Mama’s Got A New Pair of Shoes

IMG_20180114_130517.jpgToday I picked myself up a new pair of Chuck’s.  I have been eyeing this color for months!  It is the color of my dear Alma mater and I’ve been fond of red colored shoes for a long time – heck I used to wear red shoes in high school; I’d get made fun of because I had big feet for a girl and big red shoes…well, I’ll let you guess which fast food character I was called back then.  Anyways, these Chuck’s were finally on sale at Academy so I found my size and put them in the cart.  Yet while doing so Tedy decided that he didn’t want to be shopping.  I had a feeling this meltdown was coming; Tedy does not care for shopping – he doesn’t mind grocery shopping but regular shopping, forget it.  As he purposely targeted another shoe display and tossed it down the aisle all eyes went to me.  He threw himself down in the cart and started kicking, screaming, biting, hitting, full-blown meltdown mode.  The girls are amazing and automatically picked up the display and figured out how to put it back together as I restrained Tedy and worked on moving and calming him down.  As we got out of the aisle that’s when I heard it; “She should just leave” in my head I responded with a “Fuck off I’m not leaving I’m getting my damn shoes” but of course I never spoke the words.  I focused on making sure all my other kids were nearby and I worked on calming Tedy down.

We moved to why we were really at Academy, new pants for Tedy.  As I held his head and talked to him about picking out new pants I heard a few more “If that was my kid I would take him out” comments.  It’s not that easy folks.  I’m sharing this story with you because it’s one that I deal with all too often.  The older I get, the older he gets really, the more understanding I’ve become.  I try to take myself out of situations I see and realize that there’s probably something more going on.  In this instance, I was able to get Tedy to calm down, and I knew I would get him to calm down.  Ultimately he wanted his jacket off but since he doesn’t have that level of communication, like a “normal” 8-year-old boy, I had to work with him and talk with him to figure out that he needed help taking his jacket off.  Once his jacket was off he calmed way down and then asked to take his shoes off.  I let him take his shoes off and he proceeded to pick out a pair of pants.  Of course now is when the comments of “He doesn’t have any shoes on” started.  “No shit he doesn’t have shoes on, mind your own damn business” runs through my head but again, I don’t actually respond because in the grand scheme of things I don’t have to explain it to those people and I may likely never cross paths with them again.  We made it through the store with a few more mild bursts of protest but then he saw a little tent.  “Tedy, do you want a tent?”  He responded with “tent” and touched the one he liked.  I had him pick it up and put it in the cart and then we headed to check out.

When we got to check out I made him unload the cart and place the items on the counter.  At this time is when the comments of “Oh you sure have your hands full” came but I really can’t stand that saying so I just stayed focused on having Tedy unload the cart.  As we exited the store a well-meaning woman said “Oh honey he needs to have his jacket on, it’s cold out” I kindly responded that “He would wear shorts and t-shirts everyday if he could” and we loaded up the van.

You see, if we “just left” then he would have gotten his way.  That’s what he wanted to do and that’s why he started the meltdown in the first place.  Yet life doesn’t work that way; he needed some pants, he needed to learn that he will have to do things in life that he isn’t always fond of doing.  Just leaving doesn’t always help him.  Now don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of times when we have left because the situation was overwhelming but there are also many times when we deal with the meltdown and proceed.  If we “just left” then he wouldn’t have had the learning opportunity to pick out his own pants and check out.  He wouldn’t have gotten his tent – which wasn’t totally a reward but more of a late birthday gift.  It’s tough to buy him gifts but he really likes the small tent at school, he sees it as a place to go and calm down, so I know when he saw it at the store that’s what he was thinking.

Next time you see a mom (or dad, caregiver, whomever) struggling with a kid in the store, bite your tongue for a moment.  Leave your judgement to gossip about later.  In the heat of the moment that’s not what the mom needs.  They need a little bit of compassion.  Things aren’t always what they seem.  It’s not just about mom shopping for a new pair of shoes but man, getting those shoes can be rewarding.  I have dealt with a year (+) of these sorts of situations by myself, this mama deserved the new shoes.

