Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Drew

I woke up this morning, after an "eh" night of sleep. Hate when you have those nights where you toss and turn. Then I realized today's date. June 30th.
June 30th, 2015. I quickly went out for my run. 
It's funny how come dates stick out for emotional reasons. What once was a bad day in life of my family, has become cause for celebration.
20 years ago I was 18, lots of life stretched out in front of me. Fifteen days before my brother Andy, aka Drew's, wedding. 

Now a word about Drew-We have pretty much always been good friends, rarely fighting (well put us in a car long enough, and there were bruises). Our last years in high school we were in sports, plays, band, spending time in similar activities. I actually struggled with him leaving for the Marines more than I ever thought I would. He is an upbeat guy, really what's not to love.

Anyway, on June 30, 1995 we get a call from the Marines, saying that he has been in an accident. Long story short, Drew, as a result, had to have his leg amputated. Now don't get me wrong, at the time it seemed like a big deal, a big f'ing deal. It was 15 days before his wedding, he was 20 years old, he was in San Diego, we were in Wisconsin. We all ran in high school, he was my big strong older brother.
The next few days were a whirlwind, miraculously my brother Doug, who was in Africa, called out of the blue, so he was able to be notified right away. There was the business of canceling wedding plans, his fiance getting out there as quickly as possible. My parents had some loose ends to tie up and didn't go immediately, so they sent me.  
Here's what happened when I got to the hospital. A lot of self talk on my part that there was no way  I was going to cry when I saw him, no way.
I walked into his room, he sits upright, looks at me and says, "Amy are you alright, you had to travel across the country all by yourself, are you ok?"
Shit. Tears. Here Drew just lost his leg, and instead of sitting in a bed of pity he was more concerned that I was ok, traveling alone to see him. I knew right then and there he was going to be just fine.
Fast forward a year later, June again, different day, I found my friend John was in a fatal car accident. It was then that I realized how lucky Drew had been. Lucky that he lost his leg. Only his leg, not his life, not his spirit, not the things that made him the awesome brother that he was.
Today marks the point in his life where it has been 20 years. 20 years he had two legs, and now 20 years he has had one.

There are days when I might want to sleep in and skip my run. Not to say it never happens, but I am driven by something bigger than me. I'm not one to remember how many races I've done, or my time at each one, I might have a few PR's memorized, but this running thing isn't just about me. I know I have mentioned it before, but I run because I know others cannot, I run because I want to feel, I run because my spirit isn't always upbeat-and I know I am better mentally because I run. I run because I was given the ability to do so, and I do not ever want to take that for granted.

After my run this morning, I sent Drew a text...Happy Birthday!

I ask you...today is your day, what are you doing to celebrate this day you are given?! 


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Unicorn Sightings...

Post Boston there has been some unicorn sightings...From Spike going to school...

To my trip with my daughter to Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown for her fifth grade trip. 



Who knew the beer brewed where my bestie librarian friend lives has a unicorn label?! 

 While on my trip, my ring came...
Unicorns everywhere! Where will we see them next?!?

Crazylegs 2015

On our way to Madison
Boston was Monday, Crazylegs was on Saturday. It's an 8K run in Madison supporting the athletic department. They have an awesome turn out. The weather predicted was cold and rainy. After Monday, I was not about to do that again. I thought about driving to Madison an sitting in a bar while the runner ran. However, several years ago I made a commitment to a friend that I would run at least race a year with my dad. 
We had a crew of people we were meeting, cousins (first, second), first at Perkins, then after. 
The plan was to take this race and go with it for however long my legs were feeling. Things felt good, and I enjoyed it overall. I pushed it through the hills, so by the time I finished I could feel the burn in my quads. I waited on the field for Jason to finish. 
Race done!
Then we met mom, and waited for Dad to finish. I pulled a Jason and got distracted by another runner and missed my Dad cross the finish.
Yay Dad!!

It was cold and windy, so we waited in the stands, saw my cousin Boyd, met a Fellow Flower Friend, ran into Carly, the Dummer's but decided to head to The Great Dane to get warmed up. We grabbed a bite to eat, and as we finished eating, the rest of our original group was there, so we had had a drink with them.
The Sonsalla Crew (minus Boyd and family)
It was such a great opportunity to reconnect with these relatives, and hope to make Crazylegs an annual event to get together!




Saturday, June 20, 2015

Boston 4-The Boston Marathon

Finally the day had arrived. The day I had looked forward to forever. A culmination of a lot of hard work, early-to-bed nights, early-to-rise treadmill mornings. Weather looking icky, but that is what training is for to prepare you for all types of weather. 
Jason walked me over to the T stop to board, where I would hopefully follow the herd to where I was supposed to be.

