Tag Archives: #roadwarriors2016

Michigan Titanium

So, I decided, mainly for the double down medal option, to sign up for the MiTi: Michigan Titanium. This event is not offered in a sprint distance triathlon, and I was not ready to try the Olympic distance triathlon for the distance of the swim. So I decided to register for the Olympic Duathlon. Bike24.8 miles, then run 6.2 miles. Sounds like it can happen. I mean, I have done the 20k sprint bike portion before and the run I was not worried about, so, I figured, why not give it a shot.

Now, I am still using my mountain bike that has been fitted with clip on aero bars and road tires. But, WOW…..hello Cannonsburg hills! I have driven down Cannonsburg road so many times since living in Grand Rapids, and it never seemed that hilly. But, when it is a car versus your burning legs on a mountain bike…..yeah…..it was hard.

Being that this was my first Duathlon, and the first Olympic distance I had no real goals except to finish. Ideally, I wanted to finish in under 4 hours. But that was using the time that it took me to do half the bike and run distances in a sprint triathlon. Plus, there was no swim portion, so, it seemed logical to try to calculate that I could finish in under 4 hours.

It was inspiring seeing all the other athletes competing in VERY LONG distance races. The MiTi offers the only full distance Ironman in Michigan. Also offering:

Full Tri – 2.4 Swim, 112 Bike, 26.2 Run
Full Relay – 2.4 Swim, 112 Bike, 26.2 Run
Full Aquabike – 2.4 Swim, 112 Bike
Full Duathlon – 112 Bike, 26.2 Run

Half Tri – 1.2 Swim, 56 Bike, 13.1 Run
Half Relay – 1.2 Swim, 56 Bike, 13.1 Run
Half Aquabike – 1.2 Swim, 56 Bike
Half Duathlon – 56 Bike, 13.1 Run

Olympic Tri – .93 Swim, 24.8 Bike, 6.2 Run
Olympic Relay – .93 Swim, 24.8 Bike, 6.2 Run
Olympic Aquabike – .93 Swim, 24.8 Bike
Olympic Duathlon – 24.8 Bike, 6.2 Run

So, needless to say, there were ALOT of atheltes.

There was strong Road Warrior representation there as well. Along with myself, Mandy Kitchen was competing in her first Half Ironman Triathlon, and Lisa Barrett was competing in the Half Relay.


The Olympic duathlon was the last to go off at 8:45am. And soon after the start, the hip cramp creeped in….ugh. But, knowing that there was no way I was going to truly place in this event, I pulled off to the side and stretched for a bit. However, on the way back, the hills got the best of me. As did my water consumption. I had to stop and vomit up some water. Then this action made me feel dizzy. So, instead of giving up, I decided to just walk a little with my bike to see how I felt.


Now, at the time of the vomiting, there was a course volunteer who told me that he was going to notify medical, because of his concerns. I told him I was not stopping, I was just going to walk for a bit. Part of me wanted to just give up. Give in to the fact that the hills and the distance were too much for me. But, that is just not me. So I walked. Then rode. Then walked some more. Many racers along the way made sure to ask if I was okay. Some offered nutrition or salt tabs. But I just needed to realize the hills were too much for a full ride. But my legs could still walk!

At bottle exchange I took another break. Slowly consumed more water and some Gatorade. Then, just as some heavy rain started, got back on the bike for the rest of the ride! What I wanted to take no longer than 2 1/2 hours took me over 3 1/2 hours. So I knew my 4 hour attempt was out the door. But, I had not quit….so I continued.

I came into transition at the run. Headed out and just started walking. The run course was also hilly, but, doable. And in the long run I ended up walking a lot of it, but, I did not stop. The aid stations were like my athletic “Golden Corral” buffet. I took cops of water, Gatorade, and Pepsi, pickles, a cookie and some pretzels at every station. And I slowly consumed everything between aid stations. I managed to run some. I managed to see some wonderful faces. I managed to meet some great people.

