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. It is a word that means a great deal to me. There are lots things in my home with that word. I have many pieces of peace sign jewelry. I have shoes with peace signs on them. I sign my emails and blog posts with “Peace.”
I always thought I loved the word Peace because I am a hippy at heart. I love all things 60’s and 70’s, especially the music and fashion. I truly think Stevie Nicks is my spirit animal. While all that is true, it is not really why I love that word and all that it embodies. I realize now that peace has been my end goal….it is what I have been looking for in my life.
During my marriage, my life was chaos. I mean, having multiple kids all going different directions and a wasband that was rarely home, chaos was a given. Or so I thought. The times the family was all together, things were no better…..they were often worse. I failed to realize at the time that I was constantly walking on eggshells, as were my kids.
Do not get me wrong, there were many fun, good times but, what I realized after my divorce, was the true cost of those fun and good times. Family activities were enjoyable but there was always a great deal of drama involved. Family dinners had a great deal of laughs, until things went too far with someone always leaving the table crying. Homework and school activities were all my responsibility (I mean I was a teacher, right?). I made excuses so regularly, it became the norm. I was always going places on my own with the kids…so much so that people joked about my invisible partner.
I felt like a ballerina because I spent so much time tip toeing around all the moods. I was constantly on alert, and constantly trying to shield my kids from the next mood swing. It was exhausting. Living in a state of hyper vigilance takes a toll on the mind and body and I was falling apart. All the while I leaned on that word….Peace.
I just wanted peace. So, I started running. I ran for miles and miles looking for peace. Running was my time to quiet the voices in my head and physically exhaust my body to the same level as my brain. Recently, I was lamenting about not training for the marathon this year and a friend pointed out that I no longer needed to train for or run the marathon. I had used marathon training as an escape, trying to find a place of peace in my life. I had finally crossed the finish line with my divorce and the race was over.
I have now retired the toe shoes and tossed the eggshells. I walk, and run, with new purpose. I stand on my own two feet that are firmly planted on the ground. I breathe deep, inhaling the present and exhaling the past. I look forward and move forward from a place of peace. My life, my head and my heart are finally at peace.