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I'm Down to Two Dads

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Consider this blogging therapy. I need to get this out of my head because itís been banging around & driving me crazy since Monday.

Thatís the day that I found out my biological father had died.

I grew up in a typical, slightly dysfunctional (right, Lydia?) family with my mom, dad (Dennis) and sister. I never thought much of it when people said that I looked like my mom & my sister took after my dad. In high school, we did a blood type testing lab. My parents both had O+; mine test result was B+. If you remember correctly from biology class, thatís not possible. My teacher (perhaps politely,) Mom & I all shrugged it off as a cheap, insensitive, perhaps faulty test.

Fast forward about four years, when I did a similar lab in a college biology class. More sophisticated test, same results. This time I couldnít ignore the results. When I confronted Mom with the news, she reluctantly admitted that she had an affair with a married coworker when she & my dad Dennis were on a break. Dennis found out that Mom was pregnant with me and, being the good man that he is, wanted to marry her. My biological father never knew about me.

Mom gave me my biological fatherís name & a way to reach one of his family members, and after several months I decided to contact him. John, my biological father, was surprised but very receptive. I met him, his current wife, his ex-wife (the one he cheated on) and over half of my 8 ďnewĒ brothers & sisters a few weeks later. Some things made much more sense after I met him; I shared some of the same facial features, personality traits & mannerisms with them.

We developed a tenuous but decent relationship. John told me he loved me from the very beginning and included me in a few family functions. I became pretty close with two of my brothers & sisters, Bill & Nikki. But things were awkward. Some of the siblings were less accepting of me than others. My dad Dennis was hurt that I had contacted John and felt that I was trying to replace him. After a while, my biological father & I seemed to let the years, miles and difficulties separate us and we lost contact.

Over the weekend, as I was sorting & decluttering the house for sale, I found a graduation card from John and decided to search for him on the internet. I had often thought of doing this, but he had health issues and I was a little apprehensive about what I would find. My worst fears were confirmed when I found his obituary. He passed away a while ago (Iím not going to say how long ago because it upsets me.) I was not listed as one of his children.

I have such mixed feelings. I am sad that my biological father is dead, but not nearly as sad as I will be when my dad Dennis or my stepdad Jerry pass away. I feel guilty that we didnít keep in touch, despite what others thought. Iím upset that none of my siblings contacted me when he passed away. Iím hurt that I, the bastard child of an affair or not, was not included as one of his children. I feel like Iím grieving the loss of not only the loss of my biological father but eight brothers & sisters as well. I havenít told many people, but most werenít sure how to respond. I canít blame them; itís such an odd situation that Iím not sure how to deal with it either. Iím hoping blogging & a little more time will help.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Renee, coming from a very multi-faceted aka dysfunctional family, I hear you and I feel your pain. We have experienced similar difficult to understand "stories". How you feel is YOURS. Own it and let it run its course. No one can tell YOU how to feel sweetie. Follow your head and your heart and work through this in your own time. emoticon

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XHASTEDMOMOF2 8/31/2011 11:24PM

    Sorry I'm just now catching up on your blog!!!! I'm also saddened that you had this to go thru. You've really got a lot on your plate and this just added to it!!!! I hope you are healing well and finding a way to come to terms with the mix of emotions this stirred up!!


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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 7/24/2011 1:34PM

    I am so sorry for your loss. It must be confusing and confounding--you must have a part of you that is mourning the "what might have been" aspect of having a shadow family, however much your real family means to you.
Best wishes.

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EUPHRATES 7/23/2011 11:54PM


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TIGGER622 7/22/2011 5:06PM

    I am so sorry for your loss, no one can fully understand what you are going through, but we are all here to listen. I was adopted myself so I have lots of family out there that I did not grow up with. Some that want me in their lives and some that dont. It is complicated and strange and sad and happy and no one knows but me! Stay strong and try and appreciate what you were able to gain from those relationships while they lasted - the shared traits, medical history, etc. He will always be a part of you and so will his children, even if they dont want to recognize it. HUGS!!!

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TERJEGOLD 7/21/2011 11:20PM

    Own your feelings, sweetie. Whatever you are feeling, it's the right thing for you at this time. Sadness does not need justification. You experienced a loss, actually several and it truly is sad.

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CINDHOLM 7/21/2011 6:37PM

    I am so sorry for your loss emoticon

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MACKANDME 7/21/2011 6:19PM

    You should do what will give you the most peace. It is clear you love your dad (Dennis) and step dad (Jerry). Your biological father is exactly that, biological. I empathize with you because I have steps also. And long lost family that could care less if I were alive or if we ever even spoke. So do what you need to for that inner peace, then go spread some love to those that are always there for you to dish out the hugs.

emoticon emoticon

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DAS92687 7/21/2011 3:38PM

    Renee, I am so sorry for your loss.

I think it would be nice to reach out in a letter to your siblings and let them know that you are sorry for their loss and share their sadness. It's quite possible that your not being listed in the obituary was not mean-spirited ...

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--MAY-- 7/21/2011 1:27PM

    Hello, thank-you for sharing, though I have no idea of what you are feeling... I only hope that you can find some peace, like someone previously said, cherish and remember the times you spent with him. And when you feel up to it reach out to that sister and brother.
As I have said we have no idea what another person we love is going thru. so take care of yourself and smile and laugh cuz it really does make you feel better.

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A-STRONGER-ME 7/21/2011 12:57PM

    Renee, I don't know you very well, but I do believe that all the feelings you are having are very normal. You were cheated, intentionally or unintentionally - in several ways and either way it hurts.

Cherish the fact that you met him and had him in your life for a bit - instead of finding out about him now and never having known him at all.

