Let the Countdown Begin Already! Sheesh.

let the countdown begin.gif

The countdown begins. And thank you Sweet Baby New Year for that.

This year has been….
Well…
Interesting.

Yeah. Interesting. That sounds better than Off the Fucking Rails, so I guess I’ll just leave it at that lest another piece of my childhood pass away in an untimely fashion as punishment for the profanity. Bad enough Willy Wonka, David Bowie, Prince, Mrs. Brady, George Michael, Princess Leia were stolen but THE HEAT MISER too?  And the Dude who invented the red Solo cup, a permanent fixture in my hand during my hazy college days, has died. All of them. Gone. Just like my childhood. #RIP

heat-miser

Me.

Politically, personally, professionally-  this year was all out of whack. Lots of change. Lots of surprises. Lots of stress.  Although I will say rather optimistically that dawn always follows the darkness. Unless of course that changes after January 20th,  which will result in me curled up in a fetal position, bingeing on lobster rolls and IPAs ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ Style. I’ve got my 5-Point Harness at the ready. Buckle up, Poodles. It’s going to be quite a ride. wonka.gif

As much as this year has been de-railing, lots of wonderful things happened. Extracting myself from an absolute toxic situaiton, starting a new, exciting job, awesome adventures with friends, running the Marine Corps Marathon, riding in my 12th Pan Mass Challenge, good health, great friends and family, happiness, love, My Other Half and finding that unicorn. I am running the Boston Marathon. And not only am I running it, I am running it with the Love of My Life and My BFF, Tina. I can think of nothing better. Nothing.

As much as I want to set Goals for 2017 and bust out with a Top 10 List of Resolutions, including drink less, swear less, weigh less, I’m not going to this year. So, Fuck it! Cheers! *stuffs face with chips and salsa* Instead, I am going to work on being the best Me I can be. I’m going to listen more and talk less. I’m going to be kind. More present. More patient. More active in my own life. I want to be better. To evolve.

In the process I hope I become a better version of Colby. Colby 45.0 if you will. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Growth? 2016 may have taken quite a bit, but it’s certainly given quite a bit. Perspective for one. In a few days, I will run my last miles of 2016. I will be quietly contemplative, as I always am during that final run, and I will think about how grateful I am to live a life that, despite it’s imperfections, is really quite wonderful.  Magical even. Just like that unicorn.

xoxo,
Colby

What’s on tap for 2017? Are you a Resolution maker? 

Running with The 7 Fishes

Ho, ho, ho, Poodles! Week 2 of Hansons Boston Marathon Training with Colby began with a very chilly wet run and ended with Santa, gallons of wine and a traditional Italian Christmas Eve Feast with The Fam. No shock that Christmas Day was spent hung over in jammies.  But as they say, ‘Tis the Season. Here’s how Week 2 shook out. 

Marathon Goal: 3:45 
Marathon Pace: 8:35

Monday: Easy Run, 6 miles. Pace: 9:18. Nothing remarkable about this run except for the fact that I desperately needed to finish my Christmas shopping and I obsessed about it the entire time. Then I went to work and these glorious donuts appeared. Seriously. They were off the chain. Who needs presents anyways? 

Donut Crazy.

Tuesday: Intervals! 12 X 400m, 400m recovery. 1 mile warm up/cool down. 8 miles total. Pace: 7:35. I did these bad boys on the goddamn treadmill. It happens. I did feel good though. Even though I swear I was covered in bacteria. The guy next to me was a Petri dish. Ick. 

Wednesday: Rest Day!!!! Which turned into a marathon of shopping. I banged those gifts out in no time. CHRISTMAS COMPLETE! 

Thursday: Easy Run, 6 miles. Pace: 9:37. I know. It seems weird that my easy run pace is “slow-er.” On Hansons, it’s actually a range. My marathon goal pace is 8:35. ATH ( according to Hansons), easy runs should be paced 1-2 minutes SLOWER than marathon pace. So for me it’s 9:35 to 10:35. You don’t want to run so slow that you break down tendon and bone without aerobic benefits, but easy runs are super helpful. They’re not “junk miles.” One goal of the easy run is to tune your slow-twitch muscles to utilize fat for energy. The longer you burn fat instead of carbs, the longer it takes for you to hit The Wall. Ain’t nobody got time for that, so slow I will go. 

