Blue's UnBashful Blog

Blue's UnBashful Blog

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Cleveland Half Marathon and Candy Mountain Half Marathon

It was my intention that the Nashville Half Marathon would be my only long distance race for the season.  However, I love racing even though I'm not competitive and I enjoy the Half Marathon distance. 

May 17th I set out to run the Cleveland Rite Aid Half Marathon.  I've run this race a few times and so I was familiar with the location and course.  I wasn't as excited because I have done it before and I'm starting to enjoy races that are new to me.  The weather was overcast and humid, my kind of running weather!  I started our wearing my long sleeve shirt because I was terrified of chaffing again and felt that it helped to wear the long sleeves (for as long as I could).  The race was fun as always, unfortunately I had to stop and use the porto potty around mile 5ish.  While standing in line, I noticed that they were using water from the fire hydrants for the water stops.  Ugh, not something that is the best choice.  I carried my own water but because of the humidity I did have to refill my bottles a few times.  (Later made me feel a little sick). 

There is always something that stands out during races, the crowds, the signs, the runners.  I remember running and looking over to witness a fellow runner put in a dip (tobacco chew stuff), that's a first time seeing that, gross and odd.  At any rate, I headed into the last 3 or so miles which brought me to the shoreway which was a long stretch where there weren't many spectators and it seemed to never end.  I'm so glad the sun wasn't out otherwise it would have been much more uncomfortable with no shade.  I ended up taking my long sleeve shirt off around mile 11 and still ended up chaffing.  I was getting cranky because of the chaffing and because the road was uneven (I was probably cranky because I was also getting dehydrated and needed electrolytes)   Once we headed back "in town" it went by fast and I finished another Half Marathon!  I would have had a PR if I didn't waste 18 minutes in the restroom.  At any rate, I felt strong and enjoyed it!  Best race sign on the course, "You run better than your government"....awesome and yes! 

 
 
June 13th I decided to run the Candy Mountain Trail Half Marathon.  The race directors are super awesome (www.BBA50.org)  The race benefited the Edna House for Women.  This was my first trail half marathon and it was for a great cause.   The weather was again perfect, humid and overcast with some rain. Again, I started out with my long sleeve shirt to prevent chaffing.  I really need to buy some new tops but until then.... The first 8.5 miles were awesome, I met some knew runners and chatted a bit.  I also loved the trails because they were new to me.  I headed out for the last 5miles which was part of the BBA50k loop- a race I DNF'd last November, but really enjoyed the infamous loop.  I struggled a bit on the last 5 miles and everyone that was behind me passed me. 
 
The water crossings felt amazing on my sore feet and I enjoyed the scenery.  I eventually finished (much longer than a road Half Marathon because trails are different).  I finished dead last, which I am ok, I was still under the cut off time and I had fun.  Upon finishing I was awarded with an awesome hydration pack...because " for enduring the race the longest".....so awesome and it really made my day!  I'm looking forward to running the Candy Mountain Half Marathon next year! 
 

 
 
I was supposed to race the LULA 5miler the next day (one of my faves for www.girlswithsole)  Alas, I hit the snooze button that Sunday morning and then woke up at 10am, I must have been tired! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Nashville Part TWO!

  The drive south was pleasant, little traffic and no tolls!  Upon reaching my hotel, I was informed that a shuttle service is provided for free (tips).  This was so great to hear as I hate driving in city traffic and I also wanted to enjoy some adult beverages and when I do, I don't drive.  I unpacked, freshened up, and jumped in the taxi first stop, Johnny Cash Museum!  On the way to my destination I was informed and then noticed that basically everything was within walking distance, my hotel was about a mile from downtown and I was advised not to walk to and from, a decision I challenged on the first night, Thursday. 

I was elated that I could be dropped off and let free to wander.  Thursday and Thursday night I basically walked around from destination to destination, soaking up the scenery and people watching while relaxing and not looking over my shoulder.  I felt free and safe!  I danced the night away. 

Friday was packet pick up and it was a day of rest and hydration.  I was really excited for the half marathon run, I felt prepared in an under-trained sort of way.  I'm not a cold weather runner so my running was slim but my cross training and strength training was plenty.  Saturday I woke up bright and early, though not too early because I paid for the $20 shuttle specifically for runners.  Totally worth it because there were so many people!

It took a while for my corral to get going because they staggered the start (by predicted finishing time) to help ease the congestion.  I was surprised and a bit irritated that our National Anthem was played while the 5k run took off and was happening.  I'm pretty sure all of the races I attended up to that point was very respectful of the National Anthem.  What seemed like a long time, (long enough time to build up a full bladder), we were off!  I had to pee so bad and used a porto potty within the first 2 miles but it was quick, no lines, and I didn't have to worry about that again! The weather was HOT and Humid...my kind of running weather.  I had on my long sleeve shirt to start, knowing that I've had some chaffing issues under my arms with longer distance runs. 

I enjoyed the scenery, the cheering, and the music.  Around mile 8 I took my long sleeve shirt off as the sun started to beat down.  At mile 10 I stopped for Vaseline because the chaffing was so unbearable I couldn't move my arms.  Moving forward, I finally reached the finish line, grabbed my medal, some water, and headed to the shuttle area to get back to the hotel and showered.  There was a free (with race bib)  Martina McBride concert that night.

I knew the chaffing was bad but when I stepped in the shower I realized it was very, very bad.  It took my breath away.  I headed out for some food and fun before the concert, it ended up being a great sunny day! The concert was fun, afterwards I walked around looking for food but every single place had a long line for entrance.  I was really happy that I had my fun Thursday night because I don't like lines.  I called the shuttle to take me back to the hotel where I would grab a bite to eat and get to bed! 

I was really excited for Sunday, Yoga with Rachel Brathen!  What an amazing experience.  She is just how I imagined.  It was a challenging yoga practice, I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't so sore.  Afterwards, we got autographs and a hug! I hope I can attend one of her retreats one day.  Afterwards, I was ready to head home.  I grabbed  a quick bite to eat and headed back to my room, ready to wake up at 4 and head out by 5am.  I was anxious to see Bruiser! 

