Monday, May 29, 2017

An Open Heart

Saturday concluded my "free to do anything" 5k racing streak with my third 5k in three weeks. Whether fully prepared and focused, or laid-back and lackadaisical, in everything I do, I always seem to find a lesson; the conversation will the God is ongoing, unrelenting, and one I can't shut off. This is why it's so important to get up and do things in life, whatever those things may be, and to always keep our hearts open; God is truly ubiquitous.

My streak started three weeks ago in Westlake at the Hyland 5k, an eye-opening confidence booster of the gift I have by which I tend to overlook, while also serving as a gentle reminder to be cognizant of my gut feelings and to have faith in betting on "those" butterflies. After the race, with just a few weeks left before my trip, I decided to continue to hold off on any official training. My plan was to do a few 5 mile runs each week, with at least 2 with fast finishes, and to let the 5k races serve as both my speed work and long run, as I usually end up running a little over 8 miles with my warm-up and cool-down before and after the race.

Feeling confident and eager, the following week I ran a 5k in Northfield for St. Barnabas' School. Although I was hoping to run the 5k in the CLE Marathon, logistics were not aligned well for me for CLE, so the sweet, small, close in proximity Northfield 5k was to be my race. And my race it was! The course started with a straight-away mile of beautiful rolling hills, which helped me stretch out my legs and get good turn-over in 6:00, the exact time I crossed through mile 1 the week prior. After a hair-pin turn around, I lost my momentum a bit and the rolling hills caught my speed on the way back, but with some sweet kids I was trying to pull through for strong finishes, it was a fun challenge and not too painful. I crossed through the finish in 20:19, feeling "ehhhhhhh you can do better," but was nevertheless pleased with a comfortable, enjoyable race experience. I finished first female, and was fortunate to collect some pretty amazing, very generous prizes! I ended the day with my family celebrating my beautiful Goddaughter's 2nd birthday. We concluded her celebration at the beautiful lake, where the kids playfully ran around and the adults quietly gazed at the water; God's presence couldn't have been more tangible.

Fun celebrating birthday #2 for my beautiful Goddaughter, Evelyn. :-)
This is CLE. Home. <3
Knowing that this weekend would be my last racing opportunity for a while, I decided to run the Bay 5k in Bay Village on Saturday. Although I was beyond physically exhausted from the week and pretty sore in my back, quads, and feet, most likely from wearing  4" heels Thursday night and going to bed WAY past my bedtime, LOL, regardless of what I had in me, I wanted to do it...just cuz I can! My body was very heavy when the alarm went off at 6:00am, and I considered just staying put, but my will took over and I peeled myself out of bed. I ate a quick breakfast, got dressed, and was out the door shortly after 7:00am and on my way to Bay! While doing my 2 mile warm-up around the course, my legs felt heavy and my back was hurting, but the pain soon subsided upon running into some super sweet running buddies of mine who reminded me of my favorite part of this sport: the people. After chatting and catching up, they enthusiastically invited me to join them in the Boston Marathon next spring, which I may be taking them up on if other life plans of mine do not go through. Their kindness, warmth, and positive energy were exactly what I needed to forget the pain, and to make the race enjoyable no matter the outcome.

When the gun went off, I immediately knew I was in trouble; my legs had that "dead weight" feeling to them that I've experienced many times before, in particular a few weeks prior at the Tow Path ½ Marathon. Accordingly, I listened to my body and backed off the pedal in mile 1, letting another speedy chica who looked smooth and strong take the lead. I crossed through the mile in 6:10, and from the point forward I shut down completely. I felt exhausted, unmotivated to push, terribly sick to my stomach...and really just wanted to stop. But, in true-to-MP fashion, I hung in there, looking like a fool I'm sure, as people passed me one-by-one. At one point, a very sweet old man tucked in by my side, saw my struggle, and kindly tried getting me to push. He didn't say, "Cmon, you've got more than that!" but rather, "It's alright, keep going!" He must be a coach, and I'm sure a really, really, really good Dad/Grandpa; it was just what I needed. Eventually, my running buddy caught me; it was almost deja vu from the Tow Path 1/2 a few weeks ago (and her name happens to be Jen, too!). She was having a great race, breezed past me, and took 2nd overall female. Deflated by my performance and totally spent, I finished behind her in 3rd in 20:20. It was a beautiful day and a flat-fast course; it simply wasn't my day. But after a 3 mile cool-down, I got to spend extra time with my sweet running buddies in the beautiful sunshine and collected another great, generous race prize. My mood was lifted and I finished feeling that although it was a tough race nor the one I had hoped for, thanks to the good company and a gorgeous day, it most certainly was a good one!

