Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Marathon Man

It's been a couple of days since the marathon, and I am recovering nicely.  I am still sore, and my feet hurt, but otherwise I am in much better shape that I expected.  In fact, the entire weekend was just so amazing, I couldn't have imagined it better than what occurred.

The morning of the marathon started early for me, as I slept fitfully the night before.  I had my alarm set for 3:45, but was awake a little before it went off.  After getting ready and stretching, my sister and I left for Manhattan.  We dropped one car off near the finish line and used hers to get me to the buses at the midtown library.  I boarded one of the many buses around 7:15 and was off to Staten Island.  I sat with a group who were all doing their first marathon.  One of the group was from NY, the others from Montreal and Los Angeles.  A couple of others near us included a pair of brothers from NY who were doing their 9th NYC Marathon together.  They gave us some pointers as we approached the start village.

I met up with several from Team World Vision and we sat and chatted, waiting for our turn to load into the corrals to start.  After watching the first couple of waves start, we took a picture of the group with the Verrazano Bridge behind us, prayed, and did the Team World Vision rally clap.  We then split up to go to our start locations.  I was in the way back, loading in the last corral.

We walked toward the bridge and finally on to the bridge.  The cannon fired for our wave to start and after a few minutes of walking, I crossed the start line and started my GPS tracker.  The race clock was already an hour and a half in, as I started at just about 11:00AM.

We jogged slowly up the bridge and I looked to my left and enjoyed the unbelievable view of lower Manhattan.  It looked so far away and I was awed by the fact that I would be running 26 miles and through all of the boroughs.  The downhill of the bridge was awesome and we entered into the crowds of Brooklyn.  Miles 2 through 14 are now a hazy memory.  The crowds were awesome cheering for us and waving at us, but they weren't who I was waiting to see - I knew my family would be waiting for me a little after the halfway point when we entered Queens.

After crossing the Pulaski Bridge into Queens, I started to look for them.  As I approached mile 14, I saw a group with orange shirts on the left side of the course.  First I saw my sister Michele, then Angie, Cassie, my cousin Joe, and my Aunt Carole Anne.  The instant I saw them I started bawling.  I was so overcome with emotion that all I could do when I got to them was hug them while I cried. I hugged each and thanked them for coming, but I knew my break was over and it was time to get going again.  I challenged my aunt to run with me, and I think she tried to get her walker moving, but I ran off while they were still whooping it up for me.  When I thought they couldn't see me anymore, I stopped running, cleared my eyes and thought of them some more.  It was time to get a move on.  We ran through Long Island City and up onto the Queensborough Bridge.  It seemed to last forever, and even when we passed mile marker 15, I didn't get the pick me up that most mile markers have on me.  The down slope of the bridge was a nice respite, as was the large crowd of people that were at the end of the bridge's hard left turn.  With another left turn we were on the long 1st Ave run north towards the Bronx.

I don't know if the "wall" is physical or mental, and if it is physical, I don't know if it is muscular or cardio related, but I do know that I hit them all on the 1st Ave run, somewhere between mile 18 and 19.  I started to labor and began walking more than running.  It's here where I first started thinking about quitting.  I prayed for strength.  I prayed for the will to continue.  I prayed for the children that we were helping and I prayed for everyone who supported me this year.  I also thought about my running buddies, Robert and Kristin.  I thought about them telling me to "suck it up, princess".  I also thought about Team World Vision and how it's all about the kids...I continued to put one foot in front of the other.

As I came of the bridge, I noticed the police cars with their lights on were pretty close to me.  I thought, at the time, that this was the time cutoff and that the sag wagon would be with them.  I didn't want my race ended, so I worked hard to stay in front of them.  I was angered by them being so close to me, as I knew I was still on my pace target of about 9 minutes per kilometer.  This anger fueled my a little.  As I entered the Bronx, they got closer and closer...when I was crossing the bridge back into Manhattan, they passed me.  There were a lot of people behind me still running, so I realized that this wasn't the sag wagon, just several emergency vehicles, so I was relieved.  Unfortunately, I also lost my motivation to keep going as quick as I could.  As we came down 5th Avenue, we crossed the 35K marker and then the 22 mile marker.  By then, I started to think I might finish.  I still wanted to quit, but I figured I was so close by this point, that I would just keep going.  Then, my phone died and with it the GPS tracking, stats and my music.  I took my headphones off and just started to watch the remaining spectators.  There weren't too many left by this point, but they were all saying the same thing..."You are almost there!  Keep going!"  So I did.

