I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

The Reason: Race Report

My Auntie Daph continues to inspire me, 6 years after stupid old ovarian cancer took her from us. It pleases me to think that seeing her family unite around beating the cause that was the source of so much pain near the end of her life in a healthy way honors her. Makes beating my 5k time from a month ago seem like a silly thing with which to concern myself, no? 

If that last sentence made you laugh out loud, then you know me well. 

Did I mention that this was the Big One’s first 5k as well? She has been sharing her running achievements with me excitedly leading up to the race. Finally, I got one that enjoys the training! Like the young person with boundless energy she is, she decided to go to Halloween Horror Nights the night before. 

Lady J, Stepmother: “I hope she isn’t too tired! I want her to enjoy her first race experience!” 

Lady J, Nervous Runner: “I hope she doesn’t bust up my sleep coming home. My ass is not 20.” 
The first thought listed WAS my first thought. Honest. 

Guess what! God is awesome, and yesterday it was reflected in the fact that both the Stepmommy and nervous runner got their wishes! I felt something incredible on the course – *gasp* – a BREEZE! I had a goal in mind to do better than a month ago, but the feeling of just seeing where my body is at the moment was liberating. If I didn’t beat it, it is what it is. It’s nice having a cause like beating ovarian cancer to fall back on just in case you run the best race ever. I often  judge my effort based on if I want to stop running or how badly I want to see the finish line. “You can run for 10 more minutes! You can run for 9 more minutes and 30 more seconds! You can run for 9 more minutes and 28 seconds! Damn. Just keep going.” 

32:55! 32 seconds faster than a month previous. It’s like, my training has been effective or something. I had enough time to beg for water, tell Daddy how my run went, and cheer for my family as each of them crossed the finish line, including my girls, who were grinning from ear to ear. 

Running is powerful. Family is powerful. God is The Power. 

Bad Mother On The (Long) Run

“Giving birth would be AWESOME.” 

How did I get there, you ask? It only took me 8 miles. 

You see, I woke up feeling quite nervous about today’s long run, the first of my 16 weeks of marathon training. Generally speaking, I tend to get worked up about my workouts, because I want them to go well, but especially about my long runs. Am I ready for today’s journey? Indeed, each time I feel I am embarking to an unknown destination, despite the fact that I have run this particular distance -and longer – several times in the past. And you know what? Let’s be real. Every long run is different because I am different. How was my sleep? Nutrition? Stress level? Fitness? Hah, we’re about to find out if whoever I am this week is sufficient. 

Hurricane Hermine not only extended my weekend but also provided some lovely weather for today’s journey. If I could write a weather system a thank you note, I would. I was surprised that I had to actually slow down to run the pace in my plan. “Maybe I don’t suck!” Said I, after mile 1. “Too early to tell,” I retorted. “We are tight,” my legs squealed. “Shut up, we’ll be done eventually,” I said with a grimace. “You need to lose weight,” squeaked my running skort. “Tomorrow,” I said, crossing my fingers. 

I am pleased to report that on this day, I was able to outrun my negative thoughts and complete my long run, feeling strong. As I approached my car, I looked at my reflection in the window. I was drenched in sweat. I giggled and took the obligatory selfie. It dawned on me that I never view myself as more beautiful than when I finish a long run. My accomplishment makes me both glisten and glow. No makeup, no jewelry – just one foot in front of the other until it’s done. Naturally, the longer the run, the more beautiful I’ll be, I figure. So how could I NOT think to myself –

“I bet I would look GORGEOUS after giving birth!” 

Put one in the ‘pro’ column for (biological) motherhood, y’all. 

Only 1:39 of labor.

I have a confession to make. 

While I can honestly say I was proud of my performance in last week’s 5k, I wasn’t “satisfied,” and thus my quest for my next 5k before marathon training began hours after last week’s finish. I shared this with 3M, and naturally, she responded with suggestions. Though I was unsure if I could really make any gains in a week, I thought, ‘what the hell. I like to race. Let’s see what happens!’ 

I didn’t run at all this past week, as I was unusually tired and feeling in limbo before my marathon training is to start. I just tried to eat cleanly and show up rested. Last night, I was setting out my clothes/equipment for today and realized I did not see my wireless headphones. “Meh,” I thought. My phone on my arm felt heavy last week anyhow. “I’ll run without music!” 

Mind you, I have never run a running race without music. The last time I raced without music was at the end of my 70.3 almost 2 years ago. “Whatever. It’s ‘just’ a 5k. The silence won’t be a big deal.”  At the horn, I realized something quickly. 





I mean this both literally and figuratively. Of course, there were plenty of things to hear as I struggled in the heat and humidity. Parents encouraging their kids. The occasional cowbell. My feet. My clearing my throat. My feet. The ducks. My feet. 

My feet. They’re loud. Seriously. 

Soon after I began mile 2, I felt very tempted to slow down. “You can slow down. You’ll still probably beat your time from last week.” Then, “It’s hot. Why am I doing this.” This was followed by the inevitable, “I am whining about 3.1 miles. Am I really strong enough to complete 23.1 more?” 

