A Run with Purpose & Change in Perspective

26 Mar

Perspective is what got me through a 21 mile training run yesterday. In fact, “perspective” is what made it one of the most positive long runs I have ever had. It was hard, I hurt, I am exhausted… but every time I am asked how it went, without a second thought my answer has been, “great!” (Side note: I realize I am ridiculously lucky to have so many people in my life truly care to ask <3)

Before

So what happened yesterday? I had the privilege of running 21 miles of the Boston Marathon course. From the start line in Hopkington to the infamous Heartbreak Hill, I was surrounded by thousands of runners, all driven by their own mission. It was charity day on the course, also known as “Boston’s Hop 21.” From Framingham to Newton, the streets lined with volunteers, the intersections guarded by police, the pavement pounded by runners. Everyone was out there with a purpose – one that far exceeds the mileage.

Yesterday I felt a genuinely positive spirit of running, and it completely overwhelmed me.

I went into this weekend a little anxious about everything I needed to accomplish. Initially the training run was another thing to check off my growing “to-do” list. Yesterday morning my alarm went off at 5:00 so I could finish packing for the flight I needed to catch post run. I admit, I was grumpy and truly unsure I would successfully make it through the weekend. I arrived to Hopkington a little unprepared, and very distracted – but yet my crew and I took off running.

It wasn’t until mile 3 that I really opened my eyes. I stopped focusing on the “to-do” list, and instead I took in my surroundings. I mentally captured the smiles given by volunteers dedicating their Saturday to standing in the rain handing out soggy pretzels. I didn’t just read the slogans of the charity teams lining the course; instead I considered their mission and those impacted. I focused on my fellow runner’s costumes, vibrant charity logos, commitment to why they are running, the confidence, the limp in their stride, the smile, the fear, the excitement, the self-doubt… everyone around me was pushing boundaries and breaking through walls.

I was overcome with so much emotion, at the time I didn’t even realize it.

Cancer, peace, environment, poverty, empowerment, healthcare, safety… the list goes on and on… it wasn’t a formal race. There was no “dedicated cause”, but yesterday Boston ran with a whole lot of purpose.

24 hours after starting that run my perspective has completely shifted. We all get so caught up in our day-to-day needs and monotonous routines that we often forget to look at the big picture. Yesterday, the human race (Boston edition) came together to spread a general sense of well-being. It showed me to look beyond my personal “needs” and soak in the greater focus.

After

We did it!

Of course personal training miles are important and necessary to survive race day, but yesterday’s run was so much more than individual outreach and personal goals. In today’s politically driven world of divide, opinions and beliefs, yesterday’s Boston Marathon course was a common ground for greatness.

Yesterday’s run wasn’t about time, there was no medal at the end… it was about reaching out, helping, giving, showing awareness and making positive impacts through common goodness. A perspective we all need to consider every so often.

Today I started a very full work week and with a lot less rest than I may “need,” but Boston’s spirit of running has provided me with the most energizing perspective.

With Heart & Soul, 

Erin

When “Do Your Job” Means So Much More…

12 Feb

“Do Your Job!” This quote likely needs no explanation… three words spoken by Coach Bill Belichick that soon became a driving force for the New England Patriots and their faithful fans. On Sunday, February 5, 2017 the world watched as history was made; the Patriots did their job in unprecedented fashion and brought the Lombardi trophy back to Boston, just as they had promised. Tom Brady led his team to defy the odds and come out on top, a victory that owner Bob Kraft referred to as the “sweetest one of all.”

brady

Victory!

As I saw this unfold, I experienced a sea of emotions – from anxiety to disbelief and excitement to a whole lot of pride. As I watched Tom Brady celebrate with his family after the win, I knew what had just happened on the field in Houston was so much more than a Super Bowl victory. After a year of unfortunate events on and off the field, Brady still was able to successfully “do his job.” The New England Patriots put external circumstances aside and held on to their focus, continued to believe, and played with heart – until the very last second. The odds of winning may have been against them, but their determination never failed… And it certainly paid off.

