Running for SLOS: A mom’s story of grief and hope

Sunday’s purposeful running series continues this morning with an especially moving story.  Mary Helen describes her parenting journey from joy to shock to grief and back again.  I am in awe of Mary Helen’s honesty, humility, perseverance and strength.  You can follow her ongoing training and Damien’s progress at A Written Purpose.  And grab a tissue before reading further.  🙂

My journey into running was both gradual and, at the same time, kind of happened overnight. To say I ran “casually” throughout high school and college might be stretching it a bit. I had run a few 5k’s here and there, but nothing serious. Running and I had a love-hate relationship that usually favored the ‘hate’ over the ‘love.’ This trend continued until I was pregnant with our first child.

In January of 2011, we welcomed baby Damian into this world. The pregnancy had been nearly perfect as was the delivery. He was the cutest little bundle of joy I had ever seen (although I guess I’m a bit biased 😉

 However, once we brought him home from the hospital, things started to get rough. At first it was just the typical newborn stuff–not sleeping, crying, eating constantly… But after 2 weeks, Damian still wasn’t gaining weight despite marathon nursing sessions and supplementing with formula. He was also starting to look jaundiced and sick; and by 3 weeks, we were told he had a life threatening liver disease that would require immediate surgery. Handing your baby over for an intensive 6 hour surgery to save his life was nerve-wracking to say the least!

The surgeon said to expect about a week long stay in the hospital for him to recover. However, it was over a month later that we finally got to bring our baby home from the hospital for the second time. It was during this time that we were told Damian actually had a rare genetic disorder called Smith Lemli Opitz Syndrome. Like most of you, we had also never heard of SLOS. A recessive genetic mutation, SLOS causes the body to struggle to produce cholesterol. While many adults work to keep theirs down, the body needs cholesterol to develop properly. Without it, many physical and mental disabilities can occur; and sadly many children die within the first year due to these complications.

They say when a parent is given a special needs diagnosis for their child what follows is very similar to the grieving process after losing a loved one. And this is painfully true… You grieve the loss of a future you had planned for your child and all the possibilities that might not be now. I was in a dark place for awhile. I was sad and angry that my beautiful baby had to suffer. But mostly I was fearful that I wouldn’t have what it takes to be the mom of a special needs child. How was I going to handle a feeding tube, tons of medication, weekly/monthly doctor’s visits, physical and speech therapies, the constant worry of his liver failing, etc.?

After the shock of Damian’s diagnosis wore off, I decided grieving for all eternity wasn’t the best way to handle it. I needed to do something. Since SLOS is rare, there is not a lot of funding for research so I wanted to help change that. I also wanted to do something that would prove to myself, and hopefully one day to Damian, that I was strong enough to handle this. So while talking with my best friend one night, we decided to sign up for our first marathon (at Walt Disney World–might as well make it fun, right?!) with the hopes of raising $1000 for the SLOS Foundation. We would be the small, but determined, Team Damian! What followed was never expected.

I had no clue what it took to run a marathon (other than moving my body 26.2 miles.) As I researched training plans and hydration packs and gels, I realized this was going to be intense! But that’s exactly what I needed to help me through the grief and pain I was experiencing. And what better motivation could I have than doing it for Damian! Everyday he was showing me he wasn’t going down without a fight. If he could be strong, so could I!

I still remember lacing up my running shoes for that first run after signing up. I thought I was going to die. Ohmygoodness, it was horrible! But I stuck with it. And sure enough, it was only a matter of weeks and I was addicted! Long runs became my therapy, and I looked forward to the cold, fall Saturday mornings. By the time January and the marathon rolled around, I was a new person. And while the entire time I was worried we’d never make our $1000 goal, we more than doubled it!!

 

 The race was a lot of fun, and life-changing to say the least! If you’ve never run a marathon before, I definitely recommend the one at Disney. It’s so well done and filled with tons of entertainment to keep you moving. There’s nothing like running 26.2 miles in the happiest place on earth!