Oh, dear. I wish that no music meant silence. Quite the opposite. The inside of my head is incredibly noisy. I often tell my classroom students that we are in a music room and not a noise room. Our music is intentional, our noise is scattered and rarely pleasant. The music that I play during races helps to distract me from the noise in my head. I became thankful for my loud, musical feet – the organized, steady beat of my progress toward the finish line. Keep making music. Keep moving forward. 

I crossed the finish line in 33:27 – 1:05 faster than the previous week. Music triumphed over noise once again. I know now that if I am to complete a marathon, I must become a better musician. 

Always multitasking.

War is Hell: Race Report

N.B. – Before I begin writing, I want where I stand to be clear. I actually do believe in a real hell, and eternal separation from the Lord is no joke. However, it’s difficult for me to resist such an amusing metaphor. He’s still working on me. Give me a break. 

It has been quite some time since I’ve posted. Whenever I take any kind of hiatus, it’s not because I don’t have anything to say; rather, it’s because I’m not sure how to say it OR I am unsure if saying it is in my best interest. 

Well, I still run. 

I am proud of the fact that I committed to a training plan over the summer. 2016 has been a tad busy, what with getting married and moving in with Adonis. I’m thankful that my relationship with running is as solid as a rock! It makes me sad to miss runs, even when I struggle through them. There is nothing in the world like running and racing, but prioritizing it is a struggle. If I want to do big things, like run a marathon before the end of the year, I probably should be able to commit to a training plan for a 5k this very hot summer. 

I woke up this morning, ecstatic to run the race that will determine what the next 18 weeks of my life will look like. It is difficult for me to manage my expectations, as I tend to be disappointed that I am not the fittest I have ever been. My constant battle is to be pleased with whatever my best happens to be in any given moment. 

War paint.

My goal pace was 11:25, but I wanted to go faster. “How fast can I go? Should I put on a pace alert? Maybe when I’m going 9 minute miles, that’s too fast.” Okay Joan. Calm down. I chose to dispense with the pace alert and just run the fastest I could. 

This race was PACKED, which didn’t help the already blazing temperature. Moreover, the course itself wasn’t particularly aesthetically pleasing. Aaaaand there’s a brick road, let’s finish this without twisting your ankle! Then I saw a chick running alongside me with one leg. I stopped my mental whining.

The telltale signs of my running my fastest were all there – cursing during the 3rd mile, feeling tempted to slow down, questioning why I do this, barely being able to smile when I saw any camera. I crossed the finish line with nothing remaining in the tank. A look at my watch later showed that each mile was slightly faster, but not just that! 

Who beat her goal pace? This girl.

I worked hard for this 34:32, y’all. I’ll tell anyone about it with pride, and I say this as I watch my colleagues running in Rio this morning. I am proud to be the kind of person that curses her way to a 5k finish line, only to hand in a sweaty registration form for a half-marathon moments later. 

Perhaps one day I will stop putting myself through my mental hell, my mental separation from God’s unchanging love and acceptance, because it’s awful not being able to really appreciate what a gift that running truly is. Every step I take brings me closer! 

Like you don’t already know how the happiest day of my life had to begin. 

N.B. How like Sex and the City. I get married and reveal my love’s actual name. 

Mommy had to come with me. On other days, she may have fought me, but I milked that “I’m the bride, you should do what I want” business for all it was worth. All I wanted was a little run! 

Let it be known to all that I am a traditional girl – Adonis and I could not see each until our wedding, but I knew we would be safe at that early hour. Mom and I strolled down the hallway past their room with confidence toward the beach. When we returned, I had Mom scan the hallway before we walked back to the room. I called Lil One from our room to see where Adonis was, after having made clear that I got to eat breakfast first. What? I just ran. Gimme a break. 

I enjoyed my last meal before my fabulous nuclear family grew. Will I still fit into my dress? God only knew. But there was unlimited bacon. Lightning could strike and I might not even get married. Eat up. 

After another phone call, I went up to the room to finish (read: start) writing cards for my parents, my soon-to-be stepdaughters, and husband minus 3 hours. I choked back tears as I wrote thank you cards to my amazing parents. What could I possibly say that could do justice to their efforts to serve God whilst raising me? I did the best I could considering my impending deadline – makeup appointment at 9 am! 

Mommy and I met Rasheena at the spa, who asked me what kind of look I was going for. “I’m not trying to look like a clown. Natural, please!” I was thankful that it only took 30 minutes to go from completely natural…

…to wedding day natural.

Some flowers in my hair…

I was pleased. This is happening!! 

After Mom and I carefully snuck back into our room, I got into what logically comes next, of course. My heart rate monitor. I had The Big One help me into my corset – responsible almost stepchild was ready with plenty of time to spare, thankfully. Didn’t want Mom to fuss at the fact that I wanted to measure my heart rate as I change my life! Am I so gauche as to wear my Garmin with a wedding dress? 