This week was the best week of training I have had since learning I was running the Boston Marathon.  Before this week I was letting external pressures get in my way – work, travel, training schedule, mileage, training speed, weather, prior commitments… it all swirled through my brain leaving me anxious, uncomfortable and wondering, “can I really do this in April?”

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Snowy Run

The answer is “I can.” This week I started to work on putting my self-doubt aside and instead focusing on what I committed to do. The success of this marathon will not be defined by the time on the clock when I cross the finish.  Just like the New England Patriots, my success will be defined by the determination and heart I have in getting there. My job is to finish with pride. This pride will come, not just with the training, but through Family Reach, the UNBELIEVABLY amazing charity I am running for (more about Family Reach in next week’s blog!)

In a world that is saturated with media bias, political agendas, drama and useless gossip – what a wonderful thing that a Super Bowl victory by favorite team would refresh my focus and drive my determination. I can’t wait to share more insights as I continue to “do MY job!”

Tell me – what does “Do YOUR job” mean to you?

With Heart & Soul,

Erin

Bye 2016, Hello 2017!

18 Jan

18 days into the new year and I have an overwhelming feeling that this is going to be a really wonderful year. Sure I will endure moments of disappointment, grief, sadness and maybe even heartbreak (let’s hope not!)… but, hey, that’s life! 2017 will be great because I will not let these moments of negativity tear me down. I am leaving that to 2016.

2016 was tough, and no, I am not referring to politics… or even the sad passing of our Prince (of music) & (Star Wars) Princess (RIP). In 2016, I turned 33. For me this was that pinnacle age that greeted me with all that self doubt talk. At 33 I thought too much about what I “should” be, where I “should” be and the things I “should” have… but why? No one and nothing controls my happiness, that is up to me. I now realize I lost focus of my own personal goals, setting my own challenges and rising to be the best version of myself.
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At the end of 2016 I put a lot of thought into a time when I was “the best version of myself.” My mind immediately went to 2014. The year I trained for the Boston Marathon. This blog-post-3was also the year I gained a sister (in law), took on a new professional role that challenged and shaped my career, and stood by two of my very best friends as they said “I do.”

Was it the most perfect year? Not at all, but through it I was happy, healthy and hopeful. Looking at my pictures of the marathon, I was beaming with pride, watching my brother’s wedding video, I was so full of love. Reliving the best moments of 2014, one thing is common, I was a heck of a lot more optimistic.

I missblog-post-4 that version of myself. So guess what? …She’s back… and running the 2017 Boston Marathon to prove it to herself that blog-post-1this “better” version is here to stay.

I am SO excited to share my journey of re-self-discovery through the miles, the motivation and the inspiration that surround. This blog,that I ironically neglected in 2014, will track it all. So stay tuned for more details on who I am dedicated my training to and why! ❤

With Heart & Sole,

Erin

Feeling the Love

2 Mar

I don’t think it is any secret that training for a marathon is a big commitment. Training to raise money for a cause brings the commitment to a whole new level. It also makes the whole process that much more rewarding. More work? Yes. But worth every effort.

During my fundraising efforts I have confirmed that the world is full of kindness, such a beautiful feeling after last year’s Boston Marathon was struck with terror.

When donations come in from all corners of my life, I feel the love.

When  I see people I haven’t even met on my list of contributors, I witness a selfless act of outreach.

When companies donate prizes to support my fundraiser, the Miles Against Addiction Virtual 5k, I feel support from my community.

When I run into friends and friends of friends and they genuinely want to hear how my training is going, I feel blessed.

Boston Magazine Cover, May 2013

Boston Magazine Cover, May 2013

One of my favorite quotes comes from Love Actually… “If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling that love actually is all around.” Lucky for me, I didn’t even have to look for it. By following a road that will lead me to the Boylston St. finish line, I have discovered a support system much greater than I have ever known. It’s this overwhelming sense of love that will allow me to not just cross the Boston Marathon finish line, but to cross with purpose.