Knowing it will be a while before I can race again, I thought about running one more 5k this morning...just cuz I can! But when the alarm went off at 6:00am, my body felt even heavier than it did Saturday...and so this time I listened! I have just a few days before my travel begins, and I need to be well-rested, and most certainly not sore. I headed to Tow Path for the first time since being hit by the biker in April (aka, God screaming at me to STOP! LOL), and enjoyed five cozy, sunshiny miles.

So, what did I learn from my 5k race streak? As I said before, it helped me see what I can do that I often take for granted: RUN! Despite my best efforts, I tend to be so fixated on achieving a time goal that I overlook how gifted I am simply to be able to do what I do. With that said, just as not training helped me let go and just run, it also, on the contrary, helped me see the importance of training; it is through the long run that you build the stamina to keep going when you want to quit, and it is through speed work that you build the muscle and cardiovascular strength to go hard and fast despite the pain. More simply put, racing without training is like taking a test with studying; you might do okay, but that extra work is necessary for going beyond your potential, getting the best out of yourself, and truly mastering the task at hand. Even if training doesn't set you up for a PR, which in many cases it doesn't, particularly when you become a more seasoned runner, it is does help you to do your best in that moment. When you’ve given your training 110%, you can walk away from any race confident that even if you bonk, you were prepared to give it everything you could. And that is all I believe God asks of us: to give what we do our very best, and to enjoy and share the gifts He's given us with others.

In my most recent read, Mother Teresa of Calcutta: A Personal Portrait, Fr. Leo Maasburg speaks of her saying, "She once said that even God cannot fill something that is already full. By this she meant that if we are full of self, of vanity and our own selfish goals, if we think we can do everything by ourselves, God cannot work with us; He cannot use us. But when we accept our "nothingness" and turn to Him with loving trust, then He can use us; He can fill us with His love and do "great things" with us." In a world fixated on pride, external imagery, and statistics and numbers derived from achievements and accolades, this can be REALLY hard, but we can learn from the example of St. Teresa and at least try to live beyond those things that inadvertently hold us back from true greatness. If we put God first, remain faithful, take risks with humility, and do what we do with love, "great things" are very possible, indeed. We just need to be sure to always keep our hearts open, no matter the circumstances, knowing He's always with us, unrelentingly, along the way everywhere, in everything, and in everyone. :-)

I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day in light of all those who've sacrificed everything for our freedom. I am so very, very grateful to be an American; God Bless America, my home sweet home!


Saturday, May 13, 2017

She is Beautiful

This is one of my favorite pictures of my beautiful Mom with her beautiful baby brother, my Uncle Michael, of whom she cared for and loved as if he were her son. During her high school years, my Mom took on the role as full-time Mommy to help my beautiful Grandmother Scully while she was hospitalized for breast cancer treatment. She was only a teenager, but assumed the role with no hesitation and complete self-sacrifice and humility; she never told anyone of her difficult circumstances and immense responsibilities, not even her teachers. It wasn't until my Uncle Michael's kindergartner teacher read a note written by his sweet, thoughtful big sister concerning his many special needs that her secret was revealed. She was, and is, one of the most loving, warm, unapologetically genuine, and caring people most will ever meet; she is deeply loved and "Mom" to so many, more than just the six children of whom are so blessed to call her their Mommy. I don't know how I got so blessed, but I do know with certainty that all of who I am and all I ever will be is because of her. For her unconditional love, beautiful heart, deep wisdom, and example of giving of oneself through Motherhood to all, I am eternally grateful.  I love you so much, Mom. I wish you knew how very beautiful you are. 🙂

