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No, I’m Not Pregnant Again.

23 May

It has been 20 days since my last blog post. No, I didn’t forget about it. No, I’m not dead. No, I haven’t hit a block with my writing. I’ve just been…well, busy. Like really REALLY busy.

Since I started this blog, the only time I have gone that long without a post was last fall when Baby Key was born. Everyday that would go by, I would think about all the things that were going on and all the things I couldn’t wait to share.

Well, as a family, we sort of find ourselves at this same point. The last few weeks have been eventful, stressful, busy, and exciting! I know I have been teasing about dropping some big news on my Twitter for weeks, but I really had to wait until the timing was right. So, without further ado…

“Now this a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down” ~ Fresh Prince

I AM QUITTING MY JOB
Well, technically, I am turning in my 2 weeks notice today. Over the last year or so, I have come to the conclusion that I am not destined to be an engineer. I have learned that just because I can do calculus and physics in my sleep, it does not mean that I have to. In short, my heart is no longer in it and I no longer feel fulfilled pursuing this career. I have realized that I have other talents and gifts and I need to use them.

I don’t get all preachy very often on my blog (though some would argue that I should use my voice to do so, but this is my blog and I will write about what I want, when I want), but I feel that God is opening doors for me and my family and is leading us down a new path. Over the last six months or so, I have crossed paths with several different members of my church who have reminded me that as Christians, God wants us to be joyous in our work. I can honestly say that I find NO joy in being an engineer. In fact, I dislike it so much that I often find it putting me in a bad mood. That is not the kind of person I am and not the kind of person that I want to be. I find joy in helping people, encouraging others, helping people pursue their fitness goals, running, and leading others. The decision has been made to pursue a line of work where I can be happy and share my passions with others…even if it means getting comfortable in a new salary bracket. The value in being happy and healthy far exceeds the salary I collect as an engineer.

But, I won’t be broke for long, because…

I HAVE LANDED AN INCREDIBLE NEW JOB
Goodbye, hard hat…HELLO, RUNNING SHOES! Let’s be real, I have made no secret about wanting to shift my career from engineering to all things running. But how does one actually do that? By working your tail off, that’s how. I have been involved with the management, direction, and timing of races as a side job (or by contract work) over the last several years. However, I have been extended a partnership opportunity with a successful race management and timing company and I have decided to accept it. Two weeks from today, I will literally be immersing myself in all things running and racing…as a career! In addition, this new position will bring the opportunity to do some beginner run coaching. My two new partners are accomplished athletes…one is a successful track and running coach at a university (who also writes about running) and the other is a multiple marathoner and back-to-back Ironman 140.6 finisher (yes, he did a full Ironman on one Sunday…and then did another full Ironman the following Sunday). I have known these guys for a long time and I feel honored to be working with them. I am excited about all the good things this will bring and I look forward to growing our business and putting on first class races/endurance events for our clients! While I have managed, directed, and timed many running events (both road and trail), I will also be expanding my horizons and venturing into the management/timing of cycling events, swimming events, triathlons, duathlons, and mud/obstacle runs. So much to learn! Me…a (partial) business owner! All things running…all the time!  Say what!?

So where is this great new opportunity? Well, this brings me to the next item…

WE ARE MOVING
Sadly, my dream job is not located in Baton Rouge…not even in the State of Louisiana. It is actually located in Upstate South Carolina, so that is where we will be relocating! Although I am originally from Baton Rouge, I spent 6 years in Greenville, SC after I graduated from LSU so this area is very familiar to me. Plus, my husband is from that area and we have plenty of family there (read = lots of family to gush over and spoil Baby Key rotten 24/7). The Upstate is beautiful and I am looking forward to having more places to run (both on the road and on the trails) and being able to do more cycling, as Greenville is a cyclist’s dream thanks to George Hincapie.

I will NOT be driving this 700+ miles.

One of the best parts about this move is that we will be able to buy our first home. Just writing that makes me tear up. We have dreamed about this for SO long. The cost of housing in Upstate SC is 20% lower than it is in Baton Rouge, so that means we will be able to afford a nice house, nicer than anything we could have gotten here. My husband is working with our real estate agent this week and we are hoping to put an offer on a house this Friday. I simply cannot wait! Owning our own home will bring me so much joy! I will have a kitchen with lots of counter space where I can prepare healthy meals for my family. We will have a big backyard where Baby Key and Elvis (our furbaby) can play and run around. Our new home will be big enough for me to have a home office that I can work from…giving me almost three hours (my current commute time) of my day back. Seriously, do know how much you can accomplish in three hours!? Hello long runs and training time!

