Don’t Take it Personally

Most of you know I have been training for the NYC Marathon for a few years now.  I’ve had ankle tendon surgery and two stress fractures as a result and haven’t toed the line yet.  This week, I received my acceptance to run the 2018 New York City Marathon.  I’ve been resting, cross training and working on my strength as I recover from the femoral stress fracture that resulted from last year’s attempt.  Suddenly, March has arrived and it’s time for me to begin running again.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about it, especially since I’m carrying an extra twenty or so pounds right now.  But, March is the target month to begin running as I’m healed.  Currently, I am 43 days into an 80 day strength training program and feeling stronger each day.  Tomorrow morning it’s me and the road, or treadmill, depending on the weather.

My nutrition needs to change when I am running and in training.  I’m not quite as free with my choices and very focused on using food to fuel me, rather than soothe me.  This requires both soul searching and action.  The switch also requires mental focus and tenacity, especially on days when I just want to eat and drink a glass of wine.  I am aware of what is making me stress eat and know what I need to do about it.  Taking a page out of my favorite reread – The Four Agreements, I’m plan to take control of my thoughts and get back to focusing on me.

I have written about the Four Agreements several times already, but here is my original post, from 2016, that describes what the agreements are  –  Life Change .

Specifically, at this point in time, I need to work harder on these two agreements:

  1. Don’t take anything personally; and
  2. Don’t make assumptions

Both of these are very hard considering my career is one in which everyone feels they have the right to make judgements about me.  Every decision I make, every word I say is looked at and scrutinized.  But, at the end of the day, my decisions are connected to me and other’s are connected to them.  My decisions are not personal, they are always made in the best interest of those I represent – children, parents and teachers.  I need to continue to remind myself that responses to these decisions, should also not be taken personally.  These are two agreements I work hard on each and every day, as I’m sure many people do.

As I enter this training cycle anew, I will once again reflect on the strong connections between the principles of exercise and education.  I’m looking forward to many long runs, which I find challenging, but therapeutic.  Today is my last supper in some ways, as it’s the last one outside the training window.  I have prepared three meals today that will get us through the week, but I will be focusing on a more balanced approach to eating.  My food choices have to be more about fueling and rebuilding this tired, yet capable body.

As I did my menu planning for the week, I was conscious of the days I will be running and what I plan to eat.  Tonight’s dinner for my husband and I will be Sunday Sauce, with homemade pasta, but I also prepared a healthy chicken dish that we will pick on during the week.  As I searched for some new recipes and inspiration, I came across the site –  There was a treasure trove of easy, quick and healthy meals for the week on the site, many Whole30 and Paleo friendly.  The chicken dish I cooked today comes from her collection, with some minor tweaks.

One Pan Roasted Chicken with  Sausage & Potatoes


  • 2 chicken breasts, bone in
  • 1 pound small red potatoes halved 
  • 6 sweet Italian sausage links
  • 1 in large red onion cut large chunks
  • 1 bag baby carrots


  • 1 large lemon – juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves large garlic – chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tsp red pepper chili flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Pour a glass of Chardonnay and turn on Alexa for dancing in the kitchen.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Combine all marinade ingredients, stir and set aside.6672281C-F185-4AD3-9D7C-2F0620AD1B7B
  4. Brown sausage, then cut into pieces
  5. Arrange chicken, sausage, potatoes and onion in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.A01574E7-F76D-4F54-A2E5-ECB7C00D0549
  6. Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl.
  7. Pour marinade over chicken and toss to coat.4B45B21F-2ED4-4CF1-8351-CCF7E26265A2
  8. Bake one hour or until chicken reaches 165 degrees and potatoes are tender.

Please let me know how you like this one pot meal; and if you have a recipe to share I ‘d love to try it out.  Your family recipe could be featured here on the blog, along with the story of your loved one.  Leave me a message below and I’ll get back to you.

We Can Rebuild Her…

Laura Kump, Principal

A runner broken down.

