Saturday, November 12, 2011

Finishing the NYC Marathon 2011 for SBA

This is the final update of the NYC marathon and fundraising for the national Spina Bifida Association. Again, words really do not express how much all of your kind donations and heartfelt words and deeds meant to us. Reflecting back on this past year of fundraising makes me realize just how many good, kind people I am blessed to know. My heart is full of gratitude to each of you and all of your encouragement. This journey has brought so much joy even through the pain of training and illness and injury. Every mile has been worth it.

Melyssa and I are happy to announce that we raised a combined total of around $7,500. That far exceeded our goal. This motivated us to run being supported with $143 for every mile.

For many of you who wish to know how it went, this is the best way I could tell you from my perspective. Emotions over the 4+hr experience ranged from humor, elation, praise, exhaustion, gratitude and on and on...

Made it to NYC with all our most wonderful family (L/R Mom, Julia, Gma & Gpa Williams, Hanna, Austin, Anna, Scott, Mely, Cate, Me & Hayden) had dinner & headed to sleep @ 10.
Woke up at 3am. Darn noisy Time Square. Caught bus @5:30. Made it to Staten Island. Bussed us in early enough with plenty of time for nerves and shivering cold before the start @10:10.
Small talk at the porta-potties. Short lines and still a little less disgusting early on. Mely met the youngest racer turning 18 on the race also from Montana. Trying to stay warm and eat a bagel. Met some of our team Scott, Liz, Kathleen and Sherrie, and even found fellow Austin Fit running friend Jennifer.  Feeling happy and excited.
Mile 0:  9:45, shed the clothes in dumpsters for Goodwill. Getting pumped. Still cold. Watched the wheelchair racers start.
Shot gun start and the elites were off with helicopter coverage.
We were the group on the left to the underdeck.
I'm...going to KILL... It!

Mile 1:  Mely and I run the bridge together. Beautiful view of the city from far off. Warmed up. Crammed with people. Garmin not working. Darn under deck. Running hard but not too fast. Gotta save it.
Mile 2:  Finally off the bridge.  Blasting my tunes. I think Mely is still next to me. No slowing down in this sea of people.
Mile 3:  No water stop. Don't want to get trampled. So glad I brought my own.  So much nicer than running in Texas heat and throwing up.

Mile 4:  Brooklyn... merge both running groups.  Have to get in a passing lane.  There's a Dunkin Donuts. I haven't been there in years. When this is over I want a donut.

Mile 5:  Finally a down hill.  Who is this famous person I am passing with the matching blond Lululemon entourage? Don't know.

Mile 6:  Where are my cheering family and how will I ever spot them? Where am I? What's a Borough? Can't believe all the people cheering?  Blasting my music.

Mile 7:  Move out of my way. Is that a runner taking pictures? Must get Gatorade. Keeping PR pace @ 9:30.

Mile 8:  Seriously when will this hill end?  Where are the porta-potties? No time for that line.

Mile 9:  1/3 way there. No I'm not going too fast. Feeling great.

Mile 10:  Is that smell sulfur or sewage? Is it just the smell of the city? Maybe that is me or is it all these people around me?

Mile 11:  Look at all these people.  I feel the love!

Mile 12:  Must not miss my family or the puff of the inhaler.

There is my family!!! I see their signs! I love you and needed to see you. Half way there.. One kiss and I'm off.  Sorry I can't wait for the pick mom.
Garmin said 9:30 average at over 12 miles just what I wanted

Mile 13:  Queens:  Where was my inhaler puff? Missed it but still feeling good.  Short bridge at half into Queens.  How many bridges do we cross anyway?(5)
Do you see my arms pumping?  Note I started over 40 minutes different from the elite runners official time.
Mile 14:  I see another big bridge coming.

Mile 15:  Bridge into Manhattan.  Garmin says 15.3 and OUCH! Left calf muscle tears, snaps and curls. Holy calf pain, Batman.  Keep going.  It's ok. I still have my right leg. Snap. There goes my right calf muscle and my PR time. Only a mere 11 miles to go.  I can do it.  Don’t walk. Keep running. 

Mile 16:  There are amputees and blind running out here.  The Achilles running group is so cool!
Mile 16:  I’ll walk through this water stop. Then no more walking. Yes, I know I’m “almost there,” lady who has never done this before. 

Mile 17:  Who are all these runners wearing determiNATION shirts? I am doing this for SBA and all those who donated their hard earned $ and are tracking me.
Mile 18:  Sponge!! Can I drink this? Fill up bottles.  Where is my family?  Must have missed them.  Its OK I get a down hill.

Mile 19:  Another bridge?!  Someone should have warned me about this course.  Best sign said "worst parade ever."

Mile 20:  Bronx...Stretch...walk it out. Come on! Yes I am shouting at myself.  Was that a 70 year old man that keeps passing me? I will catch him.  Only 6.2 more to go.

Mile 21:  Another bridge...why are so many people walking?  OK, pull over.  Stretch.  Just for a little bit.

Mile 22:  Mandy from team SBA passes me.  Go speedy Mandy!  My PR is shot with the minute I added to my overall pace.  I have determiNATION to finish this as strong as possible.

