We Got Engaged!!! (While Running)

Our blog selves must’ve been eating too much cheese, because we haven’t been very regular. Apologies, but life with a blended family tends to get in the way. Soccer games, orchestra concerts, school pick-ups, work drop offs….it’s crazy round these parts. Oh, and something else had happened… WE GOT ENGAGED!!!

Here’s the story. Scott’s sister was in Californ-i-a for work for a few months. She wanted to run a race before being sent back home and there was a half marathon coming up in the wine country. Welp, we looked up airfares, not expecting to be able to go, but guess what had happened…they were cheap AF. Round trip DFW>OAK=<100 skrilla units. Sold!

So our trip was set. We’d fly to Cali, Sis would pick us up, We’d stay with her, Run the race, Drink some vino. But then a not so funny thing happened. Sis texted saying her boss is sending her home early. Dang. Then, Cali erupts into flames. Race canceled. The only reasons we were taking this trip were gone in a flash (literally).

Do we cancel our flight? Nah, not the RDL style. We go anyway. Book last minute car, hotel in San Fran and AirBNB in Pacific Grove. And Scott does something sneaky…he goes online to one of those athletic silicone wedding ring websites and orders some to be sent to his work address. Why did he do this? He decided that since the original trip reasons were ruined, to make lemonade out of gatorade.

When/Where would the proposal come? Marsha had recently commented that she saw on the Instagrams the sweetest proposal between Emma Coburn and Joe Bosshard WHILE THEY WERE ON A RUN. Light bulb moment for Scott. Sooo…Scott had looked up google street view for possible locations to pop the question while running in Pacific Grove. You see, it’s on the ocean. Lots of scenic views. He saw a few possibilities, but nothing set in sand. He’d wing it.

Scott didn’t want to wait long. After arriving at the BNB, he determined the next morning’s run would suffice. Suffice to say, it worked. The run started through the old town. Lots of 150 year old houses. Gorgeous. Then we hit the coast. There was a park called Lovers Point. Perfect spot, right? Nah, too cheesy, thought Scott. We’ll find a better spot.

It was overcast. The waves crashed along the rocky coast. Such a beautiful spot to run. We got away from town – heading towards the 17 mile drive (Carmel, Spyglass, Pebble Beach, etc.). There was an old lighthouse. Golf course. Just awesome. Scott kept scouting for spots. Here’s a nice cove – oh wait, there’s another proposal going on – they’re not going to steal our thunder. Oh, here’s a nice cove – what’s that plaque? Oh, this is where John Denver crashed his plane and perished. Nevermind. Here’s a picturesque cove…Scott just has to set up the phone to video the experience…Damnit, it won’t sit against the bench. “Just ask someone to take out picture.” yells Marsha. Nevermind, there’s too many people here now.

We continue the run back to town. Scott begins to think it won’t happen this day. But then a so funny thing happens. We get to Lovers Point Park. The crowds disperse. We’re alone. Scott finds some rocks to prop the phone up against and hits record. Marsha is cold. Wants to keep moving. Scott takes her gloves off. “Why?” she asks. “So you can put this ring on.’ He retorts.

She says yes.

We finish the run. We celebrate. But the celebration is another story. You’ll hear that next.

Peace & Love, Y’all,

S&M – RDL

Questions: Do you have a proposal story? Do you take runcations? 

Chicago Marathon – Our Advice!

This weekend is the Chicago Marathon. For all y’all running it, we wish you the best of times! We ran it in 2015 – our first marathon together – and absolutely LOVED it!  This post gives you our advice…take it if you want, give it back if you don’t.

 

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RUN FOR CHARITY:

Both of us ran this race on behalf of charities. M raised money for the Special Olympics, as M’s brother has Downs Syndrome. S raised skrilla for Alzheimer’s Association, as S’s G-pa passed away from it. This is a great way to run this race if you don’t want to go the lottery route…Or if you just want to do some good! Combined, we raised a few thousand dollars!

EXPO:

This is a bit of a beating. The site is quite a ways from downtown. There are shuttle busses. The ride is long, but at least we had good company.