And near the end the emotion was overwhelming. I was actually going to finish this thing! So many times on the bike course I wanted to just get a ride back. No one would blame me. No one would think less of me. But it was not in me to do it! Luckily, the dude at the corner told me about the lady with the camera at the finish, so I managed to not look teary, smile and give a thumbs up. But as I crossed that finish line I broke down. It was, to date, the hardest event I have ever done. But……….it was done! It was done in 5 hours, 28 minutes and 11 seconds.






A Girl’s Best Friend Triathlon

So, two weeks ago I “competed” (and I say this with quotation marks because, well, I wasn’t in it to win it) in 3Disciplines Girls Best Friend Triathlon in Vickburg, MI. This, given the name, was an all female event. This piqued my interest because I think it is fabulous when there are all female events out there. Not to say that guys don’t deserve to have all male events, but, I love that it can show that women can be strong, athletic, have fun and not really hate on each other. It can be quite empowering!

Anywho, back to the event. I competed in the sprint distance. A 500m swim, 20K bike, 5k run. This is my comfort for sure. There were laughs on the swim…. lots of, “ladies, we ARE doing this, right?!?!”. There was fun on the bike. And I met a wonderful 48 year old women on the run (which was more of a walk for us both) who was competing in her first triathlon. She was very excited to learn she would finish under 3 hours, as this was her goal.

I was somewhat unprepared for the fact (because, obviously I didn’t read enough prior) for the fact that some of the run was cross-country, some trail and the remaining paved road. And then there was all the lovely rain the day and evening before, so…..slippery grass. But, we all managed. And it was not that bad.

The bike course was quite flat (which was nice), and the run more hilly. I will take that combo any day of the opposite. The aid station volunteers were a group of cheerleaders from the local high school and they were WONDERFUL! Yelling at as they saw us coming on the run course to prepare to hand us our choice of drink/nutrition. They were also very encouraging! This is what I LOVE about volunteers and this sport! Younger kids cheering, encouraging, laughing with you…..it is inspiring to see our youth this way.

I had a goal to beat my Grand Rapids Triathlon time. That time was 2:52:36. I figured that was a good enough goal to set. Just beat that time. Of course, then I realized the run course was trail-ish (which I simply LOVE!!! <—sense the sarcasm), and thought no.freaking.way!

The water was 83 degrees which meant it was not wetsuit legal. Of course, I had purchased a wetsuit, so I would not get to try it out in an event, but, oh well. It rained some on the bike course, and then got all humid and such on the run. But the encouragement and fun of this event was out of this world! And as I crossed the finish line, while I knew I had beat my previous triathlon time, it was not until later that results were fully posted to reveal by how much.

Overall Place: 185

Place: 185/191

Swim Place/Time: 156   22:23

T1:   4:04

Bike Place/Time: 182 1:11:07

T2: 2:32

Run Place/Time: 187   58:23

Final Time: 2:38:27

So I beat my previous time by 14 minutes and 9 seconds. And given the fact that the run portion was some trail and some cross-country…..I was pretty proud of myself. And overall, this was a wonderful event to attend, and it will be on my list for next season as well!




For All Those People Who Told Me….

When I first started running 2 years ago I was determined to only run in 5k races. I mean, no reason to worry about running farther. 5k races are generally cheaper, and most of the time you get the same benefits as the longer races that are attached. Also, they are somewhat more personal and geared towards new(er) runners. Then people around me started asking when I was going to run linger distances. “So, when is your first marathon?”, “So, when do you plan on qualifying for Chicago/Boston/LA?” My response…… “Whoa people….do ya’ll WANT me to fail?”

Then came the 2016 Road Warrior Program. I was a “5K participant” along with another warrior (LIZ SHOUT OUT!). There was also a 10K participant. And the remaining were 25K participants. During the interview for the program I was asked if I would be willing to run a longer race if I felt I was prepared, and I responded quickly with an, “absolutely”. Of course, all the while hoping that I would only do the 5k. Then the 10k-er (CRYSTAL SHOUT OUT!), decided to “up” to the 25k. And my fellow 5k-er decided to “up” to the 10k. So there I was……stepping up to the 10k. Looking back, I never wanted to run more than 3 miles. Now I was gonna run 6 miles. Then offer came for the option to participate in the GR Half Marathon…..eh, why the hell not!

