Running Regrets and Blessings?

This month my latest post from Another Mother Runner went live. The post talked about my running regrets and was sparked by Daniel Pink’s newest book The Power of Regret.

In the book, Pink says, “If we only know what we truly regret, we know what we truly value. Regret—that maddening, perplexing, and undeniably real emotion—points the way to a life well lived.”

A life well lived. When I think about my running regrets, the one thing I will never regret is starting. For decades, I’ve been on a quest to become a healthier version of myself. Running is just one more version of that, but comes packed with over a decade of stories, laughter and memories that I can stay I still love showing up for. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

But my why around becoming healthy continues to evolve.

For years, I wanted to be skinny. To be prettier so that the opportunities that are difficult for obese women to achieve would be easier. (That truly is a thing). There was also the revenge period where I longed to have my ex see what he missed. Then, it played an integral role in my quest for pregnancy. And, once finally pregnant, I feared it’d hurt baby Jake. Post pregnancy, it was battling with the changes that come with carrying a bowling ball in your belly for 9-months. A fear of diabetes and watching the finitude of my dad as he battled for his life intensified my why.

And now here I am today. Still trying to figure it all out. What I do know is my why today is much more inward than outward. Yes, I want the scale to trend downwards. That said, what I want more than anything is to keep up with my son’s whose zest for life has me exhausted by 7 pm daily. Basketball, baseball, fishing, swimming, kayaking, running, biking, nerf gun fights. He lives for adventure.

Here’s the thing – that was once me. I once biked from sunrise to sunset, cooled off at Pinehurst Pool between softball and biking home. My only respite was reading. Summer vacation meant endless movement, laughter and little sleep. He’s reminding me of that. To find joy in the simple things. To keep moving and going on adventures and experiencing life. And the truth is, that’s much easier when you’re healthy.

This post is a bit of a ramble, in part, because my health journey is anything but linear. But, I remain hopeful that while I have plenty of regrets to how I got here, at this size, I also have the power to change that. And that is frankly incredible. A blessing in disguise.

Speaking of blessings, I leave you with this. I recently discovered Kate Bowler. Bowler’s two main books talk about living with Stage 4 cancer and faith. As a divinity scholar, she has spent years researching the prosperity gospel – which in her words promises that God will reward you with health and wealth if you have the right kind of faith.

As someone whose journey with spirituality is on the same wavelength as her battle with what being healthy looks like, Bowler’s books immediately resonated with me. They are honest, funny and heartfelt. And lead me to doing a summer for 40ish Devotions from her latest book Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection.

The devotions are short and powerful. Stories about how our imperfections are in fact what makes us real. In a world where real seems harder and harder to find, I welcome that. If you’ve found yourself trapped in the rat race of leveling up and believing you can and must do better, I urge you to pause long enough to read Bowler’s memoirs and perhaps even a devotional or two. It’ll remind you, or at least it did for me, that you and I, are in fact enough.

Hurry Up and Wait

My summer in a nutshell.

My kid is in his first season of kid pitch baseball. I love sports. I love Jake. But wowza, this sport is painfully slow. If you’ve ever been to a game, then you know what I’m talking about.

That said, getting Jake to the games is comparable to Usain Bolt’s world’s fastest sprint. I’m not sure if it’ll be better now that school is out for summer. What I do know is that getting an easily distracted, independent and highly talkative 8-year old dressed in a uniform, fed and out the door in the 30-minutes between school and game time should at least involve some Mother of the Year award. For moms with multiples, I have NO CLUE how you do this and remain upright.

The time my kid didn’t hit a home run.

Perhaps, it is this rush to get to our destination that makes the end goal of game day so painfully slow. It is easy to understand then why I missed filming my son’s first home run. The first 3 games I was the obnoxious mom who walked up to the fence to film my son, just in case he did something exciting. Each time was a strike-out. By game 4, I hadn’t lost faith, but I was too lazy (or perhaps my butt was permanently numb from sitting on cold bleachers) to film.

