Consider this my retirement

There’s a great Office episode where Michael is confronted with the reality that you can’t just say whatever you want in the workplace and not get, I don’t know, sued for it.  I love watching the early episodes and the extra cringe that’s induced from the off-color sexual, misogynistic and downright racist jokes that would just not fly in 2019.

Anyhoodles, once Michael realizes this he makes an announcement that he can’t be friends with anyone in the office anymore and to consider it his retirement from comedy.

This clip has stayed with me for a lot of reasons.  Mostly because of how ridiculous it is it announce your retirement from something you weren’t really even capable of retiring from.

Like what I’m about to tell you.

You can consider this post my retirement from running.

I came to this conclusion pretty naturally, actually.  This past summer I had a lot of drama.  I was hospitalized twice for severe migraines and seizures.  MB and I went through a lot of personal stuff.  This bled into the fall — when I had to defer the New York Marathon — and then winter — when Kanga died and Mark was out for training and I was desperately trying to figure out the direction of my life.

And during that time, running was absent.  The times that I was out on the pavement were rough.  I promised myself that training for Princess and signing up for the Pittsburgh Marathon would reignite that spark.  But the spark never caught.

And I tried.  I tried so hard.  I ran every day for a few weeks.  I ran every other day even more often.  I bought new leggings, new crops, new shoes, new hats all in an effort to bribe the spark or the love to return.

It never came back.  And I panicked a little.  Running is who I AM.  I am a RUNNER.  I RUN.  LIKE MARATHONS.

I stopped training for Princess about a month out.  I ran a 10 miler that I hated every step of as my last long run and hoped for the best.  And the race was the best I could have hoped for.  I had fun with my friends, I got to be in my happiest place, I SLEPT.  But man I hated the race.  The race I had been privileged enough to run at least 4 times.  I stopped at mile 8.  Sat down.  Thought it over.

I decided to walk the last 5 miles.  During that time as I got nearer and nearer to the back of the pack, I really turned over in my brain:  why do you run?

For my health.  But none of your doctors have pointed to running as THE THING that keeps you healthy.

For my sanity. But you have great therapists now.  People ACTUALLY trained to deal with your mental health.

For my friendships. But they love you even when you’re not running together.

For my health!!!  No this is bullshit.  You’ve been healthy, more or less, since you stopped running.

FOR MY HEALTH!!!!  Bitch stop it.  Call it by its name.  Say it out loud.

To try desperately to be skinny.  There it is.

To always try to be smaller. Yes ma’am!  And why?

To be worthy.  A worthy body is a small, thin body.  What else do you tell yourself?

That thin is healthy.  Small is healthy.  Do you hear it another way now?

Small is worthy.  You are not worthy unless you are smaller.  Or always striving for smaller. Health is not the reason.  Small is the reason.


Look, I’ve “struggled” with my weight and my body image my whole life.  Remember how proud I was when I lost like 30lbs?  I read this post now and it makes me feel so sad.  And guilty.  I hate that I put this out in the world.  Because you know what?  I was perfectly healthy in all those pictures.  Bodily I was fine:  200lbs, 170 lbs (not the 140lbs when I was eating 500 kcals a day and running 6 miles to burn it all off).  But mentally.  I was sick.  I was near dying.  Because I was constantly telling myself I was not worthy.  I could not be worthy until I looked a certain way, weighed a certain amount.

Sure I made my goal weight at weight watchers.  And 4 years later, I’ve gained (probably) most of it back.  You know why?  Because I was still disordered eating.  For me, counting the points the calories of the butter down to the miliounce is disordered for me.  It has NEVER been about nutrition.  It’s been about being as small as possible so that I am worthy of love and praise and a place in the world as a functioning woman.  I did it because I have internalized the message that in order to be successful I cannot be fat.

It was a lot to process in 5 miles of a walk.

During that 5 mile stroll, I looked around at the other participants, all shapes and sizes.  I heard the negative reel in my head.   Judging myself against other people — oh you’re way bigger than her.  But you’re smaller than him.

What does that matter, Lauren?  WHAT?  Nothing; it means nothing. I want it to stop.  I don’t want to want be on the worth-granting committee of my own head anymore.  I want to see people and effort and ingenuity and kindness.  Because that’s what I want people to see when they see me.