I found a way, and here it is –

This island girl is many things. Gauche ain’t one. Zoom in on my right hand, y’all. Crystal Garmin in full effect. I was going to measure the steps it took to change my life. Believe it. 

At 10:45, Mom, The Big One, and I went downstairs to our meeting place. Adonis was supposed to be already waiting for me at the altar. I stepped off of the elevator and looked toward the lobby and THERE. HE. WAS. I sprinted in the opposite direction around a corner, much to the chagrin of my mother, who was holding my train. It had turned out that they were looking for my Dad, who was hanging out with the pastor at the gazebo, hah! 

The wedding coordinator united us with Lil One and the 5 of us walked to where I was to emerge. Tired of waiting, I amused myself by playing ‘Here Comes the Bride’ on the keyboard of GarageBand, immediately followed by the theme from Jeopardy. The point came where I was “alone,” but I never really felt alone as I noticed guests of the hotel staring, or those who would pass me would wish me luck or compliment me. The bride took it in stride. 

The Garmin is turned on. Showtime. 


I don’t like to brag, but I’m pretty sure I learned everything I need to know about marriage on the flight home from our honeymoon. 
It’s not exactly news that flying is not my favorite. Early in our relationship, I shared with Adonis that I looked forward to flying with him because I would be able to hold his hand when I got scared. Would you believe that he didn’t commit that to memory for use a year and a half later? Ugh, maybe I made a mistake…

I kid. I know it’s unreasonable to expect someone to remember everything that I find to be important, even as attentive as he is. And thus we come to –

Lesson One:  You will have to repeat yourself. 

Before I become frustrated, I need to remember the “plank in my own eye.” How often must I be reminded of things by colleagues, friends, and parents? And I GUESS I don’t have a 💯 track record of remembering everything Adonis tells me. I guess. 

Would you believe that all it took for Adonis to be supportive was saying “Hey, I don’t like this!” Just like that, he was working to distract me on our journey to our new life together. 

Our pilot had warned us from the beginning of the flight that the weather as we approached our destination would worsen. Read: that means I won’t have to say anything to Adonis and he will just know that I am frightened when I give the look. Right? 

Lesson Two: Don’t expect him to read your mind. 

Evidently, my looking at him and holding his hand doesn’t mean “I’m freaking out!” in every context. Who. Knew. The first time I felt any turbulence, I reached for his hand and looked at him. He smiled and looked out of the window.  “Babe. It’s bumpy,” I said. “If I take your hand in flight it’s not about love, but fear.” He laughed and reassured me that we were fine. 

There were few moments where our flight was perfectly smooth. It made it difficult for me to – well, unclench. You know what I mean. Each time I would take a full breath, I realized exactly how tense I was. We never experienced the scary drop or anything, but there were too many bumps for me to relax. I looked over at my husband, who was perfectly chill, watching Creed. How could he not feel what I’m feeling?  I thought.

Lesson Three: You did not marry your carbon copy. He’s not going to see things the way you do. 

I tried to be brave; to not reach for his hand as often as I felt compelled to do so. 

Lesson Four: You’re married now. You can’t pretend that you don’t need anyone anymore – the jig is up. Really. Up.

As the plane was landing, I saw that it was quite cloudy. I grimaced. “Okay. This is going to be bad,” said Adonis. He grabbed my hand. 

Lesson Five: You are likely to see eye to eye where it really counts.

We were finally below the clouds. I kissed my husband and looked down, where I saw the city of Orlando below. I finally felt comfortable enough to smile – the last 5 minutes of the flight. I spent an hour and 45 minutes fairly miserable because I dislike the bumps. 

Lesson Six: If you unclench just long enough, perhaps you will find the beauty – maybe even humor – in life’s turbulent moments. 

Here’s to a long life of enjoying the ride, no matter what it brings. 


Hurts So Good

I aggravated an injury today. And I’m thrilled to death about it. 

You see, today marks my 2nd bloggerversary, which means it is my 3rd raceaversary! You know how important writing and racing are to me? My phone doesn’t even autocorrect fake words like raceaversary anymore. I find it incredible that I am still going. If you are a reader of my blog, you might find it incredible that I find it incredible, because I write with (what I feel is) great passion. I just didn’t think that I would stick with it based on my previous history. 

You know what the best part of my raceaversary is? The fact that not everything has been wonderful. I jacked up my ankle on my little 2 mile run today. I can’t say that I would have run if not for my raceaversary. I was, and am, quite tired. I feel huge from my honeymoon. I returned to work today. There is much to be done in our new home. I know that in order to be strong for my new life, I have to bear some things that I don’t want to, like hot runs or angry ankles. 

While I didn’t particularly enjoy the run today, I love that I did it. It means that I am a runner under any circumstance. I am able to get through (even seemingly) unpleasant things and see the good in them. If I hadn’t run today – if I hadn’t ever started running – who knows if I would have ever discovered that? 

Lord willing, I have many more steps to take. I am not sure how any of them will go. I know He is with me and because of that, I can move forward with great hope.

Happy Raceaversary to MEEEEE! 


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