If there’s one thing in life that is certain, it is typically that I will get sick during the Christmas break.  Be it stress, be it luck, be it whatever you want to call it, usually something pops up for me.  I’ve had colds galore, the stomach virus, the flu…you name it.  It’s like my body knows that it can finally relax so it lets go and lets the germs take over.  Weirdly enough, this year I wasn’t expecting that sickness to come in the form of Covid.  

If you know me, you know I’ve been trying to follow the rules for the most part.  I wear my mask, I wash my hands, I do try my best to avoid big crowds (even though sometimes it is inevitable) and I really try to social distance in the best way possible for my job and my life.  Still, somehow, it got in.  

The weirdest thing to me is the mental highs and lows that you go through with a positive Covid test.  I was so lucky to have the mild symptoms that I did, even though I still cannot taste and smell (which is what triggered me to go get tested in the first place).  The test is so vivid to me.  I was scared, I was ashamed.  I was mortified, I was nervous.  Not at one time was I feeling upbeat like I know a lot of people see me as.  

I felt like a failure.  I felt like I had let everyone down, not only my family but the frontline workers that put themselves at risk to save others.  I felt like the Grinch That Stole Christmas.  All of these emotions, all of these things I found running around in my head freely because of course with a Covid diagnosis you are sent home to stay in a room isolated from contact besides through an electronic device.  No hugs, no comforting, heck I was afraid to even be in the same room as my husband for the first few days even with a mask on.  

I kept waiting for the mic to drop.  Every night I would go to bed and think that today was the day it was going to get worse.  Day 4 I remember reading an article about how shortness of breath can happen at Day 5 and lead to bigger problems.  That night my chest felt heavy but nothing came of it in the morning.  My sleep was also effected by the virus.  I found myself falling asleep easily but then waking up in the middle of the night and staying awake for about an hour before I could fall asleep again.  Luckily, I didn’t get the tiredness that everyone talks about.  I napped one day.  By day 7 I was walking on the treadmill a couple miles a day just to get my stamina back.  

I want you to know that Covid can look really different to everyone.  I consider myself very blessed.  I will be honest in saying that for months on end the slightest allergy attack or the slightest headache made me think that today was the day I had Covid and nothing ever happened until it happened.  If you would have told me that what I was experiencing was Covid, I would have sworn it was a cold coming on or just my allergies being wacky (because they always are).  Then…I lost my taste and smell.  

I went around trying to smell everything.  I couldn’t smell hand sanitizer; it just burnt my nose.  I tried smelling vinegar; same effect.  I tried garlic, my smelly soap, pickles, perfume…and nothing.  Taste was another weird sensation because I never totally lost my taste but the flavors of things (which of course is tied to your nose).  I can taste sweet, salty, bitter, etc., but nothing has a flavor.  I can tell Gatorade is sweet, but not that what I’m tasting is actually orange flavored.  I am hopeful, however that it will return.  

The one thing that no one talks about with Covid is getting to know who really cares about you…and maybe those people you thought cared and all of the sudden seemingly don’t.  I guess it kind of reminds me of the leper in the bible.  When some people found out I had Covid, they were concerned asking about me, asking how they could help and others…their communication ceased.  I am so so grateful to those that reached out to us, made deliveries, and made it a point to check on us.  You know it means the world to us and we would return the favors!

I’m not here to be political or tell you what to do.  I’m here to tell you to not ignore signs that it may be something else.  The last thing you want to do is spread this to someone that can’t fight it.  The last thing I wanted was to be that person that everyone blamed or felt it was their fault.  I cried here and there the first few days because I just felt so bad that I did this.  

It’s okay to break down.  It’s okay to have those moments, because they don’t have to last forever.  There’s people who care about me to tell me it’s going to be alright; this isn’t your fault.  It could happen to anyone.  That is my biggest take away point of all…it could happen to anyone.  I care about others, I try my absolute best to be a good citizen, but maybe this was God’s way of telling me “you aren’t always in control and that’s okay.”  

Big shoutout to my husband, my family, his family, our friends and everyone that cared to check on us throughout this time.  It means the world to us.  Not everyone struggles in public, and that’s why there’s friends and people to lean on.  You don’t have to do things alone and you shouldn’t have to.  I pray every night for those that Covid has taken from us and I pray for the people still fighting.  I can’t wait to get back to normal, but I also can’t wait til it is safe for all.  I am very thankful for the way this happened to me, but that does not discount how Covid treats others and how it has ripped families apart.  It’s not an easy thing, but we CAN do this.  Here’s to 2021.  

