Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tunnel to Towers Run - Myrtle Beach

September 11th is fast approaching, this year marks the 10th Anniversary of what I consider the most horrifying and deeply scarring events to ever happen on US soil.

You always hear people say, I remember where I was when... but you never want to have one of those moments because they are rarely followed by anything positive. On 9/11 I believe every American, experienced that moment. It started off as a rather beautiful morning, I remember having a department meeting. As I was headed toward the conference room I heard someone say, 'A plane hit one of the towers'. My first thought was a personal plane, or maybe a chopper. I had no idea the severity of what had occurred until a little later when the second tower was hit. As information began to pour in, we were horrified by the images being produced at a rapid pace. The same images being played over and over in the media. That moment, that day, it changed who we are, one nation under God, became closer. Banded in patriotism and sorrow, we searched for answers, we searched for something to make sense, but to this day, it just doesn't - I don't know if it ever will. I remember my son, who was 5 at the time, asking me why they kept showing the plane hitting the building. It was heartbreaking, to try to explain to a 5 year old anything like this, in a way he'd understand, without being completely petrified.

I answered this call at 17 
I served in the US Army from August 1993 - August 1997 on active duty and then finished the remaining 4 in reserve. I received my honorable discharge on August 25th, 2001, just a few weeks prior to the events of September 11th. As the war continues on since 2001, too many Americans have lost their lives. My brother is part of an Air National Guard unit that was sent to the dessert and we are not sure how long he will end up being there. Like many others, he has had to leave his family to serve his country, and we pray for his safe return.

I first heard of this race via a woman in the Running Moms group on Facebook. She had posted a link to the NYC race. Of course I checked it out, but have a tiny one at home, knew I wasn't going to make it back to NYC for the run. It was then I saw the 'Want to Host a Run?' button. I thought, 'Yes - Yes I do!'. So I clicked and requested information. Here we are today, in the mix of planning a Tunnel to Towers 5k run/walk in Myrtle Beach!

It's been a long road (in a relatively short time frame) trying to get this going, and it hasn't been the easiest task. I suppose I just felt like people in the community would be as deeply moved to be a part of this as I was. As I press on scouring for sponsors, the outlook is not as supportive or successful as I had hoped. I have probably sent out upwards of 75 sponsorship packets, it is time consuming, sometimes monotonous but hopefully (still praying hard) that is will be worth it. With less than 30 days, I am still waiting for so many responses, Yes or No, it is nice to get an answer. The proceeds from is event will touch so many lives, helping so many impacted by 9/11.
As in everything I do; I determine a goal, work my tail off to achieve, attempt to accomplish all I set out to do and hopefully do it respectfully, gracefully and honorably. This event to me represents all that we as Americans can do for others; not a handout for the unwilling, but a reward to those who have made the sacrifice.

Visit Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run - Myrtle Beach for more information on registering or donating to the event, or comment/email me (teamepton at yahoo dot com) if you or someone you know would like to be a sponsor… It's success depends on the community, we need to remember those who were lost, honor those left behind and continue to support those who, to this day serve and protect!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Try...Tri Again???

So I finally did it, I committed to doing this Sprint Tri, and I was completely unprepared for all that I would face. It was 9:30pm last night when I realized, for one, it was 9:30pm and two, I had not packed any bag nor had I loaded my bike into the car. Apparently, as spacious as the Toyota Avalon is (and it is so spacious on the inside), the trunk is ill equipped to handle a bike. Luckily, Stephen's back seats fold down so he was able to get it in there... thank goodness... Then I had to figure out - what is a girl to wear when you have 3 occasions back to back on the same day? I figured it out, in hindsight, I managed this part quite successfully. Sports bra, swim suit, compression shorts, regular running gear (I got this!)...

So the plan was 345am wake up, 415am departure, 430am arrival at Heathers (which I was on time for!), 5am Walmart (Sketchville!) for bananas, 530am Transition area, 6am Race meeting, 630am Go Time! It didn't veer too much, accept Gabriella decided 322am would be a good time to get up, which was fine - it allowed me some time to feed her and stare at her while she slept in my arms, although, for a minute I may have caught myself dozing off...lol

A poor decision, peanut butter on toast. I tasted that numerous time during the course of todays events... what to do about pre-race nutrition?

