I’ll Take What I Can Get

And, Breathe

A Moment in the Snow

During a span of 60 hours, I spent a total of 20 of those hours behind the wheel.

I spent another 30 minutes laughing at two little boys in a jet tub that accidentally filled with bubbles when they washed their hair. I spent an hour and a half on a treadmill. I took a 15 minute shower, which felt like a luxury compared to my normal eight minute in-and-out showers at home. I rushed through Target in approximately 14 minutes, mainly because it took me an extra 11 minutes to get there as Apple Maps landed us in a field instead of in the parking lot. I spent multiple, loud hours with my extended family, soaking in the sound of their voices and the shape of their noses; I wanted to memorize the little things to get through the gaps in time we get to spend together, sitting around the table, each talking over one another. I spent the last two hours of the 10 hour drive home sipping a bad iced tea, wishing away a massive headache, and squinting at the singular clear lane.

Today, I attempted to get work done while the boys, home again, vied for my attention. I helped them work through their last two days of Blizzard Bags, wiping their tears away when frustration levels peaked. I doled out snacks while on a conference call. I gave the dog a bath. I made a delicious and healthy dinner. I managed a shower and even put on on real clothes.


And despite the cold temperatures due to the Polar Vortex (of DOOM), I took the dog outside — just for a few moments, seconds, nanoseconds, cold breaths — of alone time. Because as much as I love all of the time with my sons, with my mother, with my cousins, with my aunt and uncle, with random people along the journey route, I need my alone time. As much as I love to talk, to connect with those in my life, I am an introvert. I crave alone time. I need to breathe in and close my eyes and exhale slowly. I need personal space, room to stretch and grow.

When all of the connections and time together get jammed into 60 hours, six minutes in the below zero wind chill feel even more precious than normal. I’ll take what I can get.

And, Breathe



Fitbit Flex Activity + Sleep Wristband

52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with Science



The winter seems long to two active boys who love to be outside, who love to go to school. This winter continues to teach us new things about each other as a family, about how much we love spending time together — and how we need breaks from each other.

The extra days off from school have allowed us to do some things we don’t normally get to do during the week: matinee movies, cookie baking after lunch, little things here and there. But when the days off run on and on, days blurring into each other, patience wears thin: parents for children, children for parents, parents for parents, and brother for brother. Coming up with new things to do when I need to work and technology remains off limits because it’s a weekday can be a challenge for these two by the fifth day off in a row.

Yesterday was difficult.

I had a doctor’s appointment, a number of conference calls, and a number of looming deadlines. They didn’t have school. My husband, who would normally wrangle them while I locked myself in my office, got a whopping two hours of sleep the night before due to a house fire. To say he felt tired was an understatement. Still, we managed because we didn’t have another choice.

At one point, I came out of my office to find the boys at the table, one of their many science kits and its contents spread across the dining room table.

“We’re doing science!”


Clad in a white lab jacket and goggles, BigBrother read over the directions, telling LittleBrother what to grab and where to put it. Only one lab jacket in our massive costume box(es), LittleBrother opted for his camouflage robe, his goggles perched atop his head. He listened intently to his older brother’s bossing instructions, happy to do whatever his brother demanded asked.

I couldn’t help but stop and smile.

In the summer, we have a plan for the long days. We have workbooks and planned science experiments. I rearrange my schedule and we take trips to the science center and the local lake beach. They spend afternoons here and there with a babysitter. We blow bubbles when I take breaks from work and draw things with chalk on our sidewalk. But when an unexpected day off happens in the middle of the school year, the wheels fall off of my carefully planned and overwhelmingly full schedule. We make it work, but goodness, I feel the guilt that they aren’t getting the best of me, the most of me, the me that they need and deserve.

Then I see a scene like this unfold before my eyes and the guilt dissipates. A bit. I smile, because even though I have things to do, I’ve laid the groundwork for them to find things to do, to keep themselves busy, to work together and find their own fun.

“Mommy, this said we needed a grown up helper, but we didn’t! We worked together and look, SLIME!”

Mmm, Slime

The winter may be long, but I think these two little guys have it all under control.


Training for the Pittsburgh Marathon: This Is Hard

Training for the Pittsburgh Marathon

Three weeks of training for the Pittsburgh Marathon complete, leaving 103 days until race day! I have 15 weeks left to train.

