Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The American Giving Awards

Well, like so many other people we have had a good deal of sickness in our house the past couple of weeks. Luckily, I'm the only one sick with the newest round (so far. Prayers it will stay that way). But I had to take a minute to share this: The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation has been selected as one of the featured charities for this year's American Giving Awards. This means that they are in the running to win a million bucks. How do they win? Voting. As in YOUR voting. Voting is free and open now. It takes just seconds to vote and you can do it right here. You guys have been so supportive of my journey this year, and the whole point of that journey was to help raise money for GSF so that they can improve the lives of children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. We did an awesome job with our fundraising, but a million dollars can go a LONG way! Please vote! Feel free to leave me a comment to let me know you did. Thanks so much!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Anthem Richmond Marathon

So, since I can barely walk today I may as well get to blogging about this weekend! Aarik took off Friday so that we could leave early in the morning. We got started a little later than planned, but I had decided after the ridiculous week we had that we were going to avoid stress, and any outside responsibilities as much as possible. As worried as I was about the race we just didn't need any negativity or aggravation. The way that Sprint GPS took us was absolutely gorgeous. Mostly back roads & small highways. The first half of the trip we got to see lots of farm land, relax & listen to country music while Parker slept & the rest of us got to chat. Then Parker woke up & screamed the rest of the way, everyone had to go potty every 5 seconds & I got a barrage of poorly timed, non marathon weekend text messages. By the time we got to the expo we were all worn out, over being in the car and a little grumpy. Because of that, we were in and out of the expo very quickly and I never even got to see the medal I was hoping to earn the next day. I did however purchase a 26.2 magnet for the Jeep and said a quick prayer it wasn't a waste of money and we bumped into a new friend made on the Richmond marathon Facebook page who we had lots in common with. The expo was crazy crowded but looked to be very well organized, and had more than enough gear for anyone interested in spending money to help remember the event. There was ample parking outside of the convention center. They had booths specifically to answer questions for out of towners and had plenty of free maps on hand. The Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield booth even gave the kids all free cowbells to ring to help cheer the next day. Other than those things it was your typical race expo.
Our hotel was located in a pretty central spot, but let me say I was not impressed with it at all. The shower looked to have never been cleaned and the front desk girl that was there during check in & check out was one of the most rude people ever. I was thrilled, however, that there was a Denny's in the adjoining parking lot and we were happy to be able to walk over to dinner and be the only people there when we ate at 5:00. The kids, of course, love any excuse to have pancakes for dinner! Jennifer and Ray were kind enough to offer me a ride down the next morning which took a big stress off of Aarik,would let the kids get more sleep in the morning, and allow us to spend time together as a group. So Aarik and I tried to plan his route to get to the finish and signed him up to get live updates while I was running. Navigating Richmond and paying tolls every five minutes was another not so fun thing to plan around. When Aimee and I talked I found out we had broken $4000.00 and doubled out fundraising goal!! Inspiration and motivation!! We got the monkeys ready for bed, I laid out all of my race gear, we prayed & went to bed. The kids all slept great, thankfully, and I woke up every hour thinking I had overslept. At five I got up, ate a small bowl of Captain Crunch, got dressed and went downstairs to meet up with the Riska family. We spent less time than I expected looking for parking (not to say it was easy finding a place, just not as hard as anticipated). We got to watch the start of the half, go for a quick jog, found a nice warm place to go to the bathroom (if I run this race again we will stay at the host hotel. Complete opposite of where we stayed), and made it down just in time to have Ray snap a few pics, give hugs to Josh, Aimee & Callie & get in line for the start.

Jennifer and I started the race together and stayed together almost 16 miles.

