Author Archives: Theodora Blanchfield

NYC Marathon Real Talk

NYC Marathon

I’m running the NYC Marathon on November 5, for the 4th time.

When I got in through the lottery in March, this Sunday seemed not months, but years away.

My mom was several months out from a major emergency surgery she had in December, and she was still struggling, but she’d been so resilient the first time around that I was sure she’d come out on the other side again.

I hoped that calling her and telling her about the marathon would excite her, would give her something to look forward to, to rally for, to channel her energy into getting better for.

As I sat in that sunny booth at work, I waited to hear some glimmer of the mom I knew coming out, to say that of course she’d be at the marathon. It scared me to think that she might not, but I never, ever thought it would be because she didn’t live long enough to see it. That happens to old ladies, right? Nope, cancer knows no age. My mom was 72. Two years ago, she ran all over the city with my friends, even as the cancer was growing within her.

As she got more and more sick and the end came into sight, I pushed down the thoughts of her not being there when/if I get married one day (those are entirely too painful to think about). But it became apparent that I would run the marathon this year and she wouldn’t be there, and that made me cry harder than most other scenarios I discussed with friends or my therapist.

I started running for me, but in some ways, I think I ran the marathon to make her proud, for that moment of watching her beaming from the sidelines, a very real and tangible display of her love and pride. In a world where so much is unsure, I thought my mom waiting for me on the sidelines was a sure thing and not such a big thing to ask for.

She passed away on July 8, and after a summer of grief and attempts at self-preservation, I didn’t start “training” until Labor Day-ish. When the race was about 8 weeks out, I decided I had to make a decision. I’d miraculously gotten in through the lottery and had committed to raise money for the Junior League. It’s difficult for me to sit out the race in most years, and I knew I’d feel awful on quite a few levels if I didn’t run.

So I “trained” very casually, just trying to make sure I got into double digit runs, and I made my best attempts at increasing mileage. I never made it more than 17 miles, though I did that twice.

Part of me knows I should be OK getting through (that is my only goal); part of me thinks I’m an idiot for attempting to do this on such limited training. I’m trying to remember “whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” Part of me, honestly, isn’t that excited and doesn’t even really want to run it right now.

I’m hoping that the energy of the expo and the weekend will carry me.

I’m terrified of going to the brunch I last attended with my mama, though I’m surrounding myself with friends to hold my hand during the inevitable tears.

I’m searching for the strength I found two weekends ago. That resilience of facing down the toughest year of my life and still fighting through a race.

I mean, if Jordan Hasay could come in third at Chicago after losing her mom, I can finish, right?

And yes, I know she’ll “still be watching in a different way,” but I just want her here with me for a hug.

Things I’m Loving Lately: Llamas and Journals

So, one of my friends thinks I should start a podcast.

I’m sort of toying around with the idea, and I asked for opinions on IG and am going to ask you, too: anything you’d want to hear from me?

I’m really looking at this time of not working full-time (I have a ton of side projects going on already — and please reach out if you’re interested in run coaching or blogging/content strategy help!) as a blessing to take some time to focus on nurturing myself and rebuilding after an incredibly tough and painful year. 

Here’s some of the things I’ve loved lately:

Meditating is one of the things that’s bringing me a bit of sanity. I <3 Inscape (also partially because the studio is dumb close to my apartment), and their new app is great.

I have a newfound love for my Sodastream. As a New Yorker, I have limited counter space, and I’d shoved it in a cabinet for a while, but I really can’t beat having bubbles whenever I want them, and it just lives on my counter again.

Did I mention I’m studying for the NASM exam? Heather had some great tips, including using an anatomy coloring book. (Alternately: my BFF is a physical therapy professor and we’re contemplating writing an “Anatomy 101 In Two Bottles of Wine” textbook. Would you buy that?!

I have been so much more into writing lately, but especially journaling.


(Are you following me on IG? I use Instagram Stories a lot, and I’m @theodorable on there.)

I’m all too close to the Chelsea Michaels, and I stop there…maybe too often? But, these three journals on top were each only $5.

My weird planner system: I have one (the sparkly one on the bottom) that started as my grief journal and is now my general/catch-all/get all the ugly feelings out too journal. I’ve been trying to journal daily in the morning to process all the thoughts whirling around in this little brain and, man, is it helpful. 

The next notebook up, I use as a professional brainstorming journal to capture ideas and plan.

The next guy up, I haven’t found a use for yet; the llama notebook, I use as the notebook I bring out to meetings.

Woodwick Candle

This photo, intentionally creepy 🙂

Two things I’d like to mention here: 1. Grace had an awesome post about making your bedroom like a hotel room, and one little tip I picked up (which is such a duh, but…) was to put flowers next to your bed, so I immediately went out to Trader Joe’s to pick up some white roses. 2. Ashley keeps writing about Woodwick candles (they make a crackling sound as they burn, which is lovely), and I needed some small retail therapy the other day and picked up a few.

Eh, and 3: you can lead a llama to water, but you can’t make him drink.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

I definitely don’t do enough cultural things in NYC by a long shot, and I need to change that. But! The other night, we had a Junior League Transfers Social at the Met to have drinks in one of the balcony bars and see the Rodin exhibit. One of our volunteers is an art historian, and we learned a lot about the Gates of Hell and how many of the sculptures we saw were parts of that larger work of art.

This one is super dorky, but as I’m trying to manage several different freelance projects, I really really like Asana for project management. It works just as well, in my opinion, for working solo as it did as part of a bigger company.

This is so weird, but I got this Trigger Wheel last weekend, and I’m obsessed with rubbing it on my cheeks for TMJ pain.

Are you running NYCM, too? If you haven’t watched this video yet, WATCH IT. But maybe grab tissues first.

I’ll definitely have some more NYCM posts this week and next — pre race, let me know what you’d like to see!

Roast Chicken

Last night, I roasted my first chicken. I felt very uncomfortable violating him and stuffing herbs in his cavity, but here we are. I had a group of girlfriends over for what we called “Fallmark Night,” to watch fall Hallmark movies. 

Pumpkin Risotto

Forgive the crappy iPhone pics! But we also made some Pumpkin Risotto and these Espresso Pie Bars (the October issue of Food and Wine IS EVERYTHING.) I’ve been trying to entertain and cook more…and be less defensive in the kitchen. 

Also – I semi spontaneously booked a trip to Ireland in a few weeks. I’m flying into Shannon and staying near the Cliffs of Moher and would love recommendations (that don’t include Galway! I’ve been there before so I want to see new stuff.)

What are you loving lately and what are your fave personal development resources?