Sunday, July 20, 2014

to and fro.

Five times in five days. Eight of the last 10 days. Since arriving in Indianapolis last Friday, my running has taken on a life of its own. I accomplished my fastest ever mile {8.04}, ran a training run for my next race almost seven minutes faster than last year, ran my fastest ever 5K {27:20; not the same run as the mile}, upped my half marathon training to 10.3 miles, and dropped my average pace well and consistently below 9'30". I basically loved every moment of it.

In honor of today's run, I posted a fun little question on my Facebook. "When you run, is it toward or away from?" 

At different moments of my running life, it has been both of these things. There is a line in the Mumford and Sons song "Lover's Eyes" that says "Do not ask the price I pay / I must live with my quiet rage /Tame the ghosts in my head / That run wild and wish me dead". And many, many runs have been about that. Running away from the ghosts, the demons. But just as often it has been like Murakami says, and I am running toward a new me. A better me. The best me. {just how different are these things, anyhow?} 

And at different points in my running life it has been neither running to nor fro but running to train for the next race, or because I "should", or sometimes {albeit rarely} a run has had a purely caloric origin. {a girl's gotta eat! haha!!} 

The post on FB today was prompted by my realization that at least for this afternoon, my desire to run was about none of these things. It was simply to run. I had accomplished all the above this past week. I had easily hit my weekly mileage goal already. And today's yoga class counted toward the daily "be nice to your body" goal. 

My Timehop app reminded me that the DSA golf outing was a year ago yesterday; incidentally one of the hottest weekends in recent memory. So today I ran simply because the weather was spectacular. And I ran in the joy of how good the universe has been to me in the past year. How much love and light and good fortune has laid itself in my path.

Today I ran neither to nor fro, but because there was air for my lungs to hold and pavement for my feet to trod and music for my ears to hear and a rhythm in which my soul delights. And sunshine. Always. 

Finally, after today's four miles, completely for love of the run, I felt sated. 

Late, late summer afternoon. Glowing. 

Are you running toward? Or away from? Or simply because? 

Saturday, July 19, 2014


As much as I adore my little apartment, there are times it gets a little bit lonely. 

Enter Mama's new friend. I wanted a literary name but had ruled out anything related to Ernest "the bulldog" Hemingway because it didn't seem to fit. Then my peeps educated me to the fact that Papa collected cats, six toed ones in fact, and my mind was turned. And so, I introduce Tatie, so named for the pet name used by Hem's first wife, Hadley. 

Friday, July 18, 2014


Since touching down in Albany, NY last Sunday, this is the first moment I have had to sit and write about the convention last weekend. I can't believe it has already been a week since I arrived in Indianapolis!

The overall experience was, as it has been in previous years, intense. I tried to articulate it to one of my colleagues upon my return and the best I could come up with was this: I spend so much of my life with my kid looking "different" and to be among so many faces that look like hers feels like a miracle.

I went on this trip solo. I contemplated taking L but it seemed a little overwhelming to navigate the travel and convention on my own, with her in tow. What I realized mid-trip, though, was that there are so many friends on site, I would have had any help I may have needed. And I missed her terribly. I missed both of my babies, but being so entrenched in Ds and surrounded by so much of the same joy she exudes made me ache for her. So, next year, chances are very good that my sweet girl will accompany her president-mama to Phoenix.

The sessions were amazing. My executive director and I have spent a significant amount of time discussing the issues surrounding health and fitness within our population and so my first session was on that subject. I was able to compile some great statistics on obesity within the ID/DD community and strategies to promote healthier lifestyles.

I attended one of the best sessions on inclusivity I've ever attended. I generally shy away from them, because I am not as vocally and emphatically pro-inclusion as some of my peers. I think it's a worthy and amazing goal but too often the spirit of the dialogue turns far too confrontational and adversarial for my taste. Us versus them. I want to partner, and through that collaboration decide exactly what level of integration serves my child best; and for the first time I attended a session that echoed that and provided strategies for it. I wasn't even going to attend this was a bit of a consolation prize because I was running late...but I am so glad I found my way into it. I felt energized and understood and walked away with meaningful ways of making the most of L's educational experience.

For one session, I sat an hour and a half on the floor, in a dress, because the topic was that popular. The links between Alzheimer's disease and Down syndrome have been increasingly well documented and this session looked at the biochemical reasons for that and the manner in which research into both areas benefits both populations. I was shocked {disheartened} to learn the sobering statistic that the link is so great that 100% of adults with Down syndrome will exhibit the pathology of Alzheimer's. Now, not all individuals with Ds will exhibit symptoms, but the underlying traits are universally present.

Finally, I attended sessions that looked at behavioral interventions for children with Ds and strategies for teaching math to kids with Ds. These were both a little bit personally motivated! Ha! The behavior stuff was pretty straight forward given my experience in the counseling field, but it was good to hear it as a mother and not just read it from a text or lecture it to a class. Physician, heal thyself, right? The math session was chock full of amazing web and iTunes resources, and L will be doing math worksheets all summer!

Best of all, though, honestly, are the connections. Having the chance to meet the folks I interact with so frequently "in real life". Starting on, then through blogging, and now primarily through Facebook, I have had the blessed good fortune of "meeting" so many moms and dads traveling this journey with me. At times those connections have been sanity saving and life affirming. To be able to hug those fellow travelers, break bread with them, laugh and dance with them, run with them, and celebrate that tremendous little chromosome with them fills my heart with more joy and peace than it seems it can hold.

I learned that at Convention, it makes more sense to introduce yourself either with your blog name or your child's name. I learned that we all assume the runners know each other. I learned that the runners will get to know each other--usually around 6am. I learned that love transcends the internet and translates well into actual personal connection.

The first few hours post-diagnosis felt like a tragedy. Little did I know...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Kicking ass.

August 15, 2013, the actual race. 

July 16, 2014, sinus infected training run. 

This is what kicking ass feels like! 

"In long distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be." ~Haruki Murakami 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Running Indy.

Sadly, NDSC 2014 convention is finished. I am in the airport awaiting my flight home. I have so much to say about the overall experience. As with the DC convention two years ago it is extremely difficult to describe the feelings associated with these three days in community. Because that's how it feels--I am with my people. The ones who get it better than any others on the planet get it. 

What was a little different, and extra awesome, about this year was finding my community within the community. The runners. We began seeking each other out even prior to our arrival and routes were planned before we had even met in real life. For me, it just added that much more to the overall experience. Late nights and early morning sessions meant that my runs were with the rising of the sun, but since I was flying solo, I was just pleased with the freedom to do so. 

Added to all the knowledge, networking, connecting, sharing, and socializing, I can add 13.25 miles of beautiful running to what I gained in Indy! 

And, may I say, what a beautiful city! Well played, Indiana! 

7:15am Friday. 

 6:30am Saturday. 

{there was no photo today because my 6am start meant the moon was still up when we set out!} 

Happy running Indy! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014


My event starts tomorrow!! 

Immediately after work today I'll be hopping on my flight to Indianapolis! Whoot!! {And yes, if you didn't already know, and are attending, there's an app for that.} 

Can't wait to see everyone!