Broken Hearts, Broken Toes, and Broken Records

It has been four days since the Pittsburgh Marathon and I cannot get off my runner’s high. The entire weekend was dedicated to the Marathon, so it will likely be hard to come down from this.

I mean, c’mon. Take a moment to go here and look at what this city is like during the Marathon (source:

Legit. We #lovepgh. Deeps.

But to my race [weekend] recap.

Broken Hearts

Our weekend started on Friday when we headed to the Expo. Hands down, this was the best decision we made. Last year, it was crammed, picked over, and ended poorly (with me going on a shopping binge out in McKnight). This year, it was open and easy to get around. We even had time to put in our shake out run, a 1.7 mile run from the Casino to the Convention Center, then a walk back.

My heart broke a ‘lil, however, because the booths weren’t as great as I remembered last year / my company (who is a sponsor of some of the race weekend events) didn’t have a booth / I wrote on a virtual board about what I #runfor (as did Greg). It got a bit real.



Those wouldn’t be the first tears I’d shed this weekend. Oh no.

Saturday, I volunteered with the Social Center (which meant I got to help out with the @pghmarathon Twitter handle). My duties were answering runner’s questions about the events, cheering on the runners in the 5k and Kid’s Marathon, and ensuring sponsor shout-outs were published. For instance, I was behind this sweet tweet.


So why was my heart broken? Well, I got to meet Cutch! My heart shouldn’t have been broken. But when my kids saw this photo of us, Evan got a ‘lil mad (“that’s not my daddy”). Ha!

Arianna was just mad I was with her boyfriend. Well then.

The entire day was incredible. It made me want to be able to do more of with social media and events, and of course made me love this city even more. Heart unbroken.

Sunday morning, it all came back. We were running late (which is usual when I am trying to get my man out the door). I really wanted to see my friend Steffani before she started her Half Marathon and also to cheer for Ryan (who was the first leg of our relay). We got downtown with what I swore was an okay amount of time…until we hit solid traffic at the North Shore exit. It was ok. We were going to the Ohio River Boulevard Exit. It was NOT okay. Duh. The West End Bridge closed early, which meant that we couldn’t get off that exit and directly to the Casino. 15 minutes of stress later, we pulled up to the Casino, ran through, and waited for the T. We were on the T for the National Anthem and Corral A starting. There’d be no seeing Steff or Ryan. There’d be no seeing Corral B, either.

The announcer asked the crowd who was a newbie and the tears fell. My heart broke because I really wanted to be in Corral C, waiting to run a Half. I really did. My broken heart. It didn’t get better as the rain started to fall, I got cold, and we watched C and D pass by without seeing Ryan or Steff.

Broken Toes

After watching thousands of runners pass by, Greg and I headed to Fort Duquesne Boulevard to watch some more. I really wanted to see Ryan because I’m a planner and I really wanted to know that sending Greg over to Station Square happened at just the right time. We never saw Ryan pass us, and when runners from Corral D started to pass by, we decided it was time to get to our Relay Exchanges.

We took the T from Gateway to Steel Plaza where I took Greg’s long layers and left him to head to Station Square. I had to catch the shuttle to Mellon Park. We kissed goodbye and my butterflies started hard core.

Forty-five minutes later, I was at Mellon Park and struggling with RaceJoy (like everyone else) but found out that Lindsay was about halfway through her leg. (You can read her post about the day here, she’s super fast at this daily posting thing and I love her joy and reecap.) After a quick chat with Greg, two potty stops, and lots of jumping around to stay warm, I headed to the official exchange area.

When the announcer yelled out our bib number, I started to cry (again). Watching Greg run down the stretch of Fifth Avenue that had for so long been my home was an amazing feeling. Plus, we were running for the Heart Association and I swear to you I could see Uncle Byron pushing him toward me. Honest. He was so fast!

I handed him his medal and added a solid minute to our time because I hugged him, cried, and would not shut up. He had to tell me to move it, and move it I did.

As you can tell, my feet were already tired when I took over the relay at mile 15 point something. I had 7,000 steps in for the day at that point, and would log over 30,000 in the day. My feet hurt but I had some crazy speed.

The first half mile rushed by. I was at a 10:00/mile pace which is HUGE for me. Huge. Pace for mile one was 10:36. Not my fastest mile ever (10:14), but fast enough. The sun had come out, and I knew I needed to save myself for some good hills.