Jake chose that moment to score his first home run. Sure, it was partially due to multiple little league errors and no 3rd base coach telling him to stop, but it was a home run just the same. Funny how life happens while we’re waiting for life to happen.

I guess that’s the point of today’s post. Sure, I needed a reason to share pics of my super cute kiddo. But, if I ask myself to dig deeper, there is meaning in the madness of little league sports. There’s value of being in the moment. I’ve been seeing a lot of articles lately that remind us as parents that we should allow our kids to be bored sometimes. That it helps them learn to entertain themselves and perhaps be more creative and accepting of how mundane life can be at times.

Perhaps this advice should extend to adults. COVID-19 forced us to slow down but it also created a ton of anxiety, worry and stress so I don’t think I’d many of us were bored during the pandemic. But little league baseball – now that’s boring. That said, it makes the little moments of excitement, like my kiddo rounding the bases, that much more exciting. It is also making me think that scheduling some good old-fashioned days of nothing is a priority for our family this summer… think little league baseball, fishing for bass, and sitting in the pontoon parked at Moon Lake Beach.

I could think of worse things to do with my time. But in all seriousness, there’s a lesson in the madness. I know someday I’ll look back at these memories fondly, so why not try to enjoy them while they are happening.

To all the moms and dads out there keeping those bleachers warm, may you find some magic in the mundane as well!

Frequency Illusion or Fate

I’m currently sitting at a coffee shop in crunch mode. A few weeks ago I wrapped up the first draft of a book more than 25-years in the making. As I typed the closing words of the final chapter, I felt something was missing. That perhaps my book was an illusion or misrepresentation of grief. Despite being brutally honest about my lack of credentials or knowledge base around this topic, I felt like a fraud. Somehow my story didn’t seem strong enough or capped with enough wisdom and answers to really provide a sense of purpose to the reader.

As I contemplated what to do next, I began reading Susan Cain’s latest book Bittersweet. When I hit chapter 3, Cain made the comment, whatever pain you can’t get rid of, make it your creative offering. I realized in that moment, the purpose of my book, is to share with even one person, my journey with loss. For me, it has no end, because for me to never experience loss again would mean to quit living. Despite believing that in my soul, I seriously questioned if anyone else would understand. After all, one of the most common pieces of encouragement after losing someone or something you love is this too shall pass. It will get easier, once you get through it.

The problem is that never happened for me. I kept waiting and waiting, believing that if I just tried hard enough, I’d reach the other side. But the truth is, I feel loss and I hold onto it. I don’t dwell in it or quit living. I’m not clinically depressed or emotionally unavailable. Instead, I find myself acknowledging this is the price of admission and often times elevating my blessings by recognizing that anything worth anything I will in fact lose someday.

This is where divine intervention, fate, or a more logical explanation of Frequency Illusion of Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon comes into play. Because as I contemplated my shortcomings, Bittersweet provided the framework needed for me to finalize understand my inner workings.  

Cain’s explanation of how certain people hold space for love and sorrow finally answered a decade old question. I am not broken. I am what Cain describes as a true connoisseur of the place where light and dark meet.

How did I come to that conclusion? A simple 15 question quiz that had me scoring 8.1 on the Bittersweet scale. Interestingly enough, my husband landed solidly in the category of sanguine or eternal optimist. It makes sense – I’ve been called Eeyore on more than one occasion, especially by my husband. I never minded, at one point going as far as to have a blog called It’s ok to be Eeyore, because I felt the world has enough Tiggers in it. That, I’d rather be loyal to one and contemplative, then someone I’m not.

Cain spends a lot of time contemplating the complexities of living in the place where light and dark meet, including one extremely important factoid that our culture has decided to overlook – it’s not human to simplify move on.

Trust me when I say this book is packed with wisdom. I earmarked so many pages and passages. But this, well it sums up my conflict with grief. It finally provides me the research to back my experience with loss – and the reality that while I keep living after loss, it does not mean that I’ve moved on, but rather that I’m continuing to move forward. The truth is, acknowledging my loss and being willing to talk about it, does not mean I’m dwelling or depressed, but rather I’m resilient. I am resilient and strong enough to embrace both love and loss, or as Cain explains, bitter and sweet, in the same moment.