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JEM0622 7/21/2011 12:57PM

    As a birthparent, I find this blog very insightful. I don't know if you knew that about me. Anyway, I am sorry that your curiosity led to that update about him. I think you should find comfort in knowing that you had some kind of a relationship at all. As you said, you have others that you care a great deal about and are in your life. emoticon

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JEANNETTE59 7/21/2011 12:43PM

  There is an old saying, "You can't choose your family, but you can choose your friends."
Thank you for trusting your Spark friends enough to share this complicated and painful story.
My guess is that the brothers and sisters who, were not accepting of you as a "new sister," put pressure on "their father" to not include you in family gatherings. It's not an excuse for their or his behavior, only a reason.
Perhaps in time you may want to reach out to the brother and sister, who welcomed you. In the meantime enjoy the love of your immediate family and friends. And know that you have Spark friends that care about you and are willing to listen and not judge.
Time is a great healer. I wish you peace emoticon

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MGJARVI 7/21/2011 12:31PM

    Renee, you're right, not very many people would know the brilliant right thing to say in this situation. All I can say is that I love you and offer all the hugs I can give. I'm so sorry to hear about this, I had NO idea, and can only imagine how it's weighing on you.

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SHANDIEGO 7/21/2011 12:21PM

    Hang in there Sugar. I know you're going through a lot, but trust that everything will feel ok again. I'm so sorry that you're dealing with this. Stay strong. Don't hesitate to reach out to me if you need a friend. emoticon

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Postponing a Dream

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Tuesday, July 5th was to be the day that I registered for the 2012 Disney Princess HM. Ever since the day I found out about this race it has been my dream to run it. Iím a huge Disney fan, and the idea of running through WDW (especially Cinderellaís castle) while being entertained by characters and thousands of other Disney fans really excited me. I had made plans to run it with a few close SparkFriends of mine next year, all decked out in our pretty pink finery. 2012 was going to be the Year of the Princess.

And then reality came and bit me on the butt.

My air conditioner/heat pump died. It was 22+ years old, so it lived a long, valiant life. Unfortunately it had the worst freaking time to go out. You see, not only was I planning to run Princess next year, I was also considering moving. The idea was to possibly move sometime next year & sell the house with a home warranty, knowing that the furnace would need to be replaced soon. Why couldnít it hold on a little longer?

The dead air conditioner has forced me to make decisions faster than I had anticipated. I could replace only the heat pump motor for about $700, use the rest of the Disney money to get the house ready for market before anything else goes wrong & start looking for a new job. Or I can replace the heat pump/AC unit for $3000-4000 and not be able to afford to move for a couple years.

My daughter & I moved to the Cincinnati area 15 years ago for a good-paying job that I no longer have and to give her the best education possible. We donít have family in the area, so I had always assumed I would move out of the area once Laura graduated & found a place of her own.

Being a single mom for 19 years & not fathoming the thought of living too far from my daughter, I had planned on settling back down somewhere a couple hours away from her. But life has changed dramatically for me over the past year and with it my plans have too. I think itís healthier to allow Laura to move wherever her dreams carry her, without her mom hovering close by to watch over & protect her. Iíve also met someone, and this move would bring us a little closer together. Even if things donít work out with this person, Iíll still be living much closer to my sister, parents & several other relatives.

Iíve decided to replace the motor only & move to the Columbus area. Almost everything in my Virgo, OCD, ultra-planning body is fighting against this choice. I feel stupid trying to sell my house & find a job in this market, opening myself up to a relationship after being alone & independent for so many years, and letting my daughter possibly move hundreds of miles away (sheís considering Virginia Beach) without me. But my heart is telling me that itís time to take the plunge. After sleepwalking for so long, Iíve been making conscious efforts over the past year to live a more vibrant, courageous life. This just feels like the next step I need to take. Iím scared half to death, but Iím moving forward and taking that leap of faith anyway.

So, even though Iíll be sad on July 5th as my friends are registering for Disney Princess, itíll be okay. Itís worth postponing one dream to pursue so many others.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Not sure why I just saw this but how about you use the dream race as a fairy tale BEGINNING to your new life after you get moved and settled and plan on doing it next year in 2013? Start planning and dreaming NOW!

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WAMCVEY 8/12/2011 11:47AM

    Wow, I have been negligent in keeping up to date with the going-ons of my sparkbuddies and only now read through your blog. Sad to hear you'll be leaving the neighborhood, but it sounds like it's probably the right decision. Do you have any definite plans on when you plan to move?

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TIGGER622 7/19/2011 4:29PM

    It took me FOREVER to get to your blog, but I am so glad I finally did!!! It sounds like your life is moving in such a healthy direction, that is awesome!!! I loved reading your story and am inspired by your decision to take the plunge and make these moves that may seem so foreign and unsafe, you are truly living!!! And you are right it is merely postponing - you will run disney one day!!! Good for you!

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XHASTEDMOMOF2 7/12/2011 7:25PM

    You've definitely got a lot on your plate there!!! So really sucks about your A/C!! And I know you would have really enjoyed the race!! I wish you all the best as you work thru the details in your mind. And if Laura moves to Va Beach, she would only be a little over 2 hours South East from a messy house that would welcome her with open arms anytime!!

Keep us posted as you make your plans!!


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MOXIE-IN-MOTION 7/5/2011 9:02PM

    This made me sad and happy for you all at once. It is definitely upsetting that you can't run in the Princess Half, but so many other good things will be happening for you. And I'm sure, sometime down the road, you'll get to run through WDW and through Cinderella's Castle!

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ASKILLMAN 7/5/2011 8:28PM

    Focusing on the "now" will be better in the long run! I hope that in the future you are able to run the race. You are being very positive about the situation, and I wish you the best.

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TERJEGOLD 7/5/2011 1:18PM

    What's that saying, "when one door closes another opens"? Something like that. So while your Disney race will happen later than earlier, hopefully since you have thought this out so well and have things planned out, you will be pleasantly surprised by nice turns in your life. I hope this next year is fantastic for you.

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CHELLES_BELLS 7/5/2011 11:20AM

    I found this post in my feed and had to comment. The Princess Half was my goal race, the entire reason I started running. But then we had some major money issues when my partner lost his job. I cant even imagine affording an entry right now. Thank you for sharing your post. It really has helped me cope with my postponement.