Somewhere in miles 2 – 4 during my favorite part of the relay (Homewood, yinz made me so HAPPY to run through your town), my toe started to throb and it would not stop. I watched my pace go up 30 seconds, another 30 and then steady off. I hurt, but I didn’t want to stop. I knew the toe I broke last year had rebroken, but I was not about to get a medic. No way. I was gonna finish this thing.

Broken Records

Technically, I was running two legs of the relay. This was a 6.1 and 4.7, so 10.8 miles. My watch logged 11.1. Let me say that I didn’t like the way the fourth exchange happened. I was forced to the left through the exchange, but then yelled at by volunteers for not stopping. I know that I am not the only runner who ran more than one leg. It irritated me, but pumped me up.

I’m not crazy about my pace in miles 2 to 10 because it was all over the 11 minute mile board. Not consistent, but there were hills. And mile 24 and 25 (my 9 and 10 miles) can bite me. Legit. I wanted to stop so much. 10 was my second slowest mile of the day and yet the levelest. Go figure. It was so close to the end.

Mile 10 to 11 made for a broken record for me. Runner’s high set in. It was a combination of looking for Greg in the crowd (he wasn’t there), being cheered on by spectators in the finish shoot, and getting ticked off at the “1/2 mile to go” sign that was a lie. I broke a personal record and logged a 9:54 mile! No idea I had that in me, but I sure did.

And compared to my 10 Miler pace in November (11:42), I *unofficially* put in 11:20/mile for my longest run since last year’s Half. It was also 1:57 per minute per mile faster than my Half pace. Record achieved.

Greg and I met up and tried to find the Heart Association’s tent. Unfortunately, no one was there when we arrived, but we took a photo anyhow.

I tried to avoid the Finish Line Festival because there were just too many people there, but we did walk through to cross the river back to the Casino. More tears and more falling in love with this city and my addiction (running).

Finishing among marathoners was super inspiring. I will do this one day, I will. Crazy, yes?  More tears, broken bones, and more records to break.

Moms in Training

Disclaimer: I was asked to share the information below with you. My personal connection to the fight against Cancer was enough of a reason to say yes.

Moms In Training

If you are a busy mom (aren’t we all?) looking for a reason to run, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) of Western PA and West Virginia has a program for you. The Moms in Training program is designed to give moms the training they need and help to find a cure for blood cancer at the same time.

This is a modified version of the LLS ‘Team in Training’ program, designed specifically for moms. Currently, the LLS of Western PA and West Virginia is recruiting moms who want to train to run or walk a 5k (or further), meet other moms, and raise money for this cause. Moms in Training meets every Saturday at 9 AM at Pittsburgh parks (such as Schenley Park) for 75-90 minutes.

With the Pittsburgh Marathon coming up, this is a perfect opportunity for moms in the area. Marathon not for you? Consider the Half, Relay, or 5k. Busy that day? No worries – I already committed to run for another charity, but am able to join the program and train for an event later in the year. We all have to start somewhere, so why not here?

The commitment: Raise $500 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Western PA and West Virginia by the day of your event. You don’t have to do this alone! I met up with Jordan and Sara, our local LLS Fundraising gurus, and they have plenty of ideas to help you achieve this goal. 

What you get in return: Training Schedule (run with the other Moms in Training on Saturdays, with a plan), Coaching (from certified coach Kim Bell), Workshops on topics like nutrition and stretching, Socializing (Moms have to have fun, too!), Team Environment (training is easier with a friend!).

As a mom, the Moms in Training team knows it’s not easy to work out with kids. If your child can remain in the stroller, they’re welcome to join you. If your kids are older and can run along with you, they can come along.

And dads? You’re welcome, too.

If you’d like more information on this opportunity, please check out their Facebook Page and ask for more information.

2013 Turkey Trot

Greg and I sure earned our turkey on Thursday. We got up on a blustery morning (it was 19 degrees when we got in the truck) and headed downtown for the 23rd Annual Pittsburgh YMCA Turkey Trot.

Did I mention it was cold? We were dressed in layers, but it still burned when the wind hit.

And of course, I haven’t learned my lesson from the 10-Miler (just a few weeks ago) and bought bagels for race day, so again, we had to stop at the store and shop on Thanksgiving. Urgh. At least I stopped at a store in the chain I work for, so I didn’t feel as guilty.

