Saturday, October 2, 2021

Hi Hello

Nearly 3 years ago, I was grateful for the opportunity to meet Johnny Marr before his show. We talked about our daughters, running & my lifelong work in bereavement. On October 1, I lost my job of nearly 20 years. Grateful to wake up to “Hi Hello” from DJ Robert Drake before a difficult day of goodbyes.



Monday, September 27, 2021

Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon & Half Marathon



Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon & Half Marathon
Leah Connor
9/20/2021

This weekend I was thinking about everything I've done for the running community in Charlottesville. I've designed logos, medals, t-shirts, and so much more, but I am most proud of the creation of the Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon & Half Marathon.

I have long wanted to do a Barkleys Marathon style documentary about my race because there are so many amazing stories from this event. From an unexpected DQ in 2014 to my identical twin sister winning in 2016 to holding 4 events during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2015 I met Dave McGillivray, the Boston Marathon race director, and told him about the 50% BQ rate for our inaugural event.


​Back then I never imagined what the race would become and all the lives that have been touched by it. It's rather humbling especially to have such a wonderful and dedicated group of volunteers including Ryan Looney, who's helped at each event and plans to finally run it in December. Go Ryan Go!

I've set a goal of getting this "movie" project done by September 2024 which will be the 10th anniversary of the inaugural race and when the race certification expires. :)

Then I counted up the past and upcoming races and realized that December 5th will be the 10th running of the Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon (and the 3rd edition for the half). Wow!

So if you've run the race or registered for the events this fall, expect an email from me. I would love to interview you via Zoom for my documentary!

Also, we could still use some volunteers for the fall races. THANK YOU!




























A Peaceful Resolution




A Peaceful Resolution
9/24/20210

"To find peace, sometimes you have to be willing to lose your communication with people, places, and things that create all the noise in your life."

Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 4:38 PM
"I'll pass."

Mon, Sep 20, 2021 at 12:31 PM
"This needs to stop."

Fourteen months ago when I was in the middle of a mental health crisis and had to take FMLA in an effort to get healthy and decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I reached out to a therapist with whom I had a longstanding relationship. He replied right away and offered me an appointment in person. I struggled with what to do, but when I asked if we could meet virtually instead because of COVID-19, he responded with "I'll pass."

At the time I thought that was the most hurtful and dismissive email I could ever receive from anyone. It took courage to reach out, ask for help, and put the necessary boundaries to protect my health in my request. When I was rejected from a professional who I had a 13 year relationship with I was devastated.

It took me 40 days to write a reply and report him to the Department of Health Professionals for the unethical behavior he exhibited over the course of my "treatment." Although I spoke with an investigator on September 17, 2020 regarding DHP Case #206870, I'm still waiting for resolution.

I was on the phone with someone very important in my life when I got that email from the therapist. I burst into tears and could barely speak. He was so supportive and I will never forget that. It meant everything to me.

For the past 6 months I've been struggling with another decision, whether or not to leave the Charlottesville Track Club, an organization that I have dedicated my passion and talents to for 13 years. I won't describe in detail what lead to my choice to step away, but the people closest to me know the story.

I had already started separating myself from my CTC responsibilities and shared access to various resources I created before I received the "This has to stop." email, but to say I was gutted when I realized I no longer had the support from the person who was there for me when I was rejected from the therapist was heart-wrenching. Once again, I felt abandoned after sending an email with the subject line HELP.

I've struggled so much over the past 14 months. I have experienced the huge loss of both friends and positions that I had clung to define my identity. Even though it was incredibly painful, I feel like I'm finding peace now because finally I have my best friend, my twin sister with me to share both the burdens and pleasures of life.

Tonight we are going to our first concert together in Charlottesville. Ani DiFranco's music has been in my life since college and has gotten me through some very difficult times. I'm so grateful that I now own a home (with FRAN!) that I can welcome Malinda Ann into so we can be spinster twinsters together and create beautiful memories and art with Twins Run and A Good Group.
 
Listen to my latest playlist created during this difficult transition: FUNGE ME. (Yes, I'm OBSESSED with HBO's Succession!)


Date: Wed, Sep 22, 2021 at 6:03 AM
Subject: My apologies and my thanks

This will be my last message regarding my departure from the CTC, so please bear with me.

