Hi there.

How are you? I watched the Boston Marathon yesterday while working and couldn’t help but tear up watching Meb cross the finish line at his final competitive Boston Marathon. He’s an amazing athlete but more than that he displays such grace and is an inspiration to so many. meb-final-boston

Watching the marathon also made me teary eyed because it reminded me how lost I feel without running and especially the structure of training for races. I’m working really hard at keeping myself positive and keeping things in perspective especially this week….tomorrow will mark 18 years since I lost my husband to cancer. I always get very reflective during this time of the year.

18 1/2 years since this photo. I can only smile but still feel sadness when I think of all the things he never got to do in life having it end so early.

18 1/2 years since this photo. I can only smile at the memories but still feel sadness when I think of all the things he never got to do in his short life.

And I can’t help but to think about the journey my life took from April 19, 1999 to today. I had 2 choices when going through such a traumatic experience. I could let it swallow me and withdraw from life or I could work really hard every day to do my “grief work” to help myself heal. I chose the latter and while I had plenty of pity parties along the way I truly made an effort each and every day to live fully.

So in the midst of this toe injury I’m starting to connect those dots (again!). I have 2 choices right? Well I want to do whatever I can each day to help myself heal.

I was feeling a lot of improvement with the toe last week and then this weekend I had a setback and it felt more achy and uncomfortable but today it’s starting to bounce back a little. Another reminder that the healing process isn’t linear. There will be ups and downs but if I continue to do the work and rest and ice and massage and strengthen I’m on the right path.

I have that tendency to spiral when I don’t see progress fast enough and this injury is just another opportunity to build mental toughness and to get better at handling this kind of stuff. Really, if you look at it from the perspective that any setback or bad time in your life is an opportunity to build mental toughness your ahead of the game. Like looking at a glass half full right?

I rode my bike again this weekend while Mr. SOTSS ran and it was awesome. bike-daffodils12 miles for me and 10 for him. teamsternwellWhile I don’t feel like biking replaces how running makes me feel it definitely helps. And knowing that I’m making an effort to be active rather than sitting on the sofa all day sulking means I’m doing my “work”.bike-imposter

We drove out to Long Island to his Dad’s for Easter this weekend and spent some time at the beach with the dogs before the festivities began. smile-sallyboy-dogIt almost didn’t happen because Mr. SOTSS had some really bad poison ivy and after a few days of some major discomfort we decided to go to an urgent care facility to see if he could get some stronger meds. Unfortunately since it was Easter Sunday, they were the only location open around town making them so crowded that we bailed. Mr. SOTSS didn’t want to sacrifice the time slot we had set aside to take the dogs to the beach and decided he’d just suck it up and deal with the poison ivy discomfort for now. I don’t know if I could have done the same. sternwell eastbeach

Good catch Chester!

Good catch Chester!

What opportunities do you use to build mental toughness?

Are you a glass half empty or glass half full kind of person?

Anyone else dealing with an injury or other setback?

I have been taking an annual road trip with the doodle for one long weekend a year at this rental house in Cape May, New Jersey for the past 5 years (except for last year).
The backyard is one of Duncan's favorite things about the house. I love the porch.

The backyard is one of Duncan’s favorite things about the house. I love the porches.

I found it on Bringfido.com when I was looking for a pet friendly place and road trip destination for me and the doodle back in 2010.

This is how Duncan travels. 2+ hours in this exact position. I'm so lucky!

This is how Duncan travels. 2+ hours in this exact position. I’m so lucky!

I love it here! And especially this time of year. It’s empty. The dogs are allowed almost everywhere and there are lots of scenic options for running too. I also love the colder weather. It’s been colder than normal for this time of year. It even got below freezing last night (31F).

I arrived on Thursday afternoon and settled in while preparing a lovely dinner. The boyfriend and his doodle dog Chester came down in the evening to join Duncan and I.
Every now and again I actually cook!

Shrimp and pasta. Every now and again I actually cook!

And then there was a lot of relaxing.

the boys!

the boys!

Friday morning we took the dogs to the beach. Chester and his person played football with an indestructible destructible Nerf ball and Duncan just enjoyed the fresh, and might I add COLD air.



Waiting for the ball


Out of bounds!


Perfectly Coiffed doodle!


in dessert terms they would be a blondie and a brownie

After a little bit of shopping and a couple more meals, the boyfriend and Chester headed home.
Yesterday was another gorgeous crisp Autumn day. Rather than return to the beach, I took Duncan to the Cold Spring Bike Path for a 3.5 mile walk and we enjoyed the last of the Fall Foliage.
Cold Spring Bike Path

Cold Spring Bike Path

It’s a 3 mile stretch and is just a quarter mile walk from my rental house. After our walk, I dropped him home and set out on the same route for a run. Since I knew it was flat and mainly away from traffic and traffic lights I went out faster than norm.

photo 4I’m still trying to work out some kinks with the knee and a few other tight spots but 3-4 miles seems to be my sweet spot for distance right now. No pain occurs during these shorter runs. So I figure I might as well try and run faster knowing my mileage each week is a lot lighter. Come January I’ll start building back up my base for marathon training.
Later on in the afternoon I took Duncan to a unique spot known as Cox Hall Creek.
Cox Hall Creek WMA

Cox Hall Creek WMA

It is a 253-acre state wildlife management area that used to be a golf course. So all the paved paths that the golf carts used to ride on are still there but there’s just the most majestic jungle of greenery and wildlife all around you. A friend that used to live in the area told me about it and I’m glad I had a chance to spend some time there. Duncan loved it too. Lots of scents to track.

Today we went for a short walk and now I’m packing up the car to head home. It’s been really relaxing and just what I needed. Before you know it Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here and life will be quite hectic.
He loves looking out the french doors.

He loves looking out the french doors.

Do you have a place you go to every year at the same time of year? What season do you go there?