Thank you for your donations, kind words and caring thoughts. It’s these things that truly make me go the distance.

What makes you go the distance?

With Heart & Sole,

Erin

A Spirited Road to Boston

25 Feb

I am training for the Boston Marathon and couldn’t be any more excited about the opportunity to run those 26.2 miles on April 21st. After crossing the finish line at my first marathon, just over a year ago, I knew my marathon running wouldn’t be over until I ran one in Boston. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my family watching the runners in Boston together on Marathon Monday. The spirit of Marathon Monday is victory, accomplishment and a reason for celebration. For me, it also represents happy days with my dad, my leader.

My Dad <3

My Dad

I am honored to train and run the 2014 Boston Marathon on behalf of the Dick Beardsley Foundation to support, educate & inspire those that fight chemical dependency. Every mile I run is in memory of my father, John J. Hynes, his spirit at the forefront of my mind. At my dad’s wake colleagues and friends shared stories of his leadership and thoughtfulness, but most of all they remembered his spirit. I was overcome with pride that my dad had touched so many.

As I log miles, I realize that sometimes a little spirit is all you ever really need. Marathon training is fun, but at the same time, it’s tiring, time consuming and around here, it’s freaking cold! When you have the best runner friends around you with a smile on their frozen face, encouraging words (maybe with some profanity mixed in) and energy that makes you realize, “we are in this together.” That is some serious team spirit (in a solo sport, nonetheless!!)

At the start line of the Hyannis Half Marathon

At the start line of the Hyannis Half Marathon

Yesterday I ran a half marathon. I felt awful during 10 of the 13 miles. To date, it’s my worst run. I told a runner friend via text last night, his response? “Sometimes the tough races are the most fulfilling when you look back on them.” The race was yesterday, so maybe I haven’t felt it all, yet… BUT, I already learned, he is right. And today I realized that I made it through the run by mustering up some positive energy – thanks to the spirit of my runner friends at the start. They always understand the aches, whine about the stiffness, share an energy pack, discuss the post run bloody mary and are there to trade running gear (because I may have overestimated the New England weather). We may not always run every mile together, but we meet at the start and we meet at the finish and, in spirit, we support each other every step of the way.

There is truly a special spirit among runners. One not easily defined until you lace up those sneakers and join in. It’s that spirit that makes me proud to be a runner. It’s my dad’s spirit that keeps me going, even on the toughest of miles.

My road to Boston is full of spirit. How lucky am I?

With Heart & Sole,

Erin

2013 Highlights Part 1 – The Chicago Marathon: More Than My Moment.

31 Dec

“Erin, why no posts lately?” I was surprised to hear this question a couple of times over the past few months. Ah, yes, months. That would be because I haven’t written since then. Terrible. I am a blogger failure… but 2014 will be different. The other night I was looking at another application for a bib for the 2014 Boston Marathon. The application asked “Do you have a blog?” I thought with shame, “Um, yea…” but if I don’t write in it, that probably doesn’t count. That was the push I needed.

So to end 2013 here is my proudest running moment of the year…

the Chicago Marathon.

I ran on behalf of Salute, Inc. I ran wearing red, white and blue with the silhouette of a soldier printed on the front. Crossing that finish line was a proud moment because it wasn’t just about what I had accomplished. It was about those that made the ultimate sacrifice – to serve our country.

During those 26.2 miles in Chicago I was surrounded by endless crowds and brilliant signs all crowding the streets of a beautiful city to cheer on the runners. I was happy, excited and beaming with pride.  For the first 18 miles I was “in the zone.” I had set a goal to cross the finish at just under 4 hours and 30 minutes and until mile 18 I was ahead of the pace group.

994026_716908303286_867394078_nWhen I started to fall back I considered what I was doing and why… I reflected on the men and women around the country who leave their family, friends and routine to fight for our freedom. I had visions of soldiers reuniting with their wives in airports. I thought about children that wake up day after day without a mom or dad to kiss them good morning because they are overseas. I thanked god for the people in my life that served and came home safe. Their ultimate sacrifice kept me going.

