Monday, April 19, 2010

13.1 Miles Broken Down.....come run with me!!

Here is my List. My Inspiration.
The Reasons I Ran. The Reasons I Kept Going for 13.1 Miles.

Years ago, I read an article about Kristin Armstrong (Lance Armstrong's ex-wife) running her first marathon. She said she made a list and dedicated every mile to someone or something to keep her motivated. I loved the idea of this, and I always swore if I took on a monstrous physical task, I would do that. So I did. I will break it down for you.

This is at about the half way mark. The first time I got to see my family cheering me on. It was emotional turning the corner on Highland Drive knowing they were waiting for me. I wanted to hug them and tell them how much I loved them all.

I felt pretty good at this point, even though my legs were a little crampy after waiting 10 minutes in a line at Beans and Brews buying water because the last aid station had ran out of cups, and using their bathroom because the porta potty lines were insane! Thank God Gabe brought $20.00 with us for emergencies!

The cute little cheerleaders Ash and Zane waiting for us.

The kids watching, waiting to see us.

Adison and Tyler with their signs....

Finally, I saw them and made my rounds giving sweaty hugs and salty kisses.
Here is the breakdown of my 'Reasons to Run' list....ALL 13 of them!
(This is her 13 year old picture)
Many of the miles correlate to a certain number. Adison was my first born. Her birth was the point in life where I knew life would never be the same. We have gone through so much in her 17 years, and I reflected on all the good she does, and the future ahead. She has some amazing goals and I know she will achieve everyone of them. I am both scared for her and proud of her for every day. I love her very much, and only want the best for her in everything.


A few years ago, we had a major health scare with my Mom involving a spider bite and finding out she had Type II Diabetes. This June I will be riding my bike for the second time in the Tour de Cure and raising money for the American Diabetes Association.
My reasons for living. These three critters combined are what motivates me to give them the best life I can. Gabe and I can not believe how lucky we are to have three children that are so completely amazing in every way. By having them so many years apart, we have had a chance to enjoy them so much more at every age, and appreciate their similarities and celebrate their differences. We are truly blessed.

Too many pictures to post here! I really focused on how fortunate I am to have the family I do. We have a lot of family close by, a lot more family far away, but we think about them all the time and hope they are happy and healthy. It is hard having so many people you care about live so far away. Time just flies on by, and before you realize it, it has been years since you have seen them, and it just doesn't seem fair. We always try to focus on the great times we have together, and look forward to the future visits with those far away. We feel very fortunate to have our children surrounded by so much love from Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles close by. We are all very lucky!
MILE #5 ZANE (a.k.a. Z-MAN)

(These are his 9 month old pictures)
Z-Man, our 5 year old!!! This kid, ahhh, this kid is just so much fun. Is it because he is our last, so everything he does seems so damn adorable?? I have no idea, but whatever it is, he can do no wrong. Just don't ask his bother and sister the same question ;) When I was just moments from the finish line we saw him waiting for us, and he looked at me and yelled, "Mommy, I need to go to the bathroom!" I promised him I would take him as soon as I was done running. Too cute. Gabe and I really wanted to have one more child after Noah, but we went back and forth because the chances of having another child with a heart defect increased. We both knew we would face whatever challenges came along if it were going to happen, but we were lucky, and he is healthy, and our family is now complete.
Again, too many pictures to post here. Friends. Where do you even begin to put into words what friends do for you?? I have such a variety of friends.
Friends I have had since I was a kid.
People I haven't seen in a long time,
but know we always pick up right where we left off when we see each other.
New friends whom I already adore more than I can say
Friends I have reconnected with (thank you facebook)
People I see almost every day
People I consider my family
People who have been by my side during the worst times, and the best times

The Salt Lake Marathon was organized to raise money for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Gabe and I personally know 7 people who have or have had Cancer. They very in all degrees and seriousness, but we are happy to say every one of them is either recovering, or doing better than expected with treatment. Two Dads (both Gabe's and mine), Uncles (Marc and Marv), my friend Jenny, her mother Cathy, our friend Mike Reagan, who has beat the big C twice! Take that cancer.