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Accidentally Vegan Lunch & how to make flour

I recently purchased The Engine 2 Cookbook by Rip & Jane Esselstyn just because Nicole DeBoom (founder of Skirt Sports) posted that her [husband’s] recipe was going to be featured; the DeBoom Ironman Cherry Chili. It looked so yummy and I had been following Engine 2 on Instagram for a while so I figured, why not give this cookbook a try?!  I invited some friends over to have lunch with me since the recipe says it serves 8.  When planning the lunch I decided that I wanted to make cornbread as well since I personally like to have cornbread with my chili.  It just so happens that this cookbook has a recipe for corn muffins!  The thing is though that this is a vegan cookbook. Oops. I had no clue it was a vegan cookbook. Which is totally fine, I couldn’t care less if a person is vegan or not, but it made for some adjustments to my kitchen. It also just so happens that my friend Adriana is vegan, so it was nice to know that I could have her come over for lunch and not have her worry if her food would be vegan or not.

As I was grocery shopping for these two recipes I could not for the life of me find corn flour or oat flour at the stores.  After the 3rd store I said forget it and just picked up a bag of corn meal, I already had oatmeal. Here’s my little tip/trick: you can make your own oat flour or corn flour and it’s super easy!

 

To make corn flour you need cornmeal. To make oat flour you need some old-fashioned oats. If your recipe calls for 1 cup of either corn or oat flour then all you do is take 1 cup of either cornmeal or oats [depending on which type of flour you’re needing of course]. Put the cornmeal or oats into a food processor or blender and grind it up until it turns into flour. That’s it! Easy peasy!

Now that you have your corn flour and oat flour continue to follow the recipe and make yourself some delicious vegan corn muffins.

My neighbor Heather also joined us for lunch. The only things I left out of the Chili recipe was the jalapeno topping and cilantro. The cilantro because I simply do not care for cilantro and the jalapeno because I’m allergic to that type of pepper. Y’all don’t be deceived by this vegan cookbook, it is on point – and Heather also isn’t vegan and we all thoroughly enjoyed both the corn muffins and the chili!

Having friends over is a fun way to test out a new recipe. Thank you ladies for coming over and taking part in my accidentally vegan lunch.

 

Tedy’s Golden Birthday

8 on the 8th in the year 2018; Tedy’s Golden Birthday. It’s far from being gold though. Fools gold maybe. On the surface Tedy looks like any other 8 year old boy but truly he’s exceptional. He’s exceptional in all the ways I never wanted for our son.

Quick disclaimer: I get that things could be worse but this is our reality. Also, I’m not looking for advice, I’m just sharing part of our story.

Tedy’s fools gold; he gives an appearance that he’s completely “normal” [for lack of a better term] but deep down he’s far from it. He’s physically 8 years old but mentally his age is questionable. He makes me question every norm and chart out there. Even the Autism norms don’t necessarily apply to him. There are so many TV shows and success stories that flood the media but piss me off. People see those things and then with a good heart they share them with me but that stuff is very far from our reality. I share bits and pieces of our world but unless you’re around us there’s really no way to know what our life is like.

On the surface I’m gold too but truly I’m an even bigger piece of fools gold. I hate being called Wonder Woman or Super Mom; I get that they’re well meaning terms but I am far from it. I break down often but I don’t share my deep dark thoughts with the world because that’s just not an acceptable societal norm to do. There are many days when I tell Troy that I hate Tedy. I do. I absolutely hate him sometimes. Like when he bit me so hard and I probably should’ve gotten glue put on that puncture wound because it took 4 bandages to get the bleeding under control. Or when I haven’t slept because he’s wide awake and into everything. Or when I’m trying to drive and he’s attacking his sister. I. Hate. Him. My mother will be upset at me for using that term because she says hate is a strong word but I do. I absolutely hate it. It’s the worst feeling in the world to have to tell your daughter to defend herself against her brother and fight back. It’s the worst feeling in the world to be in the lobby of the school restraining your son from cracking his skull open on the hard floor and have him bite you so hard it hurts, punctures your skin and bleeds; but you can’t react because you know it’ll make matters worse. It’s the worst feeling in the world to have him pull out chunks of your hair and have people just watch and stare and God only knows what they’re thinking. It’s the worst feeling in the world to have your younger sons run to you absolutely petrified of their big brother when he starts to melt down. It absofuckinglutely sucks and I hate it! All of that is the wrong thing to say and the wrong thing to admit and I’m supposed to keep it to myself because “God gives special kids to special people – God won’t give you anything you can’t handle – [insert other well meaning quote here]. That’s all bullshit.

