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Out of the darkness and into the light.

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Have you ever woken suddenly in the middle of the night feeling disoriented and not knowing what time it is? Yet somehow you sense it that the darkest part of the night has passed and the light of the morning is only a few mere hours away. Before you know it the warm glow from the rising sun is filling the crevices of the room to signal the fresh start to a new day.

I’m not there yet, but I feel it coming. The new day. The fresh start.

I do, however, know that the darkest part of my night has passed leaving me feeling a little less fearful and a little more optimistic of my unknown future. Things are getting better. *Lillian and I are finding a rhythm in this new life as we get used to seeing each other every other week. (You heard me right: one week on, one week off. I still tear up a little when I drop her off on the final morning to which she replies, “I love you so much Mommy. I’m excited to see Daddy too though… but I love you Mama!” She’s amazing.) My long job search is coming to an end as I have verbally accepted an offer that will allow me to do embrace both of my passions: mental health and coaching runners (more on this to come once things are finalized!). My coaching business is booming and I have somehow surrounded myself with the most amazing group of athletes across the country! Love my Lone Runners!! Oh yea, did I mention that I’m dating someone? :)  Yes, the darkest part of the night has surely passed me by and I’m on to making new memories mile by mile.

So what exactly have I been doing for the past days… weeks… months? Here it is in a nutshell…

 

IMG_11211. I’ve been running!!
Have I been training? Hmmm. That’s a good question. I told Beth, my amazing, Pro-triathlete coach from The Run Formula that I needed to take off from official training this fall. With so much D-stuff on my plate I knew that my head and heart couldn’t commit to train the way I really want to train with beth(high stress speed workouts and high volume mileage). So my plan was to train myself for a fall half marathon at Baystate in October until something interesting started to unfold….

I took one week completely off after Boston 2016 and then generally ran 30 miles/week for about three weeks. Then the first week of June started off my half marathon training at 40 miles a week hoping to grow my miles at 60 training miles/week and my long run to about 17. If I wasn’t going to push speed during this training cycle then I wanted to build durability for my winter training. Then a funny thing happened …. I made it to 17 training miles and just kept going. I made it to 60 miles for the week and just kept adding more miles. Wait, am I training for the Baystate Half-Marathon or Full Marathon in October? Honestly- I don’t know yet. I guess I’m on marathon training autopilot or something!  Since I haven’t been doing a ton of serious speed work I typically do I don’t have the power or speed I’d need to PR. All I know is that I LOVE running long. I love heading out for two to three hour runs. After two hours I just find my groove on the road where my worries wash away and my stride becomes effortless. Yes, it’s true- it takes me two hours to decompress haha. Oh well.  So mayyyybe I will marathon this October. I haven’t quite decided.

 

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2. I’ve been job hunting and interviewing… like whoa!!(I even did my hair a few times! see-–>)

I haven’t just been job hunting, I’ve spent the better part of a year soul searching to figure out the right career direction for me. There was a time I even said, “Why can’t someone just tell me what I need to do to be happy?!?” Wouldn’t that make life easier? The reality is that I am the only person who can choose the right path for me and sometimes it takes a lot of time for that path to reveal itself. My new path will be a leap of faith as I work towards building a new career. But for some reason I’m not scared; I’m excited. I’m ready  to work and work hard. :) I’m so excited for the months to come! I promise I won’t make you wait long!

Till then you can find me at the local running store obsessing over the new shoe of the week #alltheshoes :) .

 

 

 

IMG_12083. I’ve been super protective of my Lilly-mama time!

One thing that made job hunting tricky was that many jobs are not single-mom friendly. You have to work till 8 pm every night. You will be on call at night/weekends. Are you available to work weekend? No thank you. No. And hell no. Sorry- my chicken nugget takes priority. I only see her 50% of the time so no way on Earth I am going to sacrifice any more time than I have to. Where there’s a will there’s a way. I will find a way to make this work! I’m willing to work hard, but I need to protect my Lilly time too.

