Of Closure and Gratitude

It’s been well over a month since I traveled to Jacksonville to participate in the Donna Marathon Weekend’s half marathon. I’ve meant to blog about it for weeks, but I think it has taken me until now to understand its significance.

If you read this post a while back, you know this event has become far more important to me this year than when I participated in 2016. Though I walked it back then too, I was in the thick of my marathon and half marathon addiciton…I was seriously running out of control! The proof is in the bling I earned throughout that year…

Oh how I loved my running, it was an obsession that seemed to come out of nowhere…it was a total escape from life’s crazy, and the endorphins were a reward second to none. So much so, that when I found I needed that lumpectomy, I calmly rescheduled it so I could run a half marathon in California. And when I finally faced the music to have the lump removed, I was running another half only days post-op.

Yeah, that was a tough run for me. When I look back at this pic, I’m right back in that moment with the weight of all the feels. I know now, it was the running that kept my mind north of the worry and fear.

But, it’s also clear to me now, I was’t exactly running toward anything…I was running away from things. That girl had a LOT going on.

The running continued nearly every day until later that year when this dumb thing happened…

I awoke the meniscal beast, and though I eeked out another marathon and one more half that year, that was the end of that. Though the meniscus has quieted down, runner’s knee, osteoarthritis and my sports med doc have made it quite clear. I’m finished.

So there I was in Jacksonville, wondering what in the world I was doing. I picked up my race packet and enjoyed the expo with my friend Julie, because I kind of knew it might be my last.

Although we had walked plenty of training miles and planned to walk every last step of those 13.1 miles, I secretly feared my body wouldn’t be able to cut it.

So I gave my regards to Jeff Galloway one more time, just in case!

Before I left for Jacksonville, I checked in with my friends at OOFOS (my beloved recovery footwear company). Mind you, their footwear has supported my body throughout my injury and eased a TON of my pain since. It just so happens they have a Project Pink line…the same amazing comfort, but as part of their charitable giving effort, $10 from every Project Pink Collection shoe purchased goes to breast cancer research! Check out OOFOS’ fantastic Project Pink line here.

Well they generously sent me a pair for the occasion, so what else would I have worn to the pink carpet Expo?

Same amazing comfort/support, extraordinary cause near and dear to my heart! And I’ll just tell you right now, I couldn’t have recovered from this half later without them!

I was really rusty at setting out my flat Carla the night before. I barely remembered how and hoped I hadn’t forgotten anything important.

It had been well over a year since my last event, Friends. Past disappointment, the threat of pain…it was a crazy-loud loop running through my head I could not silence. Where did that even come from? I thought I was over all that. But there it was, and I barely slept that night.

I tried to reason with myself…I was only walking; but I was walking 13.1 miles on a bum knee. Ugh. Well, there was only one thing to do, so I put my best foot forward…just ask Elvis!

And the moment we crossed the start line, I remembered what I love about Donna’s event.

It’s not about the race or my pace. It’s about something so much bigger, and Julie and I were reminded of that with every neighborhood corner we turned…

Those homeowners embrace this race for the important cause it is. And to keep it light…

Though I felt I might lose my emotions multiple times along in gratitude for my own breast surgury scare results, these people kept reminding me to laugh and enjoy the journey.


My knee was getting angrier and angrier, and I hate to tell you how many times I thought about quitting. The emotion was raw as it became clearer and clearer with every mile, the race days I loved were drawing to a close. What if all the running was just a temporary vehicle to ease me through a tough time?

A deep, comforting feeling washed over me like the waves of Jax Beach…a gentle yet unmistakable clarity. What a gift to be there, to be able to take that winter walk with a great friend on a beautiful, sunny day in Florida. A day that’s not promised to any of us. A day I was grateful to be alive.

That medal is a symbol of closure I will treasure forever.




52 Fridays…Do You Have Plans?

I don’t know how, but it’s that time again, Friends. So welcome to the weekend! When you find a quiet moment for yourself, gather up that journal, pen and mug, then cozy into your thoughtful spot. Take a few deep breaths and let them go. You’ve made it through another week! Here are some thoughts to consider on this 52 Fridays…

Have all of your weeks begun to look the same? Do you find yourself going through the motions?When is the last time you took a break from your routine? Do you have any travel plans on the horizon…something to look forward to?

I just returned from some time off, a getaway with my husband. In fact, in the past couple years, I have found myself traveling somewhere new nearly every month. I crave new places, new experiences and adventures. Travel has become my passion, maybe even my addiction.

I’ve been bitten by the travel bug. HARD!

There was a time in my life when I never went anywhere. And although I love where I live and who I live with, I was missing something tremendous. I felt it ever so deeply, I just didn’t know at the time what it was.

