April 29, 2013

Get There and Share 413 Half Marathon, April 13, 2013

Oh right, there was a half marathon recap in there that I completely skipped. After Boston, I wasn't feeling as much like funny blogging, which is why you've seen a lot of serious posts lately, but I think I'm ready to finally get back to talking about peeing my pants (or just doing it) regularly again. I'm sure you missed that a ton. 

As for this race (I call it the Jesus Half for short), I was planning to attempt a personal record that day. My coach set my pace for the race at 7:38. My last PR for a half was back at this race in October of last year, so this would be my first attempt to set a PR again and only my second half (on roads) since then. 

Because it was my birthday weekend, I did the most logical thing you could do the night before attempting to PR -- stay out until 2 a.m. at a concert the night before, fall asleep before setting your alarm clock, wake up as your ride is ringing the doorbell, get ready in five minutes (three of which are a date with the toilet), and follow zero of your pre-race rituals (eating, drinking, twisting up hair into double buns, watching Kid President's pep talk -- wait, maybe I did that one). If I didn't feel unsure about the PR before that morning, I did now. And to clarify, I did feel unsure before that morning because I had been in major slacker mode, not really pushing myself very hard during runs or really accurately tracking training. 

But was I still going to go for it? Sure was. Because it was my birthday, and you win on you birthday no matter how sleepy you are. I nursed twins (which involves sleeping about ten seconds per day), for crap's sake, so my groggy brain told me that I could handle a PR on four hours of sleep. 

Getting there: Because this is a small local race in its first year in Homewood, AL, there were zero traffic problems and plenty of parking. We ended up parking at the Resolute Running Center, where Coach Alex was giving all of his runners the VIP pre-race treatment -- warm hangout spot and a not funky toilet (aerosol spray included). Sold!

Pre-race: Once we got to the race start, there were more indoor bathrooms at a building near the starting arch. Just before our 7 a.m. start, we all huddled next to the arch and waited for the gun to fire. They played a recording of the anthem, which was really confusing and I kept looking around to identify an invisible-to-me singer -- remember, I hadn't slept much. Then they prayed (more common in the South, but definitely a must at the Jesus Half), and we were off. 

Lara, Lisa, Diane -- the three running gym amigos. 

Weather: The high for the day was 76, low of 45. Because we were starting early, we got the better side of the day's weather. I was chilly without my jacket at the start, but I warmed up super quickly on the course. 

The course: Because I train on these streets a freakin' lot, I didn't want to look up the course before the race. I wanted it to be a surprise. Although when I got there, I immediately started asking people about it. All signs pointed to a normal start and middle with a hilly finish, which helped me decide to take it hard out of the gate and see what happens. 

Turns out that hills also happen in the start. 


But if someone tells you they're flat, they feel flatter somehow. 

Interestingly, the middle flat section of the course felt the most boring and hardest to stay motivated to run my speediest. But see that little spike at mile 10? That's the dude that deflated my running heart. After that hill, my energy and breathing never fully recovered.  

The police and other runners were our main spectators. There were a handful of families out cheering on their loved ones too, but overall, this was a sparsely spectated race. It's new, so hopefully the community will get more behind it with time. 

My race: Well, other than the waking up late and not sleeping, it was my lucky day because my coach ran this race with me. Would I have PRed without him? Maybe, maybe not. But I dang sure wasn't going to waste the opportunity to PR with my coach. So it was extra motivation to get serious at the start line. 

As you can see in my splits, I started off too fast, but the first two miles were also downhill. Just taking advantage of the natural decline. 


The coolest thing about having Coach A there was that he was constantly updating me on my surroundings. Who is running where, what turns are coming up, how our pace is looking. Basically, I didn't have to think about anything during that race except just staying with him. It was really refreshing, and I highly recommend it if you have a huge goal coming up. 

Also, when I was in the hurt locker on the last 3-4 miles, he really kept me going. He maybe could clarify these statements (things get foggy with race brain), but I'm pretty sure he mentioned something about how this was easy compared to having four babies. 

Coach Alex and me

Just before mile 10, I made the crucial mistake of saying that I felt really great. That was before that brutal hill that seemed to come out of nowhere. You turn a corner, and there it is -- it's steepness making you feel small and insignificant. That took some of the gusty wind out of my running sails. 

