2011: A Year to Remember

I’ve been reading everyone’s posts recapping 2011. It seems like the thing to do with the New Year only two days away.  It’s inspiring to read back over your victories, races, accomplishments, challenges, struggles and goals – especially the joyful times. Last year on this day, I wrote my own recap and it was happy. My mother started running in 2010 and I said then that she [Mom] has once again reminded me that no matter what you think stands in your way – it doesn’t – you can still accomplish your dreams if you put your heart into it.

Mom and I finishing her first 5K in August 2010.
 I closed with this:
As I lace up my shoes, zip up my jacket and head out the door this afternoon for my last run of 2010, I have a lot to be thankful for. A lot to be grateful for. And a lot to look forward to. I hope you do too. My sincere wish for each of you is that you have a happy and safe New Year, and I can’t wait to see where the new year takes us. I’m already looking forward to reading your blogs. Happy New Year from us.

It’s funny how everything changed on April 21, a short four months later. 2011 was horrible. There’s not really much I wish to remember. In all honesty, I wish I could just forget. My life changed forever a little after 2:00 p.m. on that day when the local police called to tell me there had been an accident and my mother was being taken to the hospital. What I didn’t know until I got there was that she had passed away. I can’t ever change that. 2011 ripped my one of the people who loved me the most right out of my life without even a chance to say goodbye. The last time I saw her? After a six and a half mile run the Saturday before and we went to breakfast with our friend Wendy. The details of that morning? They’re fading faster. The last thing she texted to me I’m going out for a four mile run! Love you, angel!The last thing I said to her? I don’t remember.

Sure, there were some memorable times in 2011. Even some happier times, but everything is overshadowed by how much I miss her and how lonely I am sometimes without her by my side. So many questions, so many things left undone. Not unsaid, my mother knew how much I loved her, just undone.
We ran Cap City, the race she had been training for, in her honor:
Cap City Memory Bib we wore.


The Lucky 13’s getting ready for the race.


Mollie & Me after the race.


Julie finishing the Cap City 1/4 wearing Mom’s Bib #.

I ran Pittsburgh, my first full marathon, with the unexpected help of my dear friends:

After the Pittsburgh Marathon.


My friends drove all the way to PA to surprise me on the course – AND RUN WITH ME!

I kept running even though I wanted to quit:

Westerville Rotary Fourth of July 5K.


Me & Mollie on the Fourth of July.


Running in the rain.


2011 Race Club. I’m in there somewhere.


Me & Mollie after the Columbus Half.


Mollie & Me at the Veterans 5K.

I continued coaching the Lucky 13’s with MIT.

I was honored to receive the Spirit Award from the Columbus Marathon in October:

My friend who nominated me Dave, Me, Michael & Dad.

We carried on the family Thanksgiving Day Tradition:

I know there are good things on the horizon for 2012.

Continued reporting for Pace Per Mile Radio:


Representing FitFluential as an Ambassador to inspire others to achieve their health and fitness dreams:

Pace Coaching, of course:

And my biggest challenge, happening soon, The Goofy:

Spending time with the ones I love. I’m not taking them for granted.

And more blogging, you blogland friends, have been with me through the darkest time in my life. Your support, love, encouragement, sympathy, understanding and friendship has not gone unnoticed.

But, I also know 2012 won’t even be the same. Every joy is laced with sadness too at all that is left undone. Opportunities lost. Death is so final. You can’t demand a redo. I never knew what that felt like before this year.

So, for as much as I wish I could forget, I will remember. For my mother. Because she would never want me to forget that I love running – and so did she.

My wish for you all? A joyful New Year filled with love, happiness, friendship and good health.

Until the next mile marker,

Wellness in the Woods Race Report and My First Blogger Meet-Up!

