Get Up!


Running always makes me feel badass.  I needed to feel badass after last week.

For me, last week was a week of getting knocked down, both at work and in my personal life.  To be fair, when I’m feeling strong and when I’m in a great space, you can take all the punches at me you want, and you still can’t knock me down, but there have been a few chinks in my armor lately.  It’s amazing how much hurt can slip through those narrow little spaces when we let it.

When I had the last minute opportunity to run the sold out Spring Lake 5 on Saturday, one of the oldest and most popular five mile road races on the East Coast, I grabbed it.  I needed an excuse to get into a skull cap and pigtails and to get out there with “my people.”


It was a cold, rainy morning on Saturday. I’m not in great “running shape,” these days.  I’m not in great  shape period.  The miles went slowly, my knees hurt, it wasn’t my best run, but it was the best I could do in that moment.  I wasn’t on top of my game, but I was in the game.


I sat with a friend of mine on Saturday night,  legs up on my couch, nursing my sore knees,  and talked about challenges, and how this year in particular has brought me one after the other.

“You know what made Michael Jordan such a great basketball player?” my friend said.  “He could get onto that court and face his opponents and overcome any obstacle they presented him.  If he was playing a five year old or a high schooler, it wouldn’t have mattered.  There would have been no challenge in that for him. It was the challenges he overcame on that court that made him great.“

And in that, I was reminded that It’s the challenges we meet and overcome in life that make our lives great.    

I am someone who spent most of my life playing it safe.  I am someone who, for years, put myself in positions where I knew I’d never fail.  The biggest life change for me in the past three years is that I’ve allowed myself to fail.

The more I fail, the more I realize that failure won’t kill me.

I don’t mind being the girl that gets knocked down so long as I am the girl who keeps getting up.  It’s the getting up that matters.   Not the falling down.  Don’t get me wrong, the falling down sucks. But I never want to miss my next opportunity because I’m too busy dwelling on whatever predicated the last fall.   Instead, hopefully, I’ll dust myself off, and keep getting up.

Every time I get through a hurt, I’m reminded that I can get through a hurt.  These hurts don’t kill us.  And the more hurts I get through, the more I’m willing to risk the next time.  In two months from now, I’m packing up my kids, our clothes, my laptop, and a few books about yoga and moving into a loaner house on an island on the North Carolina Coast.  I don’t know if that’s something I could have done without a pretty big line up and risks and hurts behind me.  Because as scary as it is, and believe me, there’s a part of me that’s freaking, I know that if my plan fails miserably, it won’t kill me.

The only thing that kills us is not really living.


Get Up! — 60 Comments

  1. I love this Ilene! I’m so glad you went through with the run. I’m sure those postrun endorphins that kicked in while talking with your friend really helped. Looks like this year is a huge year of growth for you. It may suck to be stretched and pulled through the mud but as you said, it can’t kill you! Learn from each thing and move on. Your armor looks shiny and beautiful to me even with those lil chinks. Keep on keepin on girl.
    Marcia @ recently posted…VeggieMy Profile

    • Marcia, you are so sweet! If my armor looks shiny, I am attesting it to the great editing tools on Pic Monkey! And yes, everything makes us stronger. Especially the failures. This is the year that reminded me that we don’t die from failure. And more so, whose definition of failure are we subscribing to anyway? Thank you for all of your kind thoughts! xo

  2. This is beautiful Ilene. Yes, it’s the getting up that matters. I too have often put myself in the position where I know that I can’t or won’t fail. But like you, I’ve realized more and more that it’s the challenges that make the difference and that make me stronger. I’m so glad that you ran and even more, I’m so glad that you are embarking on this next phase and adventure. Nothing but good things ahead my friend.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…The HaircutMy Profile

    • No! Failure is not the end – you are so right! And the race is never over! I have to say this has been a long metamorphasis for me. But I am so glad that I made the inquiries and kept pressing myself to push forward. And no reason to ever beat ourselves up over failure. No reason at all. xo

  3. Hooray for taking chances! And failing. And failing. And getting back up again. I will now happily trade those long years of hanging back and doing nothing for all the oopsies, ouchies, and embarrassment from taking chances and putting myself out there.

