Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I believe in my Marines

I believe in my Marines

It hasn’t been the best day. I woke to problem after problem my race. I won’t bore you with the details, but every aspect of the race I'm putting feel apart. A flooded river, a few sponsor checks ‘still in the mail’, vendor payments due, insurance, moving the race route… these are just a few! We’re behind nearly two grand with these issues! The race is deeply sinking into in the red as the river rises. We have fought uphill for publicity, for time, for sponsors, for anything to help us with what we felt, feel, is a great cause. Unfortunately, the structure of Marine Week does not allow our charitable events to be publicized with the Governments activities of Marine Week. Understandable, but difficult for us little guys wanting to help. Registration is hundreds less than we anticipated. Hundreds!  We want to show the Marines that they are respected, appreciated, and loved. And in doing so, not take a dime for the work we’re putting in. Give every penny of profit to charities that directly support Marines. In my own little world here, I had assumed this City loved our armed forces with the passion that I do. I assumed we were a City full of patriots; that no matter the political views, we believed in our Marines.  Well, we all know what assuming does.

I ran out of options today… I mean really out of options. Possible suck up the t-shirt cost on my own accord and cancel the whole thing out of options.

A few last ditch emails… spamming everyone I know just asking for them to spam everyone they know in case there may be some stragglers that just don’t know about us yet. A few more just to get us to break even.

After a start at advertising around the City today, I drove 20 miles back home to collect any additional registration checks to deposit, as every little bit is needed to pay what we can today. I even found each of the jars at home containing any change. I start to fall apart a little, and I know it’s progressing to a lot. I decided take a minute to get my head on straight. I put on the video I made for the race as I get changed into some running gear. I see John’s face focus in at the end. And I simply told him “I miss you every single day.” And I sucked it up and headed out the door.

I ran my usual route and about two miles in turned towards the Veterans monument. I ran into the beautiful columns and headed straight to his name. I kissed it as I do each day on my run, only this time I sat at it’s feet instead of continuing on.

“John, I’d do anything for you. And I do all this to keep you close to me. Maybe that’s selfish… but it’s what I need to find hope in all this.  And the things you’ve brought to me since you’ve passed… amazing, unbelievable things, unbelievable people. Even just in the last few days… it’s all because of you. Because of this foundation, but also because of who you helped me become…  believing in me everyday since we met. I just don’t know this time if I am strong enough. I don’t have any tricks to pull out of my hat anymore. I find these ways to get things done because you told me to never be a quitter and that my strength was the biggest. When I didn’t want to be strong anymore, you refused to let me fail. You always saved me, and you did it by standing by me and making me save myself. And I can never tell you how much that changed me. I don’t know how my strength and belief  is going to be enough this time. See, I’m quitting - Kick me in the ass or something. Well, I certainly am not going to be a quitter, but this hill is so much higher than I can climb without you…” And I began to stand up…

And my phone beeped. A man I had sent a last ditch ‘please spam everyone to register’ plea to simply replied: "I have two more signed up to sponsor a Marine to run."  Awesome, 42 more and I’ll stop seeing red.

Then my phone dinged again:

“Marine Jeff Ortega will have a check for $2000 in his hand tomorrow morning.”

And I feel to my knees.

I believe in our Marines.

**Thank you JH for your big heart and your pride. You generous gift is so much more than a dollar sign can show.

Monday, January 31, 2011

As I lay dying

As I approached my house at the end of eleven miles, I let my legs collapse and fell to the wet grass. The sky seemed even brighter, as if someone over-saturated a photo and carefully tucked it behind the clouds. I suppose the sparkling floaters in my vision helped to abstract the moment. It has been too long since I ran in the sunshine and I must admit, I may have taken it a little overboard on the speed and mileage. I felt my heartbeat slowly retreating back into my chest. The sensation in my legs finally began to resemble pain after miles of heavy emptiness.

I laid there, simply remembering to breathe, trying to catch any whisper of oxygen that might remain.





And as I lay dying, I let go.

I stopped fighting what was inevitable, what had to come.

That doubtful girl, worried, sickly, scared, overwhelmed, the one that wanted to quit long before the final mile.... I left her lying there. I had no need for her anymore.

That pain, in that exhaustion, I am so very alive. I can only hope the afterlife is half as good as this.

In my place,


Friday, January 21, 2011

Think before you step

After much procrastinating, I found a brief warm patch today and went for run... it was a whole 18 degrees! I went back to read some July posts just to feel warmer. I didn't quit, despite losing feeling in my toes in the piles of snow. I kept reminding myself that I am not a quitter. I am not a quitter. I made it two miles.

I spent the next two hours sitting in front of my portable heater trying to regain feeling. I am on record as stating that a foot of snow and near zero wind chills change the term "quitter" to "idiot". From now on, when I think it is necessary to run outside in this weather, I will remind myself that I am not an idiot. I am not an idiot. And I will get in my vehicle and drive to the YMCA.

Somedays, I just don't think.

In side,

Workout: 2 miles. No swim. No bike. No P90x.
Tomorrows Goal: 2 mile run. 30 minutes bike. P90x.

If you're training with me, you can adjust down to a 20 minute walk/ jog, 30 minute recumbant bike, and any 1 hour weight resistance class or workout video.

Food: Vegan pizza bake

            Crust: 2 cups heart healthy Bisquick or organic wheat flour, egg replacer for 6 egg white equvalent (1/3 soy yogurt per egg, 1&1/2 tsp egg replacer powder per egg, flax seed, or other), 6 tbsp water, 1/2 tsp garlic powder. MIX ALL INGREDIENTS

            Topping: homemade tomato sauce or vegan sauce of your choice, browned soy crumbles, red onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, vegan cheese (mozzarella or smoked provolone)

           Preheat to 400 degrees. Coat a baking pan with extra virgin olive oil before filling with crust. Cover with sauce and toppings. Top coat of cheese and sprinkle with basil, garlic powder, and a pinch of oregano. Bake for 25 minutes.