After such a great day on Saturday, I decided to get my race-on for a 2 Miler on Sunday. I had never participated in a 2 mile race before, but I thought it might be a fun way to race without all the pressure of ‘distance,’ plus it was two-billionity degrees outside with 146% humidity in the air so I wasn’t feeling like pushing it in the heat.
I ran a race from the Greenswell Wellness in the Woods Series at Scioto Audubon Metro Park. It is the first time I ever ran a Greenswell race, and I will definitely be running another one in the future. The 2011 Wellness in the Woods running and walking series brings together individuals, families, communities and organizations for healthy and fun activity and social connectedness at the parks around Central Ohio.
First of all, I really like Greenswell and what it stands for. It was founded by Craig Thompson with the vision to create a positive approach lifestyle company that brings individuals, families, and health professionals together into a community working in partnership to provide education, resource information and event activities to guide and inspire individuals to achieve a healthy and whole life. Their events are definitely family-friendly and cater to a wide variety of interests including walking, running, duathlons and triathlons. I like that the running/walking events offer a 2 mile option in case you want to bring children or are just starting out on your fitness journey or would even like to place in your age group for the first time. The races are also pet friendly and showcase local parks and programs – something I don’t think people pay much attention to as it is. Metro parks are enjoyable, beautiful and a great way to have a day out without spending any money.
The race was simplistic in nature, but still with timing chips and bibs, and featured an out and back course. The crowd was small – about 100 racers – which I often prefer, especially if I need a change of pace, if you will. The atmosphere was that of a gathering of friends who share the same interests – I even ran into Bobbi, which was a pleasant surprise!
The course was nice – and slightly uphill, but I wish it would have started earlier. By the time the horn sounded at 8:30 a.m. it was already hot and muggy. I found it hard to breath and I tried to finish the race as quick as possible – which didn’t quite happen, to say the least. I finished in about 28 minutes, but I enjoyed the scenery and the company of my Race Club friends. It wasn’t by fastest race, but I had fun!
Fleet Feet Race Club at the Scioto Audubon Wellness in the Woods Race
After the race, I went to my very-first-ever blogger meet-up with Sarah from Running on Words and Michelle from The Running Jewess. We went to First Watch for breakfast along with Sarah’s husband and a friend of Michelle’s. Keep in mind Sarah and I had pretty much just finished racing:
Sarah, Michelle & Me
Michelle is practically a genius and my hero – she ran the Boston Marathon. You can’t get much cooler than that, really. Plus, she’s about the nicest person you will ever meet and she took time out of her day packing to meet with smelly me! The bad news? She’s moving to California to attend Grad school at Stanford (I told you she is a genius) and we just met in real life. The good news? There are a lot great races in California and now Sarah and I have a friend to run them with!
Michelle and Sarah tagged me in a 7 Links Post, so here it goes:

My Most Beautiful Post: 
I don’t know if this post is as beautiful to me as it is to anyone else, bit I really like it. It reminds so much of my mother and the things that made her happy. Cap City was a beautiful race because I ran it in memory of her, along with so many others who are part of he Central Ohio running community.  
My Most Popular Post:
My Easy Canvas Prints post is pretty popular because I was one of the first blogs to chose a canvas prints with words on it so Easy Canvas Prints uses it as an example for others! I love my canvas, by the way!
My Most Controversial Post:
Let’s face facts, here, I am not a controversial writer by any means, but I probably should not have run this race!
My Most Helpful Post: 
I got a lot of positive feedback regarding my Hot vs. Cold Post. I didn’t know when to do what either until I started reading about it and wanted to pass on what I learned to others! 
A Post whose Success Surprised me:
I am surprised by the support I received regarding this recent post about feeling burned out and     being stuck in a rut. I am so thankful for the support I have found from the online running community – thank you!
A Post that Didn’t Get the Attention it Deserved: 
My running friend Wendy wrote a great race review of the Arizona Distance Classic – a race I may never get to. Her review is well-written and insightful, but I don’t think it got a lot of reader responses.
The Post that I am Most Proud of: 

Okay, I cheated and it is a toss up between this race review and this race review. I think I really enjoy writing race reviews – anyone want to pay me to do that?!