Here’s my sorry not sorry post about our life with Autism. It’s dark. It’s messy. It’s unknown. The older he gets the harder this life gets. It’s difficult to not compare. It’s difficult to not morn the loss of something you wanted so badly. No one wants their kid(s) to have special needs. No one wants this life. I want a true Golden boy. I have two other sons whom are normally developing and it pangs my heart every single time one of them reaches a milestone that Tedy may never achieve.

Today is Tedy’s Golden Birthday – it should be a super special day and it is in its own way. We don’t do birthday parties in our family. We let each person choose dinner and dessert. Tedy technically can’t do that. If I asked him “hey buddy it’s your birthday, what do you want for dinner?” He would just stare at me with those big wondering hazel eyes and maybe go “oooohhooo!” So we will go to McDonald’s for dinner tonight because fries are one of the few foods he will eat and he will be able to play and climb around in the play place there. I know that’s all stuff that he enjoys even though he can’t actually tell me that or tell me thank you or I love you without being prompted. I’ll bring a special treat to school to share with his classmates and maybe they’ll eat it or maybe they’ll just mess with it. I’ll press on and pretend that everything is truly golden because that’s what I’m supposed to do. For as much as I hate him, I love him more than my heart can even comprehend. It hurts so badly to have this sort of love for a child, one that questions you to the core.

Happy 8th Birthday to my [fools] Gold(en) boy!

Crappy New Year!

Crappy New Year everybody – I mean Happy…HAPPY New Year!  Ok I told y’all I would be the same ole’ me in 2018.  Hang with me for a moment though.  You see, I’ve pretty much been sick since New Year’s Eve Eve…I haven’t had coffee all year (bahahaha – yes I’m using that horrid line) and I haven’t had a real meal all year either.  It sucks!  A virus of sorts swept through our house; I’ve dubbed it the vacation crud.  It started just before Christmas with Ceci – my normally rambunctious curly-haired middle child was down and out for the count, Sophia followed a couple of days later.  Then Audie, Mike, Tedy & Me all succumbed to the inevitable.  I don’t remember the last time I slept (though honestly that’s nothing new) Baby Cinco has been in non-stop nursing mode which I think was part of my demise.  It probably helped in his recovery and is probably why I only had one slight fever but still it’s exhausting.  He’s almost 18 months old and is still breastfeeding (sorry not sorry y’all I am over this breastfeeding gig – I’ve been pregnant or breastfeeding for over 10 years now – mama is cashed).  [Isn’t Toby the cutest in these pics below?!  What a good pup, ever the protector of his babes].

It was probably a mistake to have competed in the 10K trail run that I did this past Saturday but it was only $25 [‘it’s only’ – the words of runners that continually get us into trouble and justify our mad behavior] and will probably be the last race I ever run while living here in San Antonio since we move in 5ish weeksish.  I did not perform as well as I do on the trail and the moment I took a stumble and nailed my already effd up toe (of course because God forbid I hit any of my other 9 toes) I slowed way down.  Which is totally fine because it allowed me to run in side by side with some of my runmigas.  Maybe juuuust maybe y’all will be lucky enough to get a look at what my toe looks like one day but I don’t want to gross out my readers too much – I send that nasty stuff to my husband and running buddies.  I am starting to get more concerned about it after that run though because it has turned some gnarly colors.  I’ll post some cute pics from race day down below instead of my nasty toe.  Anyways, take a moment and check out San Antonio Trail Company because they’re pretty gnarly in the cool way…basically they bought a plot of land out in the Helotes part of San Antonio that used to just be a place where people would dump stuff.  They’ve spent countless hours cleaning it up and transforming it into a really sweet recreational trail.  The “medals” for the event were made from logs cleared from the property.  It was a no frills but tons of fun race and I think if you’re in the area you should check this company out and just watch and see, they’re up and coming more and more in the community here.

