She.Is.Beautiful Ambassador Series

In 2018 I was chosen to help represent the She.Is.Beautiful 5k/10k Race Series.  SIB is more than a race series though, it is a slice of positivity heaven.  Through their daily positive messages on IG or FB, to the small events they host during the year (community meet-ups, workouts, positive living lectures, and more), one can’t help but really try to live their best life… even if for a snippet of time during a really bad and rotten day.

For 2019, I have this opportunity once again and I’m so excited.  Last year we were asked to respond to a series of questions so that the SIB community could get to know the Run Crew.  I just stumbled across the post again and wanted to share.  It’s always good to remind myself of all the lessons life has taught me, and this post does just that.  You can check it out here.


Things We Love: The Work Life, Home Life, Fun Life Balance

Happy New Year!  I’m continuing to write a monthly post for my favorite race series, She. Is. Beautiful 5k & 10k, which happens to be the genius idea of two amazing ladies, Melissa & Sara.  Check out this month’s post and then hop on over to the SIB page and sign up for the March 17th race in Santa Cruz.  It’s seriously one of the most positive, well organized, coolest swag races you will ever complete.

Check out this month’s blog right here!

The Year of Running 2017


Laps Lunges Leather


  • Best race experience: The best race of the year was actually my least favorite race of the year.  In other blog posts, I’ve highlighted my love/hate relationship with the Wharf to Wharf.  While this year’s race did not highlight what I was capable of running, it surely highlighted the hard training that my teammates had done leading up to the race.  There were so many PRs and positive experiences that it was easy to forget that my race didn’t live up to my goal time.
  • Best run: February 9th was the best run day of the year.  After running with the hardware from my broken leg a couple years prior, I finally had the courage to have the hardware removed.  After 4 weeks of the 4-6 week suggestion to not run, I laced up my sneakers and started the journey back.  Sadly, it was pouring rain so I had to run on a treadmill, but it was all glorious… and hard!
  • Best new piece of running gear: While I don’t wear it for every run, the iWatch my husband bought me has been one of my favorite new pieces of run gear.  I like to track my runs to have the mileage data, but I also like to run watchless.  Since I’m in my 40s now, it’s a challenge to read the Strava app on the iWatch so it’s the best of both worlds… a run where I have no clue about the stats, but I can see them when it’s over if I choose.
  • Best running advice you’ve received this year: This year I took my own advice. “Running is not your job.  It doesn’t have to be taken so seriously.”  I’ll give the best effort that I have and the rest is history… with a calorie deficit that can be filled with wine.
  • Most inspirational runner: Hand’s down… SHALANE!  No explanation needed.
  • Favorite picture from a run or race this year: This picture from the Race Thru the Redwoods has to be my favorite of the year.  With the course elevation and trails, the only way to run this race is by effort and with the attitude that fun will win.  It was a ton of fun to cross the finish line with a huge smile on my face.


  • Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: Each year I look forward to the She.Is.Beautiful race.  As a member of the Sass Squad this year, I’m looking forward to connecting with the SIB community and celebrating all the ladies crossing the finish line.  This year the race happens to fall on St. Patrick’s Day and it also happens to fall right in the mix of marathon training.  As a result, I will be running the 10k as part of my long run.  I can’t think of a better group to pass the miles with.
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Reconnecting.  I didn’t have any huge goal races on my calendar in 2017.  As a result, I had the chance to reconnect with the enjoyment of running while still putting some hard efforts in to remind myself that the 2018 race plans are going to be a fabulous journey.

