17 May 2011

only me.

200 miles. 28 hours. 24 Bouncing Boobs. And I had the time.of.my.life once again. Our team raised over $2,500 in an effort to raise awareness about organ donation. So here is a huge, heartfelt thank you to each and everyone of you who donated money, shared Brent's story with family and friends, signed up to be an organ donor, wished me good luck, or simply read my blog. 

Now for the fun stuff. AKA how I went from falling flat on my face to losing the time to getting stuck in a sports bra to burning my ovaries to finishing 16.5 miles. 

Simply put, winter in Jersey sucks. So when mother nature blessed us with a 60 degree day in February I *had* to go for a run. Nevermind the fact that I didn't get home from work until 8pm and it was dark out. Nevermind the fact that my parentals were still my roommates and my mom insisted on giving me her two cents. Two very smart cents, that went something like this:

Mom: "Courtney!! it's dark out, you are not going for a run."
Me: (in a very defiant manner): "Mom!! I'm 26 and I will go for a run if I want." And then just for good measure, I added "plus, it's Hopewell, nothings going to happen."
Mom: "Well that's just stupid. Do you even have your ID with you?"
Me: (rolling my eyes): "Really Mom!? Don't be ridic. Nothing's going to happen. I'm just going for a quick jog through town."

Fast forward ten minutes later and I'm running through town thinking about what a gorgeous night it is even if it is a little dark. Two seconds later and I am flat on my face. Literally.flat.on.my.face. I have no idea what happened. I couldn't even blame it on icy sidewalks (remember it was 60 degrees out)! I just remember flying through the air, doing everything I could to avoid falling, and landing on the ground. Picture a horrific slide into home plate and that was basically me. Dazed and very confused, I looked up and three EMTs had already swarmed around me. How convenient of me to take a little track snack right outside of Hopewell's Fire Department. As I fought back tears (mostly of the embarrassment variety), I insisted that I was fine (yea, okay Court) and would be okay to run home. The EMTs were not having it and maintained that I wasn't running anywhere except right into their car so they could escort me home. I practically begged them to let me continue, but being that I was outnumbered three to one, I had no choice. So, 26 year old me was scooped into the car (thank GOD it was not an ambulance) and an EMT drove me home. And, just because the situation couldn't get any worse, the EMT politely asks, "So,was this your first time ever going for a run?" I almost died, because let's not forget that I played sports my entire childhood (including track) and this was my very first day of training for The Relay. It was as though the EMT sucked all of the motivation from my very soul. Oh, and the best part, as we drove home, who do I pass, but my mom taking the pups for a walk. Talk about the luck of the Irish! So, in my best Jersey Shore effort, I did the dip. I ducked and crossed my fingers hoping my mom wouldn't see me. But let's be honest, based on how my knees looked, it was only a matter of minutes before my mom heard the whole story (no help from my dad thank you very much!). 

Two months later and my training for The Relay is going remarkably well. No more falls, no more escorts home by an EMT, no more lectures from Mom. I'm at the point where I'm running six miles and I'm trying to focus on my time. The thing is, when you focus on time, you obviously need a watch. So there I am at work, changing into my workout clothes, getting pumped by my usual pitbull fix, when I realize that my trusty, hot pink watch that has been my faithful running companion for years is dead. Panic sets in. I cannot run without a watch. I simply cannot do it. I frantically tear my office apart searching for a battery, because we all know that I need to run while the sun's still shining after my running in the dark incident. (The fact that you actually need to go to a store to get your watch battery swapped out was completely lost to me at this time). I then start dialing everyone I know in the hospital, hoping I can find a watch so I can still get my run in. Sometimes, my stubbornness really gets the best of me, because, quite honestly, I really could have gone for a run without a damn watch.

