4 Years.


My daughter, Natalie, turned 4 yesterday.


Like millions of other parents, I have thought numerous times over the past few days “Where did the time go?” Yes, it’s a cliche, but it’s true–the years have just whizzed by.

For Natalie, her birthday is about presents and cake and fun–as it should be. But for me, her birthday is not only a joyful celebration of the day she came into my life and the amazing person she is becoming, but also marks the beginning of a 10 day period each year where I relive the darkest time of my life just after her birth when I didn’t know whether or not she was going to live.

This achy, anxious feeling will be familiar to people who have lost loved ones. It’s like a muscle memory; even when you haven’t looked at a calendar, you feel the anniversary coming and the sadness creeping up on you. No amount of Reiki has ever been able to remove this from my body. It gets a little better every year, but it’s always there. Unlike the past 4 years, those 10 days felt like an eternity.


Your daughter is jaundiced. Your daughter’s blood won’t clot. We’re sending your daughter to Brigham & Women’s because she might have a blood clotting disorder* and is very ill.

I’ve held my baby once. My husband follows the ambulance with Natalie in it into Boston. I’m checking myself out of the hospital two days after having a c-section to go in as well. My mother has to drive because I haven’t been cleared after surgery to drive yet.

I’m a germaphobe. Now I’m in a hospital 18 hours out of the day with my child, going home only to sleep for a couple hours and shower. Test after test after test on my daughter. My mother and my husband are the only people I talk to other than nurses and doctors. The three of us are together non-stop day in, day out.

I go home every night without my baby and go into her nursery and wonder if she will ever see it.

She’s in liver failure.

Hepatologists from Boston Children’s come across the bridge to Brigham & Women’s. She might have neonatal hemachromatosis.* Blood transfusions. Her liver can regenerate itself. We don’t want her to have a brain bleed. IVIG treatments.

Nothing works. She needs to be put on the transplant list.

My beautiful girl has wires all over her and is being poked and prodded constantly. The noises in the NICU never stop. Alarms always going off. They don’t have diapers that fit her because she is 9 lbs 3.5 oz and they have never had such a big baby in the NICU before.

I get to hold her once in Brigham & Women’s. Then it’s back to the isolette.

It’s getting worse.  Her liver numbers are not going in the right direction.

She has been alive 4 days. She’s being transferred to Boston Children’s. We walk across the bridge with her.

Somewhere in this timeline my milk comes in. I’m not allowed to breastfeed her. It’s  excrutiating, even moreso because I don’t have my baby with me. Instead, I go home at night and put cabbage leaves on my breasts to help with the pain.

We meet with the transplant team. Transplant coordinator. Surgeon. Financial counselor. Nurses. Pharmacist. Social worker. I cry because she won’t be able to swim in lakes, or eat sushi or unpasteurized cheese, not fully grasping the magnitude of what is going on or believing it’s really happening.

She’s put on the transplant list.

I’ve never been religious. Now I make deals with God and the universe to let her live. I make deals with myself. We go to the chapel in the hospital. We go to church. There are people as far away as Vietnam praying for her.

My husband gets tested to be a living donor. He’s a match. He has to confirm that he hasn’t been coerced into giving part of his liver to his daughter as part of his evaluation.

A central line is put in my baby’s tiny neck so they can take blood.

She’s 7 days old. They schedule her surgery for day 12. My husband will give her part of his liver. If she doesn’t have a brain bleed before then.

Day 8. I get to change her diaper for the first time. I wonder if I will ever get to do it again. I long to change diapers.

Day 9. We get to hold her most of the day. It’s Father’s Day but I won’t relinquish her the majority of the time to my husband. I read her Charlotte’s Web. My friend visits and gives us a Mary figurine. We go home and pray.

Day 10. My mother sits with Natalie while we meet with the pharmacist to go over the drug regime she will have to be on after her surgery. We come out and my mother tells me the surgeon was looking for us. The nurses are bustling.

There is a whole liver from a deceased donor. It’s coming tonight. She’s going into surgery.

We say goodbye to her. The anesthesiologist tells me: “She is my daughter tonight.”

