Organic Runner Mom

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How to keep your motivation when you are an injured athlete.

Monday Motivation–Dealing with injury and staying motivated.

Tips For Staying Motivated When You Are Injured. Organic Runner Mom

Tips For Staying Motivated When You Are Injured.

You probably already know that I have had to take some time off from running (if not read here) which means that I have had to get creative with my workouts.  I have also had to work very hard to stay motivated so that I keep a strong base.  I want to be in tip top shape when triathlon and race running kicks back up into high gear in the spring and summer. This week I have done a lot of thinking about ways to stay motivated when you are forced into a break due to injury or other circumstances. Here are some of my strategies and I am hoping that you will share some of yours with me too!

  • Try a new workout–Join a yoga class or pilates class to work on strength, balance, flexibility and focus.
  • Challenge yourself by trying something out of your comfort zone–I recently tried the climbing wall and loved the new challenge.
  • Strengthen yourself in other ways–Try a meditation class to strengthen your mind.
  • Get outdoors–If you can’t run, go for a hike or a walk, try snowshoeing or bike riding, get out on some cross country skis.  The fresh air and vitamin D will invigorate you.
  • Learn about your injury so that you can learn new exercises to help re-strengthen and re-balance. Being proactive will keep you positive.
  • Go for a swim.  If you are not a great swimmer, take a lesson. Swimming is low impact and your body will thank you!
  • Connect with others who have had the same injury to learn new strategies for managing your injury.
  • Choose and write down small goals for yourself. Progress when you are injured can be slow so setting smaller goals will help you to keep your motivation without getting discouraged.
  • Enjoy your time off.  Giving your body a break is not all bad.  Get a massage to help relieve muscle tension.
  • Read an inspirational book about running or sport to get inspired. (I just finished A Life Without Limits: A World Champions Journey by Chrissie Wellington)

How do you keep your motivation when you are injured? Do you have a favorite inspirational book or form of exercise that helps you to stay on track?

Organic Runner Mom

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I am breaking up with my running shoes and I’m scared!

My ten year love affair with my running shoes may be over.

On a quest for the perfect running shoe.

On a quest for the perfect running shoes.

Today while I was at the Alpine Clinic, my Physical Therapist Kathy checked out my running shoes and thinks that a change is in order. I currently run in the Brooks Adrenaline GTS and have been for about 10 years now. If you know me you know change is hard. I love my Adrenalines but I don’t love what is currently going on with my body. Not only did she take a close look at my feet she also looked at my body alignment when I am standing in my shoes.
The Brooks Adrenaline GTS is a Stability shoe with a footbridge to support the arch.  I can buy this shoe in a narrow and always feel like they are hugging my foot like a glove. These shoes saved me after college when I had to ditch my Nikes due to ongoing problems with shin splints that turned into an ugly stress fracture. I have loved these shoes since I began running in them and now we may need to break-up? Gulp!

My foot has always been hard to fit. This has been a huge problem since I was a kid .I need a wide toe box but have a narrow foot, narrow heel and high instep making it tough to find the right shoe. We had to search high and low for shoes that would fit my long skinny feet.  We often ended up at “Sneaky Pete’s,” a crazy shoe store with shoes from the floor to the ceiling and available in unusual width measurements.  I even got my first pair of Chuck Taylor’s at Sneaky Pete’s, a sweet pair of peach high tops.

Kathy, my PT thinks I need a shoe with stability but more of a medium stability shoe, no need to go with such an aggressive stability shoe anymore.When I am standing in my running shoes, the footbridge actually overcorrects my pronation and bows my calves out which in turn causes my knees to turn in.

Yikes! I guess this break-up may be inevitable. It’s not you . . . it’s me. We will always have the Boston Marathon . . .

It's so hard to say goodbye. The Brooks Adrenaline GTS ignited my true love of running.

It’s so hard to say goodbye. The Brooks Adrenaline GTS ignited my true love of running.

Kathy has me convinced it’s time to give something else a try. I’m open to suggestion and really have no idea where to begin. I do know that the search for the perfect shoe will be tough and it may take a few tries.

I’m open to suggestion.

What is your favorite running shoe and why? Did you ever have to “break-up” with your favorite pair of running shoes?

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Adventures in Colorado!

