Moose

My love for nature has grown over the years, and I attribute it to trail running. As a child, I loved being outdoors. My earliest memories of being out in nature was when I was about five or six. We were stationed at Kadena Air Base, and I would wander off and explore the woods all the time. Times were different back then. Parents really didn’t worry about kids playing outside all day. But then, during my teen years into my late thirties, I lost that love for nature. I was all about partying and hanging out with friends. It wasn’t until I started trail running that my heart remembered and fell in love again.

If you have been following me from the beginning, you know how much running shifted my life, especially trail running. Running helped me discover the core of who I am and gave me the confidence to do great things. It also took me deeper into my spirituality and put me on the path to explore those areas. And in this, I discovered Shamanism.

So, what is Shamanism?

“Shamanism is an ancient healing tradition and moreover, a way of life. It is a way to connect with nature and all of creation. The word shaman originates from the Tungus tribe in Siberia. Anthropologists coined this term and have used it to refer to the spiritual and ceremonial leaders among indigenous cultures worldwide. The word Shamanism can be used to describe the ancient spiritual practices of these indigenous cultures.” https://www.shamanism.com/what-is-shamanism

Last fall, I started my journey into Shamanism and began my apprenticeship last week. During some discovery, I found that my grandmother was a medicine woman. Did I ever tell you that my mother is Taiwanese and I was born in Taiwan? I can’t remember. But our family is indigenous to Taiwan and has farmed the land from what I can tell is forever. And perhaps this is a reason why I felt a calling into Shamanism. Not only because I want to connect deeper with nature and all of creation, but because it’s in my blood.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a ceremony to welcome the Spring Equinox. We participated in water, cacao, despacho, and fire ceremonies. It was beautiful. It was sacred. It was healing. It solidified that I wanted to continue down this path.

Spring Equinox Despacho Ceremony

Last week during a Shamanism class, we paired up with another student to gift each other a power animal. Power animals are guardian spirits in animal form. You can call upon an animal on your own, or through journeying with a partner, one can be called in for you. I was gifted the power animal of a Moose. Honestly, my first thought was…a moose??? Where’s my eagle? What about a lion (which I’ve gotten in the past). But this time, it was the Moose that came forward. After some research, I realized how perfect it was. Here’s some of what I found out below:

The “Moose symbolizes the expression of joy when something has been an accomplishment, not in a ‘show-off look at me; I want recognition ‘kind of way but in a true sense of sharing that springs from knowing how infectious joy is. Moose is also a symbol of being headstrong, longevity, wisdom, confidence, self-esteem, primal feminine energy, and steadfastness.” https://www.shamanicjourney.com/moose-power-animal-symbol-of-self-esteem-courage

The Moose spirit animal signifies strength, pride, and life. It’s not very difficult to decipher the moose symbolism because its message focuses on seeking the truth and finding the guidance within you. People who carry the moose symbolism are being called to work with the oppositions in their lives. Be inspired by the Moose, who’s clumsy and graceful and strange and breathtaking at the same time. For the Moose, attitude makes a whole lot of difference. Stay cool even when things are not working out, and remember not to sweat it! “Read more at: https://trustedpsychicmediums.com/spirit-animals/moose-spirit-animal/

Everything about the Moose is perfect. So, here I am, with my Moose. Digging deeper into self.

I come and I go.

I come and go. Come and go. Come and go. Just when I start to feel the momentum of getting back to training for my next race, I find that getting that run in tomorrow, or tomorrow, or tomorrow, doesn’t happen. I’ve run a total of 4 miles this year.

Same with my writing. Just when I thought I have found a way to carve out time, it doesn’t happen. But oh, do those words flow through my mind as I daydream about being back out on the trails. And I want to share the many simple yet wonderful experiences that have had throughout the day. And I want to connect with you.

It’s not that I have fallen out of love with running or writing. It’s just that I struggle to find the time to do it. The 4 a.m. wake up calls no longer happen. Instead, I cuddle next to the warmth of my daughter’s body and soak up holding her in my arms while she sleeps. Saturday mornings are booked with ballet, Sunday mornings are booked with swim. Then it’s “Mommy, play with me! Mommy, I want to be with you! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!!!” How can I say no?

