Thoughts from a 10.5 Mile Jog:

Mile 1: My legs are so sore from the last run so just try to do that loop in reverse but it’s ok if you don’t make it that far.

Mile 2: Oh hey! My quads are loosening up and I’m a whole minute per mile faster! Sweet!

Mile 3: Maybe I can just add a mile to the last run. Nothing too crazy. Don’t be a hero. Take a right here.

Mile 4: Well, I made it this far. Might as well keep going. Run, Forest, run!

Mile 5: Where the sidewalk ends, the adventure begins…that would be an awesome & inspirational quote. You heard it here first.

Mile 6: I totally forgot to put on glide. Can I just run with my hands on my hips the rest of the way? I must look so odd. Maybe lip balm will help instead. Hey! It does!!!! And now I’m minty fresh!

Mile 7: I’ve never been so happy to see a port-o-potty.

Mile 8: The only way to get away from the mosquitoes is to run faster and like Phoebe. Oh look! A turtle!

Mile 9: Hello? Yes-I’m-running-but-now’s-a-good-time-to-walk-so-I-can-talk-for-a-bit…

Mile 10: Is that my mailman? Bet I can beat him back to my house.

Mile 10.5: Saturday. Same time, same pace?

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To Do

Dawn glanced at her to do list, laced up her shoes, filled her water bottles, slid them into her fanny pack, and turned on her running apps, heart rate monitor, music, and headed out the door.

This wasn’t the first time she laced up in the last 2 months. In fact, for the last 8 weeks Dawn had been getting dressed to run almost daily, yet something always stopped her, needing her attention, allowing her to put it off another day.

“Not today. Today has to be the day,” she thought as she began jogging away from her house, “You have less than 3 weeks to get your ass in gear for the half. All you need to do is finish. Next year you can work on breaking records. Just go.”

Her modest goal for the day was a 5k but after taking a 2 month hiatus from running, she wasn’t sure how it would go down. The last 2 months swam around her head as she listed all the reasons she hadn’t run:

  • An old knee injury that had flared up after a fall and possible mild concussion while on vacation
  • Back to school
  • Chairing a very involved fundraiser
  • Running the school store once a week
  • Putting together the school directory
  • Getting the house in order after a summer away
  • Dealing with the NJ Board of Education who was trying to revoke her teaching license
  • Needing yet another new attorney after learning through a google search that her previous lawyer had been disbarred…

“No more excuses. Just run. You need this. For the race. For the kids. To get back in shape. To prove to yourself that you can. For the peace of mind and clarity running brings you. For you. Just go.”

And so she did.

Dawn let her music rhythmically carry her through the first 2 miles. Her pace was slow but she kept running, dragging her extra 50 pounds of stress and laziness behind her, step by step. “Just go.”

During the next 2 miles her back straightened and she held her head high, taking in deep cleansing breaths and exhaling, allowing the wind to blow away her doubts. “Just go.”

Her phone started to notify her about her volunteer duties and current events as she pounded uphill towards her descent home.

Ding: who is opening the school store this week?

Ding: what will this vote mean towards midterm elections?

Ding: the fundraiser is doing well but not as good as last year

Ding: we finally have your file from the previous attorney and got an extension on the response to the Board of Ed

Ding: pay the bills

Ding: what will this vote mean for women and for our future

Ding: how are we on volunteers for the fundraising event

Ding: call you probation officer even though you’ve completed your probation but your phone seems to ignore your monthly request to delete this notification forever so you don’t really need to call him but here’s a reminder to when you did…

“Just go,” Dawn pushed on, ignoring the rest of her world, for just a brief moment in time.

And so she went…for 7 miles of peaceful selfishness so she could get back to her world to tackle the rest of her to do list, already feeling refreshed and accomplished for the day…

On Daddy’s Shoulders

I watch in awe as you carry our world on your shoulders as if it’s nothing to bear.

You swing them up so gently as their tiny hands clutch to the safety that you provide.

They bounce with delight as I marvel at your strength, ever solid, never waning.

They rest their little legs, take solace in the throne you have provided, and feel like royalty for this moment.

The smiles on your faces brings reassurance that all is alright, everything’s going to be okay, life is still good and sweet and wonderful just the way it is, in this moment.

To the untrained eye, it’s just a ride on daddy’s shoulders. To me, it’s everything that’s right in our world. To our children, it is their world…

May your shoulders always be this strong and may our children know that you will always be there to carry them when they are in need. And please know that you can forever lean on mine for extra strength, courage, and support.

*this poem was originally written on Father’s Day, 2014

Atonement

Autumn has always been my favorite time of the year: the crisp air, the vibrant colors, the beginning of school. To me, this is the season when the new year truly begins.