The rest of race day/New Years Eve Eve I was down and out for the count.  I was cold and couldn’t warm up (thanks circulation problems) my foot was throbbing (but of course not broken) and I was unable to really rest because of a super needy Audie.  New Years Eve rolled around and that’s when I knew I was the next victim of the vacation crud.  2018 has come and gone – ring a ling I was up at midnight because even though it’s illegal to set off fireworks within the city limits of San Antonio no one around here really cares so they set them off and off and off for days and even at random times of the day afterwards.  My poor pups.  So there you have it CRAPPY NEW YEAR!  I mean HAPPY…ugh HAPPPPPPPYYYYYY NEEEEWWWWW YYYEEEAAAARRRR!!!!!  Remember your words for 2018 Liz:

Persevere – Harmony – Tranquility – Serenity…

I wanted to start my New Year off with a 20:18 run but that hasn’t happened yet so instead I’ve been saying lots and lots of Hail Mary’s.  I can’t take pain meds so sometimes when the pain is too much to bear I lift it up and just start a decade of Hail Mary’s – there’s the tranquility being put to good use.  Yea yea yea I’m sure I’ll persevere through all of this eventually but for now I allow myself to be somewhat of a grump – I mean come on this coffee addict hasn’t had the desire to take a sip of coffee in almost 4 days now!  So CRAPPY NEW YEAR – Happy…HAPPY NEW YEAR…it can only go up from here.

Out with the old in with the new…

Who are we kidding?! 2018 I’ll still be the same ole’ Liz DeLise. Yet there are changes coming in the new year that I just have to roll with because that’s part of the Army life. Quick recap of 2017 – I. Hated. It. It SUCKED! It was a super difficult year and most of it was spent apart from Troy in a place with very little support.

I’ll spare sharing the image of the current state of my big toe – it’s pretty hideous right now and shockingly it’s not from running but from injury after injury from the boys. Truly I’m waiting for it to get to a point where I need to go to the doc and have them remove the nail because I don’t think it’ll heal on its own properly but we shall see.

I still don’t know what my word for 2018 will be. Or what my theme/ resolution really is. In 2017 I wanted to keep reading and write more. I have written more and will continue to do so. I have fallen off the reading wagon though – Tedy’s therapy schedule and the kid’s school schedule has had me running around like a chicken with her head cut off that I’ve just been too mentally exhausted to get into reading; I do mind numbing activities like browse Facebook and Instagram instead. I still hit my goal of reading at least two books a month, even though I haven’t completed a book since September, I finished up the year with 33 books. In 2018 I would like to get back at it and read again. I have plenty of books on my Kindle just need to crack them open. My grand plans for a book club in 2017 only lasted a few months and then fell to the wayside. To hit at least as many books as years old as I will be is my goal for 2018.

2018 will bring a big move early in the new year and I am very much looking forward to it. We will be heading back to the east coast. We will be much closer to friends and family. I’m not too fond of having to move the kids mid school year but I’m sure they’ll adapt just fine. I will too. I have plenty to keep me busy, I always do. I also have some new roles in life that I hope to officially announce in the new year and I think they’ll help keep me on track with my athletic goals.

As I think of words and goals for 2018 the following keep crossing my mind:

Persevere – Harmony – Tranquility – Serenity

A common theme to remind me that I’m not in control of everything in my life and that’s ok. I am in control of how I handle what’s thrown at me. As far as racing goes for 2018 I only have one event in mind so far; I plan on traveling to Colorado in early June for the Skirt Sports 13er. Other than that I will be volunteering with wear blue: run to remember at the All American marathon in March.  I also plan on working on my cycling skills to help me reach my long-term triathlon goals. Keeping physically fit in general is important to me. I may not have a big race to train for at the moment but keeping a base is crucial for my overall well-being.

2018words.jpg

I guess that’s really it for now…

Persevere – Harmony – Tranquility – Serenity

To embrace those words and what’s thrown at me in the new year.  Troy says I am never the same ole’ Liz DeLise and that I’m always changing – I hope he means that in a good way.  I try to look at what I’ve done and learn from it but deep down I’m still me.  He brings up great philosophical debates on how we’re always changing.  I guess he has a point but I don’t really view it as change but more as the flow of life.