I highly recommend the Nashville Country Music Marathon/ Half, it is a fun race and it is well organized! Nashville is a great place to visit, I will be going back.

Peace <3




Monday, June 8, 2015

One month "Til 34

One month and I will be 34...34 years of age.  34.  Wow, 34.  I remember thinking that 34years old was old, and here I am ......about to turn 34. People have said, "The 30's are the best years of your life!", "Welcome to the thirties! It's a blast", blah blah blah.  Courtesy of facebook, I imagined myself un- alone at 34.  Most of my friends are married with lots of kids.  Some people have gone through 3 serious relationships since I've been in my 30's and I have had none. 

I think my expectations for 30 was too high.  I thought for sure I would be in a serious relationship by now, if not married or at least have experiences in a good relationship.  I'm a professional bad -relationship seeker.  Too gullible....the guy who thought he was G.I. Joe and then told me he was dying, later I found out he was a bonafide, holy shit,  sociopath.  Oh gawd, and the dude with the broken femur and unforgiving hatred....oye! There are so many mistakes to name I can't keep track.  All driven from that, "Oh, here's my prince charming, he's the guy this time I can feel it.  He'll protect me. He's going to make everything ok". ..."He's going to save me".....  See what I did there?   Come on Megs, really?  And people wonder why I'm so elated to see my dog, Bruiser at the end of the day!

Here I sit, 3 college degrees deep.  My work experience is unparalleled and I have been fortunate to have received further training in various fields, certifications from six sigma to social work to my tow motor license.  Yet I feel like I have accomplished nothing.  I'm going to be 34!  I'm going to be 34 and I have nothing to show for it.  Shout out to all of the narcissists, sociopaths, assholes, and mismatched adventures, right?

I don't even know how to date these days.  Hi, my name is Megan will you fill out this psychological assessment for me?  How is your relationship with your mother?  Do you wet the bed, start fires, torture animals? 

All joking aside, I'm going to be 34! thirty freaking four!  Almost 40!  I got nothing.  There's gotta be more than 34.  Yea....that's it!  There WILL be more than just 34.  I feel like I should give some advice or something but I got nothing.  Time goes by so fast and before you know it 34 sounds like a fabulous age.  Things may night bot be all sunshine and rainbows but I have a vision.  And 34 will be hardcore!  (eh, I can still rhyme! "Lol")

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A thoughtful excerpt from "After the Ecstasy, The Laundry. How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path" by Jack Kornfield


I'm reading After the Ecstasy, The Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path by Jack Kornfield.  Basically the book illustrates the lives of people from spiritual leaders to those who obtained a certain enlightenment.   They come back to their daily lives and find that applying principles that they learned through retreats or long periods of meditations, mindfulness, etc. is rather difficult and after reaching such stages there is much upkeep and continuous upkeep that is required.  It's easy to be mindful in the mountains studying among monks, but navigating through traffic, work, and family can be challenging. 



At any rate, I'm reading this book I came across a particular excerpt that really struck a chord with me and stood out for many reasons.  I felt that it resonated with today's society, especially with social media, internet tough guys, and how fast judgments are made, even by our own news media(something that I will eventually address as well).  Without further explanation I want to share this excerpt with you.  It can be found on page 244-246 of this book, which I highly recommend as it is a great read! 



...One man, a military officer who was studying meditation in a class for stress reduction, recently found this out at the supermarket.  It was a crowded evening, the lines were long, and the woman carrying a child in front of him had just one item but would not get into the express line.  The officer, whose habit was impatience, began to get annoyed with her.  it got worse when she got to the checkout stand and she and the clerk started cooing over the baby.  The woman even handed the child to the clerk. 

   He began to tense up, his anger building at the thought of how selfish she was.  But because he had just come from his class, he noticed what he was doing to himself and began to breathe more softly and relax. He even noticed that it was a cute baby.  By the time he got to the clerk he had let go enough to say, "That was a cute boy". "Oh, thank you.  That was my baby," she replied.  "You see, my husband was in the air force but he died last year in a plane crash.  Now my mother takes care of my boy and brings him in once a day so I can see him." 

   We judge each other so quickly, yet know so little about what another carries in his or her heart...

A close friend, the psychiatrist and consciousness researcher Stan Grof, tells a story of one such teaching that took place soon after he arrived in the United States.  Through his work at Johns Hopkins Medical School, Stan met with a psychiatrist of Native American origin, who offered to arrange a visit for Stan and several other staff members to his traditional peyote circle in Kansas. 

   When they arrive they were drive far out onto the plains to meet the Road Chief, the elder who runs the ceremonies for the Native American Church.  Although the chief had previously agreed to include the visitors, the other Indians who saw these white men balked, and it took a good deal of persuasion to allow this unusual participation.  The history of anti-Indian prejudice, the monumental losses of Indian culture, the genocide at the hands of white people were still painful, but because the Johns Hopkins doctors had come a long distance, they were finally permitted to join the circle.  Still, one man clung stubbornly to his anger at the white men who had come to "steal" this last Indian treasure, their spiritual gold.  All through the nightlong ceremony, his mood only amplified by the peyote and drumming, this angry man sat silently, glaring at Stan, who sat opposite him in the circle.  By morning he had not softened, even after a whole night of prayers.  It seemed as if this was how it would end- in an angry standoff. 

   Finally, on the last round of blessings, the host psychiatrist thanked the tribe for being willing to include these white healers in their midst, especially Stan, who was living in exile because the Communists were preventing his return to his native Czechoslovakia.  All at once the angry man's face changed.  He leapt to his feet, crossed the fire, and fell into Stan's lap sobbing.  For many minutes he hugged Stand and the others nearby, apologizing for his misguided hatred. 

   As he wept, his story poured out.  He had flown a bomber in the air force during World War II.  In the last weeks of the war, as the Nazis withdrew, his plane had bombed and unnecessarily destroyed Pilsen, one of Czechoslovakia's most beautiful cities, even though Czechoslovakia had been anti- Nazi and forcibly occupied by Germany.

