Earth

I am a Capricorn. Capricorns are an Earth sign. I need to feel grounded in the earth which I think is why I love my plants and gardening so much. I also think that is why I like running. My feet hitting the pavement with each footfall is my connection to the Earth.
There are also places on the Earth that ground me. One of those places in the Chicago Lakefront Trail. During the height of my “high conflict” divorce (the PC way of saying super nasty, craptastic divorce from an abusive narcissist), I found solace and comfort in my long bike rides along the Lakefront. I would head out in the morning with my bike, some water and a book. I would ride for 10 miles, take a break to read and people watch, then ride the 10 miles back to my car. It was an escape from the pressures of life where no one could find me for a while.
Once we got Lucky, I started taking him down there to run with me. We would run 5-7 miles together along the Lake and take a rest in the shade before coming home. He was living his best life and I could take a break!
Last year, when Covid took over, our trips to the lakefront ended. We stuck close to home and found new paths around the neighborhood but it was not the same. I felt out of sorts.
Last night, as I was falling asleep, I thought about the lakefront. I thought about heading back there for a run. I planned it in my head as I drifted off. When I got up this morning, I almost talked myself out of it. I dilly dallied and found things to do rather than getting dressed and going for a run. Then I took a look outside and the sun was coming up. I could see the skyline and feel the pull of the trail. So I leashed up the dog and got in the car.
We drove down to our “spot” and parked. I tried to pay but the box was broken and the app said it was “free” today. Score! With my water bottle on my waist, I turned on my “lakefront playlist” and we headed off for our run.
It.
Was.
Glorious!
I took in everything….every sight, sound and smell! I noticed all that had changed since our last visit. I took pictures both in my head and with my phone!
I am not going to lie and say that this was a perfect run….it was not. I have not run a lot since I broke my arm (nerves!) so there was some walking, some crying and some cursing….but I loved every minute of it!
The small signs along the way were not lost on me….. no traffic, making the greenlights in Irving, the open parking spot, “free” parking, the sailboat named “Namaste”, the phonecall from my kids as I ran, the homeless woman who asked me to stop so she could pet Lucky (she lost her dog “a while back” and missed him), the little girl who shouted, “Hey! I love Girls on the Run” (I was wearing my GOTR shirt….and forgot I had it on until she shouted at me!)…..the list goes on and on. I am a firm believer in signs and angels….and today they were out in full force, letting me know that this was exactly where I needed to be as well as what my heart and soul needed.
Over a year ago, I took that last run for granted and today vowed never to let that happen again. I will not take the glorious views of the city and lake for granted ever again.
Today was a reminder to trust my instincts and take chances. Today was a reminder what grounds me. Today was a reminder of how far I have come, the moments and things I cherish as well as how much I have left to accomplish in this world.
My motto is #forwardisapace and I will always move forward. I move forward with my feet firmly grounded on the Earth, my heart full of love, and my soul full of peace.
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Rescue

Click. The bedside light is turned off. 
As I roll over and get comfortable, Lucky moves into position. He nestles in to the space behind the bend in my knees and rests his head on my leg. It doesn’t matter where he in in the house, when I turn off that light, within seconds, there he is…. snuggled in the crook of my knees for the night. Every night. Without fail.  It has always been that way since the day he came to live with us.
Quarantine changed the way we lived. I was home all the time and long walks several times a day became the norm.  Lucky was living his best life!
Now that I am back at school and not home every day, I realize that the separation anxiety does not just belong to my Lucky dog, but to me as well. I miss his company and annoying behaviors! 
We walk several miles before I go to work each day and several more when I arrive home. However, that time before we both fall asleep, snuggled together, is important to both of us. We both need it. 
They say we don’t rescue dogs…. they rescue us. I believe we rescue each other. 
Peace.
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Home

Home. Sometimes you just have to run home. This weekend I ran home. I ran to my running home. I ran to my running family.
When I decided to run my first marathon I trained alone. I read some books and found a training plan that was manageable. I learned a lot that year and then joined a training group (how that happened is another story for another day!). What I didn’t realize at time was that joining that group would change my life. That group would become my chosen family. My running family.
3 years ago I ran what I now realize was my last marathon. If I had known it would be my last, I would have done things a little differently. No regrets…just some changes. I have signed up and trained since that last marathon but injuries took me out. My running family has always been supportive and ever present even when I thought I didn’t need them.
Saturday I ran home. I went back to the group I call family and the path I call home. The Chicago Marathon this year is virtual and some from the group were running the virtual marathon on the path. I returned to the group with my 4 legged running buddy wearing my tutu! I ran out on the path for a few miles and met up with runners on the last “leg” of the marathon. I walked with and supported the runners as best I know how. I realized it was where I belonged! I was cheering them on home!
I watched as many friends crossed the finish line in an entirely personal fashion. No throngs of people cheering as runners climbed Mount Roosevelt. No “official” finish line. No long walks to water, bananas and family. But what those runners did have was their kids running across the finish line with them. Family right there to hug them at the finish. And a full selection of treats other than bananas! It was amazing!
Today is National Coming Out Day. I know you are wondering what that has to do with running and marathons. Well, as I thought about running home, I realized that so many LQBTQIA+ people do not have a home to run to or even a safe place to run to. Runners, especially marathon runners, run for a reason. Each marathon I run for charity and then dedicate each mile to a special person. Today I ran the Pride Stride 5K, however, I felt called to run more…so I did! I ran for every person who does not feel safe coming out yet. I ran for those without a safe place to call home. I ran for all those who have come out only to be shamed and rejected. I ran……
Working with Free Mom Hugs, I have heard stories from the LQBTQIA+ community that have broken my heart and brought me to my knees. Feeling unloved or incapable of being loved is agonizing and traumatizing. Being forced to live life hidden away, unable to walk in truth, not being accepted and/or judged by family and friends leads to mental health issues, alcoholism, drug abuse and many other self destructive behaviors. As a parent it is our job to love and accept the child we have…not the one we wished we had or the one we wished we were as a kid. Thus, as a Mama Bear(an ally), I accept, hug (virtual now!) and love all LQBTQIA+ people, reminding them that they are worthy, they belong, they matter and they are loved as they are for who they are.
I have stepped into my role as coach, cheerleader and ally with the same determination and dedication as marathon training. This weekend I did not run a marathon but I ran for others. I supported others. I cheered for others. I may or may not run another marathon (never say never) but I know I will always have my chosen family and can always run home. I know that I can and will always provide a safe place for others.
Today I ran 6.2 miles in a tutu with my running buddy (wearing a cape and carrying his ball)! I ran in celebration of love, family, acceptance, belonging, endurance, and because we all deserve a place to run home to.
Peace,
#tutulady
#forwardisapace