We had so much fun in fact we decided to do it again in 2013 with the hopes of raising $5000! And this time we’ve inspired a few more to join us, and Team Damian has grown from 2 to 11 (and counting!). And that’s the funny thing about running. While it’s a very individualized sport, the sense of community and support I have found from other runners has moved me beyond words. They’re there to encourage you, pick you up when you’re down, and help you put one foot in front of the other.

And while I may have healed and Damian is thriving, I know that there are other families working through difficult times due to SLOS. I hope that Team Damian, though small, provides them some of the support and community that running has given me. And that’s what keeps me running!

If you would like to find out more about Team Damian (or join us for Disney 2013!) you can visit our fundraising page here or follow the links on my blog!

Purposeful running- Mandy’s story

This girl has spunk! I won’t ruin her story for you, but I am so inspired by her drive and determination.  She has big goals, and I have no doubt she will achieve them.  She’s also a new mom, with an adorable one year old.  You can follow Mandy’s running journey at No More Standing Still.

Growing up, I considered myself “athletic,” but I never ran for the purpose of running.  I played soccer.  When I ran, it was to get the ball, or running laps as punishment.  It was definitely not something I considered FUN.

During several trips to College (which resulted in 3 degrees), I stopped exercising regularly, turned to stress eating, and managed to gain the “freshman 15” EACH time.

At this point, my stepbrother ran the Houston Marathon.  The next year, my stepmother ran the same Marathon, just to prove that she could.  I was in awe.  Then, my Dad ran it.  Really???

My family is very competitive. Thus, I had to try it too.  Since free time was an issue while I was back in school yet again, I decided to start “small” and train for a half marathon.  I was that person that got winded walking up the stairs to the Chemistry lab though.  Thus, I had a few starts and stops along the way.  Nonetheless, I ran my first half marathon at the Columbus Marathon in 2010 with a time of 2:43:33.

 Like so many other runners, I was hooked.    You might think that I would have lost some of my excess weight in the process up to this point.  Not true.   After the race, I weighed in at 186 lbs.  (I’m only 5’3”).   My new goal was to lose some of that weight, and increase my speed in a second race.

A couple months later though, our plans to start a family got results, I was pregnant.   I was told no dieting while pregnant, but I was allowed to continue running until shin splints forced me when I was a little over 5 months pregnant.  I still hadn’t learned the eating well lesson, so I put on a lot of weight during my pregnancy.  My daughter was born in August, and when I started running again (officially) in mid September, I weighed 220.8 lbs.

 I cannot even tell you how many attempted runs ended in tears at that point.  I was heavy, I was out of shape and I could not get hydrated enough.  But, I didn’t quit.

I worked myself up to the necessary mileage base to start training for a couple of spring half marathons, making some great running friends along the way.  Just when everything seemed to be going great,  I got the awful news that my Mom had died of a brain aneurysm.  She had not yet met my daughter.  It was a devastating blow.  I think I only managed to stay sane because I was  running regularly with some really amazing and supportive people.

In April 2012, I successfully ran the Knoxville Half marathon.  I beat my previous time by over 14 minutes.  I then beat THAT time at the Cap City Half Marathon in May.

Stepmom, Dad, husband and me

Next, I ran 18 miles during the Relay Around Columbus in June, and I tried to climb a mountain in July.  No, really, a mountain.  With a 45 lb pack, crampons, an ice ax and everything.

 I didn’t make the summit, but I’m not quitting on that either.  I’m trying again next July.

Oh, and along the way, I’ve lost almost 60 lbs.  Today, I weigh 162.6 lbs, and I’m still improving myself and my running.  I plan to lose another 20 lbs before my next attempt at the mountain in 2013.

Down 58.2 lbs and counting

Today, I’m training for the Columbus Marathon in October again, but this time, I’m doing the full, all 26.2 miles.  It will be my first.

