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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

With a Little Help From My Friends

This is where I'd normally write a wrap-up of the year, adding up all the miles I ran and posting pictures of all the t-shirts, medals, and other swag I collected.  But 2015 stopped being about all that for me on April 23.  It instead became about the sustaining love of God, and the amazing support of my family and friends.


I have always known how blessed I am to have such a great family.  I'm so close to my parents and sisters, I have a wonderful relationship with our kids, and I have many extended family members that I enjoy staying in touch with too.  But I have really been awed to discover just how many wonderful supportive friends I have.

There's no "I" in Indy, just US



Friends back in Canton, friends here in Indy, and friends all around the world.  Coworkers, former coworkers, church friends, runner friends, SMOMS, bootcampers, friends from grad school, neighbors.  Friends I've known almost as long as I've lived in Indy, and friends I just met this summer.  It's no exaggeration to say that for all the tears I've cried in sadness over losing Kevin, I have cried just as many in humble gratitude at the support I've received from so many friends.  It's also no coincidence that yesterday when I started working on this blog post, some friend or friends anonymously sent flowers to me at work.

We have other talents besides running



I find myself starting to say "I don't know what I've done to deserve all of you."  But then I think that's kind of the point.  When God pours out his love on us, whether through the people He puts in our lives or some other way, it isn't because we deserve it.  It's just because He loves us.  So we just accept it as a beautiful gift.  And then we go out and love each other in response.

Babes of Bootcamp



And so that's my goal for 2016: to be grateful and to give back.  I'm know I'm still going to have lots of bad days; days when all I can do is go home and put Kevin's clothes on and cry till my head hurts.  But on the okay days and the good days, I'm going to try to give back some fraction of the support you've given me, and love you and encourage you on your journey.

Closed eyes, warm heart?















Of course I can't resist posting one pic of race swag.  I call this the Cuss Word Trifecta.  I was joking with Laura the other night that we could make this our motto for 2016: Do Epic Shit Every Damn Day, Badass!  And with that in mind, here's some of the epic shit I have penciled in on my calendar:
Do Epic Shit Every Damn Day. Badass!

  • The Indy East Race Series - I hope all my Indy friends will join me at as many of these as you can.  Four 5Ks for only $60!  That price is good through January 15th, so sign up soon.
  • Pacing the 13-14 min/mile group with the Indy Runners Spring Training Program - I'm pretty excited about this!  I'll be helping other runners reach their goal of a spring half marathon.
  • My second full marathon and first destination race: Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas!  Kevin & I always wanted to go to Vegas, but we never got to make that trip together.  So this one is for Kevin.  I'm going to run the strip, see all the sights, and take everything in that I can.  Several of the FBG are going too, so I know it will be a blast!
  • Lots more fun new things I hope to try: ReFit, Barre Fitness classes, possibly a triathlon in late summer, possibly a 50K in December (or January 2017), hopefully going to summer camp with the FBG in August....






Friday, December 18, 2015

Fresh. Local. Racing

For Indy runners and walkers planning out their 2016 race schedule, I highly recommend the Indy East Race Series, four great local 5K races that each benefit a different Near Eastside nonprofit and run through the very neighborhoods your race dollars are supporting.

Winner winner! Pogue's Run Dinner
First up: the Circle City Donut Dash on February 20th, benefiting Teachers' Treasures.  This race was previously known as the Hot Chocolate 5K, but now it's been added to the Indy East Race Series with some serious improvements: donuts on the course and at the end, and a special coffee-flavored beer created by Sun King Brewery just for the race!  Plus all teachers who participate receive a free trip to Teachers' Treasures.

Next: the Englewood Race for Roofs on April 2nd, benefiting a housing scholarship fund for neighbors who need temporary help with the cost of housing.  This will be my 5th year participating in this event.  It's one of my favorites every year.  Last year, I won my age group!  See my 2015 race recap here.  I'm always passionate about this race and the cause it supports, because I believe everyone has the right to a safe and affordable place to live.  The neighborhood really comes out to support this race and cheer the runners on.

Shh! Don't tell Momma her pic's here
Next up: the Brookside Bash Color Dash on May 14, benefiting the Paramount School of Excellence.   The kids at the school came up with the idea in 2013 to hold a color run in conjunction with the Brookside Bash neighborhood celebration.  The kids staff the color stations and enthusiastically douse runners with color powders as we run from the school grounds through Brookside Park and back.  I didn't do this race last year as it was so soon after Kevin's death that I wasn't up to it yet, but you can see my 2014 race recap here.  I also did it in 2013 with Josh and my parents. 


Finally, the Arsenal 5K on September 17, benefiting students on the Near Eastside through college scholarships (more than $30,000 since 2000!) and money to support school clubs and activities.  This race starts and ends on the track at Arsenal Tech High School, and the course winds around the beautiful school campus.  You can read my 2013 race recap here, and my 2014 race recap here.  Sadly no 2015 recap as I had a schedule conflict. 

Arsenal 5K After Party at Flat12 Bierwerks
I hope you will join me at the Indy East Race Series this year.  You can do all four of these great local races for only $60!  That's often the cost of just one race, especially from big national for-profit race promoters.  Here you know your money is staying local and helping residents of the Near Eastside of Indianapolis.  If you're running for SWAG then I can tell you that while they don't do finishers' medals, all these races have great shirts every year.  They also have really good post-race refreshments donated by local vendors.