Skiing adventures in Vail, Colorado

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses out in order. –John Burroughs

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses out in order. –John Burroughs

Last week Organic Runner Dad and I had the chance to escape to Colorado for an entire week! The kids were well nourished, loved and entertained by the week by Grammy (Thanks a million Grammy!).  The stars aligned the weather cooperated and we were able to get away! What a treat! Organic Runner Dad never gets any days away and it was so nice to see him relax for a few days and enjoy the beautiful things that life has to offer. Our trip took us to Vail for three days of incredible skiing and then to Boulder where Organic Runner Dad spent his time with the Organic Trade Association and I explored the city and did some fun blogging work.

Day-Glo girl hitting the mountain.

Day-Glo girl hitting the mountain.

I haven’t been to Vail since I was about 12. During that visit I wore day-glo ski wear,  over-sized sunglasses and braces. I guess not much has changed . . . well, ok thankfully I don’t have braces anymore! It’s funny how fashion trends circle back around though. This time my sweet day-glo ski jacket and pants were a bit more stylish. Thanks to my ambassadorship with The North Face Locals a surprise package had arrived on my doorstep a few weeks earlier. Inside the box I discovered a gorgeous Women’s Fuse Brigandine Jacket in Rambutan Pink and Women’s Fuse Brigandine Pants in Tech Blue. Wow! These would be perfect for our Colorado trip. Thank you North Face (Review to come soon)!

Just look at those gorgeous Colorado mountains!

Just look at those gorgeous Colorado mountains!

We arrived in Denver after an easy trip from New Hampshire with no weather delays (thank you weather gods!) and headed to Vail.  The mountain was gorgeous and expansive. We couldn’t wait to hit the slopes! Thankfully due to some accrued points we were able to stay at the gorgeous Mariott in Lionshead Village an area of Vail that didn’t exist when I was 12. The hotel was within easy walking distance to the lifts and there was easy access to buses for transport around Vail.

Skiing Adventures thanks to Vail Sports and K2

Skiing Adventures thanks to Vail Sports and K2

We had decided to demo skis while were in Vail which meant only needing to lug our ski boots on the plane. We rented our demo skis from Vail Sports which is around the corner from the Marriott The people at Vail Sports were very friendly and helpful setting us up with high level demo skis. I skied on a sweet pair of K2 skis for the three day adventure. Organic Runner Dad was able to try out K2’s and Rossignols and the process to exchange skis was simple. Vail Sports was also great because we were able to store our skis there at the end of each day and able to store our boots and bags there while we were on the slopes. We had an especially nice guy named Mitch help us out every day so definitely ask for him if you around demoing or renting equipment.

photo 4 (51)

I was a little worried that my days on the slopes would be short due to the current ongoing instability issue in my right hip  which is causing trouble with my lower back, piroformis and SI joint.  I was sore from all of the sitting during travel and my piroformis was in a tight knot! Thankfully when we woke up on our first day of skiing my muscles were all relaxed and the sky was blue and amazingly my body cooperated with me the whole trip. We headed out to explore the expansive mountain. It felt like we were kids again. With no kids at our side this would be my first day hitting the slopes for skiing without my kids on skis with me since they were both born. Our first ride up the chair revealed an adult playground of bump covered runs, powder filled back bowls, and long wide open groomers. Skiers heaven.

Like two kids in a candy story. Let's hit the slopes!

Like two kids in a candy story. Let’s hit the slopes!

And with that our amazing mountain adventures began, the fresh air and sunshine filling us up . . .

What was the last trip that you took? Where do you like to travel to refresh your mind, body, and spirit?

Organic Runner Mom

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Monday Motivation – Finding success through climbing.

Lessons for success a the North Country Climbing Center.

You're not a failure if you  don't make it.  You're a success because you tried. –Susan Jeffers Organic Runner Mom @organicrunmom

You’re not a failure if you don’t make it. You’re a success because you tried. –Susan Jeffers

I’ve been surprising myself lately as I have been unusually open to trying things that in the past would have made me quiver with fear. This weekend with wind chills sending the temperature well below zero we decided that it would be a great day to go and check out the North Country Climbing Center (N3C) in Lisbon, NH. Prior to our visit I had been hearing great things about the climbing gym and had been seeing awesome pictures from the rock walls plastering my facebook feed. The North Country Climbing Center offers open climb where you can have an instructor working with you to belay you, you can also spend time on the bouldering wall or if you are certified to belay you can climb with your partner. The also offer a women’s climbing night every week which I am now curious to try.