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CHELLES_BELLS 7/5/2011 11:20AM

    I found this post in my feed and had to comment. The Princess Half was my goal race, the entire reason I started running. But then we had some major money issues when my partner lost his job. I cant even imagine affording an entry right now. Thank you for sharing your post. It really has helped me cope with my postponement.

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CHELLES_BELLS 7/5/2011 11:19AM

    I found this post in my feed and had to comment. The Princess Half was my goal race, the entire reason I started running. But then we had some major money issues when my partner lost his job. I cant even imagine affording an entry right now. Thank you for sharing your post. It really has helped me cope with my postponement.

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VAMPTRIANA4EVR 7/4/2011 6:10PM

    Sounds like you are making the best of a bad situation and as everyone else has already said there is always 2013... Who knows maybe I will even be able to do it with ya by then!

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NURSESARAH03 7/4/2011 3:19PM

You are such a courageous and vibrant person. Reach for the stars and break of a big shiny piece for yourself. Your daughter will be fine; I'm sure you've raised her to be a very capable, smart, and courageous woman in her own part. Time to take some time for YOU. Sounds like you're doing some pretty great things with what life has handed you. emoticon

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MGJARVI 7/4/2011 2:25PM

    BIG HUGS Renee! Hey, just think, maybe it'll be the FULL marathon next time and maybe you'll be able to talk me into it ;-) I'm incredibly proud of my brave friend, you have my full support!!!
I emoticon YOU!

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JEM0622 7/4/2011 11:08AM

    Well I am not registering so you have company. Sounds like you have some fears but also lots of trust too. I think everything will be okay. Truly okay. emoticon

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JEANNETTE59 7/4/2011 10:45AM

  Follow your's time to spread your wing and fly emoticon

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2WHEELER 7/4/2011 8:14AM

    Renee--how exciting to be taking another new journey. You're a seasoned traveler--single mom, couch potato to runner, and probably so much more. You'll successfully navigate this journey, too. Trust your decisions. You've been a wonderful example for your daughter and she deserves to live life to the fullest and revel in her own journey.

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BE-THE-CHANGE 7/3/2011 10:55PM

    Renee, follow your heart. There will be other races, but it sounds like this is the time for you to make the move. It's hard to let go of your daughter...I know...I am letting go of mine right now. But I know you can do this!

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MOMONTHERUN1 7/3/2011 10:43PM

    Disney will always be there!

Good luck on the move and the job hunting. Everything happens for a reason....might not make you feel any better, but keep your head held high and you can always do the 2013 Princess.


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BILLALEX70 7/3/2011 10:31PM

    Hate to hear that things are going to have to be postponed for Princess, but better to be postponed than cancelled.

Nothing worse than home repairs that have to be done before you want to sell.

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LECATES 7/3/2011 8:16PM

    Hey, Virginia Beach is not that far from me---about 2+ hours away---if an emergency should come up--just let me know---and if you come to visit her, I could come meet you. Go for it!

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LAURIE5658 7/3/2011 7:49PM

    Renee, its time to spread your wings and fly. Its time to see what the world has to offer you. Its time to take that step outside your comfy box and test the waters. There will be many more Princess HM's out there and there is one with your name on it. Follow your intuition and go with it!!! Exciting things await you!


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HILLRUNNER 7/3/2011 5:35PM

    Any change is difficult and you have so many going on.
Doing what is the best thing for you is so important.
May both you and your daughter make and achieve new dreams!

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LYNNANN43 7/3/2011 3:30PM

    I'm so sorry, Renee... For the air conditioner/ heat pump, not being able to sign up for your dream HM, and all of the anxiety.

I'm sure in the end, everything will work out. But for now... emoticon

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MACKANDME 7/3/2011 2:58PM

    Oh Renee. Were you and I made from the same cloth? I moved to Texas with Jim so he could go to college without having to worry about paying rent somewhere,, car payments, insurance food and all that so he could put all his focus on school.
Other than my step dad I don't' have anyone here either. We have been here a year now and I still have no friends because I work from home and DS always has my car either at school or his part time job. I came fro Utah after living there for over 25 years and Dallas was/is a culture shock. I have always wanted to live in is on my bucket list. So I too had planned on moving once DS graduated from college. And I don't like the idea of being so far apart from him either. But the bottom line is if I don't give him room to spread his wings he will either resent me or I will stunt his emotional growth. Sad we have to eventually let go. And like you I freak out over change. I am definitely a creature of habit.
I think you should bite the bullet and replace the unit for $700.00 and do what you have to do to move and be happier. Change is scary but sometimes what we need to grow. Like you I have not found my place in this world yet. And why should we stop till we find it? Hooray on your new friend. And for being able to be closer to your family. WDW will be there for you when you are ready.
Wish I could go with ya!

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FITLIKENIC 7/3/2011 1:21PM

    Renee you know what I think already ~ Time to follow YOUR dreams, DD needs to follow hers and she knows you will be there always. Remember the saying we used a couple rounds ago 'Nothing changes if Nothing changes'... YOU are taking charge and putting you first, right where you belong! Love you Girl! emoticon

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BAM0827 7/3/2011 1:03PM

    Sounds like Columbus is a great decision for you - lots of pluses. Your daughter is too young for you to decide to live/move close to her. Lots can change in her life and it will be nice that she has a place to call home if she finds her path taking her there.

The marathon is just a weekend - sounds like your dreams of moving closer to family, maybe a possible relationship, etc. are much longer than that. I think it's great you're deciding to go long term and not just a weekend.

Wishes for a quick sale on the house so you can move quickly into the next phase of your life. How exciting!!!!!

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CALIDREAMER76 7/3/2011 12:34PM

    If I've gotten anything else from spark people besides learning how to live in a healthier way it is confidence in making decisions and mucho support for those decisions. I've done things I never would have 5 years ago and am happier, healthier, more fulfilled and realize the sky is the limit!

As others have stated: God has a plan, and in the midst of turmoil, confusion and frustration I have to believe His plan is perfect and everything will be ok if we open ourselves up to listen to His guidance and try to follow His will. You don't have to be religious, just faithful!

It will be ok, everything will work out in the right time!