   Now the tables had turned.  Not only did Stan and the Czechs never steal Indian land, but he, a Patowatame Indian, had helped destroy Stan's homeland.  He was the perpetrator and Stan's people were the victims.  This realization was more than he could bear.  He kept embracing Stan, begging forgiveness, apologizing for his behavior during the sacred ceremony.  Then he paused to say what he had learned: "I see now that there can be no hope for the world if we carry hatred for deeds committed by our ancestors.  I know now you are not my enemies but my brothers.  All that happened long ago was in the time of our ancestors.  Who knows- at that time I might have been on the other side.  We are all children of the Great Spirit.  Our Mother Earth is in trouble, and if we do not work together we will die".   (Kornfield, Jack. After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.  How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path pg245-246.  Bantam Books 2000.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Slip slidin' ok

Sunday morning I energetically woke up ready to enjoy the day.  First on my list was early morning yoga.  I sweat a lot.  People say that they sweat a lot, they lie.  I really for really real sweat a lot.  It pours from my head so much that I wonder if some contraption could be designed to catch that sweat and recycle it for water, it seems like such a waste.  I have yet to find a really good non slip yoga mat. I've tried them all, I've tried with towels, with yogi towels, etc.  It just doesn't work, I sweat. 

I had the opportunity to try a new non slip yoga mat Sunday morning.  It was a disaster.  I was slipping everywhere, it was quite frustrating.  The yoga teacher guided us into Warrior 2 pose, then reverse....

my front leg then slipped forward so much that I almost did the splits....I yelled out, "shit!" in class.  Everyone got a chuckle of course.  I was hesitant to continue class afraid that I would slip into a position that I would not be able to recover from, like the splits. 

As I continued practicing, I was extra cautious.  But then I remembered something.  I have slipped in life many times, I've lost grip, I've made mistakes.  Bouncing back was always the most difficult part. 

It's ok to slip, it's part of the process of life.  We slip, we fall, sometimes we fall flat on our face.  But we get up, we wipe it off and we continue.  This can be scary, being afraid to try again or to keep going but we do, that's how we continue to improve.  Future falls and slips become easier, we get up faster, we shake it off faster. 

It's ok to slip, just get back up and keep trying.  Try a different approach, try a different mat, just keep trying. 

#believeloveunderstandempower. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Nashville......PART ONE

I ran a half in Nashville, just to see how it felt.  I hope you get that sentence.   If not, it's ok.  To my recollection, I was on Pintrest (looking at things non related to food and crafts) and found the Nashville Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon on a top 10 list of races to do.  I felt that it was close enough for me to drive....so why not?  I signed up! 

A few weeks, or months, I don't remember.... Yoga Girl, Rachel Brathen, announced that she was going on a U.S. tour in honor of her debut book, Yoga Girl.  I was so excited that she was going on tour, I immediately checked the places and dates.  Holy shit, she will be in Nashville the same weekend as my half marathon?!?!?  Wowsa.  It was meant to be.  I have been following Yoga Girl for quite some time.  Her eloquent, raw, honest writing drew me in immediately, her amazing and beautiful yoga poses struck me as fascinating.  I had to meet this amazing yogi. 

After following her facebook page for weeks, registration for her tour was finally open.  I remember going into a yoga class on that day and at that time that registration opened, thinking that I would sign up after my yoga class.  I blissfully walked out of yoga, stepped into my car and proceeded to do the usual checking of the phone and email.  I checked out yoga girls page and clicked on the links to sign up.  Holy shit, SOLD OUT!!  Awe man, what a bummer.  I really thought it was meant to be. 

Life proceeds, as it always does.  Ready or not, here is life....moving on, moving on......

So a couple of weeks later or months?  I don't remember.  Yoga Girl sent out a notification.....she was adding classes to some locations.  HOLY SHIT!  I immediately dropped everything to check out her page and see what locations.........HOLY FRIGGIN' SHIT.....she added a 2nd class for Nashville....the DAY AFTER MY HALF MARATHON!  Holy alignment of the stars batman!  THIS was meant to be!  Hell yes, I signed up immediately and secured a spot!

TO BE CONTINUED!

Friday, April 3, 2015

St. Malachi Church Run 5miler

Saturday March 14th I completed my 4th 5mile race for the St. Malachi Church.  This race is a local favorite, the first race of the season, a sure sign of spring and of course St. Patrick's Day.  This year I asked my friend Janet to join me and run her first 5miler.  It was a brisk morning, I misread the start times and therefore us two "Graftonites" made our way downtown earlier than.....everyone else.  We got a great parking spot and were able to hang out at a local pub and chat with other early birds and spectators. 

I was super excited for this race this year.  It had been a long, depressing winter and I was ready to see how my winter training worked. After several trips to the bathroom, a brew for my friend and a coca cola for me we both ventured toward the start line.  And then.....we were off! 

I felt strong and giddy, race season began! I was overdressed as usual and about half way through I discretely removed my middle layer of clothing, while running.  This is a technique I have perfected over the years from swim team and soccer practices.  I hauled ass back in, finished strong, gave it my all and ended up with a finish time of 56:24 (11:17/mile).  Just a little bit slower than last year's time (this year I was carrying a few more pounds).  I was pleased with my time and spent the rest of the day rocking my medal. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Wanderlust


The wanderlust

All that remained was a feather left in the dust of her captive cage

Misery loves company but her loneliness was like a gnawing hunger pain

No good deed goes unbeaten, unscathed, unharmed

A longing for a rapture long overdue consumed her mind, body and heart for she knew

That it was out there waiting… somewhere patiently as her impatience grows steadily

Like a tiger gracefully and peacefully preying on dinner

She only needed to move on from her past, her pains, and the weight pushing down on her like water rolling over her, trapped by a shoelace caught in debris

Damn shoelace, should be easy to free

Censored, caged, taking a stand, ageism, sexism, blonde-ism

A utopia it’s not; but the negativity consumes, distracts, and derails

Or does it?

