Sunday, November 25, 2012

Whew! I Made It!

It has been 2 weeks now since the Richmond marathon.  I want to write one last post as "Marathon G-ma."  I am so grateful for all the support I have received throughout this endeavor.  I am sincerely appreciative of the kind words and messages.  I especially want to thank those of you who made donations to the GSF.  Some of you I have thanked personally, but some of you made anonymous donations, so I don't know who to thank.  Please know that it meant a lot to me and my family.  It was cool to tell people that we had raised over 4000 dollars for a charity!  We could not have done that alone!

I had such an amazing experience running in Richmond.  It truly owned up to it's nickname of "America's Friendliest Marathon."  There was so much support from the crowd there.  All along the road there were posters with words of encouragement. One of my favorites was one that said "Chuck Norris never ran a marathon!"  I don't know if that's really true, but it was funny to me.  I think it helped the time go faster just reading all the signs people had made.  It was awesome to have people out on the streets cheering us on.  It was especially touching to have some of them read our shirts and yell out "Never Give Up!" to us.  I know they thought it was about running, but we were reminded of our greater purpose when they would call it out. It gave me strength to keep on when my legs were feeling so tired.

I am glad to have run the marathon, but I am kind of sad for it to be over.  I hope that I have helped inspire some of you to make a difference in some way.  I owe a lot to Jessica Applegate for thinking of the idea of a marathon for Callie and for finding the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation.  I hope to be able to continue to find ways to help.  One thing I have learned from this experience is that we should do all we can to be of service to people who need our help.  Before Callie was diagnosed with SMA, I had no idea that there was such a condition.  I didn't know that there were children and families who were dealing with this trial.  Awareness is a start, but there is much more to be done.  Thanks again for your help, concern, love and prayers!


Monday, October 29, 2012

It's Almost Here!!

I have been thinking that I should put something on my blog, but there always seems to be something else that needs to be done, and blogging gets put on the back burner.  Well, the marathon is less than 2 weeks away, so I thought I should move it to the front!

I can't believe the marathon is almost here!  I have been sticking to my training schedule pretty closely.  Thanks to my running buddies who are willing to get up early and run with me, I haven't had to miss very many miles. My Saturday run last week was my longest training run - a whopping 22 miles!  Only 4 away from the full run!  It took me forever, but I was able to keep running the whole time with a couple of water/gatorade breaks and a few stop-and-stretch breaks.  There were times when I would find myself moving so slowly!  I would have to give myself a pep talk and get my pace back up again.

Kayla was asking me about the run and and wondered how I kept from being bored and what I would think about while running.  For some reason this is not a problem for me.  I think about Callie, of course.  I think about my family and what all is going on in their lives.  I think about friends I know who are going through hard times.  I think about work and what I am going to teach the next day or week.  I think about how my feet are landing, how my knees are holding up, which street to run on next, how my heart and lungs are working and just about everything else you can come up with to think about.  I don't wear headphones because I need to be able to hear the traffic around me, so I sing to myself a lot.

A couple of weeks ago was the 5K on the Greenway that I have run as a tradition every Autumn Leaves weekend.  (The picture of me with Callie on my first blog post was taken after that race last year.)  Well, it took me until the day before the race to decide to run it this year.  I wasn't sure whether or not to run it because I was supposed to have a 14 mile training run that day.  So, I got up early, ran 8 miles, showed up in time for the starting lineup instructions, ran the 5K (I PR'd at 27:57, a 9.01 pace!), and then finished the last 3 miles of my training run.  It felt good to run that well, even though I am still not at a competitive pace.  I can feel myself becoming stronger as a runner.

I am so thankful to everyone who has supported me in this endeavor.  My family has been so understanding when I had to be gone for hours at a time to do my long runs.  My running friends have encouraged me and helped me improve my pace.  So many have made donations to the GSF to help support the research that is so important for Callie and other children like her.  I know that without all this support, I would not have the motivation to stick with it.

I saw a quote at work one day recently, and I thought it expressed very well how I feel about running this marathon for Callie.  It goes like this:  "There's a difference between interest and commitment.  When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstances permit.  When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results."  -- Art Turock        

Each time I have done a blog post I have put a link to our fundraising page.  I was about to let this go and not even mention it this time, but I have to remember that without the fundraising, it would just be running a marathon for fun.  I started into this to join with Jessica's efforts to make a difference.  I have to believe that every effort, no matter how small, can help find a cure for SMA.  It's better than doing nothing, at least, so if you are able to help with our efforts, that would be awesome!  I'm putting the link again, and if you aren't comfortable with online donations, you can just send a check to The GSF.  I love their motto and slogan...NEVER GIVE UP.....Move your body so one day they can too.