Now for the fun part! I want to hear your 7 Links:
Pain, Pride, and Perseverance
Thanks for bearing with me through this post!
Until the next mile marker,


…to tell you about my weekend! I’ve been reading about all of your holiday festivities and race reports, and I have been on pins and needles waiting to tell you about mine! My favorite holiday + running + racing + family + friends + a surprise canoe trip = AWESOME!
It all began when I woke up on Monday morning [remembered that I didn’t have to work and I got to race] and headed to the Rotary 5K in my hometown of Westerville. I must admit, I joined Race Club and committed to running 7 of 10 possible 5K’s this summer (because-I-never-overcommit-myself-these-days-and-you-get-a-nice-jacket), but I just haven’t been thrilled about the shorter distance (okay, I only ran one 5K so far this summer, but it was horrible). I feel like just as I get warmed up, I’m done. I would love to PR in the 5K distance, but I don’t know if this will be my year. However, I am really happy I joined Race Club because I have been meeting some wonderful – not to mention fast – runners who I have been learning a lot from. Plus, it’s just fun to feel like you are part of a team when you are running. I even heard people cheering for the “Fleet Feet Race Club!”
Here we are:
I ran this race with my sister, Mollie. And we met up with some of the awesome Lucky 13’s before the race for a star-studded photo shoot.
Check it out:
That’s Keri, Me, Mollie, Sarah, Judi & Julie of the Lucky 13’s. Who needs a blogger meet-up?
Sarah wanted to make sure we remembered to run – for our lives, that is. She’s awesome that way!
Kim & Me. Her blog is famous for being gluten-free!
Me, Julie & Mollie. You might remember Julie as a dear friend of my Mom’s from THIS post.
And run for my life I did:
Just look at those strides – longest ever, right?
No, seriously, I thought I was suddenly a Gazelle and took off way too fast. Again. Still. It’s a major problem for me during 5K’s. I know I do it, I know I shouldn’t do it, and I still do it. WHY?!
Sarah kept telling me we were going fast – and I kept right on going. I looked down at my Garmin once and saw an 11-something on there! I even told Sarah I could run the whole race that fast. Then I hit mile 1.1. Whooosh!!!!!!!!!! I deflated quickly.
Mile 1 -12:30 …. Clearly my Garmin doesn’t even reflect my 11-something victory.
Mile 2 -15:29…. No more steam, hence the major slowdown.
Mile 3- 15:04 …. I couldn’t really recover it was so hot and I was so worn out.
Mile .1 – 09:45 … Somehow I found it in me to sprint to the Finish! My new favorite thing.
Mollie even came back to finish the race with me (she thought my knee blew out after my speediness, but it didn’t, thankfully):
We’re so fast we’re one. big. blur.
All in all, it was a pretty good race. I was bummed out that I ran out of steam so fast and complained to my sister for most of miles 2 and 3 (she loves me anyway), but I had a blast with my girls! I liked that the race was small and had a hometown feel, but I was disappointed in the new route. I liked I better at the old location, which was through a nature preserve, yesterday we ran on the city streets which were not well-manned. I was worried about someone getting hurt and since there was a dude puking by the side of the road (it was super-hot) I thought someone should be available (besides me and the ladies) to see if he was okay. This was a very family-friendly race and reminded me of my own childhood. My dad even came out to spectate and snap some photos for us. My official time was 44:03, an average pace of 14:30. Lucky 14, anyone? Anyone? Could I really be getting slower?! Oh well, it’s an improvement from always being last in my age group!
Me and Mollie at the finish: 
I love this picture!

And, before I knew it, the time was 9:30 and the day had just begun.
My husband planned a surprise canoe trip on Hoover Dam:
He can be pretty elusive, you know. He almost didn’t make it in the frame!
Hoover Dam
Our canoe.
How about burning a something-like-1300 calories in 3.5 hours? And have fun with the ones you love? Who could resist that!?
We did a lot of exploring and even saw some wildlife indigenous to the area:
Mollie entertained us with scenes and tunes from Pocahontas:
(She would like me to clarify she is really not naked)
‘I look once more, just around the river-bend!’
 We had a great time:
I don’t like the way he is looking at me!
I like pictures where you can only see my head!
It was a perfect day, topped off with fireworks.
We watched them from the place where we got married:
The Everal Barn and Homestead.
After all, our anniversary is coming up on July 07. The perfect day? Just one of many, in my book.  I can’t wait to do it all again next year.
Happy 4th Everyone! I hope your holidays were as great as mine.
Until the next mile marker,