Friday: Easy Run, 5 miles. Pace: Who knows. I trail ran with my running partner in crime, Drunk Otis Brown. He needed to get out of the house lest he shatter every ornament on the tree. So trail run we did. It was great. I was supposed to run 6, but I forgot my Garmin. *Sigh*

Drunk Otis Brown, Trail Guide.

Saturday: Easy Run, 6 miles. Pace: 9:46. In the pouring, freezing, rain. I was mega miserable. Until I remembered that it was THE MOST WONDERFUL NIGHT OF THE YEAR! Christmas Eve! If you’re an Italian like me, that means you eat fish X 7 and drink gallons of wine. You also laugh your ass of with family. I adore my family. And you discover Snap Chat with your nieces and they laugh at just how excited you are. ​#latetotheparty

Sunday: Christmas Day aka Hung Over Blown Out Rest Day. Hey, it happens. HAPPY HOLIDAYS, POODLES!!!!! I hope your holiday was filled with lots of love and laughter! 

Total number of miles run: 31
Number of types of fish consumed on Christmas Eve: 7
Number of eyerolls given to me by my nieces regarding Snap Chat: 18

Do you have any Holiday Traditions? Do you strategically place rest days on holidays? Does Snap Chat crack you up? 

Back in the Saddle

Well, well, well. Look who kicked off Boston Marathon training with a steaming hot cup of Hansons Marathon Method and 5 inches of snow? *points thumbs at chest* THIS GIRL! Week One of Hansons is actually an abbreviated week, a teaser if you will, of all things painful to come. It kicks off mid-week and begins with a Rest Day. I know. Laugh now. Because let me tell you, I’ll be celebrating these goddamn Rest Days like every Wednesday is Christmas for the next 18 weeks. 18 days of Christmas. One Rest Day a week, for 18 weeks. Not so silly now, huh, Poodle? Here’s what went down, Easy Week and all. 

Wednesday: Rest Day. 0 miles. Only it wasn’t a Rest Day. Gah. Already I’m switching shit around. Oh, Colby. The switch was definitely warranted. I pulled the old ‘bend and snap’ because I had a very important date with My Best Gals on Earth in NYC on Sunday and I knew running was going to be a struggle. So instead of resting, I ran 5 miles and did core. Totally worth it. 

Thursday: Back on track! 6 miles, Easy. According to The Bible of Hansons, easy pace is 9:15 to 10:15 minutes per mile. I ran them at 9:15. Boom. 6 miles down, 994 to go. JK. I have no idea how many miles I’ll be running. Quite frankly I prefer not to think about it, lest I black out and konk my head. 

Friday: 6 miles, Easy. Only easy is not easy when you have a decadent 3 hour Holiday Luch with you colleagues, drink bottles of Sancerre then decide it’s wise to run on a damn treadmill because goals. *hiccups* Rough run. But I did it. And at the prescribed pace. 

Saturday: 8 miles, Easy. I woke up super-fly excited. SNOW! And plenty of it! 5 inches of the white stuff! Peace, quiet, tranquility and 8 glorious miles! Have yak trax, will run. Wheeeeeee! 

It was gorgeous for more than half of my run. My sleepy town looked like a straight up Winter Wonderland.

Winter Wonderland!

Then it started to get icy. Then it poured rain. Cold, miserable rain. I got tired. 

But kept running. 8 miles, done.

Colby the Soaked Grinch

Sunday: Rest Day NYC Brunch with my Homegirls! And Bloody Mary’s! And delicious Mediterranean plates of goodness! And chit chat, laughter, silliness and friendship. I couldn’t possibly have ended Week 1 of Training on a higher note. To friendship, health, running and laughter! Cheers! 

Deliciousness at Hundred Acres, New York City.

Week 1 By The Numbers:
Total number of miles: 25 + core 
Number of times I almost fell flat on my face running in snow, slush and ice: 0.
Yak trax RULE! 
Total number of times I felt blessed to have such strong, sassy, smart women in my life: Infinite. 

Patty, Jenn, T-BONE and Me.

Do you switch up your training or do you run by the book? Snowy runs or sweltering runs, which is your jam? 

Reebok Spartan Race GIVEAWAY. Win a FREE Reebok Spartan Race! AROO!


