Saturday, June 10, 2017

When the last bird prepares to leave the nest

I have been trying to articulate exactly how I feel with my youngest of two daughters graduating High School. I am excited for her and I know she is going to go out and make amazing things happen in her life but I am also feeling deeply sad. Some people have understood and others haven’t. I have struggled putting into words how I feel so sad at a time where I am also so very proud.

I am sad that there will be no more dress up make believe times at my house with my two little girls.



I have explained it to a few of my closest friends and family like this:

For the past 20 years I have been reading this incredible book, the best book I have EVER read.


This book was described on the back cover to be the most wonderful adventure of my entire life.



With each chapter I read I could somewhat anticipate what to expect. The book takes me through the lives of these two amazing little girls. They go from babies to toddlers, then to pre-k and elementary school. There are all the things you can imagine in this story too. They learn to smile, learn to walk, have their first birthday and say their first word. There are little girl giggles and sparkles galore.



They get involved in sports like tennis, cheerleading, softball, and soccer. There are fun times skating, snow tubbing, swimming and more. There is coloring and baking, dress up and play pretend. There are chapters on the love of family and chapters on friends, chapters of faith and chapters of grief.



The book goes on through middle school dances and slumber parties. There are best friends and secret crushes. There are movie nights and beach trips, music lessons and dance. There are card games and board games, camping and cookouts.


The story continues through makeup and braces, highlights and haircuts. There is school work and school trips, chorus concerts and Bieber concerts. 


When High School comes along it seems like no time has passed. While the girls are much older there are times where for just a secod time seems to have frozen and the giggles and laughter continue on through more slumber parties and dances, girls nights and girl talk. There are Friday Night Lights and great nights with friends.


The best parts of this story I can’t even put into words.

  

This book really is the most wonderful adventure of my whole life.





As the final chapter begins to close with the college search and graduation I find myself feeling quite sad to lay this book down.


I know there is another volume in this series but you see when I have looked at the back of the upcoming book the description is unwritten. There is no synopsis to sum up the plot of that next volume, there is no description of what to expect.

I am not sure if that next book will be as good as the last one. It could be better but better is hard to imagine at this point from where I am today. When you have finished the BEST book how can you imagine one better?



I told my daughter today, following her graduation, that I imagined that the reason there was no summary on the back of that upcoming book was because the book is indeed blank for a reason.

I honestly hadn’t come to that realization before today.

The book is intentionally left blank so that she may pick it up and begin to write the very best book that she will EVER read and that I will surely enjoy reading that book along with her as she writes it.


I realized today that my book that I have been reading started precisely after I graduated high school. I was a young mother at 19 and this book I have been reading was that one that I wrote. 



While this book has been the most wonderful adventure of MY life I do hope for a little different adventure for my girls. While this story was the best story for me, I CAN imagine an even better story for them and I now cannot wait to begin reading it.



My wish for my girls is that they see this blank book as the opportunity to take it and make the most incredible story ever written.


I will cherish this last book of 20 years and hold it close to my heart forever. I am anxious and excited to get wrapped up in the next books as they unfold before me.



To my now adult daughters, I have never loved anyone more than you, I cannot imagine my life without you and I thank God every day for blessing me beyond measure when He gave me you. I love you more than the stars love to shine in the night time sky, more than the waves love to crash into the shore and more than the butterflies love their flowers. You are the greatest story ever told. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Big Game 4 Miler Race Recap - February Race 2017

Oh my gosh did we find a fun February Race!!! All you NC peeps will want to check this one out!!

For February we ran the OS1st Big Game 4 Miler on Super Bowl Sunday, in honor of Super Bowl Sunday. 



The race started and finished at the Carolina Panthers Stadium in Charlotte, NC. 




My daughter Tess, and friends Elizabeth and Kathleen joined me for this one. It was super cold Sunday morning so we bundled up and left super early to get down to Charlotte. Charlotte is only an hour or so away but we needed to get there early to grab our bibs. The email that came out did make it sound like there might be a long line but there wasn't. 


