I left a piece of my heart in….PHOENIX!

If you had asked me 6 years ago if I wanted to run, I would have laughed in your face & (kindly) said HECK NO. I grew up playing softball and HATED running the bases. There was no way you were getting me out there to “run for fun”.

And then this happened:

June 19, 2011 I went out for a walk. I saw a couple girls running and thought, Hmmm…..ok, that kind of looks fun. So off I went running down the street and back to my house. That was my first mile. On June 26, 2011 I ran my first 5k (28:18) and haven’t stopped since.

running

5K Road Race Litchfield, NH, June 26, 2011

Fast forward from June 2011 to last week. (one day, I’ll post about everything in between). Until then, let’s chat about how I got to Phoenix and how I left a piece of my heart there.

DID SOMEONE SAY PARTY IN THE DESERT?

What started out in February 2015 with a few friends meeting up & running a marathon, turned into a social (running / party) event in 2016. I kept seeing the hashtag on instagram: #ItsGoingDownAtPhx . It caught on like wild fire and next thing I knew – I was simply missing out. Shortly after 2016 Phoenix Marathon,  #WeRunSocial: A crew with the sole purpose of running all the miles and winning life on the interwebs, was born. ((you can read about all that here))

2017 BMO MESA PHOENIX MARATHON RECAP TIME:

Without boring you with all the details – I signed up for what would be my 3rd marathon, I made plans, I booked a hotel, flight, trained for MONTHS and off I went. Marathon #3….. am I crazy? Maybe a little bit. But who isn’t really. And, in case you don’t know, #IRun4Mataya . You can read about that here  (go ahead, I’ll wait for you).

Thursday, February 23rd: THE ARRIVAL

@pavementrunner and I caught the same flight into Phoenix. Once there we grabbed lunch, checked into the hotel and ventured out for a beer and a movie – The Great Wall. Ya, lets just say I probably would have fallen asleep but I was scared Brian would have done an Instagram live featuring me snoozing, so I muscled through. (I’m not a movie go’er so I was pleasantly surprised with the comfy recliners!! )

Speaking of Instagram live, when we got back to the hotel that night, Brian thought it would be fun to do an IG live session. So we did- and it was fun and should happen more often.

 

Friday, February 24th: RACE DAY EVE

**MORNING**

@pavementrunner and I picked up @fitfam6 at the airport, grabbed breakfast at Starbucks and headed to the Lululemon outlet. I’m not much of a shopper and the only Lulu item I owned at the moment was gifted to me. Buuuuuuut, when in Rome right….I picked up a pair of shorts on discount. (and now I’m obsessed. I blame THESE TWO!)phx-lulu

**NOON**

Bib pickup and a quick walk through the expo (which was extremely easy to navigate and lots of great vendors) .  @WeRunSocial and @ProCompression hosted a meetup which was awesome. I was able to finally meet some of the awesome peeps I’ve been following online.

img_20170224_173315_084

found my name on the wall — and took a selfie, duh!

 

wrs-phx

the meet up crew

phx-selfies

no fun was had

 

**NIGHT**

After the expo, a few of us headed over to  La Grande Orange. They have great pizza, delicious dessert, beer and then some! And of course, we took more pictures.

fb_img_1488485568713

Back to the hotel,  laid out my clothes, and tried to get as much sleep as I could. 3:00am wakeup was going to come fast.

img_20170224_195737_091

#FlatSarahW ready for race day

Saturday, February 25th: RACE DAY 

Alarm was set to go off at 3:00am. The course was a point to point so we needed to catch the shuttle at a certain time. @Pavementrunner and @carleemcdot had done this before, so I just followed the leader and rolled with them.

I trained for 4 months and was ready to run. Only thing I forgot to do……Check the freaking weather. It was a tad chilly, but thankfully, they let us stay on the bus until it was time to head to start line. (which would end up hurting me. I’ll explain, keep reading)

 

16903234_10154899415915619_4602512210088207959_o

img_20170225_062900131-01

Beautiful Sunrise. I can’t believe the size of the cactus!

img_20170225_062725360-01

quick selfie before we RUN ALL THE MILES!