We can rebuild her.  We have the technology.  We can make her better than she was.  Better, stronger, faster.

I am a child of the 70s who grew up on corny television shows and slogans.  Truly, I can connect any situation to a jingle, slogan, opening song or quote.  It’s a slightly troubling habit I’ll admit, but one that helps me formulate leads when I write quite nicely.  Who can name the show this quote was taken from?

I am, as you know, injured and most likely missing the marathon I’ve trained for.  I haven’t pushed the defer button yet, because you know I’m still praying for a miracle.  If I can get this foot in a sneaker, I just may give it a go and walk/run the course.  If not, it’s over – likely it is over – but hey a girl can dream.

I’m once again planning to rebuild, learn from my mistakes and move forward toward NYC Marathon 2018.  Either way, if I make it this year or not, I’ll be there in 2018 because it’s not the experience I had in mind.  I spent my morning planning, that’s just what educators do, plan for success.  I’ve got my planning tools lined up, including my nutritionist, functional movement trainer, doctor’s orders (OK, I may not follow these exactly), books and nothing but time today to plan.  After spending some time working on planning for my job, I’ve now shifted to planning to rebuild me.

First order of business was to spend time on the phone with my nutritionist, chatting about ways to increase my intake of those pesky vegetables I love to hate and heal my broken bones.  I am going back to having a morning veggie drink in my trusty Vitamix starting Monday.  This will increase my intake of vegetables to ensure I am getting enough in my day.  I had on my to be read pile the book, The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan by Dr. David Perlmutter, a world renowned neurologist.  His work around the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain related diseases has become very personal to him following the death of his father.  He has dedicated his life to the effort to help others stay healthy through diet and lifestyle changes and I purchased his most recent book to continue my fight to reclaim my health and offset this disease.  Today, I finally opened the book and began reading.  The first quote really grabs you by the throat –

In the next eighteen minutes, four Americans will die from the food they eat.  That’s one person ever four and a half minutes.

This is the opening statement I heard recently on a TED talk given by Jamie Oliver.  He too has been leading a crusade against the use of processed foods in schools, linking it to higher than average obesity rates in children, and long term to chronic disease.   Reading this again reminded me of why I began this journey and helped to reel me in from my week of pity eating.  Lot’s of bad choices were made this week for sure.  Dr. Perlmutter states that, “You can choose your health destiny.”  This gives great hope and sense of purpose to those like me who by virtue of family history, have a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease.  What goes into my mouth and body, along with other lifestyle choices, can greatly impact my physical well being.  I need to keep myself focused on that and move forward to the next chapter of my journey.

This weekend, I hope to put a shoe on my foot, a real shoe.  I’m tired of this broken toe version, though I did find I could run in it when needed this week at work.  I admit at that realization to thinking of buying a match for the other foot and running the marathon in them, but I’m thinking my feet would not appreciate that at all.  I hope to do some light rolling and stretching work and possibly take a nice slow walk.   That is my very short term exercise goal.  My nutritional goal is to plan my menu for the week, a habit I’ve shared in earlier posts, the only way I stay on track.  Tomorrow, I will cook at least three (3) meals that I will rotate for lunch and dinner all week.  I will do my food shopping for the week and plan for successful eating that curbs those junky pretzels I ate this week in place of food.

Finally, I hope to chat with my functional movement coach at some point this weekend to plan my long term recovery sessions.  I must allow some healing time for the stress fracture before getting back to Central Park, but there are always things we can do to rebuild this broken runner.  You can definitely say this woman is down, but not out.  I’m still on the road, just recalculating the road map.

I thank each and every one of you who took time to reach out to me following last week’s blog.  Your well wishes, jokes and love really were the best medicine.  Thank you for your continued support of my blog and mission.  I leave you with an exchange I had with a student yesterday that had me hysterically laughing – the best medicine of all.

Student: “What the heck did you do to your foot now.

