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?

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…


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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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…

The Belt: September 2013

When I was in middle school or high school I bought a belt from The Gap. It’s a good belt. Strong brown leather with a silver buckle. Not like the cheap ones that have 6-12 months of wear in them that are sold today. No, this is mighty fine belt. Only, my belt was too big. Oops. I bought the wrong size. So Joe, my stepfather, hammered 4 more holes into the belt and I was good to go.

I wore that belt in the smallest hole for years. But as time went on, the belt had to be loosened a notch here, a few more there…

After 20+ years and a lot of living, the belt finally settled on the third original hole. It has remained on that hole for years. There are many reasons that the belt had to be loosened. None of them are excuses. It just happened, and life went on.

About 18 months ago I took up running. I didn’t take it up to lose weight. I didn’t even take it up to get in shape. I started because my sister invited me to run in the Broad Street 10 miler, so I thought, “Eh!  Why not?”

After a year of just running, I added some basic low weight strength and ab workouts. My endurance was lasting longer, my pace was quickening, my mind was clearing, and life went on…

It took another 6 months, but I began to actually miss running on the days I didn’t run and to feel almost lethargic without the follow up toning.     And without me noticing it, I was tightening the belt, and life went on…

I recently joined the local community center upon moving, just over 2 weeks ago. They have a daily aerobic class that’s actually at the perfect time.  (That never happens!) But I LOATHE group workouts. They make me feel uncoordinated, clumsy, and quite self-conscious.

Seriously, I can still free style dance circles around many people. My flexibility hasn’t wavered much since college and I can still do the running man with J-Lo  and The Fly Girls if asked.  I happily attribute my mad grapevine skills to my heritage and the Horah, and would gladly dance till dawn for any celebration be it zumba, a wedding, a dance marathon, or just for fun. Yes DeBarge, I can feel “the rhythm of the night”.

But there’s something about working out in groups…

But I decided to make this a daily attempt to try something new, to meet people, to get in better shape, the list could go on as life goes on…

Anyway, (I think) I am currently in the best shape of my life since high school. That being said, today’s class was “cardio party.”  It was awesome.  There was dancing, jumping, boxing, kicking, and an “ab lab” at the end. It’s the perfect class for me and my belt.

Yet it’s still a class, a group…as in not alone, in front of other people.  The class was pretty much split into three groups. The first were seemingly just like me: (Younger?) stay at home or part time working moms who dropped one or more of their little ones off at the “kids club” before heading to class. Looking around I knew I was in good company, and that these ladies were hard core to get rid of the infamous “baby belly” and that I could learn from them, and possibly make friend or two.

Then there were the older (middle aged?) women. They could clearly advise me on child rearing and such, but I wasn’t so sure about this class for them. I mean really, the sound track alone might be too loud.

And finally, there were the seniors, as in citizens…senior citizens, complete with an AARP card and more. What in the world?  Running, yes, but cardio party?!?!? I was, totally ready to break out my “I know CPR!  You, call 911!”

{And I wouldn’t want to forget the lone male in the class. From the looks of him, he lifts…a lot. The dancing and rhythm wasn’t so much his thing, but he was great comic relief for the instructor, and honestly did keep up relatively well.}

Anyway, heading into the class I thought, “I got this!”  But let me tell you, the seniors schooled me. I mean, kicked my arse to the curb, how the “H” are they still going when I’m so friggin winded SCHOOLED me.

I can honestly say that I cannot wait to lose another notch on my belt with these inspirational women, because they know that life really does go on…

Honestly, I don’t have a scale. I don’t measure my self worth in looks, weight, or what notch my belt is on. I think I’m similar to many women. There are days that I look in the mirror and think, “hells yeah, I still got it!” And others when I’d rather not even look because the reflection reflects my mood and glares, “come back never” even though you know to just give it a day or two…

I don’t expect, or even want, to reach that last hole in my belt again. But I will say, that with a very basic exercise routine and even more basic dietary changes (trying to keep it to what GOD/ Mother Earth for realz made, except for wine, caramel, brownies & s’mores) I just feel better & healthier.

So here’s to a happier and healthier new year! This year I challenge you to go get schooled, go get in shape, go get better at whatever you’re trying to better about you.   Just go & get it!



“To laugh often and much
to win the respect of intelligent people
and affection of children; to earn the
appreciation of honest critics and
endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty, to find the best
in others; to leave the world a bit
better, whether by a healthy child
a garden patch or redeemed
social condition; to know even
one life has breathed easier because
you have lived. This is to have
succeeded.” R. W. Emerson