"She was beautiful, but not like those girls in magazines. She was beautiful for the way she thought. She was beautiful for the sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful for her ability to make other people smile even when she was sad. No, she wasn't beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful, deep down to her soul. She is beautiful."- F. Scott Fitzgerald 💜

Bet on Butterflies

After 4 weeks of no running and MRI confirmation that my ankle swelling was NOT a stress fracture but rather a chronic sprain, my orthopedic doc gave me the green light to ease back into running, using the swelling and any pain as my guide. Grateful, excited, but never the less cautious, I started running again this week. I definitely felt the weight of the time off in my first few runs, but by Wednesday I was feeling shockingly comfortable, as if perhaps all had not been totally thrown away in these past few weeks on the sideline. Logic and prayer have been my guide and I haven't felt particularly sad or disappointed to miss my chance at the CLE Marathon this spring, but I have to admit that there is definitely a profound anticlimactic feeling when you have to cut your training short, for whatever the reason may be, without any opportunity to truly execute all the weeks of effort and hard work.

Although fully aware that any attempt at a PR would be foolish, I was getting "those" butterflies inside and started to contemplate possibly running a race this weekend...just 'cuz I can! Thinking of one of my favorite lines in Fight Club, "It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything," I decided to run the Hyland 5k in Westlake on this picture perfect, sunshiny Saturday morning. After all, what did I have to lose?  With my cozy new training shoes and my old-school iPod fully charged, my focus was to let go, enjoy the beautiful morning, and simply do what I love to do so much: RUN! With this mentality, my legs were fresh, I had my pep in my step, and I crossed through the first mile in 6:00. It was definitely a fast 5k pace for me, even in my fittest form, but it just felt SO good! I lost my momentum a bit in the middle of the race, but did my best and hung on for a strong finish just under 20 in 19:56. Not a PR or where I was planning to be this spring, but it felt SO good just to be able to do it! I was elated to later learn that I managed to finish first female; it was the butter cream icing on the delicious chocolate cake!

While doing my cool down, I thought of the words I recently heard from a beautiful, enthusiastic, highly energized orthodox Jewish man who said he lives his life in such a manner simply because God doesn't want us to be sad. How inspiring?!? I firmly believe that actively choosing to be joyful, despite the odds, is doing God's will. It's not easy, in fact, it's really, really hard, but with a lot of work and a lot of faith, it is possible. Taking these past 4 weeks off has helped me get my spark back, and further reinforced my gratitude for being able to do all the things I am blessed to be able to do. I'm not sure if I'll do the CLE Half next weekend, but I may do another 5k before taking a few weeks off in June and part of July for my travels. We shall see! Just going to bet on "those" butterflies and use them as my guide, because even if things don't work out how I want them to, they never seem to let me down; nothing is impossible with God.

I didn't anticipate this turning into a blog post, but rather a quick, unpolished Instagram post. And, well, it was too here it is! :-)

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend celebrating and praising your beautiful Moms, in any which way or form you are blessed to have them with you. I am eternally grateful for both of my angels, my Mommy here on Earth and my Grandmommy watching over me in Heaven, of whom I love more dearly than my words could ever possibly express. :-)

Post 5k evening spent watching the skillz of Mentor High's future QB, aka Tommy :-)

Luke and Molly cheering on Tommy at his football game, aka eating ice cream and catching up on life. :-)

Miss Kate loving her ice cream :-)

Amen 0:-)

Recalculating: update

A little update after Recalculating

Made it in to see Dr. Cohn this morning, and he said my swollen ankle is either a sprain or a healing stress fracture. He needs to see an MRI to confirm it (which insurance may or may not cover, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to get it done). But, with how swollen it is and my history, he said not to run on it even if it doesn't hurt (mainly bc my threshold for pain isn't trustworthy, LOL!) for the next two weeks. This little peak of sunshine in the clouds warmed my heart before walking into my appointment, and put everything into perspective for me. There is nothing to be sad about it. There are plenty of marathons in the future, it's all good. 