We have dinner. We wait. The surgery starts at 11. My husband sleeps a few hours in one of the family rooms at Children’s. My mother and I are awake until 4 am on couches in the waiting room when the call comes.

It was a success.

It was a success.





We see her a few hours after the surgery is complete.

She is pink, not olive. I didn’t realize until now that she had fair skin. She is covered in wires and tubes and bandages. Her incision is still open because her body is too tiny for the liver still. They pump her with fluids to try to stretch out her skin. It takes two more surgeries before they can close it all the way.

And then…

She heals. She is healthy. She doesn’t reject her liver. She has very few complications. She meets or exceeds all her first year milestones. She walks, she talks (a lot). She argues. She plays with the cats. She goes to preschool. She takes dance classes. She is a rock star. She is the love of my life.

She is 4.


One of the deals I made with myself, God/the universe/whoever was listening to me was to give back to Boston Children’s Hospital in some way for the rest of my life if Natalie lived. I didn’t know at the time that that would involve running marathons and raising money for BCH with the Miles for Miracles Team. Please consider making a donation to support my fundraising as I prepare to run the NYC Marathon in November by clicking here: Donate to Boston Children’s Hospital in honor of Natalie!

*She did not, ultimately, have a blood clotting disorder or neonatal hemachromatosis. After numerous tests, the best answer we have gotten is that it was a genetic fluke.









Here Comes the Rain Again (Maybe)


Well, here I am again, one week away from the Boston Marathon. It seems like the past few months have just flown by. All the work has been done. Now I just need to manage to not get sick or injure myself doing something stupid like tripping over one of Natalie’s toys between now and April 15th.

With the one week mark comes frantic monitoring of the weather forecast and constant speculation about what it will be like on race day. People started texting me updates as early as two weeks ago, and I didn’t pay attention to them, knowing that the fickle New England weather can turn on a dime (it was predicting 65 and sunny). But one week out, even though you know it can change, you have to start getting ready for what might happen. And what they are saying might happen is rain.

I actually LIKE running in the rain. Not freezing cold torrential downpour rain like last year’s marathon, but a little drizzle with a temperature in the low 50s is actually pretty pleasant. Here is the deal, though. Part of why I wanted a “do-over” for the Boston Marathon was because I didn’t feel I did my personal best in 2018, but a bigger reason was that I didn’t feel like I had had the “true” Boston Marathon experience because the crowds weren’t out in full force all along the course due to the miserable conditions. It’s going to be such a bummer if that happens again. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed for my dream conditions of 45 and overcast, but I’m preparing for low 40s and storm clouds.

There is so much to think about this week on top of everyday life things.  Our scheduled runs are low mileage and easy and meant to keep our bodies loose for race day, so I need to get those all in. I had a chiropractor appointment today and I have PT tomorrow where they will basically massage the heck out of my calves with a Graston tool (a little torture device designed to get deep into your tissue) and laser my shins to help me continue to fend off the shin splints that had been bothering me so much a few weeks ago. I’m focusing on nutrition and eating clean and will start to carb load at the end of the week. I’m getting all my gear ready; I have outfits prepared for warm weather, cold weather, and rainy weather because, well…NEW ENGLAND. I decided to not wear my new blue Vaporfly 4%s because they don’t feel as good as my old orange ones did and will be wearing my new Brooks Adrenalines which have been like heaven to run in the last few weeks. I have stocked up on my race day nutrition and anti-chafe lotion, loaded playlists for during my run, tested out my old rain gear from last year, bought disposable ponchos online, etc. etc. etc. I’m ready to do this thing.

What I’m NOT ready for is the emotional letdown that comes after training ends. We had our last group run on Saturday and it was tough realizing I’m not going to get to see these amazing people every week anymore.

Last year I remember experiencing a real sense of loss a couple of days after the Marathon. Although I have 2 more marathons to look forward to (one 13 days after Boston), I know that when I wake up on April 16th, I’m going to feel a little bit empty because this little bubble we created for the 2019 Boston Marathon will be no more. Running has been my lifeline for the past few months and especially over the last three weeks during some extra tough times. My teammates, particularly my dear friend Rebecca, have carried me through some low spots physically and emotionally. I’m so grateful for these amazing people and what we have shared over the last few months.