Organic Runner Girl feeling proud on the climibing wall.

Organic Runner Girl feeling proud on the climibing wall.

Our visit started with getting the kids and ourselves outfitted with harnesses and climbing shoes and then a basic tour of the climbing space.  The gym features brightly colored climbing routes of varying difficulties and an area for bouldering that has a giant mat in case you fall. We were happy to run into several people we knew at the gym who also came out of their cozy cocoons at home for a little daytime adventure.  Organic Runner Dad went first and quickly climbed to the top of the first route.  The kids were nervous at first but after seeing their Daddy climb and enjoying a little dancing as they waited were ready to give it a shot.  They each took a turned climbing on belay with the instructor. Even though they didn’t make it too far up the wall you could feel the pride beaming out of them as they gave it a try. This was a good lesson in the meaning of success.

Finding success in trying at the North Country Climbing Center.

Finding success in trying at the North Country Climbing Center.

After seeing my kids give it a try all fear had subsided and I was ready for my turn. I felt relaxed and ready to climb. In the past I have felt unsure and not trusting. I worried that no matter what happened I would fall and it would be scary. This time when I started climbing I felt strong and empowered. I focused on the hand and footholds on the wall.  The wall became like a puzzle with my focus being on finding the best way to maneuver my body from one hold to the next. I trusted my own strength and felt reassured by the instructor who belayed me. She encouraged me to use the strength in my legs and to trust my choices as I moved upward. Finally I made it to the top of the first route. It felt exhilarating. When I came back down my adrenaline was high and was ready for more.

Trying out some bouldering at N3C.

Trying out some bouldering at N3C.

We took turns spotting the kids as they worked on climbing in the bouldering section of the wall (and having fun running around on the mat and dancing like little maniacs). I ended up completing four routes in all. It was exhausting but now I am ready to climb some more. Through this climbing experienced I pushed through and invisible wall within myself.  In the past I would have passed on climbing, worried that I’d be too scared.  This time I was determined to climb no matter what and I no longer felt afraid to fall from the wall.

Finding my own success.

Finding my own success.

There is so much satisfaction and pride in knowing that you have tried your best even if you did not make it to the top. What was a challenge that you have worked through or continuing to work through and how have you measured your success?

Organic Runner Mom

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The benefits of bike fitting for triathlon.

The Importance of Bike Fitting for Triathlon

Triathlon Bike Fitting Organic Runner Mom

Triathlon Bike Fitting

I am still a newbie triathlete. I have one Olympic Distance Triathlon under my belt and was hooked from the moment the race started. I have lofty goals for racing this summer which includes racing my first Ironman 70.3 at the Timberman Triathlon. Now that I am jumping headfirst into the world of triathlon I decided it was time to get a real bike fitting and to add a tri-bar  (aero-bar) set up to my bike ( I am not ready for a Triathlon Time Trial bike yet however that may be in my future).

I love my road bike. It’s a Specialized Roubaix that I got before I had kids. It’s nice and light with a carbon fiber frame and many carbon fiber components.  Although I love my bike I had never had a professional bike fit before. Thankfully the owner of our awesome local bike shop Littleton Bike and Fitness, Dave Harkless is certified by Specialized to do the “Body Geometry” bike fit.  Bike fitting can have many benefits for you for training and racing.

Benefits of bike fitting:

  • better power and performance when riding
  • reduction in overuse injuries
  • proper body alignment
  • riding without discomfort
  • adjustments made to accommodate for things such as leg length discrepancy
  • more comfort when riding.

The Bike Fit

Dave. Littleton Bike and Fitness "BG Fit" Specialist

Dave. Littleton Bike and Fitness “BG Fit” Specialist

The “BG” Fit involved a 2-3 3 hour consult with Dave, the “Fit Specialist” which included an interview to discuss prior injuries and problems while cycling.  This was followed by a structural assessment of my body which included leg length measurements, forefoot angulation, knee position and several other measurements. Dave also assessed my flexibility (which is questionable!). Then he got me on the bike for a video analysis of me on my bike as it was set up.