The great Pandemic of 2020.  The coronavirus.  COVID-19.  Whatever you want to call it…has changed our lives in many ways.  If you’re looking for politics in a post, you came to the wrong place.  I am concerned about Mental Health and how everyone is coping with what is going on.  The media and Facebook can be a toxic place, but it can also be an uplifting place with positive messages, people reaching out who normally wouldn’t reach out, and people doing things with their families that they may not have the time to do on a regular basis.  

Obviously, everyone’s experience is different throughout this whole thing, some people are working from home (myself), some people are still working just like normal, some are working more than normal, some, sadly, have closed their doors or have been laid off or furloughed.  Although all of these options may not be our choice, we have to make the best of it.  

We talk about Mental Health through all of this, and to me, that is the most important thing at play here.  When this first all started, I was a wreck.  I’m not going to sugar coat that.  I cried, I prayed, I cried some more and wondered how in the world things were ever going to be okay again.  I’m a worrier, it’s true, but I try not to let it overtake my life…even though it definitely rears its ugly head sometimes in my life.  I know that telling someone, adult or child, to “calm down” never usually results in the person calming down.  We talk in school counseling, especially in times of crisis, using terms of safety.  “What can we do to make you feel safe?”  “Show me that you are being safe.”  

Today, more than ever, our feelings of safety are important.  There are people on the frontlines that do not have the proper PPE, their feelings of safety are in jeopardy.  We have family members, friends, etc that are part of the “vulnerable” and we are worried for them.  We want them to be safe.  I have seen more than a few times someone post about “older people and the most vulnerable ones” and literally say that older people die anyway.  I have such a hard time fathoming this as I grew up with only one grandmother who passed away and I would give anything to see her again.  

We have to put into perspective that these death toll “numbers” are not just numbers.  They have names.  Each and every one of them have names.  They have sons, daughters, wives, husbands, friends, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, etc.  Everyone is valuable.  Everyone matters.  

With all of this, it can be easy to catastrophize and think about the worst of the worst.  It can be easy to think “what if?”  It can be easy to look at all of the news stories and become frightened.  What I’m here to tell you is that taking care of yourself, first and foremost, is very important.  People will judge your situation, they may judge how you handle anxiety, they may judge you for how you deal with staying at home or having to still work, but taking care of yourself is not selfish. 

There are many healthy ways to cope.  Notice, I say “healthy.”  I get outside daily.  I walk by myself or with James once he’s done working and we just get some fresh air.  We cook, we listen to music, we go for hikes, and we have discovered Ozark on Netflix.  What I want to stress is that in the beginning of this I felt like a coward.  I felt like I could not help others at all at the beginning because I was scared myself.  What has changed is that I feel a little more in tune with my feelings and the anxiety has lessened.

I still have feelings of worry here and there and I am very cautious still with that.  I grocery shop once a week and I haven’t seen my family members in person in months which is indeed, heart breaking, but I am constantly thinking about what I can control in all of this mess.  I can take the precautions that I can take.  I can’t help what others do.  I can set my schedule for the day.  I can go for walks.  I can video chat with my family and friends.    

The point I want to drive home is we must take care of ourselves (and our families too!) before we can go to help others because you cannot pour from an empty cup.  Reaching out if you have a problem is not a bad thing.  In fact, you should reach out if there is a problem and talk about it.  Too many times we bottle up our feelings and it only causes the problem to get bigger or worse in our minds.  Sometimes the biggest enemy is our own mind.  

I post positive messages because I truly be believe and practice what I preach.  I just want you to know that it’s okay to struggle.  It’s okay to cry, get frustrated.  It’s okay to seek out interactions on the web and from a distance.  I am so excited for the day that I can hug my family again.  I am so excited when I can go for a casual coffee or lunch date with a friend.  We’ll get there; but we all need to be in this together.  

Take care of yourself so you can help others, friends.  Love you all!

If there’s one thing that I feel like I always must do no matter what the circumstances; it is an end of the year blog.  2018 has brought me much happiness and at times sadness and pain, but all in all I can’t complain about that blessings that have been bestowed upon me.  I’ve never been the “new year, new me” kind of girl and if you know me sometimes I just set my mind to something and then eventually it gets done.  I quit biting my nails that way one random day and the same thing with quitting drinking pop.  

