Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Virtual Run for Sherry Arnold

On January 7, 2012,  Sherry Arnold, age 43, left her house in the small town of Sidney, Montana at 6:30 a.m. for an early morning run.  She never returned.  Seven days later an FBI tip led to the arrest of two men, one of whom, confessed to murdering Sherry.  Her body has never been found.  

Her cousin, Beth Risdon, runner and uber blogger, has set up a virtual run on 

Saturday, February 11th, 9 am

 in honor of Sherry.  

For more information:

Beth Risdon on Twitter: @shutuprun

If you are able, there is a donate button on Beth's page.  Monies will go toward Sherry's children, Holly and Jason. 

This story really hit me hard.  I run alone.  Always.  I could be Sherry.  

Please share the above with anyone and everyone. Copy.  Paste. Facebook.  Reblog.  Retweet.   

Run.  Remember.  

For Sherry.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fuck the Boot 5k

Five months injured.

Three runs in that time.  One because I needed to see if I was still injured.  I was.  Another because I just had to.  It was extremely painful.  Another, because the doctor ordered.  It wasn't healed yet.

So, today.  The day I've been looking forward to since I got booted 2 months ago.  The day my doctor told me to take the leg out for a test drive.

I got up early and took a walk around the block.  It was cold out in Chicago. Really cold actually.  I was thrilled.  I was feeling okay.  Well, other than feeling the 3 glasses of glug and 3 glasses of wine I downed last night.  Other than that, I was good.  I was excited.  I was ready.

My running partner on this run, however, was not.  She fell back asleep as I was stretching out.  I could not wake Lee up.  She needed the sleep.  We stayed up pretty late last night.  Lee is just another one of my amazing friends that I don't know how I got so very lucky to find.  We went to graduate school together, somehow lost touch for 15 years and thankfully reconnected a few years ago.  She's a great friend.   We just get each other.  We can talk for hours about life. Our life.  What was.  What is to be.  We did last night.   She always has wise words for me.  I listen. I appreciate.  I am thankful.  For her.

Honestly, when it comes to friends, I really believe I won the friendship lottery.  I believe I have the most amazing friends ever.  Such giving, kind, thoughtful, and loving people.  I'm so damn lucky. For real.

I couldn't wake Lee.  I let her sleep.  While I lounged on the floor, fully dressed to run, I chatted with another dear friend on Twitter. Again, about life.

It started to snow.  Nice puffy snowflakes.  Ahhh, the running Gods were smiling down upon me.  Inviting me.  To run. I could barely contain myself.

We had planned to head out on our run at 9 am. Just before 11 am, Lee woke up.  Screaming.  For me.  She freaked that I had gone running without her.  I did not.  I would not.  We laughed.  Then we got ready to get our run on.

I was debating between shorts and tights.  It was cold.  15F or colder with windchill at about 1F.  I wanted to wear shorts.  But, I kept questioning myself.   Silly me.  I finally put them on and we headed out the door.

It was cold.  Really cold.  I was happy.  Really happy.

Lee was so cold she started on her run without me.  I said I would catch up.  I was still gathering myself together.

Was I ready?  For this?  


Just as I was about to press start on my Garmin, up comes Claire and a friend.  Are you friggin' kidding me?  Seriously? Super awesome Claire was 14 miles into her 18 mile NOLA Marathon training run.  We did a few Wheeeeeee!!!!!!'s Jumped around a little.  Talk about  fate .  Wow, it was meant to be for Claire to be the  starting gun for my run.  She gave me oooodles of energy to head out and kill this thing.

I started my run.  I felt good.  My UBHA (Under Bitch Hammie Ass - sciatic crap) hurt.  A lot.  Two weeks ago I tweaked it.  It's been bad since.  But, I could push through it.  The shin felt, well, okay.  Last time I ran over two months ago I had lots of shin pain.  Still.  I didn't feel anything really today.  Maybe just some weakness. In my entire leg.  But, no shin pain.  

I ran south on the lakefront path towards downtown Chicago.  It was beautiful.  The sun was shining through the clouds as if shining on the city.  And, me. 

I went to the half way point.  I waited for Lee.  We chatted for a minute or two, a "run mutthafuckers!" cheer, high five, and we were off back towards the finish.  I was still feeling good.  Actually, pretty darn good.  While I was still going slow and steady.  I did pick up the pace just a wee bit.  But, not too much.  I knew better.  Kind of.  I hit 3.1 and went just a little further.  Just because.  I really felt like I could have gone five miles.  Easily.  But, I knew better.  Kind of.

