Tag Archives: support

On running, tragedy, and inspiration.

I almost chose not to write a post about yesterday’s Boston Marathon tragedy, but the more I read, the more blogs, tributes and gestures, the more I fall in love with running even more than I ever thought I could.

Because I’ve always been teetering on the fence of love-to-run and love-to-hate-to-run, despite my best efforts to get rid of the ‘hate,’ there are still days I struggle. With breathing, with pace, with ‘in my head-ness’ and it makes me wonder if I’ll ever love the sport as much as others will.

But the truth is? It doesn’t matter. And it never will. 

What matters is that I do it because I DO love it, at the heart of it, because it is the one sport, I truly believe, that never gets any easier, no matter if you are an elite, a jogger, or somewhere in between. You run because it is a challenge. Every.single.time. There is no such thing as an ‘easy’ run. (despite those that call their runs an ‘easy run day…’). You may run with ease, but the act of running itself? Not. Easy. Ever.

But my point with all of this is…after yesterday’s tragedy, I honestly don’t know that I have seen a community come together as quick as this, to respond, react, support. From instagram, to Twitter, to Facebook, to tributes, to candlelight vigils, to worldwide support in every single way…there it was. And it was, and still is, beautiful. Every single time I come across something else beautiful, in light of tragedy.

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This quote (Runner’s World):

“It’s the only sport in the world where if a competitor falls, the others around will pick him or her up. It’s the only sport in the world open to absolutely everyone, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or any other division you can think of. It’s the only occasion when thousands of people assemble, often in a major city, for a reason that is totally peaceful, healthy and well-meaning. It’s the only sport in the world where no one ever boos anybody.”

This act of kindness.

And this ‘virtual’ run that has spread so quickly, so virally. And you better believe I ran this morning. M and I ran and ran, in silence, our longest run since the fall. It was tough. I was in my head at the start, but by the end, I felt accomplished, happy, and in a way, paying it forward.

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Take a minute. Pay it forward. Tell someone you love them. Run. Walk. Smile. Do something. Be inspired today, and take one step in front of the other, onward.

 

 

A story of sisterhood.

Growing up as a triplet is a unique experience in so many ways. It’s truly so hard to explain to those that are only children or have older or younger siblings, especially because being a triplet is all I have ever known (especially since we don’t have any other siblings).

I think the biggest thing about being a triplet is the role it plays in our lives, from childhood to adulthood in terms of stepping back and ‘who’s on first’ (for lack of a better term).

This may sound pretty obvious, but as triplets, there is an inherent urge to ‘compete’ and ‘be on first’ since there is naturally much less of an ability for that, growing up exactly the same age, doing exactly the same things at exactly the same time.

But there are just times when you need to step back. Take the backseat and let one (or both) of your sisters shine. Be ‘on first.’  And ultimately, to be the proud sister supporting, quietly, strong. There.

~~

There are two distinct examples of this in recent years. The first one is when my sister Jen had my niece Isabel two years ago. As the first to bring a child into this world, naturally, the focus was on her, and my niece. But as there were some major complications with my niece’s birth and several months of health issues to follow for my sister, life became all hands on deck, supporting her, helping get her back to health and help take care of our beautiful niece. It was honestly a very scary time, my fear that my sister was…well, very ill, was one of the scariest feelings. And I just wanted to take it all away for her and carry some of that physical burden. And then…she recovered. She grew stronger. We banded together and supported.

And from that point forward, seeing my sister flourish as a mother, getting through an extremely difficult and traumatic health experience and stepping into the role of mother has been one of the proudest times for me as a sister. As she experienced something neither Jess or I ever have, and had, for the first time, experienced something completely different than either Jess or I had. She is a shining example of what I hope to ever achieve as a mother one day, the devotion, love, and strength she carries for my niece is incredible.

And while this experience, to this day, signaled the first time we were going through a life experience differently, separately…not the same (as our lives had paralleled in so many ways all the way through life)…the one common factor in all of this?

Support.

Stepping back.

Allowing her to ‘be on first’ and supporting her throughout as much as we possibly could. And from that experience onward? I don’t think our bond as sisters could be much stronger than it is now. Even though we are now living our lives differently, in so many ways. We still share the common bond, the sisterhood, the support, and the love that is indescribable.

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The second example of this is this weekend. My sister Jess’s first marathon. While I won’t detail anything about the race itself, since she will do that herself and do it plenty more justice than I ever could, watching it all unfold was simply one of the proudest moments for me as a sister. The outpouring of support. Twitter, Facebook, emails, texts, phone calls. Support, support, support. 

Preparing to run sherpa their race, I knew this weekend was going to be incredible. A blur. And, honestly? Work. I knew it would take a lot of support, planning and running around to help make this happen for her. To help keep her calm (even with a near-Healthy Bites disaster!!). To make sure she felt ready. To carry her big ass bag of post-race needs as M and I hoofed it miles and miles and more miles to the start, mile 8, mile 15 and mile 26.2 to run sherpa our asses off (and freeze them off too!!). And to allow her to ‘be on first.’ 