Our drive downtown was smooth, barely anyone was out (on the way there, home, or up to my parents’ for Thanksgiving dinner…but the number of people out in the shopping hours? INSANE). If you didn’t know, the 31st Street Bridge is open again (PSA).

We sat in the parking garage and watched two women get accessorized although they were clearly running late for the 5k. The laughs helped us stay warm until we left for the starting line.

I asked that we start sort of near the front of the middle. My body was telling me I could push it today, that maybe I needed to in the cold. I figured this would give us a nice pace for the first mile or so, before any hills were introduced. This was a correct assumption. The fastest mile was mile 1 at 10:13. According to my records, I only hit 10:40 two other times – while 10 mile training and while Suzie and I ran in San Francisco. So what a shave off time! (Note, apparently I hit a portion of my 10-miler at 10:02 and a portion of TT at 10:08. I am looking at real miles for times here.)

As we crossed the Clemente Bridge, my right lung felt like it had collapsed. I was bent over to the right and feeling like I should just stop. It was not pretty, but I whined a bit then pushed on. Besides, the Boulevard hill was waiting for me. Urgh. Surprise, the fine race folks decided to give us a gift and we ran up to Market Square and made the turn a ‘lil sooner than I remembered last year, so the hill was nothing. Either that, or all the other runs made me stronger.

With a renewed strength, we finished the downtown loop and headed back to the North Shore. Greg was such a trooper. I asked if we could slow down (because we were both struggling to breathe), and he said no. His legs were at  pace and he wasn’t sure what would happen if we slowed down. The next mile, mile 4, was brutal for us both. It was cold, and difficult, but our pace was 11:23 (it’s still very fresh in my mind of when that was my fastest pace). We carried on and pushed each other more than we each realized.

After mile four, we ran back around Heinz Field and to the Science Center for a turn around. There were not nearly as many people behind us as had been at the Boulevard, but there were still people behind us. The fast runners come out for this race, lemme tell you! A kid volunteer had given us fives at the first pass, we fived again on the second – huge motivator.

As we ran toward PNC, I told Greg I didn’t have it in me to do the usual “push it up” at the race end, I just wanted, NEEDED, to finish. I lied. Big time. Turning the corner at PNC Park, I pushed real hard and made sure I beat Greg across the finish line. (Official results, however, have him finishing before  me. We’ve yet to master me winning even if he starts and ends behind me.) Looking at the clock, I was okay with the result. Sub 1-hour at 56:20 I think.

I always forget the clock time is more than my start. Official results showed 55:55 for our five miles, which is 11:11 per mile. Endomondo mapped it a ‘lil further and said we were a ‘lil faster:

My Endomondo Results

I was happy for me, but over the moon for Greg. He doesn’t really get the opportunity to train. He attempted spin class with me earlier in the week and it didn’t go well on his body. He’s a southerner, so the cold is another challenge. But he pushed himself and me and made me so proud I cried. To have someone who loves and supports what I do with so much is a beautiful thing. And seeing his happiness over his best finish? Priceless.

Isn’t our city a beautiful one to run in?




If you’d like to read more of my running progression, check out these posts.




Today was the Inaugural Pittsburgh EQT 10-miler, another medal for my list. Make that five! It was cold. I am not going to lie about that one bit. But that’s okay, because the run made me feel super strong. Here’s what I remember from the day…

1:30 AM: I was wide awake. I read a Facebook post about a runner who completed Iron Man and felt motivated. Luckily, I quickly fell back to sleep.

6:40 AM: My first alarm went off. I was (again) wide awake. Knowing there was no going back to bed, I started my morning. This is when I realized the truck was frosted over. Great.

7:15 AM: We were supposed to be out the door. Arianna was giving me an incredible amount of trouble. Greg was searching for the double stroller (which now we think we sold in the yard sale or on craigslist). We were so far behind, and I was getting hungry and MEAN.

7:38 AM: We left the house, all of us bundled up in a ridiculous (but perfect) amount of layers. I still hadn’t ate, and was scared it would bite me later in the day.

7:45 AM: We get to GE Express and I get a pumpkin bagel (score) and donuts for my family. The register tape stuck and I got real irritated. Roads were closing in 15 minutes and I didn’t want it to impact our drive. I tried to fix it, but failed. Gah!

8:04 AM: We pulled into the First Avenue Garage, about 11 minutes later than I hoped. Greg made up some great time, ahem.