And I used to sit with a glass of cabernet before bed and write my heart’s desires. Now, my nights are consumed with getting the kid to bed before cranking out some work to meet client deadlines.

And then there’s my mom. Now that she’s retired, I’ve moved her closer to me so that I can look after her. But I can’t wait to tell you more about her. Just to give you a little taste, my mother isn’t a runner, but she has taken up walking. She averages 70 miles a week and she’s in her 70’s! I KID YOU NOT. She has already logged in over 500 miles this year. She’s pretty incredible and I’m proud of her. At least someone is getting their miles in!

But I’m here. And all is good. And while I don’t spend much time in my old happy place. I am happy. And my new happy place is staring at my daughter’s sweet face while she sleeps. The sound of my feet clomping the dirt has been replaced with the sound of her banshee-like squeal of laughter. And I soak it all in.

I hope you still stick around. I do have big plans, of course. I always do. It’s me. But my pace in execution is slower these days. But don’t worry. It’ll be epic. Because it’s me. And I don’t know how to do anything less than epic.

Runs with Wolf

A few years ago when I started trail running, I decided to look for a four-legged running partner through a local rescue. After a few misses, we found each other. Her name was Zoey. She was about 2 or 3 years old and a black and white shepherd looking dog with a curly tail. Her fur was relentless. She shed so much that the Roomba could not keep up. She was my girl.

She and I bonded instantly. It’s as if she was waiting for me to find her. Trail running was great with her, although I had to brace for those sudden jolts from when she spotted a deer and wanted to take off. Our longest distance together was 14 miles. The sound of my breath, the sound of her pant. The clomping of my heavy feet, the jingle of her leash tethered to my waist. We ran free and happy together. We were a team.

She was my rock through my divorce, and years later, gentle and caring towards my newborn daughter. When the decision came to rehome her, I was absolutely crushed. I could not give her the love, care, and attention she deserved. I was a solo parent who had gotten laid off after coming back from maternity leave trying to keep everything together. I cried off and on for weeks trying to come to terms with the decision knowing that it was in her best interest. I was fortunate enough to find a friend who would take her in. Zoey was my first baby and I loved her immensely. And I know that she loved me too. But her time with me had come to an end.

I remember taking her to her new family. I cried on the entire drive there telling Zoey how much I loved her and that this was not her fault and that she was wanted. I didn’t want her to feel that she was just a toss-away dog. She was my baby. Her new momma kept me posted on all things Zoey. She would send me pictures and I was free to visit anytime. I found it very difficult to leave after a visit. It was as if I had to tell her good bye all over again, so I didn’t. Zoey had new fur siblings and was never alone. Her life with her new family was perfect for her and I am forever grateful that the Universe arranged it as so. She was so loved, SO LOVED.

Over the past few years I have gotten deeper into my spirituality. I believe that animals are healers. Zoey and I had a soul contract and when that ended, she fulfilled her soul contract with her new momma and family. Zoey healed me in so many ways. Not only was she there for me in my time of need, she taught me what it was like to be a mom and prepared me for motherhood. She was also a healer for her new family too.

This past August Zoey fell ill and it was time for her to cross the rainbow bridge. Her new family kept me posted and allowed me to be with them and Zoey when we had to take her to the vet. When I stepped outside of my car, Zoey wagged her tail when she saw me. I wasn’t sure if she’d remember me since it had been a long while since I seen her in person. But she did. She really did.

We held her and loved on her as she peacefully drifted off to sleep.
Our hearts broken. Our lives forever changed by our wonderful, loving, four-legged baby.

The following week I went for a long run and I felt her with me. I could hear her pant beside me and I could feel her happiness to be able to run on the trails once again. My eyes teared up and my heart was full. Since that time, I have felt her beside me on most runs. This week her last momma told me that she had DNA testing done on Zoey. Among a million things she was mixed with was wolf. Yes, she was part wolf. And I smiled. How fitting is it that my four-legged healer had wolf lineage. The wolf is one of my spirit animals.

I can imagine her spirit running with me on the trails and then going home to rest with her last momma to comfort her. I miss her so. I’ve missed her every day since I had to let her go. But now when I run, she is with me again. My own little spirit wolf.

