Consistently Inconsistent 

I took a week off after the Ragnar Relay. It was partly forced upon me with the stomach virus ripping through our house, but it was also much needed.  I would’ve taken the week off even if the family hadn’t been sick. That race took everything out of me – physically, emotionally, and mentally. 

This past week I attempted to get back on track. I went to CrossFit twice and went to track night on Tuesday night where I only did a mile because my youngest was there and mostly wanted me to watch him run and walk around the track. My middle guy offered to be my pacer for the few laps I did get in so I could start working on speed. But that was it. 1 mile in the last two weeks. That’s pathetic. Today my daughter invited me on a run around town. She’s training because she wants to join the winter track team and she’s getting in shape. I was exhausted from just getting home from a work conference and I was terrrified because I knew it was going to feel bad. Remember that 1 measly mile I did in the past two weeks? She wanted to do 6-7 miles and I knew I was not able to do that distance at all. We wound up doing 5 even though I was desperately ready to be done at 3 (2.5, ok, ok, 2. I was ready to be done at 2)  As usual, my first mile was horrifically long and torturous as my angry calves reluctantly relinquished their vice grip. I had a thousand negative thoughts about how I was finished running for good and this was the last time I was going to lace up my shoes.  I vowed never to feel this again.  I had to stop every quarter mile for a rest break, a stretch break, a water break, and every other kind of break while I watched my gazelle of a teenage daughter ahead of me, effortlessly making her way down the sidewalk. She’s so beautiful when she runs. 

 I looked down at my shadow, my dark mirrored elbows swaying in and out and not helping me to propel forward at all, my legs glued together as I shuffled along, my hips as wide as the sidewalk. I listened to my heavy breathing in disgust.  My unsteady huffs and puffs were interrupted only by my snot rockets. No more.  I’ve done this for years and can be done now. And even though my mind was saying this, my body kept moving forward. I was thankful for that. As I looked up and in the distance saw Charlotte’s long lithe body casually waiting for me at a corner I thought, I’m so glad her running abilities didn’t come from me. 

Needless to say, it was a hard run. It felt bad a lot of the time. I waited and waited for my body to warm up, which it eventually did, but not enough. I realized that the past few months my runs have been consistently inconsistent and that needs to change.  I need to get back on track with running 3 times a week. I also realized that I desperately need to stretch or do yoga once a week to feel my best when I run. Like the good old days. …Don’t let the smile fool you, the sun was in my eyes and I tend to smile when I have to squint… 

Am I glad I went? I sure am. I made it through 5 miles when I wasn’t expecting to do any today!  (Okay so that was a real smile because we were almost back to the house and I was really happy I was going to finish 5 miles.) Am I thrilled that my daughter wanted to run with me? You bet I am. Struggle or not, I loved watching her fly across the pavement like a wisp. I loved carrying her water like the good Sherpa that I am. I loved spending the time with her, just us girls runnin’ the town. I can’t wait until she asks me to go again. I promised myself today that I will always say yes. 

Keep moving forward, 

Mama K 

Consistently Inconsistent – Part 2

In the spirit of being consistently inconsistent, running today seemed like the correct response to my crappy run yesterday. Apparently in order to make up for my one measly mile in the past two weeks, I decided I should now pound the pavement everyday until I feel like I’ve made up the mileage.  Whatever that kind of thinking is, I have no idea. It’s certainly not the smart way to “plan” for the next few weeks, but my self doubt is at an all time high. I need to prove to myself that after all these years, after all these runs, I need to know that I don’t suck… that I’m not going to suck forever… Or if I am going to suck forever I need to know now so I can give this all up and sign up for a pottery class.

I said yes, again.

I said yes to the part 2 of the Soleful Mamas “Sunday RunDay”, which was the afternoon shift. Today there was an early morning crew that hit the road at 7am and there was an afternoon crew that ran the town at 2:30pm.  Our P.M. run was much warmer, that’s for sure (and we had the joy of seeing what some punks did to our nice sign at the community park – I hate to admit it, but I did get a chuckle out of reading it).


I was glad I said yes to my friends, but my apologies started in the text messages as we were coordinating.  I know first hand that is super annoying to everyone else who is running.  No one likes a whiner.

Me:  I know I’m going to suck today, so feel free to leave me behind. I don’t want to hold you girls up.

Mama C: No Mama left behind! *more encouraging words here*

Mama P: You’ll do great, like you always do!

