Friday, May 30, 2014


As you already know, I'm a very active member of my gym.  Not to mention a teacher there.

Anyway, every year the run club has a special event in May called Run100. You may remember me talking about it last year.  The Run100 coincides each year with the 5K/10K race the gym puts on mid May, which you just read about or read about last year.

This year, I signed up for it again... but I just wasn't feeling it.  After having had a miscarriage just before the contest started, I was having a hard time being motivated to start running again.

So, yes, I was dragging ass up through Memorial Weekend, and then realized I was in crisis mode and needed to pound out the miles. 

That's when I posted this... which surprisingly, garnered quite a bit of feedback:

Unbeknownst to me, the conversation was quickly about to turn...

Wait, so now I'm not only trying to Run100, but I'm trying to beat a fellow gym buddy to the punch?  But, the conversation still goes on...

And so, the feud was born:

Of course, a discussion ensued... but, wait!  Do I sense some fear in my competitor?

Fearful or not, what followed is easily the funniest quote of the whole discussion:

Funny quotes aside, my challenger was definitely on his game.  The next day, he wasted no time getting started.

Not to be outdone, I ran a few miles too... but not many. I had only whittled my way down to about 20.

In the meantime, I had an idea brewing:

I don't know what happened, though.  The next day, my challenger went soft.

Wasting previous time... picking mushrooms?!?!?!  What are you Brian, some kind of pansy?

I, on the other hand, had no time to waste:

And my competitive nature started to show through...

Just when I thought I was in the clear that evening, and pulling way ahead:

Realizing his vital error, my challenger struck back... bringing down his mileage in my own backyard!

I couldn't stand it.  An attack that close to home?  I had to retaliate.

And now ... here we are... Friday.  Just over 24 hours left to complete our mileage.  What is to come...?  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bloggin' & Lovin' It

A few weeks back, this blog reached an interesting milestone - it turned 1 year old.

For those of you who didn't read my posts way back when, essentially this is the blog that started it all.  Although, this race recap and this story of my life are what I consider my first two "real" posts.

Anyway, after a year of blogging, I've started to wonder.  What is it that keeps readers coming back?  What topics do they find most interesting?  And, what posts were the worst?

So, here's where you come in.  Tell me what you do & don't like to read about.  Come on!  There's lots of space below to comment.  Why?  Because: (1) I am to please and (2) I want to keep you engaged in my story telling.

By the way, don't get too worried - I'll still keep up with my random rambling and ranting.  Not too much will change, really!!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Chaska 5K/10K/Kids Run 2014 (Nurse Natalie)


Chaska 5K/10K/Kids Run 
Average Pace 0:00/mile

I'm sure you're all seeing that pace report above and going... WTF?!  Well, don't get too worried.  Even though I'm doing a race recap, this is for a race that I volunteered at - not ran.  And honestly, I never actually planned to run this race.  I knew I'd be of better assistance on the course rather than running the course.

And, so, that's the preface. 

Let's get started.

At 5:30am on race day, my alarm went off.  Again.  And I was crabby.  Again.  Yes, I really need to work on being a better morning person.  Regardless, for likely the first time ever, I actually HOPPED IN THE SHOWER and proceeded to pretty myself for race day. 

I honestly don't think I've ever actually showered, dried my hair and got fully dressed in regular clothes for a race.  I have to say, it felt a little strange.

Not that you could tell I made an effort on my appearance, though, because as soon as I set foot outside my beautiful hair was ruined in the first gust of wind.  Fine, be like that Mother Nature.

Anyhow, off I went to volunteer at the Chaska 5K/10K race - at which I had figured I would help by working check in, possibly running a water stop or maybe even taking back timing chips at the end of the race. 

But, NOPE! 

I checked in at the volunteer table and... was given this:

OMG.  I was assigned to be an on course "medic".  In a fabulous race T, of course.  (Yep, that's the shirt all runners and volunteers got.  It's pretty cute.  Or, at least I liked it.  If you didn't, tough noogies).

