Starting 2018 with a Bang (literally)

Video blogs aren’t usually my thing but typing is hard right now so, here we go!

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When Things Aren’t Perfect

Life can be fricking hard, yo. I don’t have it figured out, but I do know what helps me when things get tough. Today, I’m sharing some thoughts about dealing with life’s struggles. I hope they help you, too, and always be kind to yourself.

 

Changes

2016 has been one helluva year to date.

My father passed away after a 10-month battle with leukemia. My business moved to a brand-new office building, uprooting me from my home-away-from-home for the last 14 years. And the biggest life change – my husband and I are expecting our first child.

I know this post is long overdue, but where to start?

My dad, an Ecuadorian who moved to United States in the 1950s to attend university, had a spectacular life. A mapmaker by trade, he lived 85 years and remained positive throughout his last year, despite his terminal diagnosis. He died in February, and I was fortunate enough to spend several days with him and my mother the week before he died. At that time, I shared our news – that he would have a grandchild.

My dad was thrilled. He couldn’t get over it, as I’m the youngest of his four children and I’m what the medical community politely refers to being of advanced maternal age…a geriatric pregnancy.

You see, my dad and my pregnancy are linked. I don’t like to talk about it and hesitate to share even here, but it’s time to take a leap of faith.

The day I found out dad was sick, I also learned I was pregnant.

The day I helped tell my father he was dying, I learned that my pregnancy wasn’t viable.

The day I learned dad’s chemotherapy had stopped working I also learned I was again expecting.

Less than two months later, he passed away in my parents’ Pennsylvania home.

Dad was what I’d call a true gentleman and an incredible storyteller. He was quirky (who isn’t?) and intelligent, but lived for his loves – most importantly my mother. He was dedicated to his job and would have been honored to see dozens of former co-workers from across the country lovingly share stories as they attended his memorial service.

I know he is still with me, as I can feel his love and guidance regularly. I am heartbroken that he will not be able to hold his grandson.

As for me, I’m nearly done with the second trimester.

The first trimester was physically exhausting. The second was mentally draining with all the changes and adjustments, but I’ve been blessed with a wonderful network of family and friends who have simply been incredible.

Since just before dad passed, I’ve felt good – the energy returned when I most needed it and I’ve slowly realized I need to slow down a bit –  and I have.

Vic at nearly 25 weeks. Almost to the third trimester!

Vic at nearly 25 weeks. Almost to the third trimester!

In mid-April I outed myself at work, as I could not longer hide my rapidly-expanding waist. I also launched a new series about prenatal fitness, starting with yoga.

Now, I’m looking forward as my husband and I prepare for the birth of our son. I’m blessed to be able to share the journey with my cousin Keith and his wife Laura, who are expecting their first child (a girl!) in July, and my brother-in-law Andy and his wife Diane, who are due in September.

We’ve been purging the house of unneeded items. We’ve been preparing the nursery. We’ve been spending time together, relishing our last months as a couple.

It’s a whole new world.

Shake It Up

A new month brings big changes with the Scoot a Doot chicks.

We changed from a .com to a .org and are in the process of moving, so please bare with us! And with Brooke retiring from blogging this fall, we asked two new chicks to join the hen house.

Today, we’re proud to introduce Jenn and Kyle are now Scoot a Doot chicks!

So please welcome Jenn, our Boulder-bred, pug momma who loves yoga, sewing, running and cycling.

And please give a hearty hello to Kyle, our misplaced Alaskan who we actually first met via social media. We ran and ate ice cream together last summer, and it was love at first bite.

We’re so excited to have them both on board!

And to kick it off, Jenn and Kyle will introduce… each other!

kyleandjenn

Jenn Says: Being a reader of Scoot A Doot, I always enjoy Kyle’s fun guest posts and laugh at her bubbly, witty comments. Her running accomplishments inspire me, and when the Chicks deemed her awesome, I knew Kyle had to be good people because my girls know how to pick ‘em. As I suspected, Kyle’s replies to my “let’s get acquainted” interview questions confirmed what I suspected would happen; I can’t wait to get to know this Kyle Chick better!