When I first started running, I did it because I wanted to get in shape and I needed a goal to force me to exercise.  Today, if I miss a run, I’m a much crankier person.  When I first started running, I had to walk after a block or two.  This weekend, I’ll be running 14 miles without walking.  Running has been my stress relief when things are really, really bad.  It’s also helped me to make the healthy changes I needed to make.  More than that though, running is about the amazing running community and how supportive and wonderful the friends are that I have made there.  My life will never be the same!

May we all run many more miles, keeping us both sane and healthy!

Olympic highlights

Although the Olympics aren’t over yet, I had to share some of the highlights for me.  I’m always a sucker for an underdog success story.  Here are a few of the athletes that I’ve been inspired by:

  • Gabby Douglas: I know she’s already had a ton of press, but I was so impressed with her glowing personality and humble, laid-back spirit.  Not to mention the way her little body could fly all over the bars and mats! And I’m so proud of her for becoming the first black woman to win the all-around title.  I enjoyed learning more about her story, and her training in Iowa in this article.

Source

  • Oscar Pistorius: Did you see this guy race? It was just incredible.  This double ambutee from South Africa proved that he could hold his own in the men’s 400 semi-finals, coming in second in his heat on Saturday! Whether or not there is any truth to the accusations that his artificial legs give him an unfair advantage, there is no denying that he is a talented athlete.

Source

  • Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce: This “special feature” story really tugged at me.  Probably because my husband spent a year in Jamaica, and got to see some of the poverty first hand.  The fact that she came out of a rough neighborhood and went this far is so inspiring for her country, and the many girls who may feel like they have no future.  I love that she took gold in the 100m for the second time.

Source

  • New marathon record– I love that the Olympics help us celebrate our global athletes, and I was just blown away by these women.  Despite rooting for Kara, Desiree and Shalane, it was also unbelievable to see Tiki Gelana break the women’s marathon record, with 2:23:07 at the Mall of London.  And the US can be proud that Shalane and Kara were 10th and 11th, the first time we ever had two women in the top 11 finishers.

Source

I found the track especially inspiring.  I squeezed in some running this week and feel good.  As soon as I’m sure my shin is able to tackle some speed work, I’m ready to get back to the track!

What Olympic athletes have inspired you so far? Are you a sucker for the special features like me?

Also, if you missed it, I wrote a guest post for Mizz Zippy yesterday on fueling for endurance events and the “three hour” rule.

Purposeful running- Rachelle’s post-baby comeback

While I’m off “tri”-ing this morning, Rachelle is here to share how she started running and why she loves it.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know Rachelle through her blog, Livin the Fit Life, where she shares her running inspiration, product reviews, and race reports. She also maintains a hiking blog, at Livin the Hike Life.  Go check her out and say hello!

If you’d like to share your reasons for running as part of the purposeful running series, send me an email.  Thanks to everyone who has shared already!

Here’s Rachelle!

Did you ever have that aha moment when you decided to start running?  I did.

When I was younger, I was one of those people that hated running.  You know how when you are young and running means sprinting?  I didn’t know the meaning of pace yourself.  Run at a steady pace and you can go forever.  So, every time I would run, I would feel out of breath and miserable.  I hated running!

I had 2 kids and I gained 50 pounds with each pregnancy.  The first time I lost most of it, the second time I kept an extra 20-25 pounds on.  After my youngest son turned 1 1/2 I hit a breaking point.  Now, I have always been fit so this extra weight drove me insane.  I finally said, “that’s it, I can’t take it anymore!”

I had bought a cheapy treadmill at my neighbor’s garage sale a couple months prior and I decided that while my kids were napping I would run on that treadmill every day.

I don’t even remember whether it was difficult in the beginning or not.  I just ran.  All I remember is that I was at the point of running 6 miles every day on that same treadmill, in that same room, looking at the same things.  I was dedicated.

This went on for about 6 months and by the time I went to put on that season’s clothes, they were all 2 sizes too big.  I didn’t even own a scale so I never knew how the weight loss was going.