Not once did I feel like I wish I was out there running with her (okay, maybe once, when I realized I could have planned to hop in for a few miles to run alongside her! Hindsight.). Not once did I feel sad that we weren’t sharing this together. (because we were, truthfully!) I just felt pride, joy and happiness. Tweeting out updates left and right. Fielding texts and emails for updates and requests for pictures all morning long….gave me joy. I loved seeing her ‘on first’ and getting all of the support and love that she deserves.

And when she crossed that finish line, I think I may have rivaled how proud they both felt. As tears rolled down my cheeks and I shakily tweeted “Ahhhh there they go! Hand in hand!!!! #teamsutera #finish #runsherpa”, I was happy. Simply happy beyond words. And I still am.

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I share this story because it has been a time of reflection for me lately. Thinking about my tendencies as a sister and the shift I have really worked hard at in terms of the comparison trap, the competing for ‘being on first’ that has inherently been a part of our lives our entire lives. I no longer get the urge to want to do what my sisters do simply because they are doing them and I want to do it together. I just find ways to share in their separate joys with them, my way.

For Jen, it was stepping into backup mom role with midnight feedings when she was ill, and taking her to doctor’s appointments (as tough as those appointments could be sometimes, I, to this day, look at them fondly as sister days, where Jen and I grew closer than ever. I am pretty sure she is thinking of the very same appointment I am, as she reads this!). And it is working on being the best aunt I can be, spending time with my niece, learning from her, teaching her. <–I am still really working on this, and finding more time to spend together. It is my vow, sis!

For Jess, it has been finding my role in supporting her training for a marathon. When she first decided she wanted to do a marathon, my first thought was ‘I wish I wanted to run a marathon’ and as much as I tried to want it…I just didn’t. And that was okay. It was a turning point for me in realizing I don’t have to do what either of my sisters does. And writing this down and admitting that I used to feel that way, while hard, feels triumphant.

Because now? I am the proudest sister on the planet, of both of my sisters and their different paths, while I create my own path and life in this world that is truly me and mine.  

I love you sisters, and I am truly thankful for you each and every day. <3

Where our story continues.

Last night, M got down on one knee and proposed.

And I, of course, said yes.

I can’t even believe I am writing this out, it still feels surreal (and I most definitely woke up this morning and felt for my ring, wondering if it was all a dream, and a smile spread across my face, when I realized it was, in fact, not *just* a dream).

***

I had just come back from a coffee ‘date’ with the fabulous (seriously, she is awesome, so glad we finally met, side note!!) Amanda, where we ironically talked about marriage and how we met (since we both met our partners on match.com, how cool is that?!). And M came home from work just after I sat down to get back to work. He walked in, smile on his face, flowers in his hand and a card in the other. I thought to myself, ‘how cute, he brought me flowers ‘just because’…I LOVE that!’. He told me to open the card, which I did, after giving him a kiss. As I read it, it said at the end, “I love you more than anything” with an arrow to turn the card over. As I flipped it over, it said “Will you spend and share the rest of your life with me?” 

As I read those words, he pulled a ring out of its hiding spot in his desk, got down on his knee and asked me to marry him.

To which I replied, “yes, of course. yes! babe, really? wow, right now? wow. I don’t even know what to say, yes! yes!”

And then he slipped the most beautiful, perfect ring on my finger.

**

And come to find out? He’d gone ring shopping with my sister Jess and accomplice brother in law Scott on Friday (!), and they all kept THAT a secret all weekend, despite spending oh, almost the entire weekend together. Poker faces. ALL of them. Even Jess. And she cannot keep a secret from me for the life of her.  He picked up the ring Tuesday night, and was going to wait until Friday, but couldn’t. So yesterday, September 19, he asked me to marry him.

**

I made call after call last night, sharing our news. Sending out texts. Receiving texts. Sharing, sharing, sharing.

I called my grandparents (and especially wanted to speak to them as my best friend’s grandfather passed away yesterday morning…the same friend whose house burned down just a few months ago. Sigh) and shared the news. They were so sweet, very supportive, and my grandmother joked “well, this wasn’t a surprise was it?” (cute). My grandfather asked to speak to M. And when I heard what he said, my heart melted.

“M. Congratulations. (pause). You are a very lucky man you know. Welcome to the family.”

<3

**

These are some of the words in the card he gave me:

“Since I met you, all I can think about is making you happy. I want to see you smile and hear your laughter…I want to memorize the sound of your voice and the dreams of your heart. More than anything else, I want to make you happier than you’ve ever been and give you all the things you deserve. I love you more than anything.”

And this morning? As he left for work, he said:

“Last night was the second best decision I’ve ever made in my entire life.”

I smiled and (naturally) asked what the first one was.

He said “going on a date with you two years ago.”

Words cannot express how I feel, I am truly overwhelmed with love, happiness, and the most amazing, supportive family and friends. Thank you, from both of us, from the bottom of our hearts.

<3

Truly.

12 redeeming miles.

Yesterday was yet another ‘sherpa run’ – at the tune of 12 miles.

I let it ‘marinate’ overnight before posting today, and just let the joy sink in.