How lucky we are to live in a world so beautiful where that’s possible? We are literally programmed to experience emotional multi-tasking. Yet, somehow that message continuously gets lost. Grieve and be sad. Then move on and be happy. I’m here to tell you, there’s an alternative. If you don’t believe me, then you MUST READ HER BOOK and take her word for it. Years ago Susan’s book Quiet gave me language around being an introvert. Now, she’s providing me peace for my experiences with loss. For that, I am forever grateful.   

I have months of editing to go on this book and a proposal due in less than 3-weeks. The past few weeks have been packed with self-doubt. Yet, as I sought a sign, this book dropped in my lap. The proof I needed to know that I am not alone. Call it divine intervention or frequency illusion, it is a fine a line. Just know, that often times, the answers are there if you just ask the right question.

Small Changes, Big Results

My first blog post for Another Mother Runner came out this month. It highlighted why New Year’s resolutions don’t work in my world but how taking time out to set your intention for the year or season you are in is a valid exercise regardless of what month the calendar says.

This year, I have some tangibles on my bucket list that I’ve plotted out in pencil (due to COVID-19). But bigger than that, I plan to spend the year operating under the framework of enough.

What does this mean?

It means recognizing that I am enough. I have enough. Enough is enough with some things I’ve fought to keep. Instead, it is time to let go. It also means that I’m in a season where I’m not seeking for more or the next thing but focusing on some foundational building blocks.

To achieve this, I’m doubling down on the tips found in James Clear’s brilliant book Atomic Habits. I know I’ve said a lot of books have inspired me to change my life. These books often focus on the categories of how I think, plan, or improve things like relationships. This book is all about taking action. The reason I love it so much, is because the action is so insignificant, you don’t even realize it is happening.

Similar to year’s past, I have a vision of myself being stronger, more energized and frankly a bit lighter. I certainly never want to give caffeine up but I would like to not rely on it quite so heavily. Clear spends a lot of time in Atomic Habits talking about how starting small and building consistent action into your daily life will ultimately lead to bigger results. He also reminds us that if you don’t identify or believe you can be the person or thing you want to achieve, you’ll never get there.

Henry Ford once said, “whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” I used to think that’s a nice poster but a bit cliché. I now stand corrected. Our beliefs really do impact the actions we take in life. It is why when we’re out of alignment with our beliefs that we get a pit in our stomach or feel “off.” It also means that if I don’t believe I’m capable of being the person that loses the weight, does the plank or beats her PR, I’ll prove myself right every time.

This year, I’m scaling back. I’m slowly rewiring my brain by asking myself, “what would the healthy version of Beth do in this situation?” Would she hop on the treadmill for 5-minutes or eat the chips. Sometimes it is the latter of the two. But most times, it is a hybrid. I don’t mind doing a 15-20 minute HIT run on the treadmill or the bike, which then leads me to want eat a bit healthier. I don’t mind recording my food if the goal is nothing more than to write down what I eat. I don’t mind training for a 5k in January because it seems manageable – at times even easy. I don’t mind tackling a single page in my book or jotting down a few words in my journal most days.

The point is, I’m slowly building in these very small but meaningful moments in my day. Things that take little effort but are wiring myself to believe that maybe I can beat my PR this year. Or, drop the pant size. Or, write the book. Or, have so much energy my afternoon consists of dance parties and playing with Jake without a single diet coke assisting me.

I don’t know what’ll happen in the coming months. Right now, though, I know I’m 21 days into the New Year and I’m more on task for where I want to get then year’s past. More importantly, I’m having fun doing it.

I share all of this because if you are struggling with achieving big goals, consider dumping them. Start small like Clear recommends. And brace yourself to be amazed. I know I am right now!