Irish Jig and Jog 5k

Forgot to post my race recap from the Irish Jig and Jog back on March 26! Much has happened since then, but it was a memorable experience, worth blog documentation. :-) Enjoy:

Yesterday was quite the adventure! Despite feeling a bit under the weather throughout the week, I decided to run my first race of the year. I did a nice warm-up, & discovered I had ran past my Dad's childhood home! Despite feeling squeamish, my legs felt good, the energy was positive, & so I thought I was bound to have a great race.  Five minutes prior to the race start, I heard some scuffling between a cop and the race director. Twenty minutes after the race was to start, we were informed by the cop that the race director didn't complete a proper permit and so we were only allowed to run on the sidewalks, single file, had to abide by all traffic signals, & we "BETTER not violate any traffic rules." Being that it was in an old CLE neighborhood, the sidewalks were NOT suitable for racing; it was like an obstacle course! And then the temps dropped from 60 degrees down to 45 by the time the race started (no joke, I most certainly didn't see that coming!), so needless to say my legs were stale, I was under-dressed, and my squeamish belly wasn't too happy with the circumstances. Although any hopes for a decent 5k race were busted, I couldn't help but find humor in the whole situation. Not much pep was left in my step, but I felt bad for the race director (& figured it'd be a good One For The Books), felt happy vibes running in my Dad's ol' neighborhood, and so I did it anyway. It was a struggle (but I was able to avoid getting caught by traffic lights, LOL), my feet weren't too happy with me, but I did it and finished first female. Perhaps this was a reminder from above that we can prepare to do our best, but most of what happens race day (and in life) we simply can't control. But we can control our attitudes, and make the most of whatever is tossed our way. It was a funny race, all the runners were kind (not one person complained, just all compassionate for the race director), & I was able to bring home a little reminder of the event for my Dad who I dedicated this crazy, funny, surprising, hard, but GOOD race to. Just 8 weeks until the CLE Marathon, a lot of work to do in a little bit of time, but I have faith that if He brings me to it, He'll see me through it! 

Saturday, April 15, 2017


By those who've known me best through my 34 years of livin', I’ve been well-known for doing some pretty unexpected things and ending up in abnormal circumstances . In fact, my sister, Kristin, has given these things done and circumstances a collective title, referred to as my “flighty” moments. She will often preface stories on these “flighty” moments with, “You gotta be careful; she’ll catch you by surprise!” since I tend to be a pretty serious, responsible, and logical person, or I at least try to be. With that said, these unexpected moments of flight are often ridiculous, sometimes dangerous, usually (at my expense) hilarious, and best of all, very memorable. They also tend to include my sister, as we’ve been confused as twins throughout our entire life and are much more similar than we are dissimilar; it is fair to say that she is my “flighty” partner in crime. From getting lost in parking garages, talking too long to strangers, sled riding down hills with holes, getting SCREAMED at by military police for enthusiastically standing in the street of Pennsylvania Avenue while the President of the United States is driving through, there are enough stories of our "flighty" moments to cover a 1,000 page book!  One of my favorite of these moments, which happens to be incredibly relevant as I’m reflecting on recent events, occurred during a late winter weekend in 2013 when she and I decided to visit our baby brother in college. While on our very familiar drive, we were so caught up in conversation (about teaching, of course) that we drove a good hour on the wrong highway without realizing it. It wasn’t until we were at an unfamiliar rest stop that we discovered our mistake on one of the SIMPLEST drives through Ohio that we’d made many times throughout our life. Fortunately, there was no need to panic, as we had GPS on our phones, and thanks to its help, we were able to navigate our way back on the right road. This required driving all the way across the state of Ohio on back roads, with trust that the GPS knew more than we did and that it’d help us get to where we needed to go. So, with extra time on our hands, we just kept chatting away, laughing at our scenic route of the most rural places in Ohio, promising to keep this “flighty” moment a secret from my brother-in-law, who’s come to expect something ridiculous to happen when the two of us are left to ourselves. It took WAY longer than we anticipated, but we eventually made our way to our destination and had a super fun night celebrating our baby brother’s last year of college.