For eating, I took a gel at around miles 5 and 10. Because I was only hydrating with water from the aid stations, I felt like I needed to take in a few more calories during the race through gels. 

After the few miles of hill brutality at the end, the speedy downhill finish was like heaven (you know, because it was the Jesus Half). I would have loved to be able to run it in just under 1:40, but my legs just didn't have it that day. My official finish time was 1:40:12, 7:39 pace, and I was third overall lady. I actually crossed the finish line in second place, but later I learned that a late starter (my speedy friend, Kelly) had a chip time that put her in second place. Dang, I wish I would have known so I could have pushed for those 45 extra seconds. Not likely, but it would have been worth a shot. 

Wonky foot and determined face

For those of you who may not know, the first time I met Alex was at the Nashville full marathon last year. He was part of Team Random Stranger, which is the name I made up for a "team" that forms any time you help a random stranger during a race. Turns out that this random stranger was actually from my hometown, and I was really surprised when I figured that out a few months down the line. I can honestly say from that the first moment I met him, he has inspired me to run harder and happier. Thanks, Coach Alex!

Post-race hydration

After the race: So this was one of the most fun post-races I can remember. The setting and snacks were all nice, but the real treat was being able to run it in with my gym buddies. We have trained together for so long that I forget what it was like to train without them. Oh wait, no I didn't -- it was freaking boring as dirt to run on a treadmill without them. Moms do what they have to do to get training in, and the treadmill is a necessary part of the running package for me.

Our dream was for all of the gym mommas to get to the finish line together, and we made it happen.

Lisa, Greg (Diane's husband who biked with her -- love it), Diane, Lara

I have to throw in this picture of Diane because it's the face we see every day while running on our side-by-side treadmills. We're rarely not laughing. 


Mission accomplished at the finish!


Diane's husband also brought his own personal cooler full of what we needed for a real after party. That's right -- you guessed it. Coconut water! Bring it. 

Thanks, Greg!

I was also super proud of my friend Annie, who now also works with me at Life Time Fitness. She ran a 1:43 and some change, making it a huge PR day for her too!


Also shout out to Tanya, who blogs at All in Stride and who was a pacer for the race. Check out her blog to read about what it's like to be a pacer


Swag: They only offered the giant unisex shirts. So I got one for my husband. As I was taking this picture, my 50mm lens literally split apart and fell onto this shirt, so you get no picture of the back. But it has no advertising and instead has a Bible verse (Phillipians 4:13, of course). Rarely do I get a shirt without a million ads on the back. 


Here are the medals for the half marathon finishers. 


We also got a coupon for a free 6-oz. froyo at Yogurt Mountain. Possibly one of the best ever swag coupons I've received from a race. 

The only weird thing about the awards for this race was that they only had first overall winners, instead of first, second, and third, but then they went three deep in each age group. So even though I was third overall, my place is second in my age group because the second-overall girl was also in my age group. Just a little different from most races. Have any of your half marathons followed that pattern with awards? 

Also, there was an issue with shipping the awards, so they only had the awards for first-place finishers and told the rest of us that they would ship ours. I still haven't received it, but I'm really not worried about it. 

Overall: For $50 (I registered with a coupon at the Mercedes expo), it was a decent race. The police did a fantastic job with traffic, and the course offered some challenging spots. Especially near the finish. Most of the spectators seemed like they were cheering on a loved one. It would be awesome if they could figure out a way to encourage people to come out of their homes and cheer. We completely run through neighborhoods for the last few miles, and only an occasional person was out to spectate. I would also love to have women's shirts (of course) next year. Choose this race if you like small races with a homey feel or if you like getting a race shirt with a scripture on the back instead of ads. 

April 25, 2013

Boston love

I can't stop staring at this picture.

From Boston magazine

Every pair of shoes in this picture was worn by someone at this year's Boston Marathon. The shoes tell the story of the people who have Boston in their heart, now more than ever. You can read here about how they gathered the shoes for this cover.