Wonder and Worry

This weekend, I have the rare opportunity to explore my writing. For the first time ever, I’m participating in a writing workshop at the North Shore Readers and Writers Non-Fest in Grand Marais. The course is lead by creative writer Kathryn Savage. Remember back in early 2020 when I traveled to Florida to participate in a personal development conference? You know the one where I was terrified to dance with 10,000 strangers? Well I upped that today by sharing my writing with ten individuals. Turns out, it is a lot less revealing to dance like nobody is watching, then reveal your soul to strangers. The joys of being a writer.

Anyways, the class has my brain in overdrive. I will be leaving this weekend with so many more questions than answers. But, I’m also leaving a new found appreciation for some new forms of writing. I’m even playing with some new approaches to my non-fiction writing. Here’s a glimpse of just one of my writing prompts today. I hope you enjoy it.

Wonder and Worry

I wonder sometimes if I’m overly ambition. Too extra. Too out there. I worry that I am not enough.

I wonder if we had caught the addiction sooner, my mother would be alive. I worry I’ll follow in her footsteps.

I wonder if my son knows how much I love him. I worry I will smother him to death.

I wonder if I’ll ever lose the extra weight. I worry about the impact diet culture has on women.

I wonder if I love my job enough. I worry I’ll never find my calling.

I wonder about the roll COVID-19 and a broken health care system played in my father’s death. I worry I didn’t advocate hard enough.

I wonder if there’s a greater being in the universe calling the shots. I worry about challenging my faith.

I wonder how I reversed a life of poverty. I worry I am not generous enough.

I wonder why Pet Smart prohibited me from buying a goldfish. I worry about all of the goldfish sacrificed as prizes of the golf ball toss game at summer festivals.

I wonder why I grow so many zucchinis when I hate zucchini. I worry my garden will never grow.

I wonder if I love myself enough. I worry that my ego gets in the way.

I wonder how a dating app brought me and my husband together. I worry about how technology is changing relationships.

I wonder if I miss opportunities because I’m the world’s largest introvert. I worry that I talk too much.

I wonder where these words are coming from. I worry words are never enough.

I wonder if I worry too much. I worry that I wonder too much.

Random Moments

The scar looks much larger in life.

Facebook reminded me today that ten years ago I accidentally blended my finger while making guacamole. At the time, it was extremely traumatic. And, as someone with a low pain tolerance, I thought I was going to die. Crazy how surviving pregnancy and giving birth changes that perspective. But I digress.

I still have the scar from that immersion blender. Every time I look at it, I’m reminded how quickly life changes. Not in an overly dramatic way, but how something as simple as making guacamole, can scar you for life. Frankly, I think it is all of those small, simple things that add up to who we are as people.

This week I started training again. I’m nursing a real injury of plantar fasciitis, so I’m taking this slow. But, I’m already feeling life like has a bit more purpose. That, even in the midst of what’s sure to be yet another fall of COVID-19 chaos, that I’m in control of at least a small part of my life.

This summer I mentioned I was taking time to just think and be. A summer of productive procastination. It was an intense summer of Teremana margaritas, adventures with Jake, smut reading, cabin time, cocktails with friends and food. Soo much food. It was great for the soul and my mind. But, the past few weeks I’ve been feeling a bit aimless. A bit out of control. (Plus my pants are getting very tight). A bit like, what’s my purpose.

I opted to return to the basics. I’m ordering a Spin bike. I’m giving myself grace but training for a race again. I’m balancing out my summer reads with some personal development. Topping that list, gaining a better understanding of my PCOS. I’ve set a new writing goal and registered for a fall retreat. I’m making my bed every single day. I’m stretching for 2-minutes before I brush my teeth in the morning. Simple things that the book Atomic Habits (a must-read folks) taught me. I’m dreaming of a winter adventure with the family and maybe one by myself.

As beautiful as productive procrastination has been (and man it served me well), it is time to resume regular scheduled programming. Driving home today, I noticed the first tinge of red and gold on some leaves. A new wool sweater arrived at my house. While I’ve invested in my first pair of Birkenstocks (perhaps the makings of a future post), I am making plans to wear them with socks.