Disclaimer: I am receiving a free entry for the Race Series in exchange for promoting it this year.  However, all opinions are my own, and I would still be doing these races anyway even without the promotional consideration.  I have worked on the Near Eastside since 2009 and have really fallen in love with this neighborhood.  I love the people and organizations working to revitalize this area, and I'm proud to be part of it.



Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Do You See What I See?

If you follow me on Instagram (@thazel411) or Twitter (@TeresaHazel411) you've probably seen me posting pictures with the hashtag #RunChatHunt.  This is for a fun holiday scavenger hunt contest hosted by The Run Chat.

The basics are: you look for the items on the list while you're running, take a picture and Instagram and/or Tweet it using #RunChatHunt.  Full rules are available at: http://www.therunchat.com/2015/11/25/search-for-these-12-items-in-runchathunt/.


Bridge 12/1


View From A Trail 11/26
Runners in Holiday Garb 12/5
Salvation Army Bell Ringer 12/7
The contest started on Thanksgiving and runs through New Year's Day, so you still have plenty of time to get in on the fun.  There are some pretty sweet prizes, too, including an entry to the Blue Ridge Marathon or Half. 


Also, be sure and join in on the #RunChat each Sunday on Twitter.  It's a great way to connect with other runners online, get some great advice, and maybe even win prizes!

If you decide to join the #RunChatHunt, let me know your Twitter or Instagram handle.  I'd love to follow you & see what you see too!


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Hard Candy Christmas

I've always liked this song.  Who doesn't love Dolly Parton?  I didn't realize until I looked it up yesterday that it actually wasn't originally a Christmas song; it was a song from the movie Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.  I've never seen the movie, so I don't know the original context, but I'm guessing it's a breakup song?  I realized when I heard it on the radio the other day though that like a lot of other things, it's taken on a new meaning for me now.

On my good days, when I can sort of see that a future exists for me beyond this foggy attempt at a normal routine, my thoughts are kind of like the verses of this song.  Maybe I'll move real far away, maybe I'll learn to knit, maybe I'll put all my stuff in storage and go on a mission trip, maybe I'll get a tiny house downtown, maybe I'll stay in this giant house and adopt more kids....

Monday, November 30, 2015

A Weekend of Sister Racing and BOOM! Teresa, I Met the 2 Blog Challenge

This past weekend I had the pleasure of racing with my older sister twice! Two completely different races, a turkey trot road 5k and a crazy party trail half marathon.  I really enjoy racing with Teresa because she has a pure joy in what she does.  Every time I see her come to the finish, she always has a smile on her face.  Ive been finding my joy again in running and its so easy with Teresa because of her positive attitude.

When Mark and I first started running, we didnt know any other runners.  Slowly over time weve made running friends and started knowing others at races.  Run junkees know and understand the weird rituals we have, the fomo we experience, our inability to think about anything else.  Im lucky I share this with my husband, my best friend, and my big sister.

Like all sisters,  weve had good and bad times, times where we are closer, and times where we just dont get each other.  Running has brought Teresa and I together in a different way. It means so much that she understands me when so few do.  When I finish a race I always text her, well, we usually text each other because she is probably racing too.  This connection I just cant describe.

So, this has kind of been a rambling post, but it was important to me to finish the 2 post challenge, so I thought I would dedicate it to the one who challenged me.

Sweet Cindy Lou Whoo,  better watch out, that means there will be a post to you in the future.

Love to the uglies!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Rewriting a Nightmare

Well I guess I've failed at #NaNoWriMo.  I haven't blogged every day like I intended.  I've had a lot of really hard days lately, and I pretty much come home and cry for a while and then go to bed.  But Thursdays are almost always good days, so I am writing tonight.

I go through spells sometimes where I have nightmares about Kevin for several nights in a row.  Then I won't have any for a few weeks, and then the cycle repeats.  It must be a pretty common thing, because GriefShare devoted an entire session to dealing with nightmares, flashbacks, and trauma.

The suggestion for handling nightmares was to write down your nightmare in as much detail as you can remember.  Then rewrite it, only this time change it and give it a happier better ending.  Since I had a nightmare last night for the first time since receiving this advice, I'm going to try it out here.  Some elements of this dream seem pretty funny now, especially to my family who knows all about my recurring dreams, but none of it was funny while I was dreaming it.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Tricurious

Sweet SWAG from Endurance House today
I'm sure being in Heaven with Jesus is so wonderful that Kevin's not paying much attention, but if he did happen to peek in on me today I know he was rolling his eyes.  I know that because last spring as the Carmel Marathon got pretty close, I was already talking about the next goal and I mentioned possibly doing a triathlon next year.  And he rolled his eyes.  And said something like "As if you don't already have enough to do."

Sometimes Kevin would call me ADD and ask why I had to always be doing something, chasing some new goal.  Well I don't have to, but trying new things, learning new things, having new experiences just for the sake of having them; that's all fun to me.  Kevin just wasn't wired that way, so he didn't understand.

I don't know much about triathlons and I'm not a very strong swimmer so I definitely will have to work hard if I decide to do one.  Endurance House was having an informational session on their tri training program today, along with viewing the Kona Ironman Championships, so I went up there to check it out.  I talked to the program director and I came away pretty impressed.

The training program seems kind of expensive, but it also looks like you really get a lot for your money: training program targeted to your goal event, group training (including open water swims), bike fitting, videotaped swim analysis, 15% store discount, practice on transitions, team support at all the local events....  If I decide for sure I want to do a tri next year, I will also do the training.  That way I know I will be prepared and will enjoy the event.