 

 

What should have happened was 20 minutes of stretching and warming up — sadly, I lost track of time chatting & keeping warm on the bus that by the time we got off of it, we had 3 minutes until race time. YIKES! I did a few jumping jacks, found the 4:40 hour finish pace group, connected my garmin and off I went.  Almost immediately after crossing the start line, the feeling of defeat, sadness, and mostly ANGER came over me.  My left shoe wasn’t tied tight enough, my right shoe seemed to be a little too tight, my quads weren’t loose, I felt defeated and I hadn’t even run a quarter of a mile. It was over before it had even began. Or was it…I had two choices in this moment. 1) give into the defeat & be miserable  or 2) pull my shit together, dig deep and remember why I am doing this.

I run for Mataya. She is a year old and has gone through far more than ANYONE should ever have to in life.

In the past year she has:
▶beaten cancer!
▶had 2 helicopter rides
▶5 surgeries
▶7 rounds of chemo
▶51 blood product transfusions
▶almost 1,000 labs/scans/images done
▶spent 5 months inpatient at a hospital 2.5 hours away from home
▶been a resident in the NICU, PICU, and PEDS.

 

I pulled over, re-tied my shoes, pulled it together, got OUT of my head and carefully caught back up to the pace group. It was dark for the first 3 miles which is too bad because I’m sure the scenery and the views were amazing. It was also downhill so I had to make sure I pulled back a little and didn’t go all out or I’d be regretting that later.

fb_img_1488126344000

Together, we are now on a mission to teach the world about neuroblastoma cancer – creating awareness and fighting for a cure because NO ONE, especially a newborn, should ever have to go through all she’s been through. For now I am her voice, as she gets older, she will start being her own voice.

 

I stayed with the pace group through mile 16. We stopped for a quick bathroom break. With 10 miles to go, I knew it was time to listen to my body. I had maintained an average pace of 10:30 minutes per mile to this point. I was starting to get tired and my quads never really loosened up. I chose to take the time to stretch as I watched the pace group take off without me. I had told myself that there was no goal for this race other than to just finish with my head held high.

“If I run with no regrets and no excuses, there is no way in hell I will finish and feel like I failed. I will be so proud of myself.” – Kelly Roberts  ( Run Selfie Repeat podcast, episode 4:  “Fear of Failure”)

 

One of the many things I loved about this marathon, the free race photos!! They caught me at mile 19, mile 23 and the finish line.

fb_img_1488113926858

Mile 19 – GOING STRONG

img_20170226_182651

MILE 23 – I’VE GOT THIS

fb_img_1488212453721.jpg

MILE 26.2! I DID IT

Mile 23 was tough. My legs were tight. Mentally I was in it, but my legs just weren’t having it. Concerned about injuring myself, I chose to walk at a 15 minute mile walk and then gave it my all coming down the chute for the finish.

My friend Linda was there cheering for me at the finish line and handed me yellow roses (my fave!) as I crossed. We ran our first marathon together (Big Sur) back in 2015, so to share finish line #3 with her, was special.

16806923_10154902342265619_1103365293873796353_n

Mesa –  Phx Marathon. Finish time: 5:08 hours.

The Celebration

@ProCompression graciously hosted a party with the ambassadors. It gave us all a chance to see people we didn’t catch at the finish line, enjoy a well – earned beer, yummy food, race day stories, what’s lined up next and who is coming back next year.

Will I be back next year? OH HECK YA. Redemption baby. I won’t make the same mistake twice. I missed 2016 (which is a huge bummer because the medal from 2016-2020 half or full marathon all match up to create a copper star). SIGH! I also won’t make the mistake of not taking the time to stretch.

This was mine and Mataya’s first marathon together. It won’t be our last.BMO Harris Bank Mesa-Phx Marathon stole a piece of my heart that day. I can’t wait to go back, give it my all and HOPEFULLY, cross the finish line and ring the PR bell.

Registration is already open for 2018. I’m registered.

So now the big question , who’s coming to the party in the desert with me?

16939003_10154906180425619_7469360129966592627_n.jpg

#earnthebird (and a donut!)

signature

my LA Moment (2-14-2016)

“The marathon represents more than just 26.2 miles, it symbolizes the adversity we face in our lives and our ability to overcome the greatest odds.”

365 days later and I still get teary eyed and emotional thinking about the LA Marathon last year. 26.2 miles from Stadium to Sea – on Valentines Day.

Friday February 12th: arrival to LA, the Expo, walk around / check out Santa Monica & Venice.