So to all those people who said I would eventually “up” to longer distances? You were right…..

Also in 2016 was the decision to try my hand at OCR’s. And while I completing the Ohio Spartan Sprint, everyone around me was saying, “once you cross the finish line, you will never look back and want to do more!” Well, this sounds familiar. Now, the downside here is that these races are quite pricey. Plus, you need to register pretty early in advance in order to beat price increases. Then there is the limited places that they are offered (I am talking specifically about Spartan). I figured the Sprint distance (3-5 miles and 20 obstacles) would be doable for a “beginner”. I mean, I run, crossfit, gym, etc…..it will be hard, but I can do it.

Well, as I have written in a previous post, it was hard. At the time the hardest thing I have ever had to do. 3-5 miles was actually 9 and 20 obstacles. I mean, I am fairly certain they really planned out the Super course instead. But one thing was for sure. When I crossed that finish line I was not thinking about how fabulous it felt. I was not thinking about the amazing accomplishment. I was literally thinking, “Gimme that medal and get me out of here!” Did I think I wanted to complete another after I finished? Nope. I never want to do one of those again. Not a Spartan. Not a Tough Mudder. Not a Battlefrog. Not a Savage Race. I am not sure I really even ever want to go hiking again for that matter.

So to all those people who said I would “love” OCR’s? You were wrong……

Most recently, and only one short month after my first 10K, I completed the Grand Rapids Triathlon. I used to swim competitively, I run, and hey, riding a bike is not that difficult. And to not duplicate much of my previous blog, I will only state again that this was in fact THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER HAD TO DO. And in all my research I constantly read that people often said that after their first triathlon, they were hooked. Huh. Well, there is THAT statement again. I mean, now there is a 50/50 chance, right? Could be great. Could be a disaster. Triathlons are definitely costlier than running races. More on the OCR price range. Require more training time. Obviously more disciplines.  And, while running the last few yards of the triathlon I asked myself, “When I cross the finish, will I ever want to do this again?” And then I crossed the finish. And I cried. A lot. Hard. I actually completed it. And you know what? I LOVED IT! Sure, I couldn’t feel my legs. Yeah, my tailbone hurt in the shape of my bike seat. And, unfortunately I did not properly prepare nutrition-wise. But I LOVED IT! I have honestly never been more proud of myself as completely that race. And in just over 1 week after that completion I registered for another. And then also for the MiTi Duathlon.

So to all those people who said I would love triathlons?    Thank you.

Much love

Keep running.

The Year Of “Upping The Ante”

Well, it has been a month since I last posted. A month since the last big brewhahaha with my Road Warrior crew. And I will admit, there has been a slump. Work hit a combination of crazy and busy, the weather went all Michigan-y. I developed allergies (???) and in the mix was also my first triathlon.

As most of you who know me know I research everything. I researched and researched and decided to give the Grand Rapids Triathlon a shot. Over and over I read that it was one of the top tri’s for beginners. That was important to me. Then, the race staff offered numerous info and training clinics that encompassed everything not only a newbie, but also a veteran needs to know. And while some of the info clinics covered the same information, there was always something new I learned.

At the last info clinic, about two weeks before the event, I remember thinking, “what in the world have I done?”. In trying on the wetsuit I remember thinking, “what in the world have I done?”. When I went to the training swim I got in the water and remember thinking, “There is no way I can do this.”.

Of course I did not sleep well the night before. Was up early enough to make sure that everything was packed up. Race numbers places on my arms and legs, bike, helmet and onto my race belt. When we got to the venue I was able to get the end spot on the bike rack and set everything up. Then it was just time to wait. Sit and watch all the different people come into the transition area and set themselves up. In all honesty, there had to be about $500,000 worth of equipment there if not more.