2018 started challenging me right off the bat because at the end of 2017 it was determined that I was going to have to get a steroid shot in my back to help with the sciatic pain that wasn’t going away from October’s injury and the physical therapy.  That was originally scheduled for January until a huge snowstorm hit and the hospital decided to shut down outpatient services on the day I was scheduled to have my shot.  Which brought me a few more weeks of physical therapy and then on Valentine’s Day I received my shot.  I remember it like yesterday because I was afraid that I was going to lose feeling in my legs.  You know all that hype that they tell you that could happen if something goes wrong…my mind always thinks about weird things like that.  My pulse in the procedure room, however, was a whopping 48.  They asked me if I did a lot of cardio exercise or if I were a runner because that is typical.  This made me feel better about everything that was going on.  

In February, James turned 33 and we celebrated by visiting Punsxy the night before Groundhog’s Day which was pretty cool actually.  The winter can be such a “blah” time of year but we sure know how to make it more bearable.  When it was -2 degrees we went out to the Quehanna wild area and explored around as well.  I am not a winter fan, but I do love nature.  

In April we took a trip out to Chicago to see my brother and sis in law and Logan so they could meet James finally and it was a great trip.  James got to see the city for the first time and we had a good visit.  Family means a lot to both of us so it is always time well spent.  

In May, I turned 28.  It still seems crazy to me that I am 4 years removed from graduate school and 10 years removed from high school!  I still feel like I should be running around those Curwensville halls but instead I’m telling kids to walk instead of run at Juniata Elementary.  Haha.  In May I also did my second half marathon which was in Pittsburgh.  Not only was I expecting to not be able to do this because of injury, but I was not looking forward to possibly injuring myself again.  However, it turned out just fine and I’m signed up for Pittsburgh in May 2019 again!

The summer is always a blur to me but I did go on family vacation with the Tarbay’s which was fun.  The beach is my absolute favorite place to be and soaking up the sun is exactly what I needed.  I am always down for a beach trip.  This summer I also worked three or so days a week for the Agency on Aging.  I LOVED it.  I went to visit people in their homes and did assessments.  The joys of spending time with the older generation when you are used to the very young generation was a welcome change for the summer.  I enjoyed all of the people that I met and those I got to help as well.  I am definitely planning on returning the summer of 2019 as well.  Summer was also full of auctions, travels to see my mom, go to Pittsburgh, etc. 

August I went back to school/work for my fifth year which is totally crazy to me.  It seems like there can be no possible way that it can be my fifth year.  I’ll take it though.  I love my job and the craziness that comes with it (for the most part lol).  

In September, James and I celebrated one official year of dating and we took a trip to Niagara Falls in Canada to celebrate.  It was a great weekend and James got to experience Ellicottville, NY as well.  My life has been changed so much more for the better in knowing him.  Even though sometimes it can be scary worrying about what may come or may be when it comes to his health; we treat everyday like a new day and we love even harder because of it.  My thoughts about CF and ways to give back led me to come up with Pouches of Positivity which is care packages for CF patients staying in the hospital in Pittsburgh.  I’m sure if you have read my correspondence at all, you have seen something about it.  It has turned into a great way to give back and I can’t wait to see what 2019 holds for it (and hopefully getting 501c.3 status!).  

October was the month everything was changing and lots of good things happened.  James asked me to marry him on the 11th, my dad’s birthday, and it was great having most of our families present for the occasion.  He was so thoughtful in the proposal and the ring as well and we are excited to start wedding planning this upcoming year for a date we haven’t picked yet (but will get to).  A week after the proposal we signed the closing papers on our house!  We have moved in slowly and it has been great to make a home.  There’s still so many things that we want to do, but it so nice having someone that has the same vision as you.  All of my life I have wanted something like this.  I wasn’t willing to settle for just someone to spend time with.  They say you will know when you find “the one” and I think I have found that for sure for me.  James has done great things for me.  

November and December even though they haven’t been too long ago have been busy months with holidays, visiting family, seeing friends, etc.  I love the holidays for seeing people you haven’t seen in a long time and just getting into the spirit.  There was a time when my parents first divorced where the holidays felt empty, but that has been replaced with a better version of family Christmas and getting to see everyone even if it isn’t on the same day or in the same place.  I have been welcomed into James’ family as well and have gotten a set of grandparents that I never had growing up as they all passed before I was born.  

As for 2019…I look forward to a lot.  I look forward to growing in my training in the fire company for better being able to serve others.  I look forward to photographing families, kids, weddings, etc.  I look forward to my nephew turning 2.  I look forward to continuing to build our home and planning a wedding.  I look forward to James turning 34.  I look forward to all the adventures we are going to have.  I look forward to spending time with family.  I look forward to kicking the half marathon’s butt.  I look forward to other races and other challenges.  I look forward to watching Pouches of Positivity grow.  I look forward to it all.  

Happy 2019.  May it be blessed, happy, and healthy.  


