Five Favorites

It’s Friday and I’ve been digging the DC Trifecta’s topics so I’m linking up with them again for this week’s Five Favorites. Thank you Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney for hosting! Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 9.17.23 AM My 5 Favorites 🙂 Favorite thing about my job I’m a high school English teacher and while it’s tough something to work with squirrely, hormonal teenagers, they can actually be really fun sometimes. During out poetry unit, I get to read the likes of Frost, Wordsworth, and Shakespeare. I mean, it doesn’t get any better than that! Except it does! I have a my students create a sonnet, after reading Shakespeare’s “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?”, on the topic of love. Their sonnet is on something they love. One of my students decided to devote 14 lines to Taco Bell. Yes, you read that right. And it was actually pretty good! Shall I tell you of the great Taco Bell? So my favorite thing about my job is seeing students create. Most of them hate poetry, but then they start writing and see that they’re actually pretty good. And that it’s fun! It’s the best. Favorite thing about where I live OMG, I love it here.

please don't hate me

please don’t hate me

Favorite thing about being married I’ve gushed enough about my husband but I don’t care. I have an absolute blast with him and my favorite thing about being married is the constant companionship. I don’t mind being alone, but I’d so much rather be with my husband ❤ Me and my speedy <3 Favorite thing about being a mom Gahh!!! There’s so many things but it’s seeing my kids grow right before my eyes. Seeing that light bulb go off. Seeing them explore, absorb, learn. My daughter has been in a colors phase and recently drew her first rainbow IMG_20150207_194132 I couldn’t believe its beauty. She told me what each color was and then said, “My rainbow!!” and then, “For you mommy!” MELT. My son has recently discovered a love of reading and is constantly asking me to “Book! Book!” (which means read, of course 🙂 ) I love it. 2015021795085409 Favorite thing about running YOU No, seriously. When I first started writing and keeping this blog, I wasn’t sure how long I’d last. But then I started “meeting” people and it’s really become a place for me to “hang out” with my friends. You all have been through a lot with me and have comforted me at my lows and celebrated with me in my highs. I’ve always loved running but it’s the running community that really makes this sport special. What are some of your favorite things? About your job? Where you live? Running? Family?

Positive Phoenix Marathon Memories

I didn’t actually finish Phoenix Marathon–if you missed the story of my DNF, you can catch up here.

Thank you so much to those who commented and reached out to me. Your support really does mean a lot. I love how amazing the running community is ❤

Thankfully, not everything about the weekend was bad.

The Expo

I left work early to get to the expo in time for the meet up of all meet ups.



It was definitely going down at the Pro Compression booth.

Pretty much everyone got there at the same time and I was surrounded by bloggers and Instagrammers galore! So many faces I recognized from stalking following on social media, I was like, “I know you!” and “I know you!” Except, of course, I didn’t really know them lol!

I saw my girl Meg (aka: @Maxfitgirl29) first and went straight up to her and introduced myself.

<3 her!

I ended up chatting with her the most and she was as awesome in person as she is on her Insta.

And the ever cool @dasilentassasin was also behind the booth.

Suuuuch a nice guy.

Suuuuch a nice guy.

The infectious smile that is Carlee


I saw one of my faves @michrun4 again. I’ve seen her a few times around town as she’s local (but is moving–sniff, sniff)

Don't gooooo!

Don’t gooooo!

Pavement Runner had sent me a good luck shirt and I sported it at the expo. I was lucky enough to snag a pic with him too. He is seriously an awesome dude.




And then I got to meet RunEMZ and The Athletarian (so many of these peeps have such cool names I noticed. I’m just helly 🙂 ) RunEMZ is another local who is so amazing. She’s a well known ultra-marathoner around town (and elsewhere) who recently ran a 100 miler–having given birth less than 6 months earlier!–and got 1st female overall. Like, seriously whoa. Oh, and she trains on the treadmill. She is not only a badass but she is suuuuuper nice. And that’s the best. I love it when people are nice.


Me, RunEMZ, and The Athletarian

There were soooooo many people who were running this race it was difficult to find everyone. I was sad I missed Suz (who BQ’d!!) and Gregg and Smitha (and others) but it’s just another reason for a destination race 🙂

Race Day

While I waited for Runner Jenny to cross, I cheered several of those I’d met as they made their way to the finish. I was cheering and cheering and the guy next to me said, “You sure know a lot of people!” Eveeerryone was running this race.

