Personal Bests

  • 04/07 Boston Marathon3:33:22
  • 10/08 Hartford Half Marathon 1:46:23
  • 09/06 New Haven Road Race 20K 1:36:47
  • 08/04 Deary 5-M Road Race - my 1st race ever 39:37
  • 11/06 VMG 5K 21:05
  • 07/06 Boombox Mile 6:12

Breaking The Tape

Upcoming Races 2010

Stay Tuned!

My Inspiration

My inspiration

One of the questions that I have been asked about running a marathon involves the source of  ‘mental toughness.’ Those who have never battled the 26.2 mile monster are often curious about where I draw my strength, what drives me forward when my brain, lungs and legs are arguing about quitting.

Most of the time, during the tough miles, I think about my mom. I reflect on how she had to dig deep, time and time again, to fight cancer. I think about how she faced cancer on and off for thirty years, and for eighteen of those of years, she did it sober. I think about how other body parts failed her – carpal tunnel in both wrists, a knee replaced, a spinal fusion. When I start whining about how my legs are sore, I just think about her ‘never-give-up’ spirit and I find the strength.

As far as I’m concerned, she didn’t ‘give up’ on July 20, 2010 when she took her last breath. She finally decided it was her time to rest. She fought hard with all that she had to give. She needed the break, she earned the reprieve.

We held a Celebration of Life for her five days later, and these are some of the words I shared about her:

She was a woman with many titles:

She was a loving wife of nearly 30 years, a mom to more kids than just me, a sister, an aunt, a compassionate nurse, and a loyal friend. She was also known as the cookie-lady, not only for her personal love of cookies, and not just because she was a ‘tough cookie’ but also because she spoiled her dogs with cookies and treats at every opportunity. Who else sneaks French fries and pizza crusts into their purse to give to their dogs later?

She has been described as sassy and spunky. Brave and courageous. An inspiration and role model. A true survivor. She was the woman with the pirate-mouth that always made me laugh whenever she cussed, even though I’d act horrified.

She was a girly-girl who liked the color pink, and liked to have her nails done; who had to have her hair just right and her makeup on before leaving the house…yet you could often find her out in the yard, up to her elbows in dirt, planting her gardens with sweat on her brow and a smile on her face. A no-nonsense, unpretentious woman.

She has given me so many gifts and taught me so many things about living a good life…for that I will always be grateful.

Because of her, I know that there’s no difference between Bee Bomb and Manarda even if I can’t quite remember the difference between an annual and a perennial despite the hundred of times she has explained it to me. I can identify different birds, and distinguish their gender; I can devour a good book in two days.

Because of her, David and I can both cook well enough that we will never starve.

I will never be able to see a shoe sale, and not think of our Imelda Marcos with her closet overflowing with size sixes in every color and shape.  The UConn Women’s basketball team will have one less voice cheering for them.

Because of her love, I have always found strength even when I didn’t think I had any left. And HER strength will continue to inspire me to DO more and BE more. She inspired me to live life fully and completely, to break THROUGH obstacles, rather than turning back and giving up; and to trust in my inner voice to lead me to the right decision, even when it’s against popular opinion.

If she could bear to go through all that she did, and still manage to smile, laugh and give to others, then I have no excuse to not be able to do the same.

Who is your inspiration? Where does your inner strength come from?

8 comments to My Inspiration

  • Very nice, Dianna. :) And its amazing how much you look like her (in case there was any worry about a mix-up at the hospital).

    My inspiration? Seriously, I think about you when I’m running. I think about your marathons. I think about that picture of you running with Jeff in Boston. I think of those pics of you and your support team at your first marathon.

    And then I always find myself running faster. :)

  • ah

    i’m with jon on this one. i have never coached, nor had the privilege to run with, anyone as tough and motivated as yourself. now we know where you get it from. when i climb a tough hill, i think about how proud you’d be of my ‘billy goating’ the climb. when i need to dig deep late in a race, i think back to how hard you pushed at the end of boston.

    flipper, you’re making your mom proud.

  • Joe

    So sorry to hear of your mother’s death, Di. I know what a long haul this has been for you… and you’ve been there for her all the way.

    My best to you as you now process life without her. She is your inspiration…there is much to learn.

    Thanks for the post…I miss hearing how you are.

  • Melissa

    This is really beautiful Dianna. The picture of your mom is so lovely. I am glad that I got the chance to meet her.

    Lately I have been telling myself to suck it up, because if that run is the hardest thing I have to do all day, then I am truly blessed.

  • I love the photo of Mom. I could swear she was in one of my classes once.
    I wish I had been there to hear you deliver that perfect memorial. Good stuff. Very.
    As for inspiration, it’s changed over time but it’s from somewhere within. We all have our own dials to turn. Yours seem to go up on their own as soon as you wake up. Just be sure to listen to the birds and tune in to everything else you sense. It’s the world we enjoy for as long as we can.

  • This is a beautiful tribute. You are truly blessed to carry on her courageous spirit. I’m sure she’s proud of you.

  • jd

    Sorry to hear about your mother…I just lost my father last week to lung disease. Although it was somewhat expected and he was battling for some time, it was so “unexpected” and tough. HE is my inspiration and will be my guide as I run. SO glad to see you back on-line and to see you more often.

  • That is a fantastic picture. I think inspiration is a funny thing. It comes from everywhere–that pair of pants you just have to fit into, or your kids who don’t understand why their mom is fat and they are not, or a relative who couldn’t run so you run for them…well…those are a few of my inspirations.

    Thanks for inspiring all of us to keep going!!!

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