I woke up this morning and put on a dress, some sandals, and some Lipsense just like most mornings, however this morning was special to me because I was not going to work; I was heading to Shadyside Hospital.  Usually hospitals make people nervous, and this was not an exception to those cases, but this nervous feeling was also a feeling of excitement.  I have been to Shadyside I believe maybe two other times in my life, so I arrived early to get there to see where I was going.  I parked, got my things together and went on the hunt.  

If you have never experienced Shadyside Hospital, you are missing out on the world’s greatest maze except that the signage is amazing.  I made it to where I needed to be and stood in the hallway waiting to be greeted as I was a few minutes early.  I was greeted by the social worker and we went into the meeting which was informal but I was still nervous.  

I pitched my idea with my prepared sheet and I showed off one of the bags I had brought with me.  Pouches of Positivity came to fruition in a matter of an hour, and I was overcame with joy.  I did all of my necessary paperwork to become a certified volunteer as well so that I can spread the word and visit patients when I come back.  So what is this project and why should you care?

This project is care packages for adults with Cystic Fibrosis that are staying in the hospital at Shadyside (why Shadyside?  because that’s where CF patients stay when they are inpatient from the Pittsburgh clinic).  These care packages have all new items that help a hospital stay seem a little less boring.  Things like adult coloring books, activity sheets, colored pencils, itunes cards, chapstick, snacks, candy, gum, pens, stress balls, and the list goes on and on.  Currently there is no other program like this for CF patients that are over 18.  

Of course, this project is close to my heart as is my boyfriend, James.  As you may know, James has CF and is one of the most caring, friendly, loving, and strong people that I have ever met.  His strength and positivity is amazing to me which is what lead us to picking this name for the project, and of course knowing that there is a need for this population makes this project special to me.  He has been helping me bringing this project to light and giving me ideas of what he would think would be cool to have in these packages.  

As I sat at the meeting getting praise for this project, I felt myself become overwhelmed with joy.  There are no other words when something so passionate to you comes together.  I have never cried over being happy, but I felt tears forming in my eyes, good tears, knowing that this was something that others thought would be a good idea as well.  

Who knows where this will lead.  I am so excited to undertake this project and to make it a reality one pouch at a time.  There really is no dream too big when it comes to helping people.  I feel compelled to give back and make sure that others know that they are thought of as well even if it may not be a good thing that they are going through at that time in their lives.  

So where did the idea come from?  Interestingly enough, James and I met in church and we attend mass regularly.  It was Ascension Thursday and we went to 7am mass at St. Francis.  I know I should have been paying more attention to what was actually going on, but my mind tends to wander to other places and boy was I glad it did that day.  It hit me that the best way for me to give back would be care packages.  After toying with many different ideas of names, we landed on Pouches of Positivity because it really embodies myself as a person and James as well as our mission for the project.  We talked with the clinic social worker and she took initiative to get the jump start on having this meeting today to get things moving.  

After a hug from the volunteer coordinator today I knew it was really happening.  I know I said it before, but I really can’t wait to see where this project goes.  One smile on a face is what makes it all worth it.  I can’t wait to embark on this journey and see where it goes.  

I can honestly say that I never thought I would be the person to enjoy any form of running let it be for sport or just for enjoyment.  What I have come to learn from myself is that I love it for both.  These days even in my busy life I still find time to contemplate a lot.  It is just who I am and have always been.  I think…a lot.  On Tuesday I signed up for the Pirates 10k which starts tomorrow at 7:30am.   Yes I need to get some sleep, but I also know that I haven’t blogged in awhile.  

This is my first official “race” since October.  I say “race” because for me this time it is more just about doing the run and feeling good in my running and listening to what my body has to say.  That is not easy for me, but that is something that I have learned extensively since October.  I have had to rate my pain on a scale from 1-10 more times than I can count and in all those times I still continued to exercise to my ability even if my love of sweets got a little in the way of my healthy eating but that will fall into place soon enough too.  

I have grown through having this injury more than I think I give myself credit for sometimes.  Two years ago if this would have happened (mind you I never ran then and exercised as a hobby) I would have probably just given up and gotten better and never ran again.  However there is a spark inside of me and there are so many positive influences around me that I just can’t and won’t let that happen to me.  It’s an interesting thought because two years ago I wouldn’t have signed up for a 5k, let alone a 10k a month before the race or four days prior either.  

Since switching more focus onto the run/walk method I have been able to get back to the sport that I love and go further be able to meet goals that I have for myself.  In August of 2017 I signed up for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon before I had ever completed my first half in October.  In October when it all seemed to fall apart in my eyes, it was really all part of a greater plan.  

