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

Thoughts on the Camino – Seven Percent

“Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.”  ~Henry David Thoreau

There are many things that go through your mind when walking the Camino. It’s part of the purpose making a pilgrimage…searching your soul and finding answers from within. I do this often during my runs, and I hope that by the time I finish the Camino, I will lay to rest some unfinished business within my heart. One of them is having a family of my own.

Not so long ago I heard these words from my doctor, “you probably have a 7% to 10% chance of conceiving and having a baby.” Of course my mind stopped at the words seven percent and I head nothing else after.

I always thought I’d have a family of my own and I always thought I had plenty of time. Having children was something that my ex-husband and I never agreed on, but he made a promise that we would try for a short period of time at some point in our marriage and if it didn’t happen, I promised I would let it go. At the time I thought it was a good compromise. I was wrong.

Ten years into our marriage, I brought it up. For me, it was time. For him, it would never be the time. And when he said no, in that instant I saw the family that I thought I’d have one day die in the midst of my tears. I picked up the pieces of my broken heart and convinced myself it was better this way. My life was too busy and I wouldn’t have time. I was happy with what I had, but really, I wasn’t. Fast forward 4 years and the divorce came and went and there are new possibilities to be had.

I figured, there is plenty of time. Women have beautiful healthy children into their 40’s all the time, why not me? Then I did the research and was blown away by statistics. I consulted with my doctor and we had a very serious conversation and that’s when he dropped the seven percent bomb on me. He knew my history and we both knew that conceiving would be something that would probably need some type of medical intervention, but I didn’t know how low my chances were. It was quite shocking really.

Having a family to call my own is one of the many things that occupy my mind when I run. I go out there and run and face those demons over and over again. Sure, there are many options and there are many options I’m considering. I have more appointments ahead of me to see what is best for me, and in my heart there is hope.

But…

I still can’t help but feel robbed of the opportunity when my body was more capable and my chances were greater. I feel that the choice was taken from me and I was blindsided by someone who once meant the world to me, and I can’t help but harbor some anger and resentment over it.

But I have to let it go.

I love the life I have and I’m grateful for every breath I take and I can’t continue to let this linger in my heart. And while I know it will be a long time before I can fully let it go, I know that someday I will find a way, whether or not it’s on the Camino.

There still many unanswered questions and many possibilities ahead, and I will exhaust every avenue I find. I believe in the Universe and that there is a plan but no matter what happens, I still have hope.

And on the Camino, I walk and I think,

And I walk and I grieve,

And I walk and I mourn for a family I felt I lost.

And seven percent echos in my head,

over and over and over again,

Seven percent, seven percent, seven percent…

Seven percent.

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The Story Behind the Necklace

Not running related, but I figured I’d write about this anyway. It’s funny how many comments I’ve had over the year about my little ol’ necklace. I guess people have noticed it in all of my bazillion running selfies. I wear it everywhere, day and night, during training, in races, in the shower, and in bed. In fact, it’s actually tied to my neck with a silk cord (probably not safe…don’t get me psycho killer) and I’ve only taken it off a few times to clean and polish the silver around the stones. The stones are not turquoise as some believe, but instead, it’s Larimar. Continue reading

All Lost Souls are Found on the Trails

There’s something to be said about the joy and healing of running. While I despised the act of it when I started, something happened along the way. It was as if someone gave me medicine that I didn’t want and eventually realized I needed. Then I discovered the trails, and it took this thing called running into an entirely new level. And the journey of the discovery of myself went into a new dimension. Continue reading

2015 – What a Year!

I usually have no problems with writing my end of year post. It typically flows right through me. But this year, I’ve seem to be plagued with writers block. Do you know when you have so much to say that you just can’t say anything? Well, that’s me. All. Year. Long.

I had a pretty big year in the world of racing. Actually, while I ran less races this year, the races I did run were pretty epic. Continue reading

So, Now What?

Determine that the thing can and shall be done and then we shall find the way.” – Abraham Lincoln

This year has been quite a year for me in my running and in my personal life. After accomplishing all the goals that I set for myself, I have to ask…what’s next?

Running has gotten me through some pretty tough times this year. I was grateful for having the goal of completing a 100-miler to keep my mind off of my divorce and keep me in a positive place when the opportunity to fall into a negative slump was hanging over my head. (PS – the Q&A’s for the 100-miler is almost finished…for real). I have met some incredible people and have a following of like-minded folks who support me through all of my adventures. Continue reading

In My Time of Dying

“In my time of dying, want nobody to mourn
All I want for you to do is take my body home”

Death…funny how someone can say something out of the blue make you stop and think about it sometimes. I was driving my mother somewhere the day after I got back from Italy and out of no where she says to me, “The cemetery called. You need to pick out your headstone.” Ummm…Wha-whaat? Continue reading

Finding My Pace in Italy

I just came back from a two week trip to Italy. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a dear friend of mine but I never found the time to go. With everything that has happened this year, this little vacation was exactly what I needed. This trip wasn’t meant for sight-seeing as I did the tourist thing the last time I went, but instead, it was just to get away, spend time with my friend, and clear the noise in my head. I got my training in, made new life long friends, and fell in love. Continue reading