We got a super cute long sleeved black soft Tshirt and a pint glass too!! So cool!!

After getting our goodies we headed back to the car to keep warm until start time. We were parked only a short warm up walk away. We managed to time the return just right with the exact amount of time we needed for a potty break and then we ran right into the start of the race!



I ran this one with Tess and I was so super proud of her she ran the entire thing with no stopping!!! She also has this super steady pace so I am certain that is how she did it. She stayed true to her pace and we finished strong together!! I love running races with her!!! 



The course was great and it was fun seeing all the football attire out there! Of course we choose the Carolina Panthers for our team and we wished they had made it to the Super Bowl! Maybe next year! 





Tess and I ran to finish hand in hand <3 What a fun way to kick off Super Bowl Sunday!




The race medal was awesome! It is now hanging out with it's fellow medals on my wall! 





I highly recommend this race, I would definitely do it again! 




No on to serious training to get ready for March! March will be my first half for the year!

What races have you ran? Any favorites you can recommend? 

Happy Running! 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hot Chocolate 15K Atlanta 2017 Race Recap

My January Race Recap

For my January race I ran the Atlanta Hot Chocolate 15K again this year. It was such a fun race last year and this year my running group decided to run it as well. My daughter Tess and Sister-In-Law Dawn also went and ran the 5K!




Atlanta is about a 4 hour drive so we did book hotel rooms and went down the day before. This is a must to get you packet and race bib!

I was a little underwhelmed by the expo this year. Last year there were more vendors and more photo props. I know that sounds silly but us runners love photo ops!! 


I bought a couple shirts and some Nuun and that was it.

The Hot Chocolate Race gives out a jacket instead of the typical race t-shirt and this year the jacket was great, it even has a hood! I was so excited this year that I got registered early. Last year those who registered early had the Atlanta Skyline embroidered on their jackets. I just knew mine would be embroidered this year but it was not. Womp Womp...

This year the course was changed a bit and the starting line and finish line were too. We stayed at the Double Tree Hotel which was the perfect location. The starting line was outside the front door. 



After the Expo we headed to the hotel to get checked in before dinner. It took about an hour to get to our hotel which was only a couple blocks away. There was a march occurring and the streets were blocked for miles. That isn't something you see everyday and one day will be remembered as a day in the history books so yep we were a part of that (sort of lol).

Once we pulled up to the hotel I was a bit confused, I didn't realize my only parking option was valet but whatever. Thirty Five Bucks and I don't have to worry about my car... Ok! Checked in and then pretty quickly headed out. We also didn't realize there was a big game in Atlanta that same weekend so reservations were hard to come by. No matter we met up with some other hometown friends and went to Max Lager's and had no trouble getting a table! It's so fun to spend time with friends the night before a race!

The hotel experience is one we will not soon forget. That night as we settled in to bed for the evening a group of men, who had a key to our room, attempted to come in. We freaked the freak out I am telling you!!! Apparently the hotel had re-assigned our room. Thank goodness we had flipped the little metal door stop so they were unable to come all the way in. I called the front desk, they apologized it was a "computer glitch" and assured me it wouldn't happen again. We were in our jammies for goodness sake! A bit later, as we were all sound asleep THE SAME THING HAPPENED AGAIN!!! This time another group of men with an activated key to our room. WHAT THE WHAT!!??!! I personally nearly had a heart attack! I was freaked out the first time but being woken up that way the second time I was terrified. I of course called back to the desk, received a second apology and a comped hotel room. But still!!! Sheesh! Needless to say non of us probably slept well after that. 

The next morning we were up and at it and at the start line! I love that race, the course is great, a few hills but mostly flat and it is so fun running in the city. I do miss not running by the Ferris Wheel like we did last year but other than that I loved it!







Along the route there were plenty of aid stations and loads of chocolate along the way. Toward the end a group was handing out tissue!!! How awesome is that!! 