We’ve got a GIVEAWAY up in here!!! And right before the holidays! Keep it for yourself or re-gift it. We won’t tell! Nothing says “I love you, now drop and give me 50 burpees!” like giving the Gift of Spartan. If you haven’t done a Spartan Race– now’s your chance! Check out their website– there are races across the country!

Both Tina and I have run several Spartan Races over the years, our personal favorite being the Fenway Spartan Sprint which was a complete BLAST. (Because Boston. 😊)  Relive Our Top 5 Reasons Why You Need to Do a Spartan Race HERE. If you’re planning on conquering multiple Spartan Races in 2017 like the Sprint, Super and Beast, they’ve made it easier for you with their Spartan Passes. And p.s. aren’t you a badass? Our Spartan friends have lots in store for the 2017 Spartan Racing Season.  Here what’s up!

  • The Spartan Trifecta Pass- Entry to 3 Races! 
  • The Open Season Pass for UNLIMITED Racing!
  • The Elite Season Pass for UNLIMITED Racing and Guaranteed entry to all events-  regardless of Sold Out status!
  • Banging new medals! Holy Bling! 

The Spartan Trifecta Pass! 
What you get:

  • 3 race codes, valid for calendar year (2017)
  • 1 Spectator Pass (to be used with Race Code)
  • Free Bag Check
  • Valid for all heats (including Elite & Comp.)
  • Valid for Continental US
  • Race codes aimed at Sprint/Super/Beast, but can be used for ANY 3 events


The Spartan Open Season Pass!
What you get:

  • Unlimited Racing during the Calendar Year (2017)
  • Free Spectator Pass
  • Free Bag Check
  • Guaranteed Entry to all events (not guaranteed heat)
  • Multi-Lap Discount
  • Valid on all Continental US & Hawaii Events
  • Valid for OPEN Heats ONLY
  • Upcharge for Elite (+$30) and Competitive (+$15)

The Spartan Elite Season Pass! 
What you get: 
  • Guaranteed entry to all events (not guaranteed heats), regardless of Sold Out status. Seamless Registration.
  • Unlimited Racing during the Calendar Year (2017)
  • Free Spectator Pass
  • Free Bag Check
  • Guaranteed Entry to all events (not guaranteed heat)
  • Multi-Lap Discount
  • Valid on all Continental US & Hawaii Events
  • Valid for ALL heats (Elite, Comp. & Open)

And last, but not least, a preview of the new bling. It’s epic. And would look even more epic dangling off of your strong mud caked neck. It’s a new year. Time to get uncomfortable. ‘Cuz that’s where the magic happens.

Enter our Reebok Spartan Race Rafflecopter Giveaway to win entry to any open race in the United States in 2017! It’s FREE! There is no purchase necessary. Just ENTER to win! Winner will be selected at random and notified via email! Hurry! GIVEAWAY ends at 12am on December 22nd, 2016! Get in there! 


Enter our Spartan Race Rafflecopter giveaway HERE!


 


And so it begins…

Boston Marathon training officially kicks off this week, Poodles! {Cue hysteria.} Week 1 of 18. I am stoked beyond words. Fasten your 5-point harness. I’m blogging this magical journey! And I’m apologizing in advance for the profanities, saltiness and utter ridiculousness of my upcoming posts. I’m keeping it real. I’m going to be exhausted, discouraged, elated and thrilled all at once. Bear with me. That’s the Joy that is Hanson’s Marathon Method. 

I got to this point in my running with Hansons Method, qualifying for Boston at Baystate Marathon with the run of my life (HERE). I can’t quit you, Hansons.  Not now. There’s still work to be done. There’s a level of accountability that comes with blogging which far surpasses me blathering on about running to my poor friends and Drunk Otis. Christ, my mother doesn’t even like to DRIVE 26.2 miles, let alone run them or even hear about me running them. Accountability, Friends. I need it. And these posts are providing it. Like it or not, it’s gonna be a long sweaty frozen road. I’ve got a goal.  

My marathon goal is 3:45.  

There.  I said it. 3:45. And although my heart just felt like it fell out of my chest, It’s ON. I’m ready to give this everything I’ve got. A friend recently gave me some sage advice.

Train for Boston as if you never know when it will happen again

-Running Yoda

That’s sticking with me. Like Gorilla Glue. 