Me: *not feelin’ it*

I said yes over and over in my head, convinced this was the very thing I needed to do to get back in the proverbial saddle.  I knew I wasn’t going to feel great…again…but I told myself I didn’t have a choice….  We started downhill, which was really awesome.  Then as we approached three quarters of a mile my calves and hamstrings were tightening up like a snappy little rubber band.  I could feel my dehydration already at this point and began yelling at myself for drinking mostly coffee today and only a little glass of water.  The Sole Blockers in my mind were RAGING.  You aren’t cut out for this.  You gained 20 pounds this year and it shows. You haven’t done the laundry or checked your kid’s take home folder or thought about dinner. You can’t even run 1 mile without stopping to walk. Maybe you should lose some weight and then try again. You can’t run 1 mile without wanting to quit.  You can’t… You shouldn’t have… You won’t be able to.  

Out loud, I kept talking nonsense about my dogs so I could combat these words that were screaming in my head.  I told Mama C and Mama P about how I was in the middle of a dog fight, what it means to be a doggie foster family, and how I feel like my motto for life lately is “no good deed goes unpunished.”  I was a ball of grumpiness unraveling with each step.  And still my friends, my tribe mates, listened quietly and kept me swept up in the current of forward movement.  I am thankful for that.

Mile 2 was definitely the best out of the 3 miles.  We must have been able to find a stretch of sidewalk where we could just settle into a decent pace.  It’s always hard to run around town because of all of the stopping and starting. While I am all about the rest breaks, there are a lot of times I wished we could just get into a groove, but crossing streets and heeding traffic lights was way more important.  #safetyfirst  Plus, I obviously couldn’t handle a “groove” today.

Mile 3 brought on a new set of tired legs that wanted to go nowhere fast.  I’d walk and regroup, then start again feeling great. About 1 minute later I could start feeling the backs of my legs start tightening up all over again.  Walk, run great, look at watch, see one minute go by, slow down due to tightening legs, curse wildly in mind, get angry, go faster for 3 steps, walk.  REPEAT.  Over and over again this stupid cycle held me hostage. It was relentless in it’s pursuit of hijacking a beautiful afternoon run.  Luckily I was back at my house after mile 3 and I could stretch. I spent a fair amount of time trying to release and relieve these tired aching muscles.  I’m sure it wasn’t enough stretching, but at least it was a start.

I know not every run is going to be an awesome run, but GOOD GRIEF. Sometimes you just want a running goddess like Atalanta to throw you a freaking bone.

Well, it is what it is, I suppose.

I truly know that the only things that are going to make my running better are: better eating, better hydration, and consistently following a well thought out plan.  But really, if all of that fails (which it will by Tuesday), I just need to remember to put one foot in front of the other no matter what and to keep saying yes.



Forward is a pace,

-Mama K


Ragnar Trail Relay – Lake Wawayanda


courageThere were NO guarantees of success this past weekend. In fact, at 5:21am on Friday morning I was lying in my damp sleeping bag and wondering if we could defer our race entry to next year. I was ready to quit before it even began. We hardly slept, the rain and the wind had our tent waving like a flag throughout the night, and we were exhausted before the race even began. But somehow, the second half of our team arrived at 6:30am and we showed up at the start line anyway… Without any guarantee of success… Without any guarantee of anything really. We only knew one thing. We were going to begin. And we were going to keep putting one foot in front of the other. That’s all we knew at 8am Friday morning…

If you’ve never heard of a Ragnar Relay or a Ragnar Trail Relay, it’s an overnight race/event in which you are a team of 4, 8, or 12 (for road runs) and you cover anywhere from 130ish miles (trail) or 200ish miles (road race). It can take teams anywhere from 22-35 hours to complete and there are definitely teams that DNF for one reason or another. This past weekend, our team of 8 women took on the Ragnar Trail Relay at Lake Wawayanda in New Jersey.

The experience is indescribable.