In Judaism, we celebrate our new year in the autumn with Rosh Hashana, followed ten days later with Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. The ten days between the two holy days are called t’shuvah, the days of repentance. It is a time for reflection and resolutions when necessary. It is a time to ask for and to offer forgiveness.¬†At the conclusion of Yom Kippur, God makes the final judgement and seals the Book of Life, hopefully with your name written within its pages, granting forgiveness.

While I have never been truly religious, I am deeply spiritual. I do find the prayers and psalms of synagogue peaceful, beautiful, and full of sentimental memories from my childhood, yet I have always preferred one on one time in nature more helpful in providing clarity or allowing me to find a new path, previously unseen.

However, over the last six years, since the fire and subsequent issues that arose from the ashes, my path has been tumultuous, at best.

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PSA: Boardwalk Etiquette

It's that time of year again. Summer vacation is in full effect and beach towns along the seaboards are inundated with seasonal visitors, many of whom enjoy relaxing strolls, family rides, and exercise routines down the boardwalk. As someone who partakes in each of the previously mentioned activities, I make sure to follow a few guidelines and work hard to teach my children the proper safety rules and manners needed:
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Once Upon a Dream…

They were sleeping peacefully on a top floor of the hotel room in Washington D.C. with an 8 month old Riley between them when the bombs shook her awake, the entire building quaking. Dawn darted upright, still dazed and wide eyed, searching for answers. The flashes of light blazing through the slats in the shades and echoes of explosions were close. 

“Wake up, Scott. It’s here. It’s time. The war is here and we need to fight,” Dawn spoke gently, tears flowing down her cheeks as cradled the baby and slipped her safely into the infant seat…

….and then I woke up to the downpour of the storm that really did shake me awake and rattle our house, our 8 year old daughter sleeping between us, and the news of this weekend’s bombings in New York and New Jersey…

On Daddy’s Shoulders

I watch in awe as you carry our world on your shoulders as if it’s nothing to bear.

You swing them up so gently as their tiny hands clutch to the safety that you provide.

They bounce with delight as I marvel at your strength, ever solid, never waning. 

They rest their little legs, take solace in the throne you have provided, and feel like royalty for this moment.

The smiles on your faces brings reassurance that all is alright, everything’s going to be okay, life is still good and sweet and wonderful just the way it is, in this moment.

To the untrained eye, it’s just a ride on daddy’s shoulders. To me, it’s everything that’s right in our world. To our children, it is their world…

May your shoulders always be this strong and may our children know that you will always be there to carry them when they are in need.

Happy Father’s Day to an amazing dad! XO

Not Another New Year’s Post about Working Out!

First day back to gym in the new year is: Crowded. My 67-ish laps (“ish” because I lost count after 4…) around the indoor track were a dizzying constant bob and weave between moving pylons of people and interval pacing to make up for the stop and go traffic of idle chit-chatters and bottle necking near the merges from the weight and cardio rooms. The rubber necking was kept to a minimum and I did my best to thank those who let me into their lane or made a shoulder for me to squeak by, though I’m never quite sure if I’m loud enough when I say, “Thank you!” My headphones and music give me a false sense of my own volume and I don’t want to be the shouter or the rude girl who squeezes by without so much of a puff of “thank you” or an “excuse me.”  It would be easier if the track was marked with a fast lane and a slow lane, but I’m not there enough to put in a request like that.  I prefer to run outside, but today’s temperature didn’t break twenty-five and I’m kinda secretly hoping global warming or El Nino or climate change comes back by later this week, but not really… Remember December? That was lovely!… Besides, even if winter is here to stay, I’m pretty sure that most New Years Resolutions are not, if history is any indication, so I can continue my interval training for the next 2-ish weeks, until more space opens up.

Side note: can we discuss gym gas? I get it, your digestion may be off from the holidaze or breakfast or last night’s Chinese takeout, but “better out than in” should be used only when out…doors. Running though fart clouds is gross. Especially when they linger… Ain’t nobody got time for that…

Anyway, my indoor tracker says I walked 2.5 miles and my phone’s step count says my 9800 steps were equivalent to 3 miles but I walk faster than a 2o minute mile, even when injured, which I am thankfully not. In reality I probably ran 5 miles in the hour that I was there and it felt amazing to be back at it after taking such a long a hiatus to heal post marathon. After the NYC marathon I initially took a few days off and then tried to run easy 5-10ks 2-3 times a week.  After 2 weeks, my quads were shot and my stride actually hurt. It was awkward, I was awkward, the whole thing was just a mess. I couldn’t even jog to the mailbox without cringing.
So I took December off.  Totally and completely with the exception of 2 cardio classes and 2 swimming sessions, I just took it off.  I focused on the Holidaze and did them right.  My intention was to return to running, strength training, and eating well during winter break, but the children and husband decided to get sick instead so we all just lazed about the house trying to break fevers, Lego Starwars records, and the scale that we don’t have.  Besides, Doritos were on sale, and I’m fairly certain that I counted the nacho cheese as a protein one fine morning for breakfast.  The kids were simultaneously confused and elated.

