What’s Your Purpose?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what to do with the blog once I cross the finish line on March 18th. Running in Mommyland has turned into such an important aspect of my life for so many reasons, most of which have been documented here. I don’t want it to end, yet I know that it must (in its current form), as the finish line is just five weeks away.

Yesterday for no logical reason, I started a Running in Mommyland facebook page, even though I’d been busily tossing around its future. It was an interesting process, a frustrating process, as I am not a computer programmer. HTML code and iFrame and App development? I was using a part of my brain that doesn’t get stretched very often and I was reminded of my frustration with Physics in high school; one of the two reasons I didn’t graduate with my class. Is it a surprise that a boy was the other? I was oblivious, the true nature of youth.

As I worked on the page I made a decision.

Running in Mommyland will continue to be written, but with a brand new focus.

I want to get published!

I don’t know how it’s going to happen or what is going to be written. Will it be more blog posts that turn into something bigger? Maybe I’ll write a fun young adult novel as my first book out of the gate. It feels like the right decision. The two other books that are waiting in my soul (Maine and Sister) are too important and I’m not ready to give them the complete focus that they deserve. Plus they require research, which always takes time.

In some ways blogging has been easy, because there is a never-ending array of stories and experiences that happen in real life. True novel-writing is taking it to another level where character study and relationships, plot and problem, make it what it is; real, but not really, page turning and memorable (if it’s good). That, I consider a challenge.

For now, the challenge at hand is tomorrow’s nineteen miler. Though writing has helped keep me sane, I’ve become a little superstitious about documenting my feelings in regard to the biggies. So I’ll leave it there; the dangling nineteen.

As one personal challenge wraps itself up, another one has revealed its purpose.

Everyone have a purpose.


Girl On Fire Nails

I was talking to Sophie about painting my nails bright pink with red flames for the race, as an homage to Katniss (Girl on Fire) from the Hunger Games; both as inspiration to keep me going and as a “thank you” for helping me through so many long runs.

These are much prettier than what I imagined…. love them!


Our Valentine edition continues – today we wanted to try a nail art design that wasn’t all about flowers and heart, but something that can be done in any colour and still look great all year around. The gobstopper nail, or the layered ruffian is our latest favourite. This design looks great ombred so we used a v-day palette to go with our theme.

Step 1: After applying a base coat, paint nail with Sally Hansen – Presto Pink. This colour is a perfect pop of pink to begin our look that won’t get lost with the addition of different shades.

Step 2: Using American Apparel – Angeline, a deeper hot pink, paint a ruffian design over your base colour. Start at the far side of the nail and try to drag the polish in one swift motion to the opposite side  – this helps create a perfectly curved line. We used the…

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Cancer Schmancer

Four times I year I go to the dermatologist. It’s a big event that I get all worked up about, even though the last three years have been uneventful. That is, until today.

Let me go back.

When I was pregnant with the twins I was a very good girl and dragged myself to see Dr. Williams at Central Dermatology (if you click the link, Dr. Williams is the blonde). I never like to go, but I always do.

I was early in my second trimester and already as big as a house. I stripped down to my underpants and the infamous paper dress, and held my belly while I waited.

When she was ready to see me, my amazing doctor came into the room and we talked about the babies, what I thought their names would be, the niceties.

Then she got down to business, as she does. It’s the same old song and dance. Start with arms and scan. Ask if I’ve noticed anything new. Look across my back. Get out the little measurer thingy. Say big words to the assistant.

When she stopped, I knew I’d be heading home with at least a few stitches.

Only once after being biopsied in the past did I need to come back to remove more from the margins. I survived that first surgery in 2006 mildly unscathed, with a scar that has faded so much that only little children notice it now, when my right forearm is showing.

I was aware that more biopsies were always a possibility, but I figured I had enough going on with my high risk pregnancy, and that whole thing about God only giving us as much as we can handle. I guess He thought I could handle more.

By the time she passed over my belly, which looked, “clean,” and made it to my legs, she’d marked me with a sharpie seven different times. I confirmed this with the assistant during my visit today. She was not with the practice at the time, and her eyes grew wide when she read the number on my chart.

“She NEVER biopsies that much,” were the next words out of her mouth.

The assistant back in 2007 had to locate another pathology container, since the one in the room had space for only five. I checked this too (when I was left alone in room this morning) by counting the little circles on the container labeled Greensboro Pathology; same container with five round slots.

Despite my hesitancy about being injected with numbing drugs that were not tested in pregnant women, I held my breath and let Dr. Williams get to work. It was a tough day.

During the last weeks of pregnancy I had surgery every ten days to remove various melanomas and extremely dangerous cells (that would likely turn into melanoma if not removed). It took ten whole days for a biopsy to be tested, analyzed, and for me to return for a surgery. My final melanoma stitches were removed in the Labor and Delivery Ward by my OBGYN. I was 32 weeks pregnant and the babies needed to come out.  I was ready; they needed a little more time. Thankfully they were born healthy, though small, and I was enormously grateful!

The past four years I’ve been melanoma/cancer free. I have seen specialists at UNC Chapel Hill and have been diligent about wearing sunscreen. We believe that my skin issues increased rapidly during pregnancy with all the hormones I had surging and that not being pregnant was probably the reason things calmed down. As a teenager, my refusal to listen to my mother regarding sun protection, and the practice of covering myself with baby oil to be Bain De Soleil brown, had a lot to do with it too.

Imagine my surprise this morning, when Dr. Williams paused and requested her special light and measuring thingy. One of my lovely melanoma scars has developed a blue mark, which looks like a recurrence.

I went through the whole song and dance again, took the shot of lidocaine like a pro, got “punched,” (4mm), and will begin the waiting game.

My thoughts on the drive home were that dealing with this will be easier not being pregnant. But the same old feelings of worry came back. I want to be well for my kids, and my husband, and my family (old and new).

I cried on Brian’s shoulder for two seconds when I walked in the door, but I’m feeling much better now. The writing definitely helps, not to mention the goal of finishing the marathon, which has become a huge part of my life. This marathon  is going to happen despite what is thrown my way.

It would be really nice, though, to not have to run it with stitches.

Rest Day Tuesday

Today is a rest day and rest days are hard for me. I feel strong, so I want to run! I know, though, that in order to ensure I’ll get through marathon day without injuries (or at least as few as this old bod can manage), I’ve got to follow the rules. As I mentioned in my first post, I’m following the Hal Higdon Novice 1 training plan. The plan starts with lower weekly mileage than I’ve been running, so I began at week 8. I spoke to my endocrinologist about this and he agreed that I should start where I actually am, and not go backward. My long runs, before making the final decision to run a marathon, were about 9-10 miles. I’ll probably run 10 one week and then bounce down to 6-7 and work my way back up until I actually hit Novice 1 week 8.

In addition to HalHigdon.com, I like the mileage build up plan on marathontraining.com. I started in the middle of the build up plan too, but I’m not sure if i’ll be able to keep up with the actual marathon training plan. It’s really long mileage, much longer than the Novice 1.

I’ve looked at lots of other plans, including Runner’s World and Jeff Galloway, but the two I’m sticking with at the moment seem to be working.

A good friend of mine told me to find a group to run with. Unfortunately, the Jeff Galloway group is winding down it’s season. The other groups in Raleigh have runs that won’t work with my lovely schedule. A few mom’s at the girls’ pre-school have offered to run with me, but I know for a fact that they are MUCH faster than me. It is possible to run with them, during the week, but, I’m such a chicken. I don’t want to hold them back or to push myself too hard.  No, at this point I’m going to go it alone. I won’t lie though, it would be nice to share the experience with some like minded mama’s!