    I am so excited for you and this adventure! It’s Exclamation Mark Living, for sure!
    Kim recently posted…Exclamation Mark LivingMy Profile

    • I am so glad that I am finally learning that we recover from the ouch and the embarrassment of putting ourselves out there. A great life lesson! And I love the saying exclamation mark living!

  4. I’m so excited as you start your new journey, and I’m glad you got a good ‘sendoff’with a final run. A story to lighten your day. We went to Mammoth Cave this past weekend to give Caroline to her grandmothers for a couple of weeks. At the last second before a tour, my mother in law realized she had forgotten something in the car. She and I had to leg it through the parking lot. She’s 75. I was determined that she was NOT going to run faster than I was. I kept pace with her. Barely. And I was determined not to be gasping for breath. Again, barely. The woman’s in better shape than most of her kids. And, obviously, her daughter in law.
    Jester Queen recently posted…The House of Many ClocksMy Profile

    • Oh, Jessie! That is too much! If that’s the case, your mom must be faster than me too! I can run far, but I’m slow as molasses! She’d kick my butt!

  5. I know right! Running does make you feel like a complete badass; the fist pumping the wind and feet pounding gives thing amazing feeling of doing and leaving behind a whole metre at a time.
    Hope you have all the success in your new journey in the new home and in getting back in shape (that shape). With the yoga books you are taking along, you are on the right track. I love your post and its spirit!

    • Thanks Tua! I love my yoga books and my running. Between the two, my soul always feels shiny. And speaking of souls, when my heart and soul are in better shape than they are now, *that* shape will come back as well. It always works that way, right?

  6. I think I’m the before part of this – afraid of failure and playing it safe. I have done menial jobs and I undercharge on my photography because I’m just so afraid.

    I needed this.
    Tamara recently posted…Exposed Roots.My Profile

    • You so have it in you! I see it on your blog! You have such a strong voice in your words and your photos. I believe in your bad-ass-ness..and I bet teh “after” part is coming real soon – if it’s not here already.

  7. You are always an inspiration to me. Your determination and risk taking and general bad ass-ness (I’m just making up words now!) have helped me refocus after my own failures this year. Love that last line! As long as we’re trying we are not failing!
    Tricia recently posted…I live with a PrincessMy Profile

    • Tricia, that is so kind of you. So very kind! And you can make up words on my blog any time! And refocusing failures is a great way to put it. I don’t even like using the word failure. It’s more of a catch-all phrase for me. Because if we try, we really can’t fail.

  8. Wow, my friend. This is powerful. I need to start thinking about the challenges that I face this way. I need them to propel me into more positive things or into taking risks. Because you are right…falling down won’t kill me. I should know, I’ve fallen a lot! Good luck with the move! What a great adventure and I’m so glad I’ll be here to share it with you. 🙂
    AnnMarie recently posted…An Open Letter to Hot-Headed, Little League Baseball FansMy Profile

    • No, falling down won’t kill any of us. And you’re right. If you’ve fallen before then you KNOW. You get back up. I think we’re lucky to have fallen a few times and to realize this. It means we potentially, are willing to risk more – and get closer to what really matters to us because of those risks.

  9. This really speaks to me, Ilene! I love this so much – the getting up and the trying and come-what-may. It took me a while to recognize how much growth can come from failure – and even now, I think I try to play it safe sometimes, to avoid getting knocked down. I just need to remember that I can get back up again – a little stronger, a little wiser.
    Kim recently posted…Two VoicesMy Profile

    • There is no doubt that each time we fail, we come through it a little wiser. I have learned so much more from my failures. Always. I have faith in you, Kim, that you will always get back up!

    • That’s so interesting what you say about your kids versus you. But – you are a great mom for letting them fail. I bet now you will begin to let yourself. I have to say, it feels pretty liberating.

    • I LOVE that saying! And I love that you just called me a badass. Next time we do a Google hangout, I think we should both do it wearing out Doc Matens and get all badass together!

