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some pre-50k thoughts

30 Oct

I can’t believe that I’m 2 days away from running my second 50k.


In a year.


On a course that I swore up and down 2 years ago that I would never EVER run.  Because it’s a hilly course.  Which means it’s too hard.  And I don’t do “hard.”


But hard is a relative term.  Because there are a lot of things that I do regularly that people would say are “hard.” There are races and distances I’ve already covered that people would say are “hard.”   And sometimes I think my running is not “special,” but when I really stop to think about it, I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve come, even if it’s not “special.”  I’m not particularly fast, but every running goal I’ve set for myself, I’ve met.


In any event, I’m not scared for Saturday.  I feel very ready–likely the most ready I’ve ever been for any distance event I’ve run (not that there are THAT many, but still).  I’ve put in the training for sure–3 20-milers, a handful of 18s, and more mid-week longish runs (10ish miles) than I’ve ever done (in fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever run 10 miles on one night in the middle of the week).  I’ve done hill repeats to prepare my lungs as best as I can for what is sure to be a miserable experience for them.  And Eric and I have been going to the gym regularly.  I am stronger now than I’ve ever been, and there’s a part of me that wants to register for a road marathon a couple of weeks from now, just to see how much stronger (because it’s really impossible to quantify the gains I’ve made by looking at times on trails…I don’t really have many trail race times (plus trails are all so different), so I’d have to compare against road times, which is just silly).  There’s a part of me that wants to keep up this training all winter and spring and go back to Philly for the Dirty German again, so I can compare there.


I’m as ready as I’ll be for Saturday.  I have no real “time goals” for this race–I just want to finish it.  Because there was a time when I was scared of the course.  I was scared of the distance.  And it’s nice to know I’m not scared anymore, and that if I say I’m going to do something, I get it done.  It’s not always pretty or pleasant, but it gets taken care of.


So here’s to a good day on Saturday and more importantly good friends, great conversations, foam rolling, a long hot shower and delicious mac n cheese when it’s all over!


perspective and “fast”

31 Aug

Today I realized something really cool about a lot of my running friends:  They’re pretty fast.


Now, this realization has hit me before–particularly when I’m trailing behind the group on some hilly run, desperately trying to ignore my wheezing lungs while staying in eyesight of them…but today it just struck me as really cool to be friends with people who are so talented and who are constantly inspiring me and pushing me to run faster and farther.


When we first started running, we were road runners.  I was pretty slow initially.  I got quicker, but even my quickest times are still comparatively slow when I look at the overall winners of most races here in Rochester.  Of course, that’s all a matter of perspective.  When I look at race times for some other cities, I realize that I’d be a top female finisher at some 5ks.  When I think about where I was when I first started and the awe I felt talking to people who were, at that time for me “fast,” I realize that it’s all just a matter of perspective.  Beginner-runner-Shme would’ve been really impressed with present-day-Shme, but present-day-Shme still wants to know what future-Shme has in her.


When we were road runners, we didn’t hang out with many other runners.  I NEVER talked to fast people. Most likely this was because many of the FAST road runners I knew were kind of elitist dickheads.  I will never forget the first time I ran 8 miles. I triumphantly stormed into the running store that will remain nameless.  It had taken me forever…probably an hour and a half at least.  But I had done it when my farthest run before that had been 4 or 5 miles.  Some of the workers were there at the front of the store–FAST runners–and I excitedly told them I’d just finished my first-ever 8 miles and held up my hands to get high fives.  I. Was. Pumped.  And I got half-hearted high fives and blank stares.  I was not WORTHY of talking to such elite-caliber athletes, especially about something as trivial as a slow-for-them 8 mile run.  This scenario happened multiple times, to the point that I no longer felt welcome in the store–I was not “fast enough” or “good enough”  to be a part of this group (and not slow enough to be a part of other groups).  I did not belong.  Road running was very solitary for me–even on group runs, we rarely talked.  Everyone would plug in their iPods and cruise along together just waiting to be done rather than enjoying the run and getting to know each other.


When we transitioned slowly into trail running, one of the first things I noticed was how chill everyone was.  How even the fast people hang out and cheer on the slowpokes.  How the experienced runners were quick to offer advice, to compliment on a run, to encourage you.