I wore my hydration pack because I was concerned with all of the NY marathoners coming in at the last minute the race would run out of water & Powerade, especially if my leg gave me a fit and I was at the very back of the pack. {Sidenote: they never ran out of anything as long as I was on the course.} It was nice to be able to chat with Callie's grandma about running, our training, Callie, the course, books and anything else that came up along the way. As we ran together in our Team GSF jerseys we had lots of people yell out to us "That's right! Never Give Up!!" We were even called "The Never Give Ups" a few times. It was such an awesome reminder to us of why we were there. There was ton of course support, signs everywhere, people out with their kids & dogs. People sitting on their lawns with signs, shop owners doing their own water stops, people giving out Twizzlers, cheering... You name it! It was obvious why they call this "America's Friendliest Marathon". The most beautiful part was when we ran along the James River for a while. It was almost silent other than the sound of the water. After the water stop that we got seperated I decided to listen to music. I was really nervous about the Robert E. Lee bridge because I'd heard terrifying things about it, but it gave me no trouble at all. The wind that people talk about must have taken pity on us that day. It was where I saw people start to drop off though, some walking, hobbling, limping, some sitting down on the side. From then on out the race thinned out a good bit. When I came off the bridge one of the race volunteers said, "You've got this, if you did the bridge your fine, it's the hardest part!" How silly of me to believe her!  Truthfully, I did myself in because when I tried to walk through a water stop at mile 11 I realized if I tried to walk anymore I'd be in big trouble. For some reason at mile 20 I went against my decision from just nine miles before and decided to walk through a water stop so that I could call Aarik and let him know to start heading down to the finish area with the kids. Being the amazing man that he is, he was already in the car with them. But when I started running again it was SO painful that it slowed me down A LOT. I kept thinking about all of the people I love who I wanted to do this for, the support they had given me, and I would tell myself that I WAS going to finish this and it would end faster if I kept running and that in only "X" amount of miles I was going to finally be a marathoner. It worked, I kept running. Not running fast, but running. At mile 24 I picked up my pace again, but couldn't maintain it for the last two miles after going up an unexpected hill. When I got down to mile 26 I was searching for my family- people who knew me and loved me and would be cheering me on.
I was so happy to see Josh, Aimee, Callie and Aimee's two sisters off to the side.
Then I saw Ray, Callie's grandpa who was awesome enough to be cameraman &course support Team Callie for the weekend.

I kept looking for Aarik & the kids and then I spotted two Never Give Up shirts in the crowd and realized it was Hannah and David. Those shirts on on my two teammates gave me a little more fuel and I finished the race at the bottom of the hill. I stopped my Garmin and looked down to see 26.32 miles in 5:03:08. I'm not going to lie, over 5 hours was hard to swallow. I've always been a middle of the pack runner, but usually toward the front end, not the back end. But I reminded myself of all the trials I had overcome to get to the finish line, and how blessed I am to be able to run at all, and that at mile 21 when my legs felt like someone had set them on fire I had decided this was such an incredibly hard thing to finish this race I would be proud of my time no matter what it was. I also found comfort in the fact that I beat Katie Holmes' marathon time ;). Called Aarik, they had gotten lost and then couldn't find parking, but they were out of the car now and heading to the finish area. They found Josh and Aimee. We could meet there. Another few minutes of walking and I was given my medal. I saw bananas and bagels, but they made me gag even though I was starving. Picked up a piece of pizza and a Powerade nibbled the pizza, but then decided it wasn't a good idea and tossed it, made my way through a ton of people laying on the ground, asked a cop how to get back to the finish line, followed his directions, climbed entirely too many stairs to get to the bridge off of the island, realized the fence in the way would make it impossible for me to get back to where I'd seen everyone before, went up to the next street,walked up another big hill and finally got to see my family! My sweet kiddos started yelling "Go mommy go! Go mommy go!" And I made a controlled collapse to the curb. I found out Jennifer had crossed the finish line shortly after me & was so excited & proud for her. As we sat & waited for her to make the same confusing journey back to the family, Ray offered to take a picture of me with the family. It's my favorite one from the day.

I'm so grateful he was so thoughtful & helped preserve memories from the weekend, otherwise I wouldn't have a single picture. Unfortunately, there were tons of people with dogs around so within just a few minutes Mckenzie was screaming like a lunatic and even knocked Parker down causing him to slam his head on the road. I decided (in my not so coherent mind) that I couldn't handle anymore of the dog induced spasms, and we left. I wish that I'd been thinking more clearly for photo purposes, because I left before we'd gotten a picture of all four of us with our medals. But here are the others with theirs
They all did awesome!

I learned a lot from this race that I'd like to share. It was so much easier and harder then I thought it would be; and I definitely want to talk about the aftermath of it all, but this post is too long already, so... Next time!