The tri I'm considering is the Go Girl at Eagle Creek in August.  It's just a couple miles from home and I'm familiar with the park; and I hear from lots of people that it's a really good one for first-timers, with lots of support.  If you've been reading our blog for a while, you'll remember that my friend Kathy did this tri as part of a team last year.  She and the rest of her team guest blogged about it for us too: Team Badass Librarians.  Very inspiring!

I know I've already mentioned that I might try an Ultra next year, but I don't think these goals are incompatible.  The tri is in August, and if I did an Ultra it would probably be late fall/early winter.  Also, if you've been reading our blog since year one you will remember I did a month-long Ironman challenge and felt like the biking and swimming really improved my running.  So I think I would come out of this event strong and ready to train for a 50K.

All fun stuff to think about.  I'll let you know for sure what I decide around the end of the year.  And roll your eyes if you want to Kevin, but I hope you're proud of me too.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Blog Survey

Teresa, are you surprised ? Doing the survey day 1!  Here goes;

How has blogging impacted your life?
I honestly havent done it enough to make an impact...yet.  I'm planning on doing more blogging with the hopes of being an official blogger for the Blue Ridge Marathon in 2017.
This year reading my sisters blogs have touched my heart deeply.

What's the favorite post you've written?
My blog after the Savannah marathon.  One of my friends that ran it too said it gave her chills.  I need to read again.

How do you find time to do it all, blogging,  working and having a social life?
I never have enough time.  I work a lot and workout/run almost as much. Ha.  My social life is races and gym functions.

What is something special you do to treat yourself?
Hot epsom salt baths where I also read almost nightly.  Feels great, and reading would be my second love after running.

Do you take spontaneous trips or are you more of a planner?
To those who know me that's hilarious, planner.

Where was your last trip to?
Oak Island, NC  our annual anniversary trip.

Where is your dream vacation destination?
In the US - somewhere like Colorado or Utah, for the running of course.  Over seas-hmmm, so many.  Italy or England.

Weirdest fact about you?
I remember useless details, like what you were wearing when we met 20 years ago...stupid dates that arent important, etc

Knowing what you know now,  what advice would you give your 18 year old self?
That it gets better.

Are you a light packer or a take everything just in case kind of gal?
Again, hilarious if you know me.  Take everything plus more.  It was to my benefit last race though.  I kept trying to pack light, then went back last minute to get another sports bra, you know, in case I needed 4 in one race, when I reached for my laundry on the guest bed I found everything wet.  My overpacking caught a leak in the roof right when we were leavingfor a weekend in which it poured rain all weekend.  That unworn sportsbra saved us

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Blog Survey! Sisterhood of the World Blogging Award

I know I missed blogging a couple of days.  So much for my #NaNoWriMo pledge.  Some days you just really wouldn't like the words that would come out of me, so I keep those between me & God.  But I'm back today, with a fun blog survey I saw on Julie Wunder's blog Running In a Skirt.  


1. How has blogging impacted you and your life?

I think it's started some conversations I might never have had.  Friends I know casually will remark on something I've written, and next thing you know we are really connecting.

I've also gotten to do some races free, so that's pretty cool too.  


2. What's the favorite post you've written?

This is actually a really recent one: You've Got To Fight For Your Right.... Or Do You?  That post is about a huge turning point for me in this unwanted journey I'm on.  I'm pretty sure I could recite it from memory.


3. How do you find time to juggle it all, blogging, working, having a social life?

I blog at work on my lunch hour sometimes.  And what social life?  My social life pretty much revolves around running.


4. What is something special you do to treat yourself?

Having my hair cut every four weeks at the salon.  My inner cheapskate wants to tell me $13 at Great Clips is plenty, but Shelby is so talented and especially with my really thick hair and a super-short cut like this, it is worth it to me to pay for a really good haircut.

Indy-area ladies, if you are looking for a great hair stylist, check out Domu Salon and ask for Shelby. 


5. Do you take spontaneous trips, or are you more of a planner?

I'm a little of both.  I like to be spontaneous and don't really stick to a schedule, but I also like to have a basic idea of what I might want to do so that I don't waste time and miss something cool.


6. Where was your last trip to?

I went to Philadelphia for work back in August.


7. Where is your dream vacation destination?

Oh I want to go everywhere.  If I could only take one more trip and had to narrow it down, though, I would say the Pacific Northwest.  


8. Weirdest fact about you?

I taught myself to read when I was 2.


9. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Of course the first answer that pops into my head is to make Kevin go to the doctor.  Sigh.  Although I didn't meet Kevin until I was in my 30s, so that would make no sense to me at 18.  


10. Are you a light packer or a take-everything-just-in-case kind of gal?

Take everything just in case.  No question.  I do try to find things that do double-duty, but yeah, if you need it I've probably got it.

Thanks for reading, and now it's your turn!  Rules are I nominate some other bloggers.  Well of course I'm nominating Laura and Cindy.  They owe us some blog posts now anyway.  I'm also nominating:
Trena at 591 Miles
 LeeAnn at She's At It Again
 Keira at The Blonde and the Beardiful
 Darcy at Chunky Wonder Woman
And Tasha, who said she wants to get her blog going again 
And if you aren't a blogger, answer a question or questions in the comments!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Product Review: Lock Laces

We're eight days into #NaNoWriMo now, and I am getting to some of those blog posts I've been meaning to write but just never get to.  Tonight it's a review of a product I really like: Lock Laces.  All opinions are my own, and I bought all my Lock Laces at the store myself; nothing was provided to me in exchange for this post.