November came and went.  I missed a half in Nashville and cried as I watched the hundreds of participants leave the gate as I hobbled around hurting with every step.  Physical therapy came and went into the end of January and I was at a stand still feeling like it just wasn’t going to get better.  MRI came and went and it was determined that I had an injury that warranted an epidural steroid injection.  Injection came and went and nothing happened, but weeks after, slowly, I seemed to improve and my body was tolerating further distances and endurance.  Here we are in April, and I’m all pumped to run/walk these 6.2 miles tomorrow.  

No, it will not be the fastest, and no, it will not set any PR by any means.  But guess what, this race shows that I didn’t give up.  I am going to listen to my body because I know the last time I didn’t listen, I ended up with months on months of pain that felt like years.  Even a small sneeze felt like a jolt running down my leg.  Tomorrow is a big turning point and it’s also an accomplishment.  It’s the start of the rest of my racing days.  I may never fully run a half marathon like I did before.  I’m okay with that.  It’s not always how you complete the race, but it is finishing the race knowing that you did it the best way you knew you could and giving it your all even when you wanted to give up.  

Believe me, there were times when I wanted to give up and throw in the towel.  I cried from pain and wanted it all to just go away, but I didn’t let it get me down.  I found alternatives, I found ways to make it work and it’s not perfect, but it works for me.  

Fitness is a journey, it’s not a fad.  It’s not something that you can earn once and then let it go.  It’s something that you have to constantly strive for and find what works for you.  You may not always eat perfectly or even want to exercise all the time, but you find balance and we “get back on the wagon” before we stray too far.  All you need to do is pick yourself up and dust yourself off and keep going because forward is forward after all.  

Here I come, Pirates 10k!

It feels like forever since I have been able to sit down and actually type an update of anything that’s going on in this crazy life.  Frustration and inspiration may be two words that really describe what has been at play these past few months.  In January I had an MRI which at the time was a blessing and I was so excited to see the results until I received a notice in the mail that the procedure had been denied after countless PT sessions and a plateau of results for my back.  That day I was filled with angst and hopefulness as I wondered how I was going to afford this expensive study that was done.  I went to bed after saying my prayers and in the morning I had another appt with the doctor to talk about results so I asked in which case I found out the study had indeed been approved but the paper trial was behind.  I ended up paying a whole $5.82 for the MRI.  Thank goodness for good health insurance.  

The MRI showed what the doctor thought…bulging disk and a slight tear.  She is hopeful that things will go back to where they need to be in time with strengthening exercises but the issue was that a lot of the exercises hurt to do in my current state so it was determined that a lumbar epidural steroid injection would be the way to go.  Okay, give me the shot.  Appointment was set for January 25th which I wasn’t too keen on because it was still three weeks ago and three weeks of more pain, but whatever.  Two weeks pass and I get a phone call that the doctor will need to reschedule my procedure as he is teaching a class that day.  Okay, now that’s a set back to February 7th.  Another two weeks of waiting and pain.  

February 6th rolls around and I get a call that they again are canceling my shot, but this time it is not their fault.  A winter storm came around and caused all satellite offices to close down.  So I call back on Thursday to see what I can do to reschedule.  This time they tell me March 15th.  I am beyond frustrated at this point, and I turned to looking into other facilities and all I found was a lot of dead ends.  It would so happen though that in the afternoon the scheduler would call and I could get in for Wednesday, the 14th.  Today!

Today of course is Valentine’s Day which in my eyes is all about being able to spend time with those you love.  This morning before I left I was greeted at my door by the most loving man that I know with goodies and knowing that I was about to set out to get an injection was icing on the cake.  My dad drove me over to State College and it was such a production for such a little procedure but the doctor said that it went very well.  My leg hurt a little more than usual but he assured me that is a good thing because it means he got to where he needed to and by Friday I should be feeling some relief.  I can’t wait to just be able to even walk without feeling pain.  I think seriously that I was beginning to forget what no pain felt like and at the same time beginning to dull my pain by allowing my brain to shut it out.  I’m still in a little pain, but I am hopeful that Friday will come and it will be a new day to start and rebuild myself.  

That’s where the whole inspiration comes into play.  It’s a perfect day to be Valentine’s Day, my injection day and also Ash Wednesday because that is when I start my 40 days of positivity on my Instagram.  Everyday I post something positive to share throughout lent.  It’s my way of doing something different and not just giving up something.  

I’m hopeful for the future.  I’m excited to share Valentines Day with the man I love.  I’m grateful that I can walk and go for my goals.  There are so many things to be thankful for, and I’m filled with inspiration, positivity, and hopefulness that the next few months and beyond will be great!