She. Is. Beautiful Guest Blogger

Among friends, I have a reputation for being that girl with random information that may (and sometimes may not) be helpful.  Since childhood, I’ve had a big love of reading and I’m not particular about what I pick up… there’s fiction and non-fiction, magazines, blogs, fliers posted around the community, newspapers, links on FB and so many places on the internet my husband often tells me that I need a tech timeout.  Between the reading and my love of wine, fitness, shopping, dining out, travel and not being afraid to try something new I add to my collection of random information.  The amazing ladies of She. Is. Beautiful. have been recipients of my bank of random tips and ideas for the last few years.  As a result, they wondered if I would be interested in contributing some of my favorite things and ideas to their blog.  “OF COURSE!!!” was the answer that I came up with in about .000001 seconds.  I have been a fan of She. Is. Beautiful. since the beginning, and with trial and error and super creative minds, SIB has just gotten cooler and cooler, and just when you think they can’t possibly get any cooler… they do.  Having the opportunity to be a part of the SIB movement in the smallest of ways makes me feel truly honored.  Therefore, without further adieu, here is my very first post on the SIB blog.  Check it out… and then when you are done checking it out, please check out the rest of the site… and then sign up for the races in Santa Cruz or Santa Barbara.  You won’t be sorry.  That I can promise.

Things We Love:  First Taste of Fall


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Birthday Month Intentions


Way back in the day, I celebrated a birthday week.  That was it… one measly week.  Then, I moved to another town and met Mary Ann who was much, much wiser than I.  She celebrated her birthday for an entire month.  You read that right… an entire month.  It just so happens that her birthday is in September so she was my mentor during my first ever birthday month.  And… since the year 2001 I have celebrated the birthday month.  In the beginning, the month-long celebration involved extra glasses of wine and many, many sweets, but it’s different now…  I know my close friends just rolled their eyes a bit.  I admit… I still have extra glasses of wine and likely an abundance of treats, but since The Birthday Bust of 2014, my birthday month has taken on a bit of a different tone.

The Birthday Bust:  2014 was the year that I had the biggest of celebrations planned during the month since I was turning 40.  There were fun runs, trips to Vegas and Mexico, new heels and so much more… and then I fell and severely broke my leg.  It’s okay now since I learned many valuable lessons from that experience, but at the time, I made Debbie Downer look happy.

Sometimes, the best lessons are learned by being forced to slow down and appreciate what is right in front of you.  While there were buckets of tears during September 2014, there were many moments that friends that had been MIA came around for visits, Adam waited on me hand and foot, I had a week of laughing, chilling and watching movies with just my mom (and she too waited on me hand in foot… it was kind of a competition between the mother-in-law and husband.  They tied… both were amazing), and on the most special day of the month… September 15th, my husband planned the most beautiful surprise party. (Moment of gushing… there are times that Adam jokes that he can’t believe I married him, but I can’t even count the times I’ve fallen in love with him all over again… this was one of those nights.)  What I learned to appreciate was time… time spent relaxing, time spent with family and friends, and time spent remembering.  

Birthdays are kind of like the new year, but better.  During the birthday month, you get the chance to set some goals or intentions for yourself during the coming year.  In January, everyone is setting a goal often related to weight loss or health… I will lose X amount of pounds. – I will quit smoking. – I will exercise every day.  –  I will only cook healthy meals. – etc.  The chances are, a hundred other people will have the same goals and then when everyone quits, there is camaraderie in quitting.  Birthday goals are better, because it’s a time when you can look at where you are and where you’d like to go.  So… here are mine:

Birthday MONTH Intentions:

  • Time – I love a good gift, but I’m more up for the gift of time – time sharing a meal, cup of coffee, run chat, etc.  The birthday month will include more of this.
  • Send More Fan Mail – I’m a total fan of snail mail.  A couple year’s back I made a chart of people’s birthday (thank you Facebook) and sent birthday cards to those I had addresses for.  I also like to send “just because” cards.  I need to do that again.  I fell off the wagon.
  • Plan the Fall Favorite Things Party – This is a bit of a gift to myself.  While the party won’t happen until October, planning it makes for great excitement in my life. Curious?  Blog post follow-up will come later.
  • Keep on Rocking my Health Plan – After a summer of overindulging, I followed the guidelines of Whole 30 to reset my body.  I’ve completely kicked my crappy carb and sugar addiction.  While wine was hard, I’ve been okay without it.  It’s my birthday month, and don’t get me wrong… I will celebrate, but I’m going to use better judgement.  
  • Run with ♥ – After some debate over summer, I decided not to run a fall marathon.  Then I planned to run a half marathon… but decided against it.  My work/life balance was struggling after a tough start to the school year.  One thing I learned, and learned well, from The Birthday Bust is that I GET to run… I don’t HAVE to run.  If I’m forcing myself into a run and compromising the enjoyment then there’s a problem.  So… I’m off to 5k and 10k land and since they are shorter (but not always sweeter) I’m going to run with my heart and if I explode… well… there will be always be another… but the first chance of explosion is September 9th.