Finally, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. My cousin Brent was still working his shift in the ER and said I could borrow his watch. Woohoo! I knew I could do it! Forget the fact that my wrists are so incredibly tiny and Brent was not lending me a sports watch. It was one of those super nice looking watches meant to fit a guy. As I watched the watch dangle pathetically from my very skinny wrist, wondering what good this watch was going to do me (with my luck, the watch would have flung off and shattered two seconds into my run), Brent was at my side strapping the watch to me with some good ole coban just like I was a patient of his. The end result: priceless. Can I just say WINNING!

If anyone has ever been shopping with me, you know that I require an assistant when trying on clothes. My very being defies gracefulness and eloquence. So leave it to me to get stuck in a sports bra by myself in a dressing room at Dick's Sporting Goods. It was a week before The Relay and I decided my workout wardrobe was long overdue for an update. Any excuse to go shopping. So off I went for some solo retail therapy. As I perused the store, I grabbed anything and everything in sight. New running tights? Definitely, just in case it's cold when I'm running in the middle of the night. New tank top just because? Absolutely! Reebok EasyTone Long Bra Top designed to create resistance as you move and help maintain proper posture? Yes, please! I'm not shy about my small boobs, so I grabbed a small and headed to the dressing room. Not more than 30 seconds alone in the dressing room and I'm already having problems. I should have known that if I had to struggle to get into the Reebok EasyTone sports bra, there was no way I was getting it off alone. And believe me, I put up a very valiant effort to get that freaking top off. I was able to shimmy the the top up to my neck, but then I was stuck. And could barely breathe. I couldn't have ripped the fabric if I tried. I was able to shimmy it back down around my chest, but that was it. So there I was, stuck in a dressing room half dressed, half naked, pondering my options....search the store for a sales associate and ask someone to remove it...or...purchase it while it's still stuck on me. Courtney: 0. Sports Bra: 1. As a competitive person, losing to a sports bra is an epic failure.

Sooo when kdubs decides to give my phone a little ring a ling, I realize there's still hope! Lucky for me, my mom happened to be pulling into the same shopping center I was in and came to my rescue. But before she did, while I was stuck in the dressing room, I decided to have a little photo shoot with me, myself, and I. Oh and just so you know, I did not purchase anything that day. But here's a huge shout out to my mamacita!

Finally, the day of the Relay is upon us. And, I know that for some this may be considered TMI, but for purposes of this story, I have to disclose that I had my period. Translation? I had the worst cramps in.the.entire.world. Killer cramps and I had to run 16.5 miles. Can a girl catch a break!? After almost collapsing after my first leg (although, I must say I ran hella fast because I was in so much pain I just had to be done), I took my mom's advice and purchased a heat pack. So right before I embarked on my second leg of 6.5 miles I stuck the heat pack right over my lower tummy. Not over my running tights, but smack down on my actual skin. Homegirl was in pain and desperate times call for desperate measures. Who cares that the instructions come with a gigantic warning stating that the heat pack should not be placed directly on skin. So, of course, after a couple of miles into my run, I realize I could not take the heat any longer. I swear it felt like my ovaries were burning. My hopes of having babies one day were going down the drain. A bit dramatic, yes, but you let me know how it goes if you ever run with a heating pack placed directly on your skin. Needless to say, I was able to rearrange the heating pack, but not without looking like a complete fool while trying to run under the pitch black sky at 10pm (because Heaven forbid I stop running for two seconds).
There may or may not have been a few more typical Courtney moments during The Relay, but I can't disclose all of my stories :)

08 May 2011

for my mom.

Why I thought it was a fabulous idea to take a red eye back to the east coast is beyond me. Throw a three hour layover in Hotlanta into the mix and now we're really talking.

But, alas, I did just spend 10 days on my favorite coast with several amazing friends, so I suppose I shouldn't be complaining. Plus now I have all the time in the world to throw myself into one of my most beloved hobbies - writing. So here I am with my one suitcase, plus one personal item, my laptop, my purse, an extra bag thatI accumulated somewhere along the way, tuning out the chaos that has embraced the airport food court in the early morning rush, losing myself to my new favorite CD (thanks, Trish!), and sprawled out at a table in typical Courtney fashion as though I'm in the comfort of own very humble abode.

