And so it begins again…

When I stopped running, I stopped blogging as much. I know, that sounds kind of ironic because you’d think with more time on my hands, some activity would increase. But it’s been a touchy subject in the cobwebs of my head. I’ve tried to distance myself from it because I thought what I used to know was over, and I had to move on. I know, that sounds dramatic but I have to give myself a hard truth to face sometimes, or I’ll convince myself otherwise. So back in April when I was hurting really bad, I took time off. I was trying to do it the right way, underwater running, other strength training, rest days, etc. I did it for the 8weeks, maybe even a little longer. And I eased back in and I was so slow, and it was so discouraging, but I was trying to just be grateful for the whole act of running itself. Then I ran a 5k on the Fourth of July. It was raining, and by that I mean it was more like hurricane conditions. They decided to do it untimed. I was like oh hey, I don’t care I won’t be competitive, but it’s impossible – it’s some innate quality that ignites when they scream “go!”

So, whatever, I thought I was back at it, slow as a turtle – but still moving. And then I started getting worse pains than before and I couldn’t really figure it out. It didn’t matter about stretching, or swimming, or rest days or what. I couldn’t get more than two tenths of a mile without having to turn around and walk (and wanting to cry.) So, lately I’ve just been trying to deal with that. Accept it for whatever it is, and think that maybe two-ish years of running started to take a toll on my body that was just now starting to appear? And I tried not to feel bitter towards the people trotting around the neighborhood, when Running Times showed up in my mailbox, when raceday photos appeared on my Instagram. And then something in me, one morning this week made me decide to just try again, lace up some different shoes and see how it went. Somehow I managed two miles, and the air was cool and breezy and it was so beautiful and perfect I wanted to scream with joy, after being so frustrated.

That’s where I am now. Just taking it one day at a time. And being infinitely grateful for every single run. Every step I take that doesn’t hurt. And I’m not exaggerating. I thought I’d be fine without it. But there’s something about that sport that has a strong hold on me. I can’t quit. I can’t let it go. I ordered new shoes, and I’m hoping that that might have been a factor, that my others needed to be retired. Before I had half marathons (like the Rock n Roll in Savannah) in my starry eyes, but now I’m just thankful for the recreational activity. Maybe one day I’ll go back to races.

I was thinking about it this morning. Tallahassee was graced with this incredible weather this weekend. Fall surely has arrived. The humidity has been low, the sun shining, a breeze in the air – just absolutely gorgeous. I forgot the mindset I get in with running, nothing else clears my head in quite the same way. (Like when I’m swimming? I’m concentrating on breathing and if I’m keeping a good form too much to be thinking about anything else.) Especially when it’s just me, an early morning, an empty neighborhood, clear skies, cool breeze, and some thoughts or dreams. I forget about the emotions, I access when I’m running. It’s like an inner layer pealed away that I leave covered up the rest of the time. Facing all my insides, ugly or not.  Anyway, maybe another day I’ll have to deal with it, but at least for right now I don’t have to because I don’t want to. I don’t know how yet to start over with something else. It’s an addiction, sure, but it’s the only good one I have. I guess I never realized how much it all became engrained in me. I need running for so many reasons. And sure, those PRs I reached, or finish lines I crossed brought a certain sense of accomplishment I’ve never experienced from anything else, but right now it’s not about that anymore. You know that part in “Wear Sunscreen” that goes “Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself.” 
Well it’s true. It’s just an inner battle right now, (and for the record? Right now, I’m winning.)

Advertisements

A Simple Saturday Morning

So some days the weight of frustration is like an elephant sitting on my chest, and it’s been holding me down for so many hours that even when I finally move out from under the crushing impact, it’s still hard to catch my breath. It takes a little longer to let the bird out of the cage, to feel my wings spread and the breeze wash over me again. But when it does, I feel a wave of gratitude. It’s easy to neglect the simplicity of carefree breaths sometimes, when your brain doesn’t feel like it short circuited and you’re left with all the frayed wires to make sense of the mess. On this simple Saturday, I’m thankful for exactly that.

Really what’s better than a group of people sitting around a table in the evening, with good food, good drinks, and plenty of laughter? And my days have been full of that lately. Whether it’s in my kitchen, or my parents’ kitchen, or a restaurant. There are few things I love more than laughter, (and music.)