Birthday YEAR Intentions:

  • Let It Go – Remember… we can’t control others and we are not tacos… there’s no pleasing everyone.  After learning this throughout the last year, I’m holding it close to my heart this year.
  • Fan Mail – Keep it up.
  • Sunscreen – Keep wearing it.
  • Run With ♥ – While the Fall marathon is out… there will be a spring one with the “A” goal of a big ol’ PR.
  • Home Stuff – Simplify… declutter, cook easy meals, host more dinner parties… again… time is a theme.
  • Relationships – Time…. keep making time for them.  Adam also has some requests, but this is a PG blog ;o)

So… now you know where I’m headed in the short-term and in the long-term.  Ask how the ride is going cause it will hold me accountable, and also, it means we are using the gift on time.

Happy Birthday Month to Me… and you!  Whatever month you were lucky enough to claim is a great month to set some goals.  What do you say?

Welcome to Turks and Caicos

When those Facebook memories pop up each day on your FB page, there are days that you skim through and laugh or take a moment to remember an event fondly (and let’s face it… most of what we put on social media is the good stuff anyway).  Sometimes, we might see something that makes us sad and there are other times that a picture or memory will come up and it stops you in your tracks.  On Wednesday, August 23rd I had one of those days.  This picture popped up and I can’t get it out of my mind.


This picture is from the Santa Rosa Marathon in 2015.  I had a PR at this race.  There was beer at the finish line.  The weather was perfect.  I was among friends.  This is where our lives on FB can appear to be far different than what the reality happens to be.  The reality is that I was not supposed to be running a marathon that day.  I had planned to participate in a different type of marathon.  I had planned to become a mother on August 23, 2015, but instead I found myself running through grief and that grief led to this day.

My husband often teases me that I am too much of a planner.  What did he expect?  He married a Virgo.  One of his favorite stories from our college days occurred on the day that he asked me what if my plan to get married to my college boyfriend, teach in a small community and have the white picket fence with a couple of kids didn’t work out.  As usual, I rolled my eyes at him and assured him it would go as planned.  Fortunately for him, and for me, that plan turned out quite differently.  I didn’t marry that college boyfriend after all.  I married that same man that teased me so many years prior – the yin to my yang.  I don’t teach in a small community and I certainly don’t have a white picket fence (in fact… we have an old redwood fence that needs removed… please refer someone to do the job in comments ;o), but I still wanted children.  Adam was on board for having a kid and he was realistic that with my history of a pituitary tumor that it wouldn’t be easy.  He reassured me that if it didn’t work out that we would be okay.  After years of never not trying, we finally caved and walked through the doors of a fertility clinic.  It eventually worked and we braced ourselves for this crazy life of raising a child.  Plans were made.

And then… those plans changed.  When we left the doctor’s office, she looked at us with the kindest eyes and told us that she would tell the fertility clinic we would be coming back.  Except, we weren’t sure.  We decided to take a couple of months to process what had just happened.  I also started running and running and running a little bit longer until I noted that the date of the Santa Rosa Marathon lined up with our due date.  Running a marathon on this date was my planned closure.  The marathon itself was physically easy.  My running tank was still awfully full when I crossed the finish line, but my emotional tank was drained.  At one point during the marathon I completely broke down in ugly tears and sobs that took my breath away.  To get a bit of a grip, I asked the man running next to me if he would just talk to me.  Bless his heart… he had no idea what he was getting into, but he heard my whole story and he knew just what to say.  Finally, the tears dried up and he informed me that he couldn’t keep pace but that I was going to be okay.  When I crossed the finish line, I really thought I would be okay.  There was closure.  Except there wasn’t.