First of all, I am encouraging all of you to attend the CTC Membership Meeting on Thursday at 7pm. Join the CTC Board Elections Membership Meeting via Zoom

Secondly, I give my eternal, sincere, and heartful thanks to everyone who has called, texted, or talked with me about my struggles in making the decision to step away from the CTC. I know it's the right decision and the healthy choice for me, but it's been unbearably hard .... I only wish I left CTC before I started this new position so I wouldn't put this amazing opportunity in jeopardy.

Finally and most importantly, I am so very sorry for any discomfort, stress, or anxiety that this situation has caused anyone else. If any of you are feeling just 1/100th of the pain I am and it's because of my words or actions, I promise I will make it up to you. Please let me know how.

I am an open book. My life is on social media and my website. I am brutally and sometimes abrasively honest about my struggles with mental health, asking for help, and quitting. This has been the most difficult year of my entire life, but I have survived and I will continue to knowing I've made it this far.

Thanks again,

leah
agoodgroup.com

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Eating Disorder Treatment Fundraiser for Malinda Ann Hill


Malinda Ann Hill decided to resume treatment for her eating disorder almost as soon as she shifted to working remotely in March 2020.”
Trapped in the House With an Eating Disorder
By Virginia Sole-Smith
The New York Times
March 31, 2021

(UPDATED on September 27, 2021)

It has been difficult to share my story and ask for the help I desperately need.

I have been struggling greatly with an eating disorder relapse that was exacerbated by the pandemic and the stalking I have experienced for over 11 years .

On March 23, 2020, I was admitted into a virtual partial hospital program (PHP) for eating disorders. 

On May 5, 2020, I transferred to another virtual PHP.

On June 30, 2020, I was discharged from virtual PHP because I couldn’t afford to continue treatment and had to return to work.

On January 31, 2021, another stalking incident triggered another serious relapse.

On March 15, 2021, I was re-admitted to the virtual PHP for eating disorders. 

On May 14, 2021, I was unexpectedly discharged from PHP because virtual program had to suddenly close.

On May 17, 2021, I was admitted to virtual intensive outpatient program (IOP) for mental health while continuing to attend virtual peer support groups for my eating disorder.

On July 20, 2021, I was suddenly discharged from IOP because the team recommended residential treatment.

On August 17, 2021, I was admitted to a virtual PHP for eating disorders, anxiety, depression & PTSD.

On August 31, 2021, I was notified that my employment status is terminated on October 1 and I will lose my health insurance on November 1.

On September 27, 2021, I was admitted to an in-person PHP for eating disorders, anxiety, depression & PTSD.

I continue to struggle emotionally, physically and financially.

If you are able to help me continue treatment by donating $5, I’d greatly appreciate your support.

If you cannot afford to donate, please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you.

GoFundMe Fundraiser


Monday, June 14, 2021

RISE - Photo Book Celebrating Diversity, Lived Experience and ANAD's 45th Anniversary


RISE, a coffee table photo book project celebrating diversity, lived experience and ANAD's 45th Anniversary (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders).

Last year, Kristen Kidd Photography raised $1,000 for ANAD with her photo project. Now, she's working on "Rise," a coffee table book that will celebrate diversity, lived experience, and ANAD's 45th anniversary! If you would like to be featured, sign up here: kkpmodelcall.com 💜

Celebrate Your Truest Self

Currently accepting submission from individual's to be featured in the 2021 coffee table book, Rise.

(benefiting ANAD: National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders).

That's right. We want to change the conversation about what resilience and strength means by celebrating body and soul diversity.

This beautiful 10x8 hardcover book will share the stories of individuals whose lives have been personally touched by an eating disorder and who have journeyed through recovery finding hope.

Each individual selected for feature in the book (with their story) becomes an official Rise sponsor and will receive the following:

- Luxury photographic experience

- Cinematic slideshow reveal following photo experience

- Access to our gallery of options for fine art design and purchase, with a $500 credit included.

- Feature in Rise, the coffee table book

- Your first copy of Rise

- The bliss of knowing that your experience makes ANAD's mission of hope possible.

Scroll down to see more project details.

We're SO excited about the impact your story is going to make for individuals everywhere! Take a moment to fill out our contact form and we will get back to you shortly. We can't wait to hear the story of your journey through recovery!

www.kkpmodelcall.com

The Five Steps To Join Movement:

Thank you so much for your interest in becoming a partner with the
#RiseCoffeeTableBook project.

Here are the 5 basic steps of your photographic experience.

