Wednesday, September 23, 2009

22 Mile Training Run

Wow! When I look over the last year that I started running I really do feel a little amazed. I mean for me anyway I never thought that I would have ever wanted to run a marathon and now I'm going to, and I never thought I would run 8 miles, 12, 14, 20 or 22 miles...ever! Today I completed a 22 mile training run for the first time! 4:43 (not counting my water and potty breaks). For me this is a huge accomplishment, just to say I ran 22 miles. Let me tell there is a lot going on in a 22 mile run, a lot of time to think and a lot of time to reflect on the last 16 weeks of training. Really for me it is a time to reflect on the last 10 years and everything that has brought me to this point.

With the kids back in school I can't take off early for my runs, I have to get the kids up and to the bus stop by 730 am, which means I hit the road by 8am. I have a water belt filled with Gatorade that I wear and I pack my power bar gels, I try to use these at least every 45 mins, I find that they work for me. The first 3 miles of any of my runs are hard going, my right hips always seems to take some time to warm up and my muscles are sore and stiff.I have had some issues with my right hip and knee and these seem to get aggravated after about 10 miles, then I have to take some time to stretch out my hip.

I was feeling good from miles 4-8 really just finding a nice groove and feeling good, I thought briefly..maybe I can do 24 miles..(that thought was later shattered at mile 11).

Mile 8 was a potty stop and stretching time then off over the first of 2 bridges in this 22 mile route. Yes I did plan that on purpose, thought it would be a nice challenge. Again good idea at the time.

Mile 9-10 is the Great Neck Bridge and I hit this again at miles 12-13. At mile 13.1 water and potty break. I stop at another 7-11 which there seem to be located at least every 3 miles. I am so thankful to those folks working there always letting me use the bathroom and never refusing to take my very sweaty dollar bills.

At about mile 13.5 I run right into a huge spider web and freak out! I nearly strip out of my clothes and yes had a bit of a melt down. I'm sure people driving by thought I was having a seizure or something. It was a huge spider and if I didn't see him jump off me I might have stripped until I was sure he was no longer on me!

After I recover from my spider situation I head back over the Lesner Bridge for the second time this is just past mile 14, I stop long enough to look over and snap a photo. Off again.

I was feeling pretty good, tiered and hot from miles 15-16.5 then started to feel fatigued at mile 17 I could feel my hams tighten up and my hips were hurting, and a new pain developed, I started to have lower pelvic and abdominal pain, tightness in my groin area and my thighs were really starting to burn. I felt my pace slow and my legs were not going as fast as I wanted them to. I hit my land mark that let me know I had 3 miles left.

I felt like I was giving it my all and my legs were hardly moving, it was hot, my legs were sore and heavy, it was all I could do to keep moving forward. I wanted to stop and walk so bad, but I kept telling myself, just to that sign, just to the fire station now just a little further.

There is a church with a huge cross out front that is the land mark that lets me know I have 2 miles left. This is were I had to say a little prayer and I had to dig a little deeper to keep myself moving. This is where my son always seems to catch up with me.

When I get to the point that I want to quit I feel like crying and I try to think about all the things that I have been through and I tell myself I can do this to. I move forward.

I think of my son the day the doctors told me he had cancer, I move forward. I think of the first day after his surgery to remove the cancer and I see that little boy of 17 months lying there so helpless, I move forward. I think of all the struggles that he had to endure, the chemo, the surgeries and the long nights of wondering my me, why him, why and I move forward. I move forward with tears in my eyes thinking of that little boy with so much life in such a little time and I move forward. I think of the day I picked out that little baby blue casket for my little boy and I move forward. I move forward and I cry with each step I take, cry because it hurts still today as it did 10 years ago. But I move forward. I give it all I have the last 2 miles tears and all.

There are days that I didn't want to do this, didn't want to breath, didn't want to do anything all I wanted was that little boy back in my arms. It has been a long road for me.

10 years later, I am running for my son, running to remember running to honor and finally running to let myself free. No longer running from the pain or the emotions, I had to hit those head on over the last few years. I have had to learn to love again and open my heart up again.

This journey has been a good journey for me, I am in a better place now. My son is at peace, it has been me for so long that has not been at peace. I'm ready to be at peace, I'm ready to honor him and let the world know how much he meant to me and how much of a better person I am because he was in my life!