  10. I’m sorry that last week knocked you around so much. It seems to me like life comes in phases and I’m sure that phase your in right now is a very challenging one. I love that you took some time and space for yourself to go run that race. It must have been meant to be.
    Here’s to the journey ahead for you and to always getting back up (no matter how long it takes to actually get back up).
    Take care,
    KC @ The Real Thing with the Coake Family recently posted…Father’s Day Gift ~ Glass Etched Candy JarMy Profile

    • Thanks, KC. I love what my friend said about challenges and how they make life interesting – and worth living for that matter! And yes, you of all people can appreciate how nice it was to go run that race! xo

  11. I can relate to this post on so many levels. First, a good run always makes me feel better. There is something so pure about a good run. No one can stop you. And I love your attitude about going for it. I tend to be pretty risk-averse as well and always want to ensure success, but I too am learning that good can come from failing and from putting yourself out there. Keep at it!
    Kerry recently posted…It Wasn’t Meant To Be … Wisdom From My Mother-in-LawMy Profile

    • Thanks, Kerry. It’s great to succeed. I LOVE to succeed – but I know there’s more out there than what I am good at doing. And thank goodness for running, right? There’s almost nothing that a good run can’t make better!

  12. “get out there with “my people.” I love that and so get it. That is why I keep signing up for races and slipping out of bed while everyone else still sleeps to drive to Atlanta or who knows where. My knees complain a lot these days too — so I can’t run everyday anymore but I love the race atmosphere. Large or small. I saw on the other side that you are moving. Good grief girl, good luck with that. The island sounds wonderful. I agree life is to short not to push through fear and live.

    • I am so glad you can relate to the running bit. I feel so alive when I am out there – even with the sore knees! I can’t wait to move – even though it will mean pushing through fear. And at the end of the day, fear is only fear. Right?

  13. I love that I happened to read this post and find out that you are taking the plunge and moving to NC! Way to go…you are courageous!

    • Yay! I am so glad you stopped by today and saw this! I am going to message you soon. I have so much to ask about living on the island! Will see you in August!

  14. We met briefly at BBCChar, and I wish we could have hung out more b/c you sound like a strong person that has really bounced back after life has got you down. As Kelly Clarkson sings, “What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger.” LOL yes I am a total dork I know!
    Natalie recently posted…Memorial Day FunMy Profile

    • I LOVE that song – so that makes us both dorks! I wish I could have gotten to know you better as well. I definitely look forward to getting to know you now!

    • And you are amazing in my book as well. And as far as the run goes, in time, I am learning that every run is really a great run! Thanks for your great thoughts, today and always. xo

    • I am heading south, yes! I have a great housing opportunity and I feel like I need to grab it. It is making the change easy. I am taking it as a sign!

  15. Inspiring post! I needed that:) Love your attitude,love your courage, love your sense of adventure. The hardest stuff usually makes the best lessons and the best memories though:)

    • I could not agree more about the hard stuff. Like my friend said, it really is the challenges that make life interesting and rewarding as well!

  16. I love your badass self and your badass posts and love the line about being in the game. You’re in it – showing up all over the place. That’s inspiring. We’re so similar and you inspire me with your thoughts and wisdom – every time!
    Mary @ A Teachable Mom recently posted…Sisterhood GiftsMy Profile

    • Thanks, Mary. I can’t always be on top of my game, but I am hell bent on staying in that game. And I love that we are so alike!

    • I agree with what you say – and the trick for me is to not get too hung up on whatever it was that tripped me – to live in the “now” instead of the “then.” And to keep moving forward!

  17. Congratulations! My word for the year is fearless because I’ve also not always been a risk taker. Now six months in I couldn’t have been happier. Taking chances and making changes have made me a better person. Even if I’ve had a miserable fail.

    I can’t wait to hear more about your move. That sounds like a fun adventure! 🙂
    Carli recently posted…The Fast Metabolism Diet: Lessons LearnedMy Profile

    • Thank you so much Carli! And I am so happy for you that you have moved past fear, taken risks, and seen the rewards. That is so inspiring for me, and I am sure, a much more fulfilled life for you!

  18. Thank you for the reminder that failure doesn’t kill you! I’m recovering from an injury and haven’t been able to run for almost a year. It’s easy to forget that there are plenty of things that I can do and that it’s OK if I’m not the best at them.
    Akaleistar recently posted…From Russia With LoveMy Profile

    • A big huge hug to you my friend. I am so glad to have you in my corner and I am glad I am still in the game. xo

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