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DAWNDMOORE40 7/3/2011 12:14PM

    emoticonI can relate to how it feels when you have a dream and it doesn't always go as planned, but you sound like a very strong woman! I don't know if your a religious woman, but I will tell you, I believe that God has a plan for all of us, but it's on his time frame not ours! He has a plan for you! I have a feeling one day you may be able to run that race, but for now, he's saying you need to slow down and smell the roses! I know it will be hard to make these changes, but I admire how brave you are! God bless you! May he keep you safe! Have a happy Fourth of July! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DREBENEZER 7/3/2011 12:11PM

    Renee, all things happen for a reason...or so we are told...when things set us back we just have to look at it as another opportunity. Good luck and I wish you well. Maybe we can all be at Disney in 2013.

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LUVYA798 7/3/2011 12:09PM

  wow.I admire your courage.Thats a big decision to make. Maybe once you have things with the house in order you can run that race. emoticon

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DTSOBEL 7/3/2011 12:07PM

    WOW! What a change in plans. I am also a Virgo and doubt I could ever make that type of change. But I know you can be successful with all your dreams. There will always be a Disney HM, so the following year will be yours.

Is Tuesday the last day to register? Maybe you will get more money for your house and you will be able to afford the race?

Good luck.

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Flying Pig: My First Half-Marathon Race Report!

Friday, May 06, 2011

SorryÖitís a long one! Last weekend, I was blessed to run my first half marathon with my sister, Lydia (BRIDGE1028) & one of best SparkBuddies, Mel (MGJARVI). It was their first half marathon too! Running a half marathon had been a dream of mine since late 2009. I had always heard such great things about the Flying Pig, so I knew that my first one would have to be my hometown race.

We started the weekend by meeting in the lobby of our hotel, The Millennium. Even though Mel & I have been SparkFriends for what seems like ages, we had never met until now. It was such a thrill to see her in person & finally give her a big hug! After the quick round of introductions, we headed over to the expo. Let me tell you, these people know how to put on an expo! You get your race packet, wind your way through countless vendors (grabbing lots of freebies along the way), pick up your T-shirt, backpack & poster, then activate your timing chip on the way out. Hereís some photos of some of the goodies that we picked up along the way:

My daughter Laura joined us at the hotel right after the expo & pasta dinner. The rest of the group went out to explore Cincinnati. I was tired, so I decided to stay in, put my feet up & relax.

Unfortunately, being alone gave me a chance to miss a few people, including my parents, who couldnít come to the race, and to worry about all the things that could go wrong the next day. Lucky for me I have a couple wonderful friends that dried my tears & lifted my spirits. Before I knew it, it was time for bed.

The next morning I got up, took a quick shower & ate my normal pre-race breakfast. My daughter did a wonderful job keeping me focused & making sure I had everything before we met the group downstairs. After a couple quick photos (thanks to Melís DH Mark for being our photographer this weekend!), we set off.

It was about a half mile walk to the staging area line from the hotel. As we got closer, what struck us was the massive number of people everywhere: huddling in the stadium for protection from the rain, in line for the Port-a-Potties, runners trying to get to their starting corrals and spectators trying to find a good spot to watch the start of the race (we found out later that there were over 20,000 people running that day!) As much as we tried to get to Corral E before the race started, we finally gave up & snuck into the Corral D gate once they were gone. It took about 15 minutes to walk back to the starting line, and then we were off & running!

The course wound past Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ballpark, then over the Ohio River and through Newport & Covington, Kentucky. The first couple miles involved a lot of bobbing & weaving between slower runners & walkers, but once we crossed the bridge back into Cincinnati the crowd finally opened up. I was amazed how quickly the first six miles flew by.

And then started The Hill. I had been warned about the 3-mile incline by prior Pig racers, but that beast is just something you need to experience yourself to truly appreciate. My outer knee starting hurting from almost the beginning of the hill and didnít stop until I started the descent at mile 10. I just knew then that I wouldnít be meeting my goal time of 3:00.

The spectators got me through the most difficult points of the race. There were people all along the route, holding signs & cheering everyone along. I canít tell you how many high fives I got along the way, including ones from Elvis, someone dressed as a beast holding a sign saying ďrun human run,Ē and from literally half of a local football team. They spoke wonderful words of encouragement when I briefly broke down from pain & frustration. Those amazing fans really helped me and other racers keep going.

The last 5K was fast & fun. My knee pain all but disappeared as I started back down the hill. At mile 12, I glanced down at my Garmin & realized I wasnít going to finish the 15-30 minutes behind as I originally thought! I decided to push the pace & try to reach my goal. Before I knew it, I rounded the last corner and saw that finish line! I focused all my attention on that beautiful ďFinish SwineĒ sign until I hit the mats (with an official time of 3:00:53!) I think I had a huge grin on my face as I crossed the finish line; I KNOW I had one as a volunteer placed my first medal around my neck. I shed a few more tears as the realization struck: I had just completed my first half marathon!

A few well-deserved words of appreciation:

Coach Nancy, you were the first one that made me believe I could run a half marathon. I was so touched and inspired by your story at the 2009 Cincinnati Convention. At that point, I could only run for about 30 seconds at a time. I just remember thinking that if you could work that hard and come so far, so could I. Thanks for helping me realize I can achieve ANYTHING I set my mind to.

Lydia, thanks for pulling the trigger and registering for the race first. You forced me to face my fear of failure and take the plunge. Once you made the commitment, I knew there was no backing out. You donít realize how much I love running these races with you. I promise the next one I choose wonít be so hilly!

Mel, thanks for letting me talk you into running our first half marathon together! Being able to finally meet you was one of the ultimate highlights of this weekend. I promise to use my powers of persuasion only for goodÖno more talk of tattoos (for you anyway.) Let me know when youíre ready to sign up for Air Force!

Laurie and WB, thank you for helping me through my many meltdowns over the past couple weeks. You do not realize how much I appreciated your tolerance & words of wisdom. You guys were my rock, and I love you both.

Thank you to my SparkFriends for your support & encouragement during this journey. Youíre all simply amazing!

