Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A wearable tribute to my brother brought back to life

The night my brother was murdered in 1996, he was wearing a peace sign necklace. Shortly after he died, I found a similar one and for more years than I can remember afterward, I wore the necklace every single day. When it would break, I'd buy a new one. Eventually, it got harder and harder to find a peace sign necklace until finally, my wearable tribute to my brother became a thing of the past (and I'm sure those who know me won't find this hard to believe but still have every necklace).

Since Karen at Aviron Jewelry created such a work of art with my beautiful runners necklace, I asked if she could make another necklace. She said for this design, she could use a silver peace symbol. I loved the idea! (you can read more about the meaning behind the peace symbol in my post: "More then just a piece of jewelry"). Once again, Karen did not disappoint and the necklace turned out to be more beautiful than I imagined. And the leather chain was a perfect addition since the necklace my brother was wearing the night he died also included a leather chain.

I love ankle bracelets and after going all summer without one because my favorite one broke and I really couldn't find one that really appealed to me, I figured if Karen was making me another necklace, why not have her make an ankle bracelet, too. Even though this piece doesn't have the special meaning behind it like my necklaces do, it is beautiful and I love it all the same. The summer may be over and the colder weather may be on it's way, but you can be certain I will wear my ankle bracelet until the flip flops and capris are put away for the year!

So now I have two more custom-designed pieces added to my collection, two more treasured possessions that will I cherish. And thanks to Karen at Aviron Jewelry, the wearable tribute to my brother has been brought back to life.

Visit Aviron Jewelry on the web, Facebook, and Etsy.

You can read more about my brother and a life taken way too early on the tribute page I created for him on Facebook: Home Free - In Memory of Richard G. Whitcomb, Jr.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lose yourself

"Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted. One moment. Would you capture it or just let it slip?.....So here I go, it's my shot. Feet, fail me not, this may be the only opportunity that I got."

This has to be one of the best running songs of all time. It was one of my motivational songs during the 12 weeks of my half marathon training. At 0730 on October 12, 2014, I got my shot...

There really are no words to describe what it is like to be able to say I accomplished a feat I never in a million years thought I would or could do. Thank you to my husband, Paul and my brother-in-law Eric, for encouraging me to try a half marathon and Paul for his faith in me, especially on the days I had none. I may hurt like crazy right now, but the aches and pains are worth it.  

This half certainly wasn't easy, especially since 11 miles was the furthest distance I ran during my training. During the last two miles of the race, it was quite grueling and I honestly did not know how I would be able to finish. My left knee/IT band was hurting so bad I could barely bend my knee and it honestly felt like I couldn't take another step. God must have known I needed some encouragement because all of the sudden, almost out of nowhere, my big sis, Nadine, who was fighting her own pains as well, ran up next to me and we finished the race together. And someone must have been playing DJ because shortly before we approached the corner to the final stretch, "Lose Yourself" started to play on my iPhone. So with my sister by my side and the reason behind my determination to run this half in my heart, I crossed the finish line. And for the fact I ran the entire way except for about a half a mile of the course, this experience will go down as one of the best days of my life. 


My goal was to finish the race with no expectations in regards to time/pace:
Run time: 2:17:20
Pace: 10:30 
273nd of 413 runners overall 
129th of 234 females
21st of 36 females in my age group 

What's Next?

Now that I have completed a half, many people ask if I'm going to try at full marathon. I can honestly say I have no desire to even attempt one.  I know, I know, that's what I said after my first 5K when Eric and Paul said I should try a half. But I can honestly say I really have no desire to do anything longer than a half. That was plenty long enough for me. To be honest, I really don't even think I am going to make half marathons my "thing." That's not to say that I would never do another one. As a matter of fact, I'd like to train differently next year so I can run the Northern Ohio Marathon again and not have the issue I did with my knee/IT band. One thing is for certain: I will definitely keep running. I plan on doing as many 5Ks as my schedule will allow and would also like to do some local 10Ks as well. I am even going to join a running club. I guess you can say that not even do I just keep swimming, I just keep running.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Papa D, this one's for you...

I have already written about my interest in running and the motivation behind what I do, how I like to wear things that keep me motivated as I run, and that I am running the Northern Ohio Marathon on October 12 (actually, just the half marathon, I'm not THAT crazy…LOL) in honor of my dad, affectionately known to everyone as Papa D, the name my oldest son gave him when he was little, who is currently waging the war against lung cancer.  I've shared the story of my runner's necklace and the meanings behind it. Even though I knew I was having the necklace made, I was trying to think of way to acknowledge my dad in a special way. When I ran the Race for the Place, I had a custom shirt made with "Just Keep Swimming" on the front and on the back, created a design that acknowledged my "sisters in pink" and especially my dear friend, Kris. I thought about making another shirt but wanted something different. I thought about making a small sign that I could perhaps pin to my shorts or perhaps getting some body paint and write something on my arm or leg. Nope, didn't like those ideas either.

And then I thought, "what about a headband?" I have never been a headband person, that is, until I started running. At first, I wanted them so I could keep my hair out of my face, and then discovered how wonderful they were at keeping the sweat out of my eyes. After trying a couple of different brands and not really being pleased with the products, I found this awesome place online called Hippie Runner and decided to give them a try. Their headbands were a fraction of what I had paid for the other headbands so I was skeptical if they were any good. Would they really stay put like they claim?  Well, if it's any indication of whether or not they are, let me say I have nearly 20 headbands from them so far. They really are perfect. And with a "buy 4 get the 5th free" promotion they always offer, what's not to love?! Now, not only do I wear them for exercise, but I wear them when I go to the beach, camping, or any time I don't want to have to mess with my hair. Yep, add headbands to my list of addictions.

Anyway, remembering that Hippie Runner made custom headbands, I decided to contact them to get the information on what was involved in having one made. If I could create my own design and have them make it for me, that would be perfect!  Since I was already a big fan of their products, I knew I'd be pleased with the results. And pleased I was! Their customer service was awesome, the process was simple, I emailed my design, and in less than 24 hours, they had my custom headbands printed and shipped on their way to me.  Of course, I couldn't decide what color to get so I ordered 2. =) I was ecstatic when they arrived just a few short days later. They were PERFECT!

So now I had my runner's necklace and my headbands, but me, being the sentimental fool that I am, I had to take it one step further…I decided to have my dad “sign” my headbands. Geeky perhaps, but that’s how I roll.  Now these headbands have even more of a special meaning to me and I cannot wait to wear one of them on race day. Now I just have to decide which one....

Check out all their cool headbands on Hippie Runner's website.