Groovy Girls Go…..Once Upon a Time

Groovy Girls Go………..Once Upon a Time

Races, at least for me, are the reason I give myself for traveling and seeing parts of the world I would maybe not otherwise see.

Running lets me lead a storybook life and my stories just keep running.

Fairytales live in magical worlds filled with myths, faith, belief in magic, trials to overcome, good, evil, and most importantly a happy ending. When a runner laces up, it is the gateway to a magical world. The adventure that is about to be embarked upon is bound to be filled with unpredictable twists and turns, ups and downs, and eventually experiences that stride to a happily ever after.

The magical world is opened up as the stride stretches and falls into a comfortable rhythm and the road is no longer the obstacle, but merely the path to be followed towards joy. When a runner no longer is burdened by the sound of their breathe they can then listen to the chirps of nature that more accurately metronome the pace that should be followed. The caws and trills encourage more than any crowd and nothing compares to the silencing of what otherwise would be the shouting thoughts inside our minds.

These are the magical spells that running casts upon it’s protagonist. The one who has dared to accept the challenge. The one who has nothing to lose. The one who will give everything to allow good to triumph over evil. Because…….because that is what happens when fairytales merge with our realities.

Running is the reality we get everyday to escape into a fairytale world. We, the runner, can chose the odyssey of which our shoes begin. We can chose what to arm ourselves with and at what point to use our chosen tools to fuel ourselves for the trek which lies ahead. It is the runner that controls all parts of the journey and is ultimately the one who will decide when it is time to return. Sometimes, we runners only know it is time to return when we actually have returned – when we know we are strong enough to defeat any creature. Any creature be it mortal or mystical, we now are equipped.

And so we run……everyday deciding on our trinkets to carry and our views to behold. We run because when we return, we are certain to live our days happily ever after.

Running Ruby Slippers

I totally need these!

Groovy Girls Go……..Running Happily Ever After

Goodbye to My First Hello

Saying Goodbye to the first group of 8th graders whom I also had as first graders!
Goodbye and Hello 8th Grade English,
As I sit here typing my goodbye, my mind begins spinning faster than my fingers can type. Stories spin in my brain all the way back to our first hello as my fingers punch away at the keyboard. I can’t help but hear the words of Hemingway; “There is nothing to writing. You just sit down at a keyboard and bleed.”
And though I may not have actually seen blood during our writing time together, I did see the clichéd red ink, I certainly saw furrowed brows, flying fingers, and even tears a time or two. Yet, despite the anxt of such intellectual work and creating; the aftermath of the beautifully created piece on paper and the fruition of the story that has certainly moved us, our lives are literally more enriched because of these experiences and written pieces.
I am ridiculously proud of each and every one of you.
I hope that you are gifted with many more teachers who are willing to shake up your norm and that you are willing to be shaken. Question your beliefs and hold yourself accountable for providing facts for your truths. Seeking out evidence should not be reserved to only your research papers….but to the research you do for mapping out your life. Be the cartographer of your own landscapes and regions. Map out a path to your dreams and go there enough that those dreams become your reality.
Be mindful of how you spend your time. True, it is yours to spend, and as my own High School teacher told me once, variety and moderation….
But, be mindful.
· Surround yourself with variety in all things, thoughts, people and places.
· Surround yourself with a community of learners. This isn’t going to necessarily be people who all agree with you however, there is no need be surrounded by people who always want to bicker either; find a happy medium.
· Surround yourself with a group that makes you feel safe enough to laugh so loudly others sush you, a group that let’s you cry openly, and a group that is more half-full than empty.
I am a lucky teacher who has been able to surround myself with many of you not just once, but now twice and I am twice as blessed for that. You, maybe because you already knew me, maybe because at least your parents already knew me and you wanted to be polite, gave me a chance to try, to be silly, to be tough, to make mistakes, to ask for help, to show up each day and despite it all….. we all learned.
I grew and blossomed in this small space where there wasn’t enough room for my things. I left it all, I gave it all away in order to refill and now my cup surely runneth over.
I’m forever grateful for your honesty. It was in these hard truths, where you may have wanted to push me away that I wanted to stretch myself to reach you even more. Sometimes it takes not letting go to get students to the point, where they can now go.
So, as we say good-bye, may you embrace and excitedly await your next best hello.
It Is With Love –
Your 8th Grade English Teacher,
Tulley – 2017

Groovy Girls Go…….Winning Boston

The marathon is a clear reflection of the human spirit….of what it is to be human.  The marathon draws out the good, the bad, the ugly…..and everything in between.