Stronger, faster, patience grows, character built, endurance lasts longer

All that remained was a feather left in the dust of her once captive cage

Dreams, wishes, and hopes come true

No longer caged, balance, faith, and love renew

The wanderlust is the rebirth of something new

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

THANK YOU 2014


Dear 2014, thank you. 

Thank you for the pain, thank you for the suffering.  Thank you for giving me the strength to preserve, forgive, and overcome.  From feeling great pain, anger, hurt, vengeance to feeling joyous and certain, 2014 provided many lessons and opportunities.  2014 brought many great memories from my solo trip to see Rob Zombie in Richmond, Virginia to my solo trips to the woods.  Summer birthday celebrations, my brother’s wedding, meeting someone amazing, and growing friendships.  November and December are the most memorable of the year and they were  filled with peace, forgiveness, strength, laughter, and happiness.  Thank you 2014. 

To anyone going through something that feels impossible to get through, please keep going.  It may not get better tomorrow, next month, on within a year but it will get better.  To go through difficulty opportunities will arise.  Dig deep within yourself and keep moving forward. 

Thank you so much 2014, you were just what I needed.  I Believe, I Love, I Understand, and I Empower <3

 

 

 

The warmth of the sun beats down on my face where so many tears were born

The fresh air fills my lungs where it once felt like I was suffocating or trying to breathe underwater

Chirping birds drown out hurtful voices

The crisp leaves leftover from a brief fall barely make any noise as I lightly skip around

My heart, body, and soul melt into your arms in a way that I didn’t know existed


Saturday, December 27, 2014

What makes us want them to stay


all along it was abusive

you can't do this, you can't do that

you are nothing, and you know nothing

but it feels so great to be held

so you cope and you manage

but real love is not weak,

real love doesn't hurt, it makes you float

you're not good enough, too many curves, too many questions, and too much opposition

so on the floor you're thrown

all the decorations are broke

so what makes us want them to stay

change is inevitable, one can become whole

those are lies we tell ourselves

and we continue the cycle

is it low self esteem or do we wish change those which cause us pain

is it motherly love or sadistic torture

you are good enough, keep your head up, and move on

that which does not kill us makes us stronger

but if we do not change and strive for more we become more weak

so go ahead and let it peak

for seeing first hand makes us see

sometimes all you want is arms around you, holding you tight

but in reality you realize that all the answers lay within you and alone you should be

Sunday, December 21, 2014

BBA 50k, not so much

Saturday November 15th my sister picked me up bright and early to drive me down to the Bill's Bad Ass 50k trail run course. A 50k is over 30 miles.  The course is a 5mile loop to be completed 6 times and then the final mile being mostly stairs.  It was my intention to stick to short distances this year as I was struggling with staying "in the game" mentally.  I decided to run this race before I sprained my ankle and I decided to raise funds for one of my favorite organizations, Girls With Sole. 

The weather was brisk this Saturday morning.  I was among the early starters and in great company.  The first 2 loops felt great albeit slow.  Looking back on this day, I believe I may have mentally talked myself out of a finish, knowing that I was undertrained and one of the slowest runners out there.  On the 3rd loop my knees began aching, especially on the uphill and downhill.  Most of the course was a hill, thus the awesome challenge and finisher's receiving the title "Bad Ass".  I finished the 3rd loop mostly hiking.  I consulted with fellow runners about my knee pains, some said "push forward" while others said, "don't injure yourself more".  After finishing 15 miles I decided on the latter. 

I raised nearly $1,000 for Girls With Sole and I ran 15 miles, a distance I didn't plan on running in 2014.  It was my first DNF (did not finish) ever but I feel it was the right decision.  I have been resting my knees as both were diagnosed with "runner's knee".  Luckily I'm a multi-sport athlete and have swimming, biking, strength training, and yoga to lean on during the winter months.   I finished my racing year on a good note, with great people.  Life doesn't go as planned, we must learn to "Be Like Water" and go with the flow. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Pumpkin Fest 5k

This year I wanted to compete in a "destination race".  I was thinking somewhere warm and was thinking of a triathlon.  Alas, my sprained ankle had other plans.  During my weeklong adventure in Ohiopyle, I saw a brochure for "Pumpkin Fest" including a 5k run.  Perfect!

Thursday October 2nd I headed for the mountains once again.  The colors of fall painted the peaceful scenery the entire drive up.  Friday and Saturday I explored various trails, absorbing all of nature's fall beauty.  It was peaceful, pleasant, and productive.  Nature soothes my soul and calms my anxious mind. 

Sunday I headed to Confluence Pennsylvania.  The weather was a bit chilly but the sun was out and so were the people.  This hometown race took place during a fall festival and included a great turnout.   I spoke to some of the runners surprising them with the 3 hour drive to run this race.  The course was beautiful, flat, and well attended.  I ran with some Steeler's fans... good looking, rugged, friendly Steeler's fans. 

I crossed the finish line and headed to the festival.  I tried deep fried oreos for the first time.  The chocolate, frosting, deep fried deliciousness was to die for.  I bought a tie dye sweatshirt and then headed back to my cabin to head home.

This race is a must do for the pleasant, friendly atmosphere, great course, and fall beauty!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Live Your Playlist: How to Get Your &#!t Together One Song at a Time

Andrea Vecchio's book, Live Your Playlist: How to Get Your &#!t Together One Song at a Time, is a humbling, sincere, roller coaster ride filled with laughs, heartache, and growth.  From Chasing A Hollywood Dream to The Power of Your Army, each chapter illustrates the 30-something television host's ups and downs.  Andrea's honesty provides the reader with insight into her life. 

Everyone goes through hard times, heartache, health scares, and so forth, even local celebrities.  Andrea's writing style is easy to follow and the creativity of utilizing a favorite song to each chapter will be music to your eyes. 

