Sunday, November 18th I trained hard for the New Jersey Marathon last spring. I ran 6 days a week. I hit paces I never thought I was capable of maintaining. I PR’d a half marathon during a training run and went on to run 5 more miles at the end of the race. By all counts, it should have been my best 26.2 performance yet. It wasn’t.
Brad stood at the starting line next to me. The weather was perfect for a marathon. My plan was to run with the 3:30 pacer - even splits all the way. My coach told me to start out slow, behind the 3:40 group and pick up the pace after the half. I knew I could keep my pace even and I trusted the 3:30 pacer whom I had run with in prior races at different paces. I didn’t listen to the advice I was given. I lined up with the 3:30 pacer.
The 3:30 group ran the first 3 miles of the race at a 7:30 pace, 30 seconds faster per mile than they should have. I dropped back. Brad stayed with the group. That was our plan. We stick with the group. I didn’t see Brad again until mile 7 or 8. I was rattled.
When I saw Hillary cheering on the sideline around mile 6, I shook my head in defeat. She knew I wasn’t having a good day. I held on as long as I could. Eventually, Brad ran back to find me and spent the rest of the race running back and forth between me and the 3:30 group. He ran 30 miles that day.
Somewhere around mile 21 when I was in my deepest darkest hole, I saw Lizzy and Hillary on the sidelines. Lizzy jumped in the race and ran the last five miles with me, every step of the way. She listened to me curse and complain and she offered words of encouragement, promising a cold beer at the finish line if I could just stick with it for a few more steps. I think I would have walked off the course if it weren’t for Lizzy’s support in those last miles. I was so disappointed and crushed. I was full of regrets.
This morning, Brad & I drove to Philly to watch the marathon. He coached many of the Fueled by Doughnuts athletes leading up to the race. We both wanted to be there to support them. Shortly after my accident, Yana said spectating this race should be my recovery goal. I wanted to be strong enough to walk to my position on the course and stand for four hours cheering and ringing a cowbell. It seemed attainable a couple weeks into my recovery and, after I made it through the NYC marathon, I knew I could claim my victory.
I wore my running shoes. We made it to mile 15 just in time to see Lizzy heading down Kelly Drive for the long out and back. She looked strong and capable. After cheering for the rest of our runners, we crossed the street and took our position at mile 25. That’s when I decided I was going to run Lizzy to the finish line. We heard reports that she was struggling around mile 18. The only thing I’ve experienced that can hold a candle to the pain of childbirth is finishing the last miles of a marathon. I knew Lizzy could use a little help to get over the last hill and I was determined to return her favor. Yana asked me what I was going to do if she picked up the pace. I’ve only been running 9:30-10:00 pace and only for a maximum of 3 minutes. I told Yana I was going to stick with her, no matter what. If she picked up the pace, I would pick up the pace. Yana was on deck next to me. She was going to run the last mile with Liz Russell who was just behind Lizzy on the course.
I kept up with Lizzy and told her as many silly stories as I could think of to try to get her mind off the pain. She gutted out that last mile, picked up her pace and finished strong to spite a number of set backs earlier on the course. I was grateful my body allowed me to be by her side and witness her strength and determination to get over that line.
Monday, November 19th Today was another challenging day at physical therapy. I ran for 10 minutes straight on the treadmill. Then I completed a series of jumping, some jumps with my left side only and some with both feet. All of the surfaces were higher than I would consider jumping off from in a non-injured state.
At the end of my visit, I asked if I was able to run 4:00 on and 1:00 walk with the Tuesday morning group. Dr. C. laughed as he reminded me I just ran 10 minutes on the treadmill. I would not be going back down to 4 minute intervals.
Tuesday, November 20th
5:00am - Wake up, get dressed to run (left clothes out last night).
5:15am - Go to bakery, get coffee. Check on quality of baked goods. Almond croissants look amazing. Take pic. Post to Instagram.
5:30am - Fueled by Doughnuts Sunrise Run - 3x 10:00 run, 3:00 walk = 4 miles! I was able to comfortably hold a 9:30 ‘conversational’ pace throughout the run. Highlight of my day.
