That's a Wrap!!! (Part 2 - Finish Strong)

If there could me a motivational statement that I needed to get me through 2019, this was defiantly it.  My last race for 2019 and at the finish line, was this sign.  It rang true not just for the race, but for the year, and hopefully I can mirror that in the future.  As the final hours tick away I'm so thankful to say goodbye to 2019.  This year was hard.  That my friends, is not a complaint, but a matter of fact. Many of you close friends of mine know some of the things that have been causing pain in my heart this year, but I will finish this year strong, and even stronger than I imagined.

Post Chicago 5k Race
Ready to run the Chicago 5k
I certainly don't believe in the saying "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger".  I believe somethings truly do kill us, just shy from a literal sense.  Heartbreaks, deaths, unwanted medical diagnosis, losing friends, career changes, all of these things have killed part of me this year.  And they say running can ward off depression.  Well with todays run I hit my running goal of 2300 miles for the year 2019.  How much more do I need to run to ward off the depression?  While I don't know the answer, and it differs for everyone, I'm forced to look back on the positives for the year.

Post Chicago 5k Race
My 11th Marathon was set for the Chicago Marathon.  One of the Abbotts Big 6, and one of the largest marathons in the U.S.  This one was special because I'd be running with my dad again, as well as some of my great friends.  Tomo was willing to do the 5k with me the day before which was so fun!  I'm a big fan of the shakeout 5ks the day before the marathon.  The race was so much fun!  I did learn quickly on this run that the story is true about the big buildings of Chicago causing disturbances for your GPS tracking watches.
Stefanie Bruce - Legend and Inspiration for
running women and mothers
After the race we went to the race expo again.  I can't tell you how excited I was to have two of my best running friends from back home running the race too!  Mikey is one of the most rock solid friends I could ever ask for.  She pushes me to do better, encourages me, and inspires me to do better.  Jaime is one of the most solid runners I know.  She is fierce, swift, and incredibly humble.  I can't brag on here enough and all the information she helps me with.  If there's a race I have a question about, I go to her because she's probably done it.  My motto for her is "Jaime Knows Best".
My dad and me Post Chicago Marathon
So while I'd love to say I crush Chicago, I'm afraid the opposite is true.  If it could have gone wrong that morning, it did.  I was such a wreck that morning.  So much going on back home, I couldn't get my mind right if I tried.  There has only been one race I've ever dropped out of, and this was about to be my second.  Then this special little girl back home came to my mind.  You see, one of the reasons I love to race and try to win a medal, is I get to take it home.  And when I do, my baby girl loves nothing more than to take that medal and wear it around the house all day.  So I knew that even if I had to walk the entire time, I'd get that medal home to her.  Nothing made this more worth it then getting home, having her sport my medal, and trying her best to say "Ta-Da" with her arms wide open.  This one was defiantly for you Clare.  Thanks for being with me and getting me through this.

Clare, she should be the official Medal Model for all future races!

One of the best parts of travel races is you get to see some awesome places, and eat some great food.  After the race we were treated by my dad and step mom to some great food.  It was nice to just sit down and absorb the day.  While it was hands down the lengthiest marathon I've ever ran (Which is hard to beat the 2011 Dallas White Rock Marathon, hardest marathon of my life)

My girls getting 'Race Ready'
After returning home I had some time to reflect and think more about what I wanted with my running, and with my life as a whole.  I could never see me giving up running, but so much stress was making me need to step back and enjoy my runs, rather than being on a strict racing plan.  Each year there is a race around halloween where most people dress up.  The cooler temperatures invite many runners out as the summer heat can tend to make racing less enjoyable.  I decided this year that I was going to take my daughter for her first official race.  My sweet friend Jane was kind enough to have her daughter come join.  So this year, I had no race bib or timing chip, but I had on my right the cutest Geisha around, and on my left, a beautiful butterfly.  Surprising enough, this was one of my favorite races this year!  Clare and Colbs looked adorable and got to go home with their own medals!!!
Clares halloween wig
Clare, post Kids K race, collecting leaves

Thanksgiving also tends to have many races offered.  It's supposed to not make you feel bad if you over indulge on great food.  It was an honor to host Thanksgiving at our new house and have my family come in from Oklahoma to spend with us.  Now, the photos with the snow are truly RARE for us here in New Mexico.  This is the desert.  So lets just say that we were not at all surprised when we got an email the night before the Hobbler Gobbler 10k race to say that it was cancelled.  However, nothing could have been better or more therapeutic then having fun shoveling show and having the occasional snow ball plowed at you.  I truly needed this day exactly as it was.  Friends and family made our new house feel even more like the home I've always wanted it to be.