Request your story be featured using the form on this page.

A Kristen Kidd Photography team member will reach out to connect with you to answer any questions and provide you with additional details of the project.

We will then assist you in scheduling to be photographed by Kristen Kidd Photography.

Kristen Kidd Photography will then treat you to their complete, one of a kind empowering photographic experience. Starting with Discovery all the way through your photography reveal.

At your photography reveal you will view your photographs and our gallery of fine art options will be made available to you for design and purchase.

Join us in in 2022 for the official book release.

kristenkiddphotography.com

anad.org




Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Malinda Ann Hill's Eating Disorder Treatment Fund on GoFundMe



Malinda Ann Hill decided to resume treatment for her eating disorder almost as soon as she shifted to working remotely in March 2020.”
Trapped in the House With an Eating Disorder
By Virginia Sole-Smith
The New York Times
March 31, 2021

It has not been easy for me to share my story and ask for help even when I know I desperately need help.

I have been struggling greatly with an eating disorder relapse that was exacerbated by the pandemic and the stalking I have experienced for over 11 years .

I entered my first virtual partial hospital program on March 22, 2020 and was discharged from my second virtual partial hospital program on June 30, 2020 because I had to return to work.

I am currently suffering from another serious relapse that worsened after another stalking incident on January 31, 2021.

I entered my third virtual partial hospital program on March 15, 2021. Unfortunately, I was unexpectedly discharged from the program on on May 14, 2021 because the virtual program had to close suddenly and I was unable to attend the program in person.

I entered my first virtual intensive outpatient program on May 17, 2021 while I continue to attend virtual peer support groups.

I am waiting to receive assessments with the only other two eating disorder programs that are in-network with my insurance.

I am currently on my second medical leave of absence from work so I am struggling financially, emotionally and physically.

On July 1, I must pay $3,800 to continue treatment since my coverage starts over with a new medical plan administrator.

If you can donate $5 to fund my continued treatment, I'd greatly appreciate your financial assistance.

If you cannot afford to donate, please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you.

Malinda Ann Hill
June 1, 2021

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Can I Believe You?


Devastated by the sudden death of someone who helped me on my journey towards recovery.

Thanks to each person I’ve encountered on my path who has made such an impact on my life.

Grateful for every moment of connection or inspiration, no matter how brief or profound. 

The pain I feel when the connection ends shows me how much I still care.

Thinking of everyone grieving this tremendous loss.

Self Portrait by Malinda Ann Hill

My journey of recovery from as eating disorder relapse as of June 7, 2021.

Before the pandemic, I participated in the Portraits of Health Project by John Cruice Photography.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

My journey of recovery from an eating disorder is similar to my experience with running. My path has not been linear – there have been steps forwards and steps backwards. I take one step at a time – sometimes joyfully, sometimes painfully. I decided to share my experience, strength and hope in the midst of my journey so that others know that they are not alone and healing is possible.

Unfortunately, I continue to struggle greatly on my path.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Malinda Ann Hill

On March 31, I shared my story with Virginia Sole-Smith in her New York Times article “Trapped in the House with an Eating Disorder” to help raise awareness.

Trapped in the House with an Eating Disorder

On May 14, I was discharged from a virtual partial hospitalization program I began on March 15 because the program suddenly closed.

On May 17, I received authorization to attend a virtual intensive outpatient program while waiting for assessments from the only two virtual eating disorder programs approved by my insurance.

As I continue on my path of recovery, I’m supporting the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), writing about my experience and compiling information.

It has not been easy to find virtual treatment options during the pandemic and NEDA offers support and resources.

If you’ve found help or you’re willing to share your experience, please comment below.

Thank you for your kind words and support.

Current theme song on repeat:
“Can I Believe You” by Fleet Foxes

Can I believe you?
Can I believe you?
Can I ever know your mind?
Am I handing you mine?
Do we both confide?

I see it eat through every word I sow
See what you need to, do you doubt it's yours?
Now I'm learning the ropes, never get this close
I've been wounded before
Hasn't let me go

It never got less strange, 
showing anyone just a bare face
If I don't, well, nothing will change
Staying under my weather all day

Can I believe you when you say I'm good?
I didn't need to when I wished you would
No it isn't enough
Never held that much
Now another way up
Been a row too rough

It never got less strange, 
showing anyone just a bare face
But if I don't, well, nothing will change
Staying under my weather all day

Lately I'm wondering too
What type of desire I can break
When I'm one way with them, one with you
What half is it of me rearranged?