 Healthy Pizza as easy as pie!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

And it begins....

I'm back and you missed me. :) I am officially released from my doctor as of today and am ready to head back into life.

I never shared my new goal with you... left you hanging didn't I? Well, wait no more. Join in if you dare. New Goal: Triathlon. Not only a triathlon, but to successfully complete a competitive triathlon before the end of this summer. Next goal: Full marathon before the end of the year. Last goal: to thrive as a vegan athlete, everyday.

So who's with me? Who dares to join on any of the three goals above? I will be traveling for the end of the year marathon and am thrilled to help anyone interested in going with me... I have a plan, it works. No excuses. I lost nearly 80 lbs last year and went from being winded climbing the stairs to running 13 miles with ease. Change is good. Choose it.

I am starting with my workout reporting: P90x (we have a love/ hate relationship) and a run, everyday except Sunday. Sundays will be a day off to recover my muscles. Truly, I will take the day off. In addition to these, I will also be doing spinning and swimming laps to prepare for the tri.

Next, I will be sharing my meals: all vegan, almost all homemade. I cannot tell you enough how wonderful I feel since I changed to a completely vegan diet. So you get to hear about it, and try out a few delicious things, despite your reluctance.

Finally, I will of course venture off into my mental healing and share with you my triumphs and struggles.

So it's back to everyday... With more to share, even more happiness than before, and plenty of tools for you to succeed with me.

Join in. Life is great here.

In training,

Friday, December 31, 2010

The long goodbye

I woke up early today... there was a lot to do before my final farewell to this year's quest.

I began the day by running with a friend, who challenged me to be better than my best this year and proved to me that anyone can overcome, anyone can survive, and thrive if they choose. It turned out to be the perfect start to this special day. I see where my quest has brought me personally, and brought others too. And that is a gift I never expected.

I immediately took to the streets after my early jog to do my strongest run. I ran eight miles, full speed, no timer, no gear, just me. I ran a mile for each week of chemo I endured and in doing so, I took back what was mine. My feet flew through the winds and rain, and I never noticed the difference. I just kept on my way, as life tends to do. I made it home winded, drenched, and worn for the wear, but I made it home.

The rest of today I have spent reviewing my progress, my weaknesses and my strengths. In this year I fixed a marriage I was too busy to know was breaking. I closed the doors to one time dream that weighed me down. I found my heart, forgave myself, let go, and moved on.  I ran 684 miles this year. I went on a quest and found the end, only to realize it is the beginning.

I am here, I am whole, and I endure. And I can simply say, I have everything.

Here's to tomorrow.

In complete,


Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Have you ever actually paid attention to how we are directed to be less active, eat terribly, and become an overweight nation? In the last ten minutes, I have seen nine ads for food on TV. Not one of those ads were for healthy food. Six ads were for fast food, showing nutritionally void, high calorie, high fat foods: a chili cheese extra long hot dog, a family eating double cheeseburgers and fries, a talking hat pushing double chocolate milkshakes,  a "healthy" sandwich shop's cheese covered meatball sub, a big bucket of fried chicken, and finally a large stuffed crust three topping (all meat) pizza.

Of the other three, one showed a large family sitting down at a restaurant sharing pasta and breadsticks, then pans to a close up of the deep fried meat on layers of noodles, as a white cream sauce drenches the entire plate. Another showed cans of soup, promoting their low calorie and low fat benefits. I went ahead and looked up the nutritional facts of the soup shown on the ad... one half of the can, which is the size of my hand, is one serving. In that one serving there is over three times the daily recommended amount of sodium. On the ingredient list for this fresh soup, there are double the number of chemical compounds compared to vegetables. And to top it all off, it's second listed ingredient, right after beef broth, is high fructose corn syrup. The final ad showed something entirely different, a weight loss company that delvers food to your door. There isn't room in this blog to even go there....

So why is it this way? I know, but do you? Have you thought about it?

I'm tired of it. I'm tired of the endless, mindless circle of overeating, under educating, increased laziness of who we've become, as an entire nation. We eat ourselves sick, drug ourselves well, and repeat the process until we've killed everything that is alive about this life. Kids grow up eating the shit served to them at school, and at home... scratch that, in their car.  They want junk because we allow it. They choose to lay around because we let them. The overeat, under nourish, under develop and over stimulate because that is the example we have set.

Every time I check out at the store, I send a message. Every time I turn off the TV, I send a message. Every time I speak up and speak out in front of my kids, I send a message. Every pound I lose, everyday I get up, every time I sweat, I send a message.

Join me.

Change this.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter morning

There is little in this life that will ever compare to the beauty of a winter morning run. It's the few rare days where the world stays sleeping a little longer, and the sun isn't needed for a glorious morning sky. In these mornings, I find dark pathways alive with the festive lights and their reflection in the patches of snow. The eerie sound of silence is no longer alarming, but peaceful as the morning wrestles in. The streets are empty; the roads are clear. It's the one time of year that I thrive without the music pushing me on. This sweaty quest warms me as I run, and the harder I push the better it feels...

After 6 miles this morning, I remember how it feels to be alive. I got to stand in my children's doorway and watch them sleep. I got to come home to my husband who didn't hurry off to work. I got to enjoy an hour of peaceful existence... and I recognize the moment.

I know this sweaty quest has taken me down more winding roads than ever could have imagined. But I've found what I was looking for, and I keep looking everyday so it never again becomes lost.

In love,