Mudderella 2015

My sister and me at the half way point! a nice
My sister and me at the half way point! a nice “obstacle” climbing a wall to look through the window and have our picture taken




My sister and I ran the 2015 New England Mudderella a few weekends ago. These phrases are things you hear a lot on the course. They may seem like just phrases, but they are so much more than that. In my opinion, they are a call to action to women and men everywhere to wake up and pay attention.

the race course for the New England Mudderella at Thompson motor speedway
the race course for the New England Mudderella at Thompson motor speedway

Power to the she: women are strong, and capable. No one doubts that. However in this race there is no “this is easier” “here is an easier obstacle” “here is the female start line”. There is just a course. A five mile obstacle course. Running up hill, down hill, climbing walls, trudging through sludge, balancing on balance beams made of logs, and crawling under wires through mud. It is a tough course. It was definitely fun, but you needed to do it as a team, and you had to believe in yourself.

the "selfie" banner after the race.
the “selfie” banner after the race.

Own your strong: each woman (and man) on the course has their story. Each story is different, but what isn’t different is that we all race for the cause. No matter how large or small the donation, no matter how strong or weak we are, we all run for each other. The idea of teamwork is critical in this race. Many obstacles occur just so that you CANNOT get through it alone. One obstacle in particular for me was the wall. Even with a foot hold, my body weight weighed me down.  I didn’t trust myself to not flip over the wall. I felt unsteady. There was a great group of women who helped us through and at this obstacle, they spotted and encouraged me. I found myself saying “I just needed to know someone was there.” I was strong enough, I just needed the courage. In that moment I owned my strong in that I could not do it alone.

statistics can be scary
statistics can be scary

Futures without violence is a not for profit organization that supports women, educates, and fights against domestic violence, child abuse, bullying, and violence against women. It is astounding to think that 1 in every 4 women is abused. I had never thought about it like that. Look around you. One of every four women around you. (Obviously not actually the women sitting there necessarily). My sister and I ran together. There were three women we were with along the course. The ones who helped me over the wall. We ran beside them, all five of us pushed shoved and grabbed each other over the A frame wall. We laughed, high-fived, physically pushed, and supported each other. We finished together. Three of them,  two of us. Holding hands as we crossed the finish line. I did not want to finish running that race. I wanted to walk. They pushed me.

It was after the finish line that one of them broke down in tears. She hugged us both, long and tight, and then the three of them were willing to take the finish line photo with us. (I purposely omitted this photo because I did not get their permission to post.) We did it together. We finished together. The reason for her tears is unknown. I remember at mile one she hugged the mile one marker and was relieved to be there. At the A frame wall she literally grabbed my leg and shoved me up. As we ran and did obstacles together there was a sense of “this is more than a race”.

It is not just women who suffer, but men and children do as well. make yourself aware
It is not just women who suffer, but men and children do as well. make yourself aware

I am eight days out from the race, I have bruises everywhere that I have been hiding all week. I received them jumping over walls, climbing ropes, and just going all-in on all of the obstacles. I need to hide these because I am worried they could be a sign to my students parents or to others at work that I am being abused. I am not. I am fortunate. I do not have to hide bruises every day of my life.
One in four.
One out of every four women are victims of domestic abuse.
One out of every four women HAS A NEED to hide bruises because she fears for her life.
Know your friends
Know your family
Ask questions
Offer help
Don’t let someone you love suffer as one of the four.
Find out more at Futures Without Violence

and find out more about the race at Mudderella

When It Is Not What You Expected.

my parents looking beautiful on Easter
my parents looking beautiful on Easter

Our parents are our first teachers.

They are our first hero.

They are the first to believe in us.

They are the first to care for us when we are sick.

As we age, we grow towards and from them like the ocean ebbs and flows from the shore.

As they age, their need for us to care for them becomes greater.

As they age, we are grateful for the moments to give back for all they gave us.

I mention in my bio my parents have had a few health issues over the last few years. My parents are not old, but I also remember that they are older than me, and as we age, no matter our age, our bodies start to show signs of wear and tear. If you are really active or not, your body is going to suffer at some point.

For my father, it has been joints, his heart, and problems with his ears. He has some hearing loss, and suffered for almost 6 months with vertigo before it was cured by a resourceful and dedicated doctor. There was a moment where I thought we were going to lose my dad. It was his heart. He lost consciousness while running. That was scary.  The end result was Atrial Fibrillation, and after an ablation, he has had no recurrence. He started eating healthier, walking more, and has shed some weight. He has worked hard to improve his overall health, and as a reward, he was recently discharged from his cardiologist.

My mom has been a teacher for over 30 years. Almost my whole life. She is so dedicated to her students that she often puts herself last. She has had problems with her knees as long as I remember. These issues stem from being a preschool/kindergarten teacher for so long and spending over 30 years in retail where she is constantly on her feet. She knew she needed to do something as the pain was unbearable. After a few procedures to try to avoid knee replacement, she eventually ended up needing it.

Earlier this summer she had her knee replacement surgery, and the surgery itself went as expected. What happened after was anything but expected.

Starting the day after surgery, my mom had heart and breathing issues that the doctors were able to resolve. After this episode they looked into her heart rate and some other things they were seeing and decided there was something going on. Several tests, appointments and added diagnosis later, she is now facing an uncertain diagnosis. Her doctor is saying it seems to be an autoimmune disorder, but is sending her for further testing. We do not have a name, but we do know that none of the “little” issues that have arisen will go away just because she gets a name. She is going to have to manage them all.

It means that my mom who has never “needed” a doctor will be spending days and weeks of appointments with them trying to figure out what is going on, and how to help her body recover.

I don’t know if she is scared or not. The not knowing? The unknown? That is my biggest fear in life. Here she is facing it. She is a rock star with her PT and making great strides with her knee. She still has a long recovery ahead of her. This is foreign to her. Taking medicine, going to doctors, being honest with herself and her doctors, these are all new to her.

The unknown is scary, and it can feel lonely, but in reality we have a strong family, and we will overcome it. Right now, right now we just don’t know, and it definitely is not what we expected.


I would also like to add a note that I am writing this for my emotions. I know there are people who deal with more, and people who would kill to deal with another day with their parents. I do not take lightly how lucky I am to have them both and have these moments with them.