Sunday, April 22, 2018


In less than a week, I will be running the Nashville Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon. This isn't my first race. I did the full Chicago Marathon when I was 22 and a few half marathons and 10 milers after that. But this is my first race post-kids, which makes it feel like it's my first.

Training for this half marathon has challenged me more physically and mentally than anything I've ever done in my life. 11 weeks of training have passed, and I can't believe how far I've come. And I'm not just talking mileage. I've had a challenging few months. But through the highs and lows, I've always found my way back to running.

I started my training program the same week I started my new job. I was feeling nervous about my new role and as equally nervous about running long distances again. My commute was longer, and there were a lot of days that I left before Faye was even awake. I was feeling a lot of mom-guilt trying to balance it all, and I resented the time I spent running. Every day I questioned why I signed up for this race in the first place. It was just another thing to stress about.

A few weeks passed, and I started to get into a groove. I hit the 6 mile mark in training and it felt like a turning point. Running was getting easier and I didn't feel physically out of breath with every passing mile. Work was going great -- I was getting up to speed on my projects and met a few friends in the office. I was doing most of my runs during my lunch hour which allowed me to maximize my family time after work. My mom-guilt subsided a bit, and I was feeling more confident that I could juggle my new routine.

Then, halfway into my training and only 6 weeks into my new job, I was laid off. My company decided to drop one of the brands I was managing which caused a big round of layoffs within my division. I was completely blindsided.

I skipped my long run that weekend. It was the first and only long run I've skipped during my training. Instead, James and I took a last minute trip to New Orleans and I allowed myself to forget about life for the weekend, thanks to a few too many hurricanes.

When I returned from our trip, reality sunk in. I couldn't believe I was back to applying and interviewing for jobs. So I did what anyone would do: I wallowed. I let myself feel everything I was feeling -- angry, sad, defeated, embarrassed, confused, then angry again.

After a few days passed, I decided to refocus my energy on training. I started to use my runs as mental therapy to sort through my emotions. I ran in between applying for jobs, I ran before interviews and I ran after networking events. Running became seamlessly woven into my new daily routine. I had a set purpose: run the miles listed on my training. That's all I had to do.

As the miles grew, so did my determination. When I had another setback, I put on my running shoes and took it out on the street. When I got another interview, I felt the extra spring in my step. There always seemed to be a strong parallel between what happened that day and how my run was going to go.

5 weeks have passed since my layoff, and I still haven't figured out what I'm doing just yet. I have a wide range of exciting things in motion, and now I'm just trying to figure out what what path I want to take. I've always been such a planner, and this experience has taught me how to trust. I don't have anxiety about finding a job anymore. In fact, I'm actually becoming comfortable in the unknown. It's like I'm discovering me for the very first time.

I have been forced to take a step back and evaluate what it is I really want out of my career. I now know the things that I want, and I know the things that I don't want. What a blessing that is. Just last week I turned down an offer because I knew in my heart it wasn't a good fit. 11 weeks ago I would have never had the confidence to turn down a guaranteed income while unemployed. It's like my mom always used to say: out of bad comes good. I don't think I understood what she meant until now.

My journey to 13.1 will be a season of life I will never forget. I can't wait to cross that finish line on Saturday and taste sweet, sweet victory. Lord knows I've earned it.

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