Apparently, because I am CPR certified, I was given the honor of being on mile 2 of the 10K course... right at the top of the worst hill in the entire 5K/10K course.  Lucky me.

All geared up, I drove my car over to my watch point and silently prayed that this would not be the day I finally put my CPR training to use.  That, and I texted my sister the good news about being a first aid resource. 

She responds in kind by asking if I dressed for the event.  "Are you wearing a little nurse's hat??!!  LOL!"

Dang!  Had I only known a few days in advance.

(My husband later pointed out that the race coordinator very likely didn't tell me I'd be offering first aid just for that purpose, being that she knows my reputation for costuming.  She's on to me now...)

The race appears to have started more or less on time, because about 15 or so minutes past 8, or what equated to a few rounds of texting with my sister, the first few runners came though.  And they made it look like it was going to be easy to take home the first place finisher loot. 

Which was amazing, by the way.  Look at those awesome prizes!

Chaska 10K/5K Overall Winner Prize Baskets:
Chaska 10K/5K Medal
Home crafted RUN pillow
$50 gift card TC Running
CCC water bottle and socks

With nothing better to do as the first few folks came through, I started counting runners.  Three, four, five... eight, nine... NINE men were in the lead before the first girl came through.  GAH!  Guys suck.  Why can they run so fast?!

And, apparently the hill I was at the top of sucked, too.  I received many dirty looks, glares and curses while I stood and watched.  Comments ranged from the simple "WOW!"  to the complex "So, I'm guessing this is one of the 'challenging' hills that was mentioned in the course description?"  I think one person was even crying and wiping their eyes with a tissue because it was so hard... or that could have been allergies, I dunno.

Every so often, someone I knew from the run group would wander by, and I would cheer for them.  This is YOUR RACE, Josh!  Go on with your bad self, Dawn!  WHOOO - go Kelly!

And then, as quickly as they started flowing by, they stopped.  The last runner went by, and that was it!  Not even 8:40 and my job was done... well, the first one at least.  I picked up the cones and directional sign, drove back to the start line, and prepared for round two - which was to be at a safety check point for the kids race (we had folks stationed every so many yards on course to make sure kids didn't stray off the path and get lost).

Lucky for me, my second station was actually along the final stretch of the 5K/10K as well, so I got the best of both worlds.  I saw the runners start the race, and I saw them on the way to the finish.  Since I didn't have much in the way of new cheer ideas, I recycled.  This is YOUR RACE, Josh!  Go on with your bad self, Dawn!  WHOOO - go Kelly!

The last few runners trickled by, and then... the madness began.

Lead by a golf cart, a swarm of what appeared to be easily 150 kids started sprinting full speed towards me.

Have I ever told you how funny kid runs are?  They just are so... funny.  I mean, where else will you see a heard of people with a stride less than 2' long running willy-nilly around town, with the occasional straggler who decides to cry, skip, sing or even literally stop and smell the roses?  I'm not kidding, one of the kids on course actually stopped somewhere around the half way point to pick flowers.  But don't worry, she made up lost time by sprinting all the way back... with flowers in tow.

As the kids ran by, I cheered, clapped, and smiled.  You would have thought I was tossing out $100 bills based on some of the responses I got from the kids.  They were SO proud to be running, and that I was cheering for THEM.  Priceless.

Eventually, again, the last few came through.  After they got about 1/10 of a mile down the way from me, I decided to get a little running in myself.  I slowly ran back to the finish area, maybe a whopping 0.25 miles down the road.  All the while, I snickered at a dad "helping" along a struggling young girl who definitely did NOT want to be there.  Kids.

By this time, the finish area was chaos as kids tried to find their post race treats first, and parents second.  To remain helpful, I snuck inside and started sorting out race chips and putting them back in order. 

Eventually, things wound down, and I packed out.  It was a successful race day indeed!

