Pick up the pace

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As I sit here thinking about what’s ahead of me during this last week of training leading up to my next half marathon…. I can’t help but think about my dear friend for whom I’ve dedicated this run. This week I will remember all of the beautiful things she brought into my life. For me, because of her and so many others, this race… this fight, is personal.

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“TEAM LIVESTRONG TAKES ON EVERYTHING from 5Ks to Marathons, beginner rides to centuries and sprint to Olympic distance triathlons. We look for new challenges, and push ourselves to make a difference with our miles for the 28 million people living with cancer We take the path of most resistance, and then we pick up the pace”.

In less than one week I’ll again put on my Yellow. All in the name of cancer and the fight. I love the above excerpt from LIVESTRONG.ORG. It is such an example of  “why” I belong to this amazing Team. No, my race on Saturday isn’t an official “TEAM LIVESTRONG” event… but to me it is always about the fight. And, this year each race builds on the one before, in my goal to make it to Boston in 2014 representing the 28 million who are fighting this awful disease. And to get to Boston, I will run with Team LIVESTRONG through the streets of Chicago this fall. And to get to where I want to be in Chicago, each and every event I’ll compete in will be a new challenge, and in each one I’ll need to pick up the pace.

This Saturday is my second Rock the Parkway Half Marathon. I am counting on it to be a very special day. I’ve got some BIG goals, but in my opinion attainable goals. And… I’ll have Lori Webster close to my heart and I have a feeling that will be the extra inspiration I need to have a strong run and cross the finish line in record time.

I’m a competitor and I’m a cancer fighter. I AM a runner. I am a HOPE giver. With Team LIVESTRONG I can honor, encourage, inspire, embrace and give HOPE to the 28 million who are facing cancer and fighting to become SURVIVORS.

TLSsignI love this sign from the LIVESTRONG Austin run… “Stopping. Ain’t nobody got time for that” This FIGHT is personal. How appropriate!

The family, the friends… that’s what makes it personal. I run to honor Lori and so many others, and the millions still fighting to become survivors.

On Saturday I’ll be taking on a fast pace in hopes of crossing the finish line, but I’ll be taking on a lot more than that. The hopes of millions to get up and have the strength and the courage to fight every single day. Cancer doesn’t stop for anything, and I won’t either. Makes running a half marathon seem pretty easy doesn’t it?

What’s next?

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So fresh off my best run ever I’ve decided to join Team LIVESTRONG once again and run my second marathon. I loved Chicago so much the first time around I want to do it all again.

This time though I’ll take some high expectations with me.

Once again inspiration will fuel my run… honoring so many incredible individuals as I run through the streets of Chicago. But… I am also setting a goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

If you take a look at my 2012 time you would probably laugh at the thought… how in the world could she shave 26 minutes off her time? Yes that’s correct, twenty-six precious minutes is what I need to erase between the start and the finish. But… 2013 is a whole new year. Keeping healthy will be key as will be smart training….

It’s a lofty goal but I’m up to the challenge. And yes, I am now bound to it since I’m making it so public. But really… what better accountability is there than that?

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[My most recent run was a Half Marathon on a somewhat hilly course in Austin, Texas… I bettered my previous PR by 6 minutes which was set on a flat course in Kansas City in April, 2012.  I finished this race, the Austin LIVESTRONG Half Marathon this past Sunday @ 1:40:43… beating my time at last year’s event by 15 minutes]

GO time!

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AustinBib2013The day has finally arrived. I’m putting it all on the line… today I’m going the distance to prove to cancer that it will never win.

This race is about so much more than you can imagine. It’s about being that inspiration… that glimpse of hope… to so many fighting cancer.

Simply put, today I run for those who can’t.

I’ve been looking forward to this run for weeks now. I’m running for 30 incredible individuals whose lives have been forever changed by cancer.  Loved ones and friends, and individuals that have beat cancer… and some who have sadly run out of time.

My dear friend Lori is on this list… she has become my inspiration for so much in life, because of the way she lived hers.

So with a course known for its hills I’ll be relying on a lot of prayers and a lot of inspiration. Those I’m running for… and the stories of teammates who have beat the odds.