Friday, November 9, 2012

It's Here

So I've been trying to figure out what to post for my "last post before the big weekend" post. I had decided not to do one because I'm not thinking clearly and wanted it to be meaningful. Then Aimee said something to me that made me really think and I woke up to an article written by Victoria Strong, and I realized what I would like to write about.
As part of my fundraising I've spent the past several months describing how this disease works. Telling everyone about all of the things these kids can NOT do because of SMA. Truth is that these kids, and their parents, are told every day what they can't, and won't and shouldn't do; then these amazing children, along with their courageous and supportive parents, go out and they DO. Their parents become innovators, inventors, and activists. They make friends with their physical therapist, neurologist & pediatrician and as a team they make things happen.  These kids DO. Some live past 6 months, some go to Kindergarten, or ballet classes, and they run distances that most adults  "can't". They teach. They are inspirations for those of us who say we can't to get up and do. Their bodies fail them daily but they don't write a blog post to complain about it, they find a way to work around it. They don't ask for pity, they ask for support. When they reach the finish line of their life, no matter what the distance they traveled, they have given it their all. They run the perfect race, finishing with nothing left in the tank because they leave it all on the course.  I hope if I happen to meet "the wall" tomorrow (it's more likely than not) that I can remember the lessons I've learned from observing these amazing people this year and push through it, keep running because I'm blessed to have a body that can run.
For tonight, we're in Richmond, exhausted from the crazy trip, pancakes in belly, wrestling a teething 1 year old  & hoping we can figure out a way to get to the start line through all of the closed, most direct roads! Prayers appreciated ;)

Monday, November 5, 2012


It brings out every crazy person fiber in your body. No. Joke. You worry that you're not going to be able to run 26.2 miles when (for me) the longest you've run was 18 miles, before that 15, and that was  3 freaking weeks before the race. My Achilles is killing me. Is it my imagination? I have a newly developed rare form of ADD, on steroids. I can't concentrate on ANYTHING for more than a few seconds at a time. Tonight, I started dinner, cleaning the kitchen and school room, Pandora and checking emails all within a 5 minute period. I go to the grocery store, with a list, and still don't know what I bought. School is interesting because, between Konnor, Mckenzie and myself we have about a 5 minute concentration span. I'm forgetting words I use every day, or thinking of sentences and as I type them forgetting what I was going to say (5 minutes ago I knew the word for "concentration span"). I have forgotten most of the names of people in my cycle class and this morning I told my Monday morning group to "have a great weekend" :-| I have too much energy and it's giving me the shakes, like I could just climb out of my skin. Last night I had a dream that I overslept on the day of the race, the only person around was the one person I knew wouldn't help me, so when I finally got to the race (which was at the YMCA i work at) I was 2 hours late, but decided to run anyway hoping I could run it in 5 hours or less (the cut off time is 7 hours),  but when I started running it wound up being a marathon/scavenger hunt. LOL  This must be what a bad drug experience is like.
Sorry for my random rambling. Just thinking that when I train for my next marathon, it may be helpful to remember this very odd experience.

**UPDATE** it's ATTENTION span!!! Lol, it just came back to me!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sleepless Nights

It's hard to believe that the race is one week from tomorrow. I'm feeling so many emotions. I'm frustrated that I'm not where I planned to be with training, I'm proud that we have almost doubled our fundraising goal, I am SO nervous about a race that I may be totally under prepared for, excited at the idea of running a marathon, my first marathon, as part of Team Callie. Mostly I'm just a ball of nerves. I lay in bed every night looking at the weather, the race website, checking the same hotel reservations, wondering how the kids will do with all of it, if Aarik will be able to come and see me finish, if my leg will actually let me finish, wondering if it will be as painful as i've heard in the days after, thinking about how fun it will be to spend parts of the weekend with Josh, Aimee, Callie & their family members and several members, both running and not, of Team Callie. There are members of our team who will be in Virginia, Colorado, Utah, The Middle East, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Alaska and Team GSF will be running the same day in California. Anybody out there in a place I didn't mention, let us know you'll be with us on race day! The love and support that we've seen from y'all on this journey has been amazing. Thank you.

Tonight they announced that lots of the New York marathon runners who don't get to run this weekend are registering for Richmond. They expect the race to be full. What will it be like to run with so many people? Will their be any political backlash happening that will make me feel hesitant to have my kids out and about in such a crowded venue  just days after the election? There are lots of happy and thankful things I'm thinking, but some I want to save for closer to the race when I have a bit more time to write.