But the story doesn't end there.

Remember how I cheered some folks on twice? 

Shortly after finishing, a friend at the gym (and also one of the zumba instructors) posted this status:

I was thrilled.  But even more so when this happened:

Followed up by this:

And then, I almost peed myself when this happened:

I have the best gym buddies a girl can ask for.

And that's the story of how NO RACE BIB joined my collection, but I had a great time anyway.  Here's to another race soon... maybe in another month or so!

Monday, May 19, 2014

What's Hot?

A little over a week ago I read an article about how men and women view human physical beauty in terms of BMI.  Or, simply put - at what body weight do you look uber hot?

When I read the article, I didn't know if I wanted to blog about it.  And of course, now that I've decided I DO want to blog about it, I can't find the dumb article.  Boo.

However, I did find a more scientific article referencing the same study - hooray!  Good news, because I wanted to recap the basics of the study for you to chew on.  Bad news, because the study is very dense ... so, read at your own risk.

Anyway, don't mind me while I cut straight to the chase ...

What body weights women thought were most attractive, averaged:

What body weights men thought was most attractive, averaged:

Before I go into the science, notice anything?  Aside from the fact that the bodies are very similar on both sides of the study...

It's very subtle...

It has to do with breasts...

Ok, give up?  I have to point it out because this kills me - the women actually said bigger breasts are more attractive!  LOL!  Check it out in a side by side comparison (women's choices are A&B):

Yep, women are more into boobs then men are.  Hmm...

Anyway, the bare bones facts behind the study are as follows. 

        - Both men and women felt that men were most attractive at an average BMI of: 25+/-
        - Both men and women felt that women were most attractive at an average BMI of: 18+/-

Going back to the basics of the BMI scale, which you may already know: a "healthy" weight range falls between 18 - 25.  Anything under 18 is deemed underweight.  Anything over 25 is deemed overweight, with the obese factor kicking in at 30+. 

So, what does this mean in terms of the study?

Referencing the two bullet points above:

       - Women are most attractive at a BMI of 18, or just slightly above the "underweight" cut off
       - Men are most attractive at a BMI of 25, or just at/slightly above the "overweight" cut off

I definitely have some thoughts on this... but I'm curious.  What do YOU have to say about it?  Comment below.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Read It & Weep! 2

Back in January, as you might remember, I was published in the local paper.

Apparently I did good enough to be asked back, and they published me again!  Admittedly, I'm a little late in posting this since I was published in late April but... I figure better late than never.



Run into a Healthy You

Have you ever looked in the mirror and said – there’s no way I could be a runner? I know this girl did every day:


 Can you believe this is the same girl just three years later?

Here’s a fun fact – “that girl” is me! And it could be you, too!

So, how did I do it? Well, I suppose like most life changes, mine started with a huge push.

In 2009, I weighed in at 240 lbs and was soon to turn 30 years old. Facing some major life milestones, reality started to sink in: my father developed type two diabetes in his late 30's after years of being overweight himself, and I was following in his footsteps. Although I had gone to the gym on occasion, and tried to “eat healthy”, I had never really committed myself to a healthy lifestyle, and often found myself making excuses for why I did/ate what I did. With my 30th birthday around the corner, I decided to change that, and made a goal to run my first ever 5K.

Using a basic “Couch to 5K” program (which you can easily find by searching the internet), I began my training. After that, two or three times a week you could find me circling the free track at the Chaska Community Center. Each run, I made small goals for myself. My initial goal of run 1 lap without stopping eventually turned into run 2 laps without stopping, and then three. In a matter of a few weeks, I was running a mile straight, and it felt great!

To make things more fun, I utilized the free tracking program the Community Center offered as well. After each visit to the track, I would fill out a slip noting my mileage for the day, and each week or so I’d visit the tally board to see how I was doing. (If you are interested in using this free service: the tally board is located by the water fountain on the track, and yellow log slips are on the glass cabinet near the front desk of the community center).