When I toe the line this morning, I plan to run with purpose. Yes I have goals. It’s important to have something to strive for… I am a competitive person so I will be running a race. But it’s definitely not all about me. I’ll be running through the streets of Austin kicking cancer right where it belongs.

See you at the finish.

sending birthday wishes to heaven…

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The other day I was flying with my family and snapped this photo so my boys could have a lasting memory of what it looks like to be above the clouds.

I glanced at the photo but really didn’t look at it until later in the day.  What I saw was breathtaking, and what I felt was amazing.

Today is my dear friend’s birthday. She would have been 49.

I can only imagine what kind of party she is having in heaven. I’m thinking she’s directing the most amazing praise and worship ever.

When I finally looked at the photo I couldn’t help feel closer to her than I’ve felt in months. To think back we were actually touching the clouds… it was sheer beauty all around with the light shining through… it couldn’t have been anything else but heaven.

So I’m celebrating Lori today.  I will be forever grateful for the opportunity she gave me to help out with art at The Summit… she opened my heart to Worship and so much more! I will always cherish the late night chats we had, the wonderful friendship we shared and the incredible women she brought into my life. She taught me about faith, showed me what true strength and courage look like, and has been one of the best gifts God could have ever given to me.

Today is her day… I’ll think of her often (as I do everyday)… pray for her family… and feel blessed to have called her friend.

Simply put, she is my inspiration. Happy Birthday beautiful friend!

The Breakfast Club

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There’s an exclusive club at my house… it’s called The Breakfast Club.

It meets on the weekend at a top-secret location [not really… in fact it is a pretty public location]. This club consists of five members of my family [and I’m not one of them]. It’s only for the boys of the house… and I’m perfectly okay with that. Actually I’m more than okay… I love it!

I love the fact that on most weekends, my four boys get to go to breakfast with their amazing dad. Nothing fancy, just what four boys ages 10, 8, 5 and 2 would like… [the Golden Arches]… [good ‘ol Mickey-Ds]… McDonald’s!!

And it’s more than just breakfast. It’s a chance for them to connect, just the five of them, just the boys. They get plenty of quality time with their dad, but this time is special, it’s just for them, and him.BreakfastClub

I’m not really sure what they talk about. Nothing too deep I’m sure. Maybe a little sports talk… some mention of whatever super hero is hot at our house at that particular time… what’s going on at school… and I’m guessing just being silly while dining on pancakes, cinnamon melts, eggs and hash browns.

It’s time they all look forward to spending together… time I know Greg will cherish in the years to come when these moments are harder and harder to find. Life is busy and it’s a blessing to take the time to be intentional about the special moments we get to spend with those we love!

Really… It’s Not About the Bike

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I didn’t join Team LIVESTRONG because I was a cycling fan. In fact, at the time I joined the Team I hadn’t touched a bike for a number of years. I didn’t follow the Tour or know too much about it.

I did however wear a yellow LIVESTRONG bracelet which I haven’t taken off since putting it on to support my father-in-law who was diagnosed with cancer in February of 2005. I knew that yellow stood for HOPE and PROMISE and COURAGE and that was important to me during his battle to become a survivor.

And since that time I’ve known numerous friends and family members who have been touched by cancer.

Cancer has impacted my life and many that I love and care about. I was with my dear friend Lori every step of the way and watched her fight to the end. That is why I joined this Team.

I raise money to support the millions of others who are going through a similar situation… and so that cancer knows I’m not going to take this quietly. I run with Team LIVESTRONG because I’m giving survivors a voice and I know that the money I raise helps people like my teammate Iram, a 31 year old brain cancer survivor, get access to a cancer and relationships class that gave him better perspective on his situation. LIVESTRONG connected him with other people who understand what he was going through… www.livestrong.org/iram.

Amongst controversy currently surrounding Lance Armstrong, LIVESTRONG must push forward. Cancer doesn’t care about controversies or take a day off, and neither can we as cancer fighters.

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LIVESTRONG provides SO many programs… (go here for more information: http://livestrong.org/Get-Help) Fertility Services, the Navigation Center, LIVESTRONG at the Y, One-on-One support, endless resources, transportation around Austin, and providing assistance to build a home in Austin for a family impacted by cancer. All of these things would never have been possible without the vision of Lance Armstrong, but they continue not because of Lance, but because of the staff at LIVESTRONG and the amazing people who support my Team in our endeavors with donations.