I looked great, but more importantly I felt great (and my husband was happy too)!  I decided to run a marathon with Team in Training in 2004 and the rest is history.

I have had bumps in the road along the way and taken breaks from my routine, but I always come back to it because when I run and exercise regularly, I am at my best.  When I run I feel confident.  I can let go of my negative energy and clear my mind of the stress of everyday life.  When I run I am free and that is the best feeling ever!

What was your aha moment?

Corey’s running journey: From casual to competitive

I met Corey at the Houston Marathon where we chatted and walked the expo together, and since then she has become a good friend and inspirational athlete.  She was also one of the key people encouraging me to give triathlons a try! Although Corey doesn’t think she has much of a story to tell, hers is one that I think many of us can relate to.  Running has a way of becoming part of us and giving back to us more than we expect it to.  You can follow Corey’s training at Schnoodles of Fun.

I had the good fortune of meeting Laura in Houston in January at the Olympic Trials. I immediately liked her and for anyone who hasn’t been lucky enough to meet her in person, she is absolutely just as sweet and kind as she appears on her blog!

I had two thoughts when Laura first announced that she was going to start a Purposeful Running series on her blog. First, I thought it was a great idea and I have truly enjoyed reading the stories from some very amazing and inspiring women. The other thought I had was that it would be fun to participate in this, but I don’t have a good story to tell. I didn’t (and still don’t) see my reasons for running to be nearly as inspiring as some of the other women that Laura has featured.

So when Laura emailed me and asked if I would like to participate, I had to think about it before committing. I finally concluded that even though I don’t see my personal motivation as inspiring to others, I still have my reasons for running and a story to tell.

So here we go…

For as long as I can remember, I have always been an athlete. I played just about every sport out there before finally settling on volleyball, softball and swimming in high school. My junior and senior year, I played competitive softball year-round and went on to play Division I softball in college.

Through my participation in sports, I always ran. Sometimes it was for conditioning and sometimes it was for punishment, but never for pure enjoyment. I was always one of the stronger long-ish (we’re talking 3 miles here) distance runners on my team in college and I enjoyed running, but never thought much about it, beyond preparing me to compete in softball.

After college, I continued to run to stay in shape, but never really took it too seriously. I  raced one 5k and loved it but wasn’t bitten by the “race bug”. I always wondered why I wasn’t able to run further or faster even though I ran pretty consistently, but I also never really had goals or even tracked just how far or how fast I was going.

During this time after college, I knew something was missing from my life. I am an extremely competitive person and I felt an emptiness in the part of me that desired to compete.  I missed working hard to achieve goals, leaving everything I had in a game and walking away feeling proud and accomplished. At the time, I couldn’t put my finger on what this emptiness was, but it is easy to look back now and see what was missing.

In 2008, I moved to Hamburg, Germany for work and my running started to change. I started running more, and while I don’t think I got much faster, I started to try to run further at least once a week. Around this time, I also went to a great friend’s bachelorette party in Nashville and together we ran the Country Music 1/2 Marathon.

That’s me in the back giving the “V” sign

After that race, I was hooked! When I moved to Greenville, SC a short time later, I signed up for another half marathon and started taking training more seriously. I eventually found running friends, discovered speed work and went on to run 9 more half marathons and 3 full marathons.

Houston Marathon 2012 – My PR Race!

I absolutely love the feeling of accomplishment I experience after a good, hard run. I love it when my lungs and legs burn and I am sweaty like crazy and I don’t think I can go another step. But I can. And I do. I love working to get faster, then racing and pushing myself harder than I ever could have imagined. I love the high that carries me through an entire morning after a run, making me feel strong and happy and proud. I love that I have goals that drive me to wake up at 5 a.m. when I would rather be sleeping. Because all of my life working toward a goal is what drove me and when I lost that, it left a void. Running fills that void.