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The expo is pretty crowded and overwhelming at times. But they do have free beer, so hooray for that. Brews are needed to deal with the crowds and commute.

SHAKEOUT RUN:

This is fun. A day before the race, tons of people met at The Bean. We took selfies and got a little 2-3 miles in along the shore. Then more selfies, duh.

THE MARATHON:

  1. Get there early. A crap ton of people run this race. You gotta navigate people to the tune of 40+ large to get to the porta-johns, gear check, and corrals.
  2. They paint a line on the street throughout the course – this line is the shortest distance of the race – try to follow it. It will help you hit your tangents.
  3. Everyone says the race is “pancake flat”. Mostly true, but like grandma’s mashed taters, there are a few lumps in it. Mainly the bridges over the rivers. Don’t be surprised by them*.
  4. 1st half of the race is downtown and mainly in the shade from the skyscrapers**. This is a good thing. Helps keep it cool. 2nd half of the race is on the outskirts of town. It can be sunny and warm. This was not a good thing. Be ready for it.
  5. Those same tall buildings that shade you, also jack with your GPS**. Everyone, we mean everyone, around us had inaccurate mileage on their Garmins. Mile alerts were beeping at random times. Don’t worry about it, just run your race and don’t obsess over your watch.
  6. Crowd support is AMAZING! Nearly 2 million people cheering their Windy City heads off. And the ethnic neighborhoods have themes – dancing lions in Chinatown, mariachis in Little Mexico and drag cheerleaders in Boystown. Soak it in.
  7. Do. Not. Go. Out. Too. Fast. It’s easy to do in the shaded and boisterous first half. We both made the mistake of thinking we could go faster than we could in the beginning. Suffice it to say, we did not have negative splits this day.
  8. There is a hill*. At. The. Very. End. Of. The. Race. “Pancake flat” they said…yeah, not at the end it’s not. Be ready for that stoopid hill.
  9. Enjoy the after party – beer, music and really really tired people make for a good time.
  10. After you recover a bit, spend the next couple days sightseeing sightseeing sightseeing!
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Billy Goat Tavern – It’s ok to be a tourist, you earned it.

OUR CHICAGO STORY

Personally, we learned a lot running this race. It’s one of our best and favorite marathons ever! We both PR’ed by 20 minutes S: 3:48:28 & M: 3:45:50. Our only regret was that we did not run together. We were assigned different corrals, but we should have found a way to start together. And after seeing our splits online, we realized we would have been right next to each other, just like in training.

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We spent the entire 26.2 miles looking for each other. It was an amazing race, but we were sad we didn’t share it together step by step. After that day, we promised ourselves we’d never run separately again. Since then, we’ve run every half and full marathon side by side.

That said, when S crossed the finish line he immediately stopped, turned around and desperately hoped to see M. But there were 40+ thousand folks in this race. How could we possibly find each other in that mess? But about 30 seconds later, it happened: M crossed the finish line we had the biggest hug. We were happy we had a good race result, but happier that we had found each other.

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Reunited & free to be dorks again.

This race also brought us our best good friends in the whole wide world of sports…

First, M got to meet S’s college bud, Rexy (who is fast AF – she ran this race in 3:05). And even though she lives in the great state of Ohio, we’ve all become very close. That’s what happens when good chill people come together. LOVE HER!

 

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SightBeerseeing the day after.

Second, we got to meet in person for the first time, the ever so internet famous HellyOnTheRun!

Her and her Hubby have since become our bestest friends ever…our “ride or die”. They even made us Godparents to their sweet little Benny! Can you believe that?!? Some people who we first met over the internet are now so important in our lives. And Chicago was the first in-person meeting. Destiny.

And with this motely crue of misfits, we spent the next couple days frolicking around Chi-Town. It was the. Best. Time. Evah.

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GOOD LUCK to everyone running Chicago this weekend, YOU will ROCK IT! And who knows, it may even change your lives for the better forever.

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96 floors above the city. Great way to end the trip.