Can I believe you?
Can I believe you?
I want to need you
I want to need you
Can I believe you?
Can I believe you?

Songwriter: Robin Pecknold

Can I Believe You on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert



Tuesday, May 25, 2021

“I wish you the best.” by Leah Connor



I am not a quitter. Musical instruments are about the only thing I’ve given up on, having failed miserably at the piano, then flute, the guitar, and drums.



Although one of my shining moments in high school was playing the drums in a neighboring Catholic High School’s rendition of “Camelot.” My one and only “professional” musical gig.

Persistence and grit have helped me become a successful long distance runner, but that inability to take a break when necessary has also left me injured and broken. (Literally! My sesamoids!)

Knowing when to press pause, stop, or reset is as crucial as having the desire and guts to start. That’s why I only gave medals to runners who dropped out of the Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon rather than those who finished. I knew how difficult it was to DNF because I have only done it twice in 13 years of running 100s of races. Ending one race before the finish line does not mean you’ve entirely given up on your goals. It just means you’ve delayed trying to achieve one on a particular day when the odds were not in your favor in hopes of being more likely to achieve it in the future on a better day.

I’ve found every journey — it’s beginning, ending, and everything in between — yields it’s best results when there are clear boundaries and guidelines. I always read the event rules, employee handbook, and informed consent. I am determined to follow my own personal moral code. Breaking the rules might not always get you disqualified, hurt, or fired, but there is no inherent victory in living in a world where you’re beyond reproach or accountability.

I have never been one to decidedly and permanently end any personal relationship… to ignore or erase someone willingly from my life. I will always leave the door open. I’m not resistant to apologizing myself when I’m wrong and I will always graciously accept an apology from anyone no matter how long it takes.

My husband is self-described as aloof, but he makes me laugh which, to me, is essential for any healthy relationship. I might not always get the emotional support I want or need, but we have a bond that’s lasted since we first met in 1994. When we moved to Charlottesville I had no local friends and yearned for connection so I chose therapy as an option to guide me on a path to personal growth and positive change. I hoped I could improve my self-esteem and develop the skills to comfort and care for myself.

It’s been difficult for me to admit and thoroughly process, but I had a very unhealthy and emotionally damaging relationship with a therapist that began on September 22, 2006 and permanently ended on July 29, 2020. I didn’t officially quit or terminate the therapy. I had tried numerous times since 2007, with varying degrees of success. (Success being the length of time that lapsed between sessions, the longer it was, the more successful.)

I last saw him in-person for a session on February 19, 2018, but there were a few random encounters and emails before my final attempt to schedule an appointment in July 2020 when I was struggling with changes relating to the pandemic as well as work. We emailed a bit back and forth with a joke and emojis. He offered me a couple potential times to meet, but when I made a thoughtful and detailed request for a virtual session rather than in-person because of COVID-19 concerns and my insurance coverage, his harshly dismissive, insensitive, two-word response was
“I’ll pass.”



It took me 40 days to process those two words and to respond to him, but before I did, I finally filed a complaint with the Enforcement Division of the Department of Health Professions about his abusive behavior, specifically the blurred boundaries, dual relationships, billing issues, and frequent outbursts of anger.

There are doors that are closed, others locked, doors we can easily open, others we gladly shut on our own, and then there are doors that hit us on the way out. I had a door hit me as I left my therapist’s office after a heated political argument (yes, so many things wrong with that scenario). It scared me and scarred me emotionally, but even that didn’t keep me from trying to salvage the relationship one more time rather than officially quit.

I’ve found that I’m most frustrated when there’s no clarity or when I feel like I’m being ignored and that’s been my experience as I’ve waited the 9 months since this investigation began. Without any final resolution, I’m still ruminating and analyzing, trying to find the meaning in past words, actions or inactions, to ascribe motives.

If I think about what harmed me the most … it wasn’t the inappropriate out of session communications, the half of a red velvet cake he gave me on my 40th birthday, his oversharing of personal, family, and health information, the unwarranted criticisms of me or my husband, or the dependency on him he fostered with the frequency of appointments and no clear treatment plan … it was the anger, the rage, especially when I dared to question his own intentions, behaviors, or business practices.