The swim looked longer than at the practice swim. And according to my TomTom it was. Not by much, but still. I started getting leg cramps about halfway through the swim which slowed me down. Once out of the water, thanks to the assistance of race volunteers, I had my experience with the swimsuit strippers. That was fun! Once I made it to transition to my bike I started to realize that I had not properly prepared myself nutritionally for this race. I am so used to participating in running events, and in the midst of everything, only ate enough for that. So I took my time in transition. I sat down, put on my socks and shows. Consumed an energy gel. Then slowly just walked my bike out of transition. I figured that the bike would be good because at least I could take the time to rehydrate. The course had some small hills, but nothing major. I quickly learned the sound difference between an oncoming vehicle and an oncoming bicyclist. And by the time I hit the halfway mark, I was convinced I was not going to make it. My tailbone hurt so bad from the bike seat. And I wanted to stop so many times to rest, but just kept going. Even though it looked like I was on a Sunday afternoon ride with no care in the world.

Once the bike course was done and I was back in transition, I realized I did not have enough nutrition at my station. I got my race belt on and started out onto the run course. I literally could not feel my legs, and my left hip was on the verge of cramping most of the bike course. The aide stations were wonderful offering water, Gatorade, Pepsi, bananas, oranges, grapes, pretzels and Hammer Gel. The people along the way, for all the course, were wonderfully energetic and supportive. I did not run as much of the run course as I would have liked, but made it, and crossed the finish line at 2:57. I had set a time for myself at registration of 5 hours, mainly because I had no idea how long it would take. So in that regard I kind of be my expected PR!

All in all the GR Tri was FABULOUS! I would highly recommend it for newbie triathletes who want to get their feet wet, pun intended. I cried when I crossed the finish line. It was legitimately the hardest thing I have ever done. There are many things I would do differently next time. Some I should have known before hand, some I know now that I know what it is like. But the next day, while it still hurt to stand up or sit down (lol), my mind was already on what to do next time.

So, while this race season is a little less event planned as previous years, it holds harder and longer races. 2016 is my “up the ante” year. I ran my first 10k in May. My first triathlon in June. I will do the Girls Best Friend Triathlon in August (sprint distance). I have registered for the Olympic Distance Duathlon of the Michigan Titanium also in August. I will run my first Half Marathon in October. Many “firsts” and many “extensions” of what I have learned. If it all goes well, watch out 2017!


Keep Running

Much love.

The Beginning of The End That Created a New Beginning


How do you begin a blog post that discusses the end of an amazing experience. I guess just…..discuss it. I can say that I had never heard of the Fifth Third Road Warrior program until my running coach from Gazelle Sports posted that applications were being accepted. I filled out the application and didn’t really think much after that. However, then I received an email about a personal interview. I was totally convinced (and remember telling Sarah Gust this) that they were simply interviewing everyone that applied. She later informed me that was not the case. The personal interview went well. There were lots of laughs (I am good at the laughs), so it is always a plus when people I am talking to take the laughs in a good way. I remember looking at the 6 month schedule and thinking that it was a lot that was expected of us, however, I was willing to give it all a shot.

Fast forward to training that began and I remember being all over the board. I was not nearly as fast or as up to speed with regards to endurance as everyone else. And there were definitely times where I questioned if I was right for the team. Coach Amy and Joann, however, always reassured me. Through training I learned the amazing personalities of my teammates. And we all fit together nicely. We went through some crazy weather (right up until race day), some weird injuries, so much illness and sickness it seemed never ending. We all stuck it out, though.

Race morning was early. I had only about 2 1/2 hours of sleep (which is pretty normal). I had decided early on, due to the tenacity of my teammates who upped the ante, to run the 10K – my first. To date I have run approximately 35 5k races. But it was time to move on up the running ladder. Then, due to some injuries, some teammates who were planning on running longer distances had to drop down. But something that is totally amazing considering the season we all had…..EVERYONE PARTICIPATED!!!! Some may not have run the race that was planned or trained for, but they did it!


Race morning was cold. And I tend to get VERY warm when I run, but made the last minute decision to wear a long sleeve shirt under my C-Snip charity shirt. This would come off about halfway through the race. And I am sure I looked real good running AND disrobing at the same time. And I remember thinking when I hit mile 3 that I could have been done had I NOT been all crazy and decided to run an additional 3 miles. I also really liked that at about mile 4 there was a nice sign that said, “1 MILE TO GO!” and in small letters above it “25K runners”. Nice, RBR, well played. Luckily my $100 TomTom never lied to me.