2017 was a year of many changes.  I would say that in all, these changes were all for the better even if they set me back, they provided growth through the setback and a learning experience.  I’m not a person that does new year’s resolutions, nor am I the person to put the label of “bad year” on a whole year just because of circumstances.  Every year has its ups and downs no matter what for all of us; it’s all in how we perceive it and take it, however.  

January 15th was the day that I decided I had had enough of being unhealthy in my eating habits and how I treated my body.  Since then, I have lost and kept off around 65lbs.  Here’s to hoping those lbs never show up again.  I gave up soda, I gave up the body image hate and looking at only a number on the scale.  The number on the scale lies.  It tells you that you are obese or that you’re overweight, but it can’t see the muscles or the hard work that you put into running and getting fit.  

This is the year I started to see eating differently.  There was a switch from living to eat to eating to live.  I see the value in treats, but I also see the value in limiting fake sugars and sugar in general.  There is no elimination of anything though.  

April I ran my first 5k in 5 years…I did well, and I decided that I really liked running and needed a goal signing up for my first half marathon in October.  Throughout the summer I did cardio and strength training and I was in the best shape of my life.  Running 10 miles in one day was a normal thing and waking up at 5:30 was no big deal in the summer.  

I completed my 3rd year as a school counselor, and I can honestly say that I still love my job as much at the first day I started it.  There is no other place I would rather spend my 8:30am to 4pm each day than doing what I do.  Who would have thought those years ago at Pitt would turn into this.  I also started my 4th year as a school counselor with tenure under my belt and my Level II certification in PA.  It’s amazing how time flies.  

In July, I traveled to California for the first time to visit family and explore LA.  I loved it!  I can’t wait to go back and to visit them again.  I was blessed to see Disneyland, and to see numerous sites that were breathtaking.  I fought with American Airlines and won and got my luggage and reimbursement through numerous phone calls and emails and much persistence. 

In August I ran into this man that went to St. Francis church who ignored me at the fair and later messaged me to apologize for doing do.  Little did I know that a month later I would be calling him my boyfriend and almost 4 months later here I am loving him more and more each day.  Throughout most of my adult life I also thought that I was some kind of creeper magnet when it came to men, but James was much different than that (and thank goodness!). 

In October I completed my goal race, the Hershey Half Marathon in a time that I was happy with.  Shortly after however I was in lots of pain.  That first week was roughhh.  Since then I have made leaps and bounds as far as progress towards pain goes, but I’m not where I want to be.  I learned A LOT when this occurred.  I cried, I cursed out my back, I got angry, but one thing I never did was give up.  I have done what I could while respecting the fact that I need to heal.  I still continued to lift and did my cardio in other ways than running, but I’m still not where I want to be which is why on Wednesday I’m going for an MRI to see what we can do to get me toward pain free and running again. 

I ended 2017 on a good note, celebrating Christmas with the people that I love and the family that I cherish.  I look forward to 2018 for many things.  I can’t wait to see what it holds for my fitness goals, relationships, and family.  I can’t wait to revel in successes and continue to heal and learn from being forced to slow down.  It’s really not in the times that we are always up and always on point; it’s about the times that we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and keep going even if we are frustrated as hell.  There have been many great people this year that haven’t let me give up even if I felt like it sometimes because that is not my spirit.  Giving up on what I have worked so hard for is not an option. 

In 2018 I look forward to more half marathons with my next goal being Pittsburgh in May.  I look forward to a Spartan race (or 2 or 3).  I look forward to growing in my loving relationship.  I look forward to appreciating what I have as far as health and wealth go.  I look forward to spending time with my family and friends.  I look forward to touching lives of the young people that I work with.  Most importantly, I look forward to staying as positive as I can. 

I hope that you all have a happy, healthy, and blessed New Year with lots of successes and memories made! 

November.  A month that I thought would behold some of the greatest races and events of my life and yet here I sit frustrated wondering when I’ll be able to run again day after day after day.  October 15th is the last day that I ran.  I’m not going to lie, this whole bending, not squatting, no deadlifts, no running, no Zumba, no Hip Hop is getting old fast.  I’m not going to lie, I’m frustrated.  Frustrated because I can’t perform the tasks that I used to as easily as I used to, but I’m also easily reminded that things could be a lot worse and that I should be thankful for my abilities.  I have been down before, but this down is different than any “down” I’ve ever felt before because of my different outlook on life.  

I wake up every morning thinking that my hip and back will have no pain, and I am hopeful that one day I won’t hurt again because I am told that it does get better.  You know what, though?  I’ve been a little bit down on myself lately, but I’m here to tell you that that is okay and guess what?  It gets better, and it’s okay to be down.  