6:30am - Get kids dressed, shower, break up fight, continue shower, find lost sock (in the middle of the floor), get myself dressed
7:00am - Make eggs & toast for kids, break up fight, find lost backpack (in the middle of the floor)
7:30am - Locate white shirt & jeans for Mac who is performing in the 1st grade Hoedown today. Note the growing mountain of dirty laundry. Roll up sleeves of white shirt that is at least two sizes too small. Hope other parents don’t notice.
8:00am - Eat cold eggs, empty dishwasher, go on expedition to find the missing kitchen counter, throw out 87 empty paper coffee cups.
8:30am - Check email, respond to emails, place order for porta-potties for 5K, calculate 5K water needs: 4 ounces x 2 water stops x 2500 runners/128 ounces = 156.25 gallons + buffer = 175 gallons of water. Calculate 5K hot chocolate & coffee needs = 4 ounces x 2500 runners/128 ounces = 78.125 gallons/5 = 15.625 or 16 bladder bags of Ronnybrook Chocolate Milk
8:55am - Go to bakery, check in with bakers, check in with retail team, check in with customer service, see stack of thanksgiving orders, retreat
9:05am - Go to elementary school to watch the 1st grade Hoedown. Hope there are no traffic delays, not a minute to space.
9:14am - Park in the handicap space right in front of the door to the school (having the placard was the only prize I won during this ordeal)
9:15am - Enter the gym, find a space to stand - all the seats are taken, watch Mac square dance with his classmates.
9:45am - Organize playdate with Mac’s friend Charlie
10:00am - Return to bakery, hope no one took my parking space
10:05am - Check in with Thanksgiving production. We are short on puff pastry dough. Need more pie shells. Need a case of apples peeled. Shuffle croissant numbers for the end of the week. Review staffing.
10:10am - Return home to get my computer
10:12am - Turn on computer in bakery office. It’s dead.
10:14am - Return home to get computer charger
10:15am - Turn on computer in bakery office. Send Jessie sponsor logo files for 5K shirt. Discuss 5K shirt design. Text with Hillary about March race.
10:45am - Check on production. Take pic of Pumpkin Brioche. Post to Instagram.
11:00am - Check in with Brad who is working on Montclair Running Co. renovations. Take lunch orders for his team. Take lunch orders for bakery team. Order lunch for everyone.
11:05am - Write Sunday blog entry. Open memoir file. Stare at computer screen. Text Yana. Text Lizzy. Text Hillary. Look at Facebook. Close memoir file.
12:00pm - Check on food delivery. Discuss holiday staffing for the rest of the year. Bitch about teenagers who STILL can’t seem to work their scheduled shifts and/or give proper notice about shifts they can’t work. Discuss the merits of pulling Josie out of school to work with the customer service and retail team. Discuss whether Josie would be more useful on the baking team or answering phones.
12:10pm - Email teachers about Mac’s playdate/alternative transportation home tomorrow
12:15pm - Meet delivery driver outside. Distribute lunch to the staff. Inhale my falafel.
12:30pm - Discuss Fueled by Friday set up with Anthony. Better mics? Better filming? How to improve the process. Need an ipad.
12:45pm - Review Fall 19 Oiselle catalog. Orders due 12/6. Respond to emails. Clean out inbox after google decides I am 173% over capacity.
1:00pm - Decide it’s not too late to have one more iced coffee. Review inventory needs for boxes, discover vendor shorted us on pie boxes and didn’t deliver doughnut boxes for Saturday’s wedding order. Work on back up plan. Refresh UPS tracking screen 934 times.
1:15pm - Get message from kids’ nanny. Their father rescinded his offer to her. She doesn’t have a back up plan. Enlist friends to help figure out a back up plan. Consider how to tell the kids. They will be devastated.
1:30pm - Follow up with paper vendor regarding leaky coffee cups. They can’t guarantee they won’t leak. More expensive cups are an option but can’t guarantee those either.