8:34 AM: We had crossed the Smithfield Street Bridge. Arianna was walking (trooper) but crying that she was “going to die” because we walked too far. I was crying mad and probably said some mean words.

8:44 AM: Arianna and I joined the porta-potty lines. Holy long. Dr. Vonda Wright was doing the warm up I really  wanted to be doing. A kind lady gave me a hand warmer and commented on Arianna’s hat (which I’ll be reviewing here in a day or two!).

8:54 AM: We finally got to use the porta-potties. I was nervous I’d miss the start.

8:59 AM: I finally get to my corral, the anthem is done and countdown was on. It went much quicker from here to start than the Half!

9:03:50 AMish: I crossed the starting line, hitting what felt like a fast pace, but good. I was so glad I’d opted to keep my hat, broken sunglasses, and gloves. My goal was to complete it in under 2 hours 11 minutes (which would have been my half pace of 13:13 per mile). I’d be ecstatic with a “sub 2” (less than 2 hours). I set my sights on the 11:30 pacers and 12:00 pacers and set a goal to stay between them in case I needed to walk at any point. (My training last week was non-existent. I was so sick!)

At this point, we started up a hill. Fast and flat my broken toe (apparently, it’s very easy to re-fracture a bone that’s already been fractured…). I remembered loving that hill in the half. Next thing I knew, my phone was saying I was a mile in – just before the the one mile marker. Based on my running app, split was 11:04.

The second mile took us through the West End. Historically, according to the one time I ran through this village, there were tons of folks out to celebrate. Not as many as I’d hoped this year. Then, I remembered a second pretty decent hill before a slight descent to the West End Bridge. No worries, my Tarentum hill training had my beyond prepared and I took that hill (and then West End Bridge) like a champ. Split, 11:38.

Mile three made me ridiculously giddy and happy. There was a fluid station. I took both Gatorade and water. I smiled as the Delta Foundation cheered us on, waving rainbow flags. “Black Girls Run” ladies cheered us on. The harmonica guy (who played “you are my sunshine” at the half” was out on the streets of the North Side. Loved, loved, loved it. Split, 11:40 (I blame the fluid).

Mile four brought us through the Children’s Museum area. I can’t recall much of this section because I was testing the temperatures. My butt was frigid, but my hands and head were sweating more than I liked to worry about (who gets heat exhaustion at 40 degrees?!?!). I decided to take off my hat and gloves, but held onto them hoping Greg would be waiting for me. This part of the race took us over the 7th street Bridge, right into my favorite part of town. Split, 11:00.

Mile five started with the end of the bridge and a jog over to give my kids and husband a high five (plus hand off the accessories). Greg yelled, “Babe, you are RIGHT behind the 11:30 pacers, keep it up!” and I just smiled. The next few turns took us up to the 9th Street Bridge and I started to worry about how I looked. I redid my hair and made sure my shirts were all tucked okay. Photographers were somewhere around mile 5, I needed to be ready, yo. I had to walk through the fluid station thanks to a backup of runners, but I was okay with that. The first station had me barely getting fluid. This time, I gulped, but my nose wasn’t happy. Bacon smells filled the air as we passed Bistro to Go. Split, 11:38 (fluid!).

Getting to the mile marker at 6 felt like a breeze – “I’m over 50%!!!” kept going through my mind. Then, it hit me. A rock in my stomach, thanks to the fluid. It hit me hard, and I wanted to puke. I’ve never really wanted to puke while running. It made this mile rough. Ladies with signs saying “If it was easy, I’d do it” and “This will all be worth your Facebook status update” made me happy. Someone got behind me running very loud – like horse hooves — and it messed with my groove. I forgot about my stomach issues and busted out of there. By the time I hit the end of the 16th street bridge, I realized Greg was going to try to meet me there, too. I saw him roll up to the curb as I hit the same area and gave more high fives. So happy! Split, 11:30.

Two things about running mile seven that made me happy were seeing Joe and Mary Lou of Paint Monkey working on a mural with spectators and seeing a Twitter friend at a fluid station. We definitely started a slow incline, and I could feel my body getting tired. The 11:30 pacers were no longer in sight. Gah! Split, 11:49.

Mile 8 was more of a struggle, but I made it. Some uphill, some happiness as I passed the storefront of former Dozen and then Swank (my giveaway – have you entered?). Even more happiness with the descent through the end of Lawrenceville and the Cupid’s Underwear run folks. Split, 11:58.