There is a quote that my friend Carolyn sent to me before Boston last year: “I dare you to train for a marathon and not have it change your life.”* For me, these words could not resonate more right now. There is a quiet confidence that comes from knowing you pushed yourself beyond your limits and emerged on the other side in one piece. It is hard to explain the way it pours into the previously empty spaces and makes you realize you deserve more, you can do more, you can be more. And you can take on the rain, whether it’s just a little drizzle, or a full blown Nor’Easter.



Thanks to a generous and dear old friend, I have a donation coming in that will get me over my $15,000 goal for my Boston Children’s Hospital fundraising for the Boston Marathon. If you would still like to help a great charity, please consider making a donation to my fundraising for the London Marathon and the charity Sense here:  Sense Charity Donation or if you would like to stick with Boston Children’s, I would greatly appreciate a contribution toward my NYC marathon fundraising here: Boston Children’s Donation. Thank you so much! 

*Susan Sidoriak





Long Time No Blog

There is just over a month left until Boston and a month and a half until London, which seems insane to me. I can’t believe how fast the past few months have gone by. And how lax I have gotten about writing my blog! So let’s get caught up!

February was a busy month for fundraising! I had an awesome Paint Night Fundraiser where we brought in over $1300 for Boston Children’s Hospital. I also won a fundraising contest on Valentine’s Day (also raising about $1300…lucky number?) by getting the largest number of donors on my team. The prize was finish line passes on Marathon Monday, which is just amazing for my family! I’m so fortunate to have such supportive friends, family and coworkers who help me along this journey. The fundraising is far more stressful than the marathon training, to be honest, because if we don’t raise our minimum, we not only are letting the hospital down, but the difference comes out of our own pockets! I am sure people must get sick of my constant pleas for donations, but I promised myself when Natalie’s liver was failing that if she lived, I would do everything in my power to give back to Boston Children’s Hospital for the rest of my life. Raising money for research and programs that help kids and families at BCH is the best way I know how to do this.

FullSizeRender (25)

Training has intensified over the past few weeks with our mileage getting higher both for the “short” runs during the week and our “long” runs for Saturdays. On February 23rd, we had a 17 mile run with the Miles for Miracles Team which started in Newton on the Boston race course, headed toward Wellesley, then back into Newton, over Heartbreak Hill and into Boston, where we crossed over the Boston finish line. It’s a really great opportunity to see the last miles of the course in order to mentally prepare for race day, and the volunteer support is amazing. The best part is that Miles for Miracles arranges for us to be able to shower afterward at Boston Sports Club and has a nice gathering with all our teammates with food and drinks where we can relax and spend some non-running quality time together. It was a fun day.

For me, this run had particular significance. The night before the 17 mile run last year, my daughter was up vomiting all night and I got about 2 hours of sleep. My mother came to watch her while I ran but I came home directly after the run because I didn’t want to go to the after-run party when my little girl was home sick. But the biggest part of that day in 2018 was that it marked the last of my long runs before Boston because I injured myself and was unable to run again until about a week and a half before race day.  I had to train in the pool and on a bike and hope that come race day I would be able to make it.

This year I finished the 17 miler without injury. As we ran into Boston all my memories from race day, good and bad, came back. It was an amazing feeling knowing that my hard work this year (together with daily foam rolling, weekly chiropractor visits, downing Ibuprofen like it’s my job and sleeping with ice packs strapped to my shins and hips) paid off and I had made it this far injury-free and running stronger than ever before.

Of course, this being New England, the weather has made some of our runs more challenging. We were fortunate to avoid snow for most of our long runs, but our 18 mile group run was cancelled because of an impending storm and we had to sort out how to run it on our own. Our coaches said that we could break the run up into segments as long as they were completed within 24 hours. I opted to do 5 miles Friday evening on the indoor track at the YMCA, which has been a lifesaver for me since running on a treadmill is like torture for me, then do the remaining 13 Saturday morning. I managed to get in 8 miles outside in the snow before the roads became unsafe to run, and then I did the last 5 on the indoor track again. It was definitely a challenge breaking it up, and it felt really good to finish!

