Race Report and Reflection

21 Apr

On Saturday, I ran my first 5K of 2014.  I did fairly well, considering it was the 3rd time I’ve actually run in 2014, so I was pleased.  And I had huevos rancheros after, so I was even more pleased.

The race was the BAA 5K.  The BAA, if you didn’t know, is the Boston Athletic Association, the group that organizes the Boston Marathon.  And, assuming none of you actually live under a rock, you know what happened last year at the Boston Marathon.  This year, the BAA expanded the field for the 5K, in part because they wanted people to feel like they were a part of the Boston Marathon experience, since though they are cracking down on bandits (people who run without numbers) this year.

This meant 10,000 people converging on Boston Common on a beautiful spring day at 8am.  I think the race was as organized as it could be for that many people, but OMG, the people.  There were still people starting when the finishers started coming in.  The getting of the medal, snack and a shirt took longer than the actual race.  It was kind of crazy town.

But it really was a great race.  The course was awesome, nice and flat.  There were people everywhere, cheering.  The shirts were great.  The course started at the Common, and at mile 2.25 or so, turned right up Hereford Street, then left on to Boylston Street, and crossed the marathon finish line.  The finish line was in place, the jumbotron was up and on, the VIP bleachers were ready to go.

I am fortunate enough to have made that right on to Hereford and the left on to Boylston once before, seven years ago.  But I know not everyone has had that opportunity.  I ran without headphones, and it was cool to hear the comments as we ran by.  People were so excited – “This is the only time we’ll get to cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon!”  One guy told the girl he was with “I want to hold your hand when we cross the finish line.”

I’m not a Boston kid, I grew up in RI.  I was so confused in college when people asked each other where they were from.  Almost everyone said Boston.  Upon further conversation, most of those people lived up to a half an hour outside of Boston.  What were they talking about?  I grew up 20 minutes outside of Providence, I would never say I was from Providence.  But everyone wants to be from Boston, you could tell it was said with a sense of pride.  I’ve only actually watched the marathon a handful of times (watching a marathon is kind of exhausting, for real).  I never had the day off, I’ve never went to the Sox game and then to cheer on the runners.  I went to school like every other kid in RI, and drank Dels and ate pizza strips and had no idea what people an hour north of me were doing.

But in 2007, I ran that marathon, and I really experienced it for the first time.  I have nothing to compare it to, for all I know the Chicago or NYC marathons are just as great.  But I rode the bus from Boston to Hopkinton, I ran through the tiny towns, through the girls at Wellesley, up Heartbreak Hill, into the crowds from the Red Sox game, right on to Hereford, left on to Boylston, and over that blue and yellow finish line.  I got my medal, wore my silver cape, and I felt so proud.  There are so many people who have run the Boston Marathon faster, better, more often, but it doesn’t matter.  I get to say “I ran Boston.”

Once I had a taste of the magic of the marathon, I was hooked.  I dreamed of taking my children there to watch the race on a gorgeous spring Monday, and maybe one day running it again.  I was so close to taking the day off last year and taking Emilia in her stroller to watch the race, to starting a tradition with her.  In the end, the pain of the logistics won out, and I’m glad we didn’t make the trip.

There’s not much to say about what happened last year that haven’t already been said.  I honestly cried off and on for days, not only over the lives that were lost, but for how I feared the bombs would change Patriots Day and the marathon I loved forever.

But after Saturday, running with 10,000 people who just wanted to be a part of Boston, no matter how small, I think that worry is silly.  I ran past people wearing Martin Richard’s name on their shirts.  I ran past so many “Boston Strong”, “We Run Together”, “We All Run Boston” signs.  I ran past (well, mostly I ran behind) countless blue and yellow ribbons, countless signs of inspiration, and most importantly, countless people who will never forget.

But most importantly, I ran with 10,000 people who will never let two awful men take away their Patriot’s Day weekend traditions, their love of their (wicked awesome) city, their feet hitting that blue and yellow paint on Boylston.  And that’s what it means to me, a kid from RI, to be Boston Strong.

 

Mama Terry

23 Feb

I know I am lucky.  My mom lost her mom on her 16th birthday.  Granted, I didn’t like my mom when I was 16 half as much as I like her now, but I can’t imagine going through the last 20 years without her.  She’s always done absolutely everything she could for my brother and I, and as I’ve become an adult and a mother myself, I lean on her now more than ever.

I’m also lucky because I had a second mom, my BFF (K)’s mom, Mrs. H (sidebar: when are you old enough to call your BFF’s parents by their real names?  I think I’ll hold out until 40).  I met K in 3rd grade, and while our friendship has had it’s rough patches (and maybe some threats of people being pushed in pools), she’s by far my closest friend, the sister I never had.

When we were younger, K & I spent a lot of time at each other’s houses.  Her brother & my brother were besties too, so the two H’s come to our house together and vice versa.  There were countless sleepovers at both houses, dinners together, trips together, you name it.  My parents never worried when I was with K, they knew her parents were good people, and, more importantly, they knew she had the earliest curfew!