And thanks to SparkPeople for helping me lose 70 lbs and allowing me to go from this

to this!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAURAKINS 5/11/2011 1:54PM

    What a GREAT race report! How awesome that your daughter was able to come with you. I loved having my daughter with me too! You definitely picked a challenging race for 1st half . . . those hills were evil!!! The scenery & crowd support was amazing!!! I would recommend the Flying Pig to anyone just because of the crowd support!!!!!

emoticon on running your 1st HALF MARATHON!!!

emoticon on your weight loss success!!!

emoticon to signing up for your 2nd HALF!!! They can become addicting. I love running halfs! I'm running Chicago's in Sept.!

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BTLSMUM 5/10/2011 7:34AM

    Awesome!! I cannot read enough about other people's races. I can barely run 3 miles without stopping and I have no clue how to push myself to do better/more, but someday I'd love to be able to run a 1/2 marathon. You inspire me!!

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CALIMAN1 5/9/2011 11:30PM

    wow....what a special blog and what a special person! Look at you! A half-marathoner! Your blog took me through the course, through your emotions, through the pain and, ultimately, through the incredible tears shed over a MAJOR goal reached! YOU DID IT!!!!! I am so incredibly happy for and proud of you...I have told you before and I am telling you again now more than ever...YOU INSPIRE ME!!!!! emoticon

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WAMCVEY 5/9/2011 6:28PM

    Loved this writeup! Congrats!

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COACH_NICOLE 5/9/2011 10:48AM

    Great blog. Good job! I'm glad you had fun and reached your goal--amazing. It was a great race day. See you there next year, right?

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EUPHRATES 5/9/2011 12:47AM

    Oh lady, I am SO PROUD OF YOU!!

NEXT year is my year for the Pig, and I'm in it for the full. (I'm going to make that "full marathon before I turn 50" goal a bit early). Ya with me?


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HONORINGGOD 5/8/2011 10:09PM


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BAM0827 5/8/2011 9:33PM

    I forgot to write (since I read one day and commented the next - heck now it's day 3!) I smiled BIG when I saw the Spark patch!

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BILLALEX70 5/8/2011 7:44PM

    What a great review of your first race! There's nothing like your first; to lead to your 2nd, 3rd, 4th...

Keep chasing that eternal finish line!

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CHEF4RENT 5/8/2011 12:16AM

    Wow a totally awesome inspiring story!!! Great Job, you look GREAT!! What a smile, Happy looks good on you:)

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RUNMOMRUN2 5/7/2011 11:18PM

    Thank you so so much for posting this inspiring blog. sounds great and you did an amazing incredible job! Way to go!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations!!!!!!!!! Can't wait til I can join you and say the same :-)
emoticon emoticon

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BAM0827 5/7/2011 8:52PM

    I loved reading your recap! I can visualize you throughout the whole course. I'm so happy to read that you enjoyed the experience. I bet this is your first of many.

Congrats to you!!

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SHEENADEE 5/7/2011 7:35PM

    emoticon emoticon

Congratulations!!! Thanks for sharing your story. It's fabulous that you did this and had good company along the way too. WooHoo!

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BOBBYD31 5/7/2011 7:28PM

    awesome race renee! but how do you remember so much about the events, i remember starting finishing and nothing in between usually. anyhow congrats on your first HM

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JERIBERI1 5/7/2011 7:20PM

    Woo Hooooo!!!! You did it!!!! Have fun, show pictures to everyone and know that you are amazing!!

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SP_COACH_NANCY 5/7/2011 7:05PM

  Oh my goodness, my dear sweet friend! I am bawling like a baby reading your inspiring story. TRUST ME, you are paying it forward and you are inspiring others to take the leap to running his/her dream. I love you and am sending you the BIGGEST TEXAS-SIZED hug your way. I am sooo PROUD of you!!!


Coach Nicole thinks I should run this one next year, I just may have to do so! emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/7/2011 7:06:42 PM

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CRAFTSNUT 5/7/2011 4:17PM

    Congatulations!!! You're an inspiration! emoticon

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MEWIEGELE 5/7/2011 1:27PM

    I've done the pig twice now and your story brought tears to my eyes. I'm so proud of you and what an AMAZING finish time!!! I was about 27 minutes behind you lol. I hope you keep racing and we see you back at the swine again next year! Maybe by then I can keep up with you too! emoticon

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PHDMAMA06 5/6/2011 11:56PM

    Beautiful race report! Congratulations on your first half marathon, and everything you have accomplished so far! In spite of the three mile BEAST, it sounds like you had an awesome time!!


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ETTEZEUS 5/6/2011 10:54PM

    Yay Renee!! You did awesome!!! Congrats on a HM well done!
I'm so happy for you!

Hope I get to see you again in September....I'm really working on DH to do the Air Force HM....I'm about 90% there!!

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MOXIE-IN-MOTION 5/6/2011 7:43PM

    This was such a great race report! It sounds like you had so much fun, despite the hill and knee issues. And I love your huge smile with the medal around your neck....CONGRATS!

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69NURSE 5/6/2011 6:01PM

    Congrats on your first HM!! emoticon emoticon I did my first last Oct and was suppose to try another in March at the JASR, but a back injury kicked me back to the 5K. You did a great job w/your time too. As everyone has said, you look radiant and happy. I'm thinking of going to Dayton in Sept for the USAF race, but I'm not sure about time from work yet. Keep up the great work and have a wonderful summer. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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2WHEELER 5/6/2011 5:45PM

    Congratulations, Renee. Your smile says it all. I am so proud of you! Your blog brought tears to my eyes. Running it with Sparkers makes racing all the more special. I'm so glad you were able to share it with your friends and daughter. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JENNSWIMS 5/6/2011 5:35PM


I plan to be there for the half next year, it is a big goal of mine and you just reinforced my feeling that I need to do this!

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JANC7223 5/6/2011 5:13PM

    emoticon Great Job!