This weekend we have a 19 mile run, dial it back next week for 12, and finally our big 21 mile run where we begin at the starting line in Hopkinton and run to Boston College. That will be the highest mileage before 26.2 on race day, then it’s the taper (shorter runs so your body can rest and recover before the big day!) and race day April 15th.

I’ll be making the final push for my fundraising for Boston in the next month–I have a Red Sox tickets drawing today and a REALLY special online auction coming up next week that I am SUPER excited about, so stay tuned! As always, if you’d like to support my fundraising for Boston Children’s Hospital, you can donate any time in any amount, here: Donate to Boston Children’s

Thanks for reading!

I Haven’t Got Time for the Pain…

This week one of the quotes from my running journal caught my eye:

“There is no time to think about how much I hurt; there is only time to run.”

Timing-wise, it’s well-placed in my journal, because over the past couple of weeks my teammates and I have really started to feel the aches and pains that start to come with the increase in mileage in our training. Some have actual injuries that they are nursing (minor, thankfully, and they should be able to come back after a couple weeks of rest), but for most of us, the repetitive stress on our muscles and joints is just starting to, well–HURT–myself included. Oh, I’m not 80 years old? Well tell that to my hips, because they disagree.

In my last post I had talked about how I could really feel how my training properly this year and including regular stretching/foam rolling and cross-training with my running had been resulting in my running improving. And it still is. I had a killer tempo run a couple weeks ago at 8:30/mile which is INSANE for me (and doubtful that it will be repeated on race day, but it was nice to log such a fast 5K on my Garmin). But with last week’s 28 total miles for me, I can feel the strain the running is starting to put on my body. Some of this is to be expected–it is marathon training, after all. However, I know from my experience last year that a couple of the pains (shin splints, hips being too tight) are more serious injuries waiting to happen and are freaking me out a little, particularly since this week last year was the week I did the damage that I ignored which subsequently turned into an injury sidelining me for a month before the marathon.

Our 14-miler on Saturday was the first group run since we have started training this year that we were really slow (or, as my pal Rebecca put it, “extra caboose-y”). Our actual pace wasn’t too bad, but we were out there a longer time overall because we stopped a lot. Part of it was that I needed a bathroom break and my friends waited for me despite a very long line at the Newton Fire Station (thanks, ladies), part of it was taking time to chat with our teammates Mia and Regan from last year at the water stop they were running (you rock) and part of it was that we ran a portion of Heartbreak Hill and stopped for pictures along the way (it didn’t happen if there aren’t pictures).


But OOOOOF. After the run, I was dead. Back pain, hip pain, leg pain, headache…no bueno. When I got home, I took an epsom salt bath to try to fend off some of the pain I knew was coming, but it didn’t help very much. I iced my left hip that night which did the trick for that area. I had a massage on Sunday thanks to a gift card I gave to my husband in 2013 that he finally decided he was never going to use, and that provided some relief, even if I did feel like I was going to cry when the masseuse started working on my calves and quads. I was hoping that come Monday, I would feel rested and ready to get back at it. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I went to my 5 am class at the gym and I felt actual pain in my shins, not just muscle aches. So…what to do?

There are only 10 weeks left until the marathon and NO, I really DON’T have time to think about the pain. But I remember “toughing it out” last year when I started to feel this way and ending up in an MRI machine worried I had a stress fracture (I didn’t), and I don’t want that to happen again. It’s difficult once you get into the groove of your runs and cross-training to take yourself out of it, even if you know it’s ultimately in your best interest, but I had to put aside the guilt I felt for not running and listen to my body. So instead of my 3 “short” runs this week (5 miles, 4 miles hills, 4 miles tempo), I jogged in the pool, did extra foam-rolling and stretching, and took ibuprofen and turmeric to reduce inflammation. It’s Thursday and I THINK I feel better but I won’t know for sure if this all helped until our 16-mile run Saturday.

Come race day, I will have to ignore all the pain that goes along with running 26.2 miles and just RUN, but until then I will keep trying to do what I need to to make it to the starting line on April 15th for Boston, and again on April 28th for the London Marathon. Wish me luck.