Eventually, after training for some time, I finally got up the courage to run my first 5K. And I finished! So what if it was a finish time of over 36 minutes when others could do it in 25 or less. I did it. I couldn't believe it.

Feeling happy that I could do it, I just kept running. From spring 2010 to the following fall, I ran a total of 5 races, all at a 5K distance. Eventually, I started working on healthier eating along with my running. When one full year had past, I decided to re-run the course of my first ever 5K – 15 pounds lighter, and minutes faster as well.

By the following spring, now almost two years into running, I was down to 185. I had trimmed my 5K pace from 36 minutes to about 30-31 minutes, and I was starting to have serious fun with it.

And that takes me to today. From 2010 through 2014, I have run close to 40 races. With small steps, little by little, I became a faster 5K runner. Then a duathlon competitor. Then a faster half marathon runner. And finally, I worked up my courage to try a marathon. And I did it all by starting at 240 pounds and committing to a “Couch to 5K” program.

So, now that you’ve read my story, I have one question for you. The Run Chaska 5K is just around the corner. Why haven’t you started your “Couch to 5K” program yet?

Natalie Cobb, Group Fitness Instructor, invites you to cross train for your 5K with her! Total Body Conditioning at the Chaska Community Center takes place every Tuesday evening at 5:30pm. Drop in class is $5.25 / $4.25 (members).

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


For those of you who haven't heard, this weekend is the Chaska 5K/10K/Kids Fun Run.

Being that this race is hosted through my gym of choice, of course I'll be there.  I don't know how I'll be participating yet, but I'll probably be volunteering at check in or helping somewhere on course.

Won't you come too!?

Registration online closes today.  Go here to sign up.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Don't Feel Guilty

About a year ago, I wrote this post about taking the occasional food splurge ... and ENJOYING IT.

Interestingly enough, this past week, I ran into this article.  Coincidence?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Lake Minnetonka Half 2014 (Moving On)



Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon Relay (5.6/7.5 miles)

Team Time 2:51:45

Average Pace 13:07/mile

Last year I ran the Lake Minnetonka Half.  It was a painful, hilly hell.  For some reason I forgot all about that and registered again for 2014.  It was painful again, but for another reason entirely.

To preface this race report, I should say that I originally registered to run this race with my sister.  As I mentioned in a few of my recent race recaps, she has been training like crazy on longer distances and was doing REALLY great.  Was... until about a week before this relay.  After dealing with some pain in her right leg, she went in to the doctor for a check-up, and found out it was a stress fracture. 

Bad news bears.

Being that I'm in the most awesome run club ever (go CCC Run), I easily found a new partner.  It seemed like all was well.

And then, the Monday before this race, I suffered my miscarriage.

When I was in the doctors office receiving my terrible news, one of the things I asked after I had taken about 30 minutes to discuss other items of concern with my doctor was: "Can I continue to work out?"  I didn't say it to my doctor, but I needed something to look forward to given my greif.  The doctor immediately told me yes, and said that in fact if I was like many who worked out on a regular basis, it might help me burn off my emotions.

Even though the doctor told me it was ok, I decided to take the entire week off from the gym.  Which was good and bad.  It gave me a break, but it meant this run was my first official workout after my loss.

As such, the night before the race was an extremely restless night of sleep for me.  I was terribly nervous to know how the run would go and just couldn't put my mind at ease.  Regardless of my nerves, I refused to make my life stop because I had suffered a loss.  I decided I would take it slow, listen to my body, and do what it took to get to my "finish line" (the hand off point for the relay). 

The next morning, I got up, got dressed, and said to myself "you will be fine".


As you know by now, I pick all my outfits very purposefully for each race.  Sometimes my "look" is more subtle - perhaps just a sparkly spandex dress or a wild pair of pants.  Other times I go all out and shoot for the stars - unicorns, rainbows and wonder woman have been part of my repertoire as well.