Almost everyone who’s been to therapy has a hidden desire to feel special or unique, to want to know what the therapist really thinks about them, to be liked, to be cared for, and maybe even to blur those boundaries in an effort to redefine the relationship. Trust me: those boundaries are there to protect you, the client. If a therapist doesn’t respect them, run away and, if you can, report it to the licensing board.

My dysfunctional therapy was a secret for a long time, but when I first described the dynamics of the relationship to another therapist who I had been seeing with my husband for couples therapy, he asked if I had seen the movie “Gaslight.” The term gaslighting has become more popular over the past 5 years, but back in 2007 it was a foreign concept to me. I quickly googled it and learned how appropriately it applied to my situation.

I have an intuition and sense about people that’s very good, but I started doubting my own gut feelings that something was very wrong in this case. I shouldn’t have. I know now I never was misreading the situation, that this therapist acted inappropriately and unprofessionally and for whatever reason we had a stormy relationship that I couldn’t quit and he would never end by referring me to another professional.

Yes, I have issues and I’m probably the first to willingly admit all of my faults, my anxieties and indignations, but I’ve come to learn that it wasn’t just me who was treated in a harmful manner by this therapist. I found quite a number of online reviews that are frighteningly similar to my own experience.

I feel a bit guilty, but it’s actually comforting to find out that he was explosive, rude, disrespectful, threatening, mean, controlling, and unprofessional with other clients, it wasn’t just me.

I always made excuses for his outbursts … I deserved it, I’m difficult, I have a hard time letting good things in so when he did say nice things about me it was hard to believe it, so in a way I misinterpreted his anger as intimacy that I could not reject out of hand.

But if I’m honest, I probably would be rather upset to find out that he lied to me when he said I knew more about his personal life than anyone else he ever worked with and I will definitely need to address that seriously messed-up feeling with a future counselor.

Having a therapist repeatedly violate boundaries should NOT feel like a badge of honor, but it was one of the reasons I never reported him. Until now, I couldn’t even consider that I might be just one of many victims because I didn’t want to even see myself as a victim. I completely rationalized the experience, blamed myself for pushing and testing him, and for asking all the questions that he freely answered.

If it wasn’t just me who he took advantage of and used for his own personal and financial needs would that make me even more pathetic for convincing myself to keep trying to make it work and never quitting despite so much misery and so many red flags? Although I didn’t want to know the answer, I could no longer live with myself if I didn’t at least try to do something to prevent this from happening to anyone else. I have to hope that my complaint could possibly protect other potential clients from his insensitivity and anger.

Even though waiting for resolution is excruciating, I immediately felt empowered when I finally took action and had conversations with the investigator and my insurance company. Every time someone listened to my story and told me this wasn’t right or it wasn’t uncommon, I felt somewhat validated.

It’s probably impossible for me to get all the answers and clarity I seek, to understand why this happened to me, but I do hope there will be an official record about my experience as “Client A” and for the board to acknowledge there was a violation even if there’s no disciplinary action.

Two days after I filed the formal complaint I sent my final message to my former therapist:

Subject: “I’m a person, not a piece of pizza.”
It’s taken 40 days to process 2 words.
I’m at peace knowing that your message was unethical, unprofessional, and wrong.
We had a therapeutic relationship on and off since September 22, 2006.
You pass on a piece of pizza, not a person. I deserve better.

His response two days later was nothing like any other message he ever sent me, it seemed more likely written by a lawyer or an HR manager. Of course there was no apology for his previous insensitive two-word rejection, rather it ended with, “I wish you the best.”

 

Ok, I really wish he would have sent that message instead of “I’ll pass.”

The good news in all of this is that I’m finally becoming more comfortable with myself and am better at creating and respecting boundaries. As I’ve been more honest about my past experiences, I’m optimistic and hopeful for future personal growth and am grateful to have a new counselor who I trust to work with when I’m ready.

If you never watching HBO’s “In Treatment”, I’d highly recommend it. The episodes with Paul and his mentor Gina in seasons 1 and 2 and psychiatrist Adele in season 3 are great examinations of the importance of boundaries.

Related Articles:

“In Treatment”: Therapeutic Boundaries & Ethical Issues in the 2nd HBO TV Series

In Treatment depicts a realistic end of a patient-therapist relationship

In Treatment: Gina

In Treatment recap: Adele proves her skill

To Cross Or Not To Cross: Do Boundaries In Therapy Protect Or Harm?

Is a therapist allowed to do that?