Mile 23:  Oh, made it to Central Park.  It should be so pretty now. I broke 4 hours!...for 23 miles.  Looking for my family again.  Just missed them, but they saw Mely.
Mile 24: Central park hill climb.  Yes there is a reason most people are walking.  Head down and hobble forward.

Mile 25:  Stop looking at the Garmin.

Mile 26:  Earphones out.  I hear Cate, G'ma & G'pa Williams!  Yes hi 5s and giving it all I've got!
Melyssa crossing
Adrienne crossing
 Mile 26.2:  Garmin says 26.5.  It's over.  I did it!

While team Hayden raised at total of more than $7,500, all 10 Spina Bifida runners totalled more than $48,500!!  While we did not raise the most $, we did have the largest number of donations and to me that means the most.  Advocacy and Spina Bifida education were my ultimate goal.  Remember FOLIC ACID & PRENATALS before you get pregnant!  That little pill may change a persons life.

While I didn't break my PR for time (the Kenyan winner did the whole race in the time I did half), I did make the New York Times.

My gratitude is great for my "Take That Team".  Thank you for paving the way and allowing me to run and train with you for the 2nd SBA marathon.  For your children who inspired you.  For all of those who suffer from the challenges of Spina Bifida who make us want to do more and better.
To my friends, thank you for letting me know the depth of your friendship.  I have never known I was cared for or felt such love and support from people other than family.  You can count on me any time.  Thank you for letting me count on you.  I know who my true friends are.

To my family, thank you for truly stepping up when we asked and we needed you.  Thank you for those who made the trip and for those of you who cheered us on from home.

Thank you to many of you who have never met us or Hayden but gave out of the goodness of your heart and circumstances.  You are the most surprising bunch.  My heart is truly touched and you make me want to be a better person.

Flamingos have flocked for many months from July to September.  From Austin to Billings.  It was an incredible uniting and bonding experience for our whole family united in doing good and charity for others in Hayden's behalf.

You may also view our NYC slide show by clicking below.
November 12, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On Our Way

Many of you may want to know just how much money we have raised.  Hang tight.  With donations still being mailed in, totals will be tallied shortly after the race in a later post.  We are more than pleased with the generous donations well exceeding what we had set as our goal.

However, if numbers are your thing, you can track either Melyssa Ostler (BIB #40,083) or Adrienne Trigg (BIB #39,215 with an estimated 10 minute pace and goal to be my PR of 4:27) on our route via the following link:
My iphone will update via GPS once per minute on the NY Marathon Spectator App.
Destination, New York City.  

It feels like forever ago that I started training for this race.  I became inspired by a mother I have never met in NY, Liz Keicher, who started running for her daughter with Spina Bifida and helped to partner the Spina Bifida Association as a official charity partner of the New York City Marathon.  I asked her if I could join her in running and advocating the NYC marathon in 2011.  I was ecstatic when I learned that not only would I be part of the team, but that my sister, Melyssa, could join us too.
One of the things I think about while running for hours is, that I have learned that running this marathon is like a metaphor for my life.  I do not get to run a sprint to the finish line where everyone is cheering and everything is OK.  Instead I am learning to push myself to endure a pace through exhaustion and at times adrenaline and then acceptance for the long road ahead.  I have learned a whole new running language and met a new group of people I never would have met.  I have trained in the hottest TX summer on record.  Sweat and threw up from heat exhaustion many times.  But I kept on.  Woke at 5am leaving my family behind every Saturday morning for the past 27 weeks for a total just over 614 miles.  I could have run from Austin to Albuquerque (619 miles) to visit my sweet in-laws or Denver to Billings (555 miles) to visit the Montana family.
I really don't know why I started running.  Running a marathon was not what I had planned.  I know it was good exercise and I wanted to loose the baby weight.   I could clear my thoughts and relieve stress.  I remember thinking I would be a good example for my kids and all that they struggle with and work towards.  Wow, was I wrong.  As it turns out, my family has been my greatest example and is what keept pushing me to run.  The thoughts of my lil brother, Austin, and sisters, Cate and Julia, flocking in the late summer nights, my sister Melyssa tirelessly training, fundraising while working and going to school. Hanna & Hayden flocking in their pjs and welcoming me home after every run.  And mostly, Scott putting up with my early Friday evenings and exhausted sweaty Saturdays while he wielded the kiddos for most of the day.  They are my inspiration and gave me determination to see it through.

While my little Hayden may not have the strongest body, he is my super hero in Spirit.  He makes all those around him want to help him do better.  Everyone he greets with a smile, hug or kiss.  His personality is quiet and magnetic.  He is patient and joyful.  At times he does get frustrated with his body not keeping up with everything he wants to do.  We don't know if Hayden will be able to walk, but that will not define him or his quality of life.  He will have every opportunity to DO whatever he wants.  My purpose as his mother is to help develop all of his abilities and strengths.
All of us have weaknesses, let's develop and discover our talents.
So we are off...and in Hayden's words...."Lets GO PLAY!"