Transitions are always tough. Summer to fall signals a lot in my brain. A sense of urgency to make this year count. To not squander a single outdoor moment before the first snow flies. This year is no different, except that I’m going to try my hardest to balance a life of purpose with enough grace to also enjoy some productive procrastination. I think sometimes I approach life as an all or nothing. I’m finally realizing that maybe it doesn’t have to be this extreme.

More on this to come in the coming months. In the meantime, my latest blog post came out today on Another Mother Runner. They limited me to three of my favorite lyrics (beyond hard) to listen to while running. In case you are wondering, here’s the link: https://anothermotherrunner.com/my-top-three-song-lyrics-for-running/

Cheers to 10-years!

My first post-race photo ten years ago!

Ten years ago, I enjoyed a few too many mojitos at a dinner party and announced I was training for a half-marathon. (I was not.) Nevertheless, the next day I decided in a carb-induced hangover to make good on that announcement.

Since then, I’ve crossed dozens of finish lines, often at the back of the pack. Along the way, I’ve discovered a few tips and tricks that I wish I had known starting out. I put those together in a book and also for an upcoming blog post for Another Mother Runner.

But, today I want to share another lesson that’s been on my mind. Time. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. The obvious trigger is losing my dad and also rapidly approaching the age my mother was when she died. One cannot help but question their mortality in these moments. Bigger than that, though, is the time the constantly escapes while busy waiting or planning for the next thing.

In the healthiest of times, I guess it can be called productive procrastination. It is why I have not dived into my next book headfirst. I know my heart needs a bit more time to heal. But, in most situations, at least for me, it is about fear. It is about me wondering but what if I fail, or this isn’t the right path, or I discover I hate it or someone is better than me. Sometimes I spend so much time pondering and contemplating that I forget that sometimes the easiest solution is to just move ahead.  

Ten years ago, a few too many mojitos cancelled out my fear. Before I could ponder or talk myself out of running, I proclaimed myself a runner. I’m so grateful to that because I know 100% without a doubt if I had done the pros/cons list about whether I should start running, I never would have taken that first step.

I’m so glad I did. In the past 10-years, I’ve had a few lofty (for me) extrinsic goals that focused on time or speed. That isn’t why I run, though. I run because I choose to. Because it is the identity I want for myself. And the best way to achieve that, is to do it.

There’s a fascinating best-selling book out there right now called Atomic Habits. Game changer for me. It gives me language for a lot of the things I struggle with when it comes to creating simple daily habits that’ll help get me to the goalpost. I highly recommend it.

In it, James Clear reinforces something so vital to success – that in order to get anywhere, you have to act. Seems simple. Unless you are the plus-size runner who is trying to resume training. This weekend I did that. I tackled my first non-express spin class (45-minutes of pure sweat-induced bliss) and re-opened Hal’s app. I plugged in a fall race with my only goal being it is time to start again.

If you’re still reading this and are stuck, read Atomic Habits. If you’re stuck about how to start running, just lace up your shoes and go. If you want even something simpler, buy my book. Heck, drop me a line and I’ll even mail you an autographed copy. The bottom line is just start.

Ten years ago, I threw a few words out at a party that nobody but me remembers. But, it was the start of a journey I’m so proud of and I cannot wait to see what the next 10-years have in store for me.

Wanderer or Productive Procastinator? You decide.

I’m officially a wanderer. Ever since dad died, I’ve been pondering what’s next. Sure, I completed a few in-person races and have been trying to slowly re-enter the world post pandemic but in terms of the next big thing, I’m sort of staring at a blank page. This is new and frankly a bit unnerving for me.

As a Generation X gal, I like to deal in facts. As a planner, I like to know what’s next. So to solve this new conundrum in my life, I did what I know best.  I turned to some trusty personal help books. I spent time charting out my why and revisiting my annual goals. I took advantage of free coursework and doubled down on amazing podcasts offered by some amazing personal growth gurus but none of it stuck. Except for this. The 5 Second Rule. Now, I don’t want to be too Pollyana about this and say that I agree with Mel Robbins when she says on the first page and first line of her book 5 Second Rule “it takes just 5 seconds to change your life.”