I'm ready for this marathon! Bring it on!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon

What a gorgeous day to run! Exciting and exhausting, I reluctantly ran my second 1/2 marathon, the Virginia Beach Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon.

After the last long run I had, my 18 mile training run, I had my confidence shaken. I was fatigued, sore and just wore out. I questioned my goals and my physical ability to complete my goal of running in the Chicago Marathon in Oct. 2009.

I had signed up for the Rock and Roll months ago, so I was already committed to running, even though I really didn't want to. I had not slept well for the last 2 days, as usual I was coming off a 3 day 12 hr stretch from working in the ED. I was exhausted and near tears the night before the run.

My parents are out here in Virginia visiting, so my mom wanted to see me run. We were up at 0430 after only a few hours of sleep. With at least 15,000 runners, I was nervous and not ready to run. I just kept thinking, "you were supposed to do a 10 miler training run this week whats 13.1!?"

It was a great day to run, the weather was perfect and the music and people were great. Although I was tiered I tried to enjoy myself. I ran it in 2:26 which was 6 minutes slower than my first 1/2 Marathon, but this course had 2 trips over a bridge, the last course was flat.

What I learned today is that you have to get back on the horse, if you have to stop to stretch it is better to than to injure yourself, your not a quitter if you have to walk for a bit, and that your mother will always be proud of you whether your first or dead last place.

I got some of my motivation back, some of my confidence is showing and I am realizing that my goal is to finish the marathon, bring awareness to childhood cancer and raise money for childhood cancer research, I have completed the last two. Now to run and finish the Chicago Marathon!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Thanks to all my wonderful friends and family, we have met our goal of raising $3200!!

Thanks to you we have raised this money for Rally Foundation and their commitment to Childhood Cancer Research.

I am so blessed to have the friends and family that have been so supportive to me.

Words can never express how thankful I am! Look out Chicago, here I come!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Where did August go?

August was a long month with a lot of long runs, 12 mile, 16 mile and the last 18 mile that made me cry!!

Sept first! and I am on my last 6 weeks, now running at least 5 days a week and working with a personal trainer 2 days a week.

I'm at the final push with the last 2 long runs of 20 and 22 mile runs!! I'm getting scared and finding it hard to stay focused. But know that does not matter, I just have to gut it out these last 6 weeks and make it count. Push past the fear and doubt and just get those miles done! Its all guts and glory now baby!

6 weeks and counting. Going to bed early so I can be up early for a quick 5 mile.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fund Raiser Update!!

We have now reached $2548.00!! Our goal is $3200.00 but I hope to exceed that by October!

Thanks for your continued support and generous donations! I could not do this without the love and encouragement that I receive from everyone!

Now I'm off to stretch these sore muscles of mine!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Now I Understand!

I'm well into my marathon training with 2 long runs under my belt (10 and 12 miles) I have begun to understand what it means to have "black toes", "chafe" in areas that should not chafe, taking "ice baths", "fartleks" and "pickups".

I have had runs that when I was done I seriously wanted to cry, or could barely walk due to cramping muscles are chaffed thighs!

Garrett my fiancee can not understand why I take and tolerate an ice bath when he can hear me screaming from the other room.

I'm getting nervous and I am doubtful at times if I can really pull this off. I am scared!

I run on the treadmill, run on the track, at the beach and anywhere I can. I sing out loud to the songs that pump me up and I even at times find myself doing the "Rocky" salute!

I have never been one for "self motivation" as far as working out, but I do find myself motivated when I gear up for a run.

I proudly wear my headband 26.2 and wonder if anyone really understands what that means.

You understand I am not an athlete, I have never been one for running or training unless I was being forced to. But I am on a mission and I have forgotten lately why. So I look at my pictures of Johnathon and I remember the long nights in the hospital, the long days after his passing, it is then that I remember WHY I am doing this.

Thanks for your continued support in my efforts to train for this marathon.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Still here!

Just an update to let you know I'm still here and still training. I have been busy with the kids now that they are out for the summer. I'm still training and it is harder some days than others. Right now the hardest part is finding the time to run before it gets too hot. I'm on the count down now it is about 15 weeks before Chicago and I am scared and nervous. I just take it one day at a time and keep moving forward. I have a few races coming up in July, so that will keep me busy and motivated.

Thanks for all the support and I will be back with more updates.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Count Down Begins!