2:00pm - Meet with Stephanie & Jessie to finalize design for back of shirt/sponsors for 5K. Discuss 5K expo. Discuss signage needs. Email shirt vendor.
2:30pm - Call with Gina. Discuss 5K expo, vendor set up, volunteer needs, water numbers how are we going to heat the hot chocolate????
3:00pm - Check on running store. See progress of renovations.
3:10pm - Start peeling apples. Pause to find apple cider. Remove 3 racks from walk-in fridge to unearth apple cider in the back. Return racks to fridge. Dump cider in pot to heat on burner. Alert customer service team cider is hot. Fill everyone’s mug with hot cider and bourbon.
3:20pm - Resume apple peeling. Kids arrive home from school. Ask Keegan to go home for more apple peelers. Encourage kids to help peel apples.
3:30pm - Kids peel one apple each. Josie starts folding boxes for Saturday’s wedding order. Jessica found an extra ipad from the farmer’s market. No longer need to order an ipad.
5:00pm - Still peeling apples. Call Brad for dinner order. Take bakery team’s dinner order. Take kids’ dinner orders. Order dinner.
5:30pm - Finish peeling apples. Remove all three racks from fridge again to unearth butter to make puff pastry dough we need for tomorrow. Return racks to fridge. Start slicing apples.
5:45pm - Dinner order arrives. Distribute meals. Start rolling pie dough.
6:00pm - Discover my dinner order was made incorrectly. Decide not to eat. Continue rolling pie dough. Carolyn & Josie crimp edges of pie dough while I roll.
7:00pm - Finish rolling pie dough. Convince Carolyn to stay at my house instead of driving an hour home to come back to the bakery 6 hours later. Pack up kids & Carolyn & Brad to go home. Discover an uneaten burger and fries in the bakery office. Eat cold burger & fries while walking home.
7:15pm - Watch terrible food network shows with Josie. Break up fights. Listen to whining about what’s ‘not fair.’ Organize bedroom for Carolyn.
8:00pm - Put kids to bed.
8:05pm - Break up fight, more whining, more fighting, lights out!!!
8:10pm - Turn on CNN. Hope breaking news is the real thing this time. It’s not. Jut more of the same.
8:15pm -Break up fight, more whining, more fighting, lights out!!!
8:20pm - Dig PJ’s out of Mt. Dirty Laundry. Check email, check FB, post apple pic I forgot I took on instagram.
8:25pm - Pass out in bed.
Wednesday, November 21st Repeat Tuesday only the kids came home from school at 1:40pm, I replaced the school hoedown with a PT appointment and I was able to finish one load of laundry before bed. Brad’s daughter joined the chaos, er, family. Add 378 customers, 65 advanced order pick ups and 1493 phone calls from people trying to place last minute orders. To put that in perspective, 80 dozen soft dinner rolls, a few hundred loaves of bread, over 2000 doughnuts, a couple hundred pies and so on. To put that in perspective, in two weeks, at the 5K Doughnut Run, there will be 2000 doughnuts for customers, 100 boxes of a dozen doughnuts for preorders, 7500 mini doughnuts for finishers and 5000 doughnut holes on the course, give or take. There’s no sleeping. There’s no days off.
Thursday, November 22nd I don’t think I would be content if I wasn’t in constant chaos. Thanksgiving at the bakery is complete insanity, slightly controlled but still nuts. Christmas is the same. If that wasn’t enough of a bang to end each year, I decided to put the Doughnut Run in between them, just for good measure.
My life has never been calm. Thanksgiving is a perfect example. My parents divorced when I was a year old. As long as I can remember, I ate at least two meals on Thanksgiving day, one with my father which my step-mother and her family cooked, and one with my mother which my grandmother hosted. When I was 12, my mother had a falling out with her parents after she married my step-father. Two meals became three. By the time I was 14, I was eating a fourth meal at my dad’s uncle’s house, my only local relatives on my dad’s side.
Every year, I would try to minimize the meals and choose which house to go to. It never worked. The other cooks would reschedule so I could fit their meals into my rotation. The earliest dinner started at noon, after which, I hopped houses until 8pm. There were frequent fits of ‘oh, I see you’re not eating my stuffing, you must have liked your father’s better….’ Nobody was happy, EVER.