Follow Andrea Vecchio on her facebook page: Andrea Vecchio Fan Page

Buy this book! http://www.andreavecchio.com/






Saturday, November 29, 2014

Akron Half Marathon

 
Saturday September 27th I ran the Akron Half Marathon.  This was a very emotional day for me.  In 2013 I was to run this race.  A dear friend of mine lost his young daughter on September 27th, 2013.  I spent that day consoling him and his wife.  It was very upsetting, it is terribly sad to lose a loved one especially so very young.  After making a terrible decision later that night I missed this race. 

 
This year I was prepared and ready to run!  I woke up extra early to miss the traffic.  It appeared I was the first one there.  I spent the time in my car reading and reflecting. 
 
The course was challenging with lots of hills.  The crowd was amazing, cheering the runners on.  The weather was perfect, I saw many friends, and the first part of the race was amazing.  The second half was a bit more challenging due to starting out too fast. 
 
Even though it was a tough course, I am tougher ♡ I dropped last year's race shirt at the half way point. I am so blessed and thankful for what it represented; but, I don't need that baggage and negative energy anymore Life would be boring without hills and bland without lemons.  
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A year ago

I can remember Tuesday November 26th, 2013 from start to finish.  After posting on facebook that I had a great day I went to pick up a turkey with my sister.  At 11pm I received a text message from a friend letting my know the news to which I was completely blind sighted, the wind was knocked out of me.  I was violated in a way I didn't know possible; I was violated and villified wrongfully, illegally, very publicly and in cowardice.  I have spent the year trying to understand the behavior of the people behind "pill-gate".   I have spent a year hurting and in anger. A year later,  I now know every single person behind this violation..  I have been through horrific traumas and  I survived, this one felt different.  Everyone goes through tough times, I'm no exception.  This day has had and continues to have a significant impact on my life.... but not all negative. 

The amazing part is that a year later I am so much stronger.  I have also been given an amazing opportunity from this event and I cannot wait to share it with you down the road.  I don't have time for hatred, anger, pain, negativity.  I'm letting go.  I know that these negative feelings will still creep up from time to time but that is ok, it's a great reminder of how much I learned, how much I grew, and much stronger I am.  There will be a reckoning; but, until then I forgive.  I forgive myself and I forgive the group of humans responsible for "pill-gate".  <3  You have forgiveness <3  And I am so thankful for the opportunity, thank you <3

Monday, November 24, 2014

Take back the Run 5k

Two girls were sexually assaulted in the Lakewood area while out running.  For runners, running is a way to get away from stress and pain.  The running community came together on Friday September 19th to "Take back the Run".  As a 2 time rape survivor, domestic violence survivor, runner, triathlete, and yogi I fully understand the violation and how physical fitness can help overcome traumas.  I was there to help the girls take back their run and show support.  It was a very emotional run but the turnout was amazing.  Survivors are not alone.  The color for rape is teal, so I rocked my "Superman" teal and teal nails. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Soul Candy

Soul Candy produces beautiful stones crafted to radiate positive affirmations.  I ordered several stones and the service was impeccable.  It was speedy.  When the order was fulfilled and delivered to my door, I opened the box and immediately felt and saw the love that was poured into these beautiful stones.

These are great for enhancing positive affirmations.  I use them while meditating and practicing yoga.  I also enjoy carrying them in my pocket or purse as reminders throughout the day.  They are short, simple, and brilliant.  I'm looking forward to ordering more for friends and family to spread positive words.  Check out Soul Candy at : Soul Candy website  and order your positive affirmations today!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It Happens

Saturday August 9th I woke up a bit late.  My plan was to head down to the trails to run in the woods.  I took Bruiser for his morning walk and on the way back, my neighbor's dog slipped through its leash making a mad dash.  I immediately took over running in my flip flops to help catch the little guy with no success.  As I returned home I wrote down my cell phone number to take to my neighbor to help spread the word of her missing pet.  Upon doing so I tripped in the concrete edge between sidewalk and driveway.  Ouch!

I scraped and bruised my knee badly but I sprained my ankle.  Devastation rushed to my face as tears poured out, no one was in sight to help.  I crawled back inside and called my mom for help.  I don't buy plastic bags that were now needed for ice and I was not sure if I should go to the emergency room or not.  Alas, I immediately started R.I.C.E.  My mom talked me into taking ibuprofen for the swelling (something that took a lot of convincing since I don't take any type of pills for anything- I practice natural and organic remedies).  I took the ibuprofen on the clock for fear that my ankle would not heal as quickly as I needed.  August!  I had an open water swim meet scheduled for the next day and two triathlons (my 2 favorite) on schedule. 

After exhausting every swear word and pent up anger that had nothing to do with my ankle, I finally accepted the fact that I needed to rest and August would be a recovery month.  Indeed it was.  I hobbled around and continuously repeated R.I.C.E. day in and day out.  I finally learned that things happen beyond my control and I have to deal with these things as they happen.  I got knocked down again....but I got up again. 

Be like water, go with the flow.....no worries , it happens <3



Believe Love Understand Empower

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Our Lady Queen of Peace Church 5k

August 2nd started out hot, humid, and sunny.  The Our Lady Queen of Peace Church 5k is another great family oriented race during the weekend of the church's annual festival.  The run takes you through one of Lorain County Metro Parks in Grafton, Ohio. The scenery is beautiful and the course has a little bit of everything from road to trail and hill to flat.  I did well considering I just came back from a week long adventure vacation. This 5k is a most pleasant race and the festival is great for the whole family.  I look forward in running the OLQP 5k each year.  My time was 33:58