It was a great run.  It felt awesome.  To be running again.  I think I had a huge smile on my face the entire time.  Of course it also could have been all the runners passing by me who were giggling at me or telling me that I was insane for running in shorts.  Nope.  Not insane.  Just an idiot. 

I felt free again.  

2012 has been a bit shaky to start.  

Today I begin it again.  

Happy New Year to me. 

Fuck yeah. 

We get up early just to start cranking the generator
Our limbs have been asleep we need to get the blood back in 'em
We're finding every day several ways that we could be friends

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yes. A Twist of Fate

One year ago today I said yes. 

2011 was about getting out of my box.  Taking chances.  Saying yes.  

I started following Ben in late 2010.  I was inspired by his story.  Read his blog here and there.  Noticed one day that he was going to be speaking in Chicago and had a meet up run planned.  I happened to be off work that morning.  So, I thought, gee, why not?  Well, um.... meet some strange doode from the internet and go for a run?   I know.  Some of you say WHAT?!?!  And, others say, Um, I do it all the time.   

Well, I thought it was weird.  And, random.  But.... I remembered that I was going to take chances in 2011. So, I would say YES.  I would go meet all these people and go for a run.  

Ah, but a funny thing happened that morning.  We got a little blizzard.  Not THE big one from last year.  Just a few inches.  But, it was blizzard like conditions.  So, I got up early that morning and thought, do I still go?  Is this the sign that I shouldn't go? Nope.  I go.  I looked silly getting on the 6:30 am train in full on running attire with all the people around me heading to work.  But, I didn't care.  I said YES.

I headed to Cloud Gate (aka The Bean) where we were meeting.  When I got there there was nobody in site.  I mean nobody.  I've been to The Bean many times.  There is ALWAYS a crowd.  Always. There was nobody here. It was kind of eerie. But, I walked up to The Bean.  Walked under it.  And, there on the other side, was somebody.  Brooke.  All embarrassed and shy (I really am) I asked if she was there to meet Ben. She, also embarrassed and shy, said yes.  We introduced ourselves.  Had some small running chatter.  Then   Casey came up.  The same introductions and the same awkwardness. Then... Ben came storming up.  Late. Apologizing.  Complaining about the weather.  Introductions again.  Because of the weather only three of us showed up.  I'm so glad that only three of us showed up.  It was as it was to be. 

After a short discussion on where we would run, we were off.  We ran along the Chicago Lakefront from Grant Park south.   It was snowing like crazy.  It was cold.  It was beautiful.  We all talked a bit about our running journeys.  Where we were.  Where we wanted to go.  We each somehow took turns running alone with Ben.  Having our own time talking about him.  Talking about us.  During my time he made me realize that if HE could do what he had done then I could go further.  Further than I ever thought.  Ben was the one who made me realize that I could run a marathon.  I think I yelled at him a few times for convincing me of this fact.  But, at the same time I felt oddly okay with it.

We continued to run, forgetting that we had planned for only a 5k.  We ended up with a 5 mile run instead.  But, it felt right.  Conversation was good.  The weather was insane, but awesome at the same time.  We ran.  We talked.  We made snow angels.  We did life. We said yes. We went for post run coffee and sat and talked for another two hours.  It was a fantastic morning.  

Because I said YES.  

I said YES.  Brook said YES.  Casey said YES.  And, because we did in one way or another our lives went a different direction.  Because of fate.  All of us talked afterwards about how we almost didn't show up.  But, something made us go.  And, because we did we all met.  Imagine if Brooke had decided to not go.  She would not have met Ben.  They would not be engaged now.  Wow.  Fate. 

Claire, however, said, no. She didn't meet us that morning.  She had reasons why.  But, thankfully, we all met up when Ben came back for another run in the summer.  Fate once again brought Claire and me together after the Chicago Rock n Roll Marathon medal engraving.   We literally ran into each other as I was walking out of the room.   We talked.  A lot.  About us. Life.  Running.  Because, we were meant to.  Meant to have  that moment.  So glad we did. Something clicked in me.  Something clicked in her.  Fate made it so. 

I believe in fate.  I believe that you experience what you are supposed to experience because it is meant to be.  I believe you meet who you are supposed to meet.  Because you are meant to meet.  But, a lot of that depends on you.  On you making choices.  Decisions.  Taking actions.  