There’s just no way to articulate the fatigue, the vulnerability, and uncertainty as you patiently await your teammates while they are out in the woods. I don’t know how to communicate the intimacy of moments you share when a “friend” is found on the trail and then you realize once you cross the finish line of that loop you have no idea what they look like… but they saw you at your weakest and your strongest.  You talked to them deeply about your family and the exhaustion. There’s no way to describe how doubt lingers and taints your moments of courage, or why tears stream down your face. It’s because your bones ache as you physically feel your comfort zone expanding – the stretching of your mind, body, and soul…there’s no way to tell you about any of it. You have to feel it in your gut, your sore tendons and ligaments, your tired muscles that burn and scream at you to stop and sit down because you can’t climb up one more slippery hill. You have to feel in your throat when you turn around in the darkness because you heard something and see nothing but pitch blackness. There’s no way to tell you about the forgiveness and grace you need to gift yourself during this day because each time you collapse and you need to trust that you will rise. It is just. that. hard. There’s just no way to express the stages of exhaustion, relief, and excitement when you enter into the transition area, look into your tired and terrified teammates eyes and tell them “You’re gonna do great.” because you know that in a few moments they’re going to move forward in pain and discomfort, push against their boundaries until they shatter, and find another piece of their New Self on the other side of that lake.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face…you must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Our rock, Loretta described it so tenderly and so perfectly in her Facebook post, please read on….
This weekend’s Ragnar Relay was one of those experiences. Although we were a team of 8 women, each of us had to face our individual fears as we entered the trails by ourselves. Whether it was the fear of running in the dark, the constant rain and slippery conditions, the various inclines and declines, the threat of black bears and bow hunters, or the physical and mental fears that comes with running 16.1 miles. We faced our fears and achieved our goal. We never gave up and we believed in each other.

As I unpacked my bags and started my laundry today, my clothes and sneakers were wet, cold, sweaty, and muddy. To anyone else they would have smelled disgusting. To me, it was the smell of accomplishment. And the pain, bruises, and bags under our eyes were the signs of perseverance, commitment, strength, and courage.

There are many times when I dwell on the events or experiences that have eluded my life. Then along comes a weekend like this! I never dreamed of running 128 miles for 32 hours in the woods. Without a doubt, this was an experience of a lifetime! It was truly a joy and honor to be a member of the “Soleful Mamas” team! These 7 women are incredibly strong and inspiring athletes and I am SO proud of them. They have completely changed my life and they motivate me to be a better person. More importantly, they remind me to have fun, enjoy life, and believe in myself. Together, we created memories and friendships that will last forever! I cannot wait for our Disney adventure!
#zerodark30squadproud #isaw3bearsand2bowhunters #mycomfortzoneexpanded #8burpeestohonormyteammates

Loretta’s right. We had the perfect team. Squad ZeroDark30 was sort of prepared for this because we demand a lot of ourselves on a constant basis. We wake up at 4:45/5am to get to CrossFit at 5:30am. Before the sun even rises, we have likely already strength trained, swam, taught class (Coach Loretta), or went for a run on the weekend. We work inside and outside of our homes, we take care of children and our families, we tackle 1,000 duties every day, we create space and time for our friendships, and we attempt to take care of ourselves. Though I doubted myself throughout the hours of my run/walk/slipping, I never once doubted that any of my 7 teammates wouldn’t be able to conquer. Because week in and week out we show up for each other and we GET. IT. DONE. Every single time.

This is the tribe of women that is committed to the promise of a big idea, and will work together to turn it into our reality. This is the tribe of women that is as reliable as the sunrise. This is the tribe of women I will forever call my sole sisters…my family.

– Mama K



Ragnar Trail Run – Prep Week

It’s Monday and I’m starting to get in the zone. Physically I believe we are ready. We’ve put in the miles over the past few months, we’ve logged our time on the technical trails, we’ve tested our headlamps in the dark. Without a doubt, we’ve had a blast doing it as we rated each other’s lumens and jokes about alien glow vests. 

There’s nothing better than waking up to this on a Sunday morning. While the rest of the world slept quietly, we found each other at the trails at dawn. We ran, we cursed, we hiked, we tripped, we laughed, we rolled ankles, we huffed and puffed up hills. We made it out alive and exhilarated each time. 

I’ll say it again- there’s magic in the woods. Time stands still and the trees change you. I have no idea what that is, but it’s special. 

So the 8 of us are physically, mentally and emotionally ready for the runs.  Packing for a 24 hour event in the rain? Not so much. Rain is a game changer. We are now trying to figure out how we are going to stay warm and dry. We are collecting all the tarps and trash bags we can find. It’ll be trail running Survivor style. Huddled together under the trees, we’ll eat our bananas and almonds, wishing for a break in the weather. It will be EPIC. 

I am so excited and so ready.  As I skip further into my zone over the next few days, I only have to remember to have the time of my life– in the darkness of the woods, in black bear country, during bow and arrow hunting season, with no electricity, and nothing but laughter and friendship and my tired legs to carry me through. I can’t wait!