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Disconnected in July


I decided to leave Monday rather than Tuesday for my week long disconnected adventures in the mountains.    To say that I over packed would be an understatement.  My first must do item was to disconnect from Facebook and emails.  I felt immediate relief knowing that I didn’t have to worry about hateful messages, slanderous gossip, and the cesspool of attention seeking, nosey, connected yet disconnected social media environment. I will have to deactivate more often, boundaries are wonderful.  It is amazing how social media affects us.  Car loaded and Bruiser in bucket, I headed to the mountains.  Once in Pennsylvania gallons of water dumped on the turnpike.  Semi-trucks and narrow lanes due to construction wrecked more havoc on my nerves.  The rain was so bad in some cases that I could barely see.  One must be able to see in order to not miss one’s exit.  Sigh, I took the next exit which was the same location I entered the turnpike months ago for my Richmond, Virginia getaway.  No problem, except for my full bladder.  Alas, I stopped at a quaint Amish store for some goodies, unloaded my bladder, and talked Siri into backtracking as efficiently as possible. 
After unpacking.  I drove around looking for a fresh food stand, craving fruits and vegetables with no luck as all were closed for the day.  I did however find several trails.  The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail was very close to where I was staying and the anticipation of hiking and running in unfamiliar woods made me feel like a kid, curiously exploring something new.   The rain continued into the night, offering a relaxing sound to accompany my reading, writing, and reflecting.  A few times I found myself looking at my phone as if I were to get sucked into the Facebook world but immediately relieved upon remembering that it was deactivated.  Just Bruiser and Me, mountains and the pitter patter of rain drops. Day 1 was a success. 
The rest of the week I was immersed in nature, facing fears as I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, and relaxing.  I tried zip-lining for the first time.  I am terrified of heights, I physically become shaky, legs trembling, sweating, and have to force myself to move.  It was a small course with the options of high and highest.  We were allowed to use the time to go around as often as we wanted.  I told the guy, “My only objective is to do it once and not die”.   Mission accomplished!
I continued the days with hiking near the Youghioghney River, tried some chocolate covered potato chips, hiking and trail running, white water rafting, and kayaking.  My evenings were spent reading while Bruiser snuggled.  It was a chilly week in July but regardless of weather, disconnecting while spending time in nature is rejuvenating, relaxing, and refreshing. 
 








 

Monday, October 20, 2014

2nd annual 1mile Heart to Heart Dog Walk

A couple of years ago Bruiser and I attended a community event featuring a dog walk that raised funds for domestic violence.  A walk for dogs that supports a great cause?  What a great idea!  I rounded up some amazing people and organizations to see if we could make this happen in our own community. 

This year was the 2nd annual Heart to Heart 1 mile dog walk.  All of the proceeds benefited the Friendship Animal Protective League.  We had another great turn out, lots of prizes, and great weather. 

Bruiser's favorite place to visit for daycare, swim lessons, grooming, and such is Forever Friends Pet Care Center in Grafton Township.  They did an amazing job organizing and collecting vendors and finding sponsorships. 

It was a dog gone great event! 

Sometimes we have an idea but we can't do all the work...it's great having a network of amazing people to help carry out ideas, working together to support a great cause <3

Monday, September 8, 2014

Milton Man Triathlon

June 29th I raced the Milton Man triathlon, completing the sprint distance.  I got little sleep the night before due to a cook- out.  I had a blast with friends but didn't get as much sleep as I needed.  It was a rainy morning, I can't believe I even got out of bed.  I threw everything together, jumped in my car, and headed east.  I was kind of hoping this race would be called and then I could snuggle back into bed.  Alas, I showed up and was informed that there was a little bit of a delay.  No worries, I showed up, I'm going to do this. 

The swim start was different than previous years.  Most swim starts (the races I have completed) are beach starts.  This one, we walked to the end of a dock and jumped in.  This made me giggle the entire time.  When I first took office, the temporary email password I had been given was "jump in a lake".  I realized that I had not jumped in a lake since receiving that password. I was excited about the jump. 

The swim was nice and calm, not too bad for hardly having completed any swim training.  My legs were sluggish on the bike but I enjoyed it overall, the course is a loop 2 laps to be completed for the sprinters.  The run went well.  My overall time was pretty close to the previous time I completed this race, the bike was a couple of minutes slower this year.  I was happy with the race and very happy that I showed up. 

Thanks to Mickey Ryzmek of North Coast Multisports for snapping this picture of me after I crossed the finish line.  Thanks Mickey! 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Mayor Megan's 5miler for Freedom and Fireworks (5mile and 2mile run)

June 28th I organized the 2nd annual "Mayor Megan's 5miler for Freedom and Fireworks" 5mile and 2mile run in an effort to bring people into Grafton, provide a healthy and fun activity for residents, and to raise money for our 4th of July celebration. 

The weather was hot and humid but we had a great turn out and the volunteers were awesome, my sister came out and helped as well which meant so much to me!  It's really awesome when people volunteer their time to give back to the community.  And a very special thanks to Peace Racing (www.peaceracing.org) for directing. 


Monday, July 14, 2014

Believe in CLE Yoga Event

Friday June 27th I participated in the 2nd annual free 75 minute Vinyasa Flow yoga session and event at the Rock n Roll hall of fame in Cleveland, Ohio to help support the positive vibes of Northeast Ohio.  I missed the event last year and as soon as I got the email for this year's event I signed up right away.  This was taking place Friday evening, the night before the run that I was organizing for Grafton, so I was a little bit stressed and felt like curling up into a ball and staying home.  Alas,  I made myself get up and go, refusing to miss out on positive experiences due to stress.  I made the right choice!

I joined over 2,000 other yogis and Believe in CLE supporters this beautiful night.  We listened to Alex Sheen, founder of Because I said I would, speak about the importance of promises.  What an inspiration!  Tammy Lyons of Inner Bliss Yoga Studio helped organize this amazing event and also led us through a 75 minute yoga session with uplifting music, several yoga instructors providing assists,  and positive vibes.  Several food trucks and vendors in addition to some dancing and yogi silliness accompanied the yoga practice.  I met up with friends Kristen and Carolyn and soaked in every minute. 


 

 
Smiles are contagious :)

Believe Love Understand Empower and don't forget to smile <3

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Electric Run 5k

I enjoy inspiring others and it's been my goal for years to expose people to the running/triathlon/yoga community.  Everyone has something different that they will enjoy but it's taking that first step that is the most important part.  My mom doesn't enjoy vigorous exercise or getting really sweaty and yucky so I invited her to watch me take a pilates class once.  She thought it looked fun, tried it, and is hooked!  I'm so happy that she found something healthy that she can also enjoy and she looks amazing. 

