nobody big they have no official videos..

Oasis - "Champagne Supernova" (yes, about 15 years later I own this song, however was reminded of it when I saw a clip from the OC when Summer kisses Seth when he's hanging upside down as spiderman - ahh such a good moment, can Seth come back in to all our lives?? but I digress - and it made me want to have it. The song on the show was a cover but I went with the original.

Jimmy Ruffin- "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" (such a good question)
This intro. to this video made it the winner

Ray LaMontagne - "You Are the Best Thing" (actually downloaded quite a few of Ray's and just picked one to share...discovered him years ago but really exploring his music these days and loving it)

Joey Turner - "Why Don't We Just Dance" (always going to have my love of country AND a song about dancing? absolutely - duh)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Month 6 of 12 - "Wake Up In The Morning Feeling Like P Diddy"

What in the world? It is my half birthday. How did this happen? If the way I feel today is any indication of how I will feel in 6 months then I might need the Bachelor's ABC therapist to come pay me a visit (have to read ihategreenbeans.com to get this). Anyway, month 6 covered the holidays. Always a good time, new lessons learned. Now just trucking along to the later half of 26...

*Class parties are easier in third grade – I’m sensing a pattern
*I’m (so far unsuccessfully) devising a way to make it possible not to miss people, I don’t like it
*I don’t think it’s possible to ever be organized enough that the holidays won’t be stressful
*Running marathons as a relay team is super fun, not so sure I will feel the same about running one by myself
*The Lovely Bones has been added to my favorite books list
*Favorite Musical discovery – Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
*Holding your childhood best friend’s baby in your arms for the first time is probably one of the neatest and coolest things in all the world
*I am an “aunt” to the CUTEST, most PRECIOUS, baby boy on the planet
*I absolutely love and adore my family, each and every person in it.
*Christmases with a large family are super fun
*There’s something so cool about watching kids’ excitement on Christmas Eve and also seeing them run down stairs to see if Santa has come, even if it is before 7 in the morning
*I appreciate the advice I get from my cousins and their spouses
*Listen to those who have already been through the things you are going through, they might have something good to share
*It is sad to miss a white Christmas in TX even when you are getting your own
*Being asked to be a bridesmaid for the 7th time is just as special as the 1st
*I’m interested in learning more about soccer (as if I don’t pay too much attention to sports for a girl as it is)
*It has been way too long since I have experienced the excitement of a Cowboys “playoff run”
*No team will ever be as good as the Aikman/Emmitt days
*Enjoy when your team is on a championship run, it might be a while before you get one again (like over 10 years if you're the Stars)
*Girl talk + mellow mushroom = great night
*Avatar 3D will, to quote a certain superhero, “blow your mind”
*I’m patient with people but about as impatient as you can be when it comes to time and waiting for things
*Watching your college football team blow their undefeated season is one of the most heartbreaking things in the world
*I am still SO PROUD to be a Frog
*The world must be coming to an end as I am considering teaching summer school for the first time ever
*The Bachelor just gets better every season…seriously…On The Wings of Love, what’s not awesome about that?
*Dallas Stars Ice Girl is a “really difficult job” – who knew? Silly me, I thought teaching 22 eight-year olds was hard.
*I’m HALF WAY (barf) to 27 and I don’t like it, not one bit