The medals this year were wonderful and I thought they did a better job with the after party than last year! Much more space!





I highly recommended the Hot Chocolate 15K Atlanta. I am not 100% sure if I will do it again next year, there are so many other fun races to try out and not nearly enough time! I will be back though for sure one day!

January race CHECK!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Isabella Santos Foundation 5K and 10K for Kids Cancer Race Recap

 
In reflecting on 2016 I realized I have not yet completed my race recap for the 10K for Kids Cancer I completed on September 24, 2016.

This event is a difficult one to write about. A typical recap consists of the description of the race route, was it easy, difficult, was there support, etc. It helps runners decide if it’s a race they may want to consider in the future. I don’t know about you but I search for recaps before I run ANY race! I learned the hard way and found myself in some surprising situations on runs. I now find a recap to prepare for the race.

This race was unlike any other I have ever ran. I have wanted to do this race for a couple of years now but just haven’t. You see I have a little buddy Sam who was diagnosed four years ago December 29th, 2012 with Neuroblastoma. Sam is now heading into 2nd Grade! 


Sams mom Denielle has been my friend for many many years. My little girls where the flower girls in her wedding in 2003.


Having a child diagnosed with Cancer is something I cannot even imagine. My heart broke for their family and I watched helplessly as they endured the most terrifying journey of their lives. It has been a long hard fight and Sam is doing great today!

Isabella Santos was a little girl who also had been diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at the age of 2 and fought for five courageous years. In June, 2012, she ended her battle. The Isabella Santos Foundation was created to continue to fight today, in her honor and memory and for other kids still fighting.

I can’t even type this re-cap without sobbing. Losing a child is my worst nightmare.

Tess and I registered for this race, I would run the 10K, my very first 10K, and she would run the 5K. I loved having Tess there at this race with me. I love that she runs!



Looking around at this HUGE crowd that filled the streets I found myself wondering how many of these people have lost a little child, how many of these kids that I see might be fighting right this very minute. I was so overwhelmed with emotion.

There were so many people, purple flooded the area!






The race day packet pick up went smooth and quick. Music was playing for our entertainment and I heard them announce “This was Isabella’s favorite song”.  I found myself again choking back tears (and now again as I type this too).

As we lined up to the starting line this man and woman jumped up in the back of a pick-up truck and the man handed the microphone. These were Isabella’s Parents. I quickly turn away to collect myself. Standing just steps away are these people who once had this amazing full of life little girls and now don’t have her anymore. My heart breaks. You can tell they are overcome with emotion. Missing their daughter and honored that so many people are in this place in her honor.  




The race started, the course was a loop for the 5K and a double loop for the 10K. There were a few rolling hills but nothing too bad. Plenty of water along the course however there was no water when I finished my race. No biggie, knowing that there were that many people there that they ran out of water filled my heart with joy. Next time I will remember this and take some water with me just in case.



At the finish there were medals, oh and the race shirts were great too. There was a huge like festival after the race, tons of activities for kids, tons of vendors and a silent auction.

Molly was there from WBTV having kids write get well notes to other kids currently in the hospital. This was another reminder that while this was a fun event there are children sick and families suffering.





As far as a race goes it was great. It was a beautiful day, we were gathered with friends and we ran.


As an experience, however, it was emotional. The most emotional event I have ever participated in. It was reminder that while I go about my day to day every day others are in a very very different place. It reminded me to wake up each day and first pray for others, like these children and families,  and then be thankful for the healing, our health, and all the blessings we are given.

The Isabella Santos Foundation shared that the race was a huge success. The foundation provides financial support to Neuroblastoma Research to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), Neuroblastoma Research to NMTRC, Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte, Make-A-Wish- of Central & Western Carolinas, various pediatric cancer charities and providing financial support to local families battling cancer.

I will absolutely run this race again! I encourage you to as well! It is powerful, it is meaningful and it is for a great cause!


“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” ― Wendy Mass
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