20. May 2015 · 4 comments · Categories: inspiration · Tags: , ,

Warning: I get a little deep here and think I needed to write this more for me but I hope you gain something from reading. =)

Where do you feel most at peace? What gives you purpose?

Sunday morning I was in the car sipping coffee, singing out loud along with my favorite radio station’s acoustic set which I so rarely get to listen to (I’m one of the few people left on the planet who doesn’t have satellite radio otherwise i’d be listening to the coffee house channel because I’m a sucker for acoustic, singer-songwriter genre music. The doodle was on the front seat (about to be dropped off at my sister in laws) and I was driving to the start of a charity 5k run.
co pilot

co pilot


I felt so at peace and happy. It made me think a lot about the things/people/places that make me feel that way. After my husband died I spent more than a decade seeking out solitude and peace. I found it with a walk in the woods, catching up with a friend over a cup of coffee or a road trip. I loved to drive and would drive all over to meet up with friends for long weekends. And then I found running. Running soothed my soul and gave me peace and comfort. And we can’t post about peace without mentioning Duncan—I come home from work at night and all my stress melts away as we get comfy on the sofa and settle in for the night.
can't get any more peaceful. Dog, nature walk and coffee!

can’t get any more peaceful. Dog, nature walk and coffee!

Anyway that leads me to the second part of this post and brings it back to the 5k I was driving to. I was headed to this charity 5k to run with Mr. SOTSS and his (almost) 10 and (almost) 12 year-old daughters. I was happy to be in such a calm peaceful and joyful mood. I was looking forward to the run not knowing it would be for anything more than just to help Mr. SOTSS out and my own Sweat Out the Small Stuff reasons.
As we lined up at the start I paired up to run with his older daughter and Mr. SOTSS paired up with his little one.
lined up

lined up representing a whole lotta sneaker brands Brooks, Asics, Saucony and Nike! =)

While I am now a year into my relationship with Mr. SOTSS I am still early on in getting to know his girls. Mr S. has been great at knowing when the appropriate time to introduce us was and he continues to know when it makes sense to include me. I know it’s all new for him too and I really commend him on how he’s handled everything so far. Those girls are very lucky. They have a super dedicated mom and a doting dad to start. And then they have lots of other role models in their lives like sports coaches, teachers and extended family. I’ve had some anxiety over how I would be perceived and whether or not the girls would really look for anything more from me other than dad’s friend Sally who does arts and crafts and plays video games with them. But it was during the race that I realized that I could be an additional role model in their lives and instinctually (the way I am with my niece and nephew) I thought about how I could provide value instead of just keeping his daughter company. At one point about halfway during the race his daughter who I was running with was struggling a bit…mainly the heat and humidity were getting to her. Her cheeks were flushed and she was having some trouble trying to stay in control of her breathing. I told her to let me know if she wanted to slow down but she said she was ok. Something made me think she she just might not have felt comfortable enough to tell me if she wanted to slow down so I told her I had friends who ran marathons by doing run/walk intervals. They had a watch that would beep every 4 minutes to let them know to take a walk break. And they would continue running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute for the entire race which helped them recover. I then told her about some strategies I use when there are hills. I would take it easy and walk up the hills knowing it’s easier to go downhill so i could start back running on the downhills. Basically I wanted to give her some food for thought. So as we approached the next hill she asked if we could walk a bit and then when we got to the top of the hill and she could see it was time for the downhill she said “OK, I’m ready to start running again”. I didn’t tell her what to do or how to handle her discomfort yet my information helped her to make decisions. And not only did she complete the race but she was totally in control. She didn’t whine or cry or make a big deal about how hard it was to run in the heat and humidity. She didn’t just decide to walk the rest. She never gave up. She chose what part of the remaining course she’d walk and what part she’d run using signs as markers and making note of the hills. And she sprinted to the finish with all the confidence in the world. (Side note: she also chose to pour water over her head at some of the water stops and we giggled together. I’m sure it felt good and someday I might just have to try that too.)

She has great form too!

We can feel peace when we feel purpose. 
Both girls did wonderfully and after joining them and their dad for a little post race lunch at their aunt’s house I said goodbye. My original purpose was just to help Mr. SOTSS out and escort one girl so that each girl could run their own race and he didn’t have to try and stay as a group. But it became more than that for me and hopefully for his daughter too.
And I learned a little something from the girls, too. Running is just a part of life. Afterward, drawing contests and selfies with dad and Chester the dog were just as important as the 3.1 mile run they participated in earlier. I want to take that mindset and apply it to my training for the NYC marathon. I want to remind myself that while I will be running a lot for 16 weeks of training, it is just a part of my life. And hopefully I’ll get to be part of those drawing contests and silly selfies too. We can’t take life too seriously or we’ll forget to have fun.
I couldn’t complete this post without a special dedication for an 11-year old who was tragically killed yesterday. Abigail Zukowski was the youngest daughter of a high school friend of mine. While I haven’t seen him in years we had reconnected on Facebook a few years back and today I learned of this unfortunate news. She was crossing the street in the crosswalk and struck by a car. I’m so very saddened for him and his family including their two other daughters.
Do you have kids?
Do you teach or coach?
What makes you feel at peace?
What give you purpose?


  1. Wow what a deep and fantastic post.
    Like you, I have moments in life that I contemplate what drives me and want makes me happy. I have come to the conclusion that it really be different things at different times but overall it’s when I feel my life is balanced. When is work is great and challenging but it too demanding, when I can leave and fit in my planned run and walk my best little friend, Sachi my 7yo miniature Schnauzer. And just as important spending time with my loved ones, family and friends.
    At 33 I divorced and it was a very tough time in my life, even though it wasn’t a healthy relationship. Two years later I met a man that is amazing, he has 2 kids and it’s taken time for me to find where I fit and what my role is. I’m not their parent and don’t try to be. Their dad and I are know married and are all fitting into this new family. The kids (ironically) are also now 10 and 12 and I love the times we are with them, followed by the week my husband and I share together. Our life is balanced in many ways even though we aren’t in a ‘traditional’ family scenario.
    What you shared and did in the race was fantastic and also a good indicator of what a great person you are. Enjoy the journey 🙂
    Oh and I really love that running shirt, look fantastic!!

  2. What makes me feel at peace is probably getting up in the morning and spending time with the Lord or praying while I’m running. There’s just something about getting those endorphins high and taking all my problems to God in prayer, that I love. 🙂

  3. Love this post, Sally. I have one son, who is 9 years old. I am a teacher of English Learners in an elementary school, and I work with so many kids in so many classrooms that I know many more students than just “my” kids. Honestly, the work I do with those students and the relationships I build with those families is my purpose. I see my role as an advocate for them (and their parents) in the school, as well as their teacher. I find peace in running, prayer, Sunday AM church services, and reading.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.