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NURSESARAH03 5/6/2011 4:58PM

    Renee, that is soooo awesome :) You sure have come a long way. You are truly an inspiration AND a goddess! I'm very proud to call you my friend. Congrats on accomplishing yet another goal! You go, girl! emoticon

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LYNNANN43 5/6/2011 2:57PM

    I'm still crying! emoticon I'm so thrilled for you!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

My first HM is next Sunday. The jitters are really setting in. emoticon

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    LOVED this blog!!! My first 1/2 will be over and done with in just 2 more days!!!
You look radiant-how can you look so gorgeous after finishing a 3 hr race??? don't know-but you sure did!! I am so proud of you!What great progress you've made-love the before/afters!!!

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DREBENEZER 5/6/2011 2:43PM

    AWESOME!!! Great job and proud of you. I bet you were beaming from ear to ear!!

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JESMOD 5/6/2011 2:38PM

    Woohoo!!! Awesome job! I ran the Pig this past weekend too, though I ran the full marathon. You should sign up for the Cincinnati Half marathon in October! I ran it this past year, it is a nice course, FLAT, unlike the Flying Pig. Haha. Again congrats!!! What an accomplishment!

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FITLIKENIC 5/6/2011 1:48PM

    WooHoo! Love the pictures and of course your blog! You look BEAUTIFUL after a Half, How is that possible?! lol... I see MANY more HMs in your future :-)

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BAILEYS7OF9 5/6/2011 1:02PM

    emoticongreat blog!!! emoticon

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MGJARVI 5/6/2011 12:30PM

    No Renee, THANK YOU!! I never would have done this if it hadn't been for your "gentle" nudging ;-) Seriously, you inspire me and motivate me and hold me accountable, I love you for every bit of it!

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MJK0430 5/6/2011 12:20PM

    Awww Renee, you made me tear up.

Congratulations on your First Half Marathon!

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TIGGER622 5/6/2011 12:05PM

    OMG SOOOOO PROUD OF YOU!!!! Even when you thought it was out of reach you still saw 3:00!!! YAY!!!!!!! That takes a ton to be able to power through the last three miles, you are one tough cookie!!! I am usually so beat by then I can hardly run!!! WAY TO GO!!!! YAY!!!

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MACKANDME 5/6/2011 11:50AM

    Awesome Renee! And all three of ya! I would like to be in shape to run a marathon too someday. You guys are inspiring for sure!

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A-STRONGER-ME 5/6/2011 11:39AM

    How VERY COOL!!!! emoticon

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LAURIE5658 5/6/2011 11:36AM

    Sparktastic! What you need to do now is take all of the little (or big) lessons learned from HM #1 and write them down somewhere. These lessons will be a priceless tool in your HM toolbox as you move forward and run more HM's. Your confidence will also obviously increase with each HM. This first one however, will always be the most special one. Continue to savor this moment!! Love you, my friend!!


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ROOT4HOME 5/6/2011 11:34AM

    Congratulations Renee!!!!! Love, love, love your blog! I'm so proud of you - from rain to knee pain to fast, strong finish!! emoticon You're an inspiration! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Please Help Me Pad My Playlist

Friday, April 15, 2011

I am so bored with my running playlist. This is not good, considering I'm running 14 miles this Sunday and getting ready for the Flying Pig half marathon on May 1st.

So, I thought I'd reach out to my friends. Can you suggest some songs to add to my playlist? I don't care about the genre - I enjoy almost every type of music. The songs can be fun, inspirational or just have a great beat. What's really going to motivate me is thinking of the person who chose the song for me as it's playing. It will be like a big musical hug!

You'll help me through two huge milestones - my longest run ever this weekend, then my first half marathon! Thank you so much!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

XHASTEDMOMOF2 5/4/2011 10:40PM

    Great list you have collected so far!!! Here are a few from my favorite playlist that have not been mentioned yet:

Chris Brown -- Yeah 3X (I know it's Chris Brown but the song rocks!!)
Time to Pretend -- MGMT
Molly Hatchet -- Flirtin' with Disaster
Nazareth -- Hair of the Dog
Judas Priest -- Livin' after Midnight
Real McCoy -- Another Night
Rooney -- Don't Come Around Again
Le Disko - Shiny Toy Guns
Bang on the Drum - Todd Rundgren
Crush -- Jellyhead
Dave Edmunds -- Slipping Away
Celia Cruz -- La Vida es Un Carnivale

emoticon And in honor of our beloved and amazing troops -- be sure to get the live version so you can hear the crowd's reaction toward the end of the song: Lynyrd Skynyrd on the Lyve album: Red White and Blue

Comment edited on: 5/4/2011 10:41:08 PM

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ASKILLMAN 5/1/2011 11:57AM

    Thanks for posting the blog. I am also tired of my playlist. I'm loving all of these suggestions!

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KRISTINKP 4/16/2011 10:33PM

    OK, the replies to your blog made me feel better about my playlist. It was nice to see other adults who actually listen to songs from Nikelodeon and Disney Channel! I have Who Says (Selena Gomez) on my playlist too! To top that, I also have Gonna Get This (Iyaz and Hannah freaking Montana). Sometimes I even throw a Camp Rock 2 song into the mix! :-) If you're not into kiddie music, One I didn't notice on anyone's suggestions is OMG by Usher. LOVE IT! We listen to that song on the way to my kids baseball and soccer games cause it pumps em up...does the same for me while I'm running!

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2WHEELER 4/16/2011 9:43AM

    Great selections! I'll be busy on iTunes this week. Here are some of my picks:

R-E-S-P-E-C-T - Aretha Franklin
Rockstar - Nickelback
Satisfaction - Rolling Stones
What I Like About You - The Romantics
Pearl Necklace & Got Me Under Pressure - ZZ Top
Friendship Train - The Temptations
Born to be Wild - Steppenwolf
Fireflies - Owl City

Happy Running!

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ROOT4HOME 4/16/2011 12:10AM

    When I think of JASR - I think of Flo Rida's Club Can't Handle Me...just ask Jenny and Dani!! emoticon

Great ideas on this blog...may have to borrow some! emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/16/2011 12:12:33 AM

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BRIDGIE1028 4/15/2011 10:59PM

    No ideas, but THANK YOU for this blog, I'm bored with mine too!