Tomorrow morning my training plan only calls for 8 miles. There's a part of me that is relieved by that, and part of me that is terrified to let my mileage dip so low after the very few long runs I've had. My shin is still touchy, so I will likely stick to the 8 miles. Next week is for hydration, carbo loading and higher salt intake... And insane amounts of prayer. And, of course, more sleepless nights.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Photo Update

Since life has been so nuts, and I have like, 5 minutes left to update the blog, you're getting pictures with a few words.

We got some family photos taken a few weeks back. my kids are SO. CUTE.

One day for school we made caramel apples at home:

It's FALL Y'ALL!! Piles and Piles and PILES of leaves are in our yard!!

Today was the end of soccer season celebration and the kiddos got some bling! Their first trophies ever. I'm so proud of how they've played this season. By that I mean with sportsmanship, and kindness, and as of the past two weeks, some serious skills :) Their coaches are just amazing, and Konnor and Mckenzie have really enjoyed the season. We wish we could always have the coaches we had this season. The kids on the team are also awesome, and Konnor has found the girl of his dreams and informed me a few weeks back he is going to marry her. Mckenzie has also got a huge crush. On a MUCH older man. The program director, Simon. LOL Girlfriend is head over heels. I mean, he is British. ;)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Forced Taper

This morning I had plans to run somewhere between 16 and 20, depending on how I was feeling, and despite being advised strongly not to. My training plan called for 12, but last week had gone so well...
After some hard core jumping in the leaves last night my right leg had started to bother me so I decided it would be better to hang out near 16. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I had to cut out at 13 because I was having so much pain in my right shin, a weird burning in my ankle and some other odd thing in my left foot. I figure it's better to gut it out in two weeks in Richmond, walk if I have to and finish than it is to gut it out now when I don't technically have to and not be able to run any of the race. Goes to show you should listen to those who are more experienced than you.

I also have seen so very many posts recently about children with SMA passing away. My heart aches for their families and my passion is ignited to continue to try to raise funds and awareness of this terrible disease. Remember, the fundraising page is here. The donation is tax deductible and for such an amazing cause. Really, this race isn't about me, or my time, or my medal. It's about why I'm running and I'm grateful that the good Lord reminds me of this frequently.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Quick Update

I did it. I ran the 18 miles. My wonderful hubby stayed home and held down the fort this morning. My wonderful friend got up and loaded her boys into her jog stroller and ran the first 5 miles with me to help me get my bearings since I've never run where we did today. She was also kind enough to let me borrow her headphones since i forgot mine (along with a few other things). The weather was perfect and I absolutely loved where we ran. It was MUCH more hilly than where I've been running and so I felt tired much earlier than usual, but it gave me a bit more confidence for race day. At 7.5 miles I turned my ankle, fell and skinned my knee pretty badly at the entrance to a trail, so I got up and ran back the other way :) around mile 16 my calves and hamstrings started cramping up. I decided to see what happened if I ignored it and thought about something else- it worked! Every time I thought about it they would hurt worse than before. This is the part I am most concerned with in regards to the race. Other than the fall I ran the entire thing which was amazing to me considering I've had to walk at least once during the past two long runs. By the  time I was closing in on 18 I was close enough to the car that I decided I could stop at 18 instead of continuing to run. Tonight I wish I had just gone the extra mile. I prayed for most of the run and tried to blank out the rest. I almost stopped running and went home when I fell, at mile 9 I considered leaving again, wanted to stop at 15 but then realized there were "only 3 miles left". It's funny how the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation's "Never Give Up" meant so much to me today when I finally came to a seriously painfull stop. If I had given up when I got injured the first, second, third-ok, you get it, time, or if I decided three weeks of missed runs was too hard to come back from this late in the training period, if that terrible 12 mile run that was mostly walking had scared me off, if I went home after I fell today, if at any point I had given up (and it would have been a well deserved surrender) I would never have felt what I got to feel today. It wasn't the time I always planned to have, but I was so proud to do it in 3 hours and 20 minutes. I was proud of me. I'm never proud of myself, especially when I fall short of whatever high expectations I've set that make it nearly impossible to achieve. Other than my road rashed knee I actually feel better than I did after 15 last week. I'm so looking forward to joining the rest of Team Callie in Richmond in less than 3 weeks!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Three Weeks