As a special education teacher, I’ve loved a poem that has been around for years.  The name of the poem is Welcome to Holland.  You can read it here, but if you want the cliff notes version, here you go… The author, Emily Perl Kingsley, is the parent of a child with special needs.  She is asked what it is like to be the parent of a child with special needs.  In the poem she discloses that it is like planning a wonderful dream vacation to Italy, except when the plane lands, you are not in Italy.  Instead, the plane has landed in Holland and it is here you must stay.  There is an incredible array of emotions when you don’t get what you had expected, but over time, you realize that Holland isn’t so bad after all.  In Holland, you can have a beautiful life, but you will always wonder what it would be like in Italy.

Looking back at the picture from Santa Rosa, I see a smile on my face, but I’m very aware of my fake smile and that would be it… even my eyes are sad.  Crossing the finish line did not solve all my problems.  My grief didn’t just disappear.  The plan wasn’t working and I didn’t have another plan.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a guidebook for heartbreak.  Trust me… I looked… and looked… and looked.  I also pretended to be okay.  I was sad that we had lost something that was so hard to get in the first place, but I was even more sad that in my heart I knew that I would never step through the door of a fertility clinic again.  That’s when I learned that there also isn’t a guidebook for mourning the dream of motherhood.  Unexpectedly, this ended up being much harder than miscarriage. As a result, I continued to pretend that all was well when it wasn’t.

Eventually, I found myself  in such a hole that the people and things I held so close to my heart were suffering because of my grief.   My new plan to cope was to reach out for help, even from the scariest or most unexpected places, and to surround myself with people that would celebrate the journey I was on… cause it was not always going to be fun.  Unfortunately, infertility and miscarriage are things that people don’t want to acknowledge.  I get it… it’s sad and uncomfortable, and it’s hard to find the right thing to say.  It’s much easier to pretend that there isn’t a white elephant in the room.  The people that shared in my journey back to health were the one’s that simply asked, “How are you doing?” and then… they listened.  I felt seen, heard, valued and safe… never judged.

“People who are hurting don’t need Avoiders, Protectors, or Fixers. What we need are patient, loving witness. People to sit quietly and hold space for us. People to stand in helpful vigil to our pain.” -Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior: A Memoir

So two years later, FB reminds me of where I was and now I see where I’ve landed.  It’s just like the poem… I had planned to go to Italy.  There would be such wonderful and chaotic experiences in Italy.  That kind of travel would be exhausting, expensive, fun, adventurous, and so much more.  Except, my plane landed in Turks and Caicos instead.  (Side note… not long ago we had a small dinner party and out of the three couples seated around our table, 100% have ridden, or are still riding, the fertility struggle bus. We decided that if the bus eventually stopped for all of us, we would meet up in Turks and Caicos.) So here I am, landing in Turks and Caicos.  It doesn’t mean that I sometimes don’t long for Italy, but in my new destination I have learned that life can be just as wonderful.  There are times that friends comment on the lifestyle Adam and I live… naps, sexy dinners out, gifts just because, travel, and more naps, and we sometimes wonder if they would like to be in Turks and Caicos too.  It’s only natural to yearn for what we’ve lost, whether it’s the loss of the reality that you’ll never step on a lego or the loss of getting to go to the restroom uninterrupted, there is always beauty in the darkest cracks of this tough thing called life.  When things get tough and ugly and uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to seek out those that are willing to celebrate the journey you’re on… and if they’re along for the ride, they may have already reached out.   If they’re not then move on… you’re not the problem… you’re not a taco… not everyone will like you. Not everyone will truly understand, and that’s okay too… the right people will.

“People in the real world say, when something terrible happens, that the sadness and loss and aching pain of the heart will ‘lessen as time passes,” but it isn’t true.  Sorrow and loss are constant, but if we all had to go through our whole lives carrying them the whole time, we wouldn’t be able to stand it.  The sadness would paralyze us.  So in the end, we just pack it into bags and find somewhere to leave it.” Fredrik Backman, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry

Have you ever found yourself in an unexpected place?  What beauty did you uncover in your new destination?  If you haven’t found beauty in the new place yet, you will.  Take your time, seek help, surround yourself with those that matter, and most importantly, be nice to yourself.