I know that a lot of people see me as this person that is positive ALL the time.  However, that is untrue.  Life is what we make of it.  Always has been and always will be.  Being down is not a forever state unless we let it be that way.  We create our own happiness and we live our lives making choices on how we react to the things that happen to us. 

It would be the easy thing to let this injury totally throw me off track back into the spiral of bad eating, pop drinking, and little exercise.  However I do know that a certain person named Shellie would also kick my ass for even thinking about something like that.  Haha.  It would be the easy thing to just let it all go and allow myself to be comfortable in the fact that I can’t do what I used to do the way I want to.  

You know what isn’t comfortable but also allows for growth both physically and mentally?  Continuing on in the fashion that I best know how to and allowing myself to overcome these frustrating weeks that have followed my half.  I am incredibly blessed.  Words do not really even begin to describe how blessed I truly am in so many facets of my life.  I do not want anyone to think that I am perfect because no one is.   It is truly in how we pick ourselves up though and continue on even though it’s not the easy thing to do.  We may get frustrated, we may cry, we may wish things were different and we may get mad as hell, but we can’t let that break us.  

I remind myself daily that my blessings allow me to live the way I want to and to also appreciate what I have.  I can walk, right there is the biggest blessing of them all.  This pain will subside in time and it will get better, and I will run again.  Some people can’t say that.  It’s not fair that people have to suffer in general.  It is something that I have never understood even in my faithfulness.  It is just one of those things that is hard to understand in general.  This short period of time has opened my eyes even more in a good way and allowed me to greater appreciate everything that I have and my abilities even though I have allowed that sadness to creep in here and there.  

Being down for a little is okay.  Not being positive all the time is okay.  Bringing other people down is not okay.  Quitting is not okay.  A setback is not the end of a journey.  My story is continually in progress and it is only the beginning.  One step at a time, one day a time.  

As I sit here uncomfortable and in pain, I try to think back the whole way to Sunday which seems like it was ages ago.  A half marathon.  13.1.  2 hours, 13 minutes, and 45 seconds.  I’m not going to lie, when I look at my life 9 months ago, I wonder how I ever got to this point in my life.  I couldn’t run at all, I never wanted to run, in fact, the last time I had run a mile was probably in high school for the presidential physical fitness test.  

Yet on Sunday I ran 13.1 miles and I only walked for about 15 seconds.  Some people go through life never accomplishing this goal, some people go through life thinking everyone that runs is crazy.  I used to think that until I realized how awesome it also makes me feel.  The switch takes a long time to occur but it happens and when it does it is almost like an addiction, however, a healthy addiction.  When I run I feel the epitome of mindfulness, not mindfullness.  I am in the zone and it allows me to concentrate fully on my breathing and to be in the moment.  My worries leave, my stresses are released and it pulls in my focus.  

Sunday was a life changing experience not only because of the event but the items leading up to the event and also the items after the event now.  I did a good tapering up to the start of the event (or so I thought) but taking a week inbetween long runs and also cutting off exercising on Thursday.  Saturday into Sunday I realized my hip was hurting with usual pain that I really haven’t felt in a long time, but there was no way I wasn’t running.  The “never give up” attitude is a blessing and a curse to me.  I am stubborn.  Shocker, I know.  

I finished that race, darn it, and in pretty good time I might add for a first half.  Then the pain started, and it wasn’t just a normal soreness of running a distance.  My hip and back pain started radiating into my calf as if I have a hurt nerve.  Here I am on Wednesday still dealing with this pain and hoping that it subsides in order to get back to doing what I love sooner than later.  I have made two visits to the chiropractor and I go back Thursday to see how it is doing.  It hurts majorly to sit down, to drive, and to even reach down to tie my shoes.  Piriformis muscle pull…literally a hurt butt.  I will come back, however, and it will be stronger than before.  

I’m not going to lie, I have let this get under my skin a little, but I am still staying my positive self.  The whole “you don’t know what you got til it’s gone” is so true in this circumstance.  It is killing me that I can’t exercise and that I should rest.  I can’t take this whole rest for more than a day thing anymore.  I feel so much like a slug, and it’s only been 3 days.  I have been reminded that be glad I can still walk, which is what I needed to be honest.  I ran 13.1 miles.  Ran it.  I have the ability and the means of my body to even do something which is what I should really be thankful for.  It just stinks that it had to happen this way.  