Then, before we knew it, my final marathon and final race of the year were here.  Many of you know I fundraise for St. Jude Children's hospital often.  So of course I was going to fundraise for them again on the day I'd be running their race.  St. Jude's means so much to me and if you ever want more information, I'll gladly buy you lunch and tell you more about it.  This weekend, I got to meet even more people, families, cancer patients and survivors that made this even more solid to me.  St. Jude's has one saying that many people have heard.  "No child should die in the dawn of life" - Danny Thomas.  So my little run was the least I could do to try and prevent that from happening.  And while we didn't know we would lose one of our hometown St. Jude patients after this race, before 2019 came to a close, I'd like to honor and dedicate this to Austin Denton.  Please take a moment to hear about his story.  

Guiness record holder Elvis and Susan Graham
This woman is such a valuable part of St. Judes

St. Jude Heros before the race!
Somehow my dad managed to find me in the crowd right before the start.  So we got to watch one of the most amazing performances of the National Anthem and then start the race together.

Post Race - Marathon Finishers

Post Race - 5k, Half Marathon, and Marathon Finishers!
This marathon not only touched my heart, but I enjoyed being there with family and friends.  I got to meet the most amazing little girl and her parents in the finisher area.  Their daughter, is just a couple weeks younger than Clare.  Talk about hitting me in the soft spot.  I'm honored and humbled to have met this family and hear their story.  My prayers are constantly with them.
Eating at Central BBQ - Memphis

And of course, when in Memphis, you must try the BBQ.  While I'm not a big fan of BBQ myself, you have to be able to have some input into the big debate of where the best BBQ comes from.  As many of you know I don't eat meat, but I will say, the portabella BBQ burger at this place was hands down incredible!  Well done!

Memphis has always been one one of my favorite places and it certainly did not disappoint this time.  So there you have it. Marathon 12 completed.  I have to say this was a great race to end the 2019 racing season with.
Looking back over the year and over all the medals I have, my son asked me which one is my favorite.  I'm not really sure but the first medal I earned this year was for the 1 mile race at the Rock n Roll Arizona.  This was the first time I ever finished as the first female.  I BROKE THE RACE TAPE!!!  The first time ever!  AND... this was the first time I ran under a 7 minute mile.  Well, I've never ran a 1 mile race before so not sure I was even able to.  But it was a great feeling.  It started off my year on a positive note!

Then the 5k the next day I was the 6th overall female finisher!

If you recall back to March I ran a little race called the Napa Valley Marathon.  Well folks, it turns out that little race gave me a Boston Qualifying time.  For my age group you have to run a marathon on a certified course in 3 Hours 35 Minutes or less.  My time in Napa was 3:32:00.  Not sure if my cushion was strong enough for that, I entered in my application and I was absolutely blown away when I found out my time made the cut!  So just to double check my bank statement, there was the charge for the 124th Boston Marathon Race fee.

The day I found out I was selected for Boston,
I wore this on my run.
So there is is folks, not even officially done with 2019, and 2020 is already setting paving stones in the drive way.  Boston was a dream, and now it's less than 17 weeks away.  The year will begin with a training plan already in the works.  I'm going to keep that mantra of "Finish Strong" with me through 2020.  In addition, my plan is to also "Start Strong".  So to my friends and family, I hope 2020 brings you nothing but the absolute best that life has to offer.  I hope to spend more time with each of you.  God Bless and Happy New Year!!!
Start Strong, Finish Strong

Here is to conquering and living another dream in 2020......

Thanks 2019, memories for a lifetime...

Happy New Year my dear friends and loved ones!!!  I'll be up at work ringing in the New Year.  Stay Safe!!!!


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