This morning I went for a little run. It’s overcast, the sky is full of gray clouds, but the air isn’t too heavy yet. (For a Saturday morning post sun-rise in July in North Florida.) It’s nice to have those moments again, where my own time is carved out from the world, this little piece of solitude. It used to be about time, and distance but not lately. Lately it’s just about enjoying the whole activity, getting to do this thing that’s my instant ticket to clarity – no matter how short lived.

Maybe today will see some beach time. Maybe it’ll see some crafting. Who knows? But I hope your Saturdays are sweet, and simple and your hearts are full of carefree easiness of summer.

Friday Favorites Makes a Comeback!

Hey guys! I know, I’ve been slacking on the Friday Favorites posts, but here I am, and they’re back.

(Found on Pinterest)

It’s been almost a month since Bonnaroo and I am still having withdrawals. I just can’t readjust to regular life, whatever that means? I just wanna follow where ever the road takes me. Where the sunshine lights the way, and when it rains? You just dance in it.

In the meantime, I got real hooked on reading the Bonnaroo Missed Connections posts. (And look! Some of them actually worked!)

This kid, (my awesome brother) turned 22 yesterday! Celebrated with a delicious dinner at Jasmine’s, fun times. And now it’s back to the beach this weekend. Fingers crossed for some sunshine at some point!

Last weekend I made my return to the world of 5Ks. So what if it was in a tropical depression, untimed, and not my prettiest run? It was enough to kick back in that competitive spirit I’d kind of lost touch with. This has been a good running week for me, I’ll get my groove back eventually. Yesterday morning, cotton candy skies greeted me good morning on my pre-work run and I can’t really ask for more.

Got tickets to see Kinky Boots in NYC next week. Excited for a trip to the city, time with old friends, and some good ole explorin’!

Oh, did I tell y’all I got a guitar?! This is going to be a long journey, but the dream’s still alive. (My sound still hurts my own ears right now, but I’ll get there – eventually!)

It’s no new thing that one day I will make my way to Glastonbury, but you have to see how awesome this video is. Could that stage hold any more talent?! Gah.

Oh, and if you hadn’t noticed I’ve given Meg Says & this blog Mugs Life face lifts, and I’m pretty excited! They’re long overdue.

Look how awesome my house-mate is. Like, beyond awesome. She knows me so well. And not just because these are cool presents, but because they’re so sweet! AND she made that stationery herself! On her friends letterpress in California! Seriously, so cool. Living with her is probably my favorite thing about Tallahassee.

One more thing? Don’t forget about the kindness of strangers. It’s always there. You’re always .2 seconds a way from making a new friend, some new connection. Heck. Dustin at Pep Boys took $10 off my oil change yesterday just because we engaged in conversation. Made my day, and helped me out. Plus it was just a reminder of how much the universe balances out.

Why Not?

I stared down at the phone in my hand, and I couldn’t help but smile as I scanned across the names that appeared in all of my recent messages. The majority of these people came into my life within the past few months, and the ones who didn’t – they’ve been in it for the long haul. I smiled because the phone in my hand, wasn’t the same phone that was in my hand the last time I got on an airplane a month before. I smiled because if you think about it, flying is weird. We trust one human being to direct this gigantic piece of machinery soaring through the SKY. Moving a katrillion miles high in the air, like birds, except we’re not birds. We carry tons of junk with us everywhere we go. Our hair is loaded with hairspray and gel and the jewelry some of us have on probably weighs more than your common bird. It’s a strange thing, isn’t it? We walk across this carpeted tacky hallway, and we step on, and we secure those flimsy seat belts, and we take a peak out of the corner of our eyes at this stranger sitting next to us. What a strangely intimate experience an airplane ride is – when else are you going to see a stranger sleep? Notice all their little weird habits, sometimes mirroring our own. (More often than not – not, because doesn’t it always seem our seat assignments are paired by opposites?) I watch the feet that glide down the aisle, strong calves and neon sneakers and I ache to be running. And I think about those new friends, the ones I met from running, the ones who I’ve only shared conversations with in the middle of the woods, ducking beneath branches, sweating in the Florida springtime humidity, or through the winding sprinkler soaked neighborhood roads. I think of the new friends I’ve met in hotel lobbies, or in a dark concert venue waiting for a show to begin. I think about how it only takes the initial strike up of a conversation and the world opens up ten fold. I think about the endless possibilities, how there are dozens of millions of people on this planet who I will never have the pleasure of meeting, never have a chance encounter with – but there are so many that I will. And what stops us from hearing the stories of those around us? From sharing a few words, a deep laugh, a sincere smile, making some new memory? Why doesn’t everyone do that more often? I’m compelled to not live any other way now because I just can’t stand it. That person that you just passed up, who’s been sitting across from you in the terminal for three hours charging their phone, sipping a coffee, and taking long glances at each person walking by, or the one at the other end of the row who sparked your attention as they leaned over a notebook in their lap diligently scrawling notes across the pages – how do you know that person isn’t your new best friend? Your lover? A musical soul mate you just haven’t met yet? You don’t. We never do and that’s the beautiful surprise of life. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as being too friendly, maybe? I’m not sure. But with all the different new bonds you could be making at any given moment, why not? Why not?