On Sunday, October 11, 2009, 45,000 runners will take to the streets of Chicago to participate in one of the world’s major marathons, the 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. I will be one of those runners.
The countdown to the Marathon begins, I have 20 weeks of training that starts this week. I am nervous and worried that I won't be ready in time. October in Chicago will be hot and most of my training is going to take place here in the hot humid weather of Virginia Beach.
I will also start to get more aggressive with my fundraising. My goal is $3200.00 and we are now at $2373.00. I would like to exceed that goal and shot for $5000.00.
If you have not donated please consider doing so. For those of you who have donated, thank you for your very considerate donation to this cause.
As I get closer to running in Chicago I will keep posting my random thoughts and training progress.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

1/2 Marathon down, 1 Marathon to go!

Well! I finished my first 1/2 Marathon today and what a beautiful day for it! Here are the stats:

There were 60 finishers in the Female 35 to 39 age group and 868 finishers in the 1/2 Marathon division.

My overall finish place was 611, in my age group finish place was 28 and my gender finish place was 235. My time 2:20:23.89 gave me a 10:43 pace per mile.

My 3M time was 31:09.85 for a pace of 10:23 per mile
My 6M time was 1:02:55.03 for a pace of 10:35 per mile
My 10M time was 1:46:23.53 for a pace of 10:52 per mile

I finished and I had such a great time with friends and family that were there to cheer me on! Thanks to those that cheered me in spirit wish all of you could have been there too!

I was introduced at the awards ceremony and had my letter about Johnathon read to the crowd. It was so awesome to be recognized for doing what I have set out to do. I feel like Johnathon has touch so many lives still and he continues to today, I am so happy that he was a part of my life if even for such a short time. He has helped me spread the word about Childhood Cancer even 10 years after he has left he lives on still through stories and spirit.

I feel more motivated than ever and feel so blessed to have the friends that I do that support me so much!

With each race and each time I talk about Johnathon I get that much closer to finding peace within myself and being able to finally find away to put all of this at peace within myself.

Thanks for sharing in my journey and allowing me and Johnathon into your hearts!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tears and Fears about 1/2 Marathon

So it is soon upon me that I will be running my first 1/2 Marathon. I feel completely unprepared and terrified! I feel like I am no where near ready and I feel sick to my stomach when I think about it.

So much has lead up to this point and I feel so overwhelmed at times. When the workouts are hard and I have a bad day I question whether or not I am going to be able to run a full marathon. I question myself and my courage. I question if I have set my goals too high. I get scared.

Then I remember the courage that my son showed everyday of his very short life. I remember the courageous face I had to put on every time I walked into that hospital. I remember holding back tears so that my son would never see me cry. I remember never showing how scared I was, and I was scared, very scared.

Then I remember why I started all this, to just remember and honor my little boy! I'm scared I will be honest with you there. But I will do it and I will finish and then I will work toward the next race and the next one until I find myself in Chicago with thousands of others running for their own causes and memories. Running for their own healing or soul searching, running to run.

I have so much love and support from all of you that at times that is enough to get me out of bed and on the road. But some days are easier than others, some days I just want to "give up".

But Johnathon never gave up, he fought to the very end, he never gave up, he just had to let go.

On Saturday I will be introduced at the Dismal Swamp Stomp and my story told of why I am running.

Please try to join me there for this big day, and if not please pray for me to have the strength and courage to complete this race.

My story was published on the Dismal Swamp Stomp press page here is the link.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wounded Warrior 5k

I finished another race! I did the Wounded Warrior 5k(3.12 miles) on Saturday the 28th. It was really nice and a nice ceremony for the fallen men and women of our armed forces. Very nice running weather. The race was along the boardwalk at the beach. There were a little over 700 people that turned out to run. So it was a little crowded.

In my age group I placed 12th and paced 216th overall. I had a personal best of 28:48. I am feeling the pain today! My knees are killing me!

I have a couple more runs before my first 1/2 marathon on April 18th. I am scared to death, every time I think about running the half, I feel like I'm going to throw up! But for the first time I feel confident that I can actually finish it. So I continue on the road to the marathon in Chicago and continue with the training.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Marathon Training Update!

Hey there! Just a little note to catch everyone up on my training efforts toward the Marathon in Chicago Oct 11, 2009.