Eventually, I entered Central Park.  Just a couple of more miles to go.  There were some hills which really hurt, but I could still jog the down slopes.  My feet hurt as I was starting to blister on my toes on my left foot.  My left knee hurt, too.  But, my calves were fine (they usually cramp when I race).  Unfortunately, my back was starting to really hurt.  I ultimately passed 40K and 25 miles.  You think it would be in the bag by then, but you'd be wrong...I wanted to quit more than at any point in the race.  I hit Central Park South and then Central Park West and the 26 mile marker.  I then saw my family for the second time.  I had the same emotional reaction, but didn't stop to hug...I knew if I stopped I wouldn't start moving again.  They "ran" with me.  I then left them and entered the park for the last 800 meters or so.  800 meters is far longer than I ever expected.  Finally, I hit the 400 meter sign.  I screamed, "DOES THIS COURSE EVER END?"  200 meters.  I'm dying here!  100 meters.  The finish line was in sight.  Although the stands were all lit up, there was no one in them.  I passed a line of photographers.  I heard the announcer say something, I think he might have even said my name or something about World Vision, I don't remember. I raised my hands above my head and crossed the finish line.  Surprisingly, I did not get emotional at the finish.  I might have been too tired.  I received my medal and my foil blanket.  I sat on a bench for about a minute.  I didn't want to stiffen up, but I had to give my legs a short break.  I got up, had my finisher picture taken and headed for the exit.

The race was done, and so was I.  But the fundraising continues.  My page will be up for the rest of the year.  I'd be grateful for any last donations...I'm still $300 short of my revised goal of $7,500 and our team is a little short of an amazing $210,000 for child protection.  Make a difference by making a donation.  Click here to go to my fundraising page.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Misplaced Anxiety

We leave for NYC tomorrow.  I've trained hard, maybe too hard, and am nursing some knee and hip pain on my left side.  That is adding the the incredible amount of anxiety I am feeling towards the race on Sunday.  I think some of that is also being fed by the unknown around what I am to experience Sunday morning.

Someone sent me a wonderful note saying that all I have to do is get myself to the start line, and God will take care of the rest.  Someone else asked me, "what's the worst that can happen?"  Pretty smart support from two friends.  At the end of the day, this is just a long race...not a life-threatening or life-saving event.

But what the team and I are fundraising for IS about life and death.  Child Protection is about keeping the most heinous evils away from the most vulnerable of children AND from restoring them when it does happen to occur.  This is knee pain during Sunday's race ultimately is not...

So, we have a couple of more days to raise money, and reach my increased goal of $7500.  Additionally, the team is less than $20,000 away from our increased goal of $200,000.  Please consider making a very generous donation and help make a decision for life.

Click here to donate

Thanks, and God Bless you.


Monday, September 09, 2013

Strong Legs, Broken Heart

I haven't blogged in a while.  I've had an interesting summer and frankly, I'm just glad it's over.

I took a new role at work, and although I am enjoying the challenge it has been a lot of work.  While I was transitioning into this role we bought and moved into a new house.  Then, I was diagnosed with a serious and very rare autoimmune disease.  Then, the woman who took me in as a teen passed away.  Needless to say, it's been a tough several months where many things took a back seat, including fundraising for World Vision's Child Protection Services and training for the New York City Marathon.

A while back, the doctor gave me a thumbs up regarding my treatment and cleared my to continue my training.  I lost a couple of months of training during this process, but I concluded that I was going to try and run the marathon anyway.  I started training again.