For this race, though, I was suffering a road block.  I couldn't decide just how I wanted to dress... until I went to packet pickup and saw the shirt.

Immediately, I knew my answer.  I was going to break every cool runner's protocol out there and wear that shirt on race day - with the perfect pair of matching socks, of course.

Screw my tradition of wearing every shirt post race.  Today, I was going to live in the NOW.

Aside from my shirt deviation, I followed my standard pre-race ritual to a T: a caffeinated cup of coffee, a banana, and a quick check in the mirror.  I was ready to go.

Off I went to find my relay partner and another run club friend (neither of which knew what had happened to me earlier in the week), where the three of us were whisked off to the start line thanks to Husbands-R-Us Shuttle service.  Before I got out, my husband gave me a look that said "call me if you need me".  I gave him a look back that said "I'll be ok".  Well, that and a quick kiss as a tip for great taxi service.  Then, I jumped out of the car to follow my friends to the start.

There, we took our official "before" picture. 

Afterwards, my partner got on the shuttle and was whisked off to the relay point, and I split off from my friend as we both picked our start points for the race.

Oh!  Side note.  The girls who helped us take the above picture asked if we had run the race before, and how hilly it was.  My relay partner had already left, but my friend and I kind of looked at each other and took silent pity on the girls.  "Oh, it's not too bad" my friend said.  I said "It's not like you're going to climb any mountains, and biggest hill is within the first mile if I remember right."  No point in scaring them now, it was almost gun time. 

Anyway - as I wandered into a coral, I suddenly became tremendously nervous, having no idea how this race would go for me.  I was focused on the physical component, and simply hoped I would make it through.  I was so nervous I actually started to get heartburn.

To distract myself while I was waiting for my gun time, I started to do my favorite pass-time activity - people watching.  That's when I saw this guy:

Ah, my kindred spirit.  We were even wearing the same color pallet.  It was a sign.

Despite my worry about my physical capability, I chose to hop in with the crowd somewhere near the 2:00 pace group.  I know this is much faster than any half I've done, but I figured it would either motivate me to keep my 5K pace over the course of a 5.6 mile run, or if nothing else it would make me feel better about running slow (being that I would have a few additional minutes of time on the clock from the earlier start).

This idea backfired as soon as the gun went off.  I immediately realized I was in the WRONG place.

I'm a competitive person by nature.  I have a genuine desire to always do better, be better.  Surrounding myself with people who were running a 9 or so minute pace with ease while I was sucking air was a terrible mistake.

The crowd swallowed me and I struggled to keep up.  I saw the 1:50 pacer, who was just ahead of me, disappear into the distance.  The 2:00 pacer blew past me before I even hit mile 1.  I told myself to slow down, not worry about pace, and to just get my breathing into a comfortable zone.  Even though I knew it before I started the day, I had to remind myself - this is NOT the time to try for some sort of PR.

The crowd started to thin out more and more.  Eventually, by mile 2, it was just me and the few who started with me that couldn't hang with the 2:00 crowd.

Feeling like I was failing at keeping pace, I became tremendously depressed.  Not only could I not keep up, I was being hit over the head with the fact that only two months ago I was marathon ready and this run should have been a breeze.  Instead, I was still taking gaspy breaths and didn't know if I could make it to mile 3, let alone 5.6.

To make matters worse, it was my first time being really alone since my doctor appointment on Monday.  Because running has always been a time for me where I let my mind wander and process thoughts, it was like my body said "hey, time to start thinking".  Every bit of my brain was consumed with my emotions of the week, and I felt like someone had their hands around my lungs and were squeezing.  I hit a hill somewhere around mile 2.5 and said F THIS.  I started to walk.

Right around that time, my kindred spirit from before the race started to prance by.  He was just having so much fun.  I watched him go, and realized that the back of his shirt said something too...

It said "Come on, you can do it!!"

That's when I thought to myself: this is hard, but you are strong - come on, let's go.  So, back to a slow jog it was.