One of my first trail runs was with Sean S. and Eric.  I had never even met Sean, but Eric knew him and they had decided to do what is now the River Chase course.  I, on the other hand, had planned to go about 5 miles.  Around mile 4, the guys convinced me to just finish up with them (I had NO idea how long this run would actually end up being).  Around 8, I wanted to die–we were on trails for the second half and I’d only been on trails a handful of times before that.  My long runs were around  6 miles at that time.  When we finished our 10ish mile loop, I collapsed into our car.  Later, I’d learn that Sean is fast.  Really fast.  But he’d stayed with us the whole time, just content to be out and running and chatting.  I’ve run with Sean (and other fast trail runners) since then, and I’m always amazed by how willing trail people are to just hang out, relax, run someone else’s pace and enjoy the company and the trails together.  At our 50k, so many people would just adjust their pace to hang out, pass some miles with company, and then take off again.


When we volunteered for the Cayuga Trails 50, we spent several nights having roaring campfires and talking to elites from all over the world.  ELITE elites, not just the dudes working in the local running stores and winning the local races (no offense to them…but they’d get smoked by these dudes, which might do them some good to get knocked down a few pegs and realize that they’re really just small fish in a big pond. And they really should high five a girl who is excited about a really-slow 8 miler).  We’re talking the guys who have sponsorships and are world-class athletes.  You never would’ve known.  We talked all evening, hung out, waved hello to them on some of our runs/hikes.  They remembered our names, our dog’s name, details about races we’d said we ran…  At the end of the race, these guys set up shop and hung out til it was all over–drinking beers and cheering on other runners.  The whole weekend, Eric just kept looking at me and saying “what other sport can you interact with the best of the best like this? It’s incredible.”  And it really was.  Trail runners are just so normal…even when they’re not normal in terms of their athletic capabilities.


I have so many more examples of THIS type of behavior from trail runners.  Maybe that’s why I’ll never go back to roads (except maybe for some fast 5ks someday).  Maybe that is why I love my trail runner people.  Maybe…no definitely…that is why I’ve stuck with running for so long.  Because these people make you feel like you CAN do it–you CAN get better.  And even if you don’t get better, if you NEVER get fast, you’re still good enough to hang out with, to sometimes run with, and definitely to encourage and cheer on.  Running is my primary social outlet.  When you’ve run hundreds of miles with people, you discuss everything–family, hopes, dreams, work, bodily functions, highs, lows.  You see people at their best (finishing races–Susan S. and Amy L. take the cake for best race finishes that almost made me cry) and at their worst (me any time I’m rangry–running angry–because I have not eaten enough/am tired/am running any amount of hills) and everything in between.   My runner people know me better than most people.  Kristin Armstrong writes about “sweat sisters,” and I’ve always loved that phrase.  My runner people are my sweat brothers and sisters, my “tramily.”


This morning, I ran with Jen P–the 10k loop (because 16 and change miles in Mendon wasn’t enough for me).  She pulled me along, we chatted a bunch, and she got me to run the loop the fastest I’ve ever run it!  Afterwards, I got to watch 2 of our friends finish a humid 12k race.  Prem and Amber both won age group awards.  They both finished the race with big smiles.  They both talk to me, they both are constantly encouraging me and other people, they are both so down-to-earth. I am not fast.  But I can count these incredibly fast runners as my friends.  And that’s really cool.


I’m so thankful to have such an amazing group of runners in my life to constantly inspire me and challenge me to reach for new goals.  If you’d have told me at the finish line of that first 5k that I’d be staring down the barrel of a second 50k, I’d have laughed.  If you’d have told me 2 years ago that I’d register for the Mendon 50k, I’d have snort laughed.  Yet here I am.  Stronger than I’ve ever been, and it’s all thanks to some incredible runners who are there to push me to be the best me possible.  ❤


Run ’em/Hike ’em All Challenge!

8 Aug

When I planned our cross-country trip, I was beyond excited to finally get out west and explore new places with Eric and Picasso.  I was looking forward to leaving behind the stress of the past year and of reconnecting (maybe not the right word–solidifying more?) with Eric.  My one misgiving was that we were going to be leaving behind our friends and the trail running community for a month.  I was excited for adventure, but I wanted to bring all of our people with us on the adventure. Plans fell through and the next thing I knew, I was planning alternative trips to the ADK and Letchworth.  A long time ago, Eric and I had decided to try to hike every trail in Letchworth.  We’d gone gangbusters for a summer, but then life got busy.  The challenge was all but forgotten until we decided to take it up again this summer.  It was perfect–Letchworth is close enough for other friends to come with us and there were still plenty of trails left for us to explore, including a culminating backpacking adventure on the Finger Lakes Trail.   So I broke down each day and figured out which trails to do and when.  At one point, I got nervous that we were trying to do too much in too short of time–over 100 miles in 9 days.  Then I remembered that we have friends who run 100 miles in 24(ish) hours…9 days was plenty of time.  Worst case scenario, we’d skip a few trails and go back to finish them some other time.