Mile 9 was rough. I was happy, but feeling tired. I was cold. Bitter cold. My right hip, which had been bugging me BAD in training, felt amazing. My left leg, however? It ALL hurt. And hard. From the tips of my toes to my hip flexor. I was not happy. I was thirsty. I couldn’t see the end in sight. I really wasn’t sure how to feel. I knew it was going to be over 12 minutes, but didn’t care. Split, 12:04.

Mile 10. Oh, mile 10! I hit a stride. The path was flat. The end, it was so close. My stomach did the “I’m going to burst everywhere” thing again (thanks fluid), but I pushed through, finding my strength. After turning the corner into the last stretch, I could see the Finish Line. It looked close. Greg and the kids looked closer. I told myself to PUSH, PUSH, PUSH. Split, 10:53.

Mile 10+ (my app started just before the starting line, like JUST before, and I forgot to shut it off during pictures, fuel grabbing, and meeting Greg; however, it logged an extra 5 minutes past my “official” time and .44 miles…). Getting to the finish line, I saw my family. I also saw a fellow Genre’s Kids runner and introduced myself, then pushed. We both pushed. It hurt. I shed tears. It felt AWESOME. I hit a stride, crossed the finish line. Official time: 1:57:01 (pace 11:42 / mile). Sub 2!!! WOO!

After getting my photo, heat sheet (thank goodness, I felt SO COLD), and snacks, I met the kids and Greg. I stretched. I wanted heat and coffee. We found my results and walked about a mile back to the car. (No coffee.) Was ecstatic, proud, and felt so blessed to have 1) been able to do this and 2) have my family have watched me and supported me. I’m proud of Arianna who walked through much of the city with Greg with limited complaining (she saved that for the morning walk). I’m proud of the runners who beat me, crossed with me, and finished behind me. We found a reason to start, and pushed to finish.

And now, I’m on my runner’s high and can’t wait to plan what’s next (after the Turkey Trot 5-miler on Thanksgiving, of course). Shh…a thought crossed my mind that if I ran 11 miles next weekend, I could easily do RNR Las Vegas Half with Kristi (but right now I have a conflict, so am not even thinking about this). And this makes a sub 2:30 half in my reach. I don’t have words except for thankful, blessed, and over the moon.

IMG_1892 (Copy)

Tech Tuesday: Fitbit #Sponsored Review

Welcome to what I hope becomes a new feature here at ‘lil Burghers, Tech Tuesday! I’m a techie mama (my day job is in the IT Department) and I’ve been asked by some “fans” to write about how I use technology. Why not share finds with you weekly? 

Last month, while I was at BlogHer ’13, I ran a 5k. As part of that, I received a FitBit to track my distance. Today’s Tech Tuesday feature is going to be about my experience obsession with it.

Disclaimer: Best Buy provided all participants of the BlogHer 5k with a Fitbit. While I was not asked to write about it as part of my participation, I chose to do so. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

When I signed up for the BlogHer 5k, I realized that it was highly unlikely my plane would land before the registration began the night before. I pulled a few strings and got an earlier flight (props to Southwest’s no change fees) and was able to be one of the first to go through registration for the 5k. Let me be clear, there was never a line for the registration. I just saw “first “xxx” participants will get a Fitbit” and I had to be there. I haven’t owned a body monitor in the past because of the mere fact that I hate armbands; however, I’d heard about the Fitbit and thought it would work for me.

Oh, was I right.

At registration, I had to draw a ticket to get my Fitbit. There were three choices, and essentially my ticket matched the one I’d get. Either a Flex (a very easy to use/remember bracelet which you have to sync to see how you’re doing besides the lights that show your daily progress), a Zip (which hooks to your clothes and smiles at you when you’ve met certain goals), or a One. I got the One (which I’ll tell you more about here). At first, I was disappointed. I really wanted the Flex (turns out many of my co-workers have this version). Mom brain sets in, I forget my stuff. Proud to report, forgetting the One has not been an issue and I’ve actually fallen very deeply in love.