In the mean time Lilly and I have been having a blast together at the YMCA pool, Nantasket beach, exploring Weymouth’s Webb park, and just snuggling on the couch. Also next week is our annual family trip to the Jersey Shore with my family!! Lilly can’t wait to see her cousins! I can’t wait for FUDGE and the opportunity to run doubles. Muhahaha!

 


Frozen 5K4. I’ve been coaching my 15 chickadees all across the country! 

If Lilly is my chicken nugget then my athletes are my chickadees. I started coaching one runner in the Winter of 2015 and quickly grew to 15 when I started coaching for The Run Formula!! My athletes seek to inspire each other and be inspired as they train for their respective races (anything from 5k to marathon). I create custom training plans for my athletes based on their current level of fitness and goals. I also talk to nearly every athlete once a day, review their workouts and answer questions/concerns that arise during training runs. Giving someone else the tools necessary to tackle their fears and go after their dreams is an amazing experience and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by such amazing, dedicated athletes! Thanks guys, I love you!!

 

So that’s it, for now. I’ll be back. I always come back. I’m The Lone Runner. I can’t stop. I won’t stop. I’ll never stop- writing :) .

~ Kass

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I got a new watch: the Garmin 235. It’s my second child. I love her, snuggle with her and she counts my steps, tells me that I need to sleep more and reminds me that my resting heart rate is a solid 37 BPM- yep, I’m barely alive :) . She’s AMAZING and has HR in the wrist with an ACCURATE read!!

 

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The Race to Kinvara

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The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland.

“You look wild and free when you’re running.

The worry goes away and is replaced by an intense look.

You can’t run and worry at the same time.”

~ my running buddy

 

Confident. Happy. At peace. In last place out of nine relay teams from around the world I set out on my 8 mile leg feeling relaxed and uninhibited especially because no one was around to see me fly. Like a little kid I threw my arms out and airplane glided down the the narrow road through the green Irish countryside.  I didn’t care that my team was in last place or that the natives from Doolin were watching me in wonder as I glided down the street. For a brief moment I was free from the past ten months and the divorce that continued to haunt me. Bent but not broken I ran through the Irish countryside feeling utterly at ease.

As I crested the hill I was privy to a panoramic view of the Ireland’s western coast. While the ocean itself was a veritable site to be seen I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the rolling hills of limestone rock that comprised the Burren landscape of County Clare. Relaxed, happy and strong- I ran. How did I get here again? How did I arrive at this bittersweet moment in the middle of the Irish countryside feeling melancholy for memories past, thankful for this once in a lifetime opportunity, hopeful for the future and feeling stronger every run? How? Running. Running gave me this opportunity. Running changed my life. Running brought me to Ireland.

For the past ten months I have felt raw, vulnerable and exposed. I have spent far too much time in a protective stance gripping my arms to elbows worried that the world can see my divorce painted all my naked body. Healing. Evolving. Growing. These things take time. It’s a two steps forward-one step back dance that unfortunately doesn’t magically resolve itself after one blog post about hope and healing. I have felt better, then worse. Confident, then fearful. Illustriously happy and then dreadfully tearful and terrified. I’ve been in mourning over the loss of my past life and overwhelmed at the notion of rewriting a future that had once been so clearly etched in stone.

So how do you move on from something so life changing?

You peel yourself out of bed and you do what you’ve always done: you run. You run because it is the only thing left in your life that feels normal. Your run has the power to set you free. Your run lets you forget your troubles while also giving you ample opportunity to process painful memories. Your morning run forces you to move forward and move on, to push yourself to new limits and to simply believe in yourself.

You run because running can take you places, if you let it.

This year running took me to Ireland.

 

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The Race to Kinvara

You read that right- running AND Saucony took me to Ireland this summer!  Saucony corporate randomly selected over 70 lucky running retail employees across the world like myself to compete in a relay race across Ireland. Upon arriving in Ireland we were divided into 9 teams of 8 runners (7 running retail associates and one Saucony representative). The 9 teams were comprised of the following: 4 KICK-ASS USA teams, 1 German team, 2 Canadian teams, 1 team from France that was stacked with sickeningly fast men, and 1 team from UK/Ireland.

