Tag Archives: Garden Center Services

New pub-trivia facts about Annabelle, and a 5k you should check out

I can't share a running photo, because I haven't been racing! But this is proof positive for you that all else is still in order.

I can’t share a running photo, because I haven’t been racing! But this is proof positive for you that all else is still in order.

Please forgive me the fact that most of this post is a duplicate of what you’ll find on another blog, one that I hope you’ll have an interest in after reading this. I’ve been on a long slow road to getting my blogger mojo back after a rough 2014 in terms of training, racing, and running culture in general. I’ll begin elaborating on these things, as well as the typical over-indulgent posts you subscribe here for, in the near future. In the meantime here are a few “Annabelle Trivia” bits for you to enjoy:

  1. I rarely untie/retie my shoes. My mother has scolded me for this since the day I learned to tie laces in the first place. My running shoes get re-tied maybe once a month on average, and my non-running sneakers maybe twice in their lifetime, if that. *note: sometimes before a race, if I’m nervous, I’ll tie and retie my laces upwards of 15 times – a life lived in extremes.
  2. I AM running the Boston Marathon this year, my 4th shot at the course. I WILL NOT be anywhere near PR shape.
  3. I am still working on being OK with #2
  4. I really enjoy the boxed wine from Target
  5. My favorite foods, in random order are: apples, lasagna, pie (apple, blueberry), single-malt scotch, pickles, Classic Lays potato chips, Skittles, Goat cheese … you can see why I’ve never seen 10lbs within range of my racing weight.
  6. I recently traded in the 1999 Chevy S10 Pickup that I’ve been commuting over 300 miles a week in for 4 years. My spiffy new ride has lots of bells and whistles, and now I have all kinds of data to illustrate that I spend, on average, 15-20 hours per week in my car…no more mystery about my injuries!
  7. I am a race director (mostly self-appointed and title)! I’ve always wanted to be at the helm of an event, and here we go, I’m feverishly trying to expand my skill-set to ensure success (yes, this is me asking if any of you want to join my planning committee).

Why you should register for the Super Sunny 5k today!

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day, and I hope your 2015 is off to a great start! For me, a few notable things come to mind when I check in with my personal goals (in no particular order):

  1. I have created some energizing momentum toward my professional
  2. goals in just the first 5 weeks of the year.
  3. I am, thankfully, 7 weeks into training for the Boston Marathon!
  4. I’m struggling with a couple of health related resolutions I made for 2015…time to find a different motivation!
  5. I’ve witnessed more than a dozen breakthrough moments as GCS staff members and people receiving services work toward their goals!
  6. My job is sometimes hard to understand, sometimes challenging, and always important. I think everyone who works at GCS could say the same, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
  7. I’ve developed a deeper understanding of just how much of a turning-point 2015 might be for the work we do at GCS, both as employees and people receiving services.

Let me elaborate on this last points MILLION dollars, 70 of them. SEVENTY MILLION DOLLARS! For me, this is such a large figure, that it doesn’t seem real, yet at the same time, it sort of terrifies me.

For me, this is such a large figure that it doesn’t seem real—but it does seem terrifying. If you are like me and this figure seems too big to touch, let me bring it closer to home. With the end of the tax increase of 2011, your personal paychecks will increase by a few dollars. Multiply that by all the income-earners in Illinois, and you have over a billion dollars! A portion of this tax money is allocated to providing crucial services to adults with developmental disabilities. More of your paycheck in your pocket means tax revenue decreases. When the tax money decreases, the funding thus decreases.

Currently, GCS sees an annual gap of $300,000 for day-program services alone. That is to say, after financial support from the state and federal departments is exhausted, we need to raise $300K in order to continue to provide quality, progressive, and inclusive support.

Overwhelming, isn’t it? I sure think so! Take a deep breath, because you can make a real impact very easily! Here are two ways to help:

1.)  Contact your legislative leaders! They are the play-makers, and they can’t know what is important to us if we don’t tell them! Use the links below to advocate for those we support, and for that which we believe in, and strive for.

Senate

House

2.)  REGISTER TODAY for the Super Sunny 5k. Your $25 registration fee goes right into filling these funding gaps, and you’ll also have to opportunity to help us raise additional funds in the registration process. Click here to go to our registration page.

With hope and aspiration,

*AB

Sunday: A Runner off her Routine, and Purpose.

I hope you’re having a great weekend. Every day I read something and think “Wow, I wish I’d written this!” Yesterday my friend/running idol/Shoe Fairy, Marron, shared a Rose-Runner blog post with me,  it had me laughing and saying “Amen, sister!” so here, add this to your Sunday musings.

