Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Mother's Love

I was recently reminded about this blog by a friend. I had a distant memory of it. I am almost 30. I am getting older, did I even remember the website? Was it lost in the world wide web? I started searching and here it is. As I read through the posts the cobwebs started to clear. All these memories started flooding back. See this blog started when a I was going through a huge life change. I was getting healthy and happy. I was living in CT. When I left CT back home to PA I left it behind. I think I left a part of my soul behind too. I am happy where I am now, but I will never forget the amazing things I did while living in CT. I found my inner and outer strength that I never knew existed.

Life sure has changed. If you would have asked me back then what I would be doing 4 years later, I don't know what I would have said. I guess that's life though. You can never predict the future. You can only live in the present and appreciate the memories and lessons you learned in the past.

When I got married a friend of the family told me to never stop writing. I should have listened. Writing this blog was such a release, it made me happy. It helped me cope with all the changes in life.

I have been so consumed with life lately. It's not a bad thing, contrary I have had a fantastic reason to be consumed. On September 13, 2014 I completed my most amazing feat of strength. Rivaling anything I ever did in CT. At 2:05 am I gave birth to the most perfect baby in the entire world. Lucas Ryan Sandly was not planned. He was a big ol' oops. I didn't want children yet, I had a 10 year plan. Well, God has different plans.

The first year was the hardest. 12 weeks of maternity leave isn't enough. Breastfeeding is hard. You don't think you just do. When he turned a year I thought, wow... I'm finally getting a handle on this. Nope, guess what...The time between his first and second birthday is a blur. Just like Dory in Finding Nemo "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."

My son is now 2 years old. With his new found language and independence I have been able to step back and reevaluate my life. I stepped on a scale for the first time in years and had a panic attack. How did I let myself go? I had worked so hard....I felt like a failure. Well, if I learned anything in CT it is that when the going gets tough, buck up. Move heavy shit. Do something.

Well, that's easier said than done. I won't list my excuses. I promise you I have tons. I am finally remembering a huge part of the puzzle. It's not all about losing weight, or exercising, or eating right. You have to do what makes you happy. I've lost myself while giving all of me to my son. I don't think it's a problem. I think it's a part of life. A quote from the Giving Tree by Shell Silverstein comes to mind "... and she loved a boy very, very much-- even more than she loved herself."

I am finally at a point in my life that I am able to start writing again. I need to, it's been too long. I love being a mother. I love my son. I am ready to start loving myself again as much as I love my son.

I lay here propped up on a pillow with him on my chest. I had just drawn a bath and poured a glass of wine when he woke up crying. Nothing soothed him. I'm OK that the bath water is cold,  and my wine can go in the fridge. I know he won't be this little for long. I will blink and he will be in school. Moments like these give me time to reflect. Today I decided I'm ready. I'm ready to write again. I love my son with all of my heart, but I'm no good to him if I don't love myself. 

Cheers to you all for reading. Thank you for sharing this moment with me. I'll get to my wine tomorrow.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mr. Smiles

A few weeks ago my landlord gave us the heads up that he was going to have the house painted. I was annoyed when he told me this. I have a lot going on in my life, but that's a whole 'nother blog post! Dealing with painters is not on my list of things I want to deal with right at this particular moment in my life. You see, when I think of painters I think of a big mess and strange men running around getting my yard dirty and looking in my windows. I quickly shoved the thought to the back of my mind until yesterday. 

I came home yesterday to find a ladder propped up against my house with a person standing on it. Here we go, the freaking painters are here. So I parked in my drive way...walked up to my porch and stopped in my tracks. 

The man on the ladder was old, and when I say old I Grandpa old. He saw me, and starts to climb down the ladder. My first instinct was to grab the ladder and help him down; I mean...he's really old. He nimbly climbed down before I could make the first move. 

I am not usually lost for words, however I've been a little discombobulated and absent minded lately (I call it Wedding Brain...seriously I let steak burn on the stove while typing this blog post *sigh*). I mustered a polite "Hello, I'm Kerry"...but that's all I could manage. What in the hell was this old man doing painting my house?! Could my landlord really not afford to pay a REAL painter to come? Should I be calling the police for elder abuse? 