Lock Laces are advertised with the slogan "Why Tie, When You Can LOCK?".  They are elastic laces that you just tighten and lock in place with the clip.  You can see in this video how quick and easy that is.
video

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Monumental Emotion

Today Kathy & I were signed up to work the Results Tent at the Monumental Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K.  We arrived at the time we were told to be there, only to find all 6 spots at the results table were full.  And including us there were 6 other volunteers just standing around.  No one ever showed us how to look up results in case we needed to take someone's place.  And they really only needed one or two extras in case someone needed a break.  So after a while, we asked someone who sort of seemed to be in charge if they really needed us at all.  He said no, so we headed out to the Carmel Runners Club Cheer Zone.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Monumental Eve

The signs are everywhere!  It's almost time for the Monumental Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K.  One of the biggest races in Indy every year.  I don't have many words in me tonight, so this is mostly a photo blog post.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

You've Got To Fight For Your Right.... Or Do You?

I had a really great day today.  Really, one of the best days I've had in months.  I feel at peace now regarding a decision that had been hanging over my head for a long time.

Submitted for your consideration: 1 Corinthians 6:7 (GNT)
The very fact that you have legal disputes among yourselves shows that you have failed completely. Would it not be better for you to be wronged? Would it not be better for you to be robbed?
If you read the whole chapter, you see that Paul is talking about disputes between believers.  Brothers and sisters in Christ should be able to settle issues fairly between themselves, and if they can't, it's best just to go ahead and be wronged or treated unfairly than to pursue the issue.

I had this confirmed for me today both in other Bible passages and advice from people I trust.  God tells us many times in the Bible to treat others fairly.  He even specifically mentions not cheating widows out of their property.  But I cannot think of a single passage where God tells us to stick up for ourselves; to fight to be treated in the way we perceive to be fair.  Instead we are to turn the other cheek, and if someone takes our coat we are supposed to give them our shirt too.

I don't have to fight for my rights.  God has and will provide for me, and for Josh, Nick, and Kim.  And I've already been given so much more than I deserve when Christ died for me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I'm Not Ready For This; Holiday Edition


It's November.  I know I covered that fact Sunday, but I didn't really talk about what it means.  November means the start of the holidays.  Thinking about the next few months feels like thinking about trying to walk through a minefield blindfolded.  How do people get through this?  How will I?  Well I know how.  God is with me, and He will provide.  But I don't know what that's going to look like, and it feels really scary.

I've always loved the holidays.  I listen to Christmas music year-round.  If a Hallmark Christmas movie is on at the same time as Doctor Who, I'm probably going to DVR Doctor Who.  Shopping and decorating, parties and visiting families.  Gingerbread and peppermint and eggnog.  But Kevin's not here to fill my purple Princess stocking with lipgloss and Pez holders and novelty pens.  I don't want to feel this big knot of dread in my stomach when I think about the holidays this year, but it's there.  How do I make it go away?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

My Social Media Fast


Blame it all on Run Bum.  On Sunday 10/24 he posted on his Facebook page a challenge to give up something until Friday afternoon and write about how it made us feel.  He suggested soft drinks or TV, but I rarely ever drink soft drinks and I don't watch TV every day, so I didn't think either of those would be too challenging.  I could give up coffee with more notice (I have to do it gradually or the caffeine withdrawal will trigger a migraine), but that won't work for spur of the moment.  Then I thought "Well, what about Facebook?"  So I immediately closed it.  Then I thought I should include all social media or it wouldn't really be that hard.  This was shortly after 4pm Sunday, so I decided to go till 4pm Friday with my social media fast.

Sunday Afternoon/Evening

 I didn't really miss it too much that afternoon.  Sunday afternoons are often my time to do chores around the house, and I usually leave my phone sitting in my room anyway, so I kept busy and didn't really think about it until I watched The Walking Dead.  Glenn!  Oh no!  And I can't get on Twitter to chat about it.  What to do with these feelings?  Luckily Josh and his friends were downstairs getting bored with the Colts-Patriots game.  They decided to watch TWD not too long afterwards, so I went down and watched the end again with them and then we discussed.  Well that's better than live-Tweeting anyway.

Monday, November 2, 2015

We're All Hardcore To Someone

One day when I was leaving work to go to Bourbon Street Running Club, I chatted with the ladies at our front desk on my way out.  Felecia was telling me how she'd been walking and working out regularly at the Legacy Center.  I asked her if she was feeling good and enjoying working out, and she replied "Yes, but I'm not hardcore like you."  I kind of laughed at that, and headed on to run club.

While we were running, I told Kathy about the conversation and she said she'd had similar conversations with friends.  It kind of got me thinking.  I certainly don't think of myself as hardcore.  I run three or four days a week, depending on what I'm training for.  I do a weekly boot camp at church and try to get to the Legacy Center to lift weights a couple of times a week if I can.  But hardcore?  I've only been running for a little over three years.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

NaNoWriMo Begins!