Today wasn’t officially a training run. That insanity starts on Wednesday. Why Hump Day? No clue. All I know is that today I ran 5 miles on the god forsaken treadmill. I sweated to death, came home, peeled my tights off to hop in the shower and found two dryer sheets stuck to my ass. 

And here we go…

Ermahgerd is right. Let the games begin. 😄

Do you find it helpful to blog or journal about your training?  What’s your 2017 Running Goal? Have you ever left the house covered in dryer sheets? 

While visions of unicorns, danced in her head…

Reality Check: Marathon Monday is in 19 Weeks. 

Reality Check Number 2: The party is about to be over.

I’ve got 7 days. So repeat after me.  Put down the IPA, Colby. Pick up your beloved Hansons Marathon Method. This will become your Bible. You will not complain about running in freezing temps.  You will lay off the suds. You will eat copious amounts of spinach and leafy greens. You will make sleep a priority. You will cross train. You will work your goddamn core. You’ve got one week before you start training to run the race of your dreams.  You waited your whole life for this- DON’T SCREW AROUND. 

*puts on game face*

Right after my game face was firmly planted, I randomly burst into tears. Yup. Totally true. While running intervals tonight it really sunk in- It was time to start training. Official Training starts next Monday. In one week. So like a total Crazy Pants, I sobbed.  Not because I was dreading training. Not because I was overjoyed. I cried because I was overwhelmed. I was beside myself. I’m training to run THE Boston Marathon. I can’t even wrap my head around it. Still! It’s a dream. The enormity of Boston. I never thought I’d ever run it. I never thought I would earn that BQ. It’s so damn big. 

So tonight, like I do every single time since I started this Boston Marathon journey, I visualized myself turning onto Boylston as I ran. I tried to imagine how I would feel so close to the finish. I visualized every breath, every stride. I allowed my imaginary feeling to sink in.  Such hallowed ground. I imagined myself seeing that finish line. I am Boston Strong. It moves me every time I visualize it. I finished my run, and headed home to find a package from my very best friend, Tina. What a nice surprise. She always knows exactly the right words to say at the exact right time. That’s a true Best Friend. If you find one good friend in life you are lucky. Me? I Found Tina. That means I hit the jackpot.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m taking my pillow to bed. I’ve got some dreaming to do. Thanks, T! Muahhhh!

❤️

Are you kicking off training for a Spring Marathon soon? Do you practice visualization techniques

I need a little Christmas. Right this effen minute. 

I’m in the midst of a cheesy Hallmark  Christmas Movie Marathon. Wine in hand. Drunk Otis on lap. Half decorated Christmas tree blinking like it’s got an eyelash stuck in it’s eye. I can’t bring myself to find the goddamn flashy bulb and replace it with the steady calming Christmas glow I adore. For now, I’ll endure. I’m in super sonic lazy mode. And quite frankly, I’m not emotionally prepared for tomorrow to be Monday. I am however super ready to kick off the holidays. I’m usually not ALL IN for Christmas this soon. Christ. There’s still pumpkin pie in the house. But this year, I need a lil’ JOY up in here. 

I trained for 18 weeks with Hanson’s Marathon Method. I rode 193 miles across Massachusetts in my 12th Pan-Mass Challenge in the midst of it. I changed jobs. Dealt with an incredible amount of bullshit in the process and after feeling exhausted, drained and psychologically ill prepared- despite having trained hard- ran the Marine Corps Marathon a few weeks ago.  

Happiness is a shake out run.

It didn’t go as planned. It started out fantastic and was for at least 22 miles. Legs running like a metronome, keeping pace until they weren’t. That has less to do with my training and more to do with how damn hot it was. Running a marathon in the high-70s at the end of October ain’t my thing. My body wasn’t having it. I stopped sweating, got chills, got cold and nauseous and promptly got super nervous. There was a moment on that God forsaken hot highway near the Pentagon that I honestly thought I was going to DNF. Then I saw a paralyzed man running in an exoskeleton and promptly got it together. I’m not kidding. I was jolted back to life. I cried. And cheered for him. I’ve never seen anything like it. Talk about will. The Will. Will to the highest power. I was stunned. 

Dawn.

I finished in a time that I would have been happy about a year ago, but it wasn’t what I trained for. You can put your heart and soul into your training. You can light candles to the Gods of Perfect Weather and make offerings to the Gods of Perfect GI Health. You can run miles with a side of tempo runs and a shot of intervals until you are BEYOND ready. But on that day? You get what you get, and you don’t get upset. *pours third glass of wine*  

DONE!!!