Specialized BG Fit Organic Runner Mom

Specialized BG Fit

Once we went through these steps he began to make adjustments to my bike which included seat post adjustment, pedal adjustments as well as adjustments to the bars to optimize my position for triathlon. Dave also made some adjustments to the position of the cleats in my shoes as well as adding an insole to my left bike shoe to help with leg length discrepancy. Finally Dave added the new aero-bar set up to get me in optimal position for racing a triathlon. Tri-bars are made to allow your body to be in a more aerodynamic position.

Bike Fitting 101. The Fit Kit.

Bike Fitting 101. The Fit Kit.

I am pretty excited to get more comfortable riding on my newly adjusted bike. Since snow is on the ground and Arctic temperatures have taken over New Hampshire I am going to be logging many quality miles on my bike on the trainer. It’s going to take a little bit of time to get adjusted to the triathlon set up because your body is positioned at a different angle. As a part of the BG Fit I will go in again to see Dave to make any other necessary adjustments after I have spent some time riding for awhile.

Organic Runner Mom Trying out my new tri-bar set up.

Trying out my new tri-bar set up.

Have you ever had a professional bike fitting? Do you ride a bike for triathlon or for cross training? 

Organic Runner Mom

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Fresh Friday: Rebuilding an Athlete

Rebuilding an Athlete

Never be afraid to fall apart because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish had been all along.--unknown Organic Runner Mom

Never be afraid to fall apart because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish had been all along.–unknown

It’s the start of the new year, a time to set new goals, to make resolutions, and to try new things.  The start of the new year is a time to reboot.  I love taking this time of year to look forward to all of the new possibilities for what might happen as time swiftly moves forward and I am driven to reach my new goals.  The past couple of years have been an important time of rebuilding for me, essentially finding my way back to myself and finding a new strong spirit.  With my spirit engaged and ready to take on big dreams with passion and enthusiasm I am now working on rebuilding my body into a new stronger me.

I admit that I am hard on my body. I never give myself the rest that is needed in between races to let my body regain 100% strength. I live my life with a full plate, burning the candle at both ends. I sleep too little.  I have a hard time saying no to adventure. Now that I am getting a little bit older (ahem) . . . my body is beginning to rebel against me. While my spirit is strong my body has given in to older injuries.  My body has been compensating for an old back injury, from slipping and falling on some ice in college. My core is weakened by surgery during pregnancy followed by two c-sections. My body has been screaming for rest that I did not give it.  I should have learned my lesson after dealing with tendonitis in my foot.

I ran a turkey trot on Thanksgiving day even though my body was hinting at me that this wasn’t a good idea. I ran the race. I ran fast. It was not a good idea.  I was quickly forced into a month of no running.  A back injury. I am now seeing a physical therapist at the Alpine Clinic trying to rebuild my body so that I can perform at optimum strength and speed again.  After a full evaluation it has been determined that I have muscle imbalance issues in my pelvis which are causing my pelvis to tilt. When this happens I am experiencing, “abnormal sacroiliac joint alignment, lumbar misalignment, muscular imbalances, abnormal posture and of course subsequent wear and tear, degeneration, and lower back pain” (SOURCE). My PT also discovered that I have an issue with my C5 vertebra (dating back to 1998 from that fall on the ice) which is causing weakness and stiffness in my back and may be the root of the issues that I am having on my right side.  The muscular imbalance and weakness are likely due to three abdominal surgeries which weakened my pelvic floor and transverse abdominus which supports the base of your spine and your core.

In my month of from running I have rested, I have iced, I have heated and I have spent a lot of time in the pool.  Swimming has been my saving grace because my body craves the endorphins and swimming is totally pain free.  I am gradually working my way back into running with some slow and easy treadmill miles and even one road run.  I am also slowly reacquainting myself with my bike.  The goal is to exercise with no pain so if at any time I feel pain I need to be disciplined and stop so that I don’t hurt myself.  At physical therapy I am learning some transverse abdominus isolating exercises and let me tell you these are tough.  Apparently I have not addressed this muscle group in a long time! Thankfully I now have a plan for recovery.  The rest time has be rejuvenating and my attitude is positive!