Another great read is this Huffington Post article about the work of Melissa Carroll. I was on a swim team (Go Raiders!) with Melissa for many years as a kid. I haven’t seen her in at least 12 years, if memory serves me right, but I’ve spent hours in emotional chaos and 100% enraptured by her artwork and other posts via social media as she has lived with recurring bone cancer. She had a show the other night, and from my internet stalking it appears to have been a wild success. Salman Rushdie was there! This woman, well, I don’t know where to start, so visit her blog here.

There is so much symbolism here that I cried, then laughed, then cried and laughed.

There is so much symbolism here that I cried, then laughed, then cried and laughed. (Also, I swiped this picture from Facebook, sadly, I’m in Chicago, not NYC, or I’d have been at that show!)

There isn’t a lot of variation in how my weekends go, I am either traveling to a race or they look like this:

Saturday: Up at 6ish to meet up with some run-buddies, either at the lake front or to drive out to the suburbs for a long run. By the time that’s done, and I’ve daily-miled, showered, eaten and so on, it’s usually close to noon, and the rush for serial Netflix-ing, dog snuggling, dished doing, laundering (clothes, duh), blog reading, run-studying, and usually an hour or two of work-related activities begins.

Sunday: Looks exactly like saturday, except the long run is replaced by 6-10 easy miles, and I try to go to yoga at 3:30pm (I succeed about every 3rd week).

On Thursday evening this week, although I was having a hard time keeping awake while navigating the Dan Ryan traffic on the way home from work, I had a great run:

Thursday 8/22/13 Daily Mile entry.

Thursday 8/22/13 Daily Mile entry.

Then, on Friday morning I went out for my planned 8 mile recovery run and ended up posting this:

“So there I was, a half mile into my recovery run, feeling tired but good, and thinking about how I hadn’t fallen down in over 3 weeks, and woohoo! And then, BAM! I was body surfing the sidewalk on Wellington Ave. Again, I was wearing the Flow 2’s (I’ve actually lost count of my falls at this point). I’m done with them until a new edition comes out, or I’ll size down…why are they so long?!

Both knee’s and one hand were short some skin and looking bloody, and it hurt just enough that I sat down for a couple minutes. Then carried on.

At mile 2.5 the discomfort wasn’t shaking off so I turned back, things disintegrated from there, I did a lot of walking. After each bout of walking my right knee hurt more, until in the last .25 I couldn’t run at all.

I’m trying not to catastrophize, hopefully it’s just a temporary response to the insult…but we’ll see won’t we?”

I’ve been looking forward to this week’s long run for ages! A challenging 16-mile progression run with one of my training partners who’s paces a near-perfectly matched with my own. (As it happens, I owe him one, he encouraged me to turn back when my gait changed to accommodate the knee discomfort, ok fine, pain).

So my training week ended like this:

stupid knee

And so my Saturday looked a lot like me and the Shi-Tzu’s laying on the bed, watching an entire season of a Netflix series, and several episode’s of Dr. Who…yup, totally a productive use of my time.

I have noticed a pattern in my falls however, so that explains why my right knee is so inflamed.

In my hours of trying not to panic, I've tallied 6 falls that probably looked like this, since May 1st.

In my hours of trying not to panic, I’ve tallied 6 falls that probably looked like this, since May 1st.

Here we are, Sunday in full swing, I’m in my PJ’s still, no running because my right knee is stiff, which is exactly how it felt before my run attempt yesterday.

I am running my first of 3 marathons in 3 months in exactly ONE WEEK. I’m sure my knee will be 100% fine by then,  I’m basically just getting an extreme taper that I wasn’t planning on.

This week has been exhausting because a lot of great things have developed, and then that momentum came to an abrupt halt when I hit the ground on Friday morning. Sounds silly, I know, but, that’s the nature of such self-indulgent pursuits like marathon running and training. I’ve wallowed for nearly 48hrs and now it’s time to remember that something else happened this week: I’ve received over $800 in donations for Garden Center Services!

My training and racing this fall is in dedication to the people I work to support. Please visit my Go Fund Me page to learn a bit more. This may not sound like the most politically correct message, but part of what drives me professionally is that when I was in graduate school, it seemed like everyone wanted to work with children with autism, and do parent training and in-home therapy. While all this is a good and needed service, those cute kids are going to grow up into adults who still need a lot of support.

The challenge I see, is that children’s programs pull at heart-strings, and get lots of fundraising, awareness, and research attention. But when they grow up, and the disabilities and other challenges are still there, they join the ranks of an under-funded, often neglected, vulnerable,  and largely silent population, and that has to stop.

Thank you!

*AB