A rough outline of our plan...

A rough outline of our plan…

Over the course of the 9 days, we ran and hiked just shy of 100 miles.  We had a bunch of visitors to help us pass the miles.  And we made some great new friends–it’s amazing how quickly you get to know someone over miles and campfires.  This trip was pretty epic.  In fact, it actually made me a little bit glad that plans had fallen through, and we were “stuck” on the east coast. friends   I wrote this in one of the other parts of my recap from last week, but it’s worth reposting again:  Here, on my couch, 3 days later, I am still tired.  My legs are still a little funny, my foot hurts a little bit (lots of slipping and sliding in mud), I am eating everything in sight (I really hate camp food and ate very little…except for skittles).  But my heart is so full.  We were so sad to have “missed out” on the cross country trip, but the reality is we didn’t miss out on anything.  We just had a different adventure.  And I guess this is a big metaphor for my life right now.  Rather than think of the things that we are missing, we need to embrace the things we have, make the best of crappy situations, and keep living it up.  Life is insanely beautiful and we are surrounded by so many good, funny, like-minded people who add so much joy and happiness to our lives.  Call it lucky.  Call it blessed.  No matter what you call it, it’s awesome. memories So without further ado, here are my recaps of each part of the adventure.  🙂   Part One:  Camping at Letchworth Part Two:  Backpacking the Finger Lakes Trail Part Three:  Letchworth Trail List and Info

One week to go…

19 May

I am officially one week from the Buffalo Marathon. I don’t remember being this nervous last time around. I suppose part of that may be that last time, I had no real expectations. I knew about what time I’d like to run. But my real goal was just to finish the race, and there was never a point where I thought I might not finish. I was not dropping out, I just wasn’t sure how long I’d need to get to the finish line.

This time around, it’s a different story. I have a much better idea of what to expect. I have a better idea of what my body is capable of. I understand (at least a little bit) what I will be thinking/feeling during this race. Or, as the case may be, what I won’t be thinking/feeling, since most of the last 6 miles of Corning are still a blur to me.

Last time, I don’t remember being nervous or disliking taper week this much. I had read about how people say they feel like they’re going crazy, not doing enough, being lazy. I don’t remember feeling like that, though. I remember being really content to be “lazy” and run fewer miles and relax. This time, while there is an element of the contentedness, I am nervous, too. My quad/knee/hip have been giving me a lot of problems in the past month or so. I have been rolling, tennis ball cross-hatching (that’s not what it’s called–I forget the name for it) and taking it easy. But there’s still a nagging soreness. Maybe I’m just more aware of it because the race is so close now. Or maybe there’s something really wrong with my leg (it’s the same one I hurt a few years back training for my first half). Or maybe I’m just overthinking everything.

So this week, I have a few easy runs planned. I have some yummy foods ready to go (and about to go in and cook and prep some more). I bought a new shirt to race in, and it’s adorable and sexy and makes me feel great (although I think it looks weird with my water belt…but whatever…I’m not going to look cute on Sunday for very long anyway haha). I have already begun the pointless ritual of obsessively checking, sometimes multiple times a day to see what the weather is going to be like for race day (even though they don’t get it right for tomorrow, so there’s really no telling what 7 days from today will be like). I still have to write my “inspiration” quotes (I did this at Corning and liked it–different quotes to pull out when I was struggling and think about those instead of how bad my legs hurt or how much I just wanted to stop).

In any event, they recommend that you set various goals for yourself. I wasn’t going to make them public, but then I decided why not. You may as well know about them, too. I read somewhere once that you should set 3 goals for yourself. Goal A is the one that you are sure you are going to meet if you just do your thing. Goal B would be if you had a really great race. Goal C is if all the stars line up perfectly and you feel amazing. So without further ado, here are my goals.