Although I am not where I hoped to me, I had a very strong 10k run this morning.  I am in NYC, and the temperature difference from North Texas really seemed to help.  I am going to put that to the test again on Saturday when I plan on running 21k, or a half marathon training run.

As I continue to train, I also realize that I need to step up my fundraising.  I planned on doing a couple of events this summer and will try to squeeze them in before the race in November.  I am more dedicated to this project, now more than ever.  Tonight we had a Team World Vision call, and we had a guest (an employee of World Vision) who had recently been to Mozambique to see the work and need there for child protection services.  He read from his personal journal about kids that were exploited, abused, and in the most horrible need for help.  I cannot clear from my mind the eighteen month old girl that he mentioned that had been a victim of rape...18 MONTHS old for crying out loud.  How can that not break your heart?  How can that not cause you to action - any action that could help these most vulnerable of people.

I know that story and the others he shared will motivate me to go to the gym tomorrow and the next day and the next to continue my training for the marathon.  I hope it also motivates you to click the link below to make a donation to help.  We cannot allow these horror stories to continue.  We MUST act.  I've met some of the people that Child Protection is meant to help during my trip to Kenya.  They are real people, who laugh and cry just like us.  We can make a difference together.  We MUST try!

Please click here to make a generous donation to help fund the vital work being done by World Vision.

Thank you.  I pray that you and your children never have to suffer anything like the people in Mozambique and elsewhere.


Monday, July 15, 2013

One In A Million

For most of you, my lack of workout posts and requests for money for my fundraising for Team World Vision's Child Protection has been a welcome respite.  For me, it's been an interesting couple of months, to say the least.

Several weeks ago I started exhibiting symptoms that made working out very difficult.  I was in a great deal of pain and a lot of motion just made it worse. I went to my general practitioner and he was able to rule out a couple of things, but could not give me a diagnosis, so he referred me to a specialist.  This specialist performed a biopsy and a couple of weeks later I had my diagnosis - a very rare autoimmune disease where my body attacks a normal antibody in healthy cells.  The disease is serious and can lead to significant issues, including blindness and death.  I am fortunate in that my doctor believes he can control the disease with a very conservative steroid therapy and will not have to move to a more aggressive therapy where the side effects from the steroids are almost as bad as the disease.  Either way, my doctor assures me that we will become "best friends" over the next several years as I will have to visit him often.

I have to be honest...if I was going to be associated with something that had 1 in a million odds, I would have preferred winning the lottery.

At this point, I am just glad to have a diagnosis, particularly one in which the doctor has instructed me to return to normal activity as I can tolerate.  So, today, after a week of treatment, I ran.  I didn't run long and I didn't run particularly far, but I ran.  My legs hurt, my head hurt and my breathing hurt, but I ran.  It's amazing how quickly we lose some of our conditioning, but all I know is that I ran.

I don't know if I will be able to run tomorrow, and I know I couldn't run yesterday, but today I ran.  I ran for Child Protection and all of the kids that will benefit from our fundraising.  I ran for all of the people that donated to my run and those who will donate.  I ran to get ready for the New York City Marathon.

Today, in addition to all of the above, I ran for ME!

It's clear that there are no promises for tomorrow.  Go kiss your spouse, hug your kids, and make a donation by clicking here.  Don't wait for tomorrow, do it now.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why Child Protection

The day after a very successful Patriot Half Marathon in Rockwall, my legs are very sore.  But, my heart aches even more.

We recently completed our first Team World Vision NYC Marathon team call.  This call was to allow all of the runners to introduce themselves and learn more about World Vision's Child Protection project.  Child Protection is a five-year initiative to help children who are in the most vulnerable situations.  The nature of the call, and the need for help for this children is enough to break your heart - and it did mine.

I am running with Team World Vision to raise money to help fund all of the incredible work that they are doing helping these children.  The project is focused on three primary areas: Prevention, Protection, and Restoration.