Adventure awaits!

-Mama K

Marshman Triathlon- Race Recap

Life is too short to let fear and doubt stand in the way of feeling awesome.  I’ve always loved the saying “everything you want is on the other side of fear” because it’s the absolute truth! Yesterday I was a bundle of nerves waking up at 4:45am to prepare for the Marshman Triathlon.  For months I’ve said to myself  “Self, it’s only a .25 mile swim, 12.5 mile bike, and 2 mile run- no big deal- you’ve got this.” But with every approaching day I started to think nope, you sure don’t got this.  Sunday morning arrived whether I was ready or not….

We arrived at Marsh Creek State Park around 6am and in the pitch black darkness of the night.  While everyone unpacked their fancy bikes and took them off their fancy bike racks on their cars. Smartly wearing headlamps, these prepared folks worked deftly and unphased by the lack of light.  Jane and I simply popped open the back of the minivan and let our stuff spill out. 

We then quickly decided we should hit the bathroom first not knowing that there wasn’t any electricity. We made do with the light of an iPhone 6 and actually enjoyed the peace of pre race pooping in quiet dark solitude. 

As we started the path  down to the lake, the sun started rising despite the cloud coverage. The sleepy world began to wake up. 

We had no idea what we were doing and I am thankful that it was a small race and organized in a way that the flow of packet and race chip pick up went smoothly.  After looking around at other racers we figured out what to d with all of our stickers. I remembered that one had to go on the bike but completely forgot about the one for the helmet. It’s been a while. We made our way into the transition area wondering what we were doing there. Were we really capable of doing this? 

We set up our bikes on the racks and carefully laid out all of our necessary items: a towel, socks, shoes, hat, helmet, sunglasses, hydration pack, tank top, and GU. 

We undressed, grabbed our goggles, cap, and ear plugs and made our way to the start of the swim area.  After a short pre-race meeting explaining some things I can’t remember and the national anthem, we were ready to go. Well, not quite. The duathlon participants started off as wave 1, followed by the men’s group of triathletes, followed by the women’s group of triathletes, followed by our wave 4 (friends group) at 7:45am. 

It was an in water start so we all swam out to the starting buoy.  The water was a warm 80 degrees and it was very comfortable once you got your whole body in. Overall I thought the swim was great. It went fast and it was only complicated by weird lake grass that was literally all over you and felt like it was grabbing onto your legs to tug you down. It was super strange. All in all, I felt so much better on the swim than I expected. 

We transitioned and jumped onto our bikes. The first 4 miles were a struggle for me. My legs burned, my mind was unfocused and I quickly started with the negative talk – you didn’t prepare for this, you didn’t even ride on one hill. This is what you get.  Mile 5 was an absolute bitch and I wound up walking up half of a giant hill. I was really mad at myself, but you can only grind out what you can until you just need a break or a change or something. Anything.  Halfway through the race I ate a GU. I definitely needed it (didn’t eat breakfast – BIG MISTAKE) because I felt so much better shortly after that. The 2nd half of the bike was actually enjoyable and was somehow so much easier than the first half despite it being an out and back course. I was going either 8 mph going so slow uphill or going 23-29mph going downhill. There was no flat.  

Transitioning to the run was simple. Starting the run was okay because I refused to walk in front of a lot of people. Once I was far enough away though, I stopped and stretched my aching calves for a few moments. I walked so much more than I wanted to during the run, especially the first mile which was uphill. Luckily it was also an out and back course and the second half was much easier. I stared to feel good and warmed up at mile 1.3 then promptly got a side stitch at mile 1.45. I walked until 1.5 miles and then finally decided to push through whatever else happened to get this thing over with.  The finish line felt sooooo good. 

While I wish I would’ve gotten under 1:30hrs, but  I’ll take my 1 hour 35 min time. That was really hard and I made it.

Overall, the weather was perfect, the bike course was a great challenge for me and the run was just enough. I had a great time and felt great. Today I feel strong and badass and that’s all that matters! I’m definitely looking forward to our next triathlon. I will be better prepared, that’s for sure. I would really like to pick up my speed on the bike and the run.  I say that now and I’ll probably do the same exact “training plan”: go to crossfit with friends, run at track night with friends, and trail run with friends; swim once or twice a month and start riding the bike 3 weeks before the race. That outta do it! 

The real reason we did this race…..a nearby cafe….

Blaze your trail today! 

– Mama K