And the most amazing bonus is that running also keeps me healthy (even when I eat gobs of gummy bears), allows me to sort out my thoughts when something is troubling me or when I just need “me” time and connects me to a huge community of like-minded people, both in real life and in the virtual world.

Purposeful running- Abbi’s couch to ultras

Many thanks to Abbi for sharing her purposeful running story today! I love that she touches on the way that running can boost our confidence and self-esteem.  Although she’s only been running for 3 years, she progressed from 5k’s to marathons to one year, and already completed three 50ks and just ran her first 40 miler! Besides ultra-running, I’m inspired by her Miles and Mutts program. Check out her blog and learn more about Abbi at Higher Miles.

Why do I run?  I run for confidence in myself.  I run to prove to myself that anything is possible when you set your mind to it.  The mental game of running is often more challenging than the physical.  I’m not saying running is easy but the mental challenge of pushing yourself beyond what you think you are capable of keeps me coming back and going for more and more. 

My shyness and lack of self esteem kept me from doing a lot throughout my teens and early 20s.  I constantly worried about what others thought or making myself look stupid.  My weight continued to go up which only made my confidence levels worse.  Then, I had my moment while shopping and realized I was going to have to go up a size…again.  I refused.  I started changing the way I ate.  I started exercising using work out videos and the treadmill.  Soon, the weight dropped.  My lifestyle changed.  My cravings were no longer ice cream and cheeseburgers but exercise and healthy foods. I’ve never looked back to those days and my confidence has sky-rocketed.  I no longer doubt that I can do things.  I know I can. 

In 2009, my husband seemed interested in trying a 5K so I signed us up for a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day.  He wanted a goal to work towards.  This is when I changed my thoughts on running.  I had been exercising to keep the weight off for awhile but I never pushed myself beyond that.  After that first 5K, I wanted another.  So, I signed up for a 5 mile run.  It was hard.  But, I wanted another so I went for a 15K.  In the first year of running races, I completed everything from 5K to marathon.  I found my love in long distance running.  It focuses, calms and pushes me.  If I think I can do it, I will.  I have taken my love for long distance running and continue to push myself in longer and longer distances. 

I’ve recently started a local volunteer program to run with animal shelter dogs, Miles and Mutts.  The goal is to give shelter dogs the exercise they need and encourage people to adopt a healthy, active lifestyle…and maybe a workout buddy.  I want to share what I’ve learned about being active and how much it can improve your happiness and motivation in life.  Anything is possible.  Set your mind to it and start dreaming instead of sitting on the sidelines wishing you were part of the action. 

Purposeful running- Angela’s story

Happy Father’s day!! Hope you’re all making a big deal out of the dads in your life.  The dad in our house requested a wings and baseball night last evening… easy enough! But we’ll do our best to make today extra special, too.

Today, my friend Angela is sharing her running story.  She’s a fellow toddler mama (twins!), health and fitness blogger, and kitchen experimenter. As we’ve gotten to know each other, we continue to find things we have in common.  There have been many days when we’ve been on the same wavelength, posting similar bean brownies or toddler stories!  Check out her blog at Happy Fit Mama!

Hi everyone! I’m Angela from Happy Fit Mama. First of all, I want to give a big THANK YOU to Laura for giving me the opportunity to share my running story.

Throughout my life I’ve enjoyed movement. I dabbled in running throughout in my teens and early 20s just for the calorie burn. I was more of a gym rat hitting the cardio machines, classes and the weight room. In the back of my mind, I always secretly had a goal of running a half marathon or a marathon. One day, in the summer of 2007, I decided it was time to go after that goal. What was I waiting for? That year I did my first half marathon. I didn’t know anything about pace, tempo or Fartlek’s. I just ran! As I was running that race, I knew I was hooked and couldn’t wait for the next one.

Life had a different course for me to follow. In 2008, my husband, Ron and I decided to try for our first baby. We were beyond thrilled when we found out we were pregnant. When I was 10 weeks pregnant, I miscarried. I had gone running that same morning. Even though my doctor reassured me the miscarriage was not from running and I knew it, I stopped running on that day. I associated the two events together. I didn’t want to have anything to do with my running shoes.