That's it. Just three weeks until race day. Tomorrow morning I am going to get up, get dressed, eat a bowl of cereal, and run (hopefully the whole) eighteen point six miles, 30k.  18.6 I'm excited and hopeful that it will go well, that my achilles will be quiet and let me do the work. Is it terrible that I'm already thinking about what I'm going to eat afterward as a reward? The original plan (I know, it's laughable at this point) was that by the time I got to my last few long runs that Aarik would be able to come and run at least the last few miles with me. As seems to be the new plan, the original plan didn't work out. Aarik will be watching the kids so that I can run and as of right now it looks like I'll have a good friend, and running buddy, come along for maybe 5 miles of it. I'm more nervous that stopping at this mileage will be a guarantee that I walk several miles on race day. I guess I just need to be ok with that. Right now I'm trying to decide if I should go sign up for the 10k that is a half mile away and run the course three times, or run loops in the neighborhood so that I can stash an extra water bottle for my hydration belt, or go run in an area I've never run before that has gorgeous trees and nice open roads, but then I'd have to find my way around for eighteen miles which could pose a problem. Praying whichever one happens works out.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Look What I Found

Yeah, this pretty much freaks me out. The race I originally wanted to do was mostly all down hill. Not too thrilled at the idea of three straight uphill miles at the place that I will have only run twice. Miles 15- 18 are just one long drawn out uphill march. If all goes as planned (as NOW planned anyway, the other plans are long gone) I will have only run one 15 and one 18 before this race. Not. Thrilled. Time to up my prayer count :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Trying to Catch Up

I need to. I need to try to catch up on blogging AND training. The month of September was so completely overwhelming that I chose not to blog about it and share all of the negativity I felt during that month. Suffice it to say we had way too much going on and I was also dealing with an injury. Between life and limb (the right leg to be exact) I missed three crucial weeks of running. Like, completely missed them. No running at all. For three weeks. When I started back just a couple of weeks ago I wasn't sure if I'd be able to run on my bum leg to catch up, or be able to make up the mileage since it would require finding my way back to the 13 I'd built up to AND adding on enough mileage to get in a few decent long runs before taper and race. My first week back I subbed for two classes at the Y, and since I taught four days of cycle in a row I couldn't get in any mid week runs. Frustrated, I went out for my long run that weekend not knowing if I'd run two or ten. Luckily, it went great and I ran nine with no problems. I stopped at nine to make sure it wasn't overkill leading to re injury after my time off. I was thrilled and renewed. I came up with a make shift training plan for the last few weeks to build up to what I feel will be an ok mileage and was looking forward to twelve the next week. The twelve went horribly. After only five miles my injured leg was screaming at me, and whatever bug my family had been passing around was nagging at me, so I decided to try the walk run method so many of the ladies in my FB Women's Marathoner group recommended. So I ran 20 minutes, walked 5, ran 15, walked 5... It was brutal, but I finished having run more than I walked. I felt defeated, and beat up and frustrated that so many things have gone wrong with this training period.  I decided to try my hardest to stay positive, any finish at any time was better than not doing this at all. I've always said I just wanted to finish. Run or walk, it's still 26.2 miles. I did a lot of praying and reminding myself that my husband has been very supportive and helpful. He totally thinks I can do this (insert nervous laughter here). So many people have contributed to the fundraising end of this deal. I thought about Callie, and her family. Again and again GSF's  "Never Give Up" on my wrist, my jeep, my t-shirt, running jersey, water bottle. After a few days I wasn't as sore, we had another busy week with no time for mid week mileage, sigh, and Friday morning I went out for my first ever fifteen mile run, worried that this type of crazy, thrown together training plan would back fire. While I was aware of my Achilles, it never went into full on pain. My knee did something weird the first mile, but eventually settled in. I spent most of the run praying in gratitude for each mile completed and asking for a few more. At mile eleven I had kept an easy, even pace the entire time and was feeling strong. At mile twelve I decided to take a quick walk break to check for pain, and was surprised that the worst pain I had was when I started running again. My pace did slow after the walk break, but I still managed to finish my 15 in just over two and a half hours. Not the pace I had envisioned a few months back, but one I'm happy with now. One i hope to be able to muster for as long as possible on November 10th. When hobbling home I had a few thoughts: a. It sucks not getting a medal for this. b. ouch and c. I hope I can add 11.2 more miles to this :-! My last long training run (18 unless i can magically bust out a 20) is this next weekend, then two weeks of taper and the race. I'm crazy nervous and terrified by the idea of being forced to walk 8-10 miles after running 16-18. Just starting to realize what I'm supposed to be doing in 26 days. I probably won't find much time to blog between now and then, but hope to at least once. I would appreciate any prayers on my behalf, or good running vibes sent out. Or donations! ;) this post is already super long & wordy so, I'll TRY to update after next week's run.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cookies for Callie