My brain is on overload. They say you only use a fraction of your brain, but after the past ten days I feel as though my brain is chock full of *stuff*. I'm operating at 100% capacity. I have so much I want to write about; I feel as though I could take another week off of work to just write. Collect the thoughts, the stories, the experiences that are taking over my brain, and ship them off on that channel that travels through my fingertips finding themselves transformed into words on my blog. And I will do just that - well not take another week off as much as I'd like to - but I will be writing. Alot. So keep your eyes peeled.

But this morning I want to write about something different. I want to take a few minutes to celebrate my Mom in honor of Mother's Day (even if she did cram in her birthday, anniversary with my Dad, and Mother's Day in the span of less than a week! Really, Mom!!?).

The short version: My mom is a remarkable person.
If you want the "Full House" version that would make my sister cringe due to its unabashed honesty, read on.

My Mom and I have always shared a very special relationship. She is without a doubt one of my best friends. That go-to person you seek for her words of wisdom, unparalleled guidance, and unconditional love. Make no mistake, our relationship has been far from perfect. We have had our fair share of ups and downs. We certainly do not see eye to eye on everything. There have been many times when we have driven each other to the point of insanity and on the surface I have questioned our relationship with each other. But, through it all, she has remained by my side; my beacon of hope, my avid supporter, my friend, my Mom.

At my age my Mom already had two children, miscarried a third, and was planning for my sister. While my dad worked to financially support our family, my mom sacrificed her career goals to be a stay at home mom. Times were not always easy. In fact they were far from easy most of the time. But my parents made it work. Instead of having the material things that most of my friends had, I had a Mom (and Dad) at almost every one of my softball games. My dance lessons. My races. My track meets. My field hockey games. My lacrosse games. Instead of having one house to call a home, I grew up in multiple houses in one town, and was taught that a house is not what makes a home - it's the people in your life that do. I learned that life is what you make of it, rather than what you have. Experiences outweigh possessions. Compassion, respect, and forgiveness are traits that will take you far in life.

I look at where I am in my life today - my success, my happiness, my well-being - and know that I would not be here without my Mom's presence. I am at the age where I fully understand what my Mom gave up for me. I recognize the fact that this came at a cost to her. The values she instilled in my life - in my brother's and sister's lives - are values that will be with me forever. I can only hope that I impart a fraction of this wisdom onto my children one day.

I often joke that my mind is like that of an elephant's. I have a superb memory (if I do say so myself), and everyone knows that an elephant never forgets! With that being said, I have tucked away hundreds of memories involving my Mom - good, bad, funny, sad. Some of the memories are old, dusty and ridden with cobwebs; others are fresh, lingering with ripeness. As I sit here on the plane (I've relocated from the hustle and bustle of the food court to actually board my plane) I plucked two memories from my brain.

The first was about 10 years ago. Maybe 15. I was walking along the beach with my Mom in, where else, but South Carolina (our home away from home in the summer), and I distinctly remember saying to my Mom how much I couldn't wait to be older. Immediately my Mom replied, "Courtney, never wish your life away." A simple statement. One that my Mom has probably long since forgotten. I, however, have never forgotten that moment or those words of wisdom that rolled off of my Mom's tongue so effortlessly. Don't get me wrong. I find myself constantly saying I can't wait for "xyz." It's the underlying meaning of that statement that has given my life so much meaning. In essence they helped mold my philosophy on life. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Live each day to the fullest. Know the difference between living a carefree life and a careless life, as the disparity is paramount.

The second, equally as casual moment occurred right before I headed off to sunny California to confirm my aspirations of moving west. Before I slipped out the door into the early morning twilight I gave my Mom a quick hug and she whispered "I am so proud of you." I will never forget this moment for as long as I live. Moving to California was a dream of mine and to know how proud my Mom was that I was able to fulfill my own dream - to pick up and leave with no regrets - will forever bring a smile to my face.

So thank you, Mom. For everything.

Happy Mother's Day!

<3 Court