Questions: Do you have any tips for running the Chicago Marathon? Do you have any questions about Chi-Marathon? Have you ever met someone from the internet in person?

Our Story: Running In Love

Life can be messy and sometimes ugly – but with the right person life is beautiful and amazing. We didn’t get to our lives together in the “traditional” way. We met thru running and it’s why it’s such a big part of our lives.

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Running some (s)miles

But let’s get to the messy parts first – We were both married to other people when we met each other. Our previous lives had us in partnerships that weren’t really that. We did countless things alone, and learned to accept it. Don’t get us wrong, marriage is a beautiful thing. Our marriages were happy in the beginning, but just as a tree grows from a single stem into several branches that move away from each other, so did our married relationships. Pictures and smiles and social media say one story, but as the saying goes, don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

We recently heard about a study on really happy people – and the overwhelming majority of them could trace their contentment back to the quality of their relationships with other people in their lives. It wasn’t money, or possessions, or anything else…it’s relationships that make people happy.

That all said, we both got divorces. Divorce is an awful process. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, it can lead to all parties involved being happier than they’ve been.

Lettuce get to some running now…We ran alone. Sure, we often ran with groups, but the majority of mornings we were hitting the lonely streets solo. Running lets you see and experience amazing things that most people never see. Oh how we longed to share all those amazing things with someone.

Even surrounded by thousands of people in races, we still felt alone. Most races we only had strangers to cheer for us or run next to us.

 

 

See those two sets of pics up there? They were taken the same year. But we could’ve chosen pretty much any race from any year. Whether one mile or 26.2 miles, it is a long way to suffer all alone.

But then a curious thing happened. The both of us registered to run the Chicago Marathon on behalf of charities. Curiouser was that we only lived about 3 miles apart. Curiousest was that we both run pretty much the same pace. Boom, we each now had a training partner. And that’s where our story begins.

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One of our very first runs, ironically on Valentine’s Day 2015

We had known of each other for years from being part of different running groups, but when we started training for Chicago, that’s when we really got to know each other. We ran hundreds and hundreds of miles together. We told each other about our other lives. How lonely we were. How our smiles were a facade. We grew close through these miles.

***The above pics are from one of our first races together. First place overall for S and first female for M!!! OK, so even if this  particular 5k course was a mile short, who cares, it was the same distance for everyone. And now our finishing times are on the internets forever muahahahaha!***

Anyway, the Chicago training went on. 650 miles together. Some easy, some tough. And some were even brutal…during a 20 mile run, S gave in. We were lost. S sat on the curb, defeated. He started to hold back tears and kept saying to M that S wasn’t made for marathons.  Or the the time M had to stop running during our 17 miler from a blister and sat near the bathrooms at White Rock Lake while S, exhausted, had to run back 7 miles to the car so he could come back and get M. M was shivering and blue from dehydration on a humid summer day. And it’s in these moments of defeat where we found strength in each other.

For every “bad” run, there were 50 “good” ones. We saw sunrises, wildlife, meteor showers, quiet streets, pre-busy parks, etc. etc. etc. Finally, someone to share these experiences with! Once we longed for someone to share our early morning miles with, and now that we had that person, it was even better than we hoped for.

And by the way, all the training together paid off. We both had 20+ minute PRs in Chi-town!

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Chicago Marathon, 2015

And by the time of Chicago, we realized how much we had in common (running, yoga, dancing, karaoke, candles, tequila, etc)…and that we needed each other. We knew we made each other happy.

Fast forward to 2017 and we are together. It took a while to get where we are now. We’ve lost friendships and family members along the way, but we’ve also gained wonderful and supportive friends and family to help us through. With their strength and the love of our 4 kids- J, M, G and G – our lives are full of blended happiness and adventures.

We run together every morning, and yes, even in races.

Rest assured, you can trust our smiles on our social media now.

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I thought by now you’d realize,
there ain’t no way to hide your smilin’ eyes.

What about you? Do you have someone you can run with? Answer in the comments!

PS. We’re just getting this blog up and running, but it will be more and more regularly posted in as we get it all settled. Please come back soon!