It has been too long since I've blogged, but extra time these days is extremely rare, and normally doesn't last long enough for me to sit down and dedicate the amount of time that this post deserves. Having said that, I'm going to attempt it right now because Konnor and Mckenzie are playing Disneyland Adventures on the Kinect, and Parker is trying to break the vaccuum right in front of me...

Last weekend was Cookies for Callie, and it went great! I am lucky enough to know some really amazing people who had amazing suggestions, ideas, abilities, and items to donate. Several months ago Mckenzie wanted to do a lemonade stand for my fundraising so I wrote a little Facebook inbox to several of our friends with kids and asked if it was something anyone would want to be involved in. We had a great response and one of my friends, who is the biggest example of living life charitably, mentioned that she had planned on doing a yard sale later in the summer and donating all of the money she made to GSF. Everyone thought it was a great idea and we started planning. One friend called around to local churches to find a place to hold the sale. We worked through lots of different schedules to find a Saturday that we could make work, tossed around lots of ideas, and we set the date. Then we all got crazy busy with Summer vacation, kids, family, church responsibilities, work... you name it. These women are among the busiest that I've ever met. When I realized it was only two weeks out we got back to work finalizing plans, making fliers, advertising on Craig's list, and letting everyone know that if they wanted a way to get involved and help, but didn't feel they could donate money for whatever reason, this was the way to do it. We bought matching Never Give Up t-shirts, wristbands to sell and got lots of change for Saturday morning.

Let me say that this was one of the most amazing things that I've ever been a part of. People went all out for this. For Callie. For GSF. Some even for me. So many people had so much to donate that I had to go collect items on Thursday AND Friday before the sale. We had two friends bring their lemonade stands for us to sale our baked goods and drinks from. On Friday several of us went to the church to collect and sort. There were people I knew well, people I had never met, some I had seen once or twice. I got to the church at 5 o clock and never sat down once. Loads and loads of stuff were brought in. Some people brought things both days. We had several people sorting and pricing all night. We filled (and I mean FILLED) two big rooms full of stuff. Not just any junk either. People donated a Play Station 3, a Prada bag, Vera with tags still attached, a beautiful acoustic guitar, $400.00 shoes (several pairs, in fact), there were baby clothes, luggage, text books and hand made cards...almost anything you could imagine. Not to mention the beautiful home made cookies and cupcakes and truffles and... Several women asked if their husbands could come help the next morning, some people even volunteered to have their teenage sons come out. At 5am. On a Saturday. When we finally left at 9 that night most of our items were not priced, despite the hard work put in by a group of people working a maximum effort. When I got home that night I thanked my mom for keeping my kids, got them all ready for bed and to sleep and then sat down to make signs. I didn't even close my eyes that night. Parker was sick and I felt like I was too from being so nervous. At 4 am , I got dressed and loaded up two caffeinated sodas, a water, signs, markers, money and my nerves into Aarik's truck. When I pulled into the church parking lot a few minutes early I expected to be the first one there, and alone for awhile, but just ahead of me my sweet friend and her husband were pulling in. She's pregnant, and had other obligations that day AND her baby shower that evening that was planned around this event. Within minutes we had an army in. Moving tables, chairs, and boxes full of sale items. Organizing and setting up tables, pricing things and making magic. I couldn't believe how smoothly it went. We were ready to go before sale time and good thing since we had a few early shoppers. Everyone did more than their share of work and it was very obvious how much love they felt for Callie, and her parents, and grandparents, and for this cause. As tired as we all were the day of the sale was fun and went by quickly. There were a few times that seemed like things weren't going as we had hoped and there weren't many shoppers, but then it would pick up and lift our spirits. Callie came for a visit. Lots of friends and family showed up to help, and shop and make cash donations. One man came before work and then again afterward. One of the elderly women from our church ward came at 7 and stayed a few hours to help. Some of our kids stayed the whole day, some for a short while, and they ran the baked goods table (and one ran the show. Seriously, girlfriend was on top of things!) It was so beautiful to watch every person come and say "I'm sorry this is all I can do" "I wish I could do more" and then to see what it all came together to be. Beautiful to see that if every person would jut do as much as they can do, no matter how big or small they feel their contribution is, that something beyond great can be accomplished. At the end of the day we had another small army come back in and clean up and drop off leftovers to the closest Goodwill and just like that it was over.