Cheers to 2018 and to going with the flow of the changes that life naturally throws out at me.

Do you make any new years resolutions or have any intentions or goals or words to follow in the new year?  If so please feel free to share them.  I am a firm believer that you can wake up each day and start your new year but the turning of an actual calendar is helpful as well.  Stating these intentions usually helps with accountability so hopefully y’all can help me make sure my butt is regularly on my bike and that I keep to my words during our big move in a few weeks.

A Christmas Tree and My Sanity…

Our house isn’t really decorated for Christmas.  When I went to look for the tree the girls informed me that I got rid of most of our stuff last year because it got destroyed.  With a big move around the corner I just haven’t been wanting to spend that money on new decorations. We are minimalists when it comes to this sort of stuff anyways and for the most part the kids don’t mind – then again they don’t know any better.  So this year I decided to get out first REAL Christmas tree!  Can you believe we’ve never had a REAL Christmas tree?!  I mean Troy’s Grandfather had a Christmas Tree Farm and he ALWAYS had a real tree, you’d think he would’ve convinced me one of the Christmases he has been here to have a real tree.  Here’s a picture of our first REAL Christmas tree: IMG_20171202_112030.jpg

Granted it was a tiny tree from Trader Joe’s; the kids loved it and I even got tiny battery pack lights for it.  The tree didn’t make it to Christmas though – Tedy destroyed the tree at some point the other night/early morning, after I fell asleep. Once night turned into day I just couldn’t hang with his shenanigans anymore. When I first brought the tree home he messed with the potting soil so I put it up high and he hadn’t gone for the tree since.  Yet of course it was only a matter of time until Spider-Ted made his move on the tree again.  Just because something is put up high doesn’t mean anything in the house of Spider-Ted.  I hate to say it but he’s the main reason why I don’t go all out on decorating anymore, especially decorating for Christmas.  If you really believe that non-breakable label then you’re totally wrong; those ornaments just haven’t met their match yet, aka Tedy.  Disclaimer: I don’t want advice on what to try to do!  Trust me, I’ve already made those attempts.  I’m just trying to give a glimpse into the reality of life with autism.  Baby gates around trees stopped working long ago because he could just climb over it. Putting stuff up high doesn’t work because again climbing…I already told you non-breakable ornaments don’t exist.  Foam, felt, paper, he ends up shredding.  He has even feasted on a string of Christmas light-bulbs and I’m still thankful those passed without any major issues.  Don’t tell me to just keep an eye on him – his teachers, paras, and therapists can give their own first hand accounts on his Flash like qualities; even when working one-on-one with him!  Y’all, there are many days when I am like Buddy the Elf and get a whole 40 minutes sleep; but unlike Buddy, I thrive on coffee!  I especially do not allow wrapped gifts in my house; shredding paper is a top stimming activity for Tedy; sorry not sorry, if you send my kid(s) a gift and it’s gift wrapped, it gets unwrapped and placed into a Santa sack.  Sometimes I wish people would take a little bit of time to get to know him better because it’s really frustrating when he’s sent stuff that isn’t Tedy appropriate.

Next time you go to a house that isn’t all glammed-out for Christmas, don’t judge, they have their reasons, we sure as heck have ours.  I truly LOVE to gift wrap and do so for others but not for my kids, and they’re totally fine with it, they’ve come to love our Santa Sack tradition and will be able to keep them for years to come.  Also, if you ever encounter a parent living this Autism Life during the holiday’s, think twice before you speak.  Some kids on the spectrum are really into the holiday and some aren’t.  That’s the thing about the Autism Spectrum, it’s a blizzard of snowflakes, each unique and wonderful and beautiful and a hot forking mess that sucks to navigate through.  Many Autism families have other kids who are not on the spectrum, and I am fortunate that my kids are used to the minimal life – we go out and enjoy the lights around town instead of decorating our own home; we get into the Christmas spirit in other ways.  Also, please still invite these families to functions.  I often do not get invites out because of Tedy, because people automatically assume I won’t want to do something – please, let me be the judge of that instead of simply excluding us.  For example, we didn’t go to the huge Christmas parade down on the Riverwalk in San Antonio but we did go to the lighted parade over in Helotes.  We do what works best for our family and Tedy’s needs.