I recognized a runner near the starting line of the Boston Marathon this year.  I smiled, called out to him a hello, he came over and told me, “I hope you win!”

“I plan on it.” I said…….and 26.2 miles later I sincerely felt as if I had.

The Boston Marathon course is in no way new to me….but feeling successful at this marathon certainly is.  This is ironic, because every time I run this marathon it garners tons of support, excitement, well wishes, and encouragement.  But this year was different.  This year I sincerely just ran my own race.

Runners seem to have this tendency to down-play their runs.  Everyone whines of their lack of training, their injuries, their inability to this-that-or-the-other….when in all reality we’ve all met our weekly mileage, we all got up on Saturdays at ungodly hours, we all missed events for someone we love in order to train.  That’s right, I said it, we trained.  Most of us didn’t and haven’t had to push through some life-altering injury.  None of us were struck down with something that put us in ICU.  No one had a near-death experience…..we all just miss out on saying “I trained.  I’m putting it all out there and come what may.”

My mom sent a text (unbenounced to me until after the run actually) to my family saying that this was a “healing run.”  It certainly was – and it was.  Trusting the journey that allows one to toe the line of a marathon takes dedication, a team, trust, and above all else: Faith.  Faith in the greater gifts that only humans can give to one another.  Faith that there will be cool water when the sun is hot.  Faith that there will be food when you feel starved.  Faith that when you are thirsty it will be quenched.  Faith that when you are shivering someone will cover you for warmth.

The course is a journey and for me to trust that journey, even when I know the route, can be oh-so difficult.   Putting myself out there to be so vulnerable that you are completely at the mercy of strangers is humbling and beautiful….because when I run, I put out there every and all of my weaknesses.  And yet, I crossed that finish line happier than I’ve been in years.

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I put my faith in my fellow humans and I was not disappointed.  I’ve been disappointed – beyond words let down in ways I had no idea a person could be let down…..  But, as my mother said, this was a race of healing and it’s time to believe again.  This was my time to chase a unicorn……….

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Groovy Girls Go………Catching Their Unicorn

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Groovy Girls Go…….In the Name of Love

Today was a day of getting to do what I love………….and I love to run.  

It’s such a blessing to have feet that will hold me, legs that can go the distance, lungs that can handle the task, and a heart that loves. I’ve always know I like running. I get a feeling of control when I run. I know I feel better when I run. Since running I’ve barely gotten sick. I know I’m not skinny but I’m healthy and I feel good in my clothes. I get a chance to think through life and play out responses and actions in my head before delivery…….but today, today I knew I was in love.
Why today you may wonder? Because today I got up and ran a bit over 10 glorious miles in a snow globe. Every step was an adventure and the view was stunning. It’s that wet snow that sticks to everything as if God personally came down and frosted the world.  


Every bit of me was happy and I could have ran forever………….but I couldn’t and my toes found their way to the gymnasium where I sat shivering, in my wet running clothes, watching my daughter play basketball.  


Now, I was watching her be happy. She got a bucket, got a steal, fouled a little boy who whined incessantly, and was happy. So, really, I was shivering, but still happy.
We finagled a lift home where I made her lunch, got her uniform in the wash, and tinkered with a few other mommy chores and then changed into tree-mil-running-clothes and laced up again.  
Now I am told that you can split up long runs and I have no evidence if this is even remotely true……but alas, I’m telling myself it’s the truth so therefore it must be true. I have 10 miles to do on this thing while my little girl happily gets her tv and electronic time and my wash cycles through.  
As I was approaching the last few miles, I hurt just like a 20 miler, I was thirsty just like a 20 miler, I was ready to be done just like a 20 miler; but I also knew I was in love. I was in love enough to finish what I had started and love can make you do crazy things! I’m 20 miles closer to Boylston street, but my heart is in love……maybe Boston will have to rename heartbreak hill…………
Groovy Girls Go………Love Always Wins

Groovy Girls Go……..Carefully

As I pull down my shades and pull up my scarf, I’m eager to make my way onto the trail on a sunny Sunday. It’s gorgeous on the trails as the sun streaks through the bare winter branches and I’m eager to take in the crisp air and just disappear in nature for a bit. 
The first few steps are refreshing. My feet hitting the earth and my stride lengthening out………