If you are still looking for a way to help, here are just a handful of the many ways:

The One Fund -- Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino have announced the formation of The One Fund Boston, Inc. to help the people most affected by the tragic events that occurred in Boston on April 15, 2013.

Run For Boston 5K (real and virtual) -- It is our goal that 100% of race entry fees will benefit the Who Says I Can’t Foundation and directly support the rehabilitation of those who lost limbs as a result of the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon.

Boston stands as one -- Purchase a "boston stands as one" t-shirt through Adidas. All proceeds go to The One Fund listed above.

Keep running, Boston -- Another shirt option for purchase. Again, 100% of proceeds are donated to The One Fund. 

Edit: And thanks to Jac from Challenged and Running in the Bike Lane for the tip that you can contact Boston magazine at bmagdigital@gmail.com if you would like to order a poster of the above image. 

April 23, 2013

Introducing Free Sole Activewear and a Handful giveaway!

Remember when I revealed to the e-world that I often get mistaken for a twelve-year-old boy based on my profile in a smashy sports bra, or maybe in any bra? Well, today I second that revelation. In the past year, since that not-shocking-to-anyone-who-has-seen-me-in-a-tank-top revelation came out, pretty much zero has changed. In fact, I was insulted just today by a tank top that I purchased online that fit everywhere but in the chest region, where it bagged out like a parachute floating someone gently back to solid ground. To be fair, I would like to see the model for whom this tank was fitted because it seemed like it wouldn't work for anyone without surgical enhancement. Or just more bra-filling genetics. Neither of which I have.

To think that a year ago I was just discovering padded sports bras is like thinking back to the moment I first loved running. It wasn't so long ago that the memories have faded into cloudy brain soup, but at the same time, I don't really want to remember living without it. The now makes me happy.

In case you're not familiar with Handful, check out this video. I especially like the part where they pull a water bottle out of the bra pocket. I feel like I might try that one day.


So I'm bringing all of this to the forefront today because I recently found a site that is getting its start by selling running products that I happen to also love. The site is called Free Sole Activewear. I first took notice of this site because they sell Oiselle running duds, which I obviously adore, and they had some sale items that I was interested in checking out. They also sell Handful bras, which I love to wear every day with our without an impending workout.

Not surprisingly, the founder of Free Sole Activewear, Danielle, is also a runner. Her goal with Free Sole Activewear was to create an e-hub of her favorite runner gear so that she could share what works with fellow runners. On top of that, she wants to provide quality products that won't totally bust your budget. 

Free Sole Activewear

So to help her celebrate the entrance of Free Sole Activewear into the runner marketplace, she is letting me host a giveaway of an adjustable Handful bra (color and size of your choice) from her site. When I was originally reviewing Handful, I remember reading that the straps were too tight for some people, and they wished that Handful made adjustable straps. So guess what Handful did. They made a new bra with adjustable straps. You ask, they listen -- another reason I love their company. Plus I am totally into the fact that their company is created and led by women. You can see them dancing and kicking general butt in this video. 


Here is the original bra vs. the adjustable one. The straps on the original bra worked fine for me, but it's always nice to have that option in case you are built slightly different from the mold they use. 



And check those pockets for the bra pads on either side. That's a perfect spot for people, like me, who can't break the habit of storing things in their sports bra. Long runs require stuff (like eating stuff, drinking stuff, emergency communication stuff), and my sports bra is the most convenient place to load and unload said stuff. 

Here's proof I like to put a truckload of stuff in my sports bra. 

Remember this? Was that a small child in there?

Here is my review of the original Handful bra in case you wanted to read a lot of awkward comments about my baby feeders. 

Moving (quickly) on. Let's get this giveaway started!

To enter: Leave a comment here or on Facebook telling me that you want to win. And, dudes, you can totally enter for your wives. Or for your cross-dressing. Whatev. 

For bonus entries: These are completely optional! But if you do them, make sure to leave a separate comment for each so I can count them all.

* Like Free Sole Activewear on Facebook. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Like (or already like) Yo Momma Runs on Facebook. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Follow Free Sole Activewear on Twitter. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Follow (or already follow) Yo Momma Runs on Twitter. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Share this giveaway via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or your blog. Leave a separate comment for each share!