Anyway, my point is, although 2016 started out with quite the fizzle, for more reasons than those mentioned above, I’m bringing the bang back. It may have been 4 days late, but I finally made it out of the house, back to running, back to healthy eating, and started the P90X3 program thanks to some dear friends who are Beachbody coaches, and this is only the beginning of the plethora of positive potential for this year.  Bring it 2016… I got this…

Attitude

Dear Yesterday,

You beat me down and pushed me around. You slapped me in the face and then, when I wasn’t looking, swung at me with your balled up, clenched, little fist. You were rude, sly, and down right mean. You were unwelcomed and barged in without an invitation or hesitation. I let you win, throwing up my arms in defeat. I was so taken aback at your presence that my only gratitude that you were gone at days end. But you are persistent, and returned under a new name…

Dear Today,

You woke me up at 4:30am. You had me running around in circles, cleaning messes you left in your wake. You tried your best to wreak havoc on me. You did your best to bring it.

Well, I don’t know what “it” is, but you certainly can’t have mine. You are no match for my time with my children, sunshine, fresh air, laughter, snuggles, and me.

I know you will return tomorrow and try again. But I am on to you, wise to your ways, and you have little chance of success. I won’t lie and tell you that I enjoy this little game, but I will continue to play and to dominate the score board. Good luck to you, though you have no chance.

Dear Tomorrow,

Don’t even think about it…

Sincerely,

Positive Attitude

PS: Thanks for the reminder

{this was originally written and published on facebook as part of my 30 Days of Thanks on November 14, 2013.}

Fill Up The Cup

Ok, so let me start by stating that this whole #MerryChristmasStarbucks over a cup is the kind of news that should not be reported and I realize that by writing and posting this, it’s adds the proverbial fuel to the fire. But this time of year is especially hard for so many people and stories like this truly highlight why.

Is the pastor who began this rant and “movement” really willing to hang his hat on a cup? (Side note: the red cup is in no way related to the Holy Grail.) It’s just a cup! Have some perspective. I can recommend a good book if you need one…

I personally avoid Starbucks regularly because I find their coffee to taste awful and it’s too hot for human consumption unless you buy it iced…which probably won’t be served in The Red Cup anyway. {I will say that their organic cheese & protein meal was just what I needed before the NYC marathon though, so I can’t truly claim to avoid the franchise…I just rarely go there.} Also, can I state a fact? WAY OVER PRICED. {And I really don’t understand their sizes…sorry, I know I should by now, but I don’t, probably because I rarely go there.} That being said, here are some thoughts I have on the matter:

I’m Jewish. My husband is Catholic. Our children learn both and accept the differences. We practice together and our children have no confusion on either, although they do ask a lot of questions because that’s what kids are supposed to do.

We say Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. Sometimes we say Happy Holidays. I even sent out our perfect family holiday picture card last year that said, “Happy Chanumas!”

I go into our children’s classrooms at public school to give a little schpiel (aka: social studies/history lesson) about real religious persecution (the story of Hanukkah) followed by a math lesson on gambling (dreidel) and then hand out spinning tops and chocolates wrapped in gold because I’m cool like that.

We decorate the Christmas tree, have an elf who mostly stays on the same shelf because I’m lazy and forgetful, and light the menorah right next to the advent wreath. We have different opinions of what God means and frankly, although my belief is strong, I have some serious faith issues right now. (This boycott the cup thing isn’t helping.)

We’re not very religious, but we’re very realistic in our strong beliefs in teaching, modeling and instilling moral values in our children. We “do unto others as we would like done unto us” and we “do not do unto others what we do not want done unto us.”

So with all that in mind, I’ll be stopping by my local Starbucks tomorrow, (or Dunkin Donuts or possibly another local coffee shop because I honestly don’t know where a Starbucks is around here…weird, right?) to buy a few red cups of coffee or pre-made food items to share with those actually in need. There are several names for this type of act or movement:

    Pay it Forward

      Buy One Give One

        Random Acts of Kindness

          Human Decency

            Kindness

              And if you happen to be the religious type: The Word

              So let’s start this holiday season right and with a positive perspective. Please join me to #FillUpTheCup