For the very first time, I loved every single mile. I felt strong. I felt fast (for me!). I felt confident. I event caught myself smiling as we ran.

Smiling.

I never smile.

People walking their dogs or jogging past us probably think I’m either a) a huge bitch (even though I always wave and say good morning!) b) that I hate life or c) that there’s a bear chasing me and that’s the only reason I’m running.

Because I can imagine I look miserable.

But truthfully, I just am focused on my breathing, and ‘listening’ to my body, seeing how it feels, and well, running.

But yesterday? I could feel redemption almost from mile 1 (and mile 1 is ALWAYS my worst mile).

It was ‘chilly’ comparatively speaking to last week’s dreadful mental 11 miles, all of 50 degrees and I wore crops for the first time, rather than shorts. My hands were even pretty icy feeling at the start of it! But the air was thin, cool and absolutely perfect.

And the route tweaks were also worth doing. Rather than one long continuous route (which, as you know, I tend to favor over the same route looped!), I mashed together two different routes so the only ‘repeat’ road was one mile long (though the turn where we usually head back to our apartment complex was REALLY tough not to take!!), and that proved successful!

Fueling was also much better. I brought some honey stingers this time (thanks sis!) and my trusty healthy bites (thanks Lindsay!) and we brought two water bottles this time. Perfect.

I ran free, I ran joyously and I run-sherpa’d my heart out. M run sherpa’d ME perfectly too. He kept pushing me, told me how great we were doing, how we were pacing really well and to keep going, don’t stop, and charge up that mofo hill I hate. And I did. I hit every hill and didn’t stop. 

When we set foot at our complex, 12 miles later and in about 2 hours (!), though I was hurting and exhausted, I was thrilled.

We did it. Again. And redemption? Is so very sweet.

Next up…I think you know what, by now. Next week’s run is the milestone. And I can honestly say I can’t wait to tackle it.

*As I write this, my sister and Scott are *still* running their 22 miles…so mind-boggling as we texted bright and early at 5:15 am, as I headed to the studio, and she headed for her run. That is a long-ass time to run, just saying. Go sis and Scott, go!!!*

 

11 mental miles.

By now, you’ve probably figured out that I have been quietly tacking on to my ‘virtual sherpa’ miles in support of my sister’s marathon next month. (and while I still refuse to say exactly where I’m going - proverbially and literally (!) speaking, I’ll share my goal when I reach it, mmk?)

So, this morning ended up being our ‘virtual sherpa’ run even though Jess isn’t planning to run her next long run (20 miles (!)) until Saturday (part of the reason for our ‘early’ sherpa’ing? It’s our two year anniversary  - yayyyyy – on Saturday and running 11 miles that morning did not seem to be the most romantic way to start it off, hehe).

11 miles was the plan.

I mapped out our route last night and unlike my sister, who, mentally, finds it easier to tackle longer distances by doing the same route several times (so, a 7 mile loop twice for 14 miles, for example) while for me, that would bore me to tears and also tempt me into stopping early. For me, a long loop the extent of the run just does it for me.

So. Our run took us 11 miles and almost entirely of one continuous route. The only change was one loop to get us to 11. And honestly, that loop played mental mind games with me. As we looped around, my legs were just beat up. (even though I intentionally gave myself a day between runs to let them rest a bit). They felt like I was at mile 9 or 10, not mile 5 and 6. Even M’s legs were tired prematurely.

We kept going and around mile 7, walked some and had some water and fuel (ala Healthy Bites, thank you Lindsay!!). I was SO thirsty for some reason, but only drank a little, given I always side cramp if I am not careful with water consumption. This is where I started to freak out a little. I was just.so.tired. We came up to a spot where we go left, and complete 11 miles, or go right (and a huge ass mofo of a hill, I might add) and shorten our run and go home. If this says anything about this run – I was thisclose to taking the shorter, yet, mofo-hill way. SOclose. 

And then M gave me some tough love. He said ‘look. I’m tired too. I don’t know what’s happening to us today, but we got up this morning to run 11 miles. We are going to run 11 miles.’

Me, using my inside voice: ‘sheesh. I love you too babe.’

;-)

So, we kept going. And it was just labor. Torture. I am pretty sure I could not have been more miserable in these final 4 miles than I was (and I might add, not ONE BUNNY the entire run. That should have been a sign this run was going to be miserable!). At the only other super steep mofo-like hill, I just had to walk it. I tried to run, my legs were practically moving backwards (it’s that steep, I swear). So I stopped. And I felt the lump in my throat rising. The panic setting in. And I shed a couple of tears, but tried to hide them. We didn’t speak. Just breathed, held hands. 

And we took off once again and somehow, some way, managed to make it all 11 miles. It felt like 20. Truly. They felt almost entirely like dismal, awful, just downright angry miles. (except for the beautiful sunrise we witnessed during the first 3 miles of our run, the only good miles we ran, I do believe!).

So we made it. 11 mental miles. 

And when I head out for that redemption run on Saturday (a shorter one, of course) with M, on our two year anniversary, I’m going to turn those mental miles into happy miles. Channel the last two years. The best years of my life.