But, what I will say, is when you’re pondering what’s next and are spinning out a bit, there’s absolutely nothing better than just doing something. Frankly anything. So, about a month ago, I plotted out a few bucket list items and I pulled up my calendar and with no rhyme or reason, filled it in. Things I just wanted to do. Not because they’d drive professional or personal growth, or make me look like Mother Theresa or shed 100 pounds. But because it sounded fun. (This may seem normal to most folks, but I’m not known for my ability to schedule stuff just for fun, so go with this).

Productive procastination at its finest! So blessed.

In the past few months, I have started rock polishing, enjoyed an incredible girl’s weekend in Marquette, planted my first hydrangea, made a gorgeous petunia planter (while sipping some adult beverages), planted a vegetable garden of only things I actually enjoy eating, started a weekly spin class and am strength training, scheduled a North Shore overnighter, resumed journaling, devoured some fabulous smut books and am co-coaching baseball. I’ve mastered the perfect margarita recipe and trained my chickens to come on command (with snacks). I’m working on a summer bucket list with Jake and set time aside to freshen up my wardrobe next week with a trip to an outlet mall. Oh and coffee dates… lots of quick check-ins with co-workers, girlfriends and even a bit of networking over delicious lattes. I’ve sold nearly 5,000 copies of my book and am jotting down ideas for my next book. I’m still in what Mel Robbins calls productive procastination… which as a writer is different than just putting a project off due to stress but instead allowing myself space to be creative. Not sure if that’s a real thing but I’m going with it for now.

I mention all of this because at times I get to the end of the week a bit exhausted but feeling like I have done nothing. If I allow myself to get caught up in that mentality that in order to be better than the day before, I need to somehow level up my game, than I am failing on all accounts. A year ago, I would have beat myself up over that—called myself directionless and without a specific purpose. Heck, that’s why I dropped a small fortune to listen to someone pep me up and believe that if I don’t have a series of life goals that I’m actively working on, then I’m blowing my life away.

Turns out, I was wrong. Sometimes, you just need space to explore. To wander. To give yourself time to figure out what makes you tick. You don’t do that by sitting down and envisioning your perfect life and then manifesting it by getting up at 5 am and moving your body. You do it by living. By trying new things and allowing yourself to recognize that you may discover something about yourself you don’t know. The truth is, the more I try, the less I know about who I want to be when I grow up but I’m having some serious fun giving myself the space to ask the question. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes that even means jumping out of bed at 4:40 am to hit up a local spin class. But, I did it because I wanted to, not because I thought it’d change my life.

A friend recently posted a shot of our high school graduation 25-years ago. I vividly remember that day. My mom had died two months prior and I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I felt an obligation to become “something” to keep her legacy alive and to not become some silly statistic of what it means to be a first generation college student of an alcoholic. In hindsight, I know my mom will always be proud of what I’ve done with my life but if she were around, she would have reminded me that life isn’t worth living if you are doing it for someone else.

So today, I share all of this, only to tell you that the past year has been rough. It is has been trying and serious and depressing and polarizing and game changing for many folks. Few if any of the folks I know would say that 2020-2021 was fun. I’m with you. But, I’m also hear to say that if there was ever a time to give yourself some grace and let go and just be – it is now.

The 5 Second Rule talks a lot about manifesting the life you want by being brave and taking small action steps. But, if you are like me, and find that sometimes making time to just have fun is almost more daunting than tackling an MBA, then I challenge you to 5-4-3-2-1 yourself into doing nothing. To catapult yourself into a walk with no purpose other than to check out nature. Or, wander the aisles of a store and buy something totally frivolous that makes you feel pretty. Or, buy that extra espresso shot, even if it means you’ll end up binge watching an extra couple hours on Netflix and being tired the next morning. Heck, show up at a spin class and feel like a Rhino riding a bike for the first time, only to leave knowing you’ve surpassed Lyndsey Vonn’s #chin drip because you are so out of shape but find yourself wanting to go back for more. As I look ahead to the second half of 2021, I’m proud to say my one and only mantra this year is to be a wanderer. It doesn’t mean I won’t wander into some crazy, game changing experiences but the why behind it will be a bit different.