Me: “This is the same injury I had when I saw you Monday.  You know what happened to me.”

Student: “Well, you just keep injuring that foot, don’t you.”

Me: “Guess so.”

Student: “Well, if you keep this up you know that foot may just fall off already.”

Me:  Laughing inside.  “Hope not!”

Here are some resources I’m spending time with this weekend:

Jamie Oliver’s TED talk

The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan

Functional Movement Specialist 

Jessica Leggio, Run Pain Free

Free consultations are available (includes workout) when you mention my blog or name Laura Hess Kump.  Online option available if you can’t make the trip.  Worth the time – life changing stuff.

Always love connecting with readers of this blog for feedback and conversation.  Feel free to leave a comment below, or contact me directly.

Double Dose of No

Yesterday was one of those days where you realize that God has another plan for you than the one you want.  Sometimes, that’s just the way it is and has to be.  That truly doesn’t make it easy to accept and I will say it is quite the bitter pill for me to swallow right now.  I’ve been down this road one too many times and truly it is frustrating and heartbreaking to be two weeks out from my goal.  To have endured so much and given so much of my time and energy toward a dream goal and fall short so close really sucks.

You all know I’ve been struggling with pain in my right leg.  I knew instinctively it was a femoral stress fracture (round two) and tapered down in hopes of being able to still complete the marathon using intervals if necessary.  Heck, I was even willing to walk the darn thing after the injury was confirmed.  Maybe even sneak in some run sections, who cares I was still doing it.  Unfortunately, yesterday brought the crushing blow to the dream and the plans.  Yesterday, I fell on steps at work rushing to a classroom and broke my big toe at the joint on the right foot.  Yup, that was my luck.

The funny (half glass full girl here) part of this tale is that my school was in the middle of Day Two of its Quality Review (think audit).  When the reviewer, who was in a meeting, heard what happened when I hobbled in to the room she graciously offered to reschedule.  Are you kidding me, this lady doesn’t quit or go home until she finishes what she starts.  So I got a pair of sneakers out of my closet and gimped my way through the rest of the day.  I guess that was my “marathon” experience for this year and likely the reviewer’s first broken bone during a review.

Last night when I finally got home at about 7:00, my husband helped me in the house and I had my ugly cry.  I had a tall drink and a personal pity party – heck I am human people.  It felt cleansing to me to have this personal time to just let go of all the emotion I’ve tried to work through during this long training cycle.  It also prepared me to start planning my journey to 2018.

This morning, many of my running friends have been offering me encouragement and love.  For that I am most grateful.  Many have shared their personal stories of walking similar walks. Some have stories far worse than mine – there always can be worse things in life.  Today, I have to push the button to defer my entry to the NYC Marathon.  I tried last night, but that led to the ugly cry and I just couldn’t do it.   Today, I will push the button as I know I now must.

For all who are out there towing the line this year, I will be cheering for you all loud and proud.  I know the hard work you put in to being there and the joy you will feel when it is DONE.  I will envision myself running beside you and see you all next year. #2018NYCM



In education when a child is not quite ready for a task we offer them a scaffold.  If a math problem is too complex for them we break it into smaller, more manageable parts.   In reading, we offer them books at their independent reading level, rather than expecting them all to read the same book.  Yet, when it comes to exercise tasks we tend to reject all scaffolds offered.  We look at these scaffolds as a sign of weakness rather than what they truly are, a way to lift us up and enable us to finish the task.

On today’s run, I started to think about this connection and realized I’m just as guilty as anyone of rejecting scaffolds.  I like to say I’m stubborn, determined or a true warrior.   Somehow lately I’m realizing that I’m foolish and letting my ego guide me rather than my common sense.