With about 3/4 of a mile left, teammate Liz was all dance-dance waiting for me by the I196 overpass. You know, like it was all cake and ice cream once I made it to her. It was not, but, it was really good to have her there. A little further up was teammate Sarah Bender who kindly reminded me I was almost there and both ladies took some of my attire – Liz, my shedded long-sleeve; Sarah, my Nathan water belt. Turning the corner, not being able to really feel much other than pain in my right foot, there was a large cheering crowd. And there they were….my gazelle peeps. Most specifically, because of her phenomenal cheering, one Jill Beckwith. Seeing her made me instantly start to cry. The support from the women (no offense guys, ya’ll support great, too, but my ladies are amazing) that I can call friends is always overwhelming in such a great way. Hauling ass to the finish, foot painfully numb, can not really breathe, I cross the finish. As my friend Janet Carpenter says, “she’s a weeper”. And I am. My family would agree. I drop, try to catch my breath and cry at the same time, and just take a few minutes to relish in the fact that in the end, running 6 miles instead of 3 miles was not really that bad. Did I meet my goal time? No. But my overall goal, the goal I said during my personal interview for the Road Warrior program way back in December I wanted to reach was met wholeheartedly. I wanted to feel good about what I did. Two years ago I could barely walk around the block without deciding it was better to go home and sit on the couch. Now I just completed a 6 mile race.

And while the Riverbank Run for me was only 6 miles and 96 minutes, it all actually added up to …….

  • Overall Miles Walked/Run: 345.58
  • Overall Hours Spent: 70.51
  • Total Workouts: 113
  • Total TV’s Powered: 1057
  • Total Donuts Burned: 195.73
  • Friendships Sealed: 14
  • Overall Experience: PRICELESS.

We trained on a track indoors, in the snow, in the ice, in the rain, in the sun, on bikes, in the pool, in pain, in fun, in hatred (of hills), in silly outfits and underwear. We ran fast, we ran slow, we walked, we stood in awe of others and learned of kindred spirits within each other (I was so glad to have “Salty Scott” on my side of someone else who gets all face gritty and salty white post hard runs 🙂 ). And always happy to make sure that I showed Jim “Beast Mode” Bomhof up in my antics, because lord knows someone had to do it.

In the end, this experience was one of the best experiences of my life. It pushed me past my limits and allowed me to realize that there is more for me out there other than a 3 mile race. That speed and time is not all that matters all the time. That setting goals that are whatever you want them to be are ok. Because they are my goals. And I am the only one that can crush them, make new ones and crush those too. But without these people, I never would have realized this.

So to all my fellow Road Warriors:

  • Sarah “Smiles” Gust
  • Sarah “Sarcasm +” Bender
  • Sarah “What Time?”Mariuz,
  • Court “Always Makes You Feel Good” Ziegler
  • Liz “Pave My Own Way” Heeringa
  • Lisa “I Will Get It Done” Barrett
  • Scott “Salty and Fast” Fitzpatrick
  • Mandy “Always Ready” Kitchen
  • Crystal “Solid Helping Heart” Funckes
  • Tommy “The Voice” Dylan
  • Jim “Beast Mode” Bomhof
  • Amy “I Love Hugs” Polega
  • Joann “No, You Will Do It” Karpowicz and
  • Dan “2 Hour Club” Oumedian

Thank you. Thank you all for the positivity, for the support, for the laughs, for the tears, for understanding, for the fun. But most of all, thank you for being a part of my journey and my life. You all mean the world to me.


Winter Running: You Must Prepare Your Mind, Not Just Your Body

Living in Michigan one gets to experience the entire spectrum of weather. Rain, sun, snow, ice, blizzard, deep freeze, tornados, thunder, lightening, wind……you get the gist. So being a runner in Michigan, especially a novice newbie such as myself, can be a little daunting. And given that this is the first real winter that I have actually participated in running outside, I have come to learn a lot.