November is National Novel Writing Month, where professionals and amateurs alike try to write a novel in one month.  I've always been fascinated with the creative process, I've been a voracious reader my entire life, and I have even tried to have a few sci-fi short stories published (no luck yet), so I have followed #NaNoWriMo online for several years.  Last year I noticed that some bloggers I follow were using NaNoWriMo to blog every day, because some writers are going more for word count than completed project during November.  So, I have decided to do the same: I have challenged Laura & Cindy to each blog at least twice during November, and I will write a post for all the other days.  We may not be writing the next great novel, but sometimes all it takes is one good idea to spark something.  I hope you will enjoy what we come up with!  We don't have a particular plan or schedule, we are "pantsing it", in NaNoWriMo terms.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I'm Not Fragile, or How To Talk To Me While I'm Grieving

There are a lot of articles and blog posts out there about what to say/not say to someone who's grieving.  Here's a good one from One Fit Widow, and here's another good one that Kimmy shared from Diply.  I'm going to give you my version now, keep in mind it may not apply to every grieving person you know.  We are all unique.

Disclaimer: This is not directed at everyone in my life, so please don't over-analyze anything you've said to me.  I have received wonderful support from many friends who let me be real and make me feel normal, at least for a little while.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I don't know what I would do without you.  #FBG

 

I'm Not Fragile

Sometimes I almost want to laugh at people who apologize after they either say or do something that brings up a memory, or even just say something about dying in general.  You don't have to handle me with care.  I'm already broken - shattered really - so you can't break me any more.  I get it, sort of.  If I'm functioning okay for the moment and something changes and my emotions show, maybe you think you did/said something wrong and should apologize.  But it's always there even when I'm hiding it, and if I get overwhelmed and let it out sometimes that's not actually a bad thing.  So don't apologize.  You didn't hurt me and you aren't making it worse.  Just let me be real for a moment.

 

I'm Not Okay And That's Okay

Seriously.  I've posted this before.  I'm not going to be okay for a long time.  I'm not supposed to be okay.  Life feels broken and strange to me now.  Eventually this will become my new normal, but that's a couple of years away.  I'm not the kind of person who can sit around doing nothing and waiting until I feel better, so yes you see me out and doing things I enjoy, but that doesn't mean I'm not still struggling. You can ask me if I'm doing okay if you want to, but don't look so disappointed when I say no.  If you don't want my real answer, then just say hi and keep moving.

 

I Like To Talk About Kevin

Don't be afraid to say his name.  If you knew him, tell me a story about him, especially if it's something I might not already know.  If you didn't know him, ask me about him.  A few weeks ago I was at an event with some new friends, and one asked me how Kevin & I met.  Just like you would ask any wife about her husband.  That made me feel so good, and I loved telling her.

 

No, Everything Doesn't Happen For A Reason

Oh, this might be my biggest irritation.  If you say this to me you might get a long rant back, or I might just say okay and walk away.  Just depends on how much energy I have at the moment.  I know you probably mean this to be comforting, but it's not.  My life is not some Hollywood movie where Kevin as the Hero sacrificed himself to save everyone else.  We live in a fallen world full of sin, disease, and sadness; a world where bad things just happen.  I am working on accepting this.  If you tell me Kevin died for a reason when I see plenty of other people surviving heart attacks, plenty of other overweight smokers still walking around holding hands with their wives, I am either going to get really angry or I'm going to ignore you.

 

But God Will Use This To Bring About Good

This is what I think you actually mean when you say things happen for a reason.  Kevin didn't die for some grand cause.  But God knew Kevin was going to die and so God will use that to bring about good things for those who love Him.  Do you see the difference?  I have a friend who is also a runner, and we used to talk about how we worried about our husbands' health and we wanted to find ways to encourage them to be active with us.  After Kevin died, my friend's husband started eating better and running with her.  He's lost almost 60 pounds and now runs faster than she does.  Kevin didn't die so that my friend's husband would live a healthier life.  To say that would imply that God values one man over the other, or that God is just capricious and mean.  I reject both of those ideas.  Kevin died because bad things happen.  But God knew it would happen and so he placed my friend in my life so that He could use what happened to bring about something good.

 

Let Me Know If....

Yeah, you're not going to hear from me.  When I think of the friends who's support has meant the most to me over the past months, it's the ones who call/text/message and say "Let's do this thing on this date" and I say yes and we plan it.  Or the ones who just show up at my door at just the right time.  It's truly an effort just to get out of bed many days.  I lie there still half-asleep trying to not wake up because I know once I do it's going to hurt.  If I can't even get out of bed on time, do you really think I'm going to take the initiative to plan a get-together?

 

You Don't Have To Do, Just Be

You can't fix it.  It's not fixable.  Kevin's going to stay dead and there is no way to avoid the pain of that.  I just have to move through it.  God will bind up my wounds in time, and He still has a plan and purpose for me, but all that takes time.  You can't make me feel better, but I don't expect you to.  That isn't your job.  Just be present, be there with me sometimes.
He [God] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3
Don't worry if you think you have done or said something I mentioned in this post.  I know it's all from a place of caring, so it's all good.  I just wanted to get this out there so you'll know.

And whether you know Kevin or not, I hope you will enjoy this video his friend Darrell made.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Relay Style; Don't Care Bears; + TWD Season Premiere

Lots to cover today.  Lots of stuff coming up too, so that's why I combined this all into one blog post.