I crossed the finish at 4:33, just over my goal time. The pride I felt was replaced with disappointment, “I didn’t do it,” I thought. A phone call to my mom was the reality check I needed. She was proud (and pissed that I was complaining about my time!) I did do it… I finished, I met my fundraising goal and I had another 26.2 under my belt. It was then I knew, this was more than my moment, I did it with our veterans at the forefront of my mind.  I shrugged off the disappointment and thought “the time of 4:29 will just have to be a goal for the next one!”

And with my proudest moment of 2013 I also must make a promise for 2014: to post more! I have a feeling I will have a lot to say!

With Heart & Sole,

Erin

P.S. A special thank you to everyone who supported me to raise money for our veterans… I have a pretty awesome support group!

“A Not So Perfect Start to a Perfect Finish” My Zooma Half Marathon Recap!

9 Oct

PR (personal record) – it’s what I thought about leading up to the Zooma Half Marathon in Cape Cod 2 weekends ago. A year before I broke my 2 hour PR at Zooma’s inaugural race in Cape Cod. This year Zooma was offering a special medal for those that got their “Personal Best” time. Zooma 2012 was one of my favorite races – Cape Cod in the fall, by the beach, with my favorite runner friends… could the conditions be any more perfect? Needless to say I was determined to PR again.

I have never been the competitive type. If you read my last post, “How Many Have YOU Done?” you might have guessed that! Well, running has made me competitive with myself in a very positive way. I push myself to run harder, faster, to do better than I did before. So “let’s talk about a plan… we ARE getting a PR!” I said to Stacia the night before. Nikki, the fastest of us all simply said “run with me, I will pace you.” Nikki has been my motivator. We train together, plan the next race together… UM we even share our Jawbone Up activity to see how many steps each other are taking. She just happens to be faster and I try to keep up! Stacia, the friend that got me to run my first race AND my first marathon, gave me that look that said “are we serious, we have a marathon in two weeks!” Yes! With the three of us pushing each other along, we decided a PR was TOTALLY happening.

A Perfect Scene

A Perfect Scene

The next morning we got to the race and the energy was just right, the crisp fall air was warming up, the sun was coming up and the ocean was calm. Everything at the Zooma start line was pretty perfect. The race started and Nikki, Stacia and I made our way through the crowd to get to a steady pace. Not even a mile in I was greeted with stomach pains, cramps, whatever the heck they were, they were shooting and I was miserable at the 1st mile marker. I tried to focus on the perfect scene around me to forget about the major discomfort I was in. While still going at a great pace, by mile 3, I thought, “There is no way in hell I am getting a PR at this point, I don’t even feel well enough to finish.”

Stacia and Nikki were feeling good. They chatted, I listened. Distractions got me through. I took in the scenery (a beautiful route!), listened to two people that have made a huge contribution to my love for running and thought, “it’s just a few more miles.” The distractions were a blessing.

PR Bling!

PR Bling!

Toward the end Nikki kept me on target. She knew I had it, but that last mile was a bitch (I am sorry!  I can’t think of a nicer way to say it)… straight up hill with only one thing on my mind – PR. Sure enough, I got up the hill, crossed the finish and beat my PR by 2 minutes. Now I have some seriously cool bling to prove it!

6 of us ran that day…

1 ran her very first half marathon

1 worried about the half for weeks and killed it

3 got a PR

& 1 was the reason I accomplished my goal

Post Race Party!

Post Race Party!

Sitting on the beach at the after race party with my friends, in October, sun shining with a pretty new necklace (finishers medal) and a medal that read PR was a picture perfect Saturday. Thanks Zooma Nation for once again delivering a perfect weekend full of achievements, personal goals, sunshine and fun. Yesterday at yoga I was a walking, talking (or stretching may be more appropriate) Zooma Ad with my mat, bag & water bottle. All reminders of my best finish and the perfect fall weekend.

 

With Heart & Sole,

Erin