  • It is dark at like, 3pm…..BE SEEN!!! Vests, flashies, blinkies, invest!
  • Even if you are a visible running Christmas tree, some people in cars do not care, and will not give you any extra space in the road.
  • Prepare your gear! Make sure you have everything you need, and room to place things that you may have needed at the beginning of the run, but not necessarily at the end.
  • Make sure you have a charged way of communication! It is just plain smart to have a phone, or some other way of contacting someone if you have issues…..or get kidnapped, even!
  • WEAR ID!!! RoadID is a great, inexpensive way to have identification on you in case you become unconscious. They have a ton of options for wrists, shoes, your FitBit, even your dog. INVEST IN ONE! (or something like it).

So, once you are all ready to go (and may even feel like Randy from “A Christmas Story” when he is bundles to go to school) make sure you THINK about what you are going to do. Here is what I mean……Don’t get too caught up in a “great run” mentality when the elements have one (or more) up on you. Unless you live in a “non-winter” area, OR live in places like Holland, Michigan where they have “snow melt” sidewalks, running in even a half inch of snow that has been walked through by the entire city (and their pets) is much like running in frozen sand. Believe me, the calf workout in half an inch of snow is still quite phenomenal, but if you are looking at a training run where you need to maintain time……it probably will not happen, especially if you have not trained in it on a regular basis.

So just let your mind release some strict training concerns. Don’t get down on yourself if you have been able to easily run a mile without stopping, but in snow it is more like a half mile before you need a break. It is still going to better your runs that you are able to do on clear roads. It will only make you stronger. And strength, well, in the end that is what we all have!


Much Love! Keep Running!

Why I Am A Fifth Third Riverbank Run Road Warrior!


So, we gotta write these biographies about ourselves for the Road Warrior program. I can’t help but think that sometimes I tend to write like an infomercial. But, eh, it’s mine so it is what it is 🙂

I began my journey to fitness after being released to begin a regular exercise program post bariatric surgery in July of 2014. While I loved swimming, I did not have free access to a pool. I did, however, have dogs that needed more exercise. So off to my local Gazelle Sports (SHOUT OUT!!!!!) for a good sports bra (always have a good sports bra, ladies!). I got to talking with one of the sales associates and was introduced to their running groups. Luckily, one had just started. I showed up at my first evening run with horrible shoes and cotton shorts (but hey, I had that good sports bra), and ran…..a little. I was introduced to some great people. Fun people. I realized that I was not one that had many friends, just a few close ones. However, before I knew it, I had a ton of friends. Running friends. I got good shoes, good running technical clothing and just continued to show up for training runs. I ran my first 5K six weeks after I began running. I didn’t run the whole time, I still don’t, but I crossed the finish line and never looked back.

Since I have started running I have become well versed in so many things, and I continue to learn from running and those around me every day. Support, inspiration, stories, lives, all so amazing. I also suffer from Severe Depressive Disorder and Moderate Anxiety Disorder and have learned that running is an excellent way to help fight off my symptoms that try to pop up every now and again. I have lost over 125 pounds since my surgery and have learned to coordinate weight training, yoga, swimming and cycling in with my running. After participating in more than 25 5k races since I started running, I will be participating in my first 10k at the Fifth Third Riverbank Run (thanks to some fellow Road Warriors who upped the ante). And to my shocking surprise I have registered for the sprint distance of the Grand Rapids Triathlon in July.

My goal as a 2016 Fifth Third Riverbank Run Road Warrior is to show those who think that they cannot, that they in fact can. You can. You can run around the block. You can run a mile. You can set your sights on something that you want and go for it to attain it in every way possible. Will it happen quickly? Absolutely not. Will it come to you easily? Absolutely not. You will need to work for it. But if you want it badly enough, you will get it. And know that you are not alone. And know you do not need to be alone in your journey. There are other people out there who will join you. Who will support you. Who will push you more than you ever thought you could go. And guess what? They will also be there for you to celebrate you. And to celebrate your accomplishment. And then, they will help you set your sights on what is next. Because there will be a next. And next will be even better.