Top Ten Tuesday: Words/Topics that Will Make Me Pick Up a Book

It’s Tuesday again, and I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon with The Broke and Bookish and clue you in on ten key words or topics that will pique my attention enough to pick up or buy a book. (Most generally, “pick up.”)

  • Summer Summer anything, I’m like hello sunshine book nice to meet you! A YA summer “romance” novel? All over it. Think the “Summer” trilogy by Jenny Han for example, or Sarah Dessen’s Along For the Ride (among others!) Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Probability of Miracles.
  • Road Trip I am all about it. Oh they’re going on a soul seeking road trip journey? Count me in! Morgan Matson’s Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour really set the bar for this category.
  • London or England Immediate attention grabber – no question. This one spans the genres.
  • Boarding School I never had a desire to go myself really, (well maybe temporarily in like fifth grade or if it meant someone was sending me to England or Australia) but put in a book? It’s like extended summer camp, or college for teenagers. Think Looking For Alaska, The Shades of London Series, Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn.
  • Summer Camp. So much potential all over the place. I LOVED Terra Elan McVoy’s The Summer of Firsts and Lasts.
  • Running. These days if it’s fiction or non fiction, and they mention running a lot? I’m hooked.
  • Public Transportation. If a character rides a subway, the tube, a school bus, a plane, taxi – frequently in the story? I wanna read it. They’re obviously gonna meet all kinds of characters on these adventures getting around! (That’s what sucked me into Eleanor and Park and Dash & Lilly’s Book of Dares, 13 Little Blue Envelopes.
  • Coming of Age. I’m a sucker for these. If it gets compared to Catcher in the Rye or The Perks of Being a Wallflower I’m gonna wanna see how it measures up.
  • Mix-Tape or Vinyl. The music nerd in me is instantly attracted. (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Eleanor & Park, Love is a Mixtape, High Fidelity.)
  • Dystopian. Now, I definitely don’t read all of them that I pick up but if a book has something even semi-dystopian going on about it (but less super natural) I’m intrigued. ThinkThe Hunger Games (obviously) but also end of the world-ish ones like How I Live Now or The Age of Miracles.

What about you? What attracts your attention with books? Have you read any of the ones I mentioned, or do we have key words in common? Let me know!

Trail Run Thursday Week 3: Joy of Community

Hello, hello! I know I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus lately, but bare with me. I come and go and you’d probably much rather read an enthusiastic post than some dribble that rolls out because of obligation. No obligation here, alright guys? So! First & foremost Happy Thursday! As you might have noticed I’ve rolled over from Throwback Thursdays to Trail Run Thursdays where I ramble a little bit about running. Coincidentally, it’s not always just running – it turns into a story about life too ya know?

