Boston Marathon

Something I Haven’t Told You


I’m going to tell you something I haven’t told you.

When we first applied to be charity runners for buildOn as part of the Boston Marathon Charity Program, I’m not sure that either of us knew what we were getting into. I mean, it’s the Boston Marathon. What’s more enticing than that?

After we were accepted to the charity team and agreed to raise $6,500 EACH (that’s $13,000 for the mathematicians out there who are like me), we signed paperwork, we put our credit cards down for the $350 race bib…

….We also put the same credit cards down for the balance of whatever we didn’t raise.

Reality didn’t truly set in until probably a month ago when we were staring down the barrel of a $5,000 gap we needed to fill.

$5,000 in a month is a lot of money.


As we plugged away at our long training runs together on Saturday mornings, our chatter would start with fundraising…and promptly stop about a mile in.

It was too defeating and too emotional to talk about.

We had cry fests. We lifted each other up. We moved on.

During the week, as we tended to our kid(s), cooked dinners, worked full time, attended the classes and other commitments in our lives and trained, we fundraised. We pleaded. We brainstormed. We texted each other at odd hours with hair-brained schemes to raise every penny of the money.

I’m collecting and recycling cans and my car’s trunk is paying for it to the tune of a sweet scent that makes me roll down my windows frequently. I’ve helped put together more garage sales in the past three months than I have in my lifetime.

And I never want to see another chocolate-caramel pretzel again (sorry, Mom) ;).

Through prayer, through petition, through donations of our own time and money, through the sacrifices and support of our loved ones, and through so many people coming out of the wood work generously help us, we’ve officially hit the neighborhood of $12,000 raised for buildOn.

But we’re not to the finish line yet.

We have one final day for our Raffle for Good (ticket sales end Saturday).

We’ll be accepting donations through April 21 (Boston Marathon Day!). Donate to Cindi. Donate to Jennifer.

We will continue to accept encouraging words and prayers every day, every hour, every minute and every second that you can.

This has been an exciting, exhausting journey filled with ups and downs, anchored in our unwavering belief that we WILL raise the money to help those 24 Boston Public High School students make it to Malawi, Africa to pour into lives there and plant seeds of change for future generations to come by building a much-needed (and wanted!) school in the tiny town.

I’m overwhelmed and overcome by emotion every time I think about each person who’s given their money, their time and their energy to support our cause and, in turn, support us.

I’m so grateful for each of you who has partnered with us on this journey. There’s no doubt about it: we couldn’t have done this or do this without you.

So, this is my final, FINAL plea.

Would you donate $10 to buildOn? $20? More?

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for all that you’ve done and continue to do.

And, forgive me for not telling you that secret earlier…we always want to accept your support because you feel LED to give, not because you feel GUILT-ed to give.

God bless you and we love you!


My Heartbreak Hills

ImageI cried. I took a deep breath. I nearly panicked.

Miles before Heartbreak Hill, less than halfway through the biggest marathon of my life, I wasn’t sure if I could make it.

There was nothing physically wrong with me. I had trained for the race and achieved my 20-mile long run in perfect timing and hit my fundraising goal in spite of finding out I was going to run the 115th Boston Marathon AND raise $5,000 for charity in less than three months.

There I was, winding my way from legendary Hopkinton and bonking before the “real” race had even begun (that’s usually around mile 20, Heartbreak Hill, the mile point that’s a struggle in every marathon; it’s made worse by an increase in elevation in Boston. I was only at mile 10.)


I’m now 19 days away from going back to Boston and I feel as though I’ve already conquered so many “Heartbreak Hills” on this journey.


Life changes.


Juggling being a mom of two children (it was only one before).


Because of my past experience in Boston (which you can read here), I know the pitfalls and challenges that come with the territory, and I’m determined to overcome them. Now I just have to figure out how to slow life down and more more of these hills out of my way.

Boston, I’m coming for you!


How to Overcome the Highs and Lows of Training

The last few weeks have been full ones. Lots of highs and a few lows.

A few big life changes. A vacation. An injury.

Then lots of rest…hoping the “injury” was really just an irritation that would resolve itself in a few days and go away on its own.

It didn’t.

So, I found myself here, in a wonderful podiatrist’s office.


Good advice, right?

After an X-ray, an exam that included poking and moving my foot around to determine if my pain was Achille’s tendon-related, Dr. Mark pulled out the ultrasound. After having two kids, it’s bizarre to have someone get that out and stick it on your foot.

The prognosis? A torn perineal brevis tendon, more minimal than the Achilles. Rehab for four weeks, plus topical anti-inflammatories, physical therapy and this bad boy….