I took all this back to my (amazing) therapist and we started to unpack it.  We talked about the way I see myself (a horrible growing blob), the way I think other people see me (lazy, undisciplined, gluttonous, out of control, unhealthy, unworthy, unlovable, untrustworthy).  Which is like, kind of crazy.

My therapist told me to try to regulate my thoughts.  Let them come, but put them in perspective, reframe them.  React kindly to my own self degradation, try to actually be gentle with myself.  So I gave it a go when I went to Mexico for a long weekend.

It was all bikinis and shorts and tank tops.  My clothes fit me, but not nearly as well as the summer before.  And I was surrounded by other people who were also in bikinis and shorts and tank tops.  Usually, I would spend a lot of time covering up, thinking that that everyone was staring at me, thinking I was blob.  Thinking I shouldn’t be there in my swimsuit.

But you know what?  No one said a word to me about my big thighs and hips and cellulite.  Not one person said — didn’t those shorts fit you better last year?  No one in the whole country asked me how much I weighed.  My friend that I traveled with didn’t seem grossed out by my body.  And if she was, she mercifully didn’t make a big scene about it.

It was at that moment that I knew I would be OK.  I started looking into the Healthy At Every Size Movement which is basically helping people recognize markers for health that are not solely focused on weight and therefor outward appearance.  I read Shrill, Hungry and I’m trying to get through Rethinking Thin and Tales from the Fat-o-sphere.

But most importantly, I’m living my damn life.  I am going to barre like 7 days a week (I was, right now my should is injured but I’ll be back).  I’ve taken up spinning.  And when I’m there I focus on the joy of the movement.  I don’t think about the food I ate that landed me in work out class, or how many calories I’m burning off.

And most importantly, I’m trying very earnestly to honor my body right here and right now.  I’m honest with myself about the size of clothes that fit my body right now.  I don’t beat myself up over those or any other arbitrary numbers that might come up.

And I’m trying to really fuel my body.  Like honest to goodness.  I’ve started seeing a Registered Dietician who focuses on body positivity.  I am trying not to see food as an enemy or a force.  Just food.  And like some vegetable occasionally.

And I’m going to be real.  It’s really hard.  Some days I legit just feel fat and ugly.  But most days, I realize when I’m not obsessing about food and exercise, I have a lot of bandwidth for other things like reading, and writing and friends.

I’m not saying I’ll never run again but the time for racing long distances in this phase of my life is over.  And I’m OK with that.  I’m so much more than a runner.  I’m a lot of thing.  But one thing I’m not is ashamed of who I am or what I look like.

PHM: The Plan

I’ve hemmed and hawed about the plan I wanted to use for the Princess Half Marathon for weeks.  On one hand, I’ve had ridiculously good luck with the Run less, Run faster training plans.  Running three days a week and cross training additional days is perfect for my old, weary body.  But, on the other hand, I’m not in a position to be running faster, just running less.  So it seemed like an overly ambitious plan.


here’s a picture of the last time I was at princess.  i already have my sash ready.

Normally, I would convince myself that I should write my own plan but I talked myself out of that really fast.  I settled on another tried and true plan — Jeff Galloway’s Run Walk Plan. For the experienced runner, natch.

The plan is provided for free from the runDisney website.  The plan itself is pretty simple:  running three days a week with recommended pace targets and a run-walk cadence.  I am going to modify the plan and focus on getting the runs IN without worrying about timing too much.  Homegirl is just trying to finish here.

I’m excited about the plan for two reasons.  First, the plan is 18 glorious weeks long.  That means on October 22, I’ll have my first official training day.   Having all this time is important to me.  I have over a month from today to get mentally and physically ready for training, the weather will be a little more cooperative {hopefully} and I’ll have ample time to get myself into shape for the actual race.

Second, the mid-week runs are not measured in miles.  THEY ARE MEASURED IN MINUTES.  Easing back into mileage is really important for my psychologically.  I can get myself pretty flipped out about 2, 2 mile runs in the first week.  But an hour, in one week?  Plus a three mile long run?  Now that I can do.

There are going to be a lot of other factors for success in this training cycle.  Getting my eating back together {oy!}, continuing with cross training, figuring out my costume {v. importante!} and of course, getting my gear game back in A+ status.  But for now, I’m very excited to see the 18 week plan every time I head to the fridge.  I’m looking forward to logging the miles here and on my legs, crossing off the days on the plan.