Well, my running ‘schedule’ got a little crazy with my travels and all of the adventures of life last week, but I managed to get in some runs Wednesday-Friday, so I’d feel somewhat prepared for the Palace Saloon 5K on Saturday. This is a race I’d been looking forward to since my very first 5K last August. All through college I saw the t-shirts around town, and when I “became a runner” I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of. Well, as it got closer it held a new significance in my mind because from what I’d read, it’s one of the fastest (and oldest) 5Ks in Tallahassee. I had a goal for myself to break 25 minutes in a 5K this year, and I knew if I worked hard this could be the one. As it got closer and all that craziness went down, I decided not to put too much pressure on myself because I wanted to enjoy it and there would be other races if it didn’t work out. Well, Saturday was a cool morning and I met up with my cousin Tim and his group and we did a couple warm-up runs. We met at the bank by McDonald’s and the rest of the group hopped in the truck to drive over to Messer Fields. We jogged there. At the crosswalk Tsige was standing there and I got so excited I screamed! At that point, I didn’t have her phone number, so it was the first time I’d seen her since our last trial run and her husband had been running Boston and I had been dying to talk to her! We hugged and dove into conversation, it was really nice and somewhat of a relief. We hung out at the fields for a bit and then went on another warm-up run. I was feeling good and excited (plus it was cooler than I thought it’d be because the sun wasn’t shining, so it definitely helped with that!) I ended up racing with Tim for the first 1.5mi and that really helped me hold onto the pace I needed. At the hill, I just told myself – if I wanted it bad enough, I could make it happen. I ended up finishing with a new PR of 24:40 and it was such an exciting feeling. I found people I knew during the race, and I love that too. I might have my goals, but I don’t ever take it too seriously – it’s too fun for that! I saw and talked to a sorority sister, a friend from Gulf Winds, my running buddy Tsige, my boss’s wife, and the list goes on. My cousin Sara lives right by the Palace so she came over with her dog Darla, and we all hung out for a bit. It was just a really fun morning, I was on that high of endorphins and adrenaline, mixed with that excitement I had for achieving that personal accomplishment. Plus it was exciting to see all the blue and yellow ribbons in support for Boston, (and the really awesome banner they had made for everyone to sign to send to the Boston Athletic Association!)

Those are post Palace pics!

Later, I’ll fill you all in on my Orlando concert experience of seeing Andrew McMahon on the Beacham on Saturday night, but that doesn’t really have to do with running. It does have to do with how awesome the weekend was though, and how much got packed in, and how I think it caught up to me since I went to bed at 930 on Sunday night! Following post-race hangouts, (and a little bit of beer and a taste of bloody mary because it was the Palace after all) I went home and showered and ate breakfast and headed on over to Orlando. Sunday morning after a great visit with JD and Tony I got back in the car and came back. I changed into my running clothes at a rest stop in Madison, and I arrived over in Southwood just in time for the 5.2 at 5 for Boston memorial run. I am so glad! There was an incredible turnout (more than 1,000 people!,) and it was a really inspirational experience. We sang the national anthem together, and “Sweet Caroline” and it was really touching. Tim and I ran together again (he slowed his pace down for me.) It was a hot, muggy run (because I wouldn’t normally run in the sun at 5pm) but it was wonderful. We hung out in the parking lot chatting for a long while afterwards, and like I said – I was exhausted! I didn’t even feel like making dinner, so after picking up a tuna sandwich from Jimmy John’s, and taking a shower – I crashed.

Tim, me, and Carson post-run in the parking lot.

Someone had a remote control helicopter flying over the crowd, and it turns out it was a video camera! My friend Brian sent me this video – it’s pretty cool, check it out!

Monday, the events of the weekend kind of caught up to me. There was so much excitement, and activity, and driving! I was feeling kind of sluggish (I’m sure my off kilter eating habits weren’t helping me out any.) Part of me was thinking I might  not go to the week three meet-up of Trailblazers, but by the end of the day I was like no! I was disappointed I missed last week, and it’s such a good start to the week! Plus, Tsige called me and having a running buddy is so encouraging. Of course, then I got stuck in awful rush hour traffic on my way to the trails and there was a disabled vehicle making the road I was on one lane, with one of those trade off deals, so I was late. BUT because life is awesome – there were people waiting at the crosswalk, to run with the “stragglers” through Forest Meadows. So, I made two new friends and we did two laps through the woods together – talking about all sorts of things. Central Florida, Mexico Beach, kayaking, cycling, motocross, (those last two I listened intently obviously not having experience in those areas haha) how we got into running – all sorts of stuff! After we made the loop two times, we were back at the entrance and mingling for a minute and then the group Tsige had been running with finished up. She was so nice about how she’d been worried I’d get lost because I was late and she kept an eye out on her phone in case. Running friends are awesome friends. I joined that little group and we did one more loop! (So much for “taking it easy” on Monday, I had planned on doing 2.5 or 3 miles, but that turned into 5.) But it was awesome because it gave me a new surge of energy, and those trails (of course!) were beautiful.