Enter up until Wednesday, May 1st, at midnight. I'll pick a lucky winner after that using random.org! Because lately I've gotten some feedback that people's comments aren't going through on the site, feel free to enter on my Facebook page. Good luck to all of you, and thank you again to Free Sole Activewear for sponsoring this giveaway!

April 22, 2013

Rise each time you fall

After the emotional roller coaster with Boston this week, I was looking forward to my long run this weekend (an 18-miler that came closer to 19 without me even noticing because of the great company), spending time with my family and just letting go of my supercharged emotions in general. 

Then at church today, one of the speakers shared the below poem, which, of course, resonated with the runner me. I've heard this one before, but it's been a while. And it sparked a memory from the Team 413 race, that I had almost forgotten about. 

As the last finishers were headed towards the blow-up finish arch, the race director called those of us still there to come over to the finish line and cheer them on. As we did, a couple (I assumed they were husband and wife) were walking into the finish. When she got a little closer, I realized that as we all lined up and cheered, she was crying. I'm not sure if she was in pain, happy to be finished, or grateful for our support, but either way, she was overwhelmed with emotion. And it set off my cry-ometer, which is easy to set off these days. I didn't even know her, but I felt so happy for her that whatever obstacle brought on that emotion for her was getting pushed aside at this finish line. She had done it! And as one of the last finishers, she got more cheers than anyone else I had seen finish that day.

And just when you thought you couldn't find everything on the internet, I found this picture of them finishing with me and my happy cry face in the background. 

Source

So here's a tribute to this random lady above who inspired me at the Team 413 finish line and all of us who finish behind sometimes. 

The Race, by D. H. Groberg

"Quit! Give up! You're beaten!" They shout at me and plead,
"There's just too much against you now. This time you can't succeed!"
And as I start to hang my head in front of failure's face,
my downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
And hope refills my weakened will as I recall that scene.
For just the thought of that short race rejuvenates my being.
A children's race - young boys, young men - how I remember well.
Excitement, sure! But also fear; it wasn't hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope; each thought to win the race.
Or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.
And fathers watched from off the side, each cheering for his son.
And each boy hoped to show his dad that he would be the one.
The whistle blew and off they went! Young hearts and hope afire.
To win and be the hero there was each young boy's desire.
And one boy in particular whose dad was in the crowd,
was running near the lead and thought, "My dad will be so proud!"
But as they speeded down the field across a shallow dip,
the little boy who thought to win lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself his hands flew out to brace,
and mid the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face.
So down he fell, and within him hope; he couldn't win it now.
Embarrassed, sad, he only wished to disappear somehow.
But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face.
Which to the boy so clearly said: "Get up and win the race!"
He quickly rose, no damage done; behind a bit, that's all
and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
his mind went faster than his legs; he slipped and fell again!
He wished then he had quit before with only one disgrace.
"I'm hopeless as a runner now; I shouldn't try to race."
But in the laughing crowd he searched and found his father's face.
That steady look which said again: "Get up and win the race!"
So up he jumped to try again, ten yards behind the last.
"If I'm to gain those yards," he thought, "I've got to move real fast!"
Exerting everything he had he gained eight or ten,
but trying so hard to catch the lead he slipped and fell again!
Defeat! He lay there silently, a tear dropped from his eye.
"There's no sense running anymore; three strikes: I'm out! Why try?"
The will to rise had disappeared, all hope had fled away;
so far behind, so error prone; a loser all the way.
"I've lost, so what's the use," he thought. "I'll live with my disgrace."
But then he thought about his dad who soon he'd have to face.
"Get up," an echo sounded low, "Get up and take your place.
You were not meant for failure here. Get up and win the race.
With borrowed will, get up," it said, "you haven't lost at all.
For winning is no more than this: To rise each time you fall."
So up he rose to run once more, and with a new commit
he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn't quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he'd ever been,
still he gave it all he had and ran so as to win.
Three times he'd fallen, stumbling; three times he rose again;
to far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.
They cheered the winning runner as he crossed the line first place.
Head high, and proud and happy; no falling, no disgrace.
But when the fallen youngster crossed the line in last place,
the crowd gave him the greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud.
You would have thought he'd won the race to listen to that crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said, "I didn't do so well."
"To me, you won," his father said. "You rose each time you fell."
And now when things seem dark and hard and difficult to face,
the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
"Quit! Give up! You're beaten!" They still shout in my face.
But another voice within me says: "GET UP AND WIN THE RACE!"