The project aims to help children from sex trafficking and other predatory labor practices, from early and forced marriage, from warfare and child soldiering, from female genital mutilation, from abuse stemming from a disability, from the scourge of gang violence and includes a special project to protect them from child sacrifice.  Just typing the list conjures up images of unspeakable evil in this world, and through your help we can help the more than two and a half million children who are at risk.

I will continue to provide more information about this initiative, my fund raising and my training, but would you please make a generous donation to help fund this most worthwhile cause?  Don't wait for the marathon in November.  Make one today.

*** Click here to make a donation and save a child today ***

Thanks for your support,


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Child Protection

This coming week begins a busy period for this year's fundraising for Child Protection with World Vision.

On Monday, I will run my second half marathon of the year.  I will be running the hilly Rockwall Patriot Half.  I'm less concerned with my time, and more concerned with what I've been warned as a very hilly course.

On Tuesday night, we have our first New York Marathon conference call with the World Vision leadership team and fellow runners from all over the country to get more details about the Child Protection initiative for which we are fund-raising.

And, I continue to train and diet.  There are only 23 weeks remaining until the NYC Marathon, and I have a long way to go.

While I work at getting ready for the biggest challenge of my life, won't you please consider a generous donation to the cause to help protect children from exploitation, abuse, and despair?

Click here to visit my fund raising page and make a difference in children's lives.

Click here to view my four minute video on how I got involved in World Vision.  When I started my selfish goal was to change me, but I ended up changing in ways I never imagined...

And, as always, thank you for your support.


Wednesday, May 08, 2013

A Journey Of Change

My journey with World Vision has been a journey of change. Not just a physical change, but one in which has seen a huge heart change.

I started because I needed a goal. Running my first 13.1 two years ago was that goal. I was going to train and prepare for the modest goal that I set: To complete a 13.1 half marathon.

What happened during that process is that I actually started to for the people that we were helping, care for the people that supported me, and ultimately, care for my place in God's Kingdom. I fell in love with our sponsored children in Katito, Kenya during my training - as I knew that what I was doing was going to directly impact their lives.

Because of my fundraising (and your generous support), I was invited to go on a 'Vision Trip' to Kenya. I was going to see the good work that was (and is) going on there. I was going to take part in the water project commissioning and celebration, I was going to see exactly what the money that I was raising was going to. I was going to see how the people of the community were benefiting by my running.

I saw all of that and more. But what I really saw was hope, love and faith. And, seeing this changed me more than I could have ever imagined. I met our four sponsored children, I met a family in dire need and decided to sponsor one of their children, too. I met the incredible people of World Vision Kenya who are the hands, feet and heart of God there. I met and fell in love with all of them.

So, when I came back, I knew I had more to do. I signed up to run three half marathons, and ending up running four. Again, through the incredible generousity of my family, friends, and colleagues, I raised a nice amount of money for clean water in Katito. This result led to another amazing opportunity.

I've been invited to run the New York City Marathon in November. Given that I received this invite right near the terrible incident in Boston, this invite means even more to me. To return to my birthplace and run in a full marathon is an absolutely wonderful opportunity. To be able to celebrate this with friends and family in NYC is so awesome.

So, this year, I'll be training hard to be able to complete 26.2 miles. My goal is to finish. I'd like to think I can do it in about six hours, but just finishing right now seems to be a daunting task. I know how I feel after 13.1 and can't imagine doing another 13.1 right afterwards. But, I'm going to give it my all.

The children that we help, as we are running for World Vision's Child Protection Initiative, are worth it. And, I've seen the impact that World Vision's efforts have on an individual, on a family and on a community. Your money could not go to a more worthwhile cause.

Please consider a generous donation to this effort. Consider more than one. Consider a sacrificial gift to support this run. My goal is $5,000, but I would like to raise much much more. Remember, a full marathon is the most grueling thing I can think of right now. Support my training efforts with a donation, and share my page with all of your friends...

...together, we can change the world.

*****Click here to visit my fundraising page and make a donation*****

And, as always, thank you for your support.

Much love,