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BAM0827 4/15/2011 10:15PM

    OK, I looked -

S&M by Rhianna
All Summer Long by Kid Rock
Blister in the Sun - Violent Femmes
Bad Romance - Lady Gaga
Born this Way - Lady Gaga
Dynamite - Taio Cruz
Little Lion Man- Mumford&Sons
Raise Your Glass - Pink
Sexy Back - Justin Timberlake
The Shoop Shoop Song - Cher (don't ask me why - it's kind of fun to hear an older song, I guess)
Who Says - Selena Gomez & The Scene
Temperature - Sean Paul
Shut Up and Let me Go - The Ting Tings

OK, that's enough

Enjoy making your new list!

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CARILOUIE 4/15/2011 8:58PM

    I like U Should Know Better by Robyn, Vanity by Christina Aguilera, and Shutterbugg by Big Boi.
I'm always looking for new stuff too!

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REBECCA-LICIOUS 4/15/2011 8:03PM

  I'm always looking to add to mine, too! Here's what I've got going right now:

Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas
Pump It - Black Eyed Peas
Forget You - Cee Lo Green
Bootylicious - Destiny's Child
Mercy - Duffy
Dog Days Are Over - Florence + The Machine
Power - Kanye West
Firework - Katy Perry
Born This Way - Lady Gaga
Telephone - Lady Gaga
Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes

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NURSESARAH03 4/15/2011 7:09PM

    I like old stuff sometimes like "Footloose", "Walkin on the Sunshine" etc sometimes....just makes me wanna boogie.

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JEM0622 4/15/2011 5:13PM

    Oh well lemme see what is on my current list (which I cannot use for my duathalon sniffly sniff):

Rolling in The Deep - Adele
Move Along - AAR
Take on Me - A Ha
What the Hell - Avril L
I Gotta Feeling - BEP
No Hands - Eaka Flocka Flame
Freak the Freak Out - Victorious :)
Where the Streets Have No Name - U2
More - Usher
Hey, Soul Sister - Train
Brick by Brick - Train
If It's Love - Train
This Ain't Goodbye - Train
Break Your Heart - Taio Cruz
Dynamite - Taio Cruz
That's Not My Name - Ting Tings
King of Anything - Sara B
Please Don't Leave Me - P!nk
So What - P!nk
Raise Your Glass - P!nk
Hold It Against Me - Britney S
3 - Britney S
Grenade - Bruno M
Coming Home - Diddy
Love the Way You Lie - Eminem
Not Afraid - Eminem
Freedom! '90 - George M
21 Guns - Green Day
Empire State of Mind - Jay Z
Run This Town - Jay Z
If You're Out There - John L
Blow - Ke$ha
We R Who We R - Ke$ha
TiK ToK - Ke$ha
Born This Way - Lady G
Haven't Met You Yet - Michael B
Little LIon Man - Mumford and Sons
Marchin On - One Republic
Mercy - One Republic
Everybody Loves Me - One Republic
Made for You - One Republic
Firework - Katy P
Magic - B.o.B.
Forget You - Cee Lo Green
Jar of Hearts - Christina P
Tonight (I'm Lovin You) - Enrique I
F**kin Perfect - P!nk

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JOPAPGH 4/15/2011 4:44PM

    From my blogs:

Songs From Today's Run:


10 Guilty Aerobic Pleasures:


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MGJARVI 4/15/2011 4:05PM

    this was (NOT KIDDING) going to be my QOTD type of thing today IF i had been able to find time!! I want a copy/paste/add of peoples most FAVE cardio hit, if you want to start it, you can! If not, I'll get it started tonight!!

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LOKIBEAR10 4/15/2011 4:02PM

    I actually blogged about my running play list in January! Here is a link to it if you're interested:

I change it up every few months. Right now I am doing more Zumba than running, so my play list now includes more Latin and raeggaeton music, like Shakira and Pitbull. In Zumba we dance to "Dance Until the World Ends," "Big Fat Bass," and "Down and Up" (I think that's the name), all by Britney Spears.

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LAURIE5658 4/15/2011 3:57PM

    I shall ponder.

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MACKANDME 4/15/2011 3:55PM

    I know I like the NOW cd's. And I keep eyeballing the NOW 36 cd.

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BAM0827 4/15/2011 3:55PM

    I start almost every run with "Champion" by Queen Latifah (it is off an Olympics soundtrack). Not extremely fast but not slow either.

I'll look at my iPod later to see what other ones I'd recommend. Coach Nicole had a cool one on Facebook that she recommended today - 100 Yard Dash or something like that.

14 miles!!! Impressive!

Comment edited on: 4/15/2011 3:55:48 PM

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JASR: My (Almost) Non-Race Report

Monday, March 28, 2011

This weekend I traveled to Pittsburgh to meet a bunch of SparkersÖoh, and to run 8.1 miles in Just a Short Run! I apologize that thereís no pictures; I brought my camera but forgot to use it!

The race itself was difficult for me. I was feeling the effects of being sick earlier that week & almost no sleep the night before. The temperature fluctuated around the lake, ranging from bitter, I-think-my-fingers-are-frostbitten cold to chilly but sunny, and I wasnít able to regulate my temperature well (note to selfóforego the cute, pullover windbreaker for the ugly zip-up next time.) And I ended up with a nasty blister on my right foot that made the last few miles really painful. I was just happy to finish that hilly course.

What was more special about this weekend was EVERYTHING else. I am normally a painfully shy, reserved person, so making the decision to go to this gathering was a big deal for me. From literally the moment I got out of my car, I was made to feel welcome and included. I finally got to meet Laurie, one of my longest & dearest SparkFriends, and others that Iíve only chatted with online. I got to personally thank the person who inspired me to run my first half this May. And I met amazing new friends that I canít wait to get to know better. Heck, just seeing Bobby in a pink tutu & finally hearing the ghost costume story alone was worth the trip!