Thursday, May 20, 2021

Twins Run 50K Challenge Recap

Twins Run 50K Challenge Recap

5/20/2021

I'm unofficially an ultramarathoner! I finished my 50K challenge on my 50th birthday on May 18.

A HUGE shout-out goes to Sean, an extremely talented ultramarathoner who's training for a 200 mile race and slogged with me for many of the first 26.2 miles. Thank you Sean for the great conversation and encouragement. And, for joining my sister for a walk while I had to take an emergency trip home to deal with some GI issues, but I'll get to that in a bit!

Even though I never knew Bruce Barnes, ​Sean is the perfect example of someone like him. Sean is both an amazing athlete and a super nice guy who gives back to the sport by volunteering for races and training programs . . . always there with a smile to support everyone else on the course. We're so lucky to have Sean in the Charlottesville running community. You're an inspiration and role model. Thank you!



So how did it go? I couldn't sleep well because for two full days beforehand I had severe burning gut pain and GI issues (I'm 50, time to schedule the colonoscopy!). My twin sister and I grabbed the cooler and supplies and started walking the 1.28 miles to Darden Towe Park at 4:28 a.m.

On Monday, I chalked my sidewalk and part of the trail with inspirational messages a couple friends sent me (thanks Ryan and Kayla!) as well as a few others that motivate me. It was great to see those as I headed out the door!













I told Sean I might be cursing him later because I knew I ran those first 6 miles too "fast." Then around 10K I realized I was having the need to find a bathroom, but the portapotty was gone and the bathroom doors were locked. Sidenote: one of the reasons I chose to run on the Darden Towe side of the Rivanna rather than Riverview Park was because of real bathrooms, however I forgot they wouldn't be accessible until the park was officially open. Whoops! I debated what to do, but talked it over with Sean and decided to run home since it was only about a mile away.

I'll spare you the details, but suffice to say I didn't make it back to my own toilet and had to find a tree to hide behind to take care of some emergency business in a plastic bag that I fortunately had with me. My predicament reminded me of my dad's "glad I had that jar of peanuts" traffic jam story that always has me on the floor laughing when he tells it. This was a "race" so I never stopped my watch and lost about 12 minutes changing clothes and trying to pull myself together before I got back out on the road again. 


I have a smile on my face around mile 12 when I had fresh clothes and shoes after a pit stop at home.

Around mile 20 I took another walking break to change clothes and use the bathroom. It was at that point that I was trying to do the math to figure out if I would be able to finish the marathon portion of the challenge under the finish time of my 1st marathon (5:17:03). My Garmin was starting to show the low battery warning so I new I was going to have to stop it and switch to Strava for the rest of my challenge anyway. After talking it over with Sean I realized if I kept at the current slog pace under 12 minute miles I could definitely do it if I hustled a little and that's why mile 26 was the fastest mile since mile 6. I hit 26.2 at 5:16:26.

I thought Malinda would appreciate it if I stopped my Garmin at 5:18:00, but it actually added a second, doh! Of course now I think it would have been even cooler to have the full date, 5:18:21, as the first segment of my challenge, but oh well. :)

I took a few selfies with Sean and said goodbye and gave myself the greenlight to just walk the rest of the 50K because it was getting warm and I didn't feel like pushing it.

Luckily Fran finished his grading and was able to drop off a Starbucks Venti Caffe Misto with whole milk, 6 packets of Splenda, 6 pumps of Which Chocolate Mocha Sauce and 4 shots of espresso. This is my go-to free 50 stars reward drink. Normally, I only get 4 pumps of sauce to save on calories, but I was starting to get HANGRY!

As I walked my last 5 miles I mobile ordered a lot of Thai food and started to catch Pokemon. My sister was in therapy and my husband was grabbing the food, so I finished my 50K with 5.18 miles on Strava all alone in front of my house. I looked again at the messages I wrote on the stairs:

OUR DOUBTS ARE TRAITORS
BE KIND
YOU MATTER

The past year has been quite a journey and I am so grateful that I was able to spend my 50th birthday walking with my best friend (my twin!), running with a great guy (Sean!), raising almost $2K for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, and receiving so many awesome Flat Twin photos from friends and family across the country.

Thank you to everyone who helped celebrate this milestone birthday. You have no idea how much your support means to my sister and me. It gives us such joy and comfort to know people care.

It's not too late to share a photopositive message, or donation. We like to think of it as our "Birthday Month"!