My business partners and I are currently seeking new office space. With all that I have going on in Baton Rouge, I could not add that to my list right now. I will be tackling that project once we are there and settled. One space that we are seriously looking at is in a specialty running store in town. That’s right…I would get to work out of a running store! That sounds so fun, but I fear I may come home with new gear everyday and it probably take my running shoe addiction to a whole new level. What a sacrifice, right? Ha!

That’s the long and short of it…quitting a job I hate…starting a job I know I will love…and planting roots in a city that makes me happy. Folks, it is going to be good. GOOD.

But wait, what will my husband be doing?
As fate would have it, my husband has also found an incredible new job in the Upstate. His new company is AMAZING and it is one that he has wanted to get on board with for a long time. Plus, it comes with lots of perks…on-site fitness center (that the whole family can use!), on-site doctor/medical facility, great health benefits, and incredible contributions to 401k, etc. He is very excited and I know that he has so much to offer in this new position!

But wait, what about the #RunLA fam?
Don’t worry, friends! I’m not leaving you! C’mon, did you really think I could just up and leave?? No way! I am still working on several races in Louisiana and even after we move, I will be making regular trips back for race planning meetings, expos, conferences, and events. I plan to schedule my trips back to Louisiana on days where I can meet up with my running groups as much as possible! I am so blessed to have established so many wonderful friendships here and I look forward to continuing those relationships…just from a little farther away. Thank heavens for facebook!

But wait, what about your family in Louisiana?
While most of my family will stay in Louisiana, my mom has decided to make the move with us! She is about to retire and is ready to start a new chapter in her life. She always loved visiting me in Greenville when I lived there before, and she is ready to make it her home also! She will not be making this initial move with us, but once our little family is settled in, we will start the process of relocating her. I am so excited that Baby Key will be able to have my mom and my husband’s parents in the same city!

But wait, won’t you miss Baton Rouge?
In some ways, yes. In some ways, no. I will miss my family and friends tremendously. I will definitely miss the food. I will NOT miss the traffic and the never-ending construction. Baton Rouge is my hometown, but I am ready to make Greenville my home. And I’m really, really ready to get my legs used to running in the mountains again!

When does all this excitement go down?
As soon as possible! My husband starts his new job very soon and as soon as we can set a closing date for a house, we will be scheduling the big move! The tentative plan is to be settling in to our new home around the first week of July.
AJC Peachtree Road Race
First week of July? Isn’t the AJC Peachtree Road Race on July 4th?
Sadly, it is. I was so excited to have won the lottery for this race and I was really looking forward to it. However, with all the craziness we will have going on that week, it just is not feasible for me to get to that race. So, as of right now, I am going to have to move it off my race calendar. However, as things develop over the next month, if it looks like I can squeeze it in somehow, I will. After all, it is the largest 10k in the country…and I really don’t want to miss out on it!

What about the other races I’m planning on running this year?
Other than the AJC Peachtree Road Race, my race calendar should continue on as normal. I am currently committed to Hood to Coast in Oregon at the end of August and Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah (half marathon) in early November. Conveniently, one of my Nuun Hood To Coast Relay Team teammates, Corey, also lives in Greenville, so we will be able to train together in July and August and we will be able to be travel buddies! Too fun! I am seriously eyeing the Kiawah Island Marathon (full marathon) in early December, especially since they have changed it from a double-loop course (I loathe double-loop courses!) to a single-loop course. However, I will make that final decision after Hood to Coast, when I have a better idea of what my fall work/event schedule will be. I want to make sure I have the time to train properly.

So, have you been keeping up with TurboFire and Shakeology?
Yeeeeeah…about that. Y’all, I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I tried…really hard…but with still working full-time, working on races part-time, house hunting, organizing everything for the move, and dealing with an infant that STILL refuses to sleep through the night, something had to give. So, I put it on hold. Trying to do it all was creating so much stress, so I had to pare down the commitments. I will say that I LOVED TurboFire and Shakeology and I am super amped to restart the program once we are settled into our new place. I have been able to maintain the weight loss from the few weeks I was on the program, so that’s a bonus! From now until the actual move though, I will just be doing a few weekly runs to maintain my endurance.