Fitbit One

So, why do I love the One? Let me count the ways…

  1. The color. It comes in black or maroon. I got maroon, which is a great color on me. It’s adorable.
  2. The stats. I am a metrics person, so by the push of a button I can see how many steps/miles/calories/flights of stairs I’ve taken in a day. It’s also now my watch (which is usually my cell phone).
  3. It tracks my sleep. Admittedly, I am not the best sleeper. Even after two weeks in, I am still tracking my sleep (with a wristband that I don’t love and has gotten stuck in my hair) and seeing I am very restless at night. And, I don’t get enough.
  4. It syncs with my computer (via a USB adaptor) or the iPad. If I had a Galaxy, it would sync to that via the app, but I digress.
  5. It talks to me, greeting me with a fun message and a “Hi Becky” when I pick it up.
  6. It charges quickly and for a long time. In two weeks, I’ve only charged it once. It took about 30 minutes connected via a USB dongle to my PC and showed me right on the One how much it was charged. Vroom.
  7. It’s challenging me. In the last week, I’ve averaged just under 10,000 steps a day. I wish it was higher, but on my rest days and yoga days, it’s hard to get those 10,000 steps. Also, many of my co-workers have the Fitbit, so they are my friends on the app. I get to log in and see who has passed me for the day and cheer them on (or taunt them if I want). (Have a Fitbit and want to be my friend? Find me here.)
  8. Arianna loves it. Truly. She keeps me going, always asking to see how high my flower has grown for the day. “Mama, let me see how good you’ve been today”. (She’s told me my flower looks sad and I need to get up and move it, move it.)
  9. The dashboard. I can see everything I’ve done and go back through history. It tracks my weight (manually added in), steps, and I can even add in food consumed to balance the calories burned.The fact that it wirelessly connects is a huge plus, too.
  10. Badges. I earn badges (like my 20,000 steps “best in a day” badge). These motivate me like you wouldn’t believe.

For the price and convenience, the Fitbit has blown me away. In the two plus weeks that it’s been part of my life, I’ve dropped almost 2 pounds and stepped many steps. it’s definitely a big part of my life, and I’d love to connect with those of you who feel the same. It’s become an addiction, I have to have my Fitbit and I have to make sure that I am up at the top of the social ladder. A challenge and a fun way to lose weight? Wins!

If you are interested in getting your own Fitbit, you can purchase one at or through Fitbit. Prices start at $59.99 for the Zip and $99.99 for the Flex and The One. 

Fitbit One
Me wearing my Fitbit One at the Best Buy Blogher 5k

Kid Bullies

running mom
Me, post run!


It is a steamy evening in this ‘lil suburb of Pittsburgh. An evening when I needed to go home, get a workout in, and be done with another Wednesday.  But, kid bullies got inside my head and frustrated me.

First, a few weeks ago while I was training for the Half Marathon, one of the neighborhood hoodlums yelled out to me, “Way to go, Fat Runner #42!”. This irritated me a bit, but I kept on going. I wasn’t going to let some kid (who was just sitting on his porch) tell me what kind of runner or person I am.

Fast forward to this evening. Today was a weigh-in day, and I am (not kidding) 0.2 pounds away from having lost my 100 pounds. Couldn’t even shake that off. When I met with my dietitian, we set a nice, accelerated goal for the next two weeks, getting me below the 100 and into a new “10”. So, it was clear to me that there will be no “phone in, take it easier” workouts these next few weeks. Across my Pinterest came this nice “100 Workout“:

100 Workout


It was a good butt kicking, lemme tell you. So, it’s about 90 degrees in our house, and I had on short running shorts and a tank top, not thinking about the whole running 10 minutes outside. When I hit the porch, I saw the neighborhood announcer outside, so decided I’d do my ten minutes in the back alley (bonus points because it has hills). No sense giving the kid bully fodder.

At 8 minutes in, I heard, “Hey, you, why do you jiggle?”, but I kept running. The question continued, “I asked why you jiggle, huh, why do you jiggle?”. I turned around at the end of the block and went back, right into the question, “Why do you jiggle?” The ‘lil kid (about 10 years old) met my eyes and asked again, louder, “WHY DO YOU JIGGLE?”. I knew there were so many things I could do, so many things I couldn’t do, and I chose to keep running and ignore these taunts. My ten minutes were just about up, but he got in my head for those last two. I ran .8 miles, 12:33 was my pace (yuck)…it would have been in the 11 minute of my new normal pace, but I let him win.