Not my idea of a cute shoe, but at least it’s only for a half-hour on each side in the evening.

All right, so all of this probably appears to spell “you’re crazy to keep going and run the marathon.”

On the contrary; I know when it comes to marathon training, you have to overcome a lot of highs and lows.

There are going to be crummy weather conditions while you prepare for the marathon.

Run anyway.

Life is going to throw all kinds of crazy curve balls at you that threaten to eat up your training time.

Run anyway.

Your body will likely be sore, overtired, overused and slightly broken during or after the marathon.


Take the advice of a doctor, but keep going.

I’ve been banned from running on pavement, but cleared for the elliptical machine and encouraged to get back to weight training. So, there’s my silver lining.

I’m not stuck on a couch rendered helpless. I can still prepare even if my Boston Marathon run isn’t my best time.

In short, if you’re trying to figure out how to overcome the highs and lows of training, just decide.

Then, let  your feet do the rest.

I Need Your Help

Dear Family, Friends & Readers,

I need your help. It’s now officially February and the Boston Marathon is just over two months away.

Two months.

And, I’m going to be very honest with you right now…I’m feeling overwhelmed by the daunting task of hitting $6,500 in raised funds by April 21. As I’ve shared, that money will directly fund a Trek for a Boston Public School student to help build a school in Malawi, Africa–cool right?

My sister and I are both running as buildOn charity runners, which means we need to raise a combined total of $13,000. That’s a lot of money, and we’re working hard to chip away at it.

But, I really, really need your help, so here’s my challenge to you, nay, my PLEA to you.


My birthday is just around the corner on February 14 and what I would LOVE (har har) is to move my current fundraising amount on my Crowdrise Fundraising Website from $600 to $1,000.

That would be like 40 people giving $10 each.

Or 10 people giving $40 each.

Or four people giving $100 each.

You get where I’m going.

I’m a big dreamer and a hard worker and I will continue asking; I will continue giving; I will continue doing in order to meet the goal. Regardless, the organization will receive $6,500 at the finish line from me…regardless if the money is raised.

Here are a few things we are currently organizing for fundraising efforts over the next few months:

Garage Sale— we will be holding another big garage sale in Gilbert on Saturday, February 22. Message me at for directions and details AND if you have a chance to go through your closets and garage and have anything you could donate, we would sincerely appreciate it.

Pampered Chef Fundraising Show—I’m a Pampered Chef Consultant and will be opening my new home to you all on Sunday, February 23 in the afternoon for a really fun, delicious fundraising show where you can enjoy food, shop Pampered Chef goodies and be part of a really big, fun raffle for Pampered Chef items. Message me at for details if  you’d like to come or would just like to order to support me!

Raffle for Good–we are still collecting gift baskets, gift cards, etc to be included in the raffle, which will take place in April, but we will be selling tickets through the month of March. Thank you to the businesses who have already donated items including The Parlour’s Maureen Atwood (hairstylist), Wildflower Bread Company, and Over Easy (breakfast restaurant).

Golf Tournament—if you’re a golf enthusiast, we are putting together the perfect event for you! Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 4 and stay tuned for more details on a fun golf tournament complete with buffet lunch and a silent auction/raffle onsite.

Thank you in advance for considering the ways to support me and also my sister on our quest to help this worthwhile organization.

Help me reach $1,000 by February 14 in celebration of “love day” and my birthday! Visit my fundraising website to contribute your tax-deductible donation today and thank you, thank you for all your help!!!



5 Ways to Get Motivated Again

The “plague,” as I lovingly refer to it, came to visit our home three times this winter. Then there were a few big life changes. And the holidays. And fundraising for buildOn as part of my huge commitment to help a bunch of deserving high school kids travel to Africa to build schools.

In short, a lot has happened recently to distract me and harm my motivation when it comes to diligently getting out the door and running. So, what do you do when distraction comes to visit and parks itself on your couch with a bag of potato chips…and you want to join it? Here’s what’s helping me:

1. Fake it ’til you make it. Don’t want to run or exercise? That’s fine, but do it anyway. It’s time to tell distraction to take a hike and kick laziness to the curb. Even if you get out there and have the lamest run or gym workout of your life, guess what–YOU DID IT! Sometimes, you have to take steps to do what you WANT to be doing before the actual motivation, inspiration and excitement arrive at your doorstep.

2. Talk about it. Lack of accountability is often what helps you “get away with it.” Don’t let it happen. Confide in a supportive friend (read: not one who will SUPPORT your laziness) and ask them to encourage you…and be willing to listen when they tell you you’re not committing the way you need to. Talking about it brings about an active awareness of your choice and that alone will help you refocus on what you should be doing that you aren’t.