And me, well I was an emotional mess. I was disappointed and super disheartened at having not completed the race but at the same time, I was rejoicing with every person’s accomplishment. Even those I didn’t know! I saw people crying as they crossed, people pumping their fist in the air triumphantly, and even others spreading their arms out wide and soaring in across the line. I saw kids running with their moms, husbands with their wives, friends pacing their friends–it was absolutely amazing. I had never stayed and watched at a finish line like I did that day. And even though the circumstances were tough to swallow, I am so, so glad I did.


The finish line

My friend Nadia had told me on the phone earlier that she herself had crossed the finish line of the 10k and snagged herself a second place age group award!! I didn’t get to see her to squeeze her but she sent me a pic of her awesome award later that day.

Post Race (The Next Day)

I could have stayed home and sulked the next day, drowned my sorrows in fast food and soda, but instead I went to my run club’s post-race celebration picnic and heard everyone’s race stories. Several of my friends had PRd, a couple won age group awards, and a few had ran their first 1/2 marathon and marathon. I didn’t want to miss their post race glow–we had all trained together.


Lisa, who snagged a sub 4 hour marathon PR, me, and Runner Jenny

So even though this race has a dark cloud over it for me in many ways, there are definitely spots of sunshine throughout the weekend that doesn’t make Phoenix Marathon 2015 a total disaster. One thing is for certain, I will return in some capacity next year 🙂

–What’s your favorite part of a race weekend? The day before (the expo), race day, or post race (all the food!)?



Phoenix Marathon 2015–DNF

I typed that title and thought, wow, never did I think I’d ever type those three letters. Ever.

But, if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook then you already know, I did not finish the race.

When I shared with you all my final thoughts leading up to the marathon, I mentioned my goals and how I’d be super disappointed if I didn’t at least PR. The possibility of not even finishing the race didn’t even occur to me. Like, I didn’t think, “And lastly, if nothing else, my final goal is to just finish the race.” I just thought it was something that would happen, because that’s what you do. You finish.

Except I didn’t.

After I wrote Friday’s post, I headed over to the expo which was absolutely amazing and the highlight of the weekend. I’d like to recap that separately as it’s completely opposite of the events that occurred the following day.

My alarm went off Saturday morning at 2:30 and it didn’t take me long to get ready. I had everything prepared and woke up feeling pretty much the same I’d been feeling all week. Not horrible but definitely not 100%.

I picked up Runner Jenny at 3:45 and we made our way to the busses that would drop us off at the start line. I was prepared with throwaway clothes, water, and a morning snack as I knew we’d have about an hour and a half wait before the race began.

I felt okay. I was warm because of my layers, and I sipped on water as we walked to find the rest of our group.

My run club friends asked how I was doing (as they’ve known I’ve been sick for a while) and I told them the truth, okay but not 100%.

We waited.

Once the clock crept closer to gun time, we made our way to the start line and began shedding our layers. It was then that I felt how cold it really was. Now mind you, the weather was actually beautiful (no rain!), but this Arizona girl gets cold when it’s 50 degrees out. I took off my sweats and sweater but left on my ear warmers (my ears were still achy).

We all exchanged our good lucks and then it was time to start. Me and Runner Jenny had a game plan, to start slow the first initial downhill and not let it sneak us into starting too fast.

So that’s what we did. We were about a quarter of the first mile in when I coughed. And then continued coughing. And then looked and Jenny as I continued to cough. This was not looking/sounding good.

I passed it off and kept going. First mile, 9:37. Okay, a little fast, but not bad. Not bad, at all.

Half way into mile 2, Jenny asks me a question and as I opened my mouth to answer, a cough came out instead. No, this was definitely not good. She tells me, “No worries, I won’t talk. You don’t talk. We’ll be okay.”

This was mile 2.

The lone hill began at mile 4 and it was here that Jenny began to distance herself. I told her to go. We both knew I was on the struggle bus already. I saw her keep steady and felt myself began to falter and that’s when I knew that this was going to be the hardest race of my life. My left calf flared up and I kept running, hoping that running would make the cramp dissipate. I couldn’t believe this was happening at mile 4. Couldn’t. Believe. It.

How the hell was I already struggling so bad? How the hell had I already let Jenny down? At mile freaking four?