JP's graduation 2013 following our travel mishap; couldn't find any pics from "that" weekend, but this pic very well captures "us."
Twinning at the Nike Women's Half Marathon in 2013 following our Presidential security scolding.

While walking through Target on my spring break a few weeks back, I came across some nice, cozy patio chairs that were on sale for just $19.99. I pulled one off the shelf, sat on it, and immediately envisioned myself sitting happy on my patio, with a book in hand and peace in my soul. I eagerly popped it in my cart, and merrily headed for the cashier to make the purchase. While walking to my car, I suddenly realized I didn’t take into account that it didn’t fold, it wasn’t compact, and therefore might not fit in my car. And, well, you guessed it: it didn’t. And, YEP, you better believe this was definitely one of those “flighty” moments. Despite turning it in every possible way, attempting to shove it through my side door and into my trunk, it just wouldn’t fit. Not willing to give up just yet, I thought long and hard about the likelihood of it falling out of my car as it dangled from my trunk on my short, but bumpy five minute drive home. And as I stood there, pensive and carefully observing the situation I had at hand, I heard giggling from across the parking lot. I took a quick glance over, and confirmed that YEP, I had an audience of people laughing at me. In attempt to save myself from ending up on a meme on Instagram, I took the chair out of my trunk and popped it back into the cart, pushed it back into the store all the while laughing to myself for being a complete MORON, and returned the beautiful, cozy, happy patio chair to Target. 

Unwilling to let this incident hold me back from enjoying the sunshine on my pretty patio on this particular day, I decided to settle for my good ol’ fold-up lawn chair that hasn’t moved from the back of my car since the Fourth of July fireworks. And, as I stepped on to my patio floor, book in hand and engaged in deep thought about God knows what, I turned my ankle. I was struck, AGAIN, by yet another “flighty” moment; I honestly have no clue how I did it. A disgusting sound, best described as “Grrrrrrrrrrsh” accompanied the turn, and so I fearfully placed my foot steady on the ground to assess the damage. Fortunately, there was no pain and after a little panic that evening, by the next morning I had completely forgot about it. Without thought of my ankle, I did a comfortable tempo run, feeling confident in my progress and energized knowing week 5 was almost in the books. That evening, however, while in the shower I noticed a huge lump on my ankle. Despite no pain, my ankle was very swollen. Fortunately, it was my left ankle and not the ankle that had been previously injured, but needless to say I was worried and held off from running for a few days. I had the Tow Path Half Marathon penciled in on my schedule for the following week, but with potential for injury always at the forefront of my mind, I had held out registering for it. I figured my best bet would be to wait until the very last minute to register, and if it happened to sell out, then I was to trust that not running the race was to be my fate.

Legit cankle...
As the days progressed, the swelling didn’t get worse, but it also didn’t get better. There was no pain, so I had difficulty making a decision on what to do next. This indecisiveness brought with it a great deal of anxiety and negativity, as I was struggling internally and beating myself up over what I did, a stupid turn of an ankle, a “flighty” moment, to potentially throw away weeks of solid work. Plus, I couldn’t’ figure out if I was I being overcautious, or if there truly was something else brewing underneath the surface. I decided I was being overcautious, and registered for the Tow Path Half Marathon just in time for the online registration deadline. Unsure if it was the right choice, I decided to put the decision in God’s hands and wasn’t going to let it occupy my train of thought for the remainder of the week. And it didn’t. I attended a beautiful, heart-warming school event that filled me with more joy than fathomable on Thursday, had a random snow day that enabled me to get ahead on school work on Friday, and a day filled with QT with family and friends on Saturday, best of all concluded with Jesus, as I was able to make the vigil for the Palm Sunday Mass that night. Life was very, VERY good, but by the time Sunday morning rolled around, I felt like I’d been on such an emotional rollercoaster over the week I couldn’t focus on the race if I tried. And, well, if there is one word I could use to describe my experience it would be just that: unfocused.