12710879_10153850746400619_7898799210433101627_o-copy

Saturday February 13th: amazing morning – a run with the fabulous Julie Weiss (this was her 100th marathon! She has been pounding the pavement to raise awareness for the beast that is Pancreatic Cancer) followed by an amazing and oh so inspirational talk with Jimmy Dean Freeman. EXACTLY what I needed. Back to the hotel to watch the Olympic Trials which were happening back down by the LA Convention Center. Followed by the #WeRunSocial meetup and back finally back to the hotel to rest and relax before the big day.

12687769_10153852526315619_2286139564706579714_n-copy

12688237_10153853019445619_8502978788610368305_n-copy

#WeRunSocial meetup

12733542_10153852611395619_5005094073338446345_n-copy

The Huntley Hotel provided a special marathon menu! Chicken Ragout

12745691_10153853279670619_560948801951580312_n-copy

Sunday, February 14th: THE BIG DAY! Yes this was my 2nd marathon. But it was my first one alone. I made a new friend (shocker I know!). We met up bright and early, chatted about our game plan and goal for the race. I told Jeff I MIGHT try to run with the 9:30 pace group, to finish in 4 hours and 30mins. It was him who really pushed me to go for it. What did I have to lose really. So I did……

I ran strong and only stopped once – at mile 22. I had hit my wall, HARD. The leader of the pace group was amazing, but I needed to fall back and go at my own pace. Half a mile later, kneeling on the ground, bawling my eyes out, I called my husband, Kyle. No words were coming out of my mouth, just my sobbing cry – as usual, he was there for me. Now at this point, I had no clue what my pace or time was. “You’re freaking KILLING IT!” he said. “Don’t stop. You can do this.”  It was at that moment I realized, I was just in my head and I could actually do this. Picked myself up and repeated the words: I Can and I Will. And that I did….

12742749_10153858992275619_424063015948472713_n-copy

photos taken along the course mile 23 & 26 and of course, a finish line selfie with my #1

I crushed my goal and managed a PR (of roughly an hour!). Unofficial Finish: 4:38!

“Everything you ever wanted to know about yourself you can learn in 26.2 miles”.

Yup. That’s the truth.  I had big {scary} goals. I put a plan into place, I followed it and I did as I set out to do.

The photos above are a reminder that I am capable of ANYTHING I set my mind to. As I told myself REPEATEDLY with every single step “I CAN & I WILL”.

I have never in my life felt so strong, so powerful, so unstoppable. THAT is #myLAmoment

12710719_10153855285875619_2260581825162259360_o-copy

Happy Valentines Day to the best and most supportive group of friends a girl could EVER want. (A HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you to my amazing husband. I love you 💖💖)

signature

BELIEVE IN YOUR SELF , I do!

There was a long time when the lack of belief in myself was a major factor in my life.

I didn’t push past my comfort zone. All because I didn’t really believe I could.

While I’m not free of self-doubt these days, I can honestly say I believe in myself like never before. That doesn’t mean I think I’ll never fail or quit: I will. Probably often. And that’s OK.

In 16 days I’ll run Marathon #3 (who would have thought)! I have gotten to where I am today because I work hard & believe in my self.

So go ahead, throw yourself out there not knowing what will come of it. Go all in. Don’t hold back. Believe you can do it. Believe you are worth it. Start today- post a picture of your self in the comments. Go on, BELIEVE IN YOUR SELF , I do!

img_20170209_082914959-01

Do you have a big scary dream or goal? What’s holding you back from going for it?

signature

Don’t tell me you’re not a “real runner”

Back in November, PRO Compression posted that their 2017 Ambassador applications were open. Without hesitation,  I threw my name in the hat, because why not. I rock the socks and love the community. With that being said, you can imagine the excitement when I received an email earlier this week welcoming me to the 2017 ambassador team!

I’ve suggested PRO Compression socks to friends who suffer from shin splits and to other friends who suffer from swollen legs & cramps on long flights. More often than not the response is: I’m not a runner or those don’t really work.

There is a misconception that because one doesn’t run “fast” they aren’t a runner. THAT IS NOT TRUE. A 13 minute mile is just as far as an 8 minute mile.

My goal and sole purpose for wanting to be an ambassador is to help anyone who feels they aren’t a “real runner” know that they are and they need to be outfitted properly. (and if you haven’t worn these socks on a long flight…..you’re missing out!)

What’s your go to sock to rock?

15802231_1048646181929491_4619241853743529984_n1

signature

Weekly Recap: August 21st-August 27th

weekly-recap

 

Sunday 8/21: 5 mile run

MOLDIV(3)

August is known as “Fogust” in the Bay Area. Golden Gate Bridge is barely visible in the picture on the right

Mataya: I was playing with a beaded necklace earlier working on grabbing. I also got a sponge bath, had some tummy time, tried eating a couple times, and played in my activity chair until I fell asleep! I snuggled with Mommy during my nap time.

