Worn Jackets and Used Tissues

I have a new-to-me winter running jacket. It’s the prettiest dark cornflower blue, fleece-lined, and wind-proof. It’s not that much out of the ordinary, except…

…it was my mom’s.

My dad handed it to me in the days after the funeral. “This would fit you,” he said. Many of my mom’s clothes do not fit me, as the top of her head came up to my chin, on a good day.

“It’s a medium, not a small. Try it on,” my dad said gently. My mother was a big-time clotheshorse. You know how people find stashes of cash around a house after their loved one dies? I found stashes of clothes in all of the closets, under beds, in storage areas, even in my dad’s closet. Needless to say, I wasn’t ready to go through all of her clothes. But my dad was rumaging through the front coat closet, and came across this jacket.

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“I bought it for her on one of our trips. It’s warm. She was always cold.”

I tried it on. It fit.

“You could wear it running/I could wear it running!” we pretty much said at the same time.

The jacket went into my suitcase for the trip back home.

The thing with losing a loved one is, life goes on whether you’re ready or not. I had no choice but to jump back into real life…mothering, teaching, wife-ing, etc. Running? I didn’t quite have the energy for that yet.

Two weeks later, I could not ignore The Call Of the Run anymore. My body and brain craved it. It was 25 degrees, and being the cold-weather-wimp that I am, reached for the pretty blue jacket and zipped it up.

Buried in the pockets I found a stash of tissues. One of the pockets held a bunch of neatly folded tissues, ready for use. The other pocket held, well…crumpled tissues I can only assume were “used.” (She had a constantly runny nose from her cancer treatments.) Under normal circumstances, finding someone else’s used tissues would cause me to throw up in my mouth a little. But this little treasure made me smile, as they were hers, and OF COURSE my mother would have one pocket for new tissues and the other for used. She had a system for everything.

While the thought briefly crossed my mind, I did not keep the tissues.

But wearing her jacket that day did not make me sad. It’s really, really hard to feel sorry for yourself when you’re running. Try it, I dare you. Instead, I felt like I was taking her with me on that run, literally and figuratively wrapped around me and keeping me warm. It was a damn good run.

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I’ll be kind of sad when the weather warms up and I won’t be able to wear the jacket for a while. She wasn’t a runner, so it is unlikely that I will magically find a tank of hers to wear in the warmer months.

But until then, I’ll enjoy taking a piece of my mom with me on my runs, used tissues and all.

 

 

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My Cup RUNneth Over

I am very full of thanks this week. I’m also very full of turkey, pie, and ibuprofen. But it’s the thanks I want to write about.

I just wanted to write a post expressing my heartfelt gratitude to everyone that helped get me to the start line and through the finish line of the Philadelphia Marathon.  The amount of love I’ve received in the past 2 weeks has been overwhelming. It might be me and only me getting myself over the finish line in one piece, but it takes a village…to help a runner not puke at that finish line.

THANK YOU to my running bud this cycle, Lori, we hit almost every long run together. We know the all the good pee spots in northern Fairfield County. We juggle work, kids, and everything else, and then we talk talk talk about it. She pushes my pace and keeps me honest. We sometimes wear coordinating outfits without planning it.

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Accidental!

Thank you Lori, for your companionship, listening ear, thoughtful dialogue, and tolerance of my strange running outfits.

THANK YOU to my Badass Running Coach, Erin. She may be a “virtual” coach, but her coaching plan was SPOT ON for me this year. She was able to find that sweet spot workout every time and knows just how far to push me.

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I think I was grateful for that workout??

Thank you Erin, for believing in me 110%, and being an inspiration to me as a mom and a runner. I hope to see you at the NYC marathon in 2014!

AND OF COURSE, THANK YOU to my family…particularly my husband, my children, and my parents.

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Best. Crew. Ever.

Thank you to my husband for tag-teaming the kid duty while we both got our workouts in, fixing me post-run snacks, and rolling out my stiff hamstrings. Thank you to my children for understanding that when mommy gets her running time in, she’s going to come back a happier mommy. Thank you to my parents for being my first and loudest cheerleaders.

Not to mention the countless friends and relatives, near and far, who have run with me, encouraged me, or even just asked me how the training has been going. I started typing out names, and then I got overwhelmed and teary because there were so many, and then I got paranoid and teary that I would leave someone out. So I’m just going to group into “crews”: The Branchville School crew (headed by Mary), the Barlow School Crew, the Ohio crew, the In-Laws crew, the New Jersey crew, the Glen Wild Lake crew, the Rainbow Drive crew, the Florida crew, the Book Club crew, the New Milford Crew, the Badass Mother Runner Ragnar Crew, the Another Mother Runner crew, the Run Like a Mother crew…you ALL helped me kick some marathon butt.

For that, I am counting my blessings. My cup RUNneth over, indeed.

Running Stuff: Simply Complicated

I know I’ve always said to friends that running in a simple sport. All you need are good shoes, wicking socks, and a good, ahem, “support”, and you’re good to go.

I lied.

It’s amazing what I’ve accumulated for running long-distance. When my friend Kim and I were getting our stuff ready for an early-morning 8-miler this summer, it looked like some sort of horrible display at a sporting expo:

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The visual manifestation of an actual list I have on my computer.

My stuff is on the left, Kim’s the right. I had:

  • Shoes, socks, tank, shorts, hat, sunglasses, foot tape.
  • Nathan Fuel Belt loaded with ID, hotel key, a few bucks, energy gels, inhaler, with bottles ready to be filled with water spiked with Nuun Sports tablets.
  • Phone (to be charged overnight) with Runkeeper App, armband for phone, earbuds, bodyglide for chaffing, barette and hairbands.
  • Bananas, bagels and coffee for pre-run fuel.

Lordy, not so simple after all. You don’t even want to know all the things I need to pack for marathon weekend.

But all of the toys do make it quite fun!

Do you lay out your running stuff the night before a morning run?

This Hat Makes Me Go Faster

This glamour shot was taken in the parking lot of my school, pre-run. FAB, eh?

I swear it does.

It’s by Wizbang, a mom-owned company out of Montana. Just putting it on my head makes me feel a little lighter, a little faster, a little younger. It’s a nice weight – perfect for runs from about 30 degrees to 50 degrees. My mom got it for me for the holidays. Holla, Mom!

If you need a little spring in your step, a groovy new running accessory makes a world of difference.

What special, fun, sassy accessory makes you go faster?

P.S. Wizbang doesn’t know me from Adam (who’s Adam?) and I don’t get squat for mentioning them. I just like ’em.