We win when we don't give up. 

There is one thing I don't like about this poem though -- it leaves out the girl racers. Maybe the setting is the pre-Katherine-Switzer era. 

Now on to the most important question of the day. How long does a Slinky last at your house? We made it almost 24 hours before this happened. And even though this was the handiwork of the twins, I have to admit that I am sometimes tempted to take a new slinky  and spasmodically stretch it all out of shape. It's the same urge that I fight every time I'm standing on the edge of a cruise ship and want to throw random objects over the railing into the rolling ocean below. For no reason whatsoever, other than that you are not supposed to. 


Have you ever been overwhelmed by emotion at a finish line? I definitely was after BQing at Mercedes. I made it through the finish arch without tears, but then I cried sporadically the rest of the day. 

When was the last time you were glad you didn't quit something? I get overwhelmed with parenting many days (or several times an hour), but I'm definitely glad I haven't quit. 

And really, how long would a Slinky last at your house?

April 19, 2013

Clean eating avocado brownies

Yesterday I pounded out some angry speedwork on the treadmill as the giant TV in front of me played CNN's constant coverage of the Boston bombers dropping off their bags of explosives. CNN played it again, again, again, again, and again, in a pretty constant loop. I started the run with the idea that it would help decompress, get away from the news, and focus just on my breath and nothing else, but I wasn't counting on that news coverage being unavoidably in my line of vision. It turned all of my steps into hard angry strikes aimed at these horrible men who every few minutes planted a bomb right in front of me.

From today's news coverage, I learned that this man actually lived the scenario that the news looped for me yesterday. Unimaginable to wake up from losing both legs with that memory etched in your mind.

And as time in the manhunt drags slowly for all of us from a distance, I can't even begin to comprehend how it must feel for the families locked in their homes, waiting. My prayers are constantly for them.

If you're looking for some ways to help, Skinny Runner compiled a list that you can check out.

______________

The angry run worked up a huge appetite for me. I made homemade spaghetti sauce so that we could eat one that didn't have added sugar. And by the way, why do all jarred spaghetti sauces add sugar? My sauce turned out equally tasty (or better) without sugar. Does anyone know why all store spaghetti sauces add sugar? Or do you know of any that don't (and don't cost a million dollars)?

The biggest treat of the night were these homemade clean eating avocado brownies.


This recipe was passed from friend to friend (thanks, Ekke!), so I'm sure that it's somewhere else on the internet that I should be crediting. But I don't know where, and I have to share it with you before I forget because they are really fantastic. The texture, which a lot of my clean eating recipes don't get quite right, is almost identical to regular brownies.


Personally, I like the taste of these even better than regular brownies, but I'll throw out the disclaimer that my taste buds might be morphing. I ate fries the other night and thought they were kind of gross. That has almost never happened in my life. Back to the brownies, they are definitely not as sweet, but they have a strong chocolate flavor. The avocado and eggs make them a pretty filling snack too. I'd love to throw some extras in there like maca powder and flax seed to up the healthy ante of these. 

Here's the recipe for you to try:

Clean Eating Avocado Brownies

3 small, ripe avocados
4 oz. of unsweetened chocolate, melted in 1 T coconut oil
1/2 cup of honey
3 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T vanilla
1 T rice flower (or coconut flower)
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Puree avocado in food processor until there are no lumps.

Beat all remaining ingredients together with avocado using an electric mixer, until smooth and fluffy. 

Pour into 8x8 greased dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. 

I think it would taste great with a nutty flavor added, maybe using flax seed or some other chopped nuts. I also considered adding a banana to make it sweeter. I'm not sure how that would affect the texture, but I'd like to experiment with it. This recipe seems like it would be a great base for a lot of experimental add-ins. 

And if you are drinking milk with your brownies these days, here's a question for you. Have you noticed a trend of pricing whole milk lower than 1% or skim milk?



