Thursday, January 23, 2014

I Can Do Hard Things - Star Valley Half Marathon

I know I am way behind on writing this post but it is something that I don't want left out.  I don't do this to brag about myself because there are people out there who do much more difficult things than I but I post this in hopes to encourage you.

July 13, 2013 I woke up in the mountains of Star Valley, WY.  It was the morning of the Star Valley Half Marathon.  I needed to get up, eat something and start getting dressed and warmed up for my very first half marathon.  I was a tiny nervous but I had been telling myself "it is what it is", "it will be what it will be".  I had made a goal of 3 hrs but I really didn't know what to expect.

I'm not a runner, but I play one on TV. :)   Here I am doing one of the hardest things in my entire life.  13 miles!!!!!  What was I thinking.

I'm not a runner, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. :)  No, I actually stayed in Big Al.  That is what we call our toy hauler camping trailer, and our truck is called Tuggy.  Anyway, back to the story.

My family is not a running family, well, my brother Joe ran track in high school and did well.  I was on the cross country team my freshman year of high school.  But I really didn't have a love for running and shin splints the whole season really soured my out look on running.  It wasn't good, and man shin splints hurt.  Just saying. :)

So up until a few years ago I had done zero running.  I added a little bit here and there with my other workouts in trying to loose some baby weight.  I found myself celebrating the little achievements when running, which urged me on for more.  In April I ran my first 5K, a fundraiser for my cousin who is fighting MS.  I was pretty happy with what I did.

I can't remember exactly when I decided to run the half marathon but I do remember it was a decision I never wavered on.  I said what the heck and then told my hubby (who supported me from day one, but I couldn't talk him into running it with me).  I told my family, who several members had ran this half marathon a couple of times before.  Plus I told them that Trey was going to be with me!  I know a few of them thought I was nuts and couldn't pull it off, but I didn't care.  I was going to do this.  I was going to do this for Trey and for Jeremy.

So rewind a bit.  I need to tell you a bit about why this half marathon is so amazing.  It is amazing because it is in honor of an amazing man whom I was honored to know.  Jeremy Kunz married my cousin Melinda, and had 3 adorable children.  Jeremy was truly one of the best men I have ever known.  If you click on the Star Valley Half Marathon link above you will find more info about Jeremy, his life, and his passing.  I am forever grateful for him being there for my brother, Dave, the night when we almost lost Dave to a heart attack.  He was there with Dave at his house when the EMT's came, he went to the hospital and stayed with Dave until I could get there.  Jeremy and Dave are best friends and it really shook Jeremy to see this happen to Dave.  Little did we know that just months later all of us would be shaken to the core when Jeremy was taken from us, from his sweet wife and kids.

At the time of Jeremy's death my husband and I were in Hong Kong on a business trip.  I received an email from my mom and I just sat and stared at the computer for a very long time.  My mind when blank, I couldn't think about anything nor did I want to.  Maybe if I didn't believe it then is wasn't true.  We were not able to be back in time for the funeral and I felt bad.  I wanted to be there to support Min and I also knew that the funeral is what gives me closure and helps me deal.   So for a couple of years I have just felt empty inside when it came to Jeremy's death.  Something was missing, something was wrong.  I don't really know how to explain it.

Back to my decision, I decided to do this in hopes that I can have closure and honor him.  I'll do this for my son, Trey, who will never be able to do this on his own in this life time.  I will do this for two people who can't.  Now, I can't say that my training was good.  It was not.  I totally could have trained better.  But like I said above, it will be what it will be.  And I knew I would get through it with help from Jeremy and Trey.

And you know what, I did.  I did get through it.  This was no cake walk.  It was super hard for me to keep going.    Every mile marker sign had a picture of Jeremy on it.  I would touch each sign and then give Trey a kiss on his head.  I could feel myself receiving that closure and comfort that I had been hoping for in regards to Jeremy's death.

Trey did awesome, I wasn't sure how he would like being in his jogging stroller for that long.  Plus he did awesome through the down pour during miles 10 and 11 if I remember correctly.  We both were soaked and he just chilled out with his headphones on.

I was so excited to see that finish line I don't even have words for it.  My muscles weren't even muscles at that point.  I made them move me over the finish line because I didn't want to stop when I was so close.  We crossed the finish line just a couple of minutes after 3 hrs.  My emotions were all over the place.  I was so close to breaking down crying but my body said no because my muscles were killing and I was now chilled from the rain and probably cause my body was in shock over what I just made it do.

I was so proud of myself of what I had just accomplished.  Not only did a non-runner complete a half marathon but I did it while pushing my 50lb son in 30lb jogging stroller.  And even as I sit here writing this, I'm proud of what I did.  I CAN DO HARD THINGS!  It has encouraged me to keep going with things when life gets hard.

People, you can do hard things.  Whatever it is, no matter how hard it may seem, go give it a try!  YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS!

When Jeremy was alive he inspired so many people, even now he is no longer here on earth he keeps inspiring us.  Never in my life would I have thought I would complete a half marathon.  Through his love of running he has gotten a lot of us out running who otherwise would not.

So I am training for the next Star Valley Half Marathon, come join me.  I have not decided if I will be running with Trey again.  I feel like I would like to see what I can do on my own this time.

I have to give a shout out to all the other runners who spoke encouraging words to me during the race.  That really gave me a boost.  And also a big shout out to all the volunteers, especially those road side with music, cow bells, and signs, cheering us all on.  Loved it!  And Trey really liked the boy blowing bubbles at one of the bends.  You all are awesome!  Thanks!

And a huge thank you to my husband.  He always supported me and never gave one hint of doubt.  That meant a lot to me.  And also to my kids who cheered me on.  And thanks also to my extended family who was there running and cheering us on.  Love you guys!

Star Valley, WY is so very beautiful.  This is the start line up in the mountains.  Yep, we camped right at the start line, cool huh?  A couple of my cousins ended up camping there with us too.  Our trailer in the back with the Wicked Audio sign on it, a sponsor of the race.

And we're off.  You can see Trey in his jogging stroller.

Trey receiving his medal!

We did it!

Trey getting a dry blanket and my other two kids there to congratulation Trey and me.  I love my family. :)

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