Back On My Feet Marathon Relay

On 10/3 I did the Back On My Feet Marathon Relay with some ladies from work, calling ourselves the Pace Cadets.  We had a couple of runners, a couple of run/walkers, and a couple of walkers on our team.  We also had a lot of heart and determination.  I led off with the first 3 laps (6.6 miles).  It was cold and windy, but still dry when I ran.  I did my laps in 1:17 and was very happy with my time.  The course is along the White River Parkway, so it's very pretty with a beautiful view of the city.  That wind though.  Brr!  As with any other lap races I've run, the faster runners who were passing me were always so encouraging.  I love that about runners!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Shopping For One

I went to Dick's Sporting Goods on Monday.  It was my first time in there since Kevin passed away.  I didn't really want to go yet, but I really wanted yellow knee socks for my Halloween costume and I knew Dick's would have them.  So it seemed like it would be better to go there and get my socks quickly instead of driving around searching other stores trying to find some.

I did okay, actually.  I didn't cry.  I got in got my socks and got out in only five minutes.  I talked out loud to Kevin while I was walking through the store, but I do that a lot anyway.  I probably wouldn't have been okay if I had to spend more than five minutes shopping, though.  Dick's was one of Kevin's favorite stores and we spent a lot of time in there.  Golf stuff for him, running & yoga stuff for me, soccer stuff for the kids, new Colts jerseys for all....  Good memories.  We always had fun shopping together, even if we were just browsing and not buying.

I have yet to make it out of the grocery store without crying yet, though.  Wal-Mart is the hardest, since if we were grocery shopping together that was Kevin's preferred store.  But any of them get to me.  I've even tried shopping on the other side of town in a store I've never been to before. But there's always this feeling that I can't be done shopping yet because I didn't get any snacks for Kevin; or I didn't get him any Mountain Dew.  And after I find myself reaching for the Little Debbies for the third time, the tears will start.

I end up apologizing to Kevin, as if he still cares about having Chex Mix to snack on, or something chocolate for when he wakes up hungry in the middle of the night.  It makes no sense to me, but it's how I feel in that moment.  It's just kind of how we were, too.  If one of us was in the store, any store, without the other; we always got some little treat or surprise for the other.  Just a way to say "I was thinking about you while I was out."  So leaving the store without something just for Kevin feels wrong to me, and I apologize, and I cry.

I actually still have in our room one can of Mountain Dew and one Twix bar.  I let the boys have all the rest of his Mountain Dew and snacks months ago, but I kept these two things.  It was always important to me to make sure Kevin had the things he liked to have so he'd feel comfortable and happy at home.  So I don't want to get rid of them just yet, but I know they won't keep forever.  At the moment I think I might have them on our anniversary, but that could change when that day actually gets here.

So the things I used to keep for Kevin are now for me.  They make me feel more comfortable, make it look like he was just here, or he'll be right back.  And right now I need that, so I think that's okay.  Right now is my time to weep and to mourn.
"There is a time for everything; and a season for every activity under the heavens... a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance."  Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

Monday, September 28, 2015

DFL: It's a Badge of Honor!

Another Monday, another race recap.  I ran the Knobstone Trail Mini Marathon on Saturday, and I had several working titles for this blog post as I thought about it:

 

Lightning Couldn't Strike Twice

This was of course my consolation race since last weekend's Indy Women's Half Marathon got black flagged due to lightning near the course.  I decided against using this title though after I found out Laura's race got black flagged, although not due to lightning.  She finished 35 miles of the Table Rock Ultra 50 Mile Race, running in torrential downpours, until the race was black flagged due to flash flooding on the course.  She said they stopped them at an aid station, picked them up and drove them back to the Start-Finish.  She also said there were places on the out and back where the trail was completely gone just an hour or so after they'd gone through.  I hope Laura blogs about this soon; I'd really like to hear more about it.  I cannot imagine running 35 miles in perfect running conditions, much less in a heavy downpour.

 

Holy Hills Batman

The Knobstone Trail Half was much hillier than any trail runs I've done at Eagle Creek or Fort Ben before.  Some steep descents and lots of long uphill climbs with switchbacks.  About a quarter of the run was on gravel forest service roads, but most of it was single-track trails through the woods.  I really enjoyed it - one of my favorite races ever.  The trail was very technical in spots, and it was definitely one of the most challenging races I've run.  I beat my Summer Night Trail Half time by over 4 minutes to earn a new trail half PR of 3:38:46.

 

Half Fanatics Here I Come

Half Fanatics is the little sister club of the Marathon Maniacs.  Fanatics are people who love the half marathon distance and run lots of them.  There are different levels, but basically if you run a certain number of certified official half marathons within a certain time frame, then you qualify for membership.  I realized earlier this year that my fall race schedule had three half marathons within ninety days of each other, which will qualify me to join, so that became a goal for me.  This race was my first of those three.  The next two will be the Helen Holiday Half on 10/28 and the Santa Hustle Half on 12/13.

 

DFL: It's a Badge of Honor!

Yes, even though I set a Personal Record at this race, I still came in DFL.  And it's my second DFL in as many months.   (Here's a list of running terms if you don't know what DFL means.)  But there were only 97 runners who finished the race, so I was also in the top 100.  And in case you haven't seen it yet, here's Nike's ode to the last finisher:

 

Up Next

The Back On My Feet Marathon Relay with some awesome ladies from work.  We are calling ourselves the Pace Cadets. The weather forecast right now says low of 44 high of 65, mostly sunny with only 10% chance of rain.  I'm the first runner up for our relay team, so I should have just about perfect running weather at 8am.  I'm doing three loops for a total of 6.6 miles before I hand it off to the next runner.  It's my first time participating in this event, but I've heard from friends who've done it in the past that it's a lot of fun.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Five Months, One Thousand Little Good-Byes

Today marks five months since Kevin passed away.  I've been riding an emotional roller-coaster all day, and it's only lunch time.

