2013 Me: “We’re only running six miles? Sweet!”
2014 Me: “Whoa… We’re running six miles?!”
Two days ago a person almost killed me and my friend Rachelle. This was a person that I trusted to do what was right. I learned a valuable lesson. Never trust people.
Let me start from the beginning. It all started around 6am. My friend and I were a couple of miles into our four-mile run when we approached a four-way stop. As always, we slowed down to see if there were any cars approaching.
We saw the car coming, but it was still slowing down for the full stop. Since the car wasn’t full braked yet and would still have to stop at the stop sign, as you should always do at a stop sign, we thought we had time to cross. Also, by this time we were in the driver’s headlights so surely they could see us, right?
Wrong. Don’t trust people. The driver totally pulled one of these:
As we were running right in front of her car, the driver shifted from slowing down to pausing to then accelerating. And we did this:
And just as she was about to hit us both, she slammed her brakes. I had jumped back and my friend had jumped forward to finish crossing the street. The driver tried to signal me to go ahead and cross in front of her. To which I gave her a look similar to this:
There was no way I was going to cross in front of her car. I didn’t trust her. So we went into a stand-off until she finally drove away and I crossed the street.
My friend and I couldn’t believe what had just transpired. How did she not see us? Why didn’t she stop at the stop sign? Why couldn’t we run a 9-minute mile? (Okay, maybe that last question is off topic, but when your life flashes before your eyes you can’t help where your mind goes.)
Tuesday morning I learned my lesson as a runner: Never trust people. Unless they are handing out free pretzels during a marathon. Then, by golly, take all the free pretzels you can get your hands on.
Have you ever been almost hit by a car while running?
“Why didn’t I learn to treat everything like it was the last time? My greatest regret is how much I believed in the future.” – J. S. Foer
Life has a way of taking sharp turns when you’re least expecting it.
At the end of February my life took one of those turns. And while I’m not quite ready to share the details of the life-altering event that rocked my family (mainly out of respect for the privacy of my family), I will say that it was a health diagnosis that caused us all to change the way we look at life. In those early days, where the prognosis was unclear, I experienced a fear like I have never felt before. And a helplessness that left me feeling paralyzed.
I’m happy to say that after the first round of treatment, my loved one has seen some positive results. They have shown and continue to show a bravery that inspires me. However, my family now lives with the heightened awareness that the future is not promised to any of us.
As if life wasn’t already hard enough to handle, it decided to hit me with two more blows: I lost the new job I started at the beginning of February and then I was hit with my own medical scare.
The new job had been my dream job on paper, but failed to stack up in real life. Rather than settling into my place on the team, I found myself questioning my role. It didn’t help that my role was constantly being redefined for me. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I increasingly had the feeling that this wasn’t the place for me. Instead of getting excited to work every day, I dreaded the moment I would start my work day. I knew something had to change soon and was relieved when it did, even if it meant that I would be unemployed.
Not long after, I had my own medical scare. This time it wasn’t life-threatening, but it was heart breaking. During this roller coaster of life that I like to call “May 2014,” I also couldn’t run. This, quite frankly, sucked. I needed to run and it seemed like a cruel joke that I couldn’t at least have that. I craved the endorphins released from a nice sweaty run and I yearned for the laughter I often shared with my friends during our early morning runs.
The days were dark and you would often find me saying, “Is 2014 over yet?” The good thing is, I never lost hope that things would turn around. It was just my impatience for it to happen that was hard for me to control. Patience is not my favorite virtue. I like things to move fast and for me having to sit back and “wait” is like placing a cupcake in front of me and telling I have to wait until after dinner to enjoy it. Screw that. I want it now.
Then June 2014 came and I found myself slowly healing. But I can’t take the credit. I credit my husband for holding me up when I couldn’t stand on my own anymore. And for letting me cry a lot. And for taking care of our little family. I credit my family for banding together in a way I never thought possible. I credit a close group of friends for listening and reminding me that good things were just around the corner. I credit school for creating the perfect distraction.
And then I found a job, one that I was genuinely excited about. I found myself able to breathe again. I found myself able to run again. I found myself smiling more, crying less. I found myself again.
So … I’m back, but I’m not the same. I know tomorrow isn’t promised and I’m going to try to honor that lesson daily, but without letting it overcome me. Life is short. Let’s have some fun with it!
I ran through another spider web this morning. I’m not sure why spiders keep spinning webs across streets and how it is that I keep hitting them first out of the group, but I don’t like it one bit.