Coffee is life.

My name is Kyle and I’m a coffee addict.

How do you know the Chicks?

So, I’m the weirdo who meets people through the internet. I have a friend on Twitter that posted a link to Scoot one day (Thanks, Christina!), so I trotted over and started reading. And then I thought to myself – these people are cool… I’m going to internet stalk them. And I did. And then we ran together. Thus began a beautiful friendship.

How long have you been running, and when did you first consider yourself a runner? 

“Runner” is a funny word. I’ve always considered myself an athlete, but I’m pretty sure that I still don’t consider myself a runner, even though technically I’ve been engaged in the sport of running in some way or another since I was very small. Growing up with a mom who was a marathoner meant that running was normal and happened daily in my house. I sometimes joined – begrudgingly. I ran track in elementary and middle school. I ran cross-country during the summers (sometimes) to train for Nordic skiing. I ran when it was required of me for basketball and volleyball. But mostly I hated it. Because running is hard and usually takes a long time and I’m really way too competitive. I liked track because I could sprint and then be done. Same with basketball. Distance running? Ha! No Bueno.

But then, after college, when I decided I’d been sedentary for too long (which is a hard realization for someone who has been playing sports constantly since the age of 6), I said to myself “self, you need to get your shiz together.” So I started running to make myself get in shape. Then I signed up for a 5-miler I’d done a million times growing up – with low expectations mind you – and ended up crushing it. I got home that day and said to my mom “I think I want to run a half…” and she said “You totally could. Do it.” That was that. Since then (the summer of 2012), I haven’t looked back and I’m currently training for my third marathon.

Do you have a favorite race?

Oh this is a hard one! Each race I’ve done has been so different, with the experience being more of what I remember than the course itself. I think my favorite race experience was the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon (my first) – Meri mom-ed me all weekend, hosting me, driving me around, getting me to the race, hiking 10 miles all over Philly to cheer me on, and feeding me after. I used that race to raise money for a cause I feel really passionate about and I was overwhelmed with how much support I had from friends and family and people I’d never even met. The race itself was awesome, too. Just really well-organized and smooth. It wasn’t a PR, but I’ll never forget that day and that means more to me and going fast.

What do you tell people who think they can’t be a ‘runner’?

I tell them that anyone can run a mile. Unless of course you have some health-related barrier to running, you can run a mile. It might take some work, and for some that work might be really hard, but anyone can run a mile. You just have to be brave enough to try. As Amy Poehler says: “When you feel scared, hold someone’s hand and look into their eyes. And when your feel brave, do the same thing.” If you’re nervous about starting to run, find a friend to run with you – you’ll be more motivated and you’ll probably have more fun if someone is right alongside you, suffering with you 😉

What is your biggest race pet peeve?

Kyle with her favorite Swede and her favorite mom-who-isn't-her-mom at the Cherry Blossom 2014 10 Miler

Kyle with her favorite Swede and her favorite mom-who-isn’t-her-mom at the Cherry Blossom 2014 10 Miler

I’m a pretty chill person, so I don’t have any real pet peeves about races. I try to go into them relaxed and with the mindset that everything that happened leading up to the start doesn’t matter once we take off. I leave whatever annoyances I had behind me and just run. That said, it does kind of bug me when spectators encroach on the course – that happened a lot during the Chicago Marathon this year and while it never really irritated me, I did make a point to run as close to them as possible sometimes just to see if they’d get it and move back. #passiveaggressivemuch?

What are you most passionate about off of the race course?

While I’m passionate about a lot of causes, I spend the most time advocating for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. I’ve volunteered as a crisis interventionist with RAINN and raised funds for the Joyful Heart Foundation. I actively support JHF’s efforts to increase awareness around and end the issue of the nation-wide rape kit backlog. I am constantly working to keep myself educated on the issues in this space so that I can be an effective advocate and resource to others.