I had determined the night before NOT to check a bag. I quickly found a "friend" to chat with, she was from California,we had great conversation and  we boarded the bus together to head up to Hopkinton. 
*There is always that moment on a point to point run, when you are shuttling to the start, how damn far it seems to be. That happened.* 
We grabbed a coffee, hung out in Athlete's Village, tried to stay warm/dry. With another runner we met, we finally decided it was time to hit the potty. After that, we had to part ways, she was in a later corral, so I headed to the corral. It was amazing as we walked how far it was to get to the start. I ran into Krista right before the start, which was kind of amazing. 
I've had this strange calm lately before races, and this was no exception. I was ready. The hardest part was departing with my warm, dry clothes. And suddenly, we were off...
Of course the rain came down shortly after we started. Ick. Not wanted weather to be an issue, I thought about how I was truly getting all the feelings of Boston, weather included. I could feel it. Things really felt well. I heard that the weather wouldn't dampen the spectators, and maybe there were a few less, but to my virgin eyes, they were out, in full force, cheering their hearts out. A few things that happened out there...
This is corny, but oh so true. EVERY time for the first half of the marathon that I crossed a timing mat, I thought about all the people who were tracking me. Then crazily the rain would pick up and chill me to the bone, and I kept thinking if only they knew what it was like out here. But I swear I could feel me peeps sending me vibes, thoughts, etc. For real, it was like a mental embrace.*
Around mile 10 I got a side-ache, it came and went for the next few miles, my pace dropped a bit, but I was ok with that. 
Around mile 13 I started looking for my family. I think it was later than that when I finally saw them. I threw them my drenched socks (I use for mittens) and was so happy to see them. It was a mental pick-me-up. 
After I saw them, I tried to focus on taking in the moments around me. Feel the crowds, the course. Not to miss anything. That was easy enough to do, as the hills of Newton were upon us. I was prepared for them, and remembered my old cross country coach's mantra-it's only a pile of dirt. They were not easy, but they didn't kick my ass. I felt them, and that is what this was all about.

Here's a crazy thought that I had for the first time ever in a marathon. "I don't want this race to end." -Now I wonder WTF was I thinking?! Seriously though, it was just this race, and everything that I had worked for was here, I felt decent, I just wanted to suspend the moment forever. 

My mind tried to replay seeing my family, and I was pretty sure that Jason was not in the mix. With that running through my mind, I started to look for him near our hotel, as that was plan B if he didn't meet up with my family. I did not see him, but just thought maybe I missed him in the crowds. Soon I was at the beloved Citgo sign, signalizing that there was 1 mile left to go. I couldn't wait to get to the finish line at that point. 

The slogan is Left on Hereford, Right on Boylston. Sure enough right at that intersection, there was my family again!
This made me all kinds of happy as I crossed headed to the end. I felt good going to the finish...you'll see the pics as I cross.

The finish. I have Raynaud's, which makes my hands swell up when I run, and when they are cold they go numb. It happens a lot after I finish, but with how wet I was my hands were freezing for most of the run. After I finished, I couldn't use my hands at all. Again, one volunteer with smiles, assisting me in velcroing my cape shut as my hands were useless. When I got to the family reunion area, my family was not there yet. I was cold and wet. I finally had to sit down, 'cuz legs-cold+stiff+26.2 miles=done. This man came up to me to ask if I was ok. I said I was cold and just waiting for me family. He sat down next ot me on the curb, put his arm around me to try to warm me up. He texted Jason for me, again because my hands sucked. I was afraid at this point of how cold I was. As soon as I saw my family, my first words were, "Where is JAson with my clothes?" They sprang into action, Doug gave me his waterproof pants, John R. gave me his gloves, we moved out of the the wind, until Jason got there. Once I was dry and clothed, it was all smiles...and the Jacket!!!!!!!

See how blue my lips were? Brrrrrrr! 
We all headed our separate ways, M&D were heading out of town, Doug and Elisia back to VT, John and Kathleen to MD. Us to our hotel.
We ventured back out into the rain for a freakin' delicious burger!


I expected a let down afterwards, a post-marathon blues. I have to say it didn't happen this time. I think that things just went well. It was what I expected, the spectators were amazing, the runners out there were awesome, the course was tough. The texts, FB posts, emails from people were so nice to know people took time out of their day to give me support, it was humbling...*I really was not alone on that course at all. When I came back to school, I was overwhelmed with how many classrooms and staff members tracked my progress. The kiddos were excited about running, and that was so cool to me. I hope that they may find the love of running someday.

Here are a few of the professional pics from the day...







Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Boston part 4-Boston Eve

We decided to do the pasta dinner through the Boston Marathon, rather than having to worry about reservations, etc. for a local restaurant. The wait was not long to get in and the City Hall was a unique building to be in. You received your meal in a to-go like container, and then went to find a seat. We were a party of ten, so there were no tables available. Actually, had we been a small party there probably would not have been a table. We found some chairs and sat near the exit. My parents and their friends sat elsewhere. Again, the volunteers were super accommodating looking for extra chairs for us, and open tables. 



John, our fearless Captain of our ship, once again dropped us off at our hotel. However, the girls went with my mom and dad, so I could have a restful night of sleep. Jason and I went to our hotel, I prepped for the morning and stalked the weather one more time. We made plans for Jason to try and meet up with my family, but also made a Plan B in case he did not. I opted to not check a bag, and to have my family meet me in the family reunion area. Now it was time to sleep. The good thing about walking all day, I was tired. I dreamed that I missed the bus, thankfully that was just a dream. I woke up and it was Patriot's Day, Boston Marathon Day was finally here...

Boston part 3-The part where we tour.

So it's almost two months later but I will continue my adventures...
Sunday we were tourists in Boston. I love Boston, have been there two other times, and wanted to give my girls a chance to see what an amazing city it is. We did all things tourist, Freedom Trail, cannolis, Boston Public Garden. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.