I’m not counting myself out at all.  I’m giving myself time because that’s what this hip needs, and I am listening to my orders by not even working arms like I really want to.  My Spartan race is in under 3 weeks which is killing me to even think about because it is something I have been preparing months for.  I need to do that.  I need to be in tip top shape for it, and my half the next weekend as well.  

Other thoughts from half marathon day were nervousness.  After all, my mom, dad, and brother had all come to support me.  Add on top of it the surprise of my amazing boyfriend being there as well, I felt the pressure to do well which is pressure I place all on myself.  The whole being in competition with no one but yourself is all I need to be honest.  I’m not done yet by any means.  

The weekend was amazing overall.  Such support, love, and good times were had by myself, family, and my boyfriend.  Oh, my boyfriend, have I mentioned how amazing he is?  Because he is seriously one of the best things to happen to me in my life so far.  I can’t really say enough about him.  

Now starts the healing process.  I reflect upon the past 9 months and I am incredibly humbled at what I have accomplished in such a short time with a little effort and consistency.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me in general with my whole life.  I just love my life, which is what matters in the long run.  This is a big speed bump for me, but it isn’t a road block.  I’m not done yet.  


A funny thing happens when you start waking up way before you have to be anywhere to go workout.  I like to call it an elevated happiness from within.  I decided that my night workouts are a good thing, but that I wanted more than just that.  Going back to school I knew would be a transition because in the summer time I could wake up when I wanted and work out when I wanted and run when I wanted.  It was great.  

Then work comes around and has to put a snag in my fitness routine, right?  Nah.  I had been moving my wake up times throughout the summer to earlier times to accommodate different classes and to make sure I got in what I wanted to that day as far as mileage goes.  I hated to think of the notion of losing part of that routine as I have come so far since January.  

So there I was thinking about the back to school fever that everyone had and decided that it was best to take it to the morning and the evening.  I now typically set two alarms, one for 5:17am and 5:20am.  I am one of those people that like odd wake up times.  5 minutes increments are too much, haha.  I am up and out the door typically by 5:26am as I have my clothes laid out and shoes etc the night before.  I also pack my lunch and pick out my work clothes the night before for an added touch.  The first couple of times I woke up I went for a 3 mile run around Curwensville which was tricky because of the darkness.  I actually think it helped me to run a little faster, haha.  That came to a halt however when I realized that maybe it wasn’t the best idea for safety.  So I turned to the Y which is of course a 10 min drive.  This is what drove the wake ups to an earlier time than what I had started with (5:45am).  

Anyway, since August 29th I have been waking up early and doing my thing…mostly cardio with some weight training thrown in there for extra measure when the DOMS hasn’t set in yet haha.  I regularly use the dips and pull up machine since that is eventually one of my goals–to do a pull up.  I’ll get there…one rep at a time.  

Monday was the start of my first 5 day week since back to school, and boy did my bed feel cozy that morning after losing my routine on the weekend and staying up crazy hours.  However, it is the easy thing to go back to bed.  It’s easy to lay there and shut the alarm off and just wake up at normal time.  Discipline, though, is what goes beyond the motivation that got me to the point that I am at.  Discipline tells me that I need to hop out of bed, tired or not, and work on myself and start the day right.  I have to say that this discipline thing is rather awesome.  

I have gained so much energy from these early wake ups and have noticed that I am much more efficient in getting ready and I am more ready to go when the school bell rings.  I show up early for work, just because, and I have a greater sense of purpose that keeps me going day in and day out.  I know this has helped me to deal with things in the workplace more readily and to face the challenges of the day and take them all in stride.  It’s not everyday that is amazing, but even if many things go wrong, it can still turn out to be an amazing day because of what I made of the day.  

I know, I know, too much crazy happiness, but if I could bottle up this energy and this feeling I really would and sell it.  Today I looked at a comparison pic from a year ago until today.  Every time I look at one of those pictures I surprise myself.  Who was that person?  I know she was happy, but she was completely unhealthy.  It’s strange to me because I never felt like I looked that way.  I felt big and I still kinda do what it is a different kind of self appreciation and self love these days.  It’s one of those things that was always there but that you are more able to foster due to circumstances.  

I can’t say enough about happiness being an inside job.  We choose everyday how we want to react to things that we are faced with and we are the ones in control of our thoughts.  I am not saying that I don’t get down or that I don’t have negative thoughts, but it is all in how you deal with those negative thoughts that sets it apart.  I can’t help but being happy looking at how my life is being blessed each and everyday through the good and the bad. 

I would rather be that annoyingly happy person that can help other people become happier or more motivated than the Eeyore that is constantly living in self-pity and regret.  Everyone deserves to be happy, no matter who they are…remember that.