When we first decided to do this, I hoped we would spread awareness and make $500.00 or more. With all of the hard work put in I changed that goal to $800, just enough to reach the $2000.00 goal I'd set several months back. We actually raised $1970.00 for Cookies for Callie alone!!  Amazing! I wish I could thank each person individually, though no one did it for any type of praise. People kept saying that I was in charge, but really this small army of people made this whole thing happen. Good people, with big hearts, who want to make the world a better place however they can. I can't speak for Josh and Aimee and Callie or any of the other local SMA families that helped with and were thrilled about this event, but they were so grateful for all of the work that went into this event. We are planning to make this an annual event and are so excited for next year! I'm going to post a few pics and then I have to run (literally). I've missed two weeks of long runs between sick Parker, seriously painful shin issues and the exhaustion of the wonderful weekend this event brought on. Hope to find time soon to post about my recent issues with clumsiness and losing important things, more about running, my new job teaching cycle and Konnor and Mckenzie starting soccer!! Thanks again to everyone who made this happen!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Tomorrow (and a few other days)

Tomorrow I will run 14 miles. That is the farthest I've ever run, and it's been almost two years since I've run that far. If it weren't for my mean right shin I would be so excited to have finally made it to this point. Well, I'm excited either way because,with all of the injuries so far, I never thought I'd get to this point. Last weekend I went out to run 12 and in my attempt to not be a hood runner (** see note) I added too many extra roads in and wound up running 13. While this shin has me running MUCH slower than I would like, the pace was such that I could have kept going a while longer and been fine. I also had to cut out one of my short runs this week in hopes it would help my leg, or help it not get worse. So I'm accepting that this time around with training I'm very injury prone, which means the best case scenario for November 10th is that I'll be in Richmond and toe the line very undertrained because of the time  I'll probably continue to take off to nurse these things. It's so frustrating to be physically capable, in every way but one, of doing something you want terribly to do. It really makes me think about what it would be like to have SMA and be fully mentally functioning and know how to do things, but not be able to do them. Which then makes me grateful to just have injuries from doing too much, or doing something wrong. I'm just hoping to go up there and run, walk, crawl or roll 26.2 miles in less than seven hours. We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Things are starting to come together for our rummage sale, "Cookies for Callie", that's one week from today. This is going to be one heck of a crazy week. All of the last minute preparations for what looks to be a huge event, Aarik is switching to second shift Monday, I'm required to start going to the Y two mornings a week for training until my classes start the first week of September, adjusting to putting the kids to bed by myslef when it's really been a two person job so far,  it's supposed to be a 30 mile week (4, 7, 4 and my first ever 15), getting ready to have some major work done on our house, then add in the normal cooking, cleaning and preventing disasters, and the rummage sale itself. A week full of great things that, combined, are a little overwhelming. But, come Saturday night we'll hopefully be in rest/celebration/happy mode. If there aren't any updates until then, I'm sure I'll be excited to update after Cookies for Callie.

If you're wondering, we DO still have our three kids. They still do funny, busy things every day, and they are still wonderful. Right now it's just easier to shoot a picture onto Facebook or Instagram to update family about how Parker, who is barely one year old, is climbing EVERYTHING in sight. Like things that adults and monkeys can't climb. Or to quickly type a status update about how my 6 year old Konnor figured out how to crack the family lock code on Netflix. I can let everyone know at the same time that if they see us out in public Mckenzie picked out what she's wearing, bless her sweet heart. It certainly was not my idea. But, to hold you over until we start school the first week in September and Mckenzie starts soccer, and Konnor starts swim lessons and Parker starts... whatever craziness he starts next, here are a few random pics from lately.

**This is my own made up term for running only in neighborhoods. Every other time I have trained for a race I have been a hood runner. This time I am slowly venturing farther out with each run and am determined not to be a hood runner. The most I stay in the neighborhood anymore is about 2.4 miles, then it is out on main roads to stretch my legs and avoid most dog traffic... MOST. You can expect to see this term used in the future on this blog.