As of now I have completed 5 races.

Mud in Your Eye Series:

5k 32:39 minutes placed 9th in my age group
6k 37:31 minutes placed 8th in my age group.
8k 51:11 minutes placed 10th in my age group.

Valentines Day 14k
14k 1:30:52 placed 89th in my age group

Shamrock 8k
8k 48:27 placed 2305th over all 117 in my age group out of 7091 total runners

Now take note I'm not setting any records...just wanting to complete the runs to my fullest potential.

The next scheduled runs are as follows:

Wounded Warrior 5k March 28th
Cerebral Palsy of Virginia 5k April 4th
Dismal Swamp Stomp 1/2 Marathon April 18th (first 1/2 marathon)
St. John the Apostle 5k May 2nd

I am always looking for someone to come and run with me, so let me know if you want to sign up for any one of these events.

Thanks for all the support!

Friday, March 13, 2009

100 MILES!! Run Mom Run!!

I have logged in over 100 miles since I have started training for my marathon! We have reached $2158 toward my goal of $3200, hopefully we will exceed this goal! My first 1/2 marathon is April 19th!! If you have not donated to the cause, please consider.

If you already made a donation..Thank you! You Rock!!

Please follow my blog for random thoughts and updates!

Always in a "Forward Motion"

Rally On,

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Johnathon is now a "RALLY KID"

As you may know by now I am a Rally Athlete running to raise money and awareness for Childhood Cancer Research. Johnathon is now officially a "Rally Kid" his profile and picture will be posted on the Rally website

Other people can also chose to run in honor of Johnathon. So again his spirit lives on.

The following is the letter I submitted to the foundation as his bio, I had a hard time getting through the last part of it as I was over come with tears and could no longer see the keyboard.

The letter is as follows:

Well when it comes to talking about Johnathon it isn't hard. He was the light of my life, my sweet little angle. He was really sent into my life to change the direction I was headed. And although his time here was short, he touched so many people and changed lives as well.

He was a beautiful baby boy with the biggest blue eyes that would just melt your heart! He had such a great laugh and a personality that just shined! He spread so much warmth and love to everyone he touched. He was my special "little man".

Johnathon was 17 months old the day I found out that he had been diagnosed with Neuroblastoma stage 4. That was the day that I will never forget!

"your son has cancer!!"

Cancer!? Kids don't get cancer!! And as the days, and weeks and months of in and out of the hospital I had the rough awakening that children really do get cancer.

Neuroblastoma is a rare and aggressive cancer that at the time we were limited treatment options, most of the options that we were given were "trial and research" options.

But as a mother what do you do? You chose to fight! And we fought hard. Johnathon fought his cancer for 6 months, he had surgeries to remove the tumors, chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell rescue. He spent 2 months in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and fought to get home, even when the prognosis was poor. We walked out of that PICU with the entire staff clapping.

After a short time of being cancer free the cancer returned and this time it was everywhere. In December 1998 the surgeons told us the tumors were inoperable, and sadly told me this would be his last Christmas, I took him home.

I opted to stop treatments. I could no longer see him suffer no longer risk losing him in the hospital hooked to machines, drugged and surrounded by strangers. I chose to let him spend his last few weeks surrounded by family his stuffed animals his pet dog and me. We sat around and watched his favorite movies and I never left his side.

Johnathon became weaker and sicker very quickly, he was dying, he had waited until I had made it back to my mothers house where he knew I would be safe. I held him close and told him " mommy is going to be okay, you will always be my little angel, It is okay to go, the angels are waiting for you, I love you Johnathon, I love you." And as he drew his last breath in he looked at me and touched my face and said "love you mama, love you" Just as he came into the world it was my face he saw and as he left this world it was my face he saw. Johnathon passed away quietly in my arms on 16 January 1999, he was 2 1/2 years old.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chicago 2009 Marathon!!

I have been in a training slump over the last few weeks, although I am still running my races I have not been logging in the miles daily. I think I may have finally pulled myself out and am on a regular schedule now. I just have to stick to it!!

So far we have raised $2058 toward Childhood Cancer Research!! I am so happy with the support and encouragement that I have received.

I recently was invited to run for the Rally Foundation and run in memory of Johnathon who will become a "Rally Kid" The Rally Foundation is the organization that I have become a part of, it has given me a way to raise money for my cause and has made it easy. I have had so much personal support from the staff.