Mrs. H took me (and B too) along everywhere like we were additional daughters.  She always let us into her home, and into her snack cabinet, which was so awesome (even though it always smelled a bit like cat food).  She took us on road trips for History Day projects, to the ballet to watch K dance, to Newport for mansion tours (even though she wouldn’t drive over the bridge), and to Florida for our first trip as grown-ups, to Marco Island.  She and her best friend gave up their vacation to drive around and entertain four 18year-old girls, before her husband showed up with four 16 year-old boys for the next week.  It’s amazing they all weren’t sainted after that trip.

One day, as me, K & B lounged around K’s room (probably watching 90210 or playing MASH while eating Oreos) Mrs. H came in and explained to us that we needed to marry men with college degrees or we wouldn’t be happy in life.  We fondly referred to that bit of advice as “Miss Terry’s Finishing School for Young Women.”  We also ignored that advice, and, between 3 husbands, there was not a college degree to be found.  But Mrs. H was still happy, as long as her girls were happy.

My fondest memories of Mrs. H are on the beach – Marco or Bonnet.  Sipping her white wine and turning the music down during the day, dancing in the Pit or watching the sunset at night.  She always showed up to Bonnet late, bearing pizza strips or calzones, and went around the circle saying hi to everyone before she assumed her position in between her friends, with her book, feet in the ocean.  I went to Marco with her two more times after that high school trip – on a girls trip with K and two of Mrs. H’s best friends, and for her oldest son’s wedding two years ago.  She was also generous enough to let K, B & I use the condo for a week of girl time alone, one of my best vacations yet.  Marco was a special place for her, and I’m glad to have been a part of it.

Mrs. H could be a toughie, to say the least.  She had strict rules for her kids, ones they “sometimes” broke.  You never wanted to be the recipient of the evil eye from Mrs. H.  And no one was safe from it, it was not just reserved for family members.  It often came out when loud music, skimpy clothes, dirty dancing, or too much booze was involved.  She wanted the best for her family, and if you were around her, you were family.

Her house was the party house, whether she knew it or not.  Times she didn’t know it were followed by a flurry of cleaning and praying she didn’t spot the keg in the woods.  Times she did know it, she joined right in on the fun.  She once got off a plane, changed into hot pink scrubs and an 80s wig, and spent the rest of the night dancing barefoot in her living room with a bunch of 30 year olds.  I spent many Christmas nights at the house, drinking wine and shooting off fireworks in the snow.  I rang in the new year of the new century in that house, conga-ing around the living room, because Mrs. H wanted her kids to be safe, so she let us crash the “adults” party and drink with them.

Mrs. H loved her family more than anything.  She took great care of all of them – from her husband (the Silver Fox), her two boys and K – to her extended family of cousins and friends.  She was so proud of all of her kids, and supported them no matter what.  Her greatest joy and pride after her kids were her grandkids.  Even though she was sick by the time they came along, and even though she was a bit surprised by the news of becoming a grandma, she loved all three of those kids as much as she loved her own kids.  She babysat often, and spoiled them as much as she could.

My life is filled with so many happy memories.  I have such a great family, and incredible friends.  I can’t even begin to tell you how lucky I truly am for all of that.  I feel honored that Mrs. H was part of my life, and gave me so many of those happy memories.  She left this Earth far too soon, but Mama Terry’s memory will live on forever.

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2013: The Year That Was

27 Jan

(I thought this would be fun, and I’m impressed I did it before March)

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

Flew cross-country with 3 kids under 2.  Spent the night in a children’s hospital.  Raised a baby.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I guess, technically, I did keep a resolution, since my #1 resolution is always to lose weight, and I did lose some weight.  Maybe it wasn’t “enough,” but it was something.  I’ll make more, the same ones: eat less, run more.  Oh, and secure my passwords.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My BFF’s cousin had a beautiful baby boy in December, just in time for Christmas.  I haven’t met him in person yet, but I can’t wait to sniff his little head.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes.  It was a rough year for both our families.  J’s Grammy died in January, and my Nana died exactly 6 months later.  They were both very sick, but it was still a very sad year.  We’re just glad Emilia got to briefly know them.

5. What countries did you visit?

USA!  USA!

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

More doing, less thinking.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

August 10, the day we left for vacation.  I looked forward to it all year.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Surviving January.  My first full month back at work with a newborn, a sick newborn at that, plus J’s Grammy’s death and funeral, and my own sicknesses.  I never thought it would end.  Secondly, shooting myself with blood thinner 2x a day for a month.  And lastly, NaBloPoMo.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not spending more one on one time with J.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Minor illness, relatively speaking.  But I had: what may have been pneumonia, a sinus infection, a blood clot, and pink eye.  Good times.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The Invisible Fence for Baxter.  Total lifesaver.  Best money I could have spent.

12. Where did most of your money go?

My mortgage and daycare.  Dog treats and crackers followed a close second.

13. What did you get really excited about?

Emilia walking.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? happier
– thinner or fatter? thinner
– richer or poorer? richer

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spent more time outside.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Spent less time on my phone.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas Eve day at John’s Grammy’s.  A pink cozy truck and lots of green frosting:

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Christmas Eve at John’s Bumpa’s.  Bad Chinese food and Little People selfies:

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Christmas morning at home.  Banana bread and too many toys:

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Christmas Day with my family.  Lots of food and a possessed Tickle Me Elmo:

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Most importantly, family:

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19. What was your favorite TV program?