Not long after, I faced another "hill".  It wasn't that big, but enough to piss me off.  I saw the yellow sweatshirt glowing a few yards ahead of me, and I started a mantra.

"You run up the hill so you can run down it."

And so I went.  I ran up hill after hill so I could enjoy coasting back down the other side.  And when the hills were too hard, I told myself it was OK and gave myself permission to walk.

It was funny during the next few miles... something interesting happened every time I started to walk.  Even though that would be at the point where I would feel my worst, someone always seemed to magically sneak up on me that would help me make it through.

One time, a couple of women gave up on running just behind me.  I heard them both bemoaning the exact same thoughts that were in my head.  "Ugh, this is terrible" said the one.  "Don't beat yourself up about it" said the other, continuing with "you have to remember that the people passing us have been training for this for months, where as I barely ran 12 miles last month TOTAL."  They both snickered.  I couldn't help but think to myself that I was suffering just about the same as them and then some, and despite it all I was still ahead of them somewhere around the 3 or 4 mile mark.  I snickered, too, and said to them "Tell me about it!  I'm just happy I signed up for the relay option, so I'm done at the 5.6 mile mark."  They told me how they were jealous, we all laughed, and then I said "Yep!  Good luck to ya', suckers!"  Eventually they continued on ahead of me, but I felt a little better after that.

Another time, when I started to worry I was the last person on course, I got passed by the most fabulous pair of runners. 

How could you not laugh at someone running in that?!

Even though my brain was still processing my grief as I ran, after all this, I couldn't help but feel some sort of joy during the race.  But still, I was struggling to just watch the half miles tick by...

4 miles...

4.5 miles...

It felt like this would never be over.

And suddenly, I was there.  I was at the relay point.  I don't know what happened, but that last mile disappeared under my shoes.  I snapped off my bib belt, passed it to my partner, and off she went.  She was gone, and I had made it!!

But then, just when I thought I had made it through, I started to cry. 

I went up to the finishers stand, grabbed my medal, got some snacks and water, and I just cried.  And I cried the entire way back to the finish area - on the shuttle, walking down to the event area, and watching spectators.

It wasn't a full on ugly cry.  It was just quiet tears.  I felt somewhat like I was letting go.

The whole time, I was immensely grateful for my sunglasses.  Since I was alone and kind of hidden in the crowd, I hoped no one realized what was happening.

As I processed my grief, I celebrated so many moments of joy too.  Runner after runner were flooding through to the finish, and I was so happy for them.  I couldn't even understand all the emotion going through my head.

During all of this, I remember seeing my favorite runner from last year roll into the finish, with everyone screaming "Hi Ralph".

I also saw another friend from the gym, who is an AMAZING runner, make it through exactly on time for his 1:35 pace goal.

The mix of emotions made me realize there is so much to be grateful in life, even in times of your greatest sorrows.  Yes, my sister was out due to stress fracture.  Yes, I was suffering loss.  But also I had a tremendous network of friends around me that day to help fill in the holes I was feeling.  Not to mention a husband who met me in the finishing area and held my hand, not asking any questions while the tears I was trying to hide snuck out from beneath my glasses.

Eventually the children's "marathon" started, and celebrated their joy while watching them run their race.  Somewhere in there, both of my friends made it through, and I took joy in cheering for them too.  Thankfully I had collected myself by then, since I wanted the excitement of the race to be the focus of the day and not me.

Once we all met up, we spent a few more minutes circling the finish line, and we all went to meet up with our '"taxi".  Happy with our accomplishments of the day, my friends and I chatted all the way back home.  Once there, we realized we had forgotten the most important part of the day, and had to take one last "after" shot to celebrate our new beautiful new trophies:

By the way, I just love the medals from this race series.  They aren't particularly eye catching, but they are hefty ... definitely befitting an "uff-dah" or two.