What is your favorite thing to do BESDIES run?

DO ALL OF THE THINGS! Haha. Actually, that’s kind of true. I like to do so many activities, but right now, besides running, I’m spending a lot of time playing basketball, singing with the Alexandria Choral Society and consuming pop culture (reading books and watching way too much Netflix). I basically see myself as a combination of Leslie Knope and Veronica Mars – a big nerd with a side of sarcasm. It’s cool.

Kyle says: Whew! Lord. I talk a lot. ANYWAYS. Enough about me.  It’s time for you all to get to know the awesome lady that is Jenn. Having been adopted by the Scoot family, Jenn has been on my radar as someone who I clearly needed to meet, because if my chicks loved her, then I was clearly missing out on some great friend action. I was right. I got to know her a bit better, and now you get to, too!

Jenn as She-Ra, with He-Man, at the 2012 Super Hero 5K In Cambridge, MA.

Jenn as She-Ra, with He-Man, at the 2012 Super Hero 5K In Cambridge, MA.

How do you know the Chicks?

Way back in the day in 2009, I met Mer, Jess, Cam, and Bec when our mutual love of writing brought us together on the internet. We meet up in person as often as we can, and have been known to visit tequila bars in San Diego and take chocolate walking tours in Boston. I met Vic and yourself more recently but as a reader of Scoot A Doot, I’ve been so inspired by both of you ladies. Your marathon successes help keep me motivated!

How long have you been running, and when did you first consider yourself a runner?

I’ve been running off and on for about two years. Running is not something I thought I could do because I’m asthmatic. I’m a slow runner, but I keep at it because for me it’s an accomplishment just being out there. I know a marathon may be out of my reach, but I’m totally planning on doing  the Disney Rebel Challenge and the GSC, hopefully in 2016.

The first time I felt like a runner was crossing the finish line at the 2014 Bolder Boulder. That is my longest distance to date, and the stadium full of cheering people made me feel like an athlete for the first time in my life. It felt wonderful.

 Do you have a favorite race?

I’ve done a handful of fun runs and theme runs but so far the Bolder Boulder 10k is my favorite. Maybe it’s because it’s my hometown race. Maybe it’s because there were belly dancers cheering me on. Perhaps it was because people built makeshift slip-and-slides in their front lawns along the course. It’s hard to say for sure. One thing is certain, though, it’s a beautiful setting for an amazing race experience with some serious crowd support!

What do you tell people who think they can’t be a ‘runner’?

I tell them that if I can get out there with my wheezy butt and finish, so can they. I also tell them not to compare themselves to anyone in the beginning. Starting out is hard, so don’t make unrealistic expectations about what you can physically handle or you’ll set yourself up for failure.

What is your biggest race pet peeve?

I don’t have one yet. I’m so slow that I just try to not be everyone else’s pet peeve!

What are you most passionate about off the race course?

I’m trying to narrow down my passions from a zillion to a much more manageable five. The essentials are writing fiction, sewing, quilting, crocheting, and yoga. I have four dogs; three pugs and a mixed breed rescue, and I currently serve as Secretary of the AKC  registered Rocky Mountain Pug Dog Club. I’m a lover of pop culture, British literature, and Alfred Hitchcock films. Crap, that’s more than five.

Hi. I’m Jenn, and I’m pretty sure I have ADD.

Jenn Says: Howdy, Scoot A Doot! I can’t tell you how happy I am to be a part of the awesomeness that is YOU. The Chicks have been such a positive influence on me, and I’m very honored they asked me to be a part of their fantastic message. I can’t wait to get to know everyone, and to learn about your journey running on your slice of this crazy planet.

Kyle Says:  I’m SO stinkin’ excited to be on board this crazy train. The Scoot A Doot family welcomed me as one of their own long before they asked me to join the blog – and for that, I couldn’t be more grateful. I’m so ready to share my story with all of you and get to know you all. The running community is a special thing to be a part of and I’m so glad to be here!