The Walking Dead.  (I want to say How I Met Your Mother, but dear Lord is that awful this season).

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

How embarrassing is it that I don’t think I finished a book this year, unless you count 95 readings of the “A” book (Aligator.  Apple.  Avocado).  I tried to read The American Heiress for months and finally gave up.  (I’ve already finished Divergent and I’m halfway through Insurgent since January 1 though, so next year will be better).

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Vampire Weekend.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

Les Miserables.  (Was that this year?)

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 35.  I worked during the day, and at night Emilia slept at my parents and J & I went out to eat.  I got a “Mom” Alex and Ani bracelet from Emilia, and PJs from J.  Great day.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Leaving my job.  But, hey, done for 2014!

25. What kept you sane?

J.  He has a way of grounding me when I get out there.

27. Share a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

You can’t hold an infant too much.  One day they’ll suddenly not want to be held anymore and you’ll kick yourself for ever putting her down.

Oh, Just Wait.

18 Dec

Since the day I told people I was pregnant, I feel like 75% of the comments I received started with “Oh, just wait…”  You feel good?  Oh, just wait till you hit 8 months in the heat, you won’t feel good any more.  You can still fit in your clothes?  Oh, just wait until that belly pops out and you have to wear a mu-mu.  You’re sleeping through the night, comfortably?  Oh just wait until the baby starts pressing on your bladder and you’re up every hour and it takes you 45 minutes to fall back to sleep and you contemplate smothering your spouse as he snores peacefully through every effort filled roll over you attempt at 2am that shakes the bed like an eartquake.

It doesn’t stop after you have the kid either.  She slept for 20 hours a day in the hospital?  Oh, just wait till you get her home and she’s up screaming every two hours.  You can put her down on a play mat and wander away while she happily bats and gurgles at her toys?  Oh, just wait until she starts rolling over and you come back to find her stuck under her crib.  She eats everything you feed her, happily?  Oh, just wait until she starts screaming at the sight of something that’s not in the carb family on her high chair tray and refusing to eat anything with corners.

We have entered what I think is the biggest “Oh, just wait” so far:  walking.  This is a fairly new development.  I was sure Emilia would be walking by the time we went on vacation in August.  I pictured her walking up to animals in the petting zoo, running into the arms of Minnie Mouse in Disney Land, and frolicking on the beach with her best friends.  I mean, she was pulling up on things, and cruising around furniture, surely she’s just let go and start walking, right?  Nope.  She did the cruising thing for months before she even took a few steps on her own from couch to coffee table.  She started letting go and standing on her own, but only on her own terms.  If we tried to stand her up, she’d drop to her knees and crawl away (super stubborn.  Like her father.  Who am I kidding?  Like her mother too).

Then one day she started taking a few more steps, and then a few more, and by Thanksgiving, she was walking back and forth in the kitchen, complete with standing turns.  She falls sometimes, but mostly to her knees or her butt, no major wipe outs yet (Oh, just wait until she cracks her head on the tile and screams bloody murder).  She was at the – she can walk, but gets there faster by crawling – stage for about half a day, and now she’s a full out walker.  We went to BJs the other night, and she squirmed in the carriage, so J took her out and put her on his shoulders, where she squealed with delight and patted his head.  We then took turns following her around the store as she walked, fell, got up, walked, yelled at pictures of dogs, fell, and walked as fast as she could to J at the deli, yelling “da-da!  da-da!”

After that excursion, we declared ourselves in the next phase: toddlerhood.  So far, I find it fun but exhausting.  Kind of like motherhood in general.  We’re currently Oh, just waiting for the climbing stage to start.

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Let Christmas Begin!

30 Nov

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This is the End

30 Nov

You’re almost there! Tell us how you feel about endings.

I’m not a patient person.  I look up run times for movies so I know how ling I need to sit still for.  I watch the ticker on the GPS so I know when we’ll be “there.”  I’m always looking ahead.  But I’m also always looking back.  I’m never in the present enough.

Whoa.  Deep.

Anyways, endings are okay with me.  It means I can move on to the next thing, and look back with fondness or sorrow at whatever just ended.  Some endings are harder than others, but, in most cases, I’m ready for whatever is ending to end.

This is a good example.  I’m ready for NaBloPoMo to end.  I think I did pretty well with it (I made it so close, I literally fell asleep typing this post last night), but its been a committment.  Looking forward, I know I can blog more, and it’s not that big of a deal, I just have to do it.  I feel like writing every day just helped prove to me how important blogging is to me, and how much I do enjoy it, so I have the tools to continue and blog more than I have been.  But I’m happy to not “have” to post every day.

I owe you a post for today, since this is yesterdays.  It will probably be a picture since I’m tired, but I really have enjoyed this month, and I hope anyone still reading has too!

 

Thankful

28 Nov

Skipping the prompt today. Wiped. And thankful. Always.

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