Over the winter I saw an ad for The Electric Run.  It is a 5k run but it is at night with lights, dance music, and a party afterwards!  My younger sister loves the dance music and she is for sure a night owl so I thought this would be perfect for her to try out.  I signed us up immediately! 

 I believe this was the first time it was held in the Cleveland area.  It took place at the Berea Fairgrounds on Friday June 20th.  There was quite a downpour beforehand and mud was a guarantee.  Luckily we left early enough that we didn't get stuck in the awful traffic jam heading into the run and festivities.  My sister's boyfriend and another mutual friend were able to join us as well (2 more newbies, yay!).  After waiting around to meet up with friends we decided to head on in and take our place in line. 

 
 
 



The run was very muddy but we all had a blast.  We ran, walked, slid around in the mud, laughed and everyone finished!  It's really great to have friends and family do something fun and healthy with me.  I'm not sure if they are all in love with running 5k's now but it was great that they tried something new and we all had a blast!

Believe Love Understand Empower!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Munroe Falls Triathlon

Saturday June 14th I completed the Munroe Falls Triathlon.   I ran around in the morning after waking up late,  throwing things in my triathlon bag and car, printing directions, and forgetting my coffee.  If this was my first triathlon I would have been in complete panic mode.  I made it on time, with a little detour of course. 

I like this triathlon because it is fairly small and it is a nice course.  The swim is in a small lake so the water is warm and I don't need a wetsuit.  The start was a bit of a challenge because we were swimming into the sun, I couldn't see, and the ladies were pretty aggressive.  Once turned around I found my groove and headed in toward the beach exit.  The bike course was nice.   This was the first time I was on my road bike since last year.  Thankfully everything had been tuned up and I survived. Once the laps were complete I headed back into the park and out into the run.  This was also my first brick workout of the season and my legs sure did feel like bricks; alas, I felt strong. 

The run was pleasant and I felt good.  We ran 2 laps within the park.  It was a smooth race, nicely organized by Champ racing. 

My times were pretty consistent from the last time I raced, a little bit slower in each leg but the run. By slower, I mean by a couple of minutes so I'm not that upset.  My goal this year is to just participate and complete.  Mission accomplished. 

Pre race photo.  Love that I was given the number 13.  I felt like this was a sign of not giving up after 2013, one of the crappiest years ever.  I dedicated this race to Tuesday, November 26th, 2013 and all of the people responsible for that day. 
 
The aftermath :)  

Saturday, July 5, 2014

5th Annual LULA 5k for Girls with Sole

June 8th I completed the 5th Annual Lula5k run for Girls with Sole.  This race is awesome in so many ways and I try to run it every year.  Girls with Sole is an organization for at risk girls.  The Girls with Sole Mission is  to " Use free fitness and wellness programs to empower the minds, bodies and souls of girls who are at-risk or have experienced any type of abuse".   Many of the participants are girls finishing their first race, capturing what founder Liz Ferro refers to as the "Finish Line Feeling".   Liz's book, Finish Line Feeling  is Liz's life and what led her to start this great organization. 
 
Peace Racing directed the race and it was another fun, inspiring race, that is well organized and tailored to any type of runner.  I ran a PR with a time of 30:31, 9:49/min mile.  The overcast, drizzling rain was welcomed but the downpour at the end wasn't helpful.  But hey, life is about learning to dance in the rain.  It was great to see so any friends at this race too.  It was the first time seeing friends since the long, dreadful winter. 
 
Liz's book can be found online at www.girlswithsole.org or on www.amazon.com.  I encourage you to read her book, it's an inspiring story for anyone, runner or not!  Follow Liz on Facebook as she runs a marathon in each state to help raise funds for girls with sole. 
 
 

 
 
 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cleveland Half Marathon 2014

This May I set out to do another half marathon!  I chose to do the Cleveland spring marathon because it's close and the course was changed since the last time I ran it so it wouldn't be "boring".  One can never predict the weather for this particular weekend.  When I did the half the first time it was chilly rain, when I did the full marathon is was scorching hot.  This year the weather was sunny but a tad on the chilly side, just a little itsy bit chilly.  I had no expectations coming into this race, I simply wanted to just do it and enjoy the experience. 

It took me longer than I planned to find a parking spot and then I searched everywhere for some sort of bathroom.  After finally releasing my bladder I head to the start line following random people who were obviously running this race. 

We finally took off and I started the half marathon.  It was taking me a while to warm my legs up but the course was pretty and all of the fans were great!  I always enjoy seeing the creative signs.  Unfortunately I don't think my bladder emptied all the way and I started to get the urge to pee.  I ignored it for a bit, thinking I would just sweat it out.  However, it became rather annoying.  I passed several porto- potties but there were long lines.  I kept telling myself, I'll stop at the next one the line will be shorter.  Well I finally got to my 6 or 7 mile and just had to stop.  There were several people in front of me and it felt like they were taking forever.  Alas, I finally did my business. 

I have always found it very difficult to start moving again after suddenly stopping for a bit.  I continued to start running again but was feeling a bit discouraged for the set back in time thanks to my bladder.  I kept moving forward.

The last 3 miles were slightly up hill and any runner can feel that, especially towards the end of a race.  Pushing through I crossed the finish line, grabbed water, took this smiling picture,  and proceeded to find my way back to my car. 