"I'm Mr. S, I'll be painting your house" as he took off his work glove and shook my hand. Mr. S was much taller than I thought and not as feeble as I first assumed. He quickly moved his ladder and let me in the house. He started apologizing profusely for being in my way. I was still in stupid-shock so I just told him no problem and walked inside.

After collecting myself and calling my Mother (my go-to person in times of....well I call her at least 10 times a day) I went back outside  through the back door. I walked around and watched him for a while. He was not what I expected. He had 1 bucket of paint and one paint brush and was stroke by stroke back and forth painting the whole damn house. It was maddening. I wanted to tell him there are bigger paint brushes at Home Depot! They have these machines that spray a square foot of paint at a time! 

When he saw me watching him he got off his ladder again. I asked if he needed anything, water, bathroom (a walker?) He says "no I have my thermos and my wife packed me food". Ok well good, at least he's prepared I thought. He asked me if he was going to be in my way! I said no of course not, he also asked me if it was ok that he came throughout the weekend. I told him he could paint whenever he wanted, it was no problem. Then he starts talking, and talking, and talking. I learned that he is 79, he is friend's with the landlord's parents, he pays A LOT in taxes and thinks CT is too expensive, and that his son used to work on Wall Street but joined the Marines after 9/11, got "blown up" in Iraq but recuperated at a hospital in Germany and just completed a bicycle fundraiser from CA to NYC for Marines and those affected by 9/11). 

That's a lot of information to digest. He then mentioned that he lives up the road and notices I'm never home. I laughed and told him I work 20 miles away and because of traffic I leave early and come home late. Then (as I was carrying in bags from AC Moore) I explained that I was getting married in June. He was happy to hear my very briefly about my wedding plans etc. (again another blog post for another time). Then he says, well I'll get back to work now, it was nice meeting you. Whew! This nice old guy is a talker, but very endearing I thought as I walked inside. 

So this morning, I wake up to Mr. S. waving at me through my kitchen window. I waved back and went outside to say hello. He was all smiles. "My wife says to tell you CONGRATULATIONS on your upcoming wedding". How freaking sweet. I smiled and thanked him. He asked if he was going to be in my way...I assured him that he wasn't. 

He is still out there painting. He seriously is a breath of fresh air in my life right now. I went out to the grocery store and he smiled when I left and said "Welcome Home" when I returned. I want to keep him, he is so positive and friendly and genuinely happy. He has a story like everyone has a story. He has a life, has a past, and has stuff going on in his life too. But here he is painting my house, congratulating me on my wedding. I have not been sleeping well, I've been obsessing over wedding, work and other things happening in my life. This little old man has reminded me to stop, breathe, and enjoy life. I think it is so easy to get consumed with your life, and forget to "stop and smell the roses" so they say. Today,I was reminded that the world doesn't revolve around me and the stresses in my life are no different than other people's stresses. Being miserable and overly stressed doesn't fix anything. I've slightly spun out of control emotionally and mentally lately. Sometimes all you need is a smiling stranger painting your house to help bring you back into orbit. Now I need to go be a smiling stranger to someone else....and check on Mr. S, who I have fondly nicknamed Mr. Smiles. Last time I peaked out he was half way up the roof *eeek!*

Until next time,

<3 Kerry

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

so there's this muscle...

So there's this muscle called the illeotibial band a.k.a the IT band....well it's really a band of thick fibers that connects a whole lot of important muscles in your leg. Just talking about it brings back terrible memories of functional anatomy in college!! Apparently soreness and tightness is relatively normal for runners. Especially new/beginner runners. Well, my IT band and muscles around my IT band are TIGHT! Last week I started limping around the day after my long run because my muscles were just seized up. I finally called a chiropractor who I trust 100% and I'm getting better. I'm not hurt, my muscles are just rebelling. Not that I blame them, I've been putting my leg muscles through a ton of stress in the past few weeks. I've also become intimate with this thing I called a foam roller. I used to think foam rollers were a nice way to loosen up muscles, which is true...until you have really tight muscles...and then a foam roller becomes a torture machine. So you roll your body over a cylindrical dense foam roller, it looks almost like a giant rolling pin but without the handles. Your body weight massages tight muscles. Which is the point, but &#^!##@* I've never uttered so many swear words in such a short amount of time. 