I cannot thank you guys enough for this weekend. You reminded me why Iím on this journey: to be a happier, healthier, radiant person. Iím not the same awkward kid I used to be. Iím not the meek, beaten-down person I was 20 years ago. Iím not even the same woman I was when I started this weight loss journey 5 years ago. I am someone who is worthy of joining in, letting loose & having fun with such an incredible group of people. You all have absolutely reignited my Spark! Iíll see some of you in May, and the rest of you next year!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CALIMAN1 4/8/2011 3:09PM

    What a special memory for you! It is so refreshing to read that last paragraph especially...look at how far you have come and now, while continuing to be inspired by others, you are INSPIRING others...wtg my friend wtg!

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BRIDGIE1028 3/31/2011 9:51PM

    Sounds like a great time! I am so glad to see you starting to hit your stride again in more ways than one. Love you!

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SEYSARAH 3/29/2011 12:26AM

    Congratulations on the race..fabulous blog and LOVED the last paragraph...that's a blog all by itself!!!

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JOPAPGH 3/28/2011 10:34PM

    Sorry I didn't get to meet you but glad you enjoyed the visit to our chilly metro area.

It was so much fun to be surrounded by 40+ other Sparkers!

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BAM0827 3/28/2011 9:29PM

    Liked your blog! Especially the last paragraph!

I had to chuckle over the cute pullover vs zip up - I know I struggled with what to wear, partly thinking cute or functional :)

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ROOT4HOME 3/28/2011 9:20PM

    Renee - So GLAD I got to meet you too!! I can SO understand how you felt - being shy and yet, coming out to meet other Sparkers...and leave with Friends!! So excited to hear how you do on your 1st HM!! I'll be cheering for you all the way!! emoticon emoticon

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BILLALEX70 3/28/2011 9:05PM

    It was awesome to spend the weekend with great old friends and make new ones such as you.

An event like this will change your paradigm and make you look at things differently. I think that having Laurie as a friend will only allow you to be shy for a short time and then all bets are off. By the end of Saturday you'd made yourself a part of a very special group of people who are there to support, encourage and occasionally cut loose. I'll look forward to seeing your transformation over the next few months and see you at the start line in September!

Best wishes!

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CARILOUIE 3/28/2011 8:36PM

    I *just* wrote a blog about this. I felt the same way - I am not very outgoing so this was HUGE for me. To stay with people I only knew from online, to have to get in cars with them... it took me out of my comfort zone and I LOVED it.
What an awesome weekend. I'm already excited for next year!

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FITLIKENIC 3/28/2011 6:57PM

    Congrats! So proud of YOU and all the other Sparkers!

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MACKANDME 3/28/2011 5:15PM

    Way to go! Glad you enjoyed it so much!

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IPA-RAY 3/28/2011 12:50PM

    May, as in the Flying Pig marathon/half marathon? I've always heard good things about that race but will be in Pittsburgh hoping to meet more Sparkers.

Blogs like yours are good reminders of why we are on this site.

Comment edited on: 3/28/2011 12:53:06 PM

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LYNNANN43 3/28/2011 12:41PM

    Yep, we'll have you dancing on those tables in no time at all!

After freezing my buns, fingers & toes off at last year's JASR, I got WAY better at it this year! This year seemed a walk in the park because we had the luxury of being in the heated Rose Barn before the race (thank you, Bobby!) Last year, we all stood outside for over an hour before the race. I can still shiver even thinking about it! lol

It was wonderful getting to meet you live & in person:D emoticon

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CHEPRBYTHEDOZN 3/28/2011 12:41PM

    I am so proud of you and happy that you enjoyed the weekend! and Bobby/tutu??? Dangit!!!! I should have gone!!! any pics of those floating around the WWW?????? :)

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EMILY1244 3/28/2011 12:21PM

    I am glad you go to go, and I am glad that it was worth the trip! From what I understand, the course was difficult for a lot of people. Also, the more I read, the more I wonder what on Earth Laurie was doing this weekend, and those pictures would be helpful to have! LOL

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LAURIE5658 3/28/2011 11:47AM

    Renee, we will get you dancing in laps and on tables before you know it! THAT will be memorable! It was an absolute pleasure to hang with you all weekend and it was so hard to say goodbye. We finally ran together even if it was for just a short time, the wait was so worth it! Next stop, Air Force!! Love ya, girlfriend, and talk later!

CONGRATULATIONS on a great race too!


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JEM0622 3/28/2011 11:28AM

    Congrats on your race! emoticon

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DREBENEZER 3/28/2011 11:26AM

    It was great meeting time none of us will be as shy!!

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BOBBYD31 3/28/2011 11:08AM

    you shy, now that surprises me i think you fit right in. it was great getting to meet and hang out with you this weekend. i am not sure what you are talking about, hills???? i don't remember any;) hope you can make it back next year.

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MGJARVI 3/28/2011 10:59AM

    Ahhh, I loved this blog! It makes my heart happy to hear how happy you sound!!! I'm so incredibly proud of you!!

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DAS92687 3/28/2011 10:54AM

    I am sooo glad you made the race and enjoyed yourself this trip :)

(Heehee about the ugly zip-up vs. the cute work out clothes....)

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NURSESARAH03 3/28/2011 10:54AM

    I'm so glad you had a great weekend, Renee! Sounds like fun! Well....except for the blister and bitter cold! It's so much fun to find that inspiration and motivation all over again. I found it when I joined the BLC and made friends with your wonderful self! emoticon

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ABSOLUTZER0 3/28/2011 10:48AM

    This is awesome! I'm glad you got to experience that with fellow Sparkers! Woohoo!

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TIGGER622 3/28/2011 10:43AM

    You did not seem meek shy or reserved at all!!!! You really have come a long way I guess because you were smiley, happy, chatty, and so so so lovely!!! I am so so so glad that I got to meet you, as I said on your page, just wish there had been more time!!! GREAT RUN! So proud of you - you are truly such an inspiration! Keep it up! HUGS!

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SMALLERSHEEP 3/28/2011 10:27AM

    Yay! I'm so glad you got to enjoy such a cool weekend. Sorry the race wasn't much fun, but it sounds like the rest of it was AWSOME!

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