My time was significantly slower than the first time I ran this half marathon.  Though I was irritated about this fact I reminded myself that I was just out here to have fun and the pit stop made a difference in time and how I felt....it happens :)  I was smiling afterwards so that is a big win for me <3



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rockin' Road Trip

Rob Zombie is one of the most interesting artists and people in my opinion.  If I could hang out with anyone I would choose to hang out with Rob and his band.  They all seem so amazing, intriguing, brilliant, and filled with positive energy.   I cannot remember when I really began to appreciate his entertaining qualities and started loving his music and movies. 2013 was by far the shittiest year to date. His movies and music kept me distracted from reality.  I wanted to ignore the fact that I was stuck, stagnant in life and work, at a loss for words and direction.  On a whim I decided to attend one of his concerts in Columbus, Ohio during the summer of 2013.  I was initially supposed to go with a friend but he had to back out at the last minute.  Though I had an extra ticket, I looked forward to the solo trip.  At the Columbus show I stuck out and felt quite awkward amongst the metal heads with their dreads, drunkenness, gothic clothing, and stench of pot smoke in the air.  I tried to appear as though I wasn't alone.  Since I was by myself I decided not to drink so that I could make the drive back home safely and so that I could remain alert among the crowd of sex, "macho", aggressive hungry men.  The concert was amazing.  Rob came out into the crowd, I got a hug, and it was such a badass experience and concert. 
 
It was a no-brainer when I saw that he was going on tour in 2014; I WAS going to find a way to make it to his concert.  Then, I saw that Adventures in Wonderland was offering a meet and greet...hell yes!  I was taking the time to decide between Kentucky or Richmond Virginia.  I decided on Virginia because the Kentucky concert was the same weekend as the Derby and the costs for hotels were ridiculous.  I committed to the meet and greet in Virginia.  I was incredibly nervous and immensely excited. 
 
I headed out Friday afternoon toward PA where I would stay the night before heading to Virginia Saturday.  As soon as I got on the turnpike heading away from home, I felt a tremendous amount of relief, a touch of fear, and a sense of knowing this is what I should be doing.  Seeing the Pennsylvania mountains brought even more awe, wonder, and happiness.  I felt like a kid exploring a toy store.  I made the climb to the place I was staying, grabbed some pizza, and headed further up the mountain to settle in before dark.  I slept like I was dead. Maybe it was because I finally felt safe or maybe it was being surrounded by nature, or a bit of both. 
 
I awoke early Saturday and headed towards Virginia.  I have never done anything like this before, driving so far alone, to somewhere I have never been.  I was on the road for a brief period of time when I noticed a sign for the Flight 93 Memorial, there was no doubt that I had to stop.  The memorial didn't open until 9am so I waited about an hour.  Once the gates opened I drove about a mile to the memorial.  It was still a work a progress but it was beautiful.  I reflected on the incredible, brave sacrifice of those on board that flight and their heroic decision to prevent a much worse ending.  Our country was founded on such bravery and courage and it is amazing that such selflessness continues. 



 
 
The drive was beautiful and I felt even more at ease the further I drove.  Once reaching my hotel I quickly checked in, settled in, and set out to enjoy every single minute.  I headed downtown and walked around, overwhelmed with the city life and traffic.  I checked out the Edgar Allen Poe museum.  I was surprised to learn that he was quite the athlete, especially an avid swimmer and boxer.  I felt a connection to him walking through the old house and reading various facts of his life. 
 
 
I continued my exploring, made sure I knew how to get to The National for the concert and made my way to dinner.  JalapeƱo, honey, bacon as an appetizer....YUM!!!   
Sunday I woke up with the birds, ready to enjoy the day to its fullest.  I went to an organic breakfast place and while sitting at the table I was startled to suddenly hear cheering and others in the restaurant moved toward the front, where the window/doors were wide open as if just for this reason.    I heard sirens and then suddenly saw motorcycles and cyclists whizzing buy, the air was filled with thunder, man made gusty winds, and screams and cheers of excitement from the audience consisting of regulars and tourists.  This weekend was also the weekend for the USA Cycling National Championships!
I had to be out in front of The National by 5pm for the meet and greet.  Of course I was early.  Since it was just me, I was sure to only bring what was needed and to dress comfortably.  I stopped drinking fluids around 4 to make sure I didn't have to use the bathroom so much.  Typically I drink over a gallon of water a day so this was a challenge.  Shortly after 5 we were checked in and brought inside to wait in another line.  Once the meet and greeters were all inside we were instructed that the first time through we would get the autographs and the second time through we would get our picture.  I was so excited, there are no words to describe it.   Rob Zombie, John5, Piggy D, and Ginger Fish all came out, it was like Christmas morning as a kid.  When it was my turn I walked right up, started with Rob Zombie, shook his hand and said, "Hi I'm Megan Flanigan from Grafton, Ohio" immediately thinking, wow I just sounded like a nerd.  He was immediately pleasant and polite, jokingly asking if I was Italian.  This band is the only band I follow in its entirety and truly love all of them!  I think they are all so down to earth and badass.  They all radiate such positive energy and humbleness. 
The actual concert did not start until 8pm so we had the option to go back to our car and drop our goodies off or stay and make sure we got front stage.  Another no brainer.  I have never been front row of a concert, especially a rock concert.  I got one bottle of water just in case but I kept my no fluids policy pretty strict because I was not going to miss this opportunity. 



Once people start piling in I started to get nervous.  I'm pretty claustrophobic but I made note of all the exit signs and didn't let fear get in my way.  Pretty soon the entire place was packed.  Looking out into the crowd while in the front is a bit intimidating.  Immediately my anxious brain started to think of all of the things that could go wrong and so I took a deep breathe and thought, if that's how it is to be then that is how it is to be but I am sick and tired of being scared. 
 
 
Ginger Fish (the drummer) came out and started us out with his music mash -ups and such.  At one point he jumped on a speaker and did a yoga pose <3. 
 
 
The concert was amazing, I was within an arm's reach of the stage.  The energy was incredible.  My favorite part was that I was able to be me 100%.  No one knew me, no one cared.  I was able to really let loose, bang my head off, and be a crazy fan.  I forgot what that felt like, rather I think that feeling is purely foreign as I don't remember ever having felt 100% me.   And in that moment, in a small concert hall, filled with hundreds of people, I was safe, relaxed, and I was having fun! It is an experience I will never forget.  After hauling ass to get home in time for meetings and such I saw via the Rob Zombie website that he was working on another CD AND movie, best news ever!  I cannot wait to see the movie opening day and I cannot wait to attend another concert. 
 
Rockin Road Trip to meet Rob Zombie and band..... complete <3