October 11, 2009 the Rally Athletes are going to run in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. I will be one of those athletes!! I have to raise at least $3200 to qualify. I am almost there with only $1152 to go!!

I know that I can raise the money, but I am scared that I may not have what it takes to run a full marathon!! That's 26.2 miles!! I felt good after the 14K (8.7 miles) and feel quite certain that I could do a half marathon, but a full one!? The thought scares me.

Then I wondered if I have set the bar too high! If I actually have what it takes to do the whole thing. Garrett says that running a half marathon would be just as rewarding and would still show the support and love that I have for Johnathon and would still be raising funds for Childhood Cancer Research. But running a full marathon? Do I really have the athletic ability to do it, the mind set? I know that I have the determination and the drive. I just feel a little overwhelmed when I think about it all.

I know that I say it is all about one race at a time, one mile at a time and just staying in a "Forward Motion". But I have never been good at following my own advise.

The one thing that I always hear from people when it comes to my history with my son and his battle with cancer is "your so strong...I could have never done that" I hear this more often that I want to hear. But honestly I was just doing what I "had" to do. I didn't think of it as having the strength, I just thought of it as doing what any mom would do, to just be there for my son.

I was 25 years old when I had Johnathon, what the hell did I know at 25? I'm almost 40 now and I'm just figuring things out, just now moving forward from being stuck for so long.

I can remember as clear as yesterday when we had to take Johnathon to Salt Lake City Children's Hospital to find out what was going on in his stomach. Our pediatrician had found what looked like tumors on his liver and kidney in x rays.

I remember sitting in the waiting area after meeting with the doctors and I can remember sitting there with toys all around me, kids playing and people all around. But as I sat there I felt so alone and so scared. I just sat there with my stomach doing flip flops and thought at any moment I would throw up!

I waited for the doctors to review the charts and x rays. I waited thinking about how I ended up here? How does this happen, what is going to happen? I just watched as Johnathon played with the other kids in the waiting room, and fought to hold back the tears, swallowed hard as I thought of the worst and then took a deep breath in as the nurse called us back to the office.

I tried hard not to let the fear show, tried hard not to let anyone see me cry. I was scared. Then the doctors all gathered around me and my son, my mom and step dad at my side. Then the words I feared the most shattered what was left of my somewhat normal life.

I am afraid to tell you that the tumors in your sons stomach may be cancerous tumors.

Cancerous tumors!! My son has cancer!! My head spun around and I felt my heart drop, I felt a lump in my throat and tried to pull myself together, I was going to stand strong and be strong, but I could feel my knees weaken and my heart breaking as my world came crashing down all around me.

I just looked at my son and I thought, oh my God, what am I supposed to do now!! How could I even begin to imagine the road ahead of me. Nothing could prepare me for this. Nothing!!

When I got home I put my son down to sleep, as I tried to keep from crying. I looked at him as he slept silently, and I gently caressed his head with my hand brushing back his hair and telling him, it was going to be alright, mommy is here and everything is going to be alright. I then knelt down at the side of his bed and I prayed as I had never prayed before I prayed for God to give me the courage and the strength to stay strong and I prayed for God to watch over Johnathon, then I cried myself to sleep that night, wondering what I had done to deserve this, why me, why John.

The next day Johnathon was scheduled for surgery to have the tumors removed. As I sat there in the surgery waiting room, my mom at my side, she could see me struggling with myself, struggling to stay strong, not to cry, holding back the flood of emotion that was always just below the surface, struggling with myself. And as mom always did, she stood quietly and strongly at my side touched my hand and said in her soft voice says to me...just one day at a time, one step at a time. Then that was all I needed to let the emotion take over me.

So I guess I just have to look at this journey the same way, no matter how scared or how unsure I am of what is going to happen next, I just have to remember one day at a time, one step at a time.

When I don't think that I am strong enough, I just think of how strong Johnathon was as he started onward with his battle with cancer.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I just have to say how amazed I am to the amount of donations that we have received from complete strangers, that don't know me or Johnathon, but are touched by our story. It makes me feel like this is really making a difference and really spreading the word about childhood cancers and awareness. Thanks also to all my wonderful friends that have forwarded my emails and blogs to their friends and families. The response is great and it makes me more motivated every time I hear, "I received this email from a friend..." Thanks to all of you for all of your support!! Please continue to spread the word for the Rally Foundation for Cancer Research!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentines Day 14k!!