The trip may have been quick, but it was jam packed full of amazing experiences and fun that will last a lifetime. Most of the runners arrived on  Wednesday morning in Dublin. There we were showered with gift bags from Saucony with custom made Kinvaras for the event, 2 singlets, 2 pairs of shorts, socks, a hat, a pullover, and a rain jacket (all products are displayed in the images on this page). Saucony spared no expense with this event. EVERYTHING was taken care of. The hotel, the food, the internet, transportation to/from events, the flight, the massage therapists at the end of each day, the open bar… yep- 100% on Saucony. In fact I spent the majority of the trip feeling like I did not deserve this amazing opportunity while also wanting to soak up every ounce of Ireland possible!

We were given the day on Wednesday to explore Dublin, rest, run and/or get to know each other. In all reality I hopped on a plane to spend 72 hours in a foreign country with complete strangers. But we weren’t really strangers because we are all runners. And what do runners like to talk about? SHOESSSSSS!!!  I witnessed many heated debates over which version of the Kinvara was the BEST version. Definitely the Kinvara 3!!… NO-NO-NO- THE FOUR! ….THE THREE!… THE FOUR!!! You simply have to love runners and their gusto for their beloved shoes. Making friends in this new crowd was pretty darn easy. We were all runners being treated to a once in a lifetime experience!! Yup, we were a happy bunch!

Thursday and Friday were spent racing across the country. We spent the vast majority of the day Thursday in the van covering over 70 miles of terrain between our teammates (from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm) as we ran from Dublin to Kilkenny. On Friday we traveled to the Cliffs of Moher and raced 40 miles up the Western coast of Ireland to Kinvara. Between the water-gun fights, some sort of cookie/brownie magical combination, chocolate covered wafers a plenty, a stop at the Barak Obama Freedom Pitstop Plaza and a few near death experiences with our van driver (Sorry! I didn’t see that speed bump- again) we had a blast in the bus and on the road!!

In lieu of a traditional description of the event I will leave you with some of the pictures from the trip. There is no doubt in my mind that these pics don’t do the priceless nature of this event justice. Regardless, enjoy!

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Remember the day when Jon Pierce, my tech rep, showed up at the running store with music blaring and a bucket of beer while shouting, “YOU’RE GOING TO IRELAND”? Do you remember when I replied, “THAT’S JUST MEAN JON. WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT!” …. Because it’s true Kass. :) oops! THANK YOU JON!!

 

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TEAM USA WHITE!! It was a bitter battle for 8th place, but we prevailed!! I love all of my awesome teammates from the RSG group- TJ, Dave, Kelly, Rob, Connor and Trey from Saucony!! Thanks for the awesome memories. I’m still thankful (and a little surprised) that we survived the bus ride.

 

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I LOVE IRELAND!

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I turned 32 in Ireland. A room full of nearly 100 people sang Happy Birthday to me. Not a bad way to kick off another year! THANK YOU EVERYONE!!

 

 

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10 hilly miles out of Dublin deserves a birthday Bulmers and some post race massage action at the finish.

 

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I may have not crashed a wedding like some other runners I know…cough cough…. but I was still pret-ty tired on Friday morning. Rice cake for breakfast thank you very much. #whathappensinIrelandstaysinIreland….

 

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ATTENTION CUSTOMERS: It’s NOT pronounced Sauce-a-knee or SUH-COH-KNEE. nope!! It’s SAW-CAH-KNEE. SAUCONY! SAUCONY! SAUCONY! THANK YOU SAUCONY!!!

 

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Every team was assigned a “moto”, a motorcycle who rode next to them for their entire leg. Above is Rob (a CRAZY FAST runner from Garry Gribbles Running Spot) accompanied by our very own moto as he made up about 20 minutes for Team USA White on day 2.

 

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Who doesn’t like a good donkey selfie?

 

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From left to right: TJ from NJ, Kelly from TX, Connor from VA, Rob from KS, Dave from Indy, myself and Trey. Kelly- did you ever find the rock in the shape of TX?