3. Read about or watch others doing it. Surround yourself with inspiring pictures, videos and friends who are doing what you should be doing or want to be doing. Pick up a running magazine. Watch “Chariots of Fire” or “Without Limits” to get inspired. And, consider your sphere of influence. They say you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with…so, are your “five” eating burgers and watching the boob tube or hitting the gym and talking about Paleo recipes? What (and who) you surround yourself with WILL show up in your daily activities.

4. Schedule your time. Do you find yourself saying “I don’t have time…” a lot? Then make it! I guarantee if you took a sharp inventory of every minute of your day, you could find the 30 minutes to exercise…heck, a lot more than that! Make it a priority by marking the time down. This is time for YOU to take care of yourself. Do not negotiate–it’s like a flight on an airplane with a child. You can’t secure their air mask without starting with your own first.

5. Let it go. Okay, so you’ve slacked off for two weeks…or more. Okay, so your diet hasn’t been the best and you just stock piled several boxes of Girl Scout cookies (guilty). Shake it off, forgive yourself and move on! Make healthier choices today, tomorrow, the next day, the next day and the next day until you have a healthy habit in place. If you slip, pick yourself back up and keep going. Stay positive and remember that you are going after “progress and not perfection.”

Carry on and good luck, friends!

I’m Going Back to Boston

boston final

I’m going back to Boston!

Just received this HUGE news from buildOn and I’m so honored to share that the organization has selected me AND my sister to fund-raise and run the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014!

buildOn was founded by Jim Ziolkowski and is a non-profit organization that builds schools in developing countries such as Haiti, Malawi, Nepal, and Nicaragua, while also running afterschool service programs in America’s toughest inner-cities. buildOn’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty,illiteracy and low expectations through service and education.

This is where you and I come in.

Our fundraising efforts will cover the cost to send a teen from Boston on a trip to build a school in another country. As a person who has experienced the life-changing power of giving back through service projects in developing countries and also as a person who has led trips such as these for teenagers, I have a small idea of how this will impact a teen’s life for the better. I cannot even tell you how blessed I feel to be part of this organization!

So, back to the opportunity at hand!

Back in 2011, I had the privilege of fundraising for Childhelp and running this legendary race. If you’ve ever done gone through the process of fundraising a large amount of money in a relatively short amount of time, you know the challenges, but also the fulfillment that comes with the experience. With the help of many kind and generous people, I raised $5,000 in just three months back in 2011 for the worthwhile organization. This time around, I am committed to raising $6,500 or more by April 2014.

Would you consider helping me reach my goal and also praying for me and supporting me as I prepare for this race? Your donation is tax-deductible and everything you do is so appreciated!

Support me now!

It goes without saying, but the 2014 Boston Marathon also will be notable for one other reason: the one year anniversary of the tragic bombings. As a person with strong New England ties, Boston has always been one of my “adopted” cities. I’m still in awe of how the city came together in the midst of the chaos. Truly, “Boston Strong” is a legit description of this place.

I can’t wait to be part of it again.

2012 Boston Marathon Tips

Are You Mentally Prepared?

It’s been a year since I ran the 115th Boston Marathon and definitely a time for reflection. I think the biggest part of my preparation that could have been better was my mental preparation. As I’ve shared before on this blog, mental preparation is so key for success.

I was so drained from raising money for charity, getting my travel plans in order and training that when I found myself at the starting line, the event hit me like a ton of bricks.

Hopefully, this year’s round of Boston Marathon runners will take heed to Runner’s World’s recent spotlight article called “8 Mental Tricks for Boston Runners.” Boy, I wish I had been able to hear Harvard psychologist and Runner’s World advisor Dr. Jeff Brown prior to my race! Dr. Brown has been the psychologist assisting the Boston Marathon for more than a decade, so he knows all about the psychology of marathon running.

In the video, Dr. Brown shares his eight mental strategies for runners. Here’s a quick synopsis:

1. Trust Your Training. Set up a routine and follow the routine in advance. Going over your plan will help reduce anxiety, according to Brown.

2. Eliminate the Doubts. Keep positive self statements in your mind. Negative thoughts make your shoes heavy, says Brown.

3. Put Life’s Distractions Away Before and During the Race. Self explanatory.

4. If Something Unexpected Happens…accept it for what it is and don’t worry about it. Perfection isn’t required to finish the race, explains Brown.

5. Overcome HeartBreak Hill. Mental tricks like repeating “glide,” “up,” and using other positive word associations will take your mind off your body and performance.

