Friday, January 20, 2012

A Lesson Learned....

I've been thinking a lot about what I want my boys to learn from what I'm doing and why I am doing it.  My oldest son is not a fan of my running...well at least my running without him anyway.  ;)  He is really good at getting my mommy guilt going, yet I leave the house and run anyway.  I try to show them how important it is to help others.  We donate supplies to the local animal shelter.  We recently ran a kid's race for the Special Olympics and we put money in the Salvation Army bucket every time.  I hope that these small things help them realize they can make a difference.  

I want them to be the kind of kids (and adults) who see something that isn't fair or see someone hurting and try to help.  They don't need to solve the problems of the world.  For me, asking someone who trips if they're ok,  helping someone who has dropped something rather than laughing, or setting up a lemonade stand for a cause important to them is more than enough.  I hope that they are strong enough to defend someone who can't defend themselves from hurtful actions or words...on the playground, in the classroom, on the playing field.

I think about the world today and it doesn't seem to spew kindness.  I stopped watching the news when I had kids and realized how much crazy shit goes on in the world around us.  It might sounds corny, but a little kindness goes a long way.  One of my favorite inspirational stories that has saved me on many a "banging my head off the wall" kind of days as a teacher is this one: 

While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.

He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
The old man smiled, and said, “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”

And making a difference in the life of one person is a beautiful thing.  :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cancer is the common thread...

I've been thinking lately about what sparked that inner "I need to do something." feeling.  This isn't the first time I've gotten it, and I was mulling it over one night when I couldn't sleep.  :)  It's a feeling I get that I have to do something...anything.  After thinking about it I discovered the common thread is cancer.  I found it really interesting that there was a common thread...

The first time was when I discovered a pre-k student of mine was in recently in remission and his oldest sister (a middle schooler) was also battling cancer.  The family had to travel back and forth to Boston a lot and they were a large family.  It seemed so I organized a raffle at the school.  We raffled off brand new new bikes and raised money for the family.  The Salem's Children Charity learned about what we were doing and donated hundreds of dollars in gas and restaurant cards in addition to what we raised.   I realized it feels really really good to be able to help someone.  I also learned that there are tons of people out there willing to pitch in. 

The second time I raised money for the Jimmy Fund by walking the route of the Boston Marathon.  Now I have to admit that on this one, the thrill of experiencing the marathon route pushed me to walk 8 hours more than the cause.  However, it was incredibly moving...seeing the posters of people fighting for their lives at each mile marker.  There was little fanfare (not sure why I was expecting crowds like at the actual marathon...maybe because walking 26 miles is still pretty challenging) and it was more introspective than I had anticipated.

The third time cancer really pissed me hit too close to home when my aunt was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia almost a year ago.  Doctors thought she would need a bone marrow transplant at some point during treatment.  F U cancer....we're on it!  We held a local bone marrow drive and added close to 500 people to the bone marrow registry!  "We" were a team too numerous to count who pulled together and hosted an event with an amazing turnout.  I knew we might not find a match for my aunt, but anything is possible!  It was equally important to get as many people in the registry as possible so that someone out there waiting might benefit.  My aunt ended up receiving a stem cell transplant and is in remission. 

By the way?  Are YOU in the registry??  It's simple and painless.  Go to 

Then several months ago I was reading the local paper and read the Fitzgerald's story.  I followed them on facebook and through their blogs.  They lost their little girl and that feeling came back.  You suck cancer.  You are unpredictable and turn people's lives upside down in an instant.  You know no one is too young...and to be honest I was pissed at the unfairness of it all.  I'm a mom and a teacher...children are a big part of my life and it made my heart hurt to imagine it.

I hope that by running I am letting the family know that their little girl touched people she didn't even know.  That 5 months from now I'll still be running in her honor.  I also hope that the money I raise will help the family get on their feet, or create a foundation in their daughter's name, or whatever else they might need. 

So I took that "feeling" and this time I ran with it...and will continue to run with it for eight more races!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Snowshoe Classic...minus the snow!

That race was TOUGH!!  It was a 3.5 miler through the woods single file and over hills around a golf course.  I actually liked the trail part...the massive hills I could do without.  I think I could have made up some time on the trails, but passing was impossible and I slowed down quite a bit (to say the least) on the hills on the end.

Having said all was pretty awesome!  It was a beautiful sunny day and I was surrounded by great people on a Saturday morning.  :)  I got a 3.5 mile run in a day I probably would have not run at all.  I raised money for a family that can use it.  All in all a great day!  Here are some pictures...just to prove I actually do run these races.  :0

My running partner in crime.  :)
See?  I'm slow...but I'm doing it!
The socks speak for themselves  :)
Putting on my mismatched socks reminds me every race of why I'm running.  I'm running for something so much bigger...and I'm giving cancer the middle finger at the same time.  Thanks to everyone who is donating!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Game on.

Game on.  Tomorrow morning is race number two...the Snowshoe Classic in Salem.  It's a trail run, something I've never run before.  I'm looking forward to a challenge and this course will definitely be a challenge.  It's a tough 3.5 mile course on trails and over hills.  The only good thing is that we don't have any snow here, so I won't be needing snowshoes, just my running shoes! 

As a teacher I love a good snow day and have been known to do a snow dance with my kids if snow is in the forecast.  ;) This winter there's been no dancing and no snow.  In fact it will be close to 50 again here for race day.  I'll take it!  I'll post pictures tomorrow after the race.  Happy Friday!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's not a miracle that I finished, but rather I had the courage to start it...

Happy New Year!  Race Number One is DONE!!  I have to admit that lack of running this week had me a little nervous.  I ended up running a little faster than my last race...which is probably why this one felt harder even though it was a shorter distance.  Note to need to train.  :0

Here are some photos from the race.  It was a beautiful sunny morning!  Great day to get out and run.  There were so many familiar faces and Wicked along with the Park and Rec did a great job!  My two friends ran as well.  Paying it forward is contagious.  I also have to say that doing something for someone else just makes me feel good.  More on that later...

We saw a group of woman wearing shirts with this on the back:   It's not a miracle that I finished, but rather I had the courage to start it...exactly!

Rocking mismatched sock in memory of Saoirse