However the next few steps are to be some of my last carefree strides for a while and I’ll long to finish on such secure ground for the next two hours.  
The sunlight reflects the beauty of the ice as it glistens and sparkles; however that’s siren beauty to the runner. Ice is a great equalizer. Each step is a chance and regardless if the step is right or wrong, there’s a chance to slip. 
So, for the next two hours I dodge ice, beg the running gods for dirt, and timidly shuffle on a trail that thankfully I know well. I knew better than to head out without spikes or screws or yaks or or or or…….but I wasn’t prepared and so I chose to make the best of it. The day was gorgeous, the temp was better than it had been in weeks, and yes the trail was a bit icy…….but life isn’t always solid footing and lately if I waited for solid footing I wouldn’t leave my bed. 
Despite the path being icy, I knew underfoot was solid just as I know I’m solid and so are the people I surround myself with. So I took it one grounded step at a time, avoiding the slick spots and running on to solid ground. Some places had easier footing than others and I was thankful for the reprieve. Other places I started to slide, my arms started to flail and I had to breathe and give total attention to keep from landing on my back side. I kept thinking of a saying throughout this run about falling 7 times and getting up 8 (or whatever number my life tumbles may be currently on). 
Regardless, I ran. I enjoyed pulling down my shades as the sun sparkled from the sky and reflected up in glittering splashes as I navigated a slippery section of running and thought through a slippery section of life.  
I’m fortunate to have running and the time and situations running affords me, to think through life’s slickest spots. I’ve run long enough to know that the seasons change and ice melts………I’m blessed enough to have, and know that I have, solid ground underneath me that keeps me grounded……..regardless of the most slippery of spots. And for him I’m grateful.
Groovy Girls Go…….Solidly, Even If It

Is On The Ice 
 

Groovy Girls Go……No Lie

If you ever need to be reminded of your worth……..go for a run. It’s an honest reflection of all that you put into life.  
Family 

Commitment 

Love

Hard Work

Perseverance 

Loyalty

Adventure

Friendship

All the things that I want to be surrounded by in this lifetime I see reflected in my runs. 
I was told the other day that I was a miserable person……..I think of course I have moments where I feel miserable. I haven’t liked all the things that have happened to me in my life. I haven’t liked the liars I have to deal with; nothing is more maddening than a person cold-stone-face lying; but it happens – they really do exist. Sometimes I can let the moment roll by, other times enough-is-enough and I lash back. Either way, the moment is sure to pass and it’s my own reflection I have to live with.  
Lacing up and letting my soles set free my soul usually clears my mind and I can see the situation for what it is……a moment. I love collecting moments and I know experiencing these moments truly allow me to appreciate the more amazing moments……possibly even more fully. 
The run puts you in a place to see the beauty of the world we live in. A friend meeting you under the cold gray sky seems a little less cold and a little less gray. Running friends who call just because they’re in the area and suddenly the after-run cold isn’t quite as cold. The time in nature with the feel of the wind as my body moves itself through a stunning icy setting not everyone sees. It’s a lot like having a private tour of a gallery with visions upon visions of priceless pieces. It’s knowing that I can keep a promise and not cheat because we all know come race day, cheaters get outed. It’s a chance to find people who let you laugh loudly and even if they mind, keep it to themselves and just let you laugh. 
Running, and my running family, is a reflection of my beautiful life. All the pieces of my beautiful, sometimes messy, but absolutely not miserable life! 
Groovy Girls Go………..Honestly Happy