Since becoming a frequent flyer, I’ve been bathed in that secret tonic. The creativity it provides is so incredibly refreshing!

Oops, I didn’t mean for this to become my journaling entry! I’ll stop now, but I hope this gets you thinking about what travel might do for you. If you’ve been experiencing a lull of enthusiasm, maybe it’s time you give yourself something to look forward to. Take some time to think about what that might look like for you and capture these thoughts in your journal!

#makeplans #goplaces

52 Fridays…Which Life Are You Living?

Happy Weekend, Friends! For those of you who are following along, it’s time for another 52 Fridays installment.

So when you find yourself a quiet moment, treat yourself to a soothing beverage, grab that journal, cozy up on the couch or your favorite chair and take some time to explore this thought…

Are you living the life you’ve imagined or the one you’ve settled for? Do you continue to forge ahead through life with dreams, aspirations and goals or are you stuck?

If stuck, is it time to turn things around? Can you remember the last time you thought about what your life could look like if you allowed yourself to dream?

It wasn’t until a few years ago I that I even allowed myself to dream. It took some time and getting used to, but once I began considering how I wanted my life to look and feel, only then was I able to create a roadmap toward that new life.

Give yourself permission to dream, and while you’re at it, DREAM BIG! Put those ideas to paper, consider how you can move forward to make these ideas reality rather than telling yourself you can’t. This will very likely become an ongoing conversation. It will take time and patience, but take that time to design your unique roadmap, to navigate the direction of your dreams…

Go confidently, Friends!

52 Fridays…How are You Moving?

What? Already Friday again? Well here we go, Friends; get out those journals, grab a beverage and ease into a comfy spot to consider this…

How are you moving through life? What’s the result…is it working for you? If so, how is it working? If not, are you willing to change up your motion, aiming for a different outcome?

52 Fridays…Expectancy

Grab those journals, Friends, it’s time for 52 Fridays. I’ve been exploring a little something today I’d like to share with you…

I’m sad to say I went through much of my adult life without any sort of goals, dreams, or aspirations. For the longest time I went through the motions; my expectations were not all that high. I was living out a play it safe/take no risks existence that had been ingrained in me longer than I can remember, but never recognized until recently. I’m so glad that throughout my weight loss journey, I spent some important time examining and mindfully recreating that part of me.

I’ve learned to look forward with hopeful expectancy, and that has made all the difference!

Take a look around your life…what are you expecting out of your experience? Do you move forth in an optimistic or pessimistic manner? How does this affect your everyday outcomes? Do you notice any correlations?

Allow yourself some time to turn these thoughts around in your mind, then allow your pen to put your observations to paper…let it flow, Friends; you may be surprised by what comes up. Don’t judge it, just notice.

Three Years Ago Today…

I love when Facebook reminds me I have memories to look back on, Friends. This morning I was reminded of some unusual things I did three years ago today that I will never forget!

Like at 3 am, when we made a renegade 30 minute trip to Mexico. And soon after, I could easily have been mistaken for a homeless person or gunshot victim when I found myself resting on the sands of Mission Beach…my first, but very short visit to San Diego.

Why? I was exhausted from the night that began partying and running amok in Vegas, then roadtripping for a midnight cookout on Big Bear Lake in California. So, yeah…I was tired, but there was little time to rest because we needed to watch the sun rise and then skedaddle back toward Vegas with our hair on fire while stopping briefly, and often along the way, to do some bizarre things.

The day had just begun and we still had LOTS to do, like a quick run through Red Rock Canyon on zero sleep before the clock ran out!

Does this sound like insanity? It was far more than that…it was the craziest fun I ever had! You can read more about our Questival, the 24 hour adventure race we crushed here.

Though the members of my amazing team, The Aquanauts, are scattered to the four corners of the Earth these days and our lives have all drastically changed since that adventure, I know it is an experience none of us will soon forget. I still can’t believe what luck put this 40-something on a team with these 20-somethings. They have no idea how important that event and their acceptance was in shaping who I am today.

I’d lost a ton of weight, transformed my body and life, battled back from some tough injuries sustained in a car accident, just waiting for my next game-changer. Little did I know Questival was merely the springboard of many crazy-awesome endeavors yet to come, but will remain my favorite race of all time!

Today I look back on those 24 hours and remember the feeling of just being a kid again. I never expected to be able to stay awake for the entire event, but was so stoked by the outcome, I had trouble coming down off the adrenaline high we all shared for hours after.

Though it’s been three years, it seems like only yesterday we made this shenanigan-filled memory happen. And because Facebook keeps reminding me, I will continue to make plans and go places to keep this middle-aged mom a forever young kid at heart! I can’t think of a better way to put my Best Foot Forward!