I would have to say that this was the hardest and longest run so far! It was a great turn out on Saturday morning for the Valentines Day 14k Run. A huge turn out of 2000 people!! The atmosphere was happy and energetic. All for a good cause so many people came out to run for cancer research and awareness.

What I loved most that there were so many different people, different sizes, shapes and ages all out to just have a good time! I enjoyed the spirit and the love of the sport with so many different people. Although a 14k is a very long distance!

Again, after a long night in the ED I headed out for yet another run in my long list of scheduled runs until next year. It was going to be a great day! The weather was just right for running. I have been so lucky to have the support of so many of my friends and co workers, I feel as if all of them are right along side me as I run each race. I have gotten support from people that I may not have otherwise thought would be so encouraging and yet their support and encouragement make me feel as if I can really make a difference.

The race started out at a pretty quick pace, people trying to get by, you trying to get passed,but yet people were so nice and polite as they passed you or bumped you slightly. Not as if I was at the mall or grocery store where I would have been run down by a shopping cart if I wasn't on my game!

I had a positive energy threw out the race, feeling like I was making good time and moving at a nice pace for my level. I felt good, knowing I was out for a good cause and that I was doing all this for a bigger goal and purpose. I felt strong...that was until I hit mile marker 6!! Then I realized...oh only another 2.7miles to go!!

The last leg hurt...and so many times I wanted to stop!! So many times I just wanted to slow down and walk for a bit, but I know my brain and if I stop and walk...I have mentally quit. So I just plugged along dragging my lead filled legs and just kept my head down and one foot in front of the other.

I still found enough energy to clap for those I did pass along the way, cheer for those trying to keep going, and holding back the tears because I knew I was feeling like I wanted to give up.

I turned my focus to the real reason I am running, I'm doing this for Johnathon and for my own spiritual healing. I have spent the last 10 years serving some self inflicted penance that I felt I have to pay for some reason, always blaming myself, always feeling as if I should suffer, suffer as my son suffered with cancer.

I can't explain why I have felt that way, or why I spent so many years doing it. I know now it was out of the guilt of not being able to do anything about my sons cancer and the guilt that I somehow was to blame. I had to turn my anger and blame to someone and that someone was me.

So I focused on the hours I spent in the hospital, the hours beside his bed while he was so sick that each day the nurses and doctors were trying to prepare me for him dying. And each day I would just come in, sit at my sons side open his favorite book and just say..."not today..." and then I would read to him.

Not today...he was not going to die, not today not this way! That was what I had said for almost 2 months each day I walked into that PICU where my son was hooked to so many machines you didn't even know there was a little boy in there.

I thought of those moments as I ran that last stretch and I picked my head up and thought as I hurt in every muscle, in every joint..."not today.. I'm not quiting...not today"...and I moved forward.

I held back the tears with each step and with each breath I just kept thinking...I just have to finish!

I rounded the last turn as I headed down the last 200 meters of the race, and there at the corner were my fiancee Garrett, my daughter and son, Oscar and Maggie and my little step daughter Isabella. All I could see was their little faces and hear their cheers and I looked at Garrett with his big grin and hearing " Go Mommy Go!!" and I could no longer hold the tears back...I just ran!!
Maggie ran along side me for a bit and kept yelling "faster mom faster" all I could get out was I love you guys!! And I sprinted the last bit with all I had!

I'm not sure what I finished in, or what didn't matter...I searched the area and looked for my kids and my Garrett...I was doing my best to keep it together and not collapse...I looked and finally saw them coming toward me...and as much as I hurt..I ran to them! Hugs and kisses and a lot of I love yous!! And the tears just kept coming!

I guess I am running now for so many things I didn't know at first. For my Johnathon of coarse, for my healing and for my kids now. It is about setting a goal, and following through. Showing my kids that you can do anything you want if you only just try.

Just keep it in a "forward motion" that's all I have to do!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What it is to be a Mom

As we hit $2020 in funds raised so far, I have to sit back and take a deep breath....all this in just a few short weeks! It is amazing to me that one simple thought turned into an idea that lead me to this place in time. I'm going to run a marathon! When really only a few years ago it was all I could do to just get through the day.