6. Indulge Your Superstitions. Superstitions can help you feel positive and encouraged. And, if you lost lucky your socks, don’t worry. Embrace new types of luck.

7. Choose 2 or 3 Goals. Setting several goals for your race is helpful so you can feel successful at multiple times during the race and feel overall satisfied with your race performance even if you didn’t hit your PR (personal record) time, says Brown.

8. Remind Yourself “Why” You’re Doing It. Know why you’re there and focus on it. Whether it’s your kids waiting for you at the finish line, accomplishing your ultimate goal or gaining bragging rights, focus on your “why.”

Watch Dr. Brown’s video here.

I Think I’ll Go to Boston…

That song by Augustanna is stuck in my head, but I’m definitely not moving here.

Today I’m up in Maine visiting my family and it’s the day before the race. It has been cold, windy and rainy, the exact antithesis of what I hope race day weather will be like in Boston on the big day. (Forecasters are still predicting clear and 61 degrees for a high, so I’m crossing my fingers and praying!!)

After breakfast we’re heading down to Boston to hit the expo so I can get my race number, etc (um very important!) and then shop ’til I drop on all-things-Boston Marathon souvenirs.

To say that I’m excited for this very big day ahead is such an understatement. I just cannot WAIT!

And, as any little bits of nerves try to creep in (“hope my foot will feel all right,” “what will I do if it rains?” etc.), I dismiss them all away in favor of looking forward to adventure, whatever obstacles surface along the 26.2-mile route.

That’s marathoning, after all.

So, as I depart from Maine, I’m hopeful I’ll be able to blog after the race tomorrow, but we’ll see. Still have to encounter where we’re staying and the Internet situation there.

If not, can’t WAIT to provide an update. ONE DAY AWAY!!!!  🙂

Boston Bound!

The big day is here…well, the big travel day at least.

I’m sitting at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and ready to take the next step in this very exciting journey.

House is clean, bags are packed with everything (hopefully!) and flight is on time (so far!).

As I walked up to the security line to take off my shoes and just about every other article of clothing, the TSA guy asked the routine questions:

TSA Guy: Where are you going?

Me: Boston.

TSA Guy: What are you doing there?

Me: (Slight hesitation) To run the Boston Marathon.

TSA Guy: Wow, great, good luck! You can go ahead.

Such a normal conversation, but SO satisfying to share that kind of answer.

I’m running the Boston Marathon.

Wow! Nearly broke down into tears in that moment lol.

My friend Danyell jokingly told me today “you should have worn a shirt that says that.”

Really, I should have. Maybe it would have said “Boston or Bust,” or “I’m Running the Boston Marathon…HUG ME!” or some other random thing. Would have been great, but then again, I did feel a little bit of shyness creep up when everyone around me in line turned to look at me after I said I was running the Boston Marathon.

Better to keep a low profile.

I’m happily looking forward to several days of wearing workout pants and running shoes with no questions asked and also sans the guilt of looking slightly slouchy.


Follow My Boston Marathon Journey

Last night I was packing my bags for my Boston Marathon trip and my mind had already begun to race.

What will the weather be like? Oh, I can’t forget the extra power gel. Should I pack an extra North Face jacket for before the race…yes, just in case. I wonder what Heartbreak Hill will live up to the hype.

I decided to pack a separate Isagenix® duffle bag to tote with me on the plane just in case my luggage gets lost en route to Boston (having traveled to Boston Logan a few times, I know what can happen). I might be without my makeup or regular clothes for a few days, but at least the really important essentials will be close to the hip.

Again, I am just so filled with gratitude for all of the tremendous support I’ve received along the way and the encouraging words I’m hearing from my friends and colleagues as the day draws nearer….even got a call from my friend in Alaska who had her special education class sing a rendition of “Happy Marathon Day” (think: Happy Birthday song, but with “happy marathon” instead) to me over my cell phone. Gosh, I feel so special and loved!!!!

So, if you want to follow me on the “big day,” here’s the info on how to do it:

  • The Boston Marathon will be televised in the U.S. live in its entirety via Universal Sports. Here’s more info.
  • If you want texts sent to your phone with updates on my progress, you can sign up via AT&T Athlete Alert. Just text the word “RUNNER” to 345678 and you’ll get updates at the 10km, halfway, 30km and finish line.
  • My bib number is 26722 and I’ll be in the final wave and corral since a time is not required for a charity runner.

I’ll try my best to post updates and pictures of my experience along the way and will definitely post a follow up reflection and play-by-play after race day on Monday, April 18.

Thanks for following me and I can’t wait to share more about this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Dreams DO come true!!!  😀