Ok, so lets get to the gravy of the day, I was so nervous, literally stomach rolling nerves. It was like I couldn't get myself together, I had no idea what I was doing - at all. So after spending 20 minutes at the car trying to make sure I had my goggles, finding my ear plugs (clear ear plug + white shopping bag = no good!), deciding what I wanted to do with my phone, I was finally ready to get set up at the transition. Setting up was easy, hung my bike on the pole with care, in hopes that a smooth transition would soon be there...lol

Of course we get the instructions of the swim, and the bike route and then run... I was listening, but next time, I will probably pay more attention. I spent the better part of the bike leg wondering where I was going & if I'd really know where I needed to turn around (just so you're not on the edge of your seat, it was easy, both were points you couldn't go any further!). We returned to our 'area', and were getting ready for the swim, then I hear this pop-fizz-ppssshhhhh sound. The crowd grew quiet (it was pretty loud). Well I'll be a son-of-a... my front tire, blew out, just sitting on the rack. I think I may have actually started to tear up as they call out, "2-minutes to start", and Tim from Grand Strand Bicycles made that (oh, I don't know if I have that type of stuff with me) face, ok it was more than a look, he actually said something to that effect, just a small tear of disappointment, he assured me he would do what he could. I had to focus on what was my immediate task, the swim...

First off, the ocean is a different creature than that of the safe tideless (except when the kids from camp are on the one side) confines of the Coastal Carolina University Pool. Second, I was having an ear plug malfunction... Granted, I had never used ear plugs before but I thought I should try them because my ears always get water in them at the pool and now with the addition of waves, I was sure to come out with water in my noggin. Well, that choice had me entering the water last... and lord knows, I could have used a leg up on the rest of the race, but at the end of the day, I would have needed like a 40 minute head start!
\After completing the swim which while harder than expected, was rather invigorating (and maybe there was one fleeting thought of what the H3LL was I thinking?!?!), Heather and I made our way up the beach to the first transition. I was SO excited to see my bike with it's boo boos fixed, hanging on the rack awaiting my presence... but let me put things into perspective, Transition + Hope = SLOW! I really don't know what my deal was, but I just couldn't move fast enough.

I was finally ready to roll, got on the road and *clink*clink*clink*, my chain fell off...really? Are you serious? Well, Jason Greene (FYI, MB's Premiere Race Director) was front row to take in this undoing, and was nice enough to put it back on... I mean could anything else on this bike go wrong, hell I am barely 2 feet out of the transition area, and I am beginning to think, "Should  I even be on this bike?!?!" Well, keep on keeping on sista, off I went. Everyone else has fancy bikes, not this girl. I am kicking it old school on a Schwinn Hybrid (Thanks to Heather, and I love me some hand-me-downs - so if anyone has a bike they are looking to donate, like a fancy one with those cool handlebars, I will be more than happy to take it off your hands!).

The bike was 13 miles, and honestly, I have never, in one outing, ever biked 13 miles! Well, I did it today, even with smelling nasty garbage cans, stopping at 2 lights, and not really knowing how far I was having to go before could turn around, I did it. True, people were almost done cycling before I was a half mile into it, but hey, this was my first time out! Honestly, I'd be more pissed off if at 35 I totally rocked it, I would feel like I wasted my talents for decades (obviously this was not the case)... I smiled as I rode, could have been nerves, could have been ignorance, but I was having a nice time...

I will say, I will be lucky if I'm invited back, since I performed an impressive, but perhaps unsafe bike stand coming into transition 2 (totally by accident, I have never done one before - man today is a day for firsts!). Apparently there are front brakes AND rear brakes and you are supposed to use maybe both? I totally locked up the front and the a$$ end of the bike stood up before it turned to the side... and the crowd went wild "WHOAAAA!"... my response, "Brakes work!"... I do perform all my own stunts people, I'm here all week ;)

I Tri'd & I Succeeded
Anyway, the run was probably the least eventful, since I knew where I was going, having passed it on the bike earlier, and it being what I do the best (although I am not speedy by any means). It kinda sucked that everyone was just waiting around for me to finish so they could do the awards, but it was nice to have a little cheering section... I will share this, although I have been having an internal debate about it. I feel like a real triathlete, today was the first time I did what most people wouldn't, albeit, I couldn't help it, it happened. I'll leave it at that.