As I journal through this training and writing my random thoughts I will be reflecting back on the trials and tribulations of the past 10 years, through my struggles and my grief. What I struggle with as a mother and that special bond with a child.

I guess the 10 year anniversary of Johnathon's passing has really in some way ignited all this, but I think it was well over due. The process of my own healing has been long over due. I'm not sure what it took really, all I know that it was time. I talk about John and his cancer and his life as if it was only a few years ago, then one day I has been 10 years!! 10 years and I am still holding on so tightly to him.

I know it is not about "letting go" or "moving on" but I somehow feel as if I have been stuck and I'm unable to be the sort of mother to my children now that I was to Johnathon then. I'm not sure if that makes sense or not, but it is something that has been weighing heavily on my mind.

Do I not give as much to my children alive and here with me as I have and continue to give to Johnathon who is no longer with us? It is a question that is hard to ask a mother, let alone try to answer. I'd like to say that it makes me a better mother, but does it really? I no longer have the patience I once did, the stamina for sure. Do I in some sort of way distance myself from my children now for fear of losing one of them? Although we know that I almost did lose Oscar and did lose a child this last summer. So what changes the way I mother now then the way I mothered then? Is it the fact that I know what that deep sense of loss feels like that empty pit of despair and grief. I shutter to the thought of ever having to feel that again.

I find as I work through this journey of healing that I am starting to discover more about myself and why I may have acted in response to my sons death. As I am reaching 40 I like to think that I have a better understanding of who I am, why I have done the things that I have and why I am where I am today. I really have no answer to that.

When Johnathon died I was 25 years old...for me I know and I would say I was just a kid...what did I possibly know about raising a child or being a parent at that age, and surely I had no tools to deal with the heavy burden as that of the loss of a child and not just loss but to watch a baby suffer and struggle as I stood by helplessly. I myself was not even prepared to deal with the issues that faced me. All I knew was that I needed to be there at the side of my baby and do what all us mothers, care and try to comfort, to never leave his side.

When I look back at those days when times were really getting hard and my own mother would stand behind me somewhere in the back of the room watching me, watching me.. her own child, watching me as I cared and comforted my own baby, watching me hurt and suffer on the inside and knowing she could do nothing. I think of those moments and then I think of my own daughter, and how much it would kill me to see her hurt, see her cry, see her heart break.

Then I realize, that is what being a mother is. It is standing quietly, strongly and silently in the back of the room and watching your baby whether she be 25 or 40 or 8 years old and to feel your heart break because you could do nothing to sooth her heart from breaking. But to just be there when she was needed. How hard that must have been for my own mother.

To this day, I know my mom stands quietly at my side, only waiting for me to ask and she would do anything. And as an adult I find the comfort of just lying on my moms bed with my head in her lap and just cry, cry uncontrollably as if I was 8 years old again. Because in our moms arms we always feel the safest, that her hand stroking our hair was we sob somehow just makes it all seem like it's going to be okay! For those moments I thank my mom!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Not Feeling It!!

Oh my aching legs!! Talk about hitting the wall today! I was not feeling my run today. I usually try to do at least a 3.5-4 mile run each day and at least one long run (5+) a week, but today was painful! I swear my legs felt like I had lead weights attached, I was not moving as fast as I wanted to and the 3.5 daily run was really really long today. Maybe it was the cold, maybe I'm just tiered. But it does "demotivate" me in a way...some days are just hard. Today was one of those days! So I sulked all day and then went and had a huge cheeseburger and fries with Garrett at Cheeseburger in Paradise, food always makes me feel better.

As far as the fund raising, it is going GREAT!! We have now reached $1430.00 that is almost 1/2 of my goal!! At least that got me a little more motivated about running tomorrow. It's my long run day so I hope it is nice!!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

6k Run Today!!

Well, today was another run that I completed! This time it was a 6k (about 3.7miles). This is the second run in the series called the Mud in Your Eye XC Series.

This run was a little different, I didn't feel as nervous and I felt as if I was really there for a reason. I had my "Rally Athlete" shirt on, my wrist band made of Johnathons t shirt. I was ready.

Again I had just got off of work in the ED after another 11 hour shift. I will have to do this because all the runs I have scheduled are on Saturdays...and I always work Friday nights. So if this is what I need to do, then I have to continue this schedule. As if just running wasn't hard enough.