PS This post was obviously inspired by Mel Robbins The 5 Second Rule book and Ted Talk. And also, Glennon Doyle’s podcast called We can do hard things. Check out both next time you are looking for ways to productively procrastinate through life.

Tough Transitions

Something tells me that maybe somewhere someone needs to hear this. At least I know I do and I figure I cannot be alone. As a writer, I understand that words matter. I had initially wanted to call this post, setbacks suck. Instead, I’m trying this. Tough Transitions. So much of my life these past few months have been about transitions. This past week, it came to a head in something that is most definitely a first world problem, but was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

My race was cancelled. The one I started pre-training for in January after my dad died and was just hitting my stride on in my real training. The one that I’ve been religiously training for because I needed a win. Not in the literal sense – let’s be real. But, in the sense that I needed to feel in control of something.

Sure, I knew it was a long shot when I signed up. COVID-19 is still real and I respect the very tough decisions race organizers are facing right now. But dam, I needed that weekend to push myself. Yes. I know I can run any number of virtual races. Yes. I know my husband would set-up a mock half-marathon course and cheer me on. But that’s not the point. I had a plan and my plan was turned upside down… again.

I was really mad. So mad I almost deleted Hal’s training plan right off my phone. I definitely was NOT going to hop on the treadmill for my 3.5 mile run without a reason. I definitely wanted to have a pity party. And man did the waterfall of tears start flowing.

To be honest, I’m a bit sad. I’m really, really tired of losing things. And, no matter how hard I try, this idea of finding meaning in the hard stuff is kicking me in the ass. Yep. I’m going there. I think it is time to say that sometimes things just flat-out suck. The silver lining just isn’t there. That if handed rotten lemons, one could make nasty lemon-aid or they could just say, throw the lemons out.

That’s where I’m at today. There is no silver lining to losing my dad. Yes. He is done suffering. And, I am so glad that he is no longer in pain. I am glad that my dad got to make the decision but that doesn’t ease so many of the what-ifs. And, it definitely doesn’t change my reality. I’ve lost my rock and sounding board. In many ways, a huge part of my purpose.

So yep. I’m mad and sad and not ready to find any silver lining. I don’t want to know his legacy lives on in his kids. I want him here. I want him here to say to me right now, who cares if your race was cancelled. Find another. I want him here to provide me perspective and tell me that running will probably kill me someday because it is hard on my knees. I want to fight over the price of a rib-eye and the weather differences between Iron River and Cloquet. I don’t want to drive by the Scanlon exit but rather to it.

So yes, the cancelling of the May 1 race triggered a lot. It reminded me that I need to give myself some flipping grace. That I’m not ok and right now, that has to be ok. That every day I get up and try hard and do the minimum is a win right now. I’m still showering (most days). I’m still loving on my kid and dancing in the shower and finding joy in the most superficial of things (amazon deliveries are almost daily). I’ve settled on a new vitamin stack and I’m letting Hal tell me what to do 4-times per week. And, I’m trying to come to terms with my new reality of being an orphan. I don’t say that for pity. I say that because words matter. And while I am so blessed to have so many incredible people in my life, I am an orphan at 42. It sucks.

On a different day, I might try to say that family isn’t just who you were born to but who you befriend along the way. That I am so blessed to have incredible in-laws and friends and a soul mate and a son. But guess what? I had all of that and dad up until December. So nope, no silver lining yet. No greater sense of purpose or understanding or acceptance. It doesn’t diminish the moments I cherish and the time we had together. It just means I still wish he was here back when he was healthy. Back when we’d play catch in the backyard and chat about nothing for hours on end.

Will it get better? I don’t know. Lots of people say it will evolve and change and become the new normal. An extended transition I suppose. But, the road seems really long right now. So, I’m trying to find control in the little things. The Door County Half was one of those. But, that to turned out to be another transition.