Think of times in your life when you made a decision that turned out to be life changing.  Now think about how your life would be different if you chose differently.  Think about the people in your life that matter to you the most.  Now think about if you hadn't met them.  Could you have never met them because of a simple decision you did or did not make.  Was it a twist of fate that you met them at all? 

I got injured. Couldn't run the Chicago Marathon last year.  But, I went anyway. And cheered.  For friends. Some were close friends.  Running partners.  College roommates. Some I only met once. Some I never had met in person.  But, there I stood on at mile 7.  I was supposed to be at 8.  But, logistics and timing got in the way.  So, there I stood at mile 7. And, among 40,000+ runners, one by one my friends saw me and hollered out.  There was no way I could find them.  Too hard.  Too many people. But, they saw me.  Brian, Lisa, Tom, Celeste, Ashleigh, Becky, and...... yes, Casey!  Fate.  I know some of you will say that they knew to look for me.  And, I was looking for them.  But, I'm telling you, it's very hard to find runners in that race. I have friends whose families never saw them one time the whole race.  No matter how hard they tried.  Unless you are wearing a hot pink unitard, it's hard to stand out.

I saw many of my friends again at mile 18.  Again, we were supposed to be at mile 15.  But, timing and traffic screwed that up.  So, nobody expected us to be there.  We literally arrived by cab and jumped out and ran to the side of the road to cheer.  Within 2 minutes everybody we knew started coming by.  Talk about close. Several of them told me later that they were really hurting at that point.  (I'll tell you all now that you all looked like death.  Ha. ) But, then they saw me.  Seeing me.  Hearing me cheer them on.  Gave them enough energy to go on.  Fate.  I was supposed to be there. Again.  At mile 18. If only to give one person the extra energy to finish that damn race.  And, finish every last one of them did. 

Of course sometimes fate means something bad can happen too.  Because that's life.  Fate.  It's good.  It's bad.  The car accident.  The bad relationship.  It can be bad.  It can be very bad in fact.  But, it, sadly is how it is to be.  Even when it hurts.  Because if you survive it, whatever fate gave you that was bad, you are meant to learn from it.  And, come out the other side better because of it. It's hard to see that through the pain at first. But, with time, it becomes clearer.  And, you become wiser.  Next time maybe you will make a different choice.  Or maybe not.  

Do you go right?  Do you go left?  Do you stay straight?  Do you stop? Which is the right path for fate?  Well, they all are.  Because whatever one you choose is the one that is meant to be.  That's fate. 

You are reading this because of fate.  Somehow, someway, you found me here.  I found you too, perhaps.  Many of you kind of fell into my lap in the last year.  Well, I guess you kind of didn't.  You were supposed to be.  Here. But, had I not gone for that run one year ago, I probably wouldn't be here.  Pretty sure of it actually. 

Sometimes you question the decision.  It's only human nature.  However, you also have to realize that unless you have a bad feeling in your gut, you must take a chance.  You have to take a chance.  How can you not take a chance? 

Should you tempt fate? If you know it could go wrong.  Horribly wrong.  Should you still do it?  That's a tough one.  Depending on what horrible entails.  Of course death and serious injury would be a big "if".  And, certainly not worth the risk. But, if it just means you might get bruised.  Physically or mentally? Huh, I say go for it.  Why not.  Take the chance.  It could also go fantastically right too, correct? 

I know I said I would say "yes" less and "no" more in 2012.  But, that isn't entirely so.  I still will say yes to me.  When I think it's the right thing.  For me.  That may still be saying yes to someone else too.  

The only regret you can have in life is regretting something you didn't do. 

Just say yes. No regrets. 


Saturday, January 7, 2012

GOAL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday.  One of those ones you hope you never have again.  Ever. I'm trying to think how I can make the next day better. Or the next day.  Or maybe a day in two weeks.  So... I'm thinking forward.  Hoping.  Forward.

Last year as the New Year turned I had resolutions.  A bit bizarre perhaps.  But, something to work on.   Goals to obtain.  Get to getting on.  For me.  I was in full force at the start of the year.  But, unfortunately as life, and my injury, got in the way, so did my desire to work on me.  

I just wandered into 2012.  No, big excitement.  No energy for something to look forward to.  Nothing. It just came.  I was doing laundry. It came while I was doing laundry.     

In 2011 I ran 513 miles, rode 542 miles, and swam 21 miles.  Before my body sadly gave out on me.  Compared to some of you this is nothing.  But, for me it's the most I've done, well as an old fart anyway.   I hope I can get better and improve upon that, and me, in 2012.   And, please, oh please.... stay injury free.