Every day individuals are diagnosed with cancer and faced with some of the most difficult challenges of their life. If you asked them, during their battle, if they cared about cycling, I doubt they would care. Cancer is bigger than one cyclist and bigger than one individual.

In order to overcome this disease and help those who are currently living with it, we must work together as a community of cancer fighters… Unity is Strength!

I’m so proud to be a part of this incredible Team so that I can make a difference in this fight! It can be difficult asking for donations… but I will continue to ask, and to spread the message of what the LIVESTRONG Foundation is able to do for those affected by cancer to ensure we are making strides toward the larger cause.

With all of the recent attention and the light that has been shed on the Foundation… the number of individuals and families reaching out asking for help has increased. People who had no idea what LIVESTRONG did before have realized that there is help waiting for them; they are calling, emailing, and speaking with support staff at an accelerated rate.

You see it’s true, cancer doesn’t take a day off.

This is my passion. It has a piece of my heart. I’ve watched those I love go through courageous battles… some have made it to survivorship and some have not been so lucky. It’s for all of these incredible individuals that I run and continue to support LIVESTRONG… and I pray you will continue your support as well!

Please consider supporting me on my road to Austin…

Fast Forward

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Endurance running. The sport used to sound so foreign to me… but not anymore.

It used to be a friend would mention a long run, or the idea of running a race… 5K – 10K – half marathon – marathon… and I’d practically laugh at the thought of it.

Fast forward 10, maybe 15 years and the idea of endurance running has become a part of me. It’s in my heart, it’s a piece of my soul. It’s part of my life journey.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I’ve discovered running, I like it and it seems to like me. I can head out on the streets planning on a quick 5 mile run and end up pushing to 8 or 10 miles without too much thought.

As my first half marathon of 2013 approaches I’ve tried to become more intentional about a different way of training. Instead of piling up tons of miles each week… I run low mileage a few times during the week and then hit a longer run on the weekends. It’s no longer all about how many miles I can get in… it’s about mixing it up.

I typically swim five days a week, bike as often as time allows, and do various cardio and strength training routines 5-6 days a week. Another recent change in the way I train is in how I fuel my body. Up until three weeks ago I was eating low-fat meals, filling up on empty carbs for snacks (mostly with my big time love of cereal, goldfish and animal crackers) and not getting many fruits or vegetables. Since then my focus has been more raw vegetables, protein, good fats, low grains, and low carbohydrates. With this new way of fueling, I’ve been running fast on the road and have plenty of energy to get through all of my trainings. I’d like to think my hard work, active recovery and new healthy focus on the right foods will help me gain an edge as I head into the running and triathlon seasons.

A friend of mine recently replied on a post “I don’t know what you have in you, but I want some”…It really is a hard thing to explain…

I think adapting your lifestyle is a huge element… instead of sleeping until the alarms go off I set mine up to three hours earlier so I can get all that I want to accomplish that day done before anyone else wakes up (because I still have four boys to raise, a house to keep and a “real job” to go to).

By participating in LIVESTRONG events, I’ve found that extra motivation of running or training for something bigger than myself! Knowing I’m honoring a friend or a loved one can sometimes make all the difference on any given day of training.

The desire to train. It is part of my routine now. It’s no longer about working out to lose weight or cancel out a treat… it’s more of a focus on getting faster, stronger and the desire to compete at a high level.

And believing in myself …that I might just have the opportunity to find success. To hit a PR, or to even be the first or second or third to cross the finish line. I know that none of those will happen unless both my mind and body are prepared.

So now fast forward again with me on this journey. I’m signed up for a handful of half marathons, a few shorter races, and my first ever triathlons this year. In the end, it’s really all about going down the road and living in the moment. Train hard, and if you’re lucky enough, spend some time training with friends. Then go out on race day and give it your very best!

My first race is exactly 6 weeks from today in Austin, Texas and I’m looking forward to a successful run through a beautiful city, spending a few days with family and giving the run and those I’m running to honor, everything I’ve got!

Read more about my The Road to Austin here…