If you’re wondering, when my pity party ended, I ran the 3.5 miles. I found a back-up run that’s 10-miles on the same day. My friend was gracious enough to follow my change of plans. I got back on the saddle and said tomorrow is another day. A chance that maybe someday the moments of joy will outweigh the sadness.

Transitions are tough. They are one of the hardest things to get right when writing. They are painful and cruel in real life. A necessary evil to grow and evolve and to do better. I’m hopeful that some of the roughest, choppiest transitions in life pave the way to something I never could imagine. I’m cautiously hopeful that’s what my future holds. That if I continue to show up and speak my truth, my experiences can someday help someone else through a tough transition.

So if that’s you, I hear you and I feel your pain. I won’t say I try to understand it or that things will eventually get better. Inevitably, just like pain found you, I want to believe joy will find its way to you again as well. At least that’s what I’m banking on.

To tough transitions and finding ways through them without losing sight of all that’s good. Sixty days and counting until race day. Let’s go.

PS For those struggling with grief. A game changing books that have helped me…

It’s ok that you’re not ok by Megan Devine

Training, podcasts, and pasta!

Sporting my newest training ball cap. Being a mom is the hardest and most rewarding journey of them all!

Valentine’s Day. What a loaded holiday of unmet expectations. I’m gearing up to channel my inner Finlander by eating my weight in carbs with this TikTok phenomenon known as uunifetapasta. I’ll enjoy this savory meal with my favorite men and a chilled shot of Teramana, Cointreau, lime and Sprite Zero. It isn’t quite a margarita but might be one of the best drinks of ALL time.

But, before I do that, I wanted to talk a little bit about love. Yep. I’m going there. This week marked my first Amazon review by someone I didn’t know. On my first-time author journey, this was a big deal because I honestly didn’t know if anyone who didn’t feel obligated to the read book would. And, it turns out some folks have.

It also tuns out, at least one person, loved it. From Hildee Weiss, “I loved hearing her story of how she got into running and I enjoyed reading her tips and suggestions ranging from what to eat before a big race to what to look for in a shoe. She writes with honesty and humor and with heart.” A five-star review. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it felt pretty amazing.

My writing is far from perfect. But, the one thing I pride myself on is being honest. I write my truth, for better or worse. I mean how many other gals share their stories about shit-stained pants for the world to see? And, it turns out that vulnerability occasionally resonates with like-minded women trying to find their way in the world. Enough so, that I’m excited to announce that starting tomorrow I’ll be occasionally sharing my running adventures on Another Mother Runner. Dimity and Sarah have been absolutely fabulous to chat with and they are kind enough to allow me to share some stories on the amazing platform they’ve built over the past decade. I am pretty excited. If you are interested in checking it out, sign up for their podcast here. This past week, I also had the opportunity to share more about my running journey on WTIP out of Grand Marais. I was once again extremely nervous, but Annie was an amazing host and it was an absolute honor to share my adventures with folks in Grand Marais. I also dropped off copies of my book at Zenith Bookstore in Duluth, making it now available in 5 places!

Most weeks, this would be beyond exciting. But the thing I’m most excited about this particular week is I just finished Week 1 of my 12-week half-marathon training plan. It was sub-zero so my time was spent on the dreaded treadmill. I had four training runs for a total of 12 miles. And guess what? I did all 12-miles. This week I loved myself enough not to quit running. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t easy. I used all of the hacks. Tim Riggins. Ordering new shoes. Drinking Nuun and using the massage gun. Scheduling the work-outs in my calendar. Doing the Mel Robbins countdown and channeling my inner sisu. Yes. I know that sounds a bit dramatic. But, I’m being honest. Running isn’t easy for me. Especially after a year plus hiatus.

And you know what? It felt good to keep my promise to myself. It felt good to move my body. It felt good to focus on putting one foot in front of another after a challenging month of navigating grief and a harsh Wisconsin Winter. Thank god for therapy, friends and family. I don’t know what the next 75-days hold. I do know that right now I’m savoring this week’s wins and lacing up for another week of showing up not just for those around me, but for myself as well.