Thanks to my girls, who attempted to de-web me while laughing their heads off.
Meanwhile, this was me:
Happy New Year!
New Year’s Day is always a mixed bag of emotions for me. I’m always sad that the holidays are over, but I’m thrilled to have some time to rest. This year that rest is especially important to me. My MBA semester ended just 12 days before Christmas, giving me that long to finish Christmas shopping, wrap and ship gifts, catch up with my lovely friends and family that I neglected all semester, and hit up holiday gatherings. Let’s just say that I’m perfectly happy spending the first day of 2014 resting and using the time before UCF, my alma mater, plays in tonight’s Fiesta Bowl to reflect on 2013.
I anticipated that 2013 would be my best year ever. And it was… I married my best friend! But if you would’ve told me at the start of the year that I would decide I wanted to get my MBA and actually start the program within months of this decision, I would’ve laughed at you. Hard. I may have even had tears running down my face. With the start of my first semester, my best year ever slowly transitioned to my most challenging year ever. I spent my days trying to strike balance in every aspect of my life, and learning to let go of the things I couldn’t control.
Looking back, I am forever grateful for my husband and his support all year. He cooked. He cleaned. He took care of our dogs. He kept our house together. He kept me together. He reminded me to slow down. He made me laugh. He cheered me on. He reminded me that I can do anything I set out to do. He let me cry. He worked around my crazy schedule. He made me a lot of coffee. And when the semester ended and I had just submitted me last paper, he walked over with drinks to celebrate.
I’m also grateful for my friends. They gave me epic nicknames like “HeMBArie.” They insisted I was destined for greatness. They ran alongside me. They surprised me at my marathon. They listened to me. They made me laugh… a lot. They understood when I couldn’t make it. They kept inviting me. They let loose with me.
It was a great year. Here’s a look back at 2013:
I married my really, really hot best friend.
We took a quick minimoon to Amelia Island…
And then went on an unforgettable honeymoon trip to Costa Rica.
I lost 9 lbs. by cutting my dairy and gluten intake and managed to keep them off during my marathon training.
My little sister married her best friend.
I started my MBA program.
I ran the 2013 Chicago Marathon…
And the 2013 Turkey Trot.
D and I finally visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and tried butterbeer.
I’m looking forward to what 2014 brings my way. I wish you a very happy 2014!
I rarely purchase race photos because of their ridiculously high prices. However, this photo perfectly captured how great my training partner, Beth, and I felt when we crossed the finish line of the 2013 Chicago Marathon. Anyone that has worked with me in the past (one particular high-five-loving colleague in particular) knows that I much rather prefer a laid-back fist pump to the overly happy high five. Let’s just blame this one on my having just run for 26.2. miles.
This photo made a perfect gift for Beth this Christmas and I printed out a copy for myself as well. Whenever things get tough in 2014, I want to remember how hard I worked to balance all of the demands of 2013 … and how great it felt to cross that finish line.
I’ve gotten this question a lot since I ran the Chicago Marathon. In fact, I get it a lot after every race I run. Usually I look at people and say something like this:
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But this time it’s been a little different. If you’re wondering if I got injured again while running this marathon, I didn’t. Surprisingly I feel great. The first week after the marathon I promised myself to take it easy and not run. After running that far, my body definitely earned the right to sleep in.
The week after the marathon I went on a couple of easy runs with my girls and followed them up with catching up over coffee. It was amazing.
But then almost two weeks after my marathon, I faced another challenge of my tolerance for pain and endurance: I sat for almost five hours getting my new ink.
You see, I had been putting off getting my newest tattoo forever because I was always training for something. New tattoos require healing that running does not afford me so the time was never right. When I signed up for Chicago, I promised myself to finally make time afterwards.
So now when people ask me if I’m still running, my answer is more like this:
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I’m hoping that I’ll be able to run again in a couple of weeks … Just in time for my annual run of the Turkey Trot. I might even run the Orlando Half Marathon in December. If I do run the half, though, I will have to head home right after the marathon, then shower and head over to finish the rest of my tattoo. Ew. Running a half then having to sit still and getting poked at with needles for five hours doesn’t sound like much fun.
And then I’ll be unable to run for another few weeks again. That’s so sad … all I want to do is …
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I’m already growing restless.
Also, I’m still on season 3 of Breaking Bad. So. Good. Maybe that’s what I will do with all of my free time during my MBA holiday break. :)