So as I sit here, half in the bag about to have a goddamn seizure from these flashing lights, I’m realizing that in spite of a somewhat disappointing bunch of months, imperfection can be perfection- as long as you have the right perspective. Not having the race you trained for happens. Imperfect conditions rarely yield perfect results. It’s what you take from it. There will always be lessons to learn.  That’s where the growth happens- as an athlete, as a runner, hell- even as a woman.  Yes. The heat made a very decent race totally turn to shit, but I will forever be grateful for the thrill of the run. There is nothing like it. Nothing. Every run is a great run. That much I am sure of. The tough ones just show you a little more of what you’re made of. #steel 

Badass.

What’s next on your list? Next up for me: Boston Marathon! Training this time begins with an InsideTracker retest for me. Check out their #BlackFriday Deal for a huge discount on their “Ultimate” test. Here’s the LINK to their website. Use code: THANKSNICOLEB to save some dough and optimize your health. Now thru Cyber Monday, 10/28! 

Tips for Having Your Best Race Ever

nycmarathonlogo

I ran the NYC Marathon last week with 51,000+ of my nearest and dearest running friends and methinks I had the most fun I have EVER had in a marathon. Thought I’d share my secrets. If you’re looking to PR, these tips are not – I repeat, NOT – for you.  If you are Mr. Hanson, Higdon, Pfitzinger? Please look away.

Can’t exactly market the below as keys to “success,” but if you are looking to have The Best Time Ever During a Race, give them a try.

1. Choose a race that is a 26.2 mile party. NYC, Chicago, Marine Corps, Boston all have awesome crowds and crazy-good energy. I imagine the marathon through wine country in France would qualify. I’m sure there are many, many more. Avoid anything that is only for “serious runners” or has a boring course.

2. Put your name in the lottery sign-up, then promptly forget that you signed up. Make bold statements that you are NEVER running a fall marathon again even though you just threw your name into the lottery for one. Your name never comes up anyway.

3. Genuinely be surprised when you find out in March that you got a bib. Temper your excitement with the realization that you will now need to train through another hot summer and insanely busy September. Tuck that way back in the recesses of your mind and carry on with a fun spring. It all seems pretty far away, anyway.

4. Don’t train too hard. Not because you don’t want to (well, there is a part of you that doesn’t want to), but because you simply do not have the time. When did life get so busy?

5. Get your long runs in, even if some weeks that is – gulp –your only run of the week (it pains me to admit this, even now). They are key because they remind you that long runs are generally your favorite runs, and what is a marathon but a really long run? You can do this. Slowly, perhaps, but you can do it.

6. Do not – I repeat – do NOT keep a log of your “training.” It will only make you sad. And nervous. Maybe even a little horrified.

7. Step away from the internet. You don’t have time for that anyway (see #4). Do not keep up to date on the newest training plans and how fellow runners are doing with them. It will only scare you. Wish them the best, cheer them from afar and retreat into your bubble. (Do keep up with your Bestie’s training, because that is different and you love her. She is your bubble.)

8. Make sure your Bestie comes in with you for the marathon weekend. This is key. Maybe Tip #1.

9. Make fun plans after the race. It will give you something to focus on other than the race itself. A party hosted by one of your favorite people with an awesome group of friends, old and new, is ideal. All that separates you from it is a long run!

10. Order up great weather. 50’s and mostly sunny works.

11. Mill around athlete’s village and take it all in. It’s the biggest race on planet and a veritable melting pot. It’s awesome. Take mental notes and pictures. you don’t want to forget any of it.

12. Look around the start at your fellow runners, look over the bridge, look at the amazing skyline ahead and immediately decide to take off your Garmin. Put her in your pocket – you don’t need her today. Today is not going to be about PRs, fast miles or negative splits, whether you wear the Garmin or not. So let her go and just focus on the experience.

13. Enjoy every second. Thank every volunteer you can. Slap kids’ hands, laugh at the signs. Tear up at the many “Team Achilles” runners you see. Take in the different neighborhoods you pass through on your 5-borough run. Reminisce and feel a little emotional as you run through your old stomping grounds on First Avenue. Wow, you were young.