Training for the Pittsburgh Marathon

A friend who just started running made a comment recently, stating that I make it look easy. While I understand and appreciate the pat on the back, let me make it clear: THIS IS NOT EASY FOR ME.

Running remains a challenge for me, both physically and mentally.

Following the marathon training plan remains a challenge for me: logistically, physically, mentally, everything-ly.

Every step I run is hard-fought, an epic-battle.

All that drama aside, yes, some days look and feel easier than others.

Some days the sun shines and breeze blows just the right amount. The temperatures fall on the just cool enough side of the mercury line and the shade of the trees stretches over the road in just the right way. My running clothes fit just right, not too tight or too loose. My shoes don’t even register as being on my body; thinking about your shoes or your feet while running ruins a run. My running gear — iPhone, Spotify playlist, Runkeeper app, fuelbelt for a longer run — sits and fits properly, doesn’t bounce around, and doesn’t go on the tech-fritz mid-run. The sweat stays out of my eyes. My glasses, sun- or prescription-to-see, don’t fog up. My back doesn’t spasm, my hip (a new ailment!) doesn’t throb, and my not 100% foot, injured this past October, doesn’t ache. I run with a smile on my face, and finish with breath left to breathe.

My neighbor commented once, as I finished a rather lengthy, end-with-a-smile, qualifies-as-good run. “You smile a lot when you run. It must come easy for you.”

No. Even when I’m smiling, I’m fighting the doubt in my own head. I’m thinking too hard about how much work I have left to do before I can possibly run 26.2 miles in one run. I’m worried — big time — about that twinge I just felt in my back. Was that just a twinge or is my back about to give out again? Should I slow down? Speed up? Is my posture okay? Am I making it worse? While sometimes I manage to escape into the silence of my own mind or in the melody of a good song, most often I fight the voices inside my own head that tell me I’m not good enough, that I’ll never be good enough, that these goals of mine don’t make any sense, that others watch and wait on the sidelines, willing me to fail so they can laugh and point.


And that’s a good run.

Imagine what happens when I endure a mediocre or, like yesterday, awful run. A run with bricks in my calves. A run with a butcher knife wedged in my right hip. A run in which I can’t manage to calm my breathing, to get it steady and productive. A run in which, mid-stride, my back sends four or five spasms straight up my spine, causing me to see stars and nearly collapse on the side of my neighborhood street. Imagine having to stop a six mile run at mile two, knowing the choice makes sense from a physical standpoint — but causes even more point on the mental side of things. Will choking on this run ruin my entire training plan? Does bonking on today’s run mean that I won’t be able to run the 26.2 when it really counts? Am I not cut out for this? Why do I even bother? I’m such a loser. And on. And on. And on.

Yesterday’s not-all-that-long long run of six miles ended poorly. I nearly bit the dust just after the two mile mark as my back decided to end any hope of struggling through the full six miles. I begrudgingly shuffled my way up the hill to my house, pressed stop on my RunKeeper app, and bit the inside of my cheek to fend off any tears. I hate quitting a scheduled run. I hate that my physical ailments still limit what I can do on occasion. As soon as I quit, I begin to fear not being able to run or walk or move again, and I get caught in a cycle of worst case scenario, what-if, unhealthy thoughts — instead of just seeing it as one step in a journey of thousands, instead of focusing on the bigger picture.

So yes, running is hard for me. As much as I want to portray the always happy, always eager runner, days like yesterday make me want to throw out (all of) my running shoes, never to lace up and hit the streets again.

But I will.

Today I will rest. I will hit the foam roller this evening, working on that stubborn knot in my right hip and the bricks in my calves. I will slather Arnica on my lower back before settling down with a book. Come tomorrow, I will lace up my shoes and head back out, fighting the voices in my head and the twinges in my back.


Any number of reasons. Maybe mainly because I said I would — run a marathon. Or maybe mainly because I need to — run in general. Either way, when you see me run by or when you catch the RunKeeper update on twitter after I finish a run, know that I went out and fought for every step I ran — and won.

I went out and fought for every step I ran... and WON!

Are you training for Pittsburgh or another spring marathon? How’s it going?