Scaffolds for runners are meant to help, not hinder, their development.  If the body is not quite ready to do what you are asking of it, you could end up getting injured.  Trust me, this I know first hand!  Building and developing the right muscles for the activity you want to perform is not an option.  You must spend the time and do the work to have proper functionality.   If something along your muscular chain is weak, something else will become overloaded and injury could follow.  My coach has finally got that point seared in my stubborn, I mean foolish, brain. I have now added some scaffolding to my training to ensure that I make it not only to the starting line, but also to the finish.

Since my Achilles has been giving me trouble, I’ve added the scaffold of running intervals on my runs.  This scaffold builds breaks for this muscle into each run.  Without them the repetitive motion over three hours could really put a strain on my Achilles.   It’s also been allowing me to work more on my form, hopefully developing the right muscle groups.   Another scaffold I’m embracing is slowing my pace on long runs.   Long runs are meant to develop endurance, not pace, so I’ve given myself permission to turn off the app that tells me my pace as I’m running.  My friend who has run 7 marathons shared with me that you can never run too slow on a long run.  He said during his training for his first marathon he ran himself into the ground.   During that race he barely finished with anything left in his tank.   Sounds like I need to slow it down on those long runs immediately.

Finally, today I gave myself the accommodation of flexibility.   I’m a very schedule driven runner.   I like to run super early to avoid car traffic and heat.  If I don’t go by 6:00 AM, I start stressing and thinking about running another day.  I never sleep in on weekends either.   Today, after two exhausting days at work, I woke at 3:00 AM ready to get moving.  I came down, had a bowl of oatmeal and cup of coffee. I then walked right back up and got back in my bed. I turned on the hurricane reports and before I knew it I decided to go back to sleep thinking I’d run tomorrow instead.   I woke again at 8:00, got up and did my pre-run activation routine. Then I went out and did my scheduled long run.  Honestly, it felt good to not rush out to run.  Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to change the plan, but not permission to skip it.

Scaffolds do not mean you’re any less or a runner than another.  They mean you are focused on completing your task.  Thanks coach Jessica for readjusting my perspective.

How are your workouts going?   Are you forcing yourself through them, or loving them?   If, like me you are running in pain, consider calling Jessica for a consultation.  She can truly help get you back on the road again.  Her site is and her Twitter handle is #runpainfree .  Tell her Laura recommended you and get your consultation booked.  Let me know how it goes. It could be life changing.

Celebrate Good Times

Today was my group’s 18 mile run in Central Park.  In order to make the 6:00 AM meeting time, I had to wake up at 3:00 AM to leave at 4:00 AM to catch an express bus to the city at 4:30 AM.

I must admit when my husband asked if I was really getting up, I hesitated.  But, the mere thought of running that distance alone prompted me to get moving.  It was a pretty smooth ride in on a mostly empty express bus.  When I got dropped off thought it was dark in the park and kind of creepy.  I was unsure of the exact meeting spot, I just knew it was near the Columbus Circle entrance to the park.  When I found this statue I sent a photo to my husband and asked, is the the Columbus statue because it sure doesn’t look like him.  I’m still laughing over that blonde moment.


We took off at 6:15 and my specific group had 10 runners.  The pacer this week was all business, so I don’t have one single photo or selfie to share.  The pace was much faster than I normally do on my long runs, but I was able to keep up for 10 miles.  At mile 10 I told them I was going to break off from the group and head back toward the starting point,  My feet were burning literally and I didn’t want to chance another setback.  I did another 2 at a slower pace and decided that was enough for this week and I was going to head back to the bus.  When I got on the bus toward home I was stressing about not doing the remaining 6 miles.  At that point I reflected on the morning’s run and realized I was focusing too much on what I hadn’t done and not even looking at what I had accomplished.