It has been two years since Aunt Debby passed away. I still feel like I am in shock with the whole thing. It doesn't seem real to lose someone so young and healthy unexpectedly. Number 8 was her favorite number, as it symbolizes Infinity, and she always loved that. She loved children so much and had an amazing bond with Noah. She kept him so healthy before he had his last 'open heart surgery' and was the only one he would allow to see him after his last 'heart operation' I was kicked out of the hospital room by him, but she was allowed in...of course she was holding a nice colorful lollipop, but even with out it, I am sure he would have allowed her in because he loved her so much. Our family will never be the same without her, and her absence is always felt like a sting right to the chest. I love you Aunt Debby.


If you aren't already, become an organ donor.
Here is the link, follow it and sign up.
Did you know you can save 9 lives by becoming an organ donor. It is a Gift of Life that I have witnessed first hand. People who have been given that second chance at life, and people who never got another chance because they ran out of time waiting for a transplant.
Please seriously consider it.

Last year at the Donate Life 9k, I was talking to my friend Carolyn about wanting to run the Half Marathon in Salt Lake. She said it is the 10 year anniversary of her daughter Hope's birth right around then, and a light clicked on. What if I run in her honor? What better way to push myself, and maybe raise a little money if I put an important meaning behind it.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Hope. She passed away at 4 1/2 months from complications of having a severe Congenital Heart Defect. Our families have both been effected by Congenital Heart Disease, and we know each other because of our special heart kids. I can tell you, as much as I pushed myself to achieve this goal, I felt her pushing me even further, and doing this for a cause much more important than myself. I thought of her, and the family she left behind for miles and miles of training runs...and Mile 10 was hers at the race.

The images are the shirts I made and Gabe and I wore to the race. The fronts had the HOPE logo I made on it, and the backs had the following information. Gabe came up with, 'Running with HOPE in our HEARTS' after we left an IHH charity fundraiser, and it has been our 'theme' since that day.

My favorite number 11, my favorite 11 year old....Noah. I talk about Noah and the fears I always have for him all the time. Having an ultrasound done by a cardiologist who basically verifies your worst fears will forever change your life. I can not explain the sorrow and fear I lived in just through that first year. I have witnessed his little body in a medical state that still gives me nightmares. I have held a pure blue child while he laughed and giggled like nothing was wrong. I have ridden in an ambulance and gave him over to surgeons whom I trusted would do their best to get him back to those loving arms as soon as possible.
So much time goes on where he is just a normal 11 year old, but it is still always on our minds that life is sacred. After our race on Saturday, he begged us to let him do the 5k next year. I don't want him all, but I haven't told him that. I keep thinking, well maybe if we walk. Then we went to the Zoo the next day, and he was having a hard time after a few hours and we had to get him rehydrated and rested. Those are the reminders that I hate. That he is different, but I will do what I can to make him happy.

Wow. How lucky am I to have him?? Gabe and I have been married 12 years, and we have been through so much together. We met at the age of 16, and I did good by trapping him early (sucka) was the keeping him part that wasn't so easy.....I kid, I kid.
Gabe is such an inspiration to me. I watched him run his first marathon 6 years ago. I had tears in my eyes as I watched him finish in complete disbelief that anyone could do that. I have since cheered him on while he ran 10 more. This June I will be his biggest cheerleader as he runs his 12th marathon in Seattle. He stayed with me during the entire race and never left. He made me drink water when I didn't want to, slow down when he thought I was going too fast, and held my hand as we finished the Half Marathon side by side. He is my soul mate, and I can not wait for all the adventures life has in store for us.