And true to form, minutes later I totally I forgot about the medal around my neck and promptly plopped it down into a messy bowl of post-race nachos at Q-doba.

To which, I could only respond by licking off my medal, laughing at myself for such a typical dummy move, and then saying...

And that's the story of how race bib # 41 joined my collection.  To be honest, I don't know when I'll run a race again.  But, I think I'll know in my heart when I'm ready.  For now, I'm just going to focus on working it all out ... and being awesome.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dealing With Loss

Usually, I write this blog about health and fitness.  Today this post has nothing to do with those topics.  If you're here for the usual, this isn't your day. 


For those of you who really know me (and I mean really know me well), you know I have a tendency to overthink things, over plan things, and over anticipate things.

Most times this personality trait ends up good: I have lots of fun stuff in the schedule, I look forward to something I've spent a lot of time planning, I keep myself active and healthy.  On a very rare occasion, though, this personality trait ends up to be a problem because I freak out and dwell on something that I know is coming and isn't going to be fun. 

I can't help it.  It's just a part of who I am. 

I've had people in the past try to get me to repress this nature and force me to change because this behavior was "negative".  When that was happening, I can honestly say, I was at the most unhappy point of my life.  Finally, though, a few years ago I just decided that my nature is who I am.  I told myself that's ok and I didn't need to try to change it anymore.  And the rest... well, it's history.  (Funny thing, just last week I saw a quote from the book Elite Minds that read "I believe we are truly at our best when we accept what is and work with it versus trying to change or stop it."  That sums up my point exactly.)

Regardless, being an over thinker has haunted me since I was a child.  For example, I distinctly remember when I was very young, maybe 7 or 8, having a conversation with the neighbor kids (with their dad sitting near by) about the universe and life.  I described to them how I couldn't think too much about how big the universe was, how it went on and on with no end, because it started to make my head hurt.  And then I threw something in there about life and death and how it made me feel the same way.  I remember the kids just looked at me like "meh", and we progressed on with other childish conversations and kept playing.  I also remember the dad looking at me like I had ten screws loose, but never saying a thing.

Looking back on it, I have to say, it's a pretty weird thing for a kid to say.  Particularly the life and death part.

Unfortunately, I never really "improved" my mental outlook on life and death as I got older.  Although I was raised Christian and taught the whole heaven and hell thing, I always wondered how we could know if that was the real truth.  But I accepted it as so, since that's what I was supposed to believe.

That doesn't mean, though, that I didn't start to fear death.

As I started to grow into my own person in college, I realized that there were too many conflicting points in Christianity for me.  Well, all organized religion, really.  Without going into great detail, I decided that the idea behind any religion mostly is that it's there to teach you how to be a good person.  Through to current day, instead of trying to follow a particular religion to a T, I instead try to practice being the best person I can - honest, generous, kind, helping those in need, etc.  That is how I practice my "faith".  I do good to others, be the best person I can, and hope that whatever I do in this life is right for whatever might greet me in the afterlife.  I'm not perfect, but I try.

That doesn't mean, though, that I didn't still fear death.

In fact, my over thinker tendency had really kicked into overdrive on the whole death topic in the last couple of years.  Not in a creepy, "I have mental health issues kind of way".  But in a "I really don't want to ever die" kind of way.  I finally had a big conversation about it last summer with my husband after I found out my uncle had passed away and I had a few too many drinks.  The conversation was slurry and teary, but it seemed to soften my fear.  A little.

Then something amazing happened.  Mid March of this year I found out I was pregnant with my first child.  And somewhere in there, I realized that this was what life was about.  Not fearing death, but creating life.  I don't know what happened, but something in me changed and my fear became acceptance.

Along with my acceptance, needless to say, my husband and I were looking forward to our new family.  But then, it all fell apart.  After having some small concerns at home, I went in for an ultrasound last Monday and got the worst possible news - although I was somewhere post 8 weeks pregnant, the baby was measuring just over 6 weeks ... and the heart had stopped beating.  It was nothing that could have been prevented, but unfortunately, it had happened.

