Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Final Stretch!

Hey all! My 13 weeks of rookie marathon training runs is now complete!! :D It culminated yesterday morning before my weekly strength training workout with my trainer from the gym. The last bit of mileage called for a 3 mile run so I ran for 30 minutes to ensure it was covered.
"Keep Climbing" May 16, 2011
Sporting my "Keep Climbing" bracelet from cancer climber Sean Swarner and giving the thumbs up to making it through the 5 hour surgery and ready to rock recovery!
Thanks Sean and Teri! :D

First Hike - June 11th, 2011
Squak Mountain in Issaquah with Merrie

My friend Shantelle with me when I came out of OR and woke up in recovery
My friend Paul from the UK with his new bride Maddy, of just over a year

For anyone who has not figured it out from a couple previous posts, I took on the challenge of running my first marathon about mid-summer. The test was to see how I could do running a half marathon shortly after surgery with virtually almost no training. At the time of the half marathon, a good friend with NF2 who came down to Portland for my surgery had become very ill and was in and out of the hospital. I had not known how rapidly her condition was deteriorating and she admitted to me her worry about being able to still be here by Christmas for her children.
Wow! That was an unexpected shock! I wanted her to believe in herself that survivorship is definitely within grasp if you totally believe and put your heart into it - "Give it all you've got!". At the same time, another friend with NF2 from the UK was in and is in a similiar boat. These friends are so special to me that I wanted to do whatever was in my power to convince them to hang in there, have hope, believe, and try their hardest. What better way to walk your talk but then doing it yourself? Therefore, I had to do something great. I had to PROVE it by doing what most others would think impossible in my situation. Who runs their first marathon just a few months after having a brain surgery?
Thus, the whole motivation for pursuing this feat is purely inspired by wanting to inspire these friends as well as others to have hope and represent a charity advocating to help them. You can read more about it on my page at this link:

I have a few people to thank for inspiring and encouraging me in this direction.

First of all, Phil Ershler you are amazing! Reading about all you went thru after your surgeries and about how fast you got back on the horse at the gym to get in gear for a 2nd Everest attempt with Susan was astounding! I really think your perseverence and your words of encouragement before my surgery provided me with the mental strength to believe these things were indeed possible.

Second, I want to thank my trainer Merrie Vieco who accompanied me on my first hike after coming home from the hospital while training for her first full marathon and doing a long run the day prior! I was totally amazed and not sure if I would be able to do the same but that is what I ended up doing this summer!
Merrie ran the June marathon in honor of me with the NF Endurance team. I wanted to be here for her to show my appreciation and support. So I consistently worked on recovery everyday after I got out of the hospital by walking an hour and a half daily so I could go home in time to see her in the event.
It just so happened that when we were hiking that day - perhaps it was the drugs still - that I got a wild idea to run in the marathon too by doing the half. I did well on our 5-7 mile hike the day after doing my first run so I figured I could at least shoot for a 6 mile run and maybe 8 miles. It was total spontanaity, adrenaline, and heart that I ended up running the entire 13.1 miles!
Throughout my entire training before and after surgery Merrie has been incredibly encouraging, pushing me to have faith in myself and do things that before I could not have imagined myself doing. It is all Merrie that I would have any confidence that I could train, shoot for, and accomplish a marathon, especially in less than 5 months from surgery!
Pedro and Merrie Veico June 25th, 2011

Harley and Pedro Veico who has also been incredibly supportive of me and Merrie; this is a celebration at the Veico house after the June Rock and Roll marathon.

Finally, my husband is my most devoted and supportive fan! He always believes in me and helps me to see perspective and keep on track. He totally encourages whatever I do and puts up with my moments of moodiness and crankiness that sometimes accompany the preparation for these events. LOL And he is a really good sport about my ravenous carb binges during training while he has to stick to a low carb diet. Sorry honey but I get so darn hungry following these long runs! It does not help matters that I have an insatieable sweet tooth! Love you lots and thanks for always being my biggest fan! :) xoxoxo <3 So what happens now? While this is the final stretch to the pre-event resting phase which hopefully gets my body fresh and recovered enough for the long haul. That means I am done running until event day and that I don't do anything strenuous. So I will not be back at the gym until I return from Portland. Also, you work on sleep and trying to maintain good nutrition. Overall I am pretty good about intaking what I need but I have difficulty abstaining from sugar. I LOVE sweets! Although I passed on homemade chocolate chip cookies offered to me at the mountain summit friday, I have not been so strong willed at home here with chocolate. But at least I sort of cut down on it. It was getting out of hand and I was eating everything after my 2 highest mileage weeks. The sleep is another of my greatest challenges! URGH! I am not a morning workout person. Thank goodness my weekly group hikes forced me to get ready and out of the house at an earlier hour as I rarely accomplished early workout runs on my own. It is going to be really tough! I will be staying a half hour out of Portland so that means I have to get up even earlier! Our team meets at 6 am in Portland so I need to be up at like 4 or 4:30 in the morning! That means I need to hit the hay much earlier than I ever go to bed which is really hard for me. I have not done well at all disciplining myself for this. Hopefully over the next 3 nights I can make a change to try to help my body adjust. For a half marathon this has been doable but I am really worried about being able to have the energy to sustain twice the distance so early in the morning. DEFINITELY keep me in your prayers to pull this off! I have a hard time when my brain gets tired and my body physically then shuts down. Pray for alertness, stamina, endurance, perseverence, and a safe injury free run! Note: I think it is most important to let you know that I am a Christian and my faith and belief is the real power behind my accomplishments. I ask and I recieve. I do not believe I would have gotten this far, lived this long, have the things I have, or accomplished what I have done in life without recognition and respect for God. While others have motivated and inspired me, God provides the real tools. He is the one who provided me the instruments of inspiration in the first place. Before every run and hike, I pray and it does not stop there. I pray through the entire duration and then pray thanks afterward.
Just remember......"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! -Phillipians 4:13

P.S.- Thanks to my first trainer Paul at Gold's Gym NW for so bravely sharing his faith! He has a tatoo of the verse on his arm.

TNT (Team in Training program of the WA/Alaska Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) friend Gerb and I at my first half marathon event with the NF Endurance team at the Seattle Rock and Roll marathon in June 2010. My character and ideal of how I try to live my life is modeled after our good friend Skip Sand (my teammate in my first ever marathon walk in 2006) who passed away 2 years ago October from Leukemia. He had a very passionate spirit for humanity and exhibited exemplary committment to charitable causes and contributing to goodness in the world.
Our friend Skip Sand who walked an entire marathon in November 2006 AFTER he went through chemo while training. He was a man of remarkable strength with a heart of gold and faith.

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