Goal A: Run faster than my first marathon, which was a 4:35:38. Barring injury, there is no reason that I can’t run faster than this.

Goal B: Run faster than a 4:15. I am relatively certain that I will do this, but who knows what weather and my quad/knee/hip are going to do on race day…

Goal C: If I run faster than a 4:10, I will seriously be ecstatic. I am also kind of sure this would be possible, but not positive. I have a horrible habit of going out way too fast and then dying in the last chunk of the race. My recent half marathon debacle is proof of this for sure. That being said, this time I think I may go with the 4:10 pace group, just to keep myself even keeled and see how I feel towards the back end of the race. If I can, I’d like to try to drop my pace and kick it in. We’ll see.

So that’s that. Taper week continues. 🙂


13 May

Cut back weeks and tapering are the best parts of marathon training (except for post-marathon glow haha).  Every couple of weeks, you get a week of easy running and a shorter long run (so 15ish miles instead of 20), and that’s supposed to allow your legs a chance to recuperate for the next weeks of heavy running.  Two weeks before the marathon, you taper–shorter and shorter and easier and easier runs, to really let your body heal up before the stress of 26.2.


The past few weeks, I’ve had some “cut backs” in terms of my weekly runs, but my long runs have been…well long/hard.  I did 16, 18, 20, half marathon race, 20–all back to back.   And now I am paying for it in the form of hip/knee problems. 


Even though I want to run hard still during the week, I also know that I am not gaining much (if anything) from these workouts at this point.  The hay is in the barn (I learned that idiom because of running ha).  What’s done is done, and now I just relax, let my body heal itself, and prepare for the race.  But it’s really hard to go off the plan and trust that I’m ready for this.  Really hard.


This weekend, I run 8-10 miles.  That’s so short.  During the week, this week and next, I run some easier, shorter runs.  I eat mostly healthy.  I foam roll and tennis ball, especially my left quad, which I’m pretty sure is the reason that I’ve been having knee/hip issues.   And I wait.  I get my motivational quotes together (this helped a little bit between 16 and 20 last time around–after that everything’s kind of a blur).  I decide what to wear.   I visualize myself kicking ass. 


After the race, we will swim in Eric’s parents’ pool (it’ll be cold, which will feel great for my legs–help reduce the swelling a bit).  We will eat Nino’s and drink beer (I had thought I’d really want to drink wine after Wineglass, but I ended up not drinking any alcohol for a few days, so we’ll see if the beer thing actually comes to pass).   I will foam roll so that I am hopefully much less sore this time around (last time I was in so much pain the second day after that I wanted to crawl into a hole somewhere and die). 


In exactly 2 weeks, I will have finished marathon #2.  Hooray!!

flower city half marathon–i didn't puke at the finish line!!! (i puked on the bridge instead hahaha)

29 Apr

First: to explain the title of the blog for those unfamiliar with my racing mishaps, I puke after races.  Pretty much every race, ever since the first Flower City Half I ran, 4 years ago.  The normal protocol is to run the race, puke almost immediately as I cross the line (often into my hand because I am trying to stop myself from puking by somehow holding it in via my hand???). 

So today was the Flower City Half.  I have not trained at all for a half marathon.  I have been working really hard to get my mileage where it needs to be to run a successful (read: I don’t want to die) marathon in a month.  Last weekend, I ran a 20 miler.  Normally, last weekend would’ve been a taper, aka much fewer miles.  Unfortunately, I can’t afford that so close to the marathon.  However, I figured this would be a really good indication of what kind of shape I’m in for Buffalo in a month.  That being said, there are some important points to keep in mind:

1.  As I’ve already mentioned, I did not taper.  On Thursday, I actually ran almost 8 miles on trails.  Not necessarily the best plan (for someone who doesn’t normally put in a lot of miles, like me). 

2.  Buffalo is apparently pancake flat.  Flower City is not.  In fact, I’d forgotten just how many hills and rollers there are on the course I ran today.  There’s never anything serious (well the Goodman/Pinetum 1-2 is not “un-serious” haha).  But it is NOT flat by any stretch of the imagination.  Word on the street is that Buffalo is MUCH easier.  Thank.  God.  Eric said he figures on a flat course, I’d run a 1:55 or better.  The uphills really killed me today, but we’ll get to that.