Rebuilding is a slow process but it is important to give your mind, body and soul the time that it needs. I’m thinking of this time as putting the pieces of a puzzle together.

Rebuilding Organic Runner Mom


What are your tips for rebuilding your mind, body and soul? How do you stay positive? How do you keep yourself engaged in the process of rebuilding?

Organic Runner Mom

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Tri Talk Tuesday: Goal Setting

Triathlon Goals for 2015

Tri Talk Tuesday Triathlon Link-Up

Tri Talk Tuesday Triathlon Link-Up

I’ve decided it’s time to join some link up fun each week (let’s see if I can make this happen) for Tri-Talk Tuesday with bloggers Cynthia, Courtney, and Phaedra. Today’s topic is resolution and goal setting. This is a perfect topic for this week since we are at the start of the New Year and just yesterday I was discussing Goal Setting. I am still a tri newbie.  The total number of triathlons that I have raced is one, one Olympic Distance Triathlon (Lobsterman Tri) and I absolutely loved it. Now that I am hooked I have decided that this will be the summer of Triathlon (but don’t worry, there will still be a lot of running too!). I have picked (at least) 4 triathlons that I would like to race this summer and that includes my first Half Ironman, the Timberman 70.3.  I chose the Timberman 70.3 because I have heard great things about this race and also it is somewhat local to me being held on Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire. With my focus on triathlon, I need to establish some training and racing goals for myself so that I can stay on track and have fun while I am training and racing.

Organic Runner Mom Triathlon Goal Setting

Triathlon Goal Setting

Triathlon Training Goals

The swim:

  1. Become more proficient at bilateral breathing (breathing on both sides).
  2. Find a comfortable stroke/breath ratio.
  3. Become more consistent with power through the full freestyle stroke.
  4. Improve my overall kicking strength.
  5. Keep my head down in open water swims.
  6. Train more in open water once the water is warm enough to not turn into a popsicle!

The Bike:

  1. To become comfortable riding with my new tri bar set-up.
  2. To increase training ride distance (the Ironman 70.3 features a 56 mile bike ride!).
  3. Work on hill climbing technique.
  4. To fully utilize the pedal upstroke to maximize full pedaling power.

The Run:

  1. I need to improve transition time between the bike and the run.
  2. To practice fueling for the run.
  3. Training will include lots of speed work. Since the run is the strongest part of my triathlon I want to rock the run with negative splits.

It’s going to be one hell of a training adventure! I am so excited to embark on this Ironman 70.3 journey! Thanks for stopping by for Tri Talk Tuesday!

Have you ever raced a triathlon? What are your triathlon training goals? If you haven’t raced a triathlon what is your big goal race this year?

Organic Runner Mom

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Dream Big. It’s time to set some new goals.

 Dream a little dream . . .

“If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.” – Marcel Proust #dreambig

“If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.” – Marcel Proust #dreambig

This year its all about dreaming big.  I am always so surprised when I hear people say, “I could never run a marathon or I could never be a runner.” Words like these are filled with self-doubt and fear. If I had believed these things to be true about myself I would have never even gotten started with running.  The journey to reaching my big goals in life has offered me some of the greatest rewards and I have learned so much along the way. I admit that have uttered words like this about many things. I am a perfectionist to the core so self-doubt is definitely in my vocabulary.  When we live a life fearing what might happen we are often left wondering what could have been or feeling filled with regret.  When you have a dream of starting something new or going for that big goal you need to dream big and tell yourself that you can reach your goal. Deciding to go for a big goal can feel like you are at the edge of a cliff when you first get started but the journey to achieving your goal will be filled with unthinkable rewards and learning about yourself that is invaluable.

2015 is a year to dream big and to go for those goals that have been waiting for you!

Reach for your dreams:

  1. Choose your goal.
  2. Write it down. Share it on your blog. Write it in a journal. You can keep your goal personal or shout it out loud to the world.
  3. Create a plan for yourself.  How will you reach your goal? Will you need a coach, a training partner, a training plan or more to help you along the way?
  4. Set small goals for yourself as checkpoints. Checking in along the way to achieving your big goal will help you to manage any possible stress and challenges that you might be encountering.
  5. Believe in yourself.  Write down all of the reasons why you think you can’t and then all of the reasons why you think you can.
  6. Go for it! The time is now!
  7. Celebrate your achievements!