SO, as you may already know from my social media posts last week, the Tow Path Half Marathon was a huge bust for me (read here:Tow Path Half Marathon 2017). It was probably the biggest bust since the Columbus Marathon of 2012 (read here: Columbus Marathon 2012). Maybe it was my ankle, or should I say "cankle"? Maybe I had a touch of the flu (I learned later my sister’s family had been battling a 24 hour stomach flu)? Maybe I was exhausted? Maybe my head wasn’t in the game? I’m not sure what happened, but I went to bed that Sunday night defeated, frustrated, embarrassed, and incredibly disappointed in myself. I may have my “flighty” moments and accept that as part of who I am and happily find humor in it. However, I most certainly battle a chronic disease, the antagonist of “flighty,” of which many runners and nonrunners alike are afflicted: perfectionism. It is the WORST, and something I’ve struggled with throughout my entire life. The irony of perfectionism is that it is inherently flawed. Ambition, conscientiousness, and determination are positive qualities, but too much of any of those qualities can suck the joy out of the things we do and lead us down a path of selfishness, pride, and perpetual defeat. The truth is, with a perfectionist mindset, enough is never enough; no P.R., medal, or accolade will ever satisfy you. And that’s where I was. Stuck in the tunnel of perfectionism, unable to see the periphery. My plan at that point was to work harder, better, faster, and stronger, just as one of my favorite Daft Punk song goes, confident I could turn this failure into a positive in my 6 weeks left of training. 

When I woke up the following morning, those negative feelings were still brewing in me, and so I decided to take to St. Teresa’s example and to be cheerful even if I didn’t feel it. And in doing so, with each student who came into my classroom, I started to feel better. Soon enough, how I was acting was in fact how I felt, and I was able to see beyond the tunnel of my perfectionism and therefore started to see things with more clarity. By noon, I had made an appointment with my orthopedic doctor for the following Friday. By the afternoon, my ankle was super swollen, and after talking with my colleagues I decided I was definitely out of running for at least the upcoming week. By that night, I was at Fleet Feet buying new shoes, receiving further confirmation that my ankle needed medical attention even if no pain was accompanying the swelling, and  that continuing training would more than likely be detrimental than helpful if I had any plan for racing this spring. And after a date with Chipotle, as I drove home, I thought about my upcoming Eastern European trip in June, how extremely miserable it’d be to be hobbling around in a boot (or worse, CRUTCHES), and I knew in my heart that I wasn’t going to be able to run the Cleveland Marathon this spring. My harder, better, faster, and stronger mentality had turned to a mentality of resting, recovering, and healing in less than twenty-four hours, thanks to the guidance of my favorite saint and personal hero, St. Teresa. Fortunately, I hadn’t yet registered for the race with my many concerns of injury, so although stepping away was disappointing, I knew it was the right thing to do. Like the the beautiful, cozy, happy patio chair and my car from a few weeks ago, the Cleveland Marathon simply just doesn't fit for this spring.