And I am now one who runs with wolf.

Dearest Zoey,
Thank you for the love you gave me through the years that I had you. You will always be a part of my soul. You were the best dog ever.
Love, Your first rescue momma

Thank you Tracy for loving and caring for Zoey during her last years. You are a true blessing. And thank you again for these wonderful keepsakes of Zoey. I will treasure them always. Love, Sandy

Coming Home

Last Saturday, I finally got a chance to run with my old running tribe, the Charm City Run ultramarathon training group. Man, it was great seeing all those familiar faces. And there were many new faces who I haven’t met before. Our goal was two hours or at least eight miles. This run took a lot out of me but in a good way. It’s been a while since I climbed hills like these, and my legs ached from it. But damn, did that feel great! The trails have changed over the past few years. Trees were down in some places, some of the water crossings seemed a little different too. But I recognized so much, and I felt the trees smiling down on me, saying, “welcome home.”

What I loved most was catching up with old friends. Many of whom I’ve lost touch with over the years, except for keeping up with key moments on Facebook. One of the topics that came up was about the ending of relationships. Something that I’m oh too familiar with.

I don’t remember everything I said, but I remembered everything I felt and thought when I shared some of my experience with the breakup with Ultra kid’s father and the devastation I felt for months afterward.

On Valentine’s Day of 2020, he came forward with it. It wasn’t working for him anymore. I was utterly stunned. Where did this come from? Why were there no conversions of issues before this? Weren’t we happy?? In my mind, I thought I had provided a safe space for open communication, and we seemed to talk through everything together. But I was wrong.

Many of the days and weeks that passed after were a blur. During the day when I had to face people, I put on a brave front when I could. At night, I cried that snot dripping ugly cry, as my daughter slept in my arms, telling her how sorry I was that I wasn’t good enough to make him stay and that I was unlovable. I told her I would do everything to fix it. I had convinced myself that this was a phase, and he would come around if I could be the person that he needed me to be and that I could make our family whole. My heart ached to be on the trails for hours at a time so that I could sort out the grief and fix my head, and I couldn’t find my way there. And I so desperately needed to be there – the only place that I knew could heal me. I blamed myself for everything.

Then the pandemic hit, and we were in isolation.

As I look back now, I see that 2020 was the year of clear vision. The pandemic forced me to focus on myself and my situation. It took me a long time, but when I found out some truths that I didn’t know about, I knew that the breakup was a gift. He wasn’t the person I made him out to be. I was so in love with the idea of having the family I longed for, for a long time that I ignored red flags. I should have trusted my intuition, and I didn’t. Shame on me. Most of all, I should have never thought that I needed to change who I was for someone to love me. I am not to blame for what had happened. Neither of us is to blame. The relationship was karmic and we weren’t meant to be forever.

What we had was beautiful and amazing and gave me the most incredible miracle in our daughter. It had also taught me lessons in self-worth and self-love. And it brought me down to my fucking knees. Sometimes you don’t realize that you need to be broken to become better, stronger, and wiser. But when you rise up from the destruction, you begin to see that the pain of a broken heart is necessary to level up to your highest potential. You learn to see through people and trust your intuition. And through a lot of healing, I have clear vision of patterns I needed to break, clear vision of who he was, clear vision of my path, and most importantly, clear vision of who I am.

I am worthy and I am lovable and I deserve better. We all do.

Running on the hills at Cromwell Valley Park was very satisfying. I felt that I was coming back from a long crazy vacation that changed every aspect of who I was.

It was healing.
It felt like home.
And most importantly, it made me happy. 

“And I’ll rise up
 I’ll rise like the day
 I’ll rise up
 I’ll rise unafraid
 I’ll rise up
 And I’ll do it a thousand times again
 And I’ll rise up
 High like the waves
 I’ll rise up
 In spite of the ache
 I’ll rise up
 And I’ll do it a thousand times again”
Rise Up, Performed by Andra Day. Lyrics by Cassandra Monique Batie / Jennifer Decilveo

Photo by Scott Kelly (Instagram: @scott_not_astronaut)
Thank you for capturing me coming home to my happy place!