 

Keeping your Holiday Sanity is difficult, doubly so as a mother, and triply (pretty sure that’s a made up word but it’s fitting) so as an Autism Mom.  I have a ton of pent-up guilt during this season, guilt that I don’t do enough for my other kids, guilt that I don’t go all out, guilt that we don’t attend many functions.    Thankfully there’s running.  Let me state though that I do not believe running or any physical activity should be used as a replacement to therapy.  It should be used with professional therapy and sometimes there is a very fine line where it can be used in the wrong ways – there’s still much taboo that surrounds mental health and I am here to tell you that it is OK to not be totally OK – that it is OK to seek professional help!  Personally, I am in and out of therapy regularly for different aspects of my life.  Also, I cannot imagine what life must be like for my other children, and how it is to be a sibling whom has a brother with Autism.  I have counselors on call for them and they know who the people are that they can openly talk to about how they are feeling.  That’s all more for another day though because I really don’t feel like enough is done for the siblings of special needs kiddos.

Back to running… 00005IMG_00005_BURST20171221092625.jpgwhen the new Dunkin’ Donuts opened up in San Antonio I started a Thursday run group.  We meet at Dunks and then take off for a 5ish mile run.  It’s nice to be a part of a community of women who let me be me.  For a couple of hours I can break away from the chaos of life.  This group run has really helped me keep my holiday sanity this season.  IMG_20171221_101118.jpg

This past Thursday was the day I woke up to the destroyed tree.  I put on my Skirt Sports Mantra GGU and kept my plans – that’s a key to keeping the holiday sanity, making plans for “me time” and allowing yourself to not let that guilt seep in during that time.  On the Mantra GGU is the saying: “Just keep moving”  and after the tree fiasco, that’s what I needed to do.  Just keep moving.  The holidays are not about the tree or the gifts or any of that stuff.  The holidays are not about losing our sanity but maybe just the opposite – about finding ourselves, figuring out what is important to us.  I’ve learned that seeing the sparkle in my kiddos eyes and the magic of the season through them is the peace that I need in this world.

Running allows me the time to process all the guilt that I’ve been feeling – to process all my emotions actually, and to come to terms with this season of life.  Staying active on my own and with my family helps me.  Sure we are a little naughty and enjoy the flavors of the season but, we are nice as well by staying active.  We have one more big holiday tradition coming up that we are all really looking forward to, and that’s the Frosty Five.  On the morning of Christmas Eve we will head out for a 5K – I think this is a tradition we will continue even after we leave San Antonio.  Merry Christmas to you all, may the season not make you want to drop too many eff bombs 😉 Oh and by the way, I got another tree, a fake one this time – I’ll post pictures on my Instagram once it’s up.  Happy Holidays 🙂

Rock n Roll San Antonio 2017

wear blue bibI didn’t think I would ever run another Rock n Roll race again, especially in San Antonio.  But I did it this year – 3/4 years here I have completed this event.  I will out front say that I am not a fan of Rock n Roll events – I do not agree with many of their practices when it comes to packet pickup and how they treat full marathoners.  Yet that’s a post that I’ve already covered and am slightly ashamed to say I went against my own word.  Thanks to a friend I was able to participate in RnRSA2016 and after the event call it a runner’s high or depression settling in with the realization that Troy would be spending all of 2017 in Korea…I went ahead and registered for RnRSA2017 because it was on super sale – so back on December 5, 2016 almost a full year ahead of the event I registered for the half marathon.