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When I looked at the splits and average pace for my run, I realized that I had a lot to celebrate.  The average pace for the run was 2 minutes faster than I normally do for my long runs.  Long runs are generally meant to be slow and easy, but this was more of a tempo run for me.  I was able to keep up with the group at that pace for 10 solid miles.  After that the 2 that I did alone were at my normal pace, but my overall average pace per mile for the run remained 2 minutes faster.  I felt strong out there on those darn hills in Central Park, which have always been challenging for me.  I can’t say I enjoyed them, but I made it up them all and held my pace.  Cat Hill and Harlem Hill did not defeat me today!!  My feet didn’t start burning until mile 8, usually the pain starts at 7 so that’s an improvement too.  I’m consistently running half marathon distances on long runs and last year that was a challenge.  And, now as I am recovering, I am not overly tired or sore.  I listened to my body today and didn’t let my ego push me to do something stupid that would have ended in another injury.  I’d say this was a very positive training session for me and I need to celebrate my personal victories, rather than beat myself up for my perceived shortcoming.

I’m sure I am not the only one in training, or life, that needs to learn to accentuate the positive to keep my motivation.  When we get so focused on the negative, we can easily feel defeated and possibly give up.  Today, I’m reminding myself to be kind to myself and focus on what I did well.  I’m excited for next week’s long run and know that today I built some solid muscles out there, both mentally and physically.

How’s your training going?  Please leave me a comment below.

Run, Roll, Ice, Rest, Repeat

As my long runs grow longer I’ve started changing things up.  Running 4-6 miles alone is not a problem.  The time is meditative and therapeutic and goes by pretty quickly.  Running 13+ miles alone can be dreadfully long and boring, at least for me.  After mile 7, when alone, I find myself mentally whining about everything.  I joined a running club last year but didn’t go to the meet ups to run with them. I was training for a half and the longest long run I had on the schedule was 10 miles.  I just didn’t feel the need to push myself to go into the city to run when I could run here and be done that much sooner.   This year is very different and boy was I missing out!  Every weekend when the long run rolls around I start looking for ways to make it more interesting and enjoyable.  Life begins at the end of your comfort zone is a saying I look at on my daily coffee cup.  Time to step out of the comfort of running in my neighborhood and join others who are on the same journey as me.

Today I got up at 4:00 to catch a 5:00 AM train to travel 2 hours by train, ferry, train to meet up with my running club.

An added benefit my childhood friend Helen who is running the marathon with me decided to meet me there also.  I can’t say that when that my husband woke me with – “Are you sure you want to do this?  You sure you want to travel 4 hours to run 2? You can run right here.” – I jumped out of bed eager to make the trek.  Really supportive way to open my eyes, but he is right it is a long way to travel to run and adding 2 hours before and after the run surely does extend the time I need to devote to it.  Luckily it’s once a week that the long run rolls around.

When I first arrived in the city, I was super excited to see Helen.  We quickly caught up and joined the club members gathering on Chambers and Centre Street in a small park.  We listened to the route plans and before we had time to think about it we were off running.  The city was alive with runners, bikers and just so many people out there getting fit.  Our group had a group of 8 women who all are training for the marathon.  For some it’s a repeat – one runner said this is her 6th time running it.  For us it is our first and we were so excited to be running with a group of like minded women.  It was so uplifting to share the long run with others and the time did go by faster than it would have had I been alone.


My running had become such a routinized event – run, roll, ice feet & legs, rest, repeat.  Each day the same, over and over and over again.  Sometimes you start to lose the fun of it all.  Yesterday as I ran with these beautiful women, I felt like I was enjoying myself instead of stressing over pace, time, distance, heart rate, etc. etc. etc.  I felt lighter and really enjoyed talking and laughing as I ran.  And when we finished I didn’t even mind running another mile to make the ferry to get home.  Maybe it was the change of scenery, but I believe it was the company.


So this week, think about what you are doing each day.  If your workout feels like a chore, or an item to check off your list, think about how you infuse some fun into it.  What would make it less routinized and more carefree?  For me, infusing a group long run on the weekend has reenergized me and made me look forward to next week’s long run, rather than dreading it.  Yes, it is still HARD work out there, but as I said last week – I get by with a little help from my friends.

Let me know how it’s going for you, please leave a comment below.