But it helps! Foam rolling, ice and some good 'ole E-Stimm and I'll be back to running soon! Speaking of soon, my race is coming up QUICK! Have you been meaning to donate? Don't worry...there is still time...but not much!!! Fundraising deadline is March 8! Don't wait until the last minute, donate today!

So this race is apparently a big deal. I just read an article that over 15,000 runners are expected. Let me repeat...OVER 15,000 RUNNERS ARE EXPECTED AT THE RACE. Let me put this into perspective. I grew up in Watsontown, PA....a quite sleepy little town with a population of 2,351. I will be running with all the people in my town....times 6. That's ALOT of people. Hard to visualize? According to Google....this is what 15,000 people look like.....

That's insane. 

I also was ready about all of the elite athletes and Olympians that will be racing with me as a tune up run for numerous Marathons. It cracks me up that what will be one of my biggest life accomplishments is a tune-up for some people. I guess it's all a matter of perspective. I am so excited to be a part of something so big. Not just the amount of people, but in my efforts to help cure cancer and raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Sometimes it's easy to can I help...out of 15,000 people what does it matter if I run or not? How can $1 do anything?! I believe that the positive energy you emit from giving of your time and energy has just as much impact as the money itself. So thank you all who have cared enough to donate, you make a difference and I personally appreciate you more than you will ever know. 

Hope you all are having a great week! Spring is right around the corner...I hope!

<3 Kerry

Monday, January 14, 2013

Strongman Competition

photo courtesy of David Salthouse

To start through my New Years Resolution "Year of Fitness" I participated in the Bigg Dogg Strongg Strongman Competition at Gold's Gym in Whippany, NJ. The Punch Belles as we like to call ourselves the are a bunch of us girls from my gym Punch Ketllebell Gym Norwalk, CT. The gym co/owner and trainer Stefanie Tropea does a lot of Strongman competitions, and she encouraged us to go. 

photo courtesy of David Salthouse

The Punch Belles are ready to go!
                                    photo courtesy of David Salthouse

We all competed in the Novice devision - because we are newbies and don't do this often. There were 4 events for us. First was the 120lb log press. Second was the 300lb Farmer's Carry. Third was 350lb deadlift. Fourth was 120lb Atlas Stones. My goal was to be able to complete 1 event, just one measly event. Surprisingly, I was able to do 2!! I almost got the log above my head, but not quite. When I went to lift the weight for the Farmer's Walk I couldn't budge it off the ground. It was HEAVY! When it was time for the deadlift (which was 50lbs heavier) I seriously asked Stef "how long do I have to try, cause I'm not gonna be able to get it". That's when the miracle of all miracles happened. It took 45 seconds of trial and error but I finally got that thing off the ground! It was an intense moment to say the least. The fourth event was the Atlas Stones. You pick it up, throw it over and repeat. I did 3 in one minute.

120lb Atlas Stones                                          

350lb Dead-lift

120lb Log Cl ean and Press
photos courtesy of David Salthouse

I had such a great time with the Punch Belles this weekend. Strongmen and Strongwomen competitors are wonderful people. Not only are they strong and good friends to have, but they are so positive and helpful too. Of course it is a competitive sport, but if you are struggling with your event there are a handful of people at all time willing to help you get the job done. I don't know of any other "sport" where your competition will lend you a belt, or wrist straps - or talk you through the right form. I had such a good time that I almost forgot about my 7 mile run with Team in Training the next morning!