When I got back to the house, I told Greg. Being my protector, he decided to take Shadow for a walk and seek out the hoodlum, the kid bully. Lucky for all of us, he wasn’t outside. He wasn’t going to do anything to the kid, but ask to talk to his parents. That should have been me taking action, trying to change things. 

Because kid bullies shouldn’t be allowed to treat anyone like this.

Because this kid bully is going to end up being a senior when my daughter is a freshman and he’ll surely bully her–maybe for having a mixed brother and dad, or for her own jiggle.

Because this kid bully could be my kid one day, mis-treating other kids.

Because everyone deserves respect.

Because hell yeah, I jiggle. But I also run and sweat and eat healthy and have lost 99.8 pounds and am doing so many things to not jiggle anymore.

Haters, kid bullies, get off my lawn and out of my head, mmm k?

Half Marathon Emotional Dump

This post is pure emotion…a dump of my thoughts post Half Marathon. What a day!

Kids, I hope you can look back on a day and can say it was the best day of your life, even if that day changes throughout the years. Maybe right now the best day of your life was the day you were able to try real ice cream (Arianna) or the day you were able to wear Thomas unders 24/7 (Evan). But for me, that day would be yesterday, May 5, 2013.

It sounds cruel, as a mother and a wife, a college and grad-school graduate to say that a random Sunday in May could surpass your births, our wedding day, the days I graduated, or even the days I got my first job…or started at my current company (which, by the way, I totally forgot my 4 year anniversary was last week, I was so wrapped up in this day). I know it sounds awful, but I hope one day you will understand.

One day, you’ll look at what your Mama did and know that this day was a big one for her. Your Mama carried a lot of weight, both physical and emotional over the past 6 years. I went through some things I never want you to go through, and I needed to find a way to deal with that and move on. I found my healing in running, and set a goal to run a Half Marathon.

Saturday I was a complete mess, laughing, crying, snapping, doing everything wrong, doing everything right. My emotions were crazy, I was scared. My goal was just around the corner.

Greg and I went downtown on Saturday and he ran the 5k with my friend Steffani. They did awesome, it was her first 5k and I was so proud to watch it.

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Then we went to the Expo and met a pacer who gave me a temporary tattoo to wear and a goal of 3 hours. (When I left my office on Friday, the goal was 3:30 and not to get swept.) I was pumped, I could do this. We went to lunch. We shopped for too long. I was exhausted and a wreck. Sleep came way too easily, albeit after eating my first entire Subway footlong in 2 years (shame? none.).

Sunday morning, the big day arrived. You were not with me, I decided it best in case something crazy happened. Instead, you watched the TV from Grammie and Pappy’s for me. (Arianna, you claim you saw me, but no one can confirm as you were alone at the time.) We headed downtown, my arms and legs branded in motivations.

#BostonStrong *USA* today I run for…Wendy, Tracy, Aaron, Genre, & Dad. #CancerSucks

I was ready, but I didn’t know it. Greg held me for what seemed like forever after we exited the T in a mass of participants. I didn’t know if I’d see him again (my emotions went that crazy) and I wanted to enjoy every last second. He took a picture of me, we stretched my hamstrings, we hugged goodbye and he wished me luck. I was thrown into a sea of E-Corral pacers.

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The National Anthem played. I bawled. I saw a voicemail from Myrtle Beach friends–I got to listen quickly before the start, it was ‘lil runners wishing me good luck. I cried, I laughed.

My friends were with me throughout the race, although I ran it (physically) alone:
-Greg and I saw a shooting star above the city just before the race–a sign that for me has always been Wendy letting me know she’s still here, looking out for me.
-They played Renegade just before my start.
-They played Don’t Stop Believin’ as I crossed the starting line.
-A blogger friend was live blogging from the crowd–I saw her, but didn’t realize it until the race was over.
-A pair of runners dressed as Mario and Luigi and had the theme song playing from a phone
-Evan and Arianna–a harmonica player was playing “You Are My (Sunshine) Mommy”

Here’s my mile by mile reactions:

Mile 1:
-Really fast, for me, but felt good. Around 12 minutes.
-Why are people already lined up for the bathroom? I swear to my self I will not stop.

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Mile 2:
-Wow, here already? Another fast one, 2 miles down in just over 24 minutes.
-Didn’t grab a water, hope the next one is before mile 6. Gatorade cups are slippery!

Mile 3:
-The clock is broken. My time is going to be incredible if I keep this up. One bridge down.