As I mentioned above, I have sort of already started my new job and I am currently working on three big races…one repeat race and two inaugural events!

“Super Secret Race” (September 16, 2012; Atlanta, GA)
I am so, SO excited to be part of this race! This race is collaboration with two incredible organizations and although we are still in the initial planning phases, I know this race will be a success. Technically, it has a name, but since the press release for it has not gone out yet, I am sworn to secrecy. Don’t worry, though, as soon as I can spill the beans on this one, I will.

Woman’s Half Marathon (December 9, 2012; Baton Rouge, LA)
The women of South Louisiana needed a female-only endurance event, and the Woman’s Half Marathon is just the thing to fill that spot! The press release for this race just went out last week and we are already seeing excellent registration numbers! The course is awesome, it will have a beautiful finishers medal, and the health and wellness boutique (read = expo for ladies!) will feature all kinds of women-specific vendors, running apparel brands, and information on women’s health. While this is event is focused on the ladies, it really is okay for dudes to register too. All I’m saying is that if you are a single runner guy looking for a fit runner chick, you might want to consider running this. C’mon, the odds are in your favor, man!
The Louisiana Marathon
The Louisiana Marathon (January 20, 2013; Baton Rouge, LA)
I am excited to be working on the Louisiana Marathon again. It was held for the first time in January of this year and I am thrilled to be part of this race team again! It is going to be fun! The extent of my involvement with this race is still being hammered out, and as more details unfold, I will share!

Once I move to South Carolina, I will have the chance to work on some other really fun events! Here are just a few of the races I will get the opportunity to work with…
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure (Lowcountry Affiliate – Daniel Island, SC) – The largest 5k in South Carolina! (10,500+ runners)
Cooper River Bridge Run 10k (Charleston, SC) – The 3rd largest 10k in the United States! (34,000+ runners)
Spinx Run Fest (Greenville, SC) – A weekend of running events!

I think that pretty much covers all the excitement that has been going on in our lives lately! I promise to not let so much time go by again without posting! The next 6 weeks will be jam-packed and busy, but I hope that you will keep reading and enjoy the roller coaster with me!

As soon as I hit the Publish button on this post, I will start typing my resignation letter.  I am a mixed bag of emotions, but I am ready.

I can do this.
I can do this.
I can do this.

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Post-Partum depression is REAL.

21 Mar

Before Baby Key was born, “depression” was a word that was completely foreign in my vocabulary. I have a very bubbly personality and I considered myself a very positive, upbeat person. If you have ever met me, you know that I high five strangers and shamelessly use “jazz hands” when I talk. When I spot a friend across a room, I instantly throw my arms open for a big ol’ bear hug.

But in the few months since Baby Key’s birth, I have felt a lot less…”jazz hands-y.” It took me a long time to decide whether or not to write this, but since this is something I have been struggling with, I decided to tell my story. It is deeply personal but I am sure there is someone out there that can relate.

I will be the first to admit that I was completely overwhelmed with all things related to Baby Key. Sure, we went to the parenting classes, breastfeeding classes, and “what to expect” classes, but nothing on the planet truly prepares you for that day when you bring your little bundle of joy home from the hospital. No more nurses at the push of a button. No more hourly visits from doctors to make sure mama and baby are happy and healthy. You are on your own…and reality b*tch slaps you in the face.

Not me, but I've felt this pain.

The first two weeks of being home with Baby Key are a complete blur. On a nightmare scale of 1 to 10, I would absolutely give them an 11. He cried…and cried…and cried. It was terrible. We are not talking the normal “I’m hungry” cry or the “I need a diaper change” cry. This cry involved quivering lips, an arched back, fists clenched, and hives. Yes, he even broke out in hives. It was enough to send any sane person crawling up the walls. And it was incessant. 24 hours a day. He never stopped.

For weeks, I felt like I could do nothing. All I could do was hold him. Putting him down or resting him in a swing was not an option. Trust me, we have probably spent over $1,000 on swings, mats, swaddlers, and any other product to soothe a crying infant. None of it worked. We tried EVERYTHING. I could not go anywhere. I felt so trapped. The nurses on the hospital “warm line” even got to know the sound of my voice because I called so often begging for help. There were days that my husband left for work in the morning only to return home that evening to see me sitting in the same rocking chair, wearing the same clothes I had slept in the night before. I remember sending him frantic text messages pleading for him to come home and give me just a little bit of reprieve because I was just sure that if he didn’t my ears would literally start bleeding. On these days, getting a daily shower before 7:00PM was my crowning accomplishment.