Double Trouble
So after all was said and done, you know I am going to act like a goof, hey - it's who I am... So I had to try to get a picture that expressed all that had happened between the hours of 630 & 9am. Yes, I am a dork, and although most of the pictures of me actually doing this triathlon are sooo not good for my body image issues, I will tell you, I love my "I Tri'd & I Succeeded" photo op... And of course, no event would be complete without our traditional, cheezy, "We were Here" pic with Heather...

Official Finishing time, 1:49:55. Not sure if this is good, bad or ugly but what I do know is, it's where I set the bar for myself today and will look to improve next time... because yes, there WILL be a NEXT time!
*Pop goes the cherry & the cherry goes Pop!*

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I TINK We Can... Cure Cancer!

Oh I am such a mush these days, I really thought once I had Gabriella I would return to my somewhat hardened, emotionally stunted self... but I have not. If nothing else, I am softer, more sensitive and maybe nicer? Ok, let us not get too carried away. One thing is for sure, I have changed, and I believe it is for the better.

There are few things that scare me in the world. Pretty bold statement, I know. I mean, I definitely do not have an affection for spiders by any means, but I'm still bigger than they are, right? I guess when it comes to fears, the biggest one has been and always will be, illness. Losing someone close to me from something we cannot see, feel, touch. Some invisible to the naked eye, demon from within, which takes hold of an innocent person and ravages them. Since having Gabriella, this fear has become more pronounced. What if something happens to her? Something I can't see...will I even know?

When my running partner in crime & all things fitness, Heather and I realized that this year, TNT would be heading to Disneyland for the Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon, there was no doubt, we were running for a purpose! The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team In Training, raises funds to help find cures and better treatments for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma. When I saw the amount of money I would pledge to raise, I thought - Can I do this? Well, I can, and I will, but it won't be alone - I'll need your help!

When I was filling out the forms to register, it asks you if you are doing this in Memory of or in Honor of a particular person. The crazy part, you have 1 line. I don't know about you, but I can name at least a half dozen people whose name could be on that line. When I was debating whose name would be best represented, I just kept coming back to one person, a child, Yano Pournaras. Maybe it's because having a small child of my own, I felt like his story represented hope, that if this little man could fight so hard, we all have a chance. Yano Pournaras was 2 & 1/2 years old when he was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma (Read more about his journey), a parents worst nightmare, I can't even begin to imagine the thoughts, the feelings, the wide range of emotions being experienced. I tear up just thinking about it, what is a parent to do? Yano has a website provided by CaringBridge.org, I urge you to read all the many entries of his fight against Cancer... *grab some tissues first...just sayin'

Feeling more than inspired, feeling like a woman on a mission, and full of purpose, I am working hard on collecting donations. I have been emailing companies for items to raffle. I've been asking people to donate as little as a dollar to make a difference. I know that we can all relate to at least one story of cancer, we all know at least one person who fought the fight of their lives. I know some who have won, and sadly some who did not.

I do want to thank Dr. Pournaras for being the first person to donate to my fundraising page, it means a lot to me to be able to honor your baby boy and I really appreciate your generosity! With all you and your family has endured over the past few years, you deserve nothing less than health and happiness (and we will continue to pray for it). I will also say that he is an awesome dentist, and I'd highly recommend him but then I might never get an appointment if everyone used him..lol

So if you find yourself wanting to support the cause, help fund cancer research, and make a contribution to my fundraiser, please go ahead and not just do it, but leave a comment, tell me if there is someone you want to honor, I will post the list of all my donors on my blog in January. If you'd rather not appear on the list, just tell me that too :) I will respect your privacy! I deeply appreciate every dollar donated, some day there will be a cure for cancer...

I want to donate!