Chubby cankle overflow...
I love training and all the small goals that come through each workout, so these past 6 weeks do not feel wasted although I’m once again cut short; one of these days, I’ll make it through a spring marathon. I know I am capable of achieving my goal of 3:03:30, but it needs to be when the time is right. I truly thought I could do it this spring and had everything planned to make it happen, but it just isn’t meant to be; I have full faith that He has better things planned for me. Although this quick turn of events has caught me off guard, and it may take me longer than I’d like to reach my goals, I feel like God is just recalculating my path for me. Although it’d be nice to have a GPS to tell us every turn we need to take when we got ourselves lost in the road of life, God doesn’t always work as explicitly as we’d like. We just have to silence our busy minds, pray, and have hope that He’ll be with us as we try to move forward in the right direction, and that if we make a wrong turn, He’ll just recalculate our path for us. All the best things in life, conquering our long, sought after goals, falling in love with the right person, earning respect from people, finding that perfect home, inspiring others to be their best selves, all seem to be linked to a formula beyond reason: they just happen. The only “right” thing we can do is to always have faith, and never, ever stop believing that there is always a silver lining, even if we can’t immediately see it. It’s as simple as that. If we can maintain our faith, when we look back, we will be able to clearly see that hand that got us though the tough times, helped us recalculate, and ultimately led us to the right place; in time, we can see God and understand why life is SO good.

I will be seeing my orthopedic doctor, Dr. Cohn, on Friday, and will let his wisdom guide me forward. If I’m healthy, I still have a chance to at least complete the Cleveland Half Marathon, as I’m in good shape and will have four weeks to train and hang on to (and perhaps improve) my fitness. I spent this past week cross-training, and will likely do the same thing next week. The swelling has gone way down, and I’m fortunately in no pain, so I was hoping to do some light running (no speed work) this week. However, an incident during my attempted run today has me thinking that someone from above is pushing me to hold off until after I see Dr. Cohn. My plan was to do a light, hour easy run late this morning and to see how I held up. I made my way to the Tow Path, did a little stretching, felt good, and was happily trotting on my way. Around mile 2, deep in running thought and feeling great, something jumped up and bit me, right into my left calf, Forrest Gump style. I immediately turned around and saw a woman in bushes; I had been hit by a biker! I’ve run 1,000s of miles over the past ten years and have NEVER been hit by a bike; all circumstances considered, what are the odds of this!?! I ran to her side, and fortunately a man had been riding with her and came to help with the situation. She was shaken and confused, and fortunately unhurt. She said she didn’t see me, that I appeared out of nowhere to her, and I believe her! She didn’t even realize that she had hit me, and fortunately, I just have a few scrapes on my calf from the tires brushing my leg. BUT, it happens to be the same leg as my swollen ankle, and I most certainly do not believe in coincidences. So, once she was back on the bike and was able to ride away, I turned around, made my way back to the parking lot, and called it a run. I was able to get in 30:00, and I feel okay, but I’ll be awaiting an official green light from Dr. Cohn before I move forward from here. I’m not exactly sure what to make of the events of today, but I’m going to err on the side of caution!

The bike crash aftermath. A "brush" with fate?
Although the “flighty” part of who I am makes me (and my family) uneasy, it’s just who I am. Perhaps God made me this way to reduce my perfectionism, to help me see the humor and fun in the mundane, to make me more likable, to instill permanent humility in me, to affirm my constant, essential dependence on God in my life. Fr. James Martin, an amazingly brilliant, wise, Jesuit priest and a very real person (and quickly becoming a great role model for me), whose words and insight have helped me better understand and work to build a better relationship with Jesus, said in his book Jesus: The Pilgrimage, “Every day our human nature humbles but does not humiliate us, gently and naturally. No effort or great penances are required for us to experience our limitations and taste our sinfulness, both of which lead us to recognize our constant need for God. Thus it is a grace to know one’s sinfulness.” A flighty perfectionist, always shooting for the stars, constantly falling back to Earth, trying to find God and all the life lessons through it all, and hoping to help others along the way. That is just who I am. :-)

I hope everyone has a beautiful Easter, celebrating the LOVE God has for each and every one of us and His promise of eternal life. And God bless everyone participating in the Boston Marathon this weekend: runners, cheerleaders, workers, and volunteers! May you have a SAFE, wonderful, joyful experience taking part in the greatest marathon in the world!!!

Just bein' me with my very special Godson Luke's on his 4th birthday!