As the weeks went by, everyone kept telling me things like, “Hang in there. It gets better.” or “It’s just a phase, you’ll make it.” While I appreciated all the kind words and sweet sentiments, I just could not see how things would EVER get better. Because they weren’t. As time went by, his crying and tantrums only seemed to be getting worse and more violent.

Things really started turning south around the 4-week mark. This was at the point where the typical “baby blues” should have started going away. Not only were they not going away, but the feelings seemed to intensify. There were moments when I was holding him, and he was in one of his fits, and I played out this scenario in my head…

What if I just put him down, walked away, closed the door behind me, and never dealt with this again?

I really thought I could not take one minute more of it. There were times that I would just look down at him and think, “Why did I do this? This was the worst decision of my life. I should have never had a child.” There were even times that I looked at him and thought, “I don’t even want him anymore.” And yes, there were moments that I even wanted to shake him.

Several friends of mine had babies right around the same time that I did. By this time, they were posting cute pictures of their kiddos smiling, doing fun things, or updating me that their babies were happily sleeping in their swings. While I was happy for them, it made me so angry. I tried really hard not to let it get to me, but it did. I sat there, fully convinced that my butt was permanently melding to the seat of the rocking chair, seething. Why couldn’t my baby be the “easy one”?

All of these thoughts brought on extreme guilt. After all, this is the child we prayed for, the child that we wanted so badly, the child that we were told we were never going to be able to have. And here I am, wishing him away. This was one of the lowest points in my whole life.

I will never forget taking Baby Key to his 6-week check-up. I walked in looking like death warmed over, holding my crying child. As soon as his pediatrician walked into the room and asked how things were going, I broke down completely. I totally lost it. I begged her to “fix” him. I must have looked so absurd, but I was desperate. I needed help…fast.

This was the point at which she expressed that what I was experiencing was beyond the normal baby blues. The first thing I thought was, “Oh great! Just add that to our list of issues to deal with” but it was true. Each passing day made me feel more and more detached from my child, exactly the opposite of what I “should” be feeling. It was also on this visit that Baby Key was diagnosed with a severe case of GERD. Though I was not thrilled at his diagnosis, being given assurance he really was crying more than other babies, helped me feel less crazy. Up until this point, I am pretty sure there were people in my life that when I told them, “He cries all the time.” thought I was exaggerating. This day was our turning point.

Not wanting to immediately start taking medicine, I started to see a therapist. Talking about my anxieties, fears about the future, and caring for a child with special medical concerns helped me take some control over my issues. After several weeks of counseling sessions for me, and a twice daily dose of Nexium for Baby Key, things started looking up. The sun seemed to shine a little brighter, the air didn’t feel as thick, and for the first time since he was born, I actually wanted to hold my son.

Before Baby Key, I did not really know much about depression at all…especially post-partum depression (PPD). Not that I did not think it was real (no Tom Cruise-like rants from me, I promise), but I just assumed that depression was for other people. I know that sounds awful, but it is just the truth. I never thought it would be me.

I have come to realize that having a bout of PPD does not make me crazy, does not make me a bad mother, and with time and honesty, can be dealt with in a healthy way. All it means is that it took me a little longer to get to that joyous I-want-to-smell-my-baby-every-second-of-the-day point than it did some other moms.

Now that we have turned a proverbial corner, I am starting to feel more and more like the “old me.” The changing season and warmer weather have helped us get out and do more so that I no longer feel so trapped and isolated. My husband and family have also stepped in to give me a little more time to go running, which does so much more for me mentally and emotionally than it ever did physically. And the best part is, I simply cannot wait to end my work day so that I can go home to my husband and beautiful baby boy…you know, to smell him and tell him I love him.

I say all this to let you know that if you are going through a similar experience, you are not alone. If you or a new mom you know has had or is having these kinds of thoughts or having a hard time bonding with your new baby, I sincerely urge you to ask for help. Speak up. People are there to help, I promise.

Please don’t suffer in silence.

There is no shame in admitting you need help and seeking out the necessary treatments to make you a happier, healthier woman and mother. The sooner mama gets better, the sooner everything gets better.