Resurrection

Hello, friend. I’ve missed you. Over the past three and a half years, so much has changed. The birth of ultra baby (now ultra kid). The breakup with her father. The countless times of trying to get back to running, racing, and writing, only to push it aside to tend to single-motherhood. Like the 100-miler, there were moments of pure joy and moments that brought me to my knees. It was through the moments that brought me to my knees that helped me grow. It helped me grow as a mother and as a divine being.

I have so much to tell you and no idea where to start. Frankly, I have about a dozen drafts saved and I never got past the first paragraph. I don’t even know how WordPress works anymore. So, I start here. Today.

Today, I resurrect my blog and hope to share and connect with you going forward. I resurrect my training and hope to find my place back to the finish line. Today, I resurrect the new me that you haven’t seen before. A little wiser, a little more spiritual, and a whole lot tougher than before.

Today is resurrection day.

Countdown to the Finish

“Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch.”
 E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

I remember during my first marathon after I pushed through the wall at the 20-mile marker and finally saw in the distance mile marker 24. There was a sudden surge of excitement. The end was near. I was going to do it. Just a little more than 2.2 more miles and I was going to actually finish a full marathon and I wasn’t going to die trying. The adrenaline kicked in and the emotions started to take over. For the first time in my life, I was going to do what I thought was the impossible.

And here we are now. Four weeks away from the due date of ultrababy’s arrival. I’m still waiting for that adrenaline to kick in, but it feels more like I’m stuck at the wall at mile 20. And just like every mile along the way of my first marathon, there’s so much that I’ve learned about myself and my tribe during the longest and fastest summer of my life, and it humbles me.

I learned that while I can will my body to run 100 miles, I cannot will my body to gracefully roll out of bed, or tie my shoes, or get out of the car, or put pants on. I learned that “slowing down my pace” doesn’t mean slow down to a comfortable jog, it means to come to a screeching halt and rest. I learned that I wish I would have been kinder, more helpful, and more compassionate towards my sister and friends who had kids before me. I had no idea what the body goes through when it’s creating a tiny human. And despite the fact that I wasn’t really there for them, they are here for me, a thousand percent.

Somehow along the way, I was able to surround myself with some of the most amazing people in the world. They are kind and generous. They are compassionate and loving. They are true to their word. How do you live up to that? How do you show gratitude to all of those people who go out of their way to help you, check up on you, and to just be there when you need them? I don’t know. Tell me. My tribe is strong and I am grateful for them. And my daughter is fortunate to have all of these wonderful people in her life to help guide her and teach her how to be a warm and compassionate human being full of strength and courage. Perhaps she saw this village and that’s why she chose me to be her mother.

As the days get closer to ultrababy’s arrival, I can’t help but wonder what it’s all going to be like to finally hold her in my arms. I often hear that there are no words to describe the feeling that you get when you hold your baby for the first time. And with each passing day, I’m starting to get it. It’s something like seeing the beauty of the Grand Canyon in pictures, but the pictures don’t do it justice. You have to run from one side to there other, to experience the great heights and depths to understand and feel the beauty of it all.

Or hearing of a pilgrimage along the coast of Portugal to Spain and the stories of self discovery that comes with it, but the stories are just stories until you, yourself strap that backpack on and walk every mile from point to point, soaking in the sights and culture and confronting your own demons within during long stretches of silence and solitude. You have to experience it to understand the changes that happens from within.

Or hearing of this crazy thing called a 100-mile foot race and seeing runners cross the finish line broken and renewed at the same time and not understanding what has to happen to your mind, body, and spirit in order to accomplish such a feat. You have to experience it to feel the pain that radiates through your body, hear the argument between your heart and your head of whether or not you should quit or move on, and feel the fire in your belly as you hear the cheers of the crowd at the finish line knowing that you had the strength, courage, and shear will to push through when your body didn’t want to.

The anticipation of the experience that lies ahead of me is both exciting and scary, but I know that it’s going to be nothing less than beautiful and magical. Four weeks left (maybe less). The finish line is near. And so is the most incredible experience of a lifetime.

Lost & Found

Well, there you have it. After a little scare earlier in the week and being put on temporary bed rest, it looks like my running may have come to a screeching halt.