I finally had enough when I was 16. I told everyone I was eating dinner with my friend Linette’s family and I wouldn’t be dining with them. All four houses were unified in their discontent with my decision. The guilt game was intense. How could I choose a friend over my family? It was the best Thanksgiving I ever had. One meal. One focus. No fighting.
If I ate Thanksgiving dinner with family after that year, it was accidental.
After a short 5:30am run with Kim, I showered and returned to the bakery to help organize Thanksgiving orders. In between customers, I made candied yams and mac & cheese to take to Brad’s parents house where we would be dining later. The bakery customers were split between people who were thankful we were open and people who complained we didn’t have what they wanted. We closed at noon.
This was the first year I haven’t cooked the dinner since opening Montclair Bread Co. Typically, I invite anyone who doesn’t have a place to go, to the bakery where we set the table and dine together. The last time I depended on someone else to make dinner was the year Mac was born. He was due to arrive before the holiday. My family pledged to bring the turkey and all the sides to my home in Montclair so they could feed us and meet the baby. When the baby didn’t come (he was 9 days late!), my family didn’t come. They were afraid dinner would be interrupted if I went into labor and they didn’t want to waste a trip to NJ if there wasn’t going to be a baby to coddle. Thankfully, Whole Foods was still taking orders the day before the holiday.
This year’s meal was amazing. It was a small gathering of family. The kids were happy. I didn’t have to cook. I would say the day was a success.
Friday, November 23rd I took today off. I slept in until 6am. I was up just before the kids which gave me 30 minutes to send out a few emails and write a couple paragraphs. Brad’s dad made waffles for breakfast.
We decided to drive the clan to Hershey Park for the afternoon. My kids left their hats and mittens at their dad’s house. I drove to a nearby Wal-Mart to find replacements. When I got back, we reheated Thanksgiving leftovers for an early lunch. Mac ate a bowl of mac & cheese. Josie at a turkey sandwich. Keegan ate sweet potatoes, cranberry relish and two bananas. Olive ate turkey and asparagus.
After a 20 minute argument about who is riding in what car, we finally got on the road. The kids slept the whole way to the park. When we arrived, I received a message from the bakery letting me know we were out of croissants. The inventory taken earlier in the week was incorrect. My dreams of having two consecutive days off were shattered. Emergency croissant production is on the schedule for Saturday.
The whole blended family went on the Hershey factory tour first. My dad took me when I was in elementary school. It hasn’t changed much in 30 years. After the tour we went into the park where it was a balmy 27 degrees. I made it though a couple rides before my hip started aching. I still don’t know what each new day will bring and this was the most time I’ve spent out in sub-freezing temperatures since my surgery. The pain continued to build throughout the rest of the afternoon until it was almost intolerable. It might have been the cold or it may have been a week of 18 hour days on my feet or it may have been my build back into running but it definitely was not fun. I get nervous and anxious when the pain returns. I never know what I’m in for, how long it will last or if I’ve done something I shouldn’t have to make my hip angry.
After we called it quits and drove back to Brad’s parents house for the night, I took a heavy dose of tylenol before bed and hoped for the best. All the weeks I spent laying on my back, wishing I could get into any other comfortable position and now lying on my back is my go-to when I’m in pain. It’s the only way to get relief.
Saturday, November 24th After a solid night of sleep, the pain subsided. Brad and I packed up the kids to head back home. Within minutes of pulling into the parking lot, I was rolling out croissant dough. This week has been exhausting. It has challenged my endurance and my psyche in every way possible. Just a few short weeks ago, my recovery and therapy were the only thing I had to focus on, any given day. Now I have to fit my strengthening exercises in whenever I can. I’ve been put back in my place where everyone else’s needs come before my own. This is the place I was in when I didn’t think I could cope anymore. It’s the place I was in when running saved me. I am grateful to be able to run again. I’m not sure I would have made it through this week without the miles.