It just made me extra grateful for the community I’ve found in running. All of these days. At first I thought it might be a bit ambitious, or taking too much on pushing myself a few days in a row – but it was totally worth it. (And why I took two rest days this week, so I’ll be in shape for the Rose City 10K on Saturday.) It just filled my already full heart with an added appreciation for these people. I am just very content with where I am in life right now, and it has been a long time since I could say that. The fact that it’s not very conditional is so key, and important, and extra exciting. These new relationships I’ve formed (and older ones that were strengthened) just give me a new perspective on life. It’s been a really cool experience to get to know new people of different ages from different backgrounds, and to see support of each other in action. Picking up running changed my life, but I’ve seen it change even more as I’ve built relationships with people through running.

Believe In the Good

Okay, so I know I’ve been silent on the blog this week. Life has been a little bit crazy with some curve balls that got thrown during my trip, and then when I was driving back to Tallahassee I heard about the Boston Marathon bombing on the radio. Throughout the week things have still been a little crazy, and I have been trying to process what’s happened. Of course now as the events just get more wild it’s an even harder thing to comprehend but I have a few things I want to put out there! I will elaborate on my Knoxville and Nashville adventures sometime soon, and I will share pictures. In the meantime, I’ll tell you that Tennessee won me over instantly. I have a special spot in my heart for this state, now.

I was driving on the interstate when I heard the announcement over the radio. Immediately it felt hard to breathe. I kept trying to walk myself through deep breaths, and staying calm. So many thoughts flooded to my mind, between the people that I know were there, the people I know that could be there, but then beyond that – running in general. If you’ve visited this blog before you know how passionate I am about running. There is something incredibly special about races. When I participated in my first 5K in August of last year, I was instantly hooked. I totally felt that sense of camaraderie with the people surrounding me as our feet pounded the paths of the trails. I have never been disappointed about any race I’ve participated in – they’re too fun for that! Between the runners, volunteers, spectators, supporters – I’ve never come across anything quite like it. There is just this overwhelming positive energy that exists every time. These people, essentially strangers, all share one common bond. It doesn’t matter your place in the work world, your gender, race, or age. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been running, or how fast or slow you are. It’s an undeniable thread that connects each of us.

(My friend Lizzi who qualified for Boston 2014 posted this on Facebook this week, and it speaks volumes.)

Then there’s the other side of running. It has saved my sanity. Of that, I am sure. And I turn to running as outlet in times of frustration (that’s how it all began for me, anyway.) So to reek such malicious, cruel, havoc on an event of such celebration? I mean, this is like the Olympics of running. It’s a lifelong dream for many. It’s a big deal for everyone involved, the event organizers, the history behind the marathon, for the runners – their families and supporters. What is wrong with people? Such a heartbreaking thing for everyone involved. Just the attempt to take away something people love in such a dark violent way – it’s just sad and senseless. Thankfully, everyone I knew up there is safe. Because I didn’t have a phone, I wasn’t connected to an instant stream of info through email and Twitter like I normally would be, which probably helped my psyche at the time. But when I checked my email on my mom’s phone in Tallahassee I saw the flood of messages from GWTC list-serv, and wow. I was just floored. This is one of my favorite pieces I’ve read that relate to Monday’s events, and a runner’s heart.

While we have this frustrating situation, what is uplifting about everything is the awesome compassion that has shined such a light on everything – how inspiring it is to see pure intentioned people just helping one another – no questions asked, in whatever way that means. I am sure throughout the week, you’ve probably seen this quote from Mister Rogers (genius!) floating around:

I have to tell you, that I know things like this are scary. This morning I woke up and glanced at Facebook and saw some posts that didn’t make sense so I switched to Twitter and woke up immediately when I saw the news that was transpiring with the suspects. I went out of my room and told my roommate who had already turned on the TV (though it was barely 6am.) I was just blown away by how crazy it all seemed, so what did I do? Lace up my shoes and go for a run. Because that’s what I do. So, I’ll say that yeah I feel like this is just really hard to even mentally grasp (especially with the bombings Monday, the explosion in Texas, then with the lockdown and search…) texting my friend who’s parents live there, hearing it on the radio on my drive to work, and now on the TV while I’m at work and it’s just a lot to take in. BUT but so so so important some things to remember: like Mister Rogers says, look for the helpers. They are there. While the world can be so unpredictable, dark and scary – there is so much good. So much good.