I’m running the Boston Marathon in 2019 and raising money for Boston Children’s Hospital. If you’d like to support my fundraising efforts, please donate in any amount here: DONATE


And So it Begins…Again

When I crossed the finish line for the 2018 Boston Marathon, a few things were running through my head:

  1. Oh my God, I did it! I ran 26.2 miles in some of the worst weather in Boston Marathon history!
  2. I can’t feel my thighs!
  3. But I can feel everything else, and it all REALLY HURTS!
  4. I mean, really, how can everything both be numb and on fire at the same time?
  5. Yeah, I will never do this, EVER AGAIN! (And, if I’m being honest, there were some expletives included in this thought).


I got my medal, was wrapped up in a warming blanket, hobbled back to my hotel, met up with my family and friends, peeled off my soaking wet clothes and shoes that together literally weighed 8 lbs more than when I started, took a hot shower, got a burrito, then went home. And I figured that would be it. Back to 5Ks, 10Ks and the occasional half marathon for me. But no more marathons. No way, no how.

Yet I found myself over the next few days feeling empty, and without a goal. I had spent the last 4+ months training, fundraising over $13,000 for Boston Children’s Hospital, and bonding with an amazing group of people on the Miles for Miracles Team. What was I going to do now? I mean, yes, I run a successful business, am married and a mom to a toddler, have a generally busy life…it’s not like I didn’t ACTUALLY have anything to do. But running Boston had changed me. There was a hole left by not having something to train for. I happened to read something about the Abbott World Marathon Majors (run Boston, New York, Chicago, London, Berlin and Tokyo and get some crazy bling) and before I was a week post-marathon had decided with my friend and fellow runner Carolyn that we were going to pursue that as our next goal. So much for no more marathons!

abbott wmm medal

So, one down, 5 to go to get my medal for the Abbott WMMs…right? Sure, I could have taken my 5:53 finish at Boston and said “On to London!” But there was something nagging at me.

I had run Boston, and it was amazing and terrible all at once. But I HADN’T run it in less than 5 hours, which was my original goal. And I HADN’T had the same experience I would have had if the weather had not been freezing torrential rain–not just the physical aspect of it, but the emotional one. Throughout training we heard stories of the crowd support along the course, particularly at Heartbreak Hill. And although there were many incredible people, including some of my own friends and family, who came out to the course to cheer me and the other runners on and/or volunteer, the historic crowds were just not there by the time I passed by. So the combination of being a competitive person (I’m a slow runner and am never going to qualify for any marathon, but I’m competing with myself) and feeling like I missed out in some way on the “full” Boston experience drove me to go after it again.

I applied to and was lucky enough to be accepted back onto the Boston Children’s Hospital Miles for Miracles team for the second year in a row. (Running for a charity is the only way to get into the Boston Marathon for people like me who cannot qualify based on time–I would have to be able to run a marathon in 3hrs 40min 08sec or less to have been granted entry in 2019 and let’s face it–that is never gonna happen!). I could not imagine running for another charity for the Boston Marathon, since BCH has given SO much to our family, and since I had such an amazing experience training with all those dedicated runners last year.  (More on all of that in blogs to come).

I have a lot of work to do. I’m 40 pounds overweight and I have been running sporadically, at best, since April. I’ve barely worked out. My back is all jacked up and my feet have started hurting in weird places for no reason. But I’m determined to get in the best shape I can to prepare for what’s ahead of me. I’m working with a nutritionist and have my cross-training and running schedules all planned out. I see my chiropractor regularly. I’m GOING to do this.

Do I think I’m ever going to run a 7 minute mile? Nope. But I WILL run the best marathons I can in 2019 and beyond. Oh yes, you read that right–MARATHONS. Because I’m running London LESS THAN TWO WEEKS after Boston. Assuming those don’t kill me, I’m hoping to run at least NYC in Fall 2019 as well. We will see what comes after that.

First training run tomorrow. One mile at a time. One foot in front of the other. Let’s do this.

If you’d like to donate to my fundraising for Boston Children’s Hospital, please click here: Donate