Oh, hey!


It’s been a minute.

700,801 minutes actually.  But who’s counting?

Since the last time we talked, things have been a bit topsy turvy.  I haven’t really been doing a whole lot with running.  I sort of did the 10K at Marathon weekend this past year {and almost died, but Sara was there to save me}.  I have not been physically well and I have a lot going on in my personal life.  I go to therapy like 4 hours a week and talk about why I’m so sad and why I’m so angry (both in situational and in longitudinal ways).

And in the midst of it all, I gave up running.

Running, for me, is funny like that.  It’s like the old friend or dear family member that I truly take for granted.  Like things are really hard right now, I can’t deal with you!  or I’m so sad and eating all my feelings and you are the thing that is hardest because of it, I can’t deal with you!!!  Or even worse I can’t stand to be alone with my thoughts that long and YOU’RE the activity that forces that level of introspection, I can’t deal with you!!!!!

And running, even though it might make it hard for me to come back, is always there.

In the last year I’ve probably run a total of 20 miles.  And that’s generous.  I deferred the New York Marathon.  The longer I was away the more I was convinced that maybe running had given up on me for good.  And then recently I ran two twenty minute runs.  And there running was.  Like that old friend and dear family member.  Waiting.  Not without soreness.  And definitely not without some sadness.  But we are working through it.

OK, so what?

SO!  I decided rather than just GO with my bests to Walt Disney World for the Princess Half Marathon, why don’t I train for and RUN the Princess Half Marathon.

Training starts in mid-October and I’m excited about the ramp up {like these little 20 minute runs}, the cross training {Pure Barre, all the way} and sharing the journey back here on my little blog that I love so much.

Like I’ve long said, running is not about the races or the clothes or the medals, it’s about the community.  And man oh man do I need some community in my life right now.

Race Report: PGH Marathon 5K

Game on PGH Official Blogger

Guys.  This race.  Everything.  The weekend.  Everything!  Our people?!  EVERYTHING.

Listen, I’m not going to pretend that I was easy not running the marathon on Sunday.  But, I can say, with certainty that I have a lot of peace with where I am physically and with running.  That certainty allowed me to really really enjoy participating in the 5K.  It also, truly, allowed me to soak up our people while we were in town for the weekend.  Sure we were busy and running from event to event, meet up to meet up.  But, without the pressure of the marathon, and having a peace with this season of my running life, I was thoroughly present.  I could enjoy each person I saw, really see them, enjoy our time together.  It was an amazing time.

First up though, the 5K.

MB and I arrive in Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon and Omni was home base.  I had coordinated with Steff to meet and walk over to the start of the 5K.  She and I both pretended like I’m not 100% directionally challenged and I ended up meeting them right outside of PNC park which was perfect.

it was so dreary and cold.  and wet.  and dreary. 

fancy we run social pic from their insta page. Also LNRB, stop going out in the rain without a hat on.  You look ridiculous.

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Sara: On her first marathon, after her second

NB: I asked Sara to write her musings on her first marathon back in January.  I had absolutely no idea that they would be so kind or make me feel so many feels.  If you sub out my name the info is a great resource to finding the best possible route to becoming a first time marathoner.  Please allow me this unbelievably indulgent guide, according to Sara, about how to prepare for your first marathon.

FOUR MONTHS AGO I was a debutante of the marathon, slogging a final mile through the Epcot parking lot with crippling pain in my right calf.  As I trotted through the alley of spectators, the finish line in sight, the crowd was going wild.  With my leg on the verge of giving out, I rode the wave of the crowd’s vibrations to my first race medal.  The applause gave me the final push I needed, and, although I felt like I deserved it, the crowd’s exuberance had nothing to do with me.

They weren’t proud of me for spending hours on the trail mostly every Saturday for the previous four months while my family sat at home waiting for me.

They weren’t congratulating me for spending hours running in cold rain the day after Thanksgiving when I could have been shopping online.

They didn’t know about how I logged weekday miles on my basement treadmill when I managed to get my kids to nap at the same time.

They weren’t impressed with the fact that I went through the wringer to find a babysitter so I could get outside for my tempo runs.