A year ago I had an ambitious goal of finally breaking my two-hour half marathon mark.  I had all of these grand plans to get into peak training shape in 2017…but then life happened.  2017 has been an absolutely craptastic year for me.  It has truly tested me.  I have had many downs and very few ups.  I’m not going to call myself a “single mom” because I’m not – I am a mother of 5 young children and my husband is active duty in the Army – what the Army says we follow – so that meant a year apart…again.  One of our children, Tedy, is on the Autism spectrum.  I had to make some extreme changes to Tedy’s schedule while Troy was gone in order to better serve Tedy’s needs and that meant that my ambitions got put on the back-burner; heck, I don’t even think that burner was on.  As the year rolled on and running buddies asked me my goals and plans for RnRSA2017 I kept declining invites to run together; I didn’t know what my goal was anymore – I didn’t even know who would be watching my gaggle of kids until just before the race.  After Adriana and I ran the Battle of Hillotes Half Marathon together and had such fun doing so [after a tough break in friendship – that was our time to heal together] we decided to just have fun at RnRSA2017.  As race day drew closer we made plans with other Runmigas to meetup and party together.

 

 

Party was for sure the word of race day – we had a ball!  Yet the day started on a note of remembrance and I for sure carried that spirit with me through the whole race. RnRSA2017Jeff posterThe wear blue mile put on by wear blue: run to remember was at RnRSA2017 for the first time.  That morning we gathered in a circle of remembrance and called out the names of service members who have given the ultimate sacrifice and whom we personally run for.  I have been an active member of wear blue for the past several years and have served as the meet-up coordinator for San Antonio for most of our time here RnRSA2017JeffFlag[I took some time off when I was pregnant with Audie and Troy was in Africa].  It was very touching to me to have wear blue be present at a local event this year.  I have run in honor of a fallen Marine, Lance Corporal Jeffrey Burgess since the James Joyce Ramble placed names on bibs back in 2005.  To have his poster and flag present at mile 7 was an emotional roller coaster.  Seeing all the posters of the faces of the fallen and hearing only whispers and then seeing all the flags and hearing chants of “USA USA USA” reminded me that what I do with running is bigger than me.

What I do with running is bigger than me…that’s it! RnRSA2017PacingGroupI’ve finally realized something that has been on the tip of my tongue for years!  I have been asked multiple time what is my “why” with running and it’s so tough to answer.  That’s it though, it’s bigger than me, it can’t be totally explained, it’s multifaceted. RnRSA2017pacing It’s not just for me and about me but it’s about the community.  During RnRSA2017 I got to take part in something else that I’ve always wanted to do as a runner and I got to help pace the 2:30 half marathon group/5:00 marathoners but holding the 5:00 marathon sign since my fellow skirt sister and runmiga Julianne was the official pacer for that group.  It was such an honor to be a part of and it was tough saying goodbye to them at the mile 12 split.  Yet now thanks to Julianne I know that I am capable of being a pacer and I hope to one day officially do it for a half marathon.

After the mile 12 split I had just over a mile to go – I hung out with another runmigaRnRSA2017Finish for a bit before taking off to find some other friends.  I didn’t find them along that last mile but I found them shortly after the finish.  We all talked about how much fun we had.  I could see it in their faces too – they genuinely had fun!  It may not have been a PR race day but it was a FUN race day and that’s just as important in my opinion.  Once we had recovered a bit a small group of us headed out backwards on the course to find one of our runmigas who was running the full marathon.  Along the way we cheered on the runners, gave huge hugs and high fives to friends we knew, stopped to work an aide station and continued with the party theme of the day.  RnRSA2017KimOnce we found Kim we power walked back with her and gave our final high-five as she entered into the finisher shoot.  RnRSA2017KimFinishThe day was like none other – I mean no two races are the same anyways but this half marathon was a special, memorable one.  It serves as my last major race in San Antonio and it was a good way to say good-bye to the city.  My racing days are far from over but this was a great send off to the next chapter of my life.  I’ve made some fabulous running friends here and I will truly miss them – I hope they’ll join me in North Carolina or in other parts of the country over the years and that we continue to party and celebrate each other.

There are so many things I didn’t talk about that happened during this race like the weather and what not but that’s not the theme I wanted.  I wanted to show how much of a community running truly is.  How much I love being a part of that community no matter where we live.  Here’s the message that I received after the race that made it all come together for me and truly touched my heart.  “I love your energy. My friend was soo nervous at the half marathon. She asked to stay back away from everyone because she didn’t feel like she belonged with all of the runners. She saw you jumping and dancing around and smiling and made it look more fun for her. She kept commenting during the race about how friendly and encouraging everyone was. Thank you for being you😘