11 Things About Me

15 Mar

About a million years ago, I was tagged by Jamie-Leah over at My Run Is Not Done to do an 11 Things About Me post. While I try to keep things strictly running here at katieRUNSthis, sometimes it is fun to do posts like this that let you get to know more about me on a personal level. So, without further ado, here we go.

RULES

  1. Post these rules.
  2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
  3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
  4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
  5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
  6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

11 Random Things About Me

  1. My birthday is December 19. My due date was actually Christmas Day, but, as usual, I was early. My mother should have taken this as an early warning of my Type A personality.
  2. My two favorite bands of ALL TIME are Guns N Roses and Journey. Go ahead and giggle, it’s cool.
  3. Though I am right-handed, I am stronger with all other things with my left hand. I bat left-handed, I golf left-handed, and my cartwheels on my left hand are much prettier.
  4. My favorite movie is Grease. I swear I have watched it over 100 times. I can practically quote it line by line.
  5. I can hear the music now!

  6. My favorite actor is Edward Norton.
  7. I am sort of a movie snob. I choose movies I watch based on directors. Frank Darabont, Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson, and Guillermo del Toro are my favorites.
  8. My favorite food EVER is mashed potatoes. They were a Sunday dinner staple in my house growing up.
  9. The farthest away from home I have ever been is Kakegawa, Japan. I traveled 9,640 miles to get there.
  10. I feel completely naked without my iPhone. I have no idea how people functioned before smart phones.
  11. I like eating Honey Nut Cheerios for dinner.
  12. While I do not have cable television, I do have Netflix. Lost, Gossip Girl, and The Vampire Diaries can completely and totally suck me in.
  13. I should be embarrassed that I watch this.

1. What is your favorite kitchen utensil/appliance?
I absolutely *LOVE* my George Foreman grill. I think I use it almost everyday. My favorite thing to cook in it is chicken for my chicken Caesar salads.

2. What fitness activity have you always wanted to try?
I have always wanted to try YOLO boarding (stand-up paddling). It looks like so much fun and it seems to be a really awesome core workout.

I need to try this!


3. Where did you take your best or worst vacation?
My best vacation spot and one of my most favorite places on the planet is Seaside, FL. The movie The Truman Show was filmed there. It is so quaint and quiet. You can’t NOT relax there!

4. What’s your favorite season?
My favorite season is summer. Even though it gets scorching hot here in South Louisiana, I would take a hot and humid day over a cold and rainy one ANY DAY. I like getting outside and getting sweaty.

5. Tap water or filtered water?
I always choose tap water. Where I live, we get our tap water from underground reserves called aquifers and the water is exceptionally clean and has a great taste. When I travel, I usually choose filtered water, but at home, its tap water all the way!

6. You have no distractions or obligations, how would you like to spend your day?
On a no-obligations day, you can most likely find me outside running somewhere. If I am under no time constraint whatsoever (which is not often), I will usually find some neighborhood or trail that I do not frequent much to give myself a change of scenery. I love exploring!

7. How many bones in your body have you broken?
I have broken the pointer finger and middle finger on my left hand three times.

8. Who is your fitness inspiration?
I am inspired by so many people around me.  Most recently, I am drawing a lot of inspiration from other running mamas like Kara Goucher, Rachel Booth, and Serena Burla.

Rachel rocks!


9. Do you have a sweet tooth or a salty tooth?
Both. My “guilty pleasure” snack is a small order of French fries with a Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty. YUM!

10. What’s your favorite shoe style?
My favorite shoes style is probably running shoes. Once upon a time, before I was a runner, my closet was filled with patent leather peep-toe stiletto pumps. Now I only have one or two pairs of those. They have since been replaced with about 15 different pairs of running shoes.

11. What are you most looking forward to doing when the weather warms up?
When the weather warms up, I am most looking forward to spending more time outside with my 4-month old son. During the winter months, I was afraid it was too cold and he was too small to spend much time outside. I am ready to get him in the jogging stroller and get out on the road!

NEW QUESTIONS

  1. What is your long run “must have” item?
  2. What race is at the very top of your bucket list?
  3. If you were not into running, what other sport might you be interested in?
  4. What is the highest mileage week you have ever had?
  5. What is one thing about you that if you told someone they would look at you like you were nuts?
  6. What is one thing that scares the living daylights out of you?
  7. What is your favorite article of clothing?
  8. Do you have any tattoos?
  9. What is the grossest thing you have ever eaten?
  10. As a runner, do you have any rituals? Like a pre-race meal or race-day system?
  11. What is your lucky number?