I admit. I feel a little lost. I’ve felt a little lost from the beginning of this craziness. For the past six years, running has been my crutch. Discovering the sport changed my life’s trajectory and made it beautiful in so many ways. Running helped me find me.

I know this is a temporary situation, but without it, I feel…well…lost.

There’s a new me to be discovered and I know everything will be okay. I know I’ll find a new norm and I know that my running will come back. But self-discovery is never easy. And all this baby stuff is a little overwhelming. And in the past when I was overwhelmed, I ran.

In less than 15 weeks, I get to meet my little ultrababy, which  doesn’t seem like a lot of time. Now that I no longer have running as my crutch to keep my stress level down, my anxiety has started to kick in. So I have to remind myself to breathe.

I just have to breathe and be okay through this new change.
Breathe and be okay with feeling lost.
Breathe and let my new self be found.

“It just takes some time, little girl
You’re in the middle of the ride
Everything, everything will be just fine
Everything, everything will be all right, all right”
In the Middle – Jimmy Eat World

Halfway to the Finish

“To be pregnant is to be vitally alive, thoroughly woman, and distressingly inhabited. Soul and spirit are stretched – along with body – making pregnancy a time of transition, growth, and profound beginnings.” ~ Anne Christian Buchanan

I can’t believe I’ve reach that halfway mark in this pregnancy. 20 weeks. It still feels surreal and I still say to myself, how is this my life? You think I’d be used to it by now. I’m not. Not really. But I’m adjusting. I still get frustrated that I can’t keep up with my old pace. And I don’t mean just in running. And when it comes to the run, I barely run these days. When I see other pregnant mama’s out there running or posting on the baby board that they got their mileage in, again and again, I admit, it really bums me out. I thought that I would be that person. The one who could run until the day before they gave birth. But, I’m not. I get a couple of miles in here and there, and I do try and get out there at least once a week, but running even 2 miles takes me down for the count. It seems like everyday I have to make a choice, run and be a zombie, or not run and be functional. I go back and forth between the two. I don’t know if age has anything to do with it, after all, I am 43 and most of my high school friends are grandparents now, or if it’s just the way my body is handling growing a human. In any case, it sucks.

But it’s worth the suck.

“When you moved, I felt squeezed with a wild infatuation and protectiveness.
We are one. Nothing, not even death, can change that.”
~ Suzanne Finnamore, The Zygote Chronicles

When I started to feel her flutters the day after Mother’s Day, the reality that there was a little being inside really started to sink in. I, of course, broke down and cried…you know that ugly cry with snot where you can’t catch your breath. Ugly face with tears of happiness. This is really happening. It’s still happening. I haven’t been dreaming all this time. When when I felt her strong tiny little future-ultrarunner legs kick on the outside of belly the day before Father’s Day, I cried again (but not as ugly). This little lady is already sending me messages letting me know that she’s here to stay and she going to be strong and free-spirited like the women that came before her. I haven’t met her yet and I love her so much already.

SO MUCH!

“Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer
Not a trace, of doubt in my mind
I’m in love, and I’m a believer” ~ The Monkeys

I was able to see my baby girl during one of those fancy 3D/4D sonograms. And while she looked like an alien monkey hybrid, it was incredible. She was sweet and beautiful and moving around like crazy! Actually, I think she looks just like her father (and I think he’s an alien monkey hybrid…shhhh…don’t tell him I said that). Her tiny little nose and her tiny little lips. Just absolutely beautiful. And last week I had my anatomy scan. This is where they get a good look at the baby to look for defects or any soft markers that could translate to a genetic or chromosome disorders. I’ve been nervous about this as I’ve been watching other mothers-to-be receive not so great news during their anatomy scans. But I knew no matter what came of the scan, I’d love her anyway. As the technician went through each part of her body and told me over and over again that she looked good, I started to tear up. Heart, good. Femur, good. Humerus, good. Stomach, good. Cranium, good. Kidneys, good. By the end of the appointment, I was crying again. Baby girl was 12 ounces of perfection.