Most places I purchase milk are the reverse of this. Whole milk is the most expensive and it gets cheaper on down to skim. But I like to buy whole milk for my kids and for making our milk kefir, so I'm hoping for this let's-make-whole-milk-cheaper-than-skim trend to catch on. 

Is whole milk or skim milk cheaper where you shop? 

Do you have a favorite healthy(ish) dessert?

What was on your mind during your most recent run? I can't get the victims in Boston out of my mind, and I'm not sure when that will change. I'm hoping that tomorrow's 18 miler with friends will be a good distraction. 

April 16, 2013

Why I'll be at the Boston Marathon in 2014

Anyone reading this blog paused when they heard the news about yesterday’s Boston Marathon explosions. I spent all afternoon searching for the people from my town to make sure they were OK. Not that my Facebook and Google searches would have made a difference at that point, but it was the only way I knew to cope with the news. I was so thankful for all of the friends and family who reached out to me to verify that I was/wasn’t there and expressed their concern and love.

One of the hardest parts of any tragedy for me is attempting to comprehend why anyone would be so evil. Why runners? We threaten no one. Most of us (or maybe just me) barely have enough upper body strength to win an arm wrestle with a toddler. The only answer that makes any sense at all is that some people are totally insane. I have never completely understood the insanity defense in any murder trial. If you murder someone on purpose, you are obviously insane, and if you murder more than one someone randomly but also on purpose, you are that much more insane.

So what do we do? How do we fight the insanity? Do we stop running? Do we hide? Do we remove ourselves from society? I talked to my older kids about the explosions yesterday, and they could see that I was visibly upset (crying) about it. I wasn’t sure whether or not to talk to the kids about it, but I knew because of my plans to run Boston in 2014 (and the random crying spells) that the subject would come up again and again that day and over the next year. After I told them the news, they asked one main question – the same one that I asked, why would someone do that? While there aren’t any answers to that question yet, I’ve come up with one piece of advice for my kids.

People do bad things that make us feel powerless, and the only way to get that power back from the bad people of the world is to put out an equal or greater amount of kindness, generosity, understanding, and love. My hope for them and for myself is that we can do so many small (or large) kind acts that we cancel out the evil acts that people spew onto the world.

Then I read this Mr. Rogers quote that one of my friends shared. 


I cried (again) when I read this and wished that I had shared it with my kids yesterday. Difficult circumstances aren't always caused by evil people. Natural disasters and accidents happen every day too, but each time we're faced with a trial, we have the ability to reach out and give what we know how to give.

The first thing that popped into my mind when I read "look for the helpers" was a picture that I saw yesterday of police officers jumping into action right after the first bomb went off. 

Source

Then I found this article that about the man who is on the ground in the above picture. After the blast going off five feet from him and knocking him to the ground, he got up and finished the race.

One of the first things I instinctively decided yesterday is that I could never take my family with me when I go to Boston, but after mulling it over a night, I'm not sure. I never questioned whether or not I would go and run, just that I didn't want to risk harming my family in pursuit of my dream.

Part of my natural instinct is to recoil when something bad happens and shield myself that way, but there is another instinct at work too -- the instinct to fight back. After talking to my husband, who pretty much told me that there was no way I was going to Boston without them, I changed my original stance. Maybe part of how we overcome evil in the world is by showing that we won't be forced into a corner of fear. We will get out and fight the good fight, even when we are scared. Plus, I am confident that next year will be a safer race because of this tragedy. Boston will increase all safety measures, no doubt about that.

So I think I'm going to take my cues from the guy who got knocked down by the blast and popped back up to finish the race. The bombings yesterday are obviously devastating to Boston and the running community as a whole, but one of my hopes is that we can shake off the fear and hurt and continue pursuing our dreams. If there's a spot open for me, I'm planning to run Boston in 2014, and my family is planning to be there to watch me cross the finish of my dream because they believe in me and love me.

But my other dream that is much bigger than Boston is that if we put all of our love and kindness and hope together we can stamp out fear and hate. After days like yesterday, that dream feels so far out of reach, but I know for sure that the only way for us to find happiness is to keep pushing along that path.