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Mile 4:
-Where the hell is the clock?
-Where the hell is Greg? I’ve crossed two bridges, he better be on the third one.
-Mile 4 is a freaking long mile to get to. (I never saw the mile 4 marker.)
-So glad I saw Greg on the bridge. He looked so cute sitting up there, cheering for me.

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Mile 5:
-Oh, already at Mile 5? Where was mile 4???
-Greg and Steffani got to run down that hill yesterday, lucky ducks.

Mile 6:
-Almost halfway. I’ve got this in the bag. If I keep this pace up…wait…I’ll be under three hours. There’s no way. No way.

Mile 7:
-Will I ever get to Mile 7? West End bridge and the hill after were tough, but tougher is ahead. Keep your head up, keep swimming.
-West End neighbors are awesome!

Mile 8:
-Wait. Where was mile 7 (again, never saw it).
-Gulp the water, oh!

Mile 9:
-Furiously looking for Greg. He finds me, I realize even at fluid stations I didn’t walk, just ran through to get my water. I yell, NO WALKING I AM A BEAST! He jumps to the side of the course to reach out to me, I never have felt more love.

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Mile 10:
-GU is an amazing invention, can I have more???
-I have never full out run this far.
-How the HELL do I get on that hill with those runners [to my left on the hill district]

Mile 11:
-Time to say goodbye to the marathoners and make the Birmingham Bridge mine. I got this.

Mile 12:
-That hill is a mother, forget the bridge.
-If I pass out on this hill, no one will be able to get me…oh crap. Keep going, don’t walk.

Mile 13:
-They said it was all downhill from 12. What is that hump before the finish line?
-Finish line in sight. Find husband, make sure he’s watching.
-Cry. Cry. Cry. This is so awesome.

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Finish Line:
-3:13. I did it in just over 3 hours. OMG. Wait. That’s the gun time. I started 20:50 after that. OMG. I did it in under 3 hours. I can’t do math right now.
-My knees won’t stop moving. Ouch.
-I need a picture. I need a heat wrap. I need the glory.
-I need water, lots of water. No medic needed, I am walking!!!

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Post Finish Line:
-Find Greg or bathroom? Bathroom wins. Greg finds me first. He had to hold me so I wouldn’t fall over.
-How the hell can I pee if I can’t bend my knees anymore?
-OMG. There’s a medal around my neck. I finished. No cart sweep. Cry, cry, cry.
-My phone is dead. I can’t share this with anyone but Greg, but that’s okay right now.
-I need to stretch. Don’t let anyone step on my head.
-Results tent. “Did you have a goal for under 3? Cause, uh, you killed that.” 2:52:55? ARE YOU SURE THAT’s ME??? “Yes, that’s you!” OMG.

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Sunday was an amazing day for me. It marked leaving things on the pavement, fighting off fears, meeting goals, remembering what got me to here and where I can go now. It was an amazing experience, and I am so proud to say I did it. I am a fighter, and I won’t give up.

5/5/13, the best day of my life (so far).

(More photos on Flickr)

Three Days

One of these days, I will be back and regularly sharing stories with you. For now, I am in final countdown mode. In three days, the goal I have been training for will be met. I will have completed the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.

I will be celebrating Genre, thanking my supporters for helping me raise money for Kids With Cancer.

I will know my kids are cheering for me from a safe distance with my parents, understanding that Boston changed our plans but didn’t take our spirit.

I will probably not know what to do with myself, because my training will be complete and my life will be “mine” again.

But…I will not forget a moment from today that proves I have changed.

Me: I will be back soon, it is only three miles. That’s not far!

Greg: Cool, we will be here.

Me: Wow. Only three miles! A few years ago, that would have been, “it is okay to go off this exit, the Ponderosa is only three miles off it”.

Change is good.

Hopefully you will cheer me on. Whether from afar or along the Half Marathon course. You have all been great so far. And for that…I thank you.

Willis Family at the Park



Yesterday’s bombing in Boston had us in a bit in shock. I seriously sat on the bed and cried for several minutes. Greg stared at EPSN instead of eating a juicy burger. It was my rest day, and I wanted to run (but I didn’t, I feel some guilt!). Runners everywhere have to feel the heaviness we are. When I did the Warmup on Walnut on April 6, I realized how awesome the running community is. We won’t let this get us down, but we will band together and grow stronger. Saying some extra prayers today for Boston, and runners everywhere.