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.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Sweet Reminder

Of why I'm running to help me on my 7 miles tonight.and the 14 Sunday. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Junk food, a new job and a Yard sale

Last night I had a great run. Didn't think it would go well with the way my shin and ankle were hurting, but in one of those miracles of running the pain went away about a quarter of a mile in and hasn't come back yet. Sweet! Tonight, however, after a full and very long day, I skipped my run. I'm completely exhausted and just needed a night to be home with the kids and Aarik. To make matters worse (or, maybe better) I just sat down and ate the biggest bowl of ice cream I've ever had in my life while I watched Crime 360 on Netflix. Hey, we all need to relax sometimes!

Two more things:

I'm really excited to have been presented the opportunity to teach group cycling (spin) classes at the YMCA right by our house a couple of times a week. It will be great for my mental health and, while the pay is almost laughable, the benefits make it well worth the effort. It is one of my passions to help people work toward healthy goals, and I have worked at both Gold's Gym and Peak Fitness in the past. It will be fun to do something new in a positive atmosphere and everyone there seems wonderful. I'm hoping that the cross training will be good for my marathon training and not make me more prone to injury than I already am. While the timing is a bit tricky, this will be a great thing for me, and the rest of our crew. I'll be posting more in the near future on how it's going and how the kids are doing in the programs we are signing them up for there.

Also, on August 25th, here in Winston Salem on Jonestown Road, a few of my wonderful, giving and inspiring friends and I will be having a rummage/yard sale and bake sale with all proceeds being donated to our fundraiser for the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation. I'm so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing and charitable people. We are working to finalize plans and strategizing ways to make it as succesful as possible. If anyone out there has lots of experience in this area, buying or selling, please share tips! I am excited to be running this marathon but the reason behind all of this is to raise as much money as possible for this charity. Hitting the goal would be great, but going above and beyond that would be even greater. With a 1 in 40 chance of being a carrier of the SMA gene, I can't think of anyone it wouldn't benefit to donate a few dollars to this cause. Any locals please stop by and say hello, shop for a cause, grab some cookies, or just drop off a donation! I'll keep you posted on this and let you know how it all turns out!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Look Y'all,

If I come and frantically ring your doorbell at 7 am on a Sunday morning and tell you that your dogs just attacked me and are running loose in the neighborhood and the only reason I didn't get bit was because I screamed until your neighbor came out and then I kicked your dog, DO NOT ask me which ones. Does it look like I know or care?! Put out your cigarette, get your keys and go catch the effers before I run into them again! People who can not keep up with or control their animals should not have the privilege of owning them.

On another note, I'm so loving the Olympics right now. Best time ever to watch these people (especially the runners) live their dreams and accomplish their goals. What a lucky girl I am to have this kind of inspiration at this point in life.  It's interesting to watch the different attitudes, too. Some are just grateful to be there at all and so humble and others pouting because they took silver instead of gold. Makes me want to be the kind of person who is just grateful to even be training for a marathon. If I can just make it through training and show up on race day and finish. Even if I have to walk some of it and don't even come close to my goal finish time. Just be proud of myself for doing it. Why is that so hard sometimes? I can't think of a single time that I finished a race and felt completely satisfied. It wasn't a long enough distance or a fast enough time. I hope by November 10th I will have found the secret to being proud of the accomplishment and the effort. K gotta go, the 100 meter finals are on!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

It's My Blog and I'll Cry if I Want To

So you may remember when I got my new, awesome running shoes that I was so excited to run the marathon in. Well, as soon as I started to slowly ease myself into them, I started having all kinds of problems. Because I was easing into them SO slowly I never would have contributed the problems to the shoes. Little twinges here and there, sore in weird places, blisters, my right foot (the one that hasn't been broken three times) started really hurting. I've taken time off here and there and have found that these things have come and gone, for the most part. But the past month or so I've been having the weirdest experience, during my runs my right foot would hit the ground WAY harder than the left. My right hip would bother me sometimes. The worst part has been the odd nagging pain I've had in lower half of my right leg. Some runs it would feel like my leg was going to give out under me as I ran. Sometimes it wouldn't hurt while I was running, but as soon as I stopped it would go weak and leave me limping for an hour or more. I ran my first long run in those shoes two weeks. Eleven strong miles, but with the weakness and pain coming and going throughout. Then I spent the rest of the week in agony and wound up having another forced step back week. Desperate to avoid another weekend in a waiting room to get yet another set of x- rays done, I went in and got fitted for shoes at Fleet Feet (they really are wonderful by the way) and found out that a great deal of my problems could likely be stemming from the fact that I have been running in really cute shoes that are totally wrong for me. I've always been an Asics fan and was nervous to be put into a pair of Brooks, but as I've been wearing them an icing my shins I've had less problems. This week i ran one 3 miler, biked 23 intense miles in a group cycling class and then ran 6 miles the next day. Hoping to get in a good 12 mile run tomorrow morning with out any problems during or after.

Can I just say that this has been much harder than I expected it to be? Well, it has. Our lives are completely nuts, our schedule is always hectic, there have been wonderful people to donate to the fundraiser ( the whole reason I'm publicly running this marathon instead of floundering privately), but then long stretches with no donations at all. my husband spends a lot of time watching kids for me to run or go get x-rays. For a good several months now the only person who has asked about my training is my kids pediatrician and then a friend I ran with this week. Long runs on Sunday aren't really something I would have chosen to do and are very lonely since none of my running partners can/will do a Sunday morning. It's hot. And humid. And most frustrating of all is how this is something that consumes so much time, energy and effort all while half the time I'm wondering if the new injury of the week will prevent me from even attempting to run the marathon. I will have a really excellent, strong run followed by random terrible pain in a leg or a slammed toe that's still hurting a month later. I pictured training for my first full marathon as this beautiful experience, just like training for my first half, but it hasn't been. I'm Praying this week will be a turn around for my attitude and my injuries and that I can find the time and energy to pick up the fundraising end again. Some advice: if you know someone crazy enough to train for any type of physical activity, ask how it's going. Pretend to care and understand all of the crazy things they'll tell you about. If you are the person crazy enough to train for the physical activity, surround yourself with a strong support system. I am so blessed to have the most amazing husband. He watches kids, doesn't complain about spaghetti or frozen pizza on nights I run for an hour or more, and really honestly does believe I am somehow actually going to do this. If I actually do, it will be as much his victory as mine. Find people to run with you, join a Facebook group ( I adore the Women's marathon group I'm in) for advice and support. And try to visualize the end result. Ok, I'm off to decorate a Little Mermaid cake and then up by 5am. Wish me luck, I sure do need it!