I need to have something to get me moving.  Each day.  Mind, body, spirit.  Life.  I need goals.  At this point my only goal is to get to tomorrow.  I need more than that. I need to be more than that.  I need to get out of this fucking boot. I need someone to scream at me to move.  With my life. 

I could use this once in awhile. 

I really want to maybe see if I can get through a triathlon this year.  Not sure if that's in me.  But, I have the urge to see if I can.  After seeing the SheRox Naperville one last summer (and stalking Ashleigh ) I kind of got the urge.  But, perhaps do it as a relay as Sara (bike) , Lisa. (run), and I (swim) had discussed.  We might be a bit whacky in our thoughts.  But..... we think we could possibly place... and actually win it.  I know, we are crazy for thinking it.  But, wouldn't that be fun?  I could use a bit of being awesome.   Then perhaps a triathlon on my own?  Perhaps.

As far as running.  I have some spring races in mind.  Not sure what really.  I have had some invites to do some I haven't done before and would like to run those. I'm not sure if the invitations actually still stand.  But, I'm always up for meeting up for people and trying a race.  Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8k   is always fun and I'll be back again. Great large race.  Fun post party. From what I remember anyway.  I've always wanted to do the Soldier Field 10 Mile .  However, I was always just weeks back from a three week drinking vacation and never in any shape to do this.  This year I would like to be.  Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon has been moved (again) to July 22nd.  Not sure how I feel about a half in July in Chicago.  But... I've done the last three and it seems right to continue.   I'll probably bail on Chicago Hot Chocolate  this year.  I've got the kewl jacket.  Two actually now. The race seems just too crowded with walkers no matter what they do to keep this race flowing.  Maybe I'll do a winter one instead.  After all.... me running in snow?  Come on.  It just seems right. 

Then the biggie,Chicago Marathon. It's what I want.  More than anything.  Just once.  Pretty please.  I still don't know if a marathon is within my abilities.  But, I have to at least try. No, not try.  DO.

I also want to do some running with my ten year old niece.  She did her first triathlon last year Chicago Kid Triathlon with absolutely no running training.  I'd like to help her get her feet moving a bit.  If so, I think she has the ability to be a fantastic triathlete.  She's already a very strong swimmer (proud auntie). She just needs to work on the run and bike a bit.  I look forward to watching her do this really fun race once again.  I had such a blast cheering her on.  Who knew while I was barefoot hobbling all over that course in terrible pain that I was already one week into a stress fracture?  Huh. 

I have also been invited to crew for an ultra.  Or at least sit back and drink beers while they run. Or play in a lake.  Or maybe do my own long marathon training run that day.  Or sun myself in my bikini that I'll once again be wearing because I'll be running sick miles once again (for me anyway) and lose all this damn boot weight that's dragging me down mentally and physically. Or maybe actually crew.  Meh, doesn't matter.  I'll be there no matter what.  Doing whatever is needed of me.  But, having fun.  This I know for sure. 

I'll continue to nurture the loving friendships I have garnered with my running friends.  I feel a bit lost right now with some of them.  Some, thankfully, are stronger than ever.  Some have had their ebbs and flows.  I hope to have back any that I have lost and deepen those just in the budding stages. And, no matter what, appreciate every single person that helps little ole me along my little running (biking? swimming?) journey.

Do cartwheels.  Lots of cartwheels. 

Still in the boot.  Still can't run.  However, I did swim 1.5+ miles last night. It was surely a night I would have gone for a run.  A therapy run.  But, I couldn't.  So, I finally found a way to swim.  I needed it.  Badly.   It wasn't particularly pretty.  But, it's a start towards my goals.  I hope.

So, I work on me.  I keep forgetting about me. I keep promising it'll be about me.  But, it just never seems to be.  I always seem to get lost.  Even though I'm always there.  People seem to still forget about me.   So, 2012.  I will fly.  On the road.  In the water.  In me. For me

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Black bird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
all your life
you were only waiting for this moment to be free

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Secret Life

I have secrets.  Lots of them.  Some are mine.  Most are the secrets of others.  My friends.

I love that I have some secrets that only one or two people know about.  I love that I found people that I believed that I could trust enough to allow me to open my heart and soul a bit.  It wasn't easy.  In fact it was quite hard.  But, it kind of felt right.  So I did. 