So I drove to Chesepeake, and of coarse ran into construction, got detoured, lost and then finally found where the run is located.

It was colder this morning and I'm glad I double checked my bag and rememberd to wear warmer clothes.

It is funny to see so many people out for these runs on a freezing January morning, but there was excitement, friends meeting up and people standing around chatting, kids running around. And for a moment I felt very alone.

But like the struggle with Johnathons cancer, the struggle with the loss and greif...I felt alone...even though there were so many people around me.

As the sun was starting to warm the air the race was off. I have been running about 4 miles a day and running one long run of at least 6 miles once a week. So I felt that this should be a nice run.

My intentions of coarse are not on winning or being competitive but I did find myself more motivated as I was moving along at a nice pace. I had this tiny little person pass me by with no effort at all, she was at least half my age and most definatly half my size. I kept pace with her...I'm huffing and puffing and she is out on an early morning stroll. I kept up with her and she kept me motivated.

I finished 8th in my age group and had a personal best pace of 10 min miles. I was excited!!

My next run will be on Valentines Day!! This is a 14k about 8.7miles!! This is the longest run yet!! But as long as I keep moving at the pace I'm going, I will do fine. Just keep putting one step in front of the other!

My First 5k!!

I ran my first 5k on January 10th 2009 part of the Mud in your Eye XC series. Although when I signed up I really didn't know it was cross country run...again this was my first 5k.
I had already been on an 11 hour shift in the ED before heading out for the 8am run. This being the first run of many runs before my "Big Run", I am training for the Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon in 2009 then the Shamrock Marathon 2010.
I'm running to raise money for Childhood Cancer Research.
On January 16th 1999 I lost my first son Johnathon to Neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer. Johnathon gave a valiant fight for over a year before he passed away in my arms early that morning in January.
Johnathon was 2 1/2 years old. I was a single mom at 25 years old, he was my life. The last 10 years have been hard and at times nearly unbearable without him. The struggle to move forward had been hard and I struggled with the pain and grief for many years, I did not always face the pain and suffering with grace or dignity and there were times that were really ugly as I struggled to find peace within myself . Most if the time it was all I could do to just inhale and exhale.
Earlier this last year I had decided it was my time to move forward, not move on, but move forward and to set myself and Johnathon free. It was time to heal my pain and honor and cherish the memories I had of Johnathon.
For me this is not only a testament to the strength and courage of my son, but also to the dedication and commitment that I have to do "something big" for my son, and also as a journey to heal and make peace with the pain, anger and resentment that I have held on to for so long, my time to heal.
I stepped out of the car into the freezing morning air at MT Trashmore, it was about 0730. I headed out for my first 5k with the mission of just running. To take the first step toward a larger goal. To just finish the run.
I had taken a piece of my sons favorite old t shirt and wrapped it around my wrist, yes, I had kept that shirt for the last 10 years!! It was something I have held onto, just as tightly as I have held on to his memory.
I headed for the starting line. As I started out it was all I could do to hold back the tears, just knowing what a long road I had already traveled and what huge goals I had set for myself.
That first mile hurt and then I way am I ever going to get to a marathon, no way and I wanted to stop...I looked down at that old faded peice of t shirt and thought of Johnathon and tears overcame me, I moved forward. Forward motion is all I need right now just to keep moving forward.

When I got closer to the finish, I could feel myself getting excited...I was almost there...I was almost done...I was going to finish this run...and as I finished I knew I had only really started.

I felt so high and so full of purpose after that run, it was all I could do to control myself the rest of day. I felt a new sense of purpose, dedication and committment to my goal.

For me it isn't about winning or losing that is important, it is all about the way you finish that counts. So I kind of thought of it this way and related it to my life..
"it isn't how you run the race that matters, not how fast or how slow, what you wear your style or your form, it isn't about winning or losing, it's about not quitting, not giving up, not turning back and dropping out, always stay in a forward motion, at times the pace is relaxed smooth and easy and then it can be fast, hard unable to catch your breath, wanting to stop and maybe for a bit, but always in a forward motion...forward motion still means your headed toward the finish line, still in the race, moving forward cheering on those along the way, hearing the cheers from those waiting at the end, forward motion is all I have to do, it isn't about how I run the race, but how I run my race...moving forward, finishing strong and knowing that I did the best I could and always kept in a forward motion"