TAG! YOU’RE IT!
Cajun Runner
Stories of a Slow Trier
Life in Running Shoes
JenZenator
Running With Sass
The Speckled Palate
Junk Miles
On The Road Again!
The Ale Runner
Katherine Swims
Running BJ

OFF TOPIC: I Probably Should Have Written This Yesterday…

12 Sep

…but I didn’t. I did not want to put out one more 9/11 post. I certainly do not mean that in any offensive way to all the bloggers who selflessly and thoughtfully shared their experiences of what happened that day. It is just that yesterday really hit me in a way that I was not expecting, a way that felt deeply personal (even more so than in years past), and I just did not know how to express it in a way that would portray exactly how I was feeling.

Yesterday, a lot of running forums on the internet were posting things like “How has 9/11 affected your running?” and things like that. Again, I do not at all mean to sound offensive, but when I think of 9/11, the very LAST thing I think about is how it affects my running. When you are talking about the events of that day, running seems so trivial, so insignificant. 9/11 has affected EVERYTHING.

I was not going to even write this post. However, coming into work this morning, the radio morning show I listen to was still talking about “where were you when it happened” moments and I just could not push my feelings about 9/11 down. I teared up. I felt stupid sitting in my car, driving down the interstate at 6:00AM, crying like a baby.

My perspective this year on 9/11 has completely changed. Now that I have a son on the way, my perception of family has completely changed. There are so many words that have taken on a new meaning to me.

LOVE
SACRIFICE
BRAVERY
LOYALTY

Seeing the images yesterday of all of these families affected by 9/11 really, REALLY got to me. I started thinking of all the children that were left fatherless and motherless. All the wives left without husbands and all of the husbands left without wives. Having suddenly lost my father at a young age, I know what it is like to have a parent taken away from you with no notice at all. I look at the faces of those children and know how hard birthdays, holidays, and Mother’s/Father’s Days must still be. I then thought about my child and how I never, ever want him to know how that feels. I thought about my husband and how thankful I am that I get to wake up every morning and see his face.

How often is it that we kiss our spouse goodbye in the morning, routinely yell out “I love you” as we are running out of the door, and then head off to work, as usual. That is exactly what so many people and families did that day. How easy it is to get in the rut and take for granted the simple act of hugging your loved one and telling them, “I love you.” We don’t mean to be so flippant about it, but we all do it at one point or another.

Yesterday also made me reconsider the words “sacrifice” and “bravery.” My child is not even born yet, I do not know what he looks like, what he sounds like, what kind of person he will grow up to be…but I can tell you this…if faced with the option, I would already be willing to trade my life for his. He is my child. The firemen, police officers, emergency workers, and first responders to arrived at the World Trade Center that day defined sacrifice and bravery. So many of them worked tirelessly for HOURS and DAYS and lost their lives doing everything they could to save complete strangers. Given the same situation, I don’t know if I could have done what they did. In fact, I know I could not have. I like to think of myself as a strong person, but I know I would not have had that in me.

At service yesterday, we learned about loyalty. I like to think of myself as a loyal family member and friend. We all have slip-ups and we all make mistakes, but I try really hard to show my loved ones that I am there for them through thick and thin. However, do I have that same loyalty to my job, to my calling? Is it so ingrained in me that I would do it, even if it issued me a death wish. Probably not. Most of us would not. The heroes that day were loyal to their jobs and loyal to their teammates. They were there to serve and protect others, to save people…many knowing they would never make it out alive. While I am thankful for my job, I can assure you that loyalty to my job and supervisor would be gone if I knew I would not be walking out at the end of my day.

To everyone who was at the site of the World Trade Center that day, I am awed, humbled, and thankful for you. You showed great love for your fellow Americans by doing all you could to make a difference, to help those around you. Thank you for reminding us about what is truly important.

Hug your spouses. Hug your children. (If you’re pregnant, hug your belly. It still counts.) Smile at a police officer. Say thank you to a firefighter. Give a member of the military a pat on the back and a, “Job well done.”

Really mean it when you say, “I love you.”

My apologies if this seemed rambling or slightly incoherent. I just needed to get my thoughts out.