As I've said before, people like to share with me.  Share things about themselves nobody knows.  Or very few people know.

Some people I barely know.  Some I get to know quite well.  

I listen.  I let them talk.  Let them get it out.  I empathize the best I can.  Often I don't know what to say.  I don't have the words in my head to make it right.  I'm a fixer.  I want to fix things.  I want people to be okay.  I want them to be better than okay. I want them to be great.  Because, you know, it's the holding of your own secrets that will bring you down in then end.  It's a bit freeing to let others know your secrets.  It releases the demons a bit.  To get out.  Of your head.  To get out. Of your spirit.

I'm struggling to find the right things to say to people lately when we talk about their secrets.  All I can seem to say is, "I don't know what to say".  That's so frustrating because it surely is not helpful in any manner.  But, I hope just being a friend.  Listening.  Caring. Being.  Is helping in some way.  However little that may be. I try to make them laugh.  I'm not sure if that's being insensitive, but I want them to see that they can still smile.  Through the tears a smile can be a bit of a release.

Sometimes we laugh at the craziness of what's in the secret.  Because some of them are just so painful that it just doesn't seem fair.  So, we laugh.  It may not solve the problem.  But, maybe, perhaps it will help ease the pain.  If only for the time it takes for the smile to disappear. 

But, secrets don't always have to be bad.  Some can be quite good.  Some can be a bit juicy.  Some can be friggin' amazing!  I have these secrets too.  These are kind of fun to keep.  But, they make me burst at the seams too.

I've held one for awhile.  I was honored to have her share it with me.  I had such a blast giggling about it with her when she told me.  But, hot damn..... I wanted to tell EVERYONE.  But, I didn't.  Nope.  No big whoop, she's just in the 2012 Weight Watchers "Believe" campaign.  

How kewl is this?!?!?  Come on!  Not only did Suzi just friggin' kill it by being uber awesome and losing the weight, she also went on Oprah, and now is in a national commercial with Jennifer Hudson.  Seriously?  Who gets to be this awesome?  Well, Suzi does.  I'm so happy for her I cannot even begin to tell you.  What exciting things lie ahead for her.  But, no matter what.  No matter the kewl places she gets to go and the kewl things she gets to do what matters most is that the most awesome thing is HER.  She worked hard to make herself a better being.    In the end that's the best cherry on the cake.  Evah.  And, that, my friends, is no damn secret. 

I've had people tell me who they are secretly dating.  I love these.  I love it because I can feel their excitement when they talk about it.  I can feel their energy. It's fun energy to feel.  I love to giggle with them when they tell me stories that make them so happy. It makes me happy too.  These are the secrets I want to share, because they are happy secrets.  But, I don't.  I love to ask questions.  With these secrets I have tons of questions.  Fun ones.  Giggle worthy ones.  Ahhhh, I love secrets. 

Late last night I got a ping from an unexpected friend.  Someone I don't hear from often.  So, I knew something was up.   When he started dating his current girlfriend I was one of the few who knew.  Mainly because I was there the moment they met.  Because he is a bit internet famous he didn't want to publicly announce the relationship.  However, he told me.  It was such a fun and fabulous secret to keep.  I loved that he could talk to me about it and get all giddy.  I loved that when he referred to her publicly without naming her that I knew who she was.  I smiled big when he finally revealed her to his followers.  So, last night... I knew something was up.  He said he was sending me a file. I was about to ask if it was a wedding invitation. Because, well, I was joking.  Instead, I got  this:

Now, if you are a doode, you may not understand this picture right way.  But, as a chick I jumped off my chair and screamed.  Then wrote back, "omfg omfg omfg omfg omfg omfg"  It may have been a few more times than that.  So, yes, this initial secret relationship had now become an engagement.  Wow.  Apparently they laughed at me a lot over my excitement.  But, I'm sorry, I'm a sucker for a happy ending. And, I was tickled pink that they shared this with me.  Sure, he blogged about it and sent it into the interwebs a few minutes later.  But, for a few minutes I held onto that secret.  I jumped around and screamed and looked like a real crazy person.  A crazy person with a wonderful secret.  

So....... who's got a secret for me?  Come on.  I'm good for it.  Give me a good one.  And, maybe. Oh, just maybe, I'll give you one of mine. 

Well, okay, I'll give you one right now.  I ran.  In the last week I ran.  Twice.  Both by mistake.  It felt a little awesome. 

Shhhhh..... don't tell anybody.  It'll be our little secret.