 I can't even begin to express how much I would love for Callie to be able to get up and walk, but I also can't begin to express how much her sweet little spirit has blessed my life.  She is so fun to be around, and she is learning so much. Her mom and dad have shown so much courage and strength of character as they carry on each day and teach her about the world around her.  I am including some of my favorite pictures of Callie with this post.  I love them because when I see them I think of how joyful Callie is and how much joy she brings into the lives of all around her.   

Thanks again for your support.  Wish me luck in Richmond!!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

It's Official!

I just completed my registration for the Richmond Marathon.  I hope I will be able to get ready!  I am getting   excited and nervous at the same time.  I met some new friends this week who are marathoners, and as we talked, I felt more and more excited.  I will admit that the waiver was a little scary to sign, though!!  I am planning to increase to 15 miles this month, so wish me luck!

I believe that the best way to spread the word is by friends telling friends, so if you feel like helping me get the word out, please tell anyone you know.  The more people who know about the marathon, and especially the more who donate to the GSF foundation, the more committed I feel.  It is a huge undertaking to train for a marathon, so I appreciate any support and encouragement I can get.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Training Update

I thought it was probably time to update my blog on how my training is going.

I am up to running 10 miles at a comfortable pace.  I feel pretty strong after a 10 mile run, but I was thinking last time I ran that I would need to be able to keep running for at least 3 more hours!!  I am researching and trying to find a training program that will help me be ready by October 27th.

I hope that the break from my work schedule will allow me time for longer runs.  Of course it will be hot during the day, so I will be starting pretty early in the morning.  Now getting to bed on time will be the challenge as our lives tend to include late night movies and such.

Callie continues to be the sweet little ray of sunshine that she has always been.  Her sweet greeting of "Hey" is enough to brighten anyone's day.  I am always amazed by how pleasant and happy she is.  I am so happy when I am around her, and I feel so lucky to have her in my life.  I am also amazed by the courage and faith of her parents.  They care for her with such love and strength.

Tonight I was playing/singing some church songs and one of them was about Jesus healing the sick when he was on Earth.  I know if it was possible, He would heal Callie.  Right now he just puts people in her life to love her and care for her.  I feel privileged to be one of those people.

Click here for my fundraising page to support SMA research.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Marathon for Callie

When I first got the news that my granddaughter, Callie, had been diagnosed with SMA, I was torn with many emotions.  I wanted so much for her to be able to run and play.  One of my first thoughts was that I would gladly give my legs if it would help her to walk.  When I heard that Josh's cousin, Jessica, had found an organization that could possibly benefit Callie, and that she had planned to run a marathon to raise money for SMA research, I asked her if it would be okay for me to join her.  So, here I go!  I have had a dream in the back of my mind to run a marathon before I turn 50, but I haven't ever really made the commitment.  Now I have the motivation and the desire.  I hope to use my legs to help in the fight against SMA for Callie and other children like her.

Some people have asked me why I run.  It is hard to explain, but ever since I started running a few years ago, I have had such a love for it.  I run when I'm happy, when I'm sad, when I'm stressed, when I'm worried, when I need time to think or when I just want to be outside.  I hate it when it's a beautiful day outside (a great day for running) and I am too busy to get in a run!  I am not a competitive runner by any means, but I love participating with other runners in a race for a good cause. There is such a great feeling when you're out there, giving your best.  I have a ways to go to be ready for a full marathon.  It will be challenging, but I am excited (and yes, a bit nervous) to make this a reality. 

I hope that my dedication and efforts in preparing for this marathon will inspire others.  Maybe you will want to try running for yourself.  Maybe you will have a desire to donate to the SMA research.  Maybe you will find some other way to help children with disabilities.  Whatever it is that you can do, just do something!  I believe that a little effort from many people can make a big impact.

I can't even begin to express my love for sweet, precious little Callie.  She came to our family at a time when we were experiencing much stress.  I often would hold her and feel so much comfort and peace, sort of a healing.  Now I can only hope and pray for that same peace and healing in her behalf.