Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ready, Set, Go!

So I’ve never written a blog before. I tried to start one after Olivia was born, got one post up. I went through a few diaries growing up, tried some journaling over the years. One thing I always discover – I’m not consistent. My original intention when I started this blog was to post after each race, but history does tend to repeat itself, so here I am, three races in, finally getting to my next post.  But hey, this journey is about building a happier, healthier me, so I’m not knocking myself.  I’m just managing expectations – mine, yours, whoever is listening/reading.

One of the key lessons I’ve learned in my battle with depression – MANAGE EXPECTATIONS. So often, so many of our disappointments and struggles in our lives come down to that very thing – managing expectations. If we stumble to the ground hurt, disappointed, crushed, confused, we probably set our expectations too high, too unrealistic, too strict. If we find ourselves feeling confident, settled, sure, our expectations are probably right where they need to be. Over the years, I’ve tested this out, roped JR into the concept, implemented at work, etc. It’s something that has helped tremendously.  I’m still no expert, and I am constantly having to shift expectations, give a little nudge here, a little more space there – just breath…

So here I am, shifting expectations, and eager to share some snippets of my first three races. I must say, it’s been a great start so far!

Race #1 – Apr. 11, 2015
SVAP 5K Race for Autism
EMU, Harrisonburg, VA
Time: 39:02

My first race was a well-rounded kick-off – beautiful day, mom and dad involved, one of my best friends running beside me, good cause.  Jack was a trooper, clapping along the way, waving to passers-by, and eventually falling asleep in the final stretch of the race.

I wasn’t expecting as many hills as there were along the route, but really, what was I thinking?  It’s Harrisonburg, for crying out loud – hard to go five feet without finding some sort of incline. Needless to say, I was glad to have Sarah running with me to keep pushing me up each surprising hill – I think there were at least five, maybe more. Sarah’s an awesome cheerleader!  If you ever need someone to keep you moving, she’s your girl!

Mom and Dad walked the route, coming in with a solid finish time and a good workout under their belts.  I’m so proud of them for understanding how important it is to keep exercising, keep moving – they looked great out there, and I hope they get to participate in future races with me. It meant so much to have their support for the first race.


Race #2 – Apr. 18, 2015
3.2 Run in Remembrance
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Time: 43:45 (Slight race delay in the stadium tunnel)

When I came up with this whole “35 for 35” idea, my sister mentioned this race and we thought the timing would be perfect as a kick-off to the project.  Turns out I was able to squeeze one race in before this one, but this was an amazing race, nonetheless.

Virginia Tech puts this race on each year sometime around Apr. 16 to remember the victims of the horrific shootings that took place back in 2007. There were 32 lives lost that day, cut all too short. This race is just one of many events the university puts on in honor of the anniversary.

The quality and thoughtfulness of the event was amazing, from thorough instructions prior to race day, all the way down to the fact that they made the smart choice to NOT use a shotgun to start the race, opting for a beautifully peaceful moment of silence followed by the release of 32 white balloons, signaling the start of the race – took my breath away. There were TONS of people there, all oozing with Hokie pride and spirit. Everyone was involved, from the pep band to acapella groups, sororities to the cadets. So many little details along the way, including the opportunity to run through the tunnel into Lane Stadium – that was cool for me and I’m not even a student/alum – you should have seen how excited my sister was!

Speaking of my sister, I was so lucky to share this race with her. She ran the WHOLE THING with me!  I was so proud!  I might just turn her into a runner before this project is said and done. She did great!  She even pushed me a few times. And every time I get to see Colleen in her element at Tech, I am continually affirmed that she made the right choice and that she is HAPPY and LOVING her college experience – so important to me that she has found that for herself!


Race #3 – Apr. 19, 2015
HRock Young Life Splatter Run
Rockingham County Fair Grounds, Harrisonburg, VA
Time: 37:08

Today’s race experience was short and sweet, a color run, good times. We had a lot to do at home today, and there was rain in the forecast, so I didn’t do much else surrounding today’s race other than show up, run, take a quick photo and head out. That said, I did pick up a few little nuggets along the way.

Lessons learned today:
  1. There are varying levels of organization when it comes to putting on a race.
  2. Close your mouth when running through the color-dispensing areas.
  3. It’s not as fun to run a race where you don’t know anyone.
  4. Gravel is hard to run on, especially when the size and stability of the gravel changes along the course. 

I was glad to support the Young Life program for Harrisonburg and Rockingham. I don’t know much about the program, but I’ve learned enough to know that it can provide a space for young people to better know and understand God, and that’s never a bad thing. All in all, a good way to spend an hour of my afternoon.


As I’m writing this post, Rent is playing in the background. JR stumbled upon it on Netflix. Songs like “Seasons of Love” and “No Day but Today” fill our basement, their haunting melodies and intentional words ringing through my head. It’s a fitting soundtrack as I work to process through my first three races, the first three legs of this journey I’ve committed to. I’m measuring my next 525,600 minutes in 35 races, and if these first three races are any indication, I’ll also be able to measure my year in love, support, clarity and strength…a happier, healthier me.


  1. Love you, Kelly! You are amazing!

  2. Love Rent, Love you, Love all of this. Cheering from Hampton! :)