In June 2010, we finally became parents. Not just to one baby but twins! While I was pregnant with the twins a friend of mine was as well. We made a plan to run a local half marathon in November as a way to get back into shape post baby. She was unable to do it but as soon as I was cleared to run at 6 weeks postpartum, I laced up my sneakers. That first run in more than 2 years and after delivering twins was NOT pretty. But the more I ran, the more I remembered the love I had for training. Even though I wanted to spend every single moment with my kids, I forced myself to take time to run. In November, I crossed the finish line of my second half marathon, 4 ½ months after my twins were born. When I saw Ron and the kids, I burst into tears sobbing. I was overwhelmed with emotion. My time was actually slower than 2007 but I felt such a sense of accomplishment for sticking to my intention.

Since 2010, I’ve run two more half marathons. I finally decided that 2012 is THE year – it’s full marathon time! I’ll be racing my first on September 30. Eeeek! Over the past year I have truly fell back in love with running.

 

People ask, “Why do you run?” “Why not?” Our bodies were meant to be in motion. I have also learned that running is my “ME” time. An early morning run at 5 a.m. can get my day started in a positive note. An evening run after work can help me sort out the problems and stress that builds as the day goes on. Even if I’m pushing my double BOB stroller up a mammoth hill, it is still “ME” time.  Running makes me a better person, friend, wife, and mother. That’ my purpose for running!

Fitness Bucket list

I love lists.  And I love goals. Apparently, this is pretty typical for a first-born child.  So when Fitfluential Ambassadors were encouraged to create a “fitness bucket” list, I was excited to get right to work…

Here’s a glimpse of what I came up with:

In the next 1-2 years:

In the next 3-5 years:

  • Master the Side Crow pose and increase my flexibility in yoga
  • Compete in a duathlon
  • Get RRCA certification to coach runners

5 years and beyond:

  • Race a 70.3
  • Coach an elementary-school running club for kids (and get tips from Michelle!)
  • Run an international marathon (Greece, China, Rome, Paris, I can’t decide)
  • Continue running for fun as long as possible, into my 80’s maybe?!

You can see my complete Bucket list on Pinterest.  I just got my account set up, so if you’re on there, let me know and I’d love to follow you!

I’d love to know…

Have you written out long-term fitness goals?

What would be on your ” fitness bucket list?”

 

Purposeful Running- Tia’s story (racing mom of 4)

This girl is such an inspiration to me.  Tia is a mom of four, woman of faith, and has maintained an impressive running resume, with serious speed! I’m always learning from her and admire her family-running balance.  I’m so excited she was willing to share with you all today! I can definitely relate to her experiences of “losing herself” a bit when child-rearing and finding a renewed sense of identity and purpose in running.  Check out Tia’s blog at Arkansas Runner Mom.

Here’s Tia!

Running has always been a part of my life.  From as far back as I can remember I would go with my mom and sisters to cheer on my dad when he ran in local races.  I ran in my very first road race (a local 5K) when I was 5.  I ran with my sister and we sort of jog/ walked the whole thing.  It seemed like it took us forever but it was worth every minute when we won 1st and 2nd place trophies in the 8 and under age group division.  (I think we were the only girls under 8 who even ran in the race but that didn’t matter to us!)

In high school and college much of my life seemed to revolve around running.  I ran 4 years competitive cross country and track for Harding University and I have many great memories of this time in my life.  My husband actually proposed to me right after the National Cross Country Championship my senior year.  I loved running but by the time I graduated, I needed a break from competitive running.  The passion and drive I’d once had was gone and I felt burned out.  For the next several years I continued to run but it was usually just a few miles a few days a week.  Once I started having kids I mostly ran to lose baby weight.  I spent most of my 20’s pregnant or nursing.    I did the occasional 5K but that was the extent of my racing.  I felt like I was losing myself a little in the process of caring for young children.