Groovy Girls Go…….wound up

As the year winds down, while winding up, my mind is racing with thoughts and memories of moments I want to make sure I collect. Just like a run, some memories, like miles were harder than others…….some happened easily……..and still others were magical. I find this is exactly my life (as is probably most people’s).  
I didn’t think I was thankful for every memory if I’m being honest. Some make me sob with sadness and some make me so ridiculously angry I can’t even formulate a sentence. But, as I was thinking about these memories, as they relate to miles, I realized I am thankful for each experience. I don’t necessarily have to like each one, and I certainly don’t want them to repeat; but to reflect upon how they came to be is valuable and I can take from them the lesson I was meant to learn…….then run on…………leaving them far – far – far into my dust.  
As I sit, post run, in the sun, I know I’ve had some of the most amazing views and runs this past year. Runs I could have never experienced without equally amazing people in my life….and when I say AmAzInG we all know that word is only a slightly strong enough modifier to express just how really make-life-better-for-everyone-they-know kind of people they are. It’s in knowing these people and in watching their modeling of loving relationships that I have found strength to run a path that leaves behind anything but love. So I run………because in this past year I have understood people less than I ever thought I could. People who said they loved me did some and said some of the damnedest things………I’m telling you……and in those moments I tried to make sense of their actions and words and I just never could. I felt guilty for wanting to leave but I felt even worse when I endured what they had to give. So one day I just stopped. I stopped a run, I listened……..but this time it was for the last time. I realized I would never stop for such nonsense again………
I am so excited to run into 2017 in love……in love with love…….in love with the every person I’m keeping in my life……..in love with a little girl who’s every smile bring joy to my life…….in love with training again……and in love with every road my soles get to run. So I’m getting wound up as this year winds down. I’m ready to run.

Groovy Girls Go……Just the Right Amount of Tight

Groovy Girls Go…..Fall-ing

I’ve fallen in love with fall, with life, with love, and thankfully I’m still in love with running. The Michigan morning was crisp, but frankly quite perfect for a run. The trail had been showered with a multitude of foliage and no step was without the cushioning spring that the layers of leaves provided.

I sat in the warmth of my car, eager for the minutes to tick by before go time.

My daughter, and friends, had run a race the day before and had set the bar high with the girls coming in 1 – 2 – 3……. Now it was my turn.

Trail races can bog down quickly and I was there to be anything but bogged down, I’m feeling anything but bugged down, so I took off with the lead and never looked back….. I looked down a lot, up and out a lot; but never back.

The path was new to me……but gorgeous. The trees still had enough foliage to play peek-a-boo with the sun-beams and as I ran the switch back, the light lit-and hid-and-shimmered-and spot lighted all of Fall’s colorful beauty. New paths, new adventures, new roots, new turns, new twists, and of course new slips. Everything I love about running, I’m loving about life.
The course saw me slipping, getting tangled up, catching my step after getting out of step, stumbling, but also powering up hills, striding out and picking up speed on the straights, and never once stopping.

New loves aren’t just any one way, just like a new trail doesn’t have just one kind of terrain. The beauty is in experiencing it all with grace and loving the experience for just that….the experience. The joy of being alive, taking a risk, having strength to keep going, and sometimes getting a little lucky to miss at least a few of the rocks and roots.

Groovy Girls Go…….Falling in Love in the Fall

Groovy Girls Go…….Just a Few

Do I get ready for the party with a few minutes to spare or do I run just a few?

Well, unless you’re new……you know what I do.

As my daughter and I sat snuggled on the couch, watching a, “Charlie Brown Christmas” going over the week ahead during the commercials, she looked at me and said, “I get to hang out with Dad while you go to run club.  I miss you but don’t want you to miss run club because I know you love run club.”

These are some of the best people I’ve met in Michigan, and the only sadness I have is that it took me almost 15 years of living in this place before I ran into them……literally.  Now, the consistency of their presence in my life, mile after mile, is even noticed by my little girl.

I couldn’t be any more excited to spend the evening, dressed up with people who more times than not are barely even dressed.  People who get me, keep up with me, beat me, and sometimes are kind enough to let me keep up.  Tonight, we dress up…….but not before I lace up……even if it’s for just a few.

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Groovy Girls Go………Sometimes Dressing Up

Groovy Girls Go…..Running on Empty

Running on Empty

There is nothing about Friday after the work week, sleepless nights filled with haunts of living a nightmare, the sadness that goes with loss, the put-on-a-happy-face for my beautiful child, happy co-worker, mother, lover that says go for a run………oh no wait; every part of every part of that does indeed say “go run”!

Every part of the week can make you weak but every part of the run keeps you running.  I’ve never regretted lacing up and getting out the door, even when every cylinder was firing against me.  I’m lucky that I’ve run long enough on empty at other times in my life to know that this too will pass.  Something, on someday, will come along and add fuel once again to my fire and it’ll burn bright again.  I believe the key to my ignition is out there; I just have to be patient.

There’s nothing about being passed by that I like, which helps drive my spirit and keeps me lacing up……And until I’m back up, running on all cylinders……I’ll be grateful to be running at all.

Groovy Girls Go…….Thankful There are More Than One Key on a KeyRing