I was crushed.  Not even two weeks prior I had seen the baby wiggling and heart beating.  I didn't know how it could be true.

Although I knew it was over, somewhere in my heart I just thought... maybe.  Until I got home.  Late that night, nature took its course.  I'll spare you the medical perspective of child loss, but to be blunt - miscarriage is awful.  I can only be thankful that mine was quick, and physically I was able to do anything I wanted the next morning. 


Realistically, what I wanted to do wasn't all that much. 

I spent the next day in bed, again contemplating life and death.  My own fear of death hadn't returned, but I began to wonder what death would mean for my child.  Say what you want about pregnancy: fetus, embryo, child, baby... I knowingly wanted to create a child, and I had lost that child.

Laying in bed, I started researching things online, and concluded two things. 

(1) There doesn't seem to be a solid resource out there for someone wondering what will happen to their child after a miscarriage ... or the child's soul, more accurately.  I don't know that even a religious resource can give you the answer you seek since so few mention miscarriage (although there is plenty about abortion, let me tell you).

(2) There seems to be a tendency for women to hide miscarriages, almost in shame.  Despite the fact that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, I couldn't think of a single person I knew who had openly spoken about having a miscarriage.  And I so badly wanted a resource that was close to home, to know someone who could tell me what might happen next.

I continued online searching for a good portion of the morning.  I read anonymous online forums about women who had miscarried, read their fears (which were so much like mine), and started over thinking even more.  Finally, I decided that wasn't helping me and stopped reading the panicked posts riddled with questions. 

Instead, I started reading through religious sites about unborn children and lost souls.  I couldn't believe some of the wading I had to do through religious tripe.  People had actually spent time writing articles to tell me a lost child isn't written in their religious text as having rights to any kind of heaven.  I closed out of more sites than I care to even mention.  But finally, I found something.  Oddly, of all things, I was able to find a short Jewish writing that made me find peace.

"From a spiritual point of view, I learned the most beautiful teaching from my rabbi, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh. He told me that every soul that comes into this world comes here with a very specific mission. When that mission is completed, the soul can leave. The holiest of souls need so little time here in this world that some never even make it outside the womb, others only need their heart to beat once, others not even that."

Thinking of how I suddenly found peace with the idea of death at the beginning of my pregnancy, I felt like this was strangely... fitting.  While the over thinker in me knows I will never be able to prove if the above is true, or if my child even had a soul at all, the resonation with my experience is enough for me. 

And so, I have spent the last week turning the above quote over and over in my head while thinking about how I wanted handle this miscarriage.  I also thought about how I so longed to know someone close to home, anyone, who had experienced a miscarriage too.

I came to the conclusion that I wanted to write this post.  Instead of continuing a pattern of non-discussion or shame, I decided that I wanted people to know.  Because chances are, someone I know is going to have a miscarriage in the future.  And dammit, if they do, I want them to know at least one person who's been there.

Besides, if my baby put up with me running them around town while I was dressed in a spandex rainbow costume, I think they'll be ok with me sharing their life story as well.  And quite honestly, after I share their story, I think my child would want me to be happy and move on with my life.

Which is why I want to close with saying this.  Now that you know, don't come to me with "I'm sorry" or "How are you feeling".  Quite honestly, I'm still a little raw and I don't want to talk about it. 

And also, I'm ready to move on, and *picture my sassy face I as I say this* ...

I don't want your pity party

If you want to show your support, or help me celebrate what short life there was - share this article with your friends.  Or better yet, use it as a tool to tell your friends that you're open to talk, even if you haven't had a miscarriage yourself.  You never know who else around you might be hiding a miscarriage as well.

And now, life goes on.  And I'm going on with it.  And so will this blog.

So let's move on with life... unless you're facing the same fears I did this past week.  If that's the case, by all means, lets talk.