14. Catch sight of your Bestie – your biggest cheerleader – a moment before she yells “T-BONE” as you pass her less than ½ a mile from the finish. Her smile and energy makes you feel like you are running on air.

15. Feel exhilarated when you cross the finish. You did it. Not the way you usually do it, but that’s ok.

It’s more than okYou stepped waaaaay out of your comfort zone on this one.

And you are beaming.

What was your Best Race Ever? Was it a PR Race? Or just a great experience? Maybe you have one of each?

Sending out a GPS- Garmin, Polar or Suunto? Help!


Sending out a big, fat SOS, Poodles! Or, GPS as it were.

My Garmin died.
Dead.
Gone-zo.
Sweet Dreams, Garmin Forerunner 410. It’s been real.

The party is over for her.We had a good time, she and I. But she’s gone to that place where she’s always charged and her satellites are always found. 

*Sigh*

I’m running Marine Corps Marathon in 3 stinking weeks and my Garmin shit the bed. There’s a part of me that truly could care less. Much like how I’ve felt about my training as of late. Is it over, yet?!?! Gah. However there is a MUCH BIGGER part of me that ABSOLUTELY CARES WITH EVERY FIBER OF HER EXHAUSTED BEING! I’ve been training with Hansons’ Marathon Method and let’s just say that I’m plum tuckered. I can’t wait to run this marathon. Mostly so I can sit my tired can down and relax for a hot minute. 

I had my “peak week” last week. And after 63 miles, two crying fits and a case of pink eye later, I’m ready to wrap this puppy up. And then of course, My Garmin bit it which was simply the cherry on top of a Shit Sundae. You know how it goes. The hysterical exhausted break down that occurs roughly 4 weeks out? It’s awful. Add Dead Garmin and conjunctivitis and it becomes catastrophic. Onto the real question, Dear Readers. What kind of GPS am I getting? I’m just starting to look around, read blogs and reviews and get my act together. I know I don’t want one that will require a Ph.D in programming from MIT simply to turn on. Let’s keep it kinda simple, semi feature loaded and easy to upload. If it can yell obscenity laced cheers at me, all the better. 

So. Whatcha running with, Poodles? Help! 

Acceptance. 

Ready for this crazy talk? Sweet Sacred Unicorn! I am running the Boston Marathon. I trained with Hansons Marathon Method. I ran the Baystate Marathon. I qualified. I registered. I got accepted.

Me! Me. Me? How in the actual fuck did that happen? If you were to have told me 7 years ago that I would be running the Boston Marathon, the Holy Grail of running, I would have laughed straight in your pretty little face. Never. Never in my life did I think I would be fast enough. Runner enough. Athlete enough. To qualify for the most sought after marathon around. Just never. 

I didn’t believe I had it in me. It wasn’t even on my radar. It was a mythical beast, a literal and figurative unicorn that existed only in the pages of Runner’s World. BQ? I hadn’t seriously considered it. Then last year rolled around. I decided THIS WAS IT. I am giving it all I got. I discovered Hansons Marathon Method and decided to give it a go (here). I also decided to blog about my weekly running recaps (here’s number 1 .)  It was my first REAL BQ try. I blogged faithfully. Each week I posted “Colby’s Week In Running” all the while apologizing for the profanities, beer and sweaty tired miles. Humor me, Poodles. Just read this. It kept me honest. It kept me accountable. Then I ran the Race of My Life (here and here) with Tina. Best Day Ever. That is, until yesterday. 

I found running, or rather running found me, in what seems like a million lifetimes ago. It was during one of the lowest points in my life. I have to say, I didn’t feel worthy of anything. I’ve blogged about that time before (here)  and several other times over the course of This Little Blog’s tenure. Running became my constant companion. It was my control in my time of chaos. I ran to feel pain that pieced the numbness and ran to let it all go. Each mile taught me I was capable of moving forward in the truest sense. It was transformative. I started to believe in myself. Believe that I was capable. Believe I was strong. Believe I could…{insert anything here}. 

So when I saw that email telling me I had been accepted into The Boston Marathon, I had the feeling that this arc of my life, from low to high, was closed. And I accepted it with an open heart. I started in one place and landed in another, having run the whole way. Never forget where you start- where you really start. It will give you the greatest perspective on where you are now. What a journey! I discovered who I AM!  Strong. Worthy. Capable.  

And in the process, found a damn unicorn.