“Pregnancy is a process that invites you to surrender to the unseen force behind all life.” ~ Judy Ford

As I slowly get settled into this pregnancy, I’m accepting the fact that training in the summer heat, even for a short race, might not be in the cards for me. And I’m almost okay with that. I’ll do what I can and see what each day brings. I stay active and try to walk at least 2 o 4 miles a day and squeeze in a run if I feel up for it. But I’m also learning how to slow down and be okay with giving up control. After all, I’m not in control anymore. She is. For over forty years, people have tried to tame me and the only being successful enough to do so is this tiny little human. This tiny little human who has changed my life in a big amazing way. I used to think that this was the next chapter of my epic life’s journey, but I’m beginning to think that this is an entirely new book with new characters and new adventures I haven’t dreamed of. I have a sneaking suspicion that the second book is going to be way better than the first. It will still have all the running and traveling and epic adventures as before, but this time it will have a different dynamic. One with unconditional, out of this world love for another human being and all the ups and downs that go with it.

It’s going to be quite amazing.

Baby, oh Baby! The Next Chapter.

“Sometimes life has a cruel sense of humor, giving you the thing you always wanted at the worst time possible.”
― Lisa Kleypas, Sugar Daddy

I have a confession to make. When I dropped out of the HAT 50K run at the last minute, it wasn’t entirely due to illness. Yes, I wasn’t feeling great and had been battling a little bit of nausea for a week or two, and I had the all clear to run it until the Friday morning before the race, when I got a call from my doctor. He had informed me that he was concerned about the low fetal heart rate on the ultrasound was and he wasn’t sure if running the race was a good idea. It would be a gamble. Fetal heart rate? Wait. Wha-waaat?? Yep. If you don’t already know, I’m totally preggers.

The chances of a 43-year-old woman conceiving naturally in a given month drops to 1 percent according to the Association for Reproductive Medicine. The chances drop significantly lower when a fertility doctor tells you that you need fertility treatments to have a shot of having a baby. One of the philosophies that I live by is, “Tell me I can’t and I’ll prove you wrong.” Well, apparently that goes for making babies as well. The crazy thing is, we weren’t even trying. The idea of having kids was no longer in the picture. For me, that ship sailed and having a family was just a distant dream that floated in and out of my mind from time to time. Well, I guess the ship that sailed, took a nice tour of the Caribbean, and found it’s way back to Maryland.

Back in mid March, after I was about 11 days late, I decided to take a home pregnancy test. I have had this happen before and never had a positive result. Typically, Aunt Flo would show up within the day of me taking a test and I assume this would happen again. And besides, I wan’t really that regular and I was pretty sure I was pre-menopausal anyway. But it didn’t. After taking two tests at home, which came up positive, I went for a 10 mile run (of course) and then went to urgent care and had them take blood work. When it came back positive, I questioned the accuracy of the test. I had a little back and fourth with the doctor about reasons why I thought it would be a false positive and then broke down and cried. How could this be?? Complete denial. Having a family of my own was no longer in my plan. This can’t happen! But I was wrong. My tears weren’t tears of sadness or disappointment, they were tears of shock and denial. The Universe had a plan of her own and I just didn’t know it.

The past couple of months have been rough, to say the least, with the extreme fatigue, the morning sickness, the thought of this living being inside my uterus. It has stopped me dead in my tracks, brought me to my knees, and completely knocked the wind out of me. The shock of it all has been overwhelming. Almost twelve weeks into this pregnancy, it still feels surreal. How is this my new life? How is it that the thing I wanted most in life was given to me at a point in my life where the timing couldn’t be any worse? But when is the timing ever perfectly right? This little soul defied the odds and found its way to me. The timing is exactly how it is supposed to be.

So, now what? Running has been temporarily put on the back burner as I was taken off of some of my asthma meds because they were considered risky during the first trimester (don’t worry…they would have put me back on them if I couldn’t keep my asthma under control without it). Running triggers my asthma and so does the pollen. I have, however, been able to get a few runs in and I’m hoping as I enter into the second trimester, I’ll find my mojo and get back out there to run consistently. My sanity needs it.