3.  I am a head case on this course.  The minute I hit the river, my brain immediately says, “Stop, bitch.”  It’s a struggle to get myself to continue. 

So here’s how the race went down, along with some of my hilarious (and not-so-hilarious-self-pitying) thoughts along the way.

Mile 1–9:24  I couldn’t get around people who were too slow and it was frustrating me.  And then people stopped to walk and I was like seriously why did you line up so far in front????

Mile 2–8:40  I thought maybe I was too fast, but I felt good (well duh.  it’s mile 2) and I knew I’d settle in.

Mile 3–8:44  Perhaps mile 2 wasn’t too fast?

Mile 4–8:49  Slowing down a bit, but well on track to go sub-2.

Mile 5–9:02  Saw Oliver here I think.  And started to kind of struggle, which made me struggle more because it was so early to be struggling.

Mile 6–9:05  Coming into the mega-hills of Goodman/Pinetum, I decided to drop the pace a little bit.  I knew the hill was going to crush me, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t go into it balls-to-the-wall.

Mile 7–9:34  The hill killed me.  At one point, I high fived some kids to try to take my mind off of it, and then I got all choked up.  Funny, this is where I almost had a melt down last year, too, when I passed a mom with a newborn in the stroller.  Apparently that hill is kid/baby central.  In any event, I ignored the kids/babies from there on out, knowing that it was a bad idea to get emotional during this race.

Mile 8–9:25  Coming through a bit more hill in the cemetary.  As you get into the cemetary, you come up this cobblestone hill.  I got to the top and said, “oh shit I’m gonna puke” (and if  you know me, you know that I thought this in my first half there, 4 years ago, and my problem is puking in a cemetary–where do you puke? I don’t want to puke on a dead person!)  Eric said, “no you’re not, it’s in your head.”  And then I stopped and dry heaved.  At this point, the 2 hour pace group had caught up to us, and Chris was screaming for me.  I pulled myself together.

Mile 9–8:46  Nailed it.  Seriously.  But by this point, I was REALLY struggling.  “Don’t let your mind give out before your legs do,” I kept silently telling myself, when I wasn’t counting my footstrikes (which is a trick I learned from a pro in a Runnersworld Magazine–when you’re tired, count your footsteps, that way you forget about being tired/hurting). 

Mile 10–8:46  And then my legs wanted to give out, not just my head.  Count your steps, count your steps.  The faster you go, the faster it’s over.

Mile 11– 9:06  Somewhere in this mile, I think the 2 hour group caught me again.  I was pretty devastated, which Eric knew without me saying it.  “They have a cushion built in, Shme.  Just go with them.  You’ve got this.”

Mile 12–9:14  Just go.  I can do this.  Just go.  I get up over the Ford Street Bridge.  As Eric is congratulating me, I say, “Fuck. I’m gonna puke.”  “Yeah like you did in the cemetary? Stop.”  And then I puked a little bit.  And Eric’s words of wisdom were, “Puke and run! You can’t stop now or you won’t do it.  Just go!”  So I did.  I puked and ran.  It was glorious.  Into my hand (as per tradition) and then squirted it off and asked if there was any puke on my face so that pictures of me would not be compromised, but that didn’t matter, because…

Mile 13–9:09  I was dead.  Eric kept telling me to go.  I was pretty unaware of people around me, all I could think about was getting to the finish line so I could lay down on the road.  Yeah.  That was my thought.

the last .1–(which by my watch was actually .28)  2:11 or a 7:45 pace.  We got close enough to see the clock and Eric was screaming at me (and Chris in the distance ahead) that I had to sprint or I’d never make it there.  So I sprinted.  And in my head, I was thinking “Oh God there are going to be some really awful pictures of me at this point).   

So by my watch, I ran 13.28 in 2:00:20 (I started it a little early because I forgot at the start line that you don’t actually CROSS the start for a while bc there are so many people there).  That works out to a 9:04 overall pace. 

Thoughts moving forward:

1.  I need to get stronger on hills.  I am a baby, and trail running has not helped because I have pretty much given myself permission to just walk the uphills (which, to be fair, are often more like mountains–they don’t really compare to road “hills”).  We used to do hill repeats on Tuesday nights, and I may need to revisit this, even if it’s just once or twice a month.  My struggles were undoubtedly on the hills–this is where the 2:00 pace group kept reeling me in.  Not cool.

