Monday, March 3, 2014

I am a runner?

“If the mind can dream it, then the body can achieve it”

I am a runner?

If you had known me 10 years ago, I have come a long way. I was a smoker for 10 years, I quit January 2007, and February 2007 I signed up for Team in Training with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I was relatively new to living in L.A, it seemed like good way to meet people, it was for charity so that’s a good thing right? and it would get my healthier. Oh ya and we fundraise A LOT of money by doing endurance events such as Marathons.

When people asked me how I quit smoking I tell them it was easy, it was because I wanted to, I found something better, I found the best support system and reason to never go back. Smoking makes you feel bad, it makes you smell and it weakens you. Team in Training and running got my leaner, healthier and I raised approx. $3500 for finding a cancer cure and ran my first ever half and full marathon events.  I had wanted to do a marathon for a while it seemed like a cool thing to do, but the commitment – the time it took, that was the thing that scared me! I remember when I announced it many people had reservations about my ability to complete it or meet the fundraising goal but I kept going. I exceeded my fundraising goal by $1000. I completed my first full marathon in 6 hours and 40 minutes in June 2007 at the San Diego Rock & Roll Marathon. I was not fast and I did not finish first.  Crossing that finish line was amazing; being on Team in Training was life altering. Without a doubt in my mind it belongs in the box of best days of my life ever next to the day I got married and the day my son was born. IT was THAT great. Okay so Marathon – bucket list – check. What’s next? Let’s do it again!

During the next 2 years I ran numerous 5k’s, 10ks, another full marathon and half a dozen half marathons.  I met the man I would marry, life got way busier and due to some health problems running had to take a back seat for a while. I completed 2 more half marathons with my husband, the second of which I was 7 weeks pregnant.  Then I got tired and lazy. After some very stressful times it felt good to sleep for 12 hours a night thanks to pregnancy fatigue. Then the baby was born and I got itchy feet. I was exhausted with a 6 month old baby when I told myself I did everything else tired so I needed to learn how to run tired too! 4 months later I ran my first post-baby half marathon – I finished! I was slower than before and realized that I couldn’t compare my pre baby running achievements to my present efforts , I had to focus on not what I used to be but how to be better than I was. Better though than any “fast” finish time thought was seeing my son and husband waiting for me at the finish line.

I was full of enthusiasm but my feet were no longer as young as they used to be and were carrying more weight than they used to, I developed some overuse foot injuries. It took me a year, new shoes, special inserts and trial and error how to work through the pain. It wasn’t easy, there were some days I couldn’t stand even from the pain in my heel but we got through it. In 2013 I ran again the Hollywood Half Marathon and also the Long Beach Half Marathon. It was after Long Beach when I realized that my times were improving and almost as good as pre baby times for races, well at least the slower ones. I thought about what I had been doing in terms of running before my family and I remembered a goal of 12 races in 1 year, one for every month – well somehow I decided then and there I needed to do that except this time the goal would be 14 events in 2014. 14in2014 it had a nice ring to it. So that is how we got to where we are today.


When I started team in training I had never even heard of Lymphoma, a couple of months after I completed my event, my Aunt sue was diagnosed. In 2009, she passed away on December 1st 2010 on my mother in laws birthday just 3 months after my husband and I ran the L.A Rock and Roll Half Marathon in their Honor. In 2013 my Mother in Law Janet already a survivor of Leukemia was diagnosed tumors in her throat and later esophagus.  She passed away July 2014. Once the seed of 14in2014 came into my mind it would not leave. I decided that I would dedicate these running events to both my aunt and mother in law and I would fundraise as much money as I was possibly able to because I am tired of crying. We have cried every week for 56 weeks since we found out my mother in law had cancer for the 3rd time. 3 times is not the charm for cancer, we cancelled all plans, we shaved heads and I cropped my hair and donated to locks of love but we couldn’t do anything but love her. Now she is gone and there are not words in and language to adequately describe the loss I feel over losing two women who were my other mothers. I am tired of grieving of them, I want to honor them, to make them proud, the world should know these two angels names.

So because I have nothing better to do I am running AGAIN and FUNDRAISING again for Team in Training and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I am not as young as I used to be I have aches and pains that I never had previously and I have commitments that are time consuming and I don’t have an endless budget for the best running shoes and apparel. None of this matters because I feel very deeply in my soul that I must do it. Every time I run I cry now. At some point whether its 3 miles or 13 miles there is a moment where I think of my aunt and my mother in law and I cry. I then think of what I am doing and their strength and how they never complained and then I keep running.  I leave it all right there in training, and I tell you a secret, now I don’t cry at home anymore. 

I told my husband about 14in2014 and as he is always supportive he said all the right things then I told my Mom and she did the same but I was embarrassed a little to tell other people what if they thought I was silly? But I am fundraising so I had to tell people.  The amount of kind words, support, love and strength that has been shown to me has me in awe. It is an incredibly motivating and inspiring feeling to know people support you and believe in you. The people who cheer me on and have donated are what inspire me to go an extra mile – they believe in me and I cannot & will not let them down.

Some fun facts:

When I was first started running in 2007 I couldn’t run a mile straight – it was around 18 minutes in time.  Pre – baby my fastest race I did was a 10K that I completed at a 10 minute mile pace without walk breaks. Post - baby I am comfortable running a 12 – 13 minute per mile pace and I can run 5 miles without stopping or a walk break.  To date I have completed 2 full marathons and approx. 12 half marathons (I actually can’t remember!) and who knows how many 5 and 10K events. I am fundraising for a cure for cancer and raising awareness that we need better treatment for cancer patients and we need to eat better and exercise often to help minimize our risks of contracting diseases like cancer. 

I am running 14 events in 2014 to raise $14,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in loving memory of my aunt and mother in law because every single moment without them is one too many.

My name is Erin and I AM a runner.


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