Finding My Motivation

After baby number 3 something happened.  My husband told me out of the blue that he wanted to run a half marathon.  He did not have a running background (he played college basketball) but he thought it would be fun if we did one together.  So we started training.  We did the shorter runs on our own and had a college student watch our kids every Saturday morning for a few months so we could do our long runs together.  We had a great time on our long run “dates.”  I’d rather go on a running date than a normal date any day!  We ran our first half marathon together in March of 2009.

After this experience I was hooked.  That summer I decided I wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  I started training with some ladies I met at our local gym and after 5 months of hard running I did it! In December of 2009 I ran a 3:35 to qualify!

Since that time we have had one more baby and I’ve found my stride.  I am more motivated now than I’ve ever been in my life.  Having four young children keeps me very busy but running has helped me find my own identity.  My husband is very encouraging and without his support I couldn’t do it.  He helps me find the time to run and helps with the kids so I can train.

After the Little Rock Marathon, March 2012

My Purpose

My purpose and motivation for running has changed over the years.  I am no longer motivated by a scholarship, a coach or teammates. My motivation is not to lose weight or to get in shape. Of course, those are nice perks- especially after having 4 kids!  I don’t run for my husband or my kids.  (Although I know they benefit by having a healthy wife and mother.)  I run because I truly love it.  I love the time it gives me on my own.  It helps me think clearly and it energizes me.  I love pushing myself to be better, stronger, and faster.   I am very thankful to God for how He has woven running throughout my life and I am even more excited about what the future has in store!

Capital City Classic 10k

 

Running on Empty review, giveaway + a streak

I mentioned in the May recap that I read Running on Empty this month.  I couldn’t put it down! Marshall Ulrich tells his story of becoming an endurance athlete (including ultra-running and ascending the Seven Summits), and documents his final personal challenge: a 52 day run across America.

He writes with a touching humility and openness about his personal struggles and shortcomings, which brings a human face to his otherwise “super-human” achievements.

Marshall began running after the tragic loss of his wife to cancer soon after their daughter was born.  As he grieved, he pushed himself farther and faster, away from the pain while embracing a new pain.  I love the quote he shared from James Thurber, “All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.”

His drive, determination and pain tolerance set him apart as he pushed his body to it’s limit in the run across the country. Most days, he was running from 7 or 8am until 1 or 2am, adding sleep deprivation to his many challenges.  Despite thinking him extreme and crazy at times, I am inspired by what the human body is capable of!

Through all sorts of obstacles and injuries, Marshall completes his journey from California to New York, running an average of 60 miles per day! You can read more about this book on his website.

Although I can’t relate to such an extreme physical journey, I appreciate the analogies within his story for life’s challenges: finding our way, persevering in trials, having the determination to keep going when everything else is telling you to give up.  His mantra for life and running: Keep going, no matter what, one foot in front of the other, millions of times.

A week after finishing this book, Runner’s World posted a streaking challenge in which participants would run at least one mile per day from Memorial day to the Fourth of July. I’ve never run more than 4-5 days a week, but with no strict training plan or races on the calendar, I decided to sign up!

It doesn’t begin to compare to the 60+ miles a day that Marshall ran! But it’s an appropriate challenge for me, and I’m playing it conservatively, with only one easy mile on my usual spinning or rest days.  I’m one week in, and so far, so good.

Would you like to read Running on Empty? You can win a copy for yourself!

To enter:

  • Leave a comment telling me why this book appeals to you, or let me know if you’re participating in the RW streak

For additional entries:

  • Leave a separate comment for each, letting me know if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook
  • Tweet about the giveaway and leave a comment telling me you did!

The giveaway will run through Sunday, June 10th at midnight and the winner will be drawn through random.org and announced on Monday, June 11th.  I was provided with a book but was not compensated for this review.  The opinions are my own.