Friday, October 28, 2011

Pre-event Fire Up

October 8th, 2011 - Merrie and I at the Portland marathon expo displaying the participant tech shirt which I wore to the pasta dinner later on
October 8th, 2011 sis, me, and mom with my 40ths cake (40th birthday and 40th anniversary of the Portland marathon)
mom's "partyware" ensemble she made for me

When we arrived my parents home in Oregon after stopping to get my race packet at the Portland expo, I lucked out and had another 40th birthday celebration. I think I have been plenty spoiled with nearly a month of several continuous celebrations (first in MN with Cheryl my mother-in-law and Harley's grandma in September; then champagne toast with 2 other birthday friends; from my hike group down by Mt. Rainer; then with Harley at Mt. Rainier Paradise Lodge again ON my birthday; at my trainer's the same week; at my sister's the following week; and the culmination of the celebrations the weekend of the marathon in early October. Wow!
October 5, 2011 at Chef Michelle's
Menu - Coconut Pumpkin Curry Soup, Green Beans, and Thai Chicken Curry with Squash

Spud and Jazz there to celebrate with me!
Got so excited about Key Lime pie that forgot to put the candles on before cutting into it!

September 24th, 2011 at the Vieco household - my trainer Merrie, her husband Pedro, our gym mate and another September birthday buddy Randy Thompson, and Harley & I
Randy's birthday was on the 25th and mine on the 22nd of September. So we celebrated it together at Merrie's who is our trainer. Randy left shortly after to work for 6 months at McMurdo research base in Antarctica.
September 21, 2011 birthday TSNW hiking pals left to right: Denise who just summitted Kilimanjaro, me, and Kristina who summitted Mt. Adams and has trekked in the Himalayas
Kristina photographing a marmot on the rock in the distance as Bob comes up the trail
My beautiful Mt. Rainier

My favorite purple Lupine wildflower
alpine pond at the top of Spray Park
lush pink mountain Heather
September 22, 2011 - Paradise on Mt. Rainier Read the quote on the steps.
Paradise is LUXURIANT
overlooking Reflection Lakes
alpine pond surrounded by huckleberries
Harley reflecting over an alpine meadow
Reflection Lake
Paradise Inn Lodge
Mountain sunset

Harley relaxing after an afternoon hike
nice place for peace and contemplation in the upstairs deck of the lodge

Time to fly away! Beautiful hand painted lanterns hanging from the lodge ceilings

September 11, 2011 Apple Valley, MN - Cheryl, Harley, and Grandma

gift from grandma - my 40th socks :)

Haha! When we came home from the pasta dinner my dad was just DYING to dive into the ice cream cake we did not have time to eat beforehand.

When we got home after the dinner I had to get to bed quick as it was almost 9 pm and I had to get up at 4 am! So I told dad that we could not eat the cake until after I finished the marathon on Sunday. It gave me an extra incentive to keep running as I wanted some cake too! :)

Note: Why on earth would I have to wake so early? Argh! That is not at all normal for me and I am NOT a morning person like my dad. However, all marathon start times are really early for 2 purposes: firstly that is tradition as many events are in hotter climates and they want to start it during the cooler hours of the day.
Secondly, it takes much longer for walkers to complete a full marathon. So they start early so the course can be shut down in a reasonable amount of time and before evening approaches.
When you are on a team, the team generally meets 1 hour before the start time which is at 6 am. You meet for a photo and make sure everybody is there and knows where to go for their starting corales (runners or walkers start in different gates based on their estimated finish time and pace; the fastest runners get to cross the startline first).
Often, people from out of town stay at the hotel hosting the expo where you pick up your race packet with your timing chip and number. My parents live about a half hour outside of Portland. Thus I just stay there but that means I will have to leave about 45 minutes beforehand to ensure I get to the team meeting spot.

I was so groggy in the morning that I wore my underwear inside out and had no idea until I took my ice bath hours after the race!!!! LOL I was also very tired after the race and ran around with my finisher shirt on backwards! Dear Lord what a confused case I was!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Adventures of Diverbeck

crafty designer extraordinaire - my mom
The creative mastermind of the photo puzzle - my sister

The day before the marathon my mother and sister through me a very special 40th surprise birthday party.

One thing you must know, my sister and I LOVE to try to outwit each other! :-) We do this every year by creating the most ingenious clues for an easter egg scavenger hunt. Then we laugh histerically when one of us gets stumped trying to figure out the brain teaser the other was thinking. hehe

So what my sister did was create a collage of many of my escapades over the years and cleverly made a statement about each picture corresponding number on the photo. All the pictures were laid out onto the table and everyone had to walk around with a list describing each photo but without any numbers on the sheet. They had to determine which statement matched with a photo.

It was a brilliant game! And no I did not get them all correct but I did get the MOST correct. I almost figured them all out but there was a time crunch because we had to leave to get to the team pasta dinner. So she definitely stumped me!

Next to the photo of my mom is a photo album my sister put together for me of many spectacular things I have done over the last 6 years since recovering after the bad time I had following radiosurgery (which really shook my world as I knew it). It is one of the most loving gifts I have ever received! I know I live a lot of life but looking back at the collage she put together is pretty amazing. I really didn't know just HOW MUCH I have been living. Wow! It holds a very special place in my heart and I will treasure it for eternity. Someday when I am old and tired out, I will sit in a comfy chair and with each turn of the page I will be reminded of how I captured the most I could out of life. Then I can be pleased when the day comes that it will be time to rest. :)

The Adventure Lives On!

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.