Monday 8/22: Balance workout & 2 mile run

MOLDIV

Tuesday 8/23: Heavy Weights

IMG_20160823_072818819

Mataya: It was really warm today. Daddy set up our hammock in the shade and we hung out there

14125610_1158229560914202_2070231168628064181_o

Wednesday 8/24: Cardio & stretching / Roll Recovery

MOLDIV(1)

Thursday 8/25: 3 mile run

MOLDIV(2)

Mataya: Daddy and I surprised Mommy today and had lunch with her.

FB_IMG_1472179457102

14125760_1160002794070212_4022543015430946460_o

Isn’t she the CUTEST?!?!?

Friday 8/26: 20 minute speed workout & 3 mile run

MOLDIV(4)

My heart and soul is full of HOPE for a world without cancer

 

Mataya: I met my Grandma, Great Grandma and Great Grandpa today! My doctor appointment went well. I have to go back on Monday to get my PICC removed. I had such a fun day with everyone. Grandma and my Great Grandma made me this blanket. I love it!

14054901_1162159017187923_4594530541029273655_n14115593_1162157280521430_8474410870642342322_o

 

Saturday 8/27: Rest Day Date: Brunch

Snapchat-8876970122132304928

Grand Lake Kitchen (Oakland, CA)

Thanks for checking out our week. Looking forward to logging more miles and watching Mataya grow.

 

signature

Weekly Recap: August 14th-August 20th

weekly-recap

 

Sunday 8/14: 5 mile run

IMG_20160814_115627940

Coincidentally, my run ended in front of the liquor store! There are no accidents in life, right??

Monday 8/15: Total Body workout

Mataya and I were matched today! I introduced her yesterday, you can read it here if you missed it.

IMG_20160815_075939455_TOP

 

Tuesday 8/16: Agility training & 2 mile run

IMG_20160816_070912027

IMG_20160816_075614413

These were our first 2 miles!

Wednesday 8/17: Heavy weight strength training, 10 minute abs & 2 mile run

Mataya: 7 months old today & worked on my jumping.

13995667_1151680614902430_6376494686313019788_o

IMG_20160817_065419640

A workout straight from the heart. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it.

IMG_20160817_092102038

 

Thursday 8/18: Total Body Workout

Mataya: Doctor appointment today and it went well! All of my labs look good and my oncologist said  I don’t have to come back for another visit with him for 3 months!

IMG_20160818_070258790

Friday 8/19: REST DAY – early morning sales meeting meant I had to switch my rest day from Thursday to Friday this week.

Mataya: I went to for a walk in my stroller with Daddy today and to my Cousins birthday party. I have to go see my infection doctor next Friday. If all my labs are good, they will take out my PICC. Next week my grandma is coming all the way from Oklahoma. I have not gotten to meet her yet. We get to meet and show her our new house. 

 

14053729_1153889531348205_2679402184493873617_o

rest-day

 

Saturday 8/20: 5 mile run

Mataya:  I had a nice relaxing day watching everyone at home clean.

13698139_1154856921251466_3483496665623710141_o

FullSizeRender-1FullSizeRender

That’s it! That was our week. Thanks for following along our journey together.

 

signature

Meet Mataya, my buddy

In my last post, I told you about being matched with a buddy in the I Run 4 Michael facebook group, but didn’t want to share her name or photos until I got permission.

IMG_20160820_173554

Meet Mataya! Isn’t she the cutest?! She’s 7 months old, has 4 siblings, lives in Minnesota, and is amazing. In the past 7 months she has:

  • beaten cancer
  • had 2 helicopter rides
  • 5 surgeries
  • 7 rounds of chemo
  • 51 blood product transfusions
  • almost 1,000 labs/scans/images done
  • spent 5 months inpatient at a hospital 2.5 hours away from home
  • been a resident in the NICU, PICU, and PEDS.

It is obvious that she has had the most amazing people in her life to get her healthy. The day we were matched, it was love at first sight. There’s something so special about not only Mataya, but her hard working Mama as well. It’s been fun getting to know them all this past week.

 

Each Sunday, I’ll be sharing a recap of our week – my workouts and her progress & milestones.

#IRun4Mataya

 

signature