One of the most unexpected things about grief for me has been the sheer number of times I feel like I am saying good-bye to Kevin.  Every time I part with something of his, it's a little good-bye.  Every time I change something in our room, it's another good-bye.  It's like I have to keep letting go tiny little bit by tiny little bit, and sometimes it's just excruciating.

Sometimes I can't do it at all.  Over the weekend, I finally straightened up the vanity in our bathroom.  All the things he'd left scattered around it were exactly as he'd left them, and so I got a little basket and put his watch, bracelet, lighter, Nike+ Fuel band, etc., all in this basket and put it over to the side of the vanity.  It doesn't sound like much, but it felt like a really big deal.  I tried to put his empty Mountain Dew can in the recycle bin, but I couldn't do it, so it's still sitting there next to the sink.

And that's one of the other unexpected things: how crazy and random-seeming are the things I can and can't do so far.  I can sleep on his side of the bed, but I can't sit in his chair.  I can wear his hats and sunglasses when I run, but I can't pick his jeans up off the closet floor or even empty his jeans pockets yet. 

I changed my Facebook profile picture today.  I'd left it as this picture taken of Kevin and me on our anniversary last year, but earlier this week I felt like it might be time to change it.  I don't miss him any less.  I still feel married, still call him my husband and call myself Kevin's wife.  But it's starting to feel more real that he's gone and not coming back, and it felt like time to change my profile picture to one of just me and not us together.  And that felt like another good-bye.  I had to think about it for a couple of days, and even ask some people if they thought it would be okay. 

Then shortly after I changed it, I saw that Pittsboro Golf Course had named their Thursday scramble the Kevin Hazel Scramble, and created a recurring Facebook Event for it.  I knew they were going to do it, and they'd actually posted this back in July, but I didn't see it until today.  I probably wasn't ready.  I just sat at my desk and bawled for probably 10 minutes.  (I know, I shouldn't be Facebooking at work, right?)  It was yet another good-bye, yet it also made me happy to see him remembered that way by his favorite place.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

From Pirate Flag to Black Flag

Yesterday, September 19, was International Talk Like a Pirate Day.  One of my favorite days of the year.  After all, who doesn't love a made-up holiday that doesn't require you to bake, shop for presents, decorate, or do anything besides talk silly all day?  Only a scurvy landlubber wouldn't enjoy this day.

When the kids were younger and we often still ate meals together as a family, I would make theme meals a lot.  Kimmy says my theme meals are some of her favorite memories.  And one year for TLAP Day I made a sort-of pirate meal.  I wish I had a picture of it, but I don't think we took one.  I got turkey legs and had Kevin grill them, and I made corn on the cob, a loaf of homemade bread, and some non-alcoholic grog.  Since the meal was all finger-foods, I didn't even put plates on the table.  The food was on big platters in the middle of the table, and I gave everyone bandanas and told them all to forget their table manners for one night.


Yesterday was also the Indy Women's Half Marathon.  As part of the Indy Women's Training Group, we had been training together for this race since mid-June.  It's one of my favorite races, starting downtown on Monument Circle and running northwest towards Riverside Golf Course before coming back downtown to finish in front of the War Memorial.  It's a lot of fun, with a real party atmosphere and lots of great ladies cheering and encouraging each other.

Unfortunately this year weather stopped the event shortly after it started.  There was lightning near the northwest part of the course, so they had to call the race off.  You can't take chances with severe weather, so it was the right call of course.  But it still turned out to be a really fun day.  Since the lightning wasn't close to the finish line area downtown, they were able to keep the festivities going.  Kudos to Carmel Road Racing Group and all the volunteers who kept everything rocking even in the pouring rain.

We still got our medals from polite, hunky soldiers.  We still got to pose with friends on the free picture stage.  And as part of the training group we had access to the VIP tent, so we still got mimosas and massages, donuts and coffee, and just had fun hanging out.

I heard some ladies say they didn't feel like they'd earned their medals, but I disagree.  We trained hard for months.  Hot humid summer months.  We got up and ran when we didn't feel like it.  We pushed each other and encouraged each other and learned from each other.  We made new friends and got closer to old ones.  We got stronger, mentally and physically.  We battled that awful flu that went around, and we still kept running.  We showed up ready.  We earned those medals.

I'm hanging mine proudly on my medal tree, just above last year's.  And next year, Lord willing and the creeks don't rise, I'll be back to earn another.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Here's Your Sign

Kevin & I have a lot of stuff.  Partly from blending two households, partly because Kevin always liked to get new things, and partly because I don't like to throw anything away that might still be useful.  Even before Kevin passed away, I'd realized we have too much when I thought about how spacious our house seemed when we first moved in, and now it feels too cluttered.

At the beginning of the year, we thought we'd be empty-nesters about now, and while we were not planning to move to a smaller house, we had decided to start decluttering: to simplify what we have down to what we really need and use and enjoy. We made some pretty good progress doing 40 Bags in 40 Days during Lent.  But then everything changed when Kevin died.

Suddenly I feel emotionally attached to more stuff because it carries memories for me that are a lot more precious now that we don't get to make anymore. Yet at the same time I know that once the boys move out, I probably won't want to stay in this big house by myself for much longer, so I don't want to have a lot of stuff that I have to pack up and move.