Much Love! Keep Running!

Community Charity Run #1: True North Community Services

So as part of being a 2016 Fifth Third Riverbank Run Road Warrior, the Road Warriors are required to partner with one of 6 charities (2 Road Warriors per charity) to raise awareness and money. Last weekend we had our first Charity Community Run which invites the public to a free seminar discussing the Riverbank Run as well as the charity featured for that month. We had a nice turnout of people who are new to running and who are veteran runners. And the Road Warriors who spoke about their charity did amazing.

True North Community Services is a Michigan based non-profit organization that helps to provide opportunities to Michigan youth who may need assistance in becoming the best part of their own and their community’s future. Times are tough, but that does not mean that people and organizations can’t help provide for local families and their children. Assistance with family and developmental support such as Family Camp and Family Literacy Nights which bring families together, they assist in increasing family togetherness and engagement involving the family as a whole.

Diversity and cultural awareness is also part of their programming. In many rural areas, culture and diversity can be limited. And when resources are also limited, that can make social engagement even more difficult. As we all know, funding for art and music programs across the United States are being decreased all the time. TrueNorth assists in offering programs such as these so children and families can experience these amazing learning opportunities.

And children and families are not the only groups TrueNorth focuses on. Housing assistance and homeless prevention is also part of their community involvement. TureNorth understands the importance of helping those who live in poverty and need assistance. Whether it be assistance with paying for the heating bill, assistance with food or even health and medical needs for older adults, TrueNorth Community Services is there for those in the community that need the care they may not be able to get elsewhere.

Thanks so much to the members of TrueNorth Community Services for supporting the Fifth Third Riverbank Run. And thank you to Mandy Kitchen and Sarah Bender for being the 2016 Fifth Third Riverbank Run Road Warriors for TrueNorth Community Services.


Make sure to check out TrueNorth Community Services to see what they offer and how you can help!


Much Love! Keep Running!


Depression + Winter = Wanting to Stay in Bed ALL WINTER!!!


Living with Severe Depression is no fun day in the park. That big brain of mine tries to get me down. And it wins more often than not during the cold months. I love winter. But mainly because I hate summer. And when it gets dark at like….3pm, I really just want to go home from work and hit the heated hay. However, I work hard in trying to maintain a better outlook than my depressed times. So winter tends to be a struggle.

So, a little background. I was diagnosed with “Severe Depressive Disorder” and “General Anxiety Disorder”. I take medication to help control any recurrences that may come up. However, like many people that are medicated, when I feel good I try to test myself and try one day without medication. Then two days. Then three days and so on. You can see where this is going I am sure. Now, this happens other times as well, not just in the winter. But when my symptoms start to kick in, it is not good. Headache, fatigue, crying over not being able to find my ink pen, sleeping all the time, critiquing myself in every aspect of life, and even plans to end my own life.


But I always go back to the medication. And when it kicks in I feel better. More ready to take it all on. I have always been one that tends to pile too much on to my plate. I tend to worry and take care of every one else and not so much of myself. I am slowly, very slowly, working on changing that aspect of my life. Running and fitness have become a good get away for me. A time to run all my stress out, cry all my stress out, scream at the top of my lungs if I need to. It is my time. Whether it is in the gym or on the road. It is something I MUST do.

I thought after my bariatric surgery my depression would subside. That it was mostly due to the level of dislike I had for myself and what I had become. But it did not go away. If anything it changed and got stronger. Now I was not only dealing with the things in my life that contributed to my depression, but I am also dealing with a new found me I needed to get used to.

So it is hard to get out and exercise. It is hard to get out in the cold and run. It is hard to WANT to go to the gym, or for a swim, or to yoga. It is cold out. I have kitties at home that like to cuddle. I have sleep to try to get. But none of that detoxes my mind from the depressive thoughts that creep in. Okay, maybe the kitties do help. So get out there in the cold, in the rain, in the snow, in the mud. Run it out. Bike away. Swim hard. Release all that tension and toxic thinking that gets you down. You don’t need any of it!


Keep Running! Much Love!