52 Fridays…Who Lifts You Higher?

Friends, these Fridays seem to come faster every week! So, you know what time it is…

Take some time to get cozy this weekend with your journal and beverage. Take a few deep breaths and find your calm. Now think about those around you, your family and friends, and consider this…

Do they lift you? Do you lift them? Put some effort into taking a closer look at your relationships. Observe what you notice, then pause with gratitude for those you hold dear.


40 Bags in 40 Days

Friends, I completed the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge last year with great success. What is it, you may ask? Today marks the beginning of Lent, and in observance of those 40 days of preparation, I’m choosing to spend a few minutes each day from now until Easter filling a daily garbage or grocery bag with items from around the house…those things that sit, unused. Here’s my bag from today…

It was quick and simple to do, as I’d already set some things aside to donate before even considering that I ought to participate in this challenge once again. Today’s bag holds a sweatshirt, 3 dress shirts, a couple tshirts, a sweater, two workout tops, 2 sets of patio glasswear, a set of formal dining napkins, a toy I made a while back, a few books, a skein of yarn and a few unmentionable odds and ends.

Friends, I didn’t even scratch the surface! But I remember what great progress I made on last year’s clutter and know it will happen again. And that’s a very good thing, because we recently found out a family member will be moving in with us this summer while she completes her college internship throughout the next school year. This is the perfect opportunity for me to let it all go in preparation!

I intend to take this challenge a step further, just as I did last year. Upon filling a bag each day, I will then drive it to Goodwill on my way to my gym just down the street…see where I’m going with this…can you say ACCOUNTABILITY?!?

I remember noticing throughout last year’s challenge how things began to feel lighter, airier. And, what a great way to get a jump on spring cleaning because even though I just returned from Florida yesterday…I have cabin fever lol!

Friends, feel free to join me in this gradual purge of stuff; decluttering is quite cathartic! And one more way to put our Best Foot Forward. With 39 bags left to go, I’m off to get a jump on that next one!


52 Fridays…Wherever You Go…

Happy 52 Fridays, Friends! Grab that journal, your pen and a cup of coziness! This week’s journaling adventure finds me here, in the beauty and warmth of Florida…

It’s easy to just be in a place this soulful. And that really got me thinking about the locations and life circumstances where it’s not quite as simple. This is something I’m doing some work with in my own life and thought it might speak to others too. So consider how you deal in every situation…

Take these wise words from Confucius…try them on for size. Turn them over in your mind and heart and explore within…is this how you roll? If not, is it how you want to? Turn to a fresh page in that journal of yours and enter the adventure of you.


Boobs, If You Love Them, Check Them!

Friends, I’m traveling to Jacksonville, Florida this evening on a mission…

Two years ago this weekend, I came together with some childhood friends to participate in a half marathon among other things. It was a great opportunity to catch up with one another and we had plenty of time to do that because we walked every last step of that 13.1 miles together.

This was a great event right there on the streets along beautiful Jacksonville Beach. The weekend was created in 2008 by a three-time breast cancer survivor, Donna. It has become the wildly popular and successful annual Donna Marathon Weekend to FINISH breast cancer.

Back in 2016, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really there to support breast cancer, I was there to share a good time with friends…

As we worked our way along the course, there was a party on every corner! There were lots of posters with boobie humor, and many spectators came dressed for the occasion…like this boob-loving ape!

It was easy for someone like me who was not personally touched by breast cancer to miss the point; I simply viewed the finish line as a fun accomplishment…

But for some reason, my attitude changed. As I looked through the photos from that weekend, they spoke to me…especially the one with the ape. It suddenly occurred to me, I was LONG overdue for a mammogram. And I’m sure glad it did, because as soon as I returned from Jacksonville, I scheduled an appointment.

When one mammogram became another, then an ultrasound, and a biopsy, I slowly began to gain a wider understanding of what that weekend was all about. I was really lucky, though, Friends, my biopsy came back benign. But because the tumor was precancerous, my team wanted that thing out…and that’s when it started getting very real for me. A lumpectomy was my next hurdle.

I’d been working with a health coach prior to (and during) all of this, and I was in a really good place. Rather than fearing the worst throughout the process, I kept my thoughts in check. I kept reassuring myself, and everyone worried for me, that this was nothing until it was something. And at that point, it was still nothing.

Again, Friends, I was very lucky. Blessed, rather. My post-op pathology also came back clean. AMEN!

You’d better believe I made my annual appointment the very moment I could for the following year, where something else turned up, but was much less than last year.

This was all fresh on my mind as I decided to do Donna’s half again this year, as I registered for the event months back, and as I packed this morning. So much so, I called radiology to schedule my appointment for this year before I left for the airport. I’m not due to go back until May, but you’d better believe I will be there and every year from now on!

I look forward to this weekend. I’ve learned my lesson and I know this half will be less about the laughs and ALL about the gratitude!