Something that I don't feel attached to is all the surplus electronics. DVD players and cameras and printers and so on. I wanted to start there but I don't know what to do with all this. I'd found a home for a VCR when the one in the Senior Center at work broke down and they asked for a replacement. But I still was feeling overwhelmed with these things, and Sunday night while praying I asked "God, please help me know what to do with all these things."

Monday I saw on Facebook where a friend had shared a post from another friend who was looking for an old police scanner for a  nursing home resident.  I thought the closest thing we have is a weather radio but that wouldn't really help.  Later that night I was filing some papers away and straightening up the desk and picked up what I've always thought was a walkie-talkie, intending to put it with the other electronic stuff.  I wondered why there was only one since walkie-talkies usually come in a set so I looked at it closer.
Pro-39 Hyper Scan Programmable Scanner
Could this be an old police scanner, like my friend's friend was trying to find? I googled it, and sure enough that's exactly what it is.  I had no idea we had something like that, and I really don't know why Kevin had it or what he ever used it for. The next day I put fresh batteries in it, and it still works.  So I downloaded and printed out an owners manual to go with it, and let her know I had one she could have.  

She's very happy to get it, and I hope that it will bless and comfort the resident she is taking it to.  I'm sharing this here with you now because it was just a really neat message to me from God, saying "I AM here, I AM listening to your prayers, and I AM going to help you figure all this out."

He listens to my cry for help and will answer my prayer. Psalm 6:9

I know my prayers won't always get answered so speedily and so obviously, but in this moment when I really needed it, God showed me a big sign.  

I'm feeling encouraged by this, and I hope you are too.  If you have any stories about how God has answered a prayer in a neat way, I'd love to hear those too.  

Monday, September 14, 2015

Don't Suffer But Take The Pain

Deep Thoughts

Run(317); Pic from Indy Women's Training Group
Blog post inspiration usually seems to come when I'm running.  If I had a way to transcribe my thoughts as I run, I'd be posting a lot more often probably.  These thoughts have been mulling in my head since the Mass Ave Run(317) race a couple of weeks ago.  I was listening to a playlist on RockMyRun (great app - highly recommend it) and a song came on with the line "I hope that you don't suffer, but take the pain."  I can't tell you the name of the song or artist, because I don't even remember which playlist I was listening to so I could look it up.  But it got me thinking about what that would look like for me, because it sounded like good advice.

Take The Pain

In GriefShare they call this "leaning into it", like when you are wading in the ocean and the waves come in, you lean into them so they don't knock you down as you let them wash over you.  You can't avoid them and run back to shore every time a wave comes, or you'll never get anywhere.  Similarly I can't avoid the pain of missing Kevin.  If I try to avoid it by distracting myself from it or numbing myself from it, I'll never make any progress.  I know I will always miss Kevin, but some day I will get to the point where the pain isn't so intense.  I won't get there unless I take it now as it comes, though.  
Grief is the price you pay for loving someone. - Zig Ziglar

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Turtle Trot

During our vacation Mark and I traveled by ferry again this year to run the Bald Head Island Turtle Trot 5K.  The conservancy there holds a 5K every week of the sumner, and most all holidays throughout the year, to raise money for the turtles.  Besides the fact that I love the turtles, I love the passion the employees have.  We spent the ferry ride talking with the director, talking about turtles, predators, deer birth control, and ultra racing.  Loved it.  She told us every race was worth it because she got to educate people about turtles every week.

The race itself is quite difficult.  About half on the beach (high tide this year...soft sand...ugh), then hot open running on the island with (what?) hills.  Then Mark and I ate a Slushee and took off on the trails back to the ferry.

If you vacation in this area, look them up.  http://www.bhic.org/

By the way, for the first time this year we got to see a turtle nest hatch on Oak Island and the excavation three days later, magic.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ignite the Night 10K & Philly Trip Recaps


Two recaps in one, since the past week was such a busy one.


Ignite the Night 10K

This was a fun night run in Shelbyville, with a contest to see "How Glow Can You Go?".  I didn't win for glowiest, but I had fun trying.  I've never found the official race results, but my watch said I did the 10K in 1:22.  I felt good the whole run, and I'm happy with that time, especially since the course was on dimly lit uneven sidewalks and it was extremely hot and humid.  I also came in Dead Last, although I'm pretty sure there were only 9 people who ran the 10K, so I was in the Top 10 as well.  This was the first year for this event, and they did say they will try to have more lights along the course next year.  Since a lot of it runs through residential neighborhoods, I think luminaries in the yards would be pretty.

Philadelphia Trip

Last week I went to Philadelphia for training for work.  This was my first trip since Kevin died, other than to visit family.  I got into town on Sunday around 3pm, and I had planned to do some sightseeing that evening.  I wasn't able to do any, though.  I checked into my hotel, went across the street to check into my conference, went to CVS to buy some snacks, and then went back to my hotel room where I talked to Kevin, prayed, and cried myself to sleep.  I was just overwhelmed with an intense wave of grief and loss, and there was nothing else to do for it.  I wanted nothing more than to be home with our familiar things, and I felt farther away from Kevin than ever.  At moments like those, the rest of my life stretches out before me and feels bleak and empty.  I know that's not reality, but that's how it sometimes feels.
I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed.  Lead me to the towering rock of safety.  Psalm 61:2b