Nope.  Those strangers were going wild as I crawled toward the finish because of this wild runner two steps in front of me waving a blue fairy wand and screaming, “IT’S SARA’S FIRST MARATHON!” to anyone who was within earshot.  I give you zero guesses as to the identity of said runner.

The day after we finished the Disney marathon together, Lauren asked me to write a post for her about being a first time marathoner.  She said to write from whatever angle felt best and that it didn’t have to be perfect.  I decided to focus on creating a list of what I personally needed in order to successfully train for and tackle that elusive distance for the first time.

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PGH Marathon: Training for Cheering

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In a week, I’ll be waiting, anxiously, to have dinner with my friends who have successfully dominated another Pittsburgh Marathon weekend.  I’ll also be basking in the warm glow of my success as one of the best cheer-ers that the Pittsburgh Marathon has ever seen.  Since I’ve run the course about 790 times, I have scoped out all the great places, as a runner, where people’s yells, snacks and funny signs meant the world to a marathon-weary runner.

especially that time I ran 2 marathons back to back!

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PGH Marathon Training: Weeks 3-6 (?)

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You can still register using my code BAILEY10!

OK, so.  Running has not really been a big huge priority lately.  As you might have read, I’ve been suffering from a low point with my depression, which in turn makes me really disinterested in things that usually bring me joy.  I’ve been feeling better, but I’ve also gotten really really busy.  Busy means I’m tired a lot and still dealing with my depression does not really create an environment for running success.  Then I got sick.  And the sick held on for almost a month.  This week, I tweaked a muscle in my glute.  It hurt so bad I could barely sit, let alone run.

Earlier this week I was starting to panic.  I’m running a marathon in 5 weeks.  The farthest I’ve run is 12 miles.

And then, I started talking gently to myself and I decided to take stock of what I’ve done and what I’m able to commit to doing in the next 5 weeks.

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Running Real Talk: I Cannot Outrun Depression

I’ve been deleted and rewriting this post for a long time but I decided I’d just come right out with it:  I suffer from depression that I usually manage pretty well.  The last four months, however, have been particularly hard.  This isn’t to say that I haven’t had some really bright spots during this time.  But it is to say that even though I can recognize these times, most of the last few months have been spent in a fog.  An unhappy and very dense fog.

A lot of people write or talk about how running is free therapy.  While I’m not adverse to this line of thinking — running can in a lot of ways be very mentally therapeutic — I’ve personally experienced that this is a dangerous way for me to think about running.  Back in 2014 when I was finally diagnosed with chronic depression and began treatment, I almost couldn’t believe it.  I run, I thought.  That’s supposed to be enough therapy.

It’s not.  For me, it is just not enough.

Instead, my enthusiasm for or my lack of interest in running is sort of a canary in a coal mine for me and my depression.  When I’m not able to muster the excitement for my literal favorite activity, when putting on my running shoes is akin to my ripping off my skin piece by piece, when the finish line of my next race seems literally impossible — I know I’m in deep and I need to get some help.

That’s why, even though I’ve been training for and very excited about my next marathon, I’ve been less than consistent.  My depression was able to waft in and steal my joy for the cycle.  Zap me of my energy and motivation.  Help me say mean things to myself about my abilities and commitment to my goals.  I’m still able to train, sort of.  But the running isn’t making me feel better necessarily.  It’s just a symptom that things are on the upswing.

OK, so what?  I wanted to share for two reasons:  First mental health issues are real.  If you or someone you know is feeling depressed I cannot urge you strongly enough to seek professional, clinical help.  Also, mental health issues are prevalent  and underrepresented.  In this age of social media, everything always looks really smiley and happy (of which I’m totally guilty.  I’m not one to post my puss face or a picture of my third helping of ice cream with #depressedAF.  Not my style but also I recognize not that helpful) and it’s OK if for you right now it’s just not.  You’re not alone, ever. Second, it’s OK if you are a runner suffering from depression and you don’t feel exorcised by your running.  You don’t have to.  I don’t.  Some people do.  You do you, boo.  And get some help if you’re feeling down.

I’ll end with this.  I’m feeling better.  I’m lucky to have a great network, awesome doctors, good health care, rad family.  My training is starting to get back on track.  Things are looking up.   And I hope that if you’re not feeling as hopeful as I am right now, you know that I’ve been there and if you do what you need to do you’ll be on the upswing soon, too.