Have you ever been afraid to try something new? How did you get started? How did you stay accountable? How do you celebrate achieving your dreams?

Organic Runner Mom

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I’m going to Run This Year!

Run This Year!

Organic Runner Mom is going to Run This Year!

Organic Runner Mom is going to Run This Year!

Are you looking for a way to stay on track with your mileage goals this year?  This year I’ve decided to join in the fun logging miles and sharing my running journey with Run this Year.  Run this Year is a, ” free running community that challenges and inspires you to run as many miles as you can in one year! Run This Year is for anyone who strives to run all year and maybe even run the year in miles.”  This fun group is organized by Jill Conyers of and Tiffany Henness of or Matters of Course.

I have never really done a good job of keeping track of all of my running miles so I am hoping that this will keep me motivated and also inspired by the other awesome runners taking part in this challenge group.  What I love about this challenge is that you can run the same number of miles as the year 2,015, or you can choose your own personal mileage goals.  I have decided to pick my own mileage goal because with all of the different injuries I have had over the past two years (back and tendonitis) I am hoping to just have a great year of running in addition to my triathlon training.

In addition to logging your miles every month, Run This Year will also have monthly giveaways and there is a great facebook community. Also, if you are a twitter lover like me, there will be a twitter chat once a month with other Run This Year Participants. To find out more about this cool challenge community set up by Jill and Running Hutch head on over to Run This Year to find out more and also to sign up!

Thankfully my back has been cooperating so I have been able to start this year logging some easy miles. My fingers are crossed that this trend will continue. I am easing back into running while continuing to go to Physical Therapy for my back and also swimming, cycling on my trainer, and strength training.  Happy running and I hope to see you in the Run This Year Group!

Run This Year 2015

Run this Year brought to you by Jill Conyers and Running Hutch

How many miles do you hope to run this year? What is your favorite running goal for this year?

Organic Runner Mom

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An unexpected recap of the 2014 Boston Marathon.

Describe your running year in one word. 

This post was inspired by Amanda from Run to the Finish who asks, “If you could describe your year of running in one word what would that be?”

Her question sparked an unexpected recap of my 2014 Boston Marathon, a recap which I have struggled to write.

In one word, my year of running was EMOTIONAL.

Here is a snapshot from part of my year. The Boston Marathon 2014 #BostonStrong

Organic Runner Mom. Boston Strong. #BostonStrong

Boston Strong. #BostonStrong

2014 was a year of putting myself back together both physically and mentally.  2014 began and Boston Marathon training was in full swing.  Training for Boston in 2014 was important. I had run in 2013 finishing the race a mere 10 minutes before tragedy would occur at the finish line.  My training for the Boston Marathon 2014 was full of highs and lows. I continued with weekly therapy sessions to work through PTSD that had plagued me since the 2013 race.  I wanted to be at the starting line in 2014 in order to heal, to run and to be able to finish. I needed to be there. The emotional journey has been hard and sadness about what occurred on the bluebird sky day in Boston still sneaks up on me sometimes when I least expect it.

Along with emotional healing at the start of 2014 I knew I would have to work hard to get my body physically strong for the Boston Marathon.  The miles during this training cycle never came easy as they had the year before. I still had nagging tendonitis in my foot and the polar vortex had a strong grip on New England ensuring that every long run would put ice on your breath and cold in your bones. Thankfully I got in my miles with strong running friends as my partners who were somehow convinced to join me in my journey of healing to the Boston Marathon starting line.

Make the best of the freezing miles. Bundle up and get it done!

Make the best of the freezing miles. Bundle up and get it done!

I felt nervous leading up to marathon weekend. I wasn’t sure how the emotions would fill me or if I would even want to be there on race day. Organic Runner Dad and I arrived in Boston for marathon weekend and even though I felt overwhelmed I also felt lifted up by the energy of all of the people in the city wearing blue and gold.  We arrived at race number pick-up where I was glad to pick-up my bib to begin my trip to the finish line. I needed to be with all of these other runners many of whom shared the same fears as I did.

Run Together. Boston Marathon 2014. Organic Runner Mom

Run Together. Boston Marathon 2014.