 

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The whole crew in Kinvara! THANK YOU SAUCONY!

 

On Friday morning I waited in the transition zone a ball of nerves. My mind was abuzz with worrisome thoughts. Would I go fast enough for my team? What if the hills chewed me up and I couldn’t go any faster?? Even though I’m fairly anxious I always feel like the best version of myself while running; the real me who I wish everyone could see. My anxious adult self concerned with paying bills and and the future washes to the wayside leaving ample opportunity for other selves to rise to the surface, feel the warm sunlight on my face and the breeze rush across my skin. This is it; this is my happy place. As I see TJ, my relay teammate round the bend my heart leaps, adrenaline surges through my veins and My rowdy runner self shouts out, “Let’s rip it, roll it and punch it!!!” before I head out on my final miles across the Irish countryside. My child-like self throws her arms out to the side, lets her eyes close for a split second and pretends she is flying. And then my competitive runner self settles into the final miles as my pace hastens and drops to mid-to-low 7′s, this was a race after all. I negative split the 8 miles with a final mile of 7:08. I turned the bend to spot Connor, my upbeat teammate who was all ready to run me into transition. I leaned full tilt and pushed the pace. It took Connor a second to realize that I was half-stepping him into a full gallop. Laughing as we crossed into the transition zone I handed the snap bracelet to Trey and set him off on his own journey.

Running lets me be so many things all at once- but not stressed- no, never. It forces me to stay in the moment and believe in myself even when the times get tough. With each step running encourages me to continue beyond what I once thought possible for my body and soul. Every day running helps me find my strong. Through the good and the bad- this is why I run.

You can’t be stuck if you’re moving forward.

Find your strong.

Run.

Never stop running.

~ The Lone Runner/Kass

 

**Thank you to Saucony for putting on such an amazing event that reminds us why we run in the first place: to make friends, feel happy, believe in ourselves and be stronger with every run. Much love to you and your team.

Thank you to my teammates, my roommate- Hil- and the entire crew for the AMAZING memories!**

 

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Write like nobody is reading.

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I haven’t written in a while- again. I want to write, I do. I want to get the all the feelings floating around inside out of my body.

Anger, anxiety, worry, frustration, excitement, hope and happiness- yes, I’ve been experiencing them all. The anger, anxiety and worry have their own way of boiling beneath my skin every couple of weeks to the point that they force themselves out in the shape of tears streaming down my face. I long for a way to safely release them into the world because once they’re out they can’t hurt me anymore.

Excitement, hope and happiness- yes, my life has been chock full of smiles, laughter and love in the past couple of months. I want to shout from the rooftops all of the amazing twists and turns that are beginning to take shape in my life. But I can’t. Or at least not yet. So my feelings, the good, the bad and the ugly have to stay cooped up inside at least for a little while longer.

Lately it’s been incredibly challenging to write like nobody is reading. It’s been far too long since I have set my feelings free on the page in spontaneous cathartic episode. Even though I miss pouring my soul into the blog I desperately don’t want my words to be misconstrued. The confusion. The backlash. The nasty comments that come my way. At the end of the day I can and will wait to tell my story. That’s all it is you know- it’s just a story. In fact it’s only one side of a story. But it’s my story. It’s the story about the ups and downs in one woman’s life- one woman who simply loves to run.

“The sadness is almost gone from your eyes,” noticed a friend.

For the better part of a year my eyes and heart have been full of sadness. Even my happiness has been laced with a hint of sadness. I stand here before you a few signatures away from being officially divorced; an incredibly somber event that is entrenched in the opportunity for new beginnings for each party involved. It’s true the sadness is almost gone from my eyes. Slowly but surely I have begun to accept my new reality. Slowly but surely I have begun to laugh again.

And soon I hope I will be able to once again write like nobody is reading.

 

In the meantime I’ll be training for the Baystate Half Marathon this fall. More on that soon. Much love and many miles to you all.

Never stop running,

Kass