Tiaras, tears, and Triumph!

Well, I’m still alive! I made it through my first marathon and first race. A lot of people wondered why I went for such a big goal for my first, but my family will tell you I like to bite off more than I can chew. But now I know that I can take on the big challenges in life. More importantly I’ve learned how crucial a team and support is to big endeavors.
Yesterday was rough, I died a few times on the course. But the amazing coaches, Team in Training (TNT) staff, cheerleaders, bands, and just some great San Diego locals helped me keep going. Even better were all the people I met on the course. TNT runners, others who were just running, and the volunteers at all the water and med stations.
I knew long into training that it was going to be a hard race. My body is not really built for full marathons. Well not yet. My new goal is a half marathon, which I’ll be running the whole course if I can. Training will start at the end of this month and the race is in November. So I’ll be resetting my countdown. I won’t be with TNT this time, but I’m sure I’ll join them for a few runs here and there. I’m also going to check out some other groups in town.
Towards the end I met two amazing women from Calgary, Canada and we pushed each other till the end. We even took our victory photo at the end together, so I can remember them forever. It all sounds fun and positive, right?
It was definitely those things, but there is an emotional side to running a marathon. Especially when you run it for a cause. I was running in memory of my Grandma Virginia, and my Grandaddy Big Jack. Serval times when coaches were giving me pep talks to keep me going, they would tell me to think about those people who I was running for. As soon as I did the emotions would overtake me. In the last 4 miles all I could do was focus on my new found running partners and talk them over the finish line. If I had really thought about friends and family I would have probably collapsed in tears.
Thankfully I had provided my own encouragement and motivation by wearing a tiara on top of my hat for the race. I bought it on my birthday to have a little fun with my teammates at our pasta dinner. Initially we joked about me wearing it for the race, costumes being an integral part of the Rock n Roll marathon series. But then during the night when I couldn’t sleep I remembered why I started wearing a tiara on my birthdays. It was to remember all the birthday dinners with my Grandma Virginia and the little glitter cardboard tiaras and crowns she would have for us to wear. That was all I needed to make up my mind.
So yesterday I put all my gear on and rub on tattoos. I had shoe bling, a fuel belt, hot pink socks, and then a big beautiful tiara. All through the race I got compliments and was able to share the story of why I was wearing it. That was such a motivator, that I might run with a tiara more often… Just kidding.
I’m headed home with an experience of a lifetime, a big medal around my neck, sore muscles, sunburn, and the title of marathoner. So what goal do you want to accomplish? Believe me, you can reach it.

Off The Deep End

Have you heard that I have gone off the deep end again? I’m training to run a marathon!

Every 5 minutes someone new is diagnosed with a blood cancer.  This is why I have committed to run the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon on June 3rd.  I am busy training with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training.  My goal is to raise $5000 to help stop leukemia, lymphoma Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives.

My grandmother Virginia Barbee taught me many things in life but most importantly she taught me to give to others and to strive for excellence.  My grandfather Jack Bishop showed me that a charitable life is a full life, and that any goal I want I can achieve.  It is for them and for some other very important people who are still fighting that I am preparing to run 26.2 miles.

Everyone who has lost this battle and everyone who continues to fight this battle has a story and a family who loves them.  Their courage and faith drive me to continue my fight for a cure in hopes that no one else will have to lose a loved one.  A financial contribution in   support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society would be greatly appreciated.  All donations are tax-deductible. You can visit my personal webpage to donate and to keep track of my training and fundraising:

http://pages.teamintraining.org/nc/rnr12/suebaby

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.  ~Dr. Seuss

The poetry of running

Fun runners taking part in the 2006 Bristol Ha...

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Well back in January, I started training for a marathon.  No I’m not one of those crazy runners who are just addicted and wear the skinny leggings… but I’m on my way.  I have tried several times over the past 2 years to train and run a distance run.  First a 5K, then a half marathon, then I spent a year with injuries.  Now I’m going whole hog and training for a full.  But I’m not alone in this.  I’ve signed up with Team In Training to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  I watched my mother train for 2 marathons that she completed so I know it can be done.

The question now is will I be able to survive all of this.  Yesterday for a good part of my run, I thought I might have to give it up.  Muscles were hurting in places I didn’t know could hurt.  My body felt like absolute lead.  But then I got in the last 2 miles, back in a neighborhood, all by myself.  Now this is not because I’m an awesome runner.  Far from it, in fact.  I’m running in intervals of 3 and 3.  So I run for 3 minutes and walk for 3 minutes.  I keep an okay pace, but not great and Saturday it was way off.  I’m also usually the only one in my group training for the Full so in the next few weeks I’ll be running about 2 miles further than they will.
English: Mailboxes in Italy Italiano: Cassette...

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So here I was with only 2 people behind me and 2 miles to go, hating my body.  And then something happened… Yeah not a runners high so much as an odd epiphany.  I realized why I was so miserable.  I had stopped listening to my music it was now just noise in my ear.  I was looking at trees and mailboxes as goalposts to stop running at.  My muscles were aching but I hadn’t noticed how even my breathing had become or that my legs just kept pulling me along.  I was missing the point of running and more importantly the point of doing this with Team in Training.

So I changed my playlist, and found a salsa mix to give me a real rhythm to run to.  I focused on the beat of my feet hitting the pavement.  I looked at the yards and the houses and the gardens.  Most importantly, I thought about my grandfather and my grandmother who I am running for.  And then I thought about our mission moment and the family waiting at Duke to hear about their child.  And suddenly I didn’t hurt anymore, and I ran longer, and I breathed better.
See I think Team in Training is about more than getting in shape to run a marathon.  It’s about giving purpose to your endeavor.  There are lots of running groups out there, but here is one that inspires your soul.
To donate to the cause please visit my fundraising website at http://pages.teamintraining.org/nc/rnr12/suebaby