There were many overwhelming emotional moments during the weekend that stuck out in particular.  During packet pick-up I spoke with a man at the ticket desk in a quiet corner.  He asked, “had I run last year?” I told him I had and told him my story and about how I needed to be at the race to find healing. He too shared his story how he and his wife had been late to the finish line where they usually watched runners crossing when they heard the news on the radio.  They would have been there. Instead he lost a friend, Krystle. She had been standing there when everything happened. Tears welled in his eyes. I was silent but knew to offer a hug. The pain and emotion and the tears filled us both as we hugged for a moment. He told me he knew that he had to be at the race in 2014. He needed to. I understood but can’t even come close to understanding his level of grief.

Run Together. Boston Strong.

Run Together. Boston Strong.

On the morning of the marathon I felt on edge. I wanted to be at the starting line and to just get going.  When I arrived at the bus to the starting line I ended up in line with a woman named May. She had run the Boston Marathon every year for an amazing streak including 2013. In 2013 she had finished even closer to tragedy. She had just passed through the finish line when the bombs went off. Initially confused by the commotion and then upon realizing the danger was real she new she needed to get out of there. She told me she was able to get away from the finish area and then out of Boston as quickly as she could back to the safety of her home. She told me about the fear of returning to the city and how she hadn’t been back in the city since April 15, 2013.  She too was on a quest for healing. To run the race, to run strong and to finish.  We spent the entire morning leading up to the race together in the starting area and even in the starting corral. Her strength and resolve along with that of everyone at the start and lining the streets brought me new energy and strength to be there and be running. There was such comfort in being with someone who understood my experience.

I am lucky. Boston Marathon starting line 2014. Organic Runner Mom.

I am lucky. Boston Marathon starting line 2014.

And finally. The race. We stood at the starting line. Nervous. Muscles twitching and ready to go. Words for the tragedy. The National Anthem. A flood of tears as we crossed the starting line.  I felt strong and ready to run. Fooled by the ease of the downhill at the start of the race. Running the first mile past the tower of shoes for Meg (Meg another runner lost to tragedy during the year, another person to run strong for, #MegsMiles). I felt strong emotionally until about 9 miles in, I was running too fast and then I saw runners for Team Martin Richard. A wave of emotions crashed over me. I had to catch my breath. I slowed my pace. Trying to find something that was comfortable and trying to settle my emotions. I could not stop thinking about 2013. Now I ran with a small edge of fear and sadness. I ran on. I ran to finish. Knowing I had gone out far too fast I tried to focus on running and the experience. I worked to embrace every emotion that hit me. I ran and ran and ran.

Boston Strong. Organic Runner Mom #BostonStrong

Boston Strong

Exhausted by the unexpected heat, the tireless steps on the relentless pavement and exhausted emotionally I pressed on passing through the “Scream Tunnel” and tackling “Heartbreak Hill.” With each step I knew I was one step closer to conquering my fear of running down Boylston Street. Before we turned onto Boylston I came upon two men running on prosthetic legs, soldiers, injured in war.  If they could run this 26.2 then I could too. I ran for them. I ran for Martin Richard and his family I ran for Lingzi Lu and Krystle Campbell. I ran for Jeff Bauman. I ran for 264 people injured that horrible day and for everyone who was touched by the tragedy. As I crossed into the final mile. my head was spinning. I could see the finish line but needed to run down the metal chute of fences keeping the crowd safely from the runners. The previous year the fences were ripped away into a metal pile as spectators became heroes racing to save lives.  I pressed on. I pushed my pace. My breath quickening with each step. Until I crossed the line. A medal placed around my neck and immediately a sudden silence as the announcer marked the time of the tragedy that took hold of the heart and soul of Boston in 2013

Finisher of the 2014 Boston Marathon. Organic Runner Mom

Finisher of the 2014 Boston Marathon

I will save you the tale of the aftermath of my race as it was not pretty. But what happened on Marathon Monday 2014 brought me much needed healing.  I will always carry these experiences with me. I often reflect back on what I was a part of. I know I am lucky. I was close. But I was far enough to be able to walk away. Far enough to be able to live every day to be my best and to be with those who love me. I am stronger every day.

So yes, in one word, this year was emotional.  It has taken me a long time to write this. I guess I am finally ready to share my story. I hope that you will share my story with others.  What is your word? Tell me your story.

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