I myself have been overwhelmed with the kindness of people in the past month. It hasn’t even been a month when my engine exploded on the way to Jacksonville, (and look what happened then? Cousin rushed to where I was on the interstate, Jules scooped me up en-route to Jax.) Over the weekend I accidentally left my cell phone in a cab. The manager of the cab company (Brett) was so nice and really tried to help as much as he could. No luck, but that is not worth spoiling a trip over. When I got back to Sanford on Monday (well, after another stranger who had helped me with my bag when I was flying out on Friday AND REMEMBERED ME we chatted about our trips, and he helped me with my bag, again!) I was walking to the parking lot and thought it was odd that my horn didn’t beep when I pressed the key. Come to find out my car battery had died over the weekend. So there I was with no phone and a dead car. A couple across the lot asked if I needed help, and they saved my day in a big way. The husband got out to help me, and let me borrow his phone, while his wife CIRCLED THE PARKING LOT attempting to find someone with jumper cables! She found someone, then that van load came over as well. (Weird coincidence the man was someone I remembered from the airport on Friday because he was also wearing running shoes sitting down the aisle from me.) This man jumped my car, and then looked in his GPS and gave me the address and directions to the nearest Advanced Auto Parts. Then the couple, offered to let me FOLLOW THEM to the store, to make sure I got there alright (not lost, and without breaking down.) Can you believe that? We stopped at a Napa first, and the man got out to go check on the battery so I wouldn’t need to turn off my car. Then we went further up the road to Advanced, and he went in and checked there (the other place didn’t do batter installations.) At that time the woman let me use her phone again to call my mom so she’d know I got somewhere that I could get a battery (She said, if it were my daughter I’d want her to be able to call and tell me.) Then the husband came out again and they did have the battery but he was soo nice in making sure I had the funds to pay for it because they didn’t want me to get stuck there! Then the Advanced Auto Parts guys, Chris & Michael were so kind as well. I was there for a while. They let me use the store phone. I made a plan with my mom. Figured out an exit to meet her at because they wanted me to take my car to a shop they were concerned at the levels it was showing up at on the test even with a new battery. I was there for more than an hour, and at one point it was like I was a fellow employee (they even joked that I should apply for a job there, and about how I should meet Brucey (apparently a grumpy sketchy old man.) They even let me behind the counter to use the phone and helped me with directions (another stranger letting me use their phone.) I was overwhelmed with gratitude towards this constant stream of generous, good spirited people. My “luck” (it’s not luck, it’s like this crazy combination of grace and guidance in this path of sweet people) continued throughout the week. I don’t know much about cars, so really anyone could take advantage of my weakness there, but they don’t. A friend from Inverness gave me her daughter’s old phone, so I didn’t have to buy a new one. I wasn’t charged for getting my car checked out, (when they didn’t find anything wrong with it!), a man at Sam’s had the installation fee waived on some new tires since I’d come in last week too. Then there was this weird thing going on with the windshield and the guy was like hey! this is no problem, I can just snap this little piece here and you’re good. Seriously. Not even kidding you.

My point is, life is crazy, the world is crazy, you never know what’s coming. If all these things came my way when I was in my earlier twenties, I’d have fallen apart some where. These days, I’ve learned to roll with the punches. You gotta take what comes your way and figure out how to keep moving, make a plan of action, do something. If I was sitting in the middle of a parking lot crying, I’d probably still be there. None of these people had any obligation to me, no one had to help, or offer anything but again and again they appeared. One person after another continued to be an example of compassion, love, and sweet-natured kindness. My faith in humanity couldn’t be stronger.

So now what? You continue to look for a helper. You BE a helper. Be nice. Everyone seems surprised at my own weird chain of events this week, but the thing is the nicer you are to people? They have to try really hard to be mean back. It doesn’t always work, but you have to try. And not being nice is stupid. Don’t let fear stop you from living your life. Appreciate where you are, what you have, who you’re surrounded by. For me, this is a year of reunions – a celebration of friendship, and with everything going on it just makes me more thankful for the time I’ve spent with people I love lately. Make the most of life, enjoy all the little moments. Make spontaneous decisions, take the adventures.

Tomorrow morning Tallahassians will take to the streets and run the Palace Saloon 5K wearing blue & yellow ribbons showing support. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll drive over to Orlando for Andrew McMahon’s show at The Beacham, but Sunday I want to be back in time for the 5.2 at 5 for Boston. I am looking forward to pounding the pavement with people I’ll feel connected to, without question.

Keep running, keep loving, keep living. Smile. Believe in the good. I promise, it’s there.