My right quad began to flare and at this point, I began to think the running gods had it in for me. I was cramping like I’d never in my entire life cramped before. All before mile 6. I took my first GU at mile 5 hoping that would help but I felt nothing of its benefits. I had picked up water at the two stations I’d already passed and still was a complete mess.

I finished that long uphill and rode the decline hoping it’d start jump me and give me some energy. I was hurting but I was running. Mile 8 came and went. And then mile 9. It was here that both of my legs, both calves, both quads, whatever the heck the muscle next to my shins are called, all were squeezed tight into massive balls of crampage. I knew I was done at mile 10. Done.

My husband was waiting for me at the mile marker and he knew. I didn’t have to say a word. He asked me if I was sure about wanting to stop and I said yes, there was no way I could keep going. My body ached from coughing and cramping and I was shivering and I still had a shitload of miles left.

I had never in my life hurt so bad.

He told me that he wanted me to be absolutely sure. To keep running and that maybe I’d get a second wind. (In my head I was like, this is mile 10. I would hope that I wouldn’t need a second wind at mile 10. Mile 18? Mile 20? Yeah, sure. But how the hell did I need a second wind at mile 10?)

I kept going. I hoped and prayed his words would work their magic and would help to dispel the negative thoughts going through my mind and the pain searing through my body.

But they didn’t. I started to walk/run, trying to stretch my legs on the curb of a sidewalk periodically, but nothing was helping. A spectator asked if they could help, but my coughing wouldn’t let me respond. I knew then I had to make my decision.

I felt that I could somehow muster up whatever pride I had left to finish and drag myself across the finish line. It would be ugly, but it seemed feasible. Maybe. I knew that it would wreak havoc on my body though and that I would be pushing my body to limits unknown. I’d get my medal and maybe pneumonia too.

My two kids, my two rambunctious toddlers came to mind and I knew I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t be selfish and finish a race for pride, pushing my body to where I don’t know how it’d end up. I had to go home to them in one piece.

So at mile 12 I stopped.

It was a little past mile 12; I could see the half marathon flags and I could see two of my run club friends cheering on the sidewalk. I walked up to them and they instantly put their cameras away. They could see I wasn’t doing well and that I wasn’t a sight worth taking a picture of. I asked for their phone and where we were, and I called my husband. I was officially not going to continue.

I stopped my Garmin and waited for him in their car to try and get warm. I was coughing and coughing and the coughing was making me dry heave. I kept opening the car door just in case anything came out.

My husband found me not too long later and I climbed into his car. And it was here that I began to cry. We drove away in silence and after a few minutes, he told me that I had done the right thing.

In between crying and coughing, I told him how much pain I was in. How bad the cramping was and that I just couldn’t understand why this was happening.

It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault, he kept repeating.

But I just kept on crying. And coughing.

He asked me if I wanted to go home and I said no. I wanted to see Runner Jenny finish. I wanted to see my friends finish.

I had discarded my sweats at the start line so we stopped at a nearby store to pick up some warm clothes. I was shivering (my husband was not) and knew I couldn’t/wouldn’t last with just my shorts and running shirt.

And then we went back to the race. I walked towards the finish line and waited. While we were waiting, my husband’s phone rang. It was my friend Nadia asking where I was in the race so she could find me. He passed me the phone and I began to sob, telling her that she could find me at the finish line, except I didn’t finish.

My friends began approaching the finish line and one by one I cheered them on. I saw several snag PRs and I saw a few struggling as they crossed, but they finished.

And then after a while, there she was. My partner. Still running with a huge smile. She saw me and waved and I yelled as loud as I could for her as she crossed the finish line of her first marathon. I wasn’t there to do it with her, but I was there to cheer her on.

All the emotions on my face

Soon after the race, I went to Urgent Care where I was diagnosed with bronchitis and an upper respiratory infection. The doctor told me I was silly to think I could run that day.

I don’t know. I don’t know if that even makes me feel better. But, there it is. There’s what happened. I’m still collecting my thoughts on it and still trying to absorb this thing of not finishing something I trained and worked so hard for. I know ultimately I made the right decision; it’s just difficult to think about this race and say out loud, I didn’t finish it.

Thank you guys so much for your kind words of support on facebook, instagram, and on my blog. I know you guys know how important running is to me–because it is to you–and I know you guys understand in a way a lot of other people can’t. I’m so thankful to have all of you in my life.

❤ , helly