2.  I need to figure out why I puke all the time.  Eric and I think it may have something to do with my breathing, which obviously gets labored going up hills (and the asthma doesn’t help with that).  But we’re not sure.  If any of you have thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them.

3.  I need to stop puking in my hand.  Seriously.  If puke is going to be my thing, then I can at least “do it right.”

4.  I am going to work on setting some good Buffalo goals.  Stay tuned.

5.  When the Buffalo Marathon is over, there will be no more major races (halves or fulls) until at least the fall.  I’m tired of long runs and it’s awful to be in discomfort/pain for 2+ hours.  I’m ready to just do a few fast 5ks, which hurt, but for so much shorter time.  🙂

Thanks to everyone who came out today to support–it is unbelievably motivating to see people I know and love on the course running with me OR on the side, screaming, cheering, OR running along in flip flops (Oliver).  You guys are awesome!

The end of NIAW

27 Apr

I am not good about talking about my feelings.  Or talking at all, actually.  You might laugh at that if you know me.  But most of what I talk about it just chatter, especially around people I don’t REALLY know.  I don’t talk about real stuff.  But I like to write about it.  I used to want to be a writer, actually.  Writing is easy for me, it comes natural.  As a kid, my nose was always buried in a book, and I like to think that my writing developed as a result of all that reading.  Writing helps me to process what I’m thinking and feeling, and it is unbelievably cool to look back on what I wrote a year, two, more ago and see where I was and how far I’ve come.


I wrote countless posts about infertility on my old blog.  When I reread it, I realize just how dark my views were, just how low things were.  When I wrote The Truth blog, I said that it was one of the lowest points of my life.  I don’t know if I really understood just how true that was until this week, when I started rereading the old blog.  Looking back, it was such a dark time for me.  I still feel guilty sometimes for deciding I wanted to take a break–I knew it wasn’t what Eric wanted–but I think it was probably for the best.  I’ve seen all too often what happens when people who are not mentally stable have kids.  It’s not pretty.  And if I can’t get pregnant on Clomid, then I need to be in a good place to deal with that, and I was most definitely not in that place a few months ago.  There are posts I wrote but never published that scare me a little bit because they are so dark.


When I started this blog, I made the decision that I would make it more public (the old blog was only given to a few of my closest friends), and therefore stop writing about infertility.  I really thought I could just forget about it–that the pill was a magic mind eraser.  Silly me.  I debated sharing our infertility with a wider audience.  I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to talk about–which is exactly why it needs to be talked about.  Because when we don’t talk about it because it’s “shameful” or a “secret,” we incorrectly reinforce that it’s shameful.  It’s not.  It’s not my fault that I have the problems I have.  It’s not the fault of the millions of other couples facing this problem.  I have received so many emails, comments and private messages about friends who are having a hard time getting pregnant, too.  People who are not comfortable sharing their own personal stories.  The stats say 1 in 8 couples has a hard time conceiving.  I think that must be higher based on the people I know.  It has to be a result of the foods/chemicals/lifestyle that has become common in the US.  But that’s a whole different topic.  Now that the truth is out there, I feel better, more authentic.  I don’t like lying or hiding things. 


 I wasn’t going to share our story.  But the thing is, I’ve taken a lot of comfort in reading what other women and men have to say about their experiences.  Infertility is a super-charged emotional roller coaster.  And none of the emotions are pleasant or nice.  Hopelessness, depression, rage, anxiety, jealousy, guilt, shame…these are not good things, and they make an already upset person feel even worse.  It’s a downward spiral, and I rode that train once already.  I am scared to ride it again.  I will, but it’s scary.  So if I can add my voice to the millions of voices already out there and provide a little comfort or a little confirmation that it’s ok to feel like this, then why not?  And if nothing else, the writing will help me process my own feelings and thoughts. 

I had put all of my uncomfortable feelings up on a shelf when we started our break.  This week, I’ve started to revisit them.  It’s hard to acknowledge some of them. But I know it’s important to “fess up” to them.  That ultimately it will help me to become a stronger, better person.  And reading that other people have these same thoughts and feelings…it makes them easier to deal with.  It makes it easier to think that I’m  not a bad person and that it’s OK to be mad at the bad parents I see, cry when I see newborns or commercials about family time, guilty for being jealous, less of a woman for not being able to do what I’m “supposed to do.”  I know it will all work out.  And until then, I will just keep runnin’.