I woke up sore and ready to just say forget it. If it wasn't for Jay  (my wonderful fiancee), I would have skipped out on the Team in Training run. He bought me a heatpack, and agreed to run with me! I was so glad that I went, there were over 20 people in attendance! I was supposed to run 7 miles, but I went slow and just allowed myself to see how far my body would allow. When everyone else was done with 7 miles, I was just about to 6 - pretty good for what I had been through the day before! 
                                     5.7 mile run Walnut Beach Milford, CT

photo courtesy of Jason Sandly

This weekend I learned how incredibly important it is to not give up on yourself. I had 100% given up on finishing any of the events at the competition - but somehow I pulled through. I also learned a lot about people, you cannot judge a book by its cover. No one would ever picture me hanging out at a Strongmen competition, let alone competing in one, and yet I did! Before focusing on getting healthy I never would have even thought I could do anything like that. That leads me to my third life lesson of the month - always always ALWAYS try new things, and never ever give up. You never know what could happen =)

<3 Kerry

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

 Happy New Year!!! Have you been planning and fun any exciting resolutions? This comic cracks me up, because it is SO TRUE! My resolution this year is a little different. I am going to complete a 12 month fitness challenge. By committing to these 12 activities, I'll be able to keep myself in check and active throughout the year. Let me know if you would like to join me in any of these events.  Also, if there are any events you want to participate in and need a friend, let me know!!

January 12 - Strongman Competition NJ
February 9 - Cupids 5k Hartford, CT
March 17 - Half Marathon NYC
April 27 - Color Me Rad 5k Hartford, CT
May 5 - Five Boro Bike Tour NYC (pending me buying a bike)
June 1 - JesVic5k Watsontown, PA
June 15 - *My Wedding* - sure to be a marathon in and of itself =)
July 26 - Sunset Run 5k Trumbull, CT
August 4 - Walnut Beach Ice Cream 5k Milford, CT
September 8 - Run Around The Block 15k Block Island, RI
October 13 - Steamtown Marathon Scranton, PA
November 28 - Turkey Trot Punch Gym Norwalk, CT
December - TBD (it will be a surprise!)

It's almost midnight...this will officially be my last post of 2012!!


p.s I'm watching CNN and I can't get enough of Anderson Cooper him!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

falling down, getting up, and lots of prayers

Saturday December 15, 2012
Today was rough. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. In the wake of the awful shootings in Newtown, I didn't want to do anything today. I wanted to curl up on the couch, watch CNN, and cry.
But that wasn't going to fix anything. So I went on my run with Team in Training. This weekend I went to a new meeting place, at Walnut Beach in Milford, CT. There I met the event coach Cindy, and lots of new running friends. Jill, another coach, ran/walked with me. I was super nervous because today was a planned 5 mile course, and I had serious doubts that I could finish it.
I quickly learned that finishing wasn't going to be my biggest hurdle today. Not 5 minutes into the run I tripped and fell on the sidewalk. Not a dainty fall either, I felt myself going down, tried to recover, couldn't, fell onto my palms and drop rolled onto my back feet flailing in the air. It was definetly some double-o-seven moves. Thinking back it would have made a GREAT video...seriously funny stuff. After explaining to my running partner (and the poor concerned citizen walking on the other side of the street) that I was ok and I am no stranger to falling...I got up and just kept going. I am seriously one of the clumsiest people alive. I blame by big feet. I can't wait to tell my Mom about my fall, we love to reaccount all of my clumsy adventures growing up, numerous bicycle accidents, skinned knees, falling down stairs in college (completely sober inbetween classes), it's almost fitting that I would wipe out on my run too.
So besides that little "Snafu" the run went really well! Coach Cindy was awesome, she met us throughout the run with water and even let me try "power gel". I guess it's best to try out those sort of things before you do a real race to see what works with your stomach, I tried the chocolate power gel, which tasted sorta like raw brownie batter. I did intervals again, jogging 3 minutes, walking one minute. At around mile 4, we went to 2 minutes, 1 minute, but by the end we finished at 3:1 again. I felt great when the GPS showed us that we had gone 5.44 miles! Coach Cindy was waiting with chocolate milk and bananas and we took a picture by the beach.


I feel very grateful that I found such a wonderful and positive group of people to run with through Team in Training. We dedicated todays run to the victims of yesterdays shooting. I hope in the coming days the families of victims can find some peace admist the chaos.
Thanks again to all my friends and family for checking in on me throughout the past 48 hours. Keep praying, this area needs it.