MILE #13- ME

I saved the last mile for myself. Putting myself last is what I always do, with no regrets. But guess, what? It was the longest mile (1.1) I made myself take that time to accept a lot of things about myself. It is hard to accomplish what I have, and it feels arrogant even talking about it, but I am writing it, because it has been my journey for the last year....well, more like my whole life, but it really started a year ago.
Last year I ran my first 5k. I will not tell you what I weighed, but I will tell you it was ridiculous, and I needed to put all my focus on losing weight so I could finally be the person I want to be. I wanted to be the person running the race, NOT the cheerleader on the sidelines. Being a healthy active person was my only goal, and one year later, I will tell you I am as close as I have ever been. I will continue the journey of finding myself, and giving myself permission to be the person I have been hiding all these years.

I finished the Half Marathon and felt incredible.
It took me
Which is a pace of
11:34 per mile
I told everyone my goal was to finish, and I was not lying. I finished this race, and I am already registered to run a Half Marathon in Denver next month. I am registered for 3 bike tours from May to June of this year, and I can not WAIT to cross the finish line of each one of them.

I am ready to start believing in myself, because now I have PROOF that I can do it.
Because I did do it, and I will do it
again, and again, and again....

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thoughts Before Race Day

My mind is racing.

I have spent months training with this one goal in mind. Hell, I have had this goal since last October, but didn't start following a training plan until February. I have pushed myself through runs I never thought I could do. I will never forget the first time I ran 5 miles. I thought to myself when I was done, "There is NO WAY I can do a Half Marathon" That run took everything out of me. If it weren't for Gabe running by my side, encouraging me, pushing me, and most of all, BELIEVING in me, I don't know if I would have kept going. I tried to focus on why I set out to run in the first place. I wanted to accomplish something so huge for myself, but also run for a cause. If I could push myself everyday for a REASON, I knew I would find it in me to do this. I talked with family and friends about making donations to our Heart Group, Intermountain Healing Hearts if I ran this. I have raised money for a cause so close to my own heart, and I am running in memory of a little girl I never met, that would have been 10 years old this month. The image of her, and the HOPE she has given so many has been on my mind mile after mile, and I kept running. Before I knew it, I had run 8, 9, 10, even 12 miles!!..

"Who is this person?" I kept asking myself.
The answer was clear.
The person I always wanted to be........
the person I always knew I was,
but never gave her a chance to accomplish her goals
because I let self-doubt take over.
I am ready to let that person go. I want more than anything to live each day believing there is NOTHING I can not do. If I can tell my family, kids, husband and friends that they are awesome and CAN DO anything in life, why can't I believe that for myself? I am going to, because I deserve that. I deserve to see the Heather everyone else can see. So today, I will focus on how far I have come, and even more, how far I am going to go.
I have posted the course map. If anyone is in the area and want to cheer me on, I appreciate it more than I can say. Even if you can not do that, send good vibes my way, because the love and support of my family and friends pushes me to do my best at anything I take on.
See you tomorrow.....13.1 miles later.

Friday, April 2, 2010

17 years ago, our lives forever changed

First off, Happy Birthday Goonie.

Our beautiful, perfect Ady2ude turned 17 today.

Where does the time go?

I am not sure if most people know, but I was only 17 years old when Adison was born. It was a scary, uncertain time in life. What 17 year old is honestly ready to take on the challenges of raising a child? I can tell you without a doubt, having her was the best thing that ever happened to me. She was not planned, and it is not something I ever hope she goes through herself, but she taught me that life is so worth living, and if you give yourself to someone heart and soul, they will always be with you. There is nothing I would not do for her, then or now. I grew up when I had her, in fact, we grew up together, and she truly was a gift I still do not believe I deserve.

She has grown up so much in the past year, it is unbelievable. I am facing the fact that our time together with her as a child is getting smaller and smaller. She is driving her own car, has a job, looking at college, and is an amazing daughter and sister. I keep looking at it like an hourglass, the sand drops slowly, but when it nears the end, it speeds up and you begin questioning life in the terms if you did enough with the time we had together. I know she will ALWAYS be in our lives, but as a child, it is starting to come to an end. The only thing making the sting a little easier, is the fact that she is so AMAZING, and I know she has so many things to offer this world.
Happy Birthday Goonie Girl,
we could not be more proud to call you our daughter!