As I come out of my fog of “holy shit, this is happening,” I’m embracing my new reality and the challenges ahead, and the excitement and joy of having a baby is settling in. I’m learning how to adjust to a body that’s growing a human and learning how to navigate in a world of being responsible for someone completely reliant on you.  Every decision I make affects this little nugget and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy. My pregnancy is high-risk and the health of my baby concerns me. Sharing the news is risky this early in the game, but I have always found strength in the support of my tribe, good or bad. And as I get ready to undergo First Trimester Screening and a few other genetic screenings, I pray for a healthy outcome. It’s all I can do at this point.

So, the big question that everyone is dying to ask. Who’s the baby daddy? While almost every aspect of my life is pretty much on public display, my personal relationship is the one thing that I have kept to myself. It is sacred to me. He is one of the most incredible human beings I have ever met and I have never experienced a love so deep and spiritual as I have with him. Our relationship is long-distance, but we make it work. And yes, he too is an ultrarunner (of course). Until we can find a way to come together as a family (our careers currently stand in the way), I’m okay with living as a single parent for the time being. I trust in the Universe to bring us together when the timing is right and I have an amazing support group who I can count on to help me along the way.

I’ve already started planning my comeback with a 100-miler in 2019, and I hope to start racing again sometime in 2018, and while I realize I can no longer dictate my schedule as I have done before, it won’t stop me from trying to do what I love. Somehow, I always find a way to make things work.

When I start to feel the energy, I will hit the trails as soon as I can. Together, this little soul and I will breathe in the air of our beloved trails, together our hearts will beat while we climb the hills, and together, our love of the trails and of running will continue deepen. This little incredible soul inside my belly beat the odds…all of them, to get here. She or he is here for a purpose and she or he chose me to be their mother. And when UltraBaby crosses that birthing finish line in November, I can’t wait to take that precious little hand in mine and guide this little soul through life and teach them about all the wonders and beauties of this world.

Life. It’s such an incredible, amazing, magical thing. I am so overwhelmed with gratitude with all that life has given me. Every difficult challenge in my life has given me something more beautiful than I can ever imagine. I take none of it for granted. Always humbled, grateful, and blessed and in awe of all that surrounds me and I can’t wait to share the next chapter of my life with you. It’s sure to be a hell of a ride!

Reflecting on 2016

“I’ll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was,
it was important and beautiful and not ours.
It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us.
There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.”
― Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

Another year has come and gone, and another year has left me in awe of this wonderful thing called life. If you were to ask me five years ago how my life would be now, I assure you, the answer wouldn’t be what it is. I was telling a friend at dinner tonight that I took a stroll down memory lane and looked at pictures of years gone by on my Facebook page. I noticed how I’ve changed in so many wonderful ways. My smile is brighter, my eyes have more meaning behind them, and I can see how I’ve come into my own. And I can honestly say, I attribute all of this this to my passion, running.

How can one simple thing change someone so much? Well, I can tell you that the confidence I found within myself through running changed how I looked at obstacles. I now know that there are no obstacles that I cannot overcome. I found a courage hidden so deep within and it allowed me to be okay with being who I am. It allowed me to be true to myself and I no longer cared if people accepted me or not. Through running I found my running tribe. The special group of people who lift me up, support me in all I do, who love me without judgement, and who encourage me to be the best I can be. Through running, I found limits which has inspired me to push even harder, to be better, to find out what possibilities there are for me.Through running, I found love. And that in itself is more than I could ever ask for.

2016 had many ups and downs for me. I hiked from Portugal to Spain, basked in the sun on the beaches of Aruba, ran some incredible races, and had my first DNF. I lost a dear friend to cancer, and then my grandmother immediately after and many friends throughout the year, but through it all, running is what kept me grounded and it kept me sane. Running is what I turned to when I need to grieve and running is where I went to to find happiness.

I used to look forward to the New Year and have an idea of what’s ahead of me. But not anymore. I now look forward to the New Year and I stare at it in awe, like a child seeing Christmas lights for the very first time. I have no idea what’s in store for me for 2017, but I do know this – every moment that comes my way will be a blessing, good or bad, and I will not take a single breath for granted. I know that while the life I have not is not what I imagined it would be, it is a life that I cherish and I am grateful for the choices that I have made. That sister life that I thought I would have was important. But it wasn’t mine to have. But this life, this amazingly wonderful life that I live, it what was truly meant to be.

I wish you all a wonderful, safe and happy new year.

 2016-post