Thursday, September 20, 2012

I was never totally sure I could do it. Until I did.


Whoa, get ready to smile like a proud parent over Julie's half-marathon success! I hope after reading this you're all ready to explore your limits, get outdoors, and connect with others who can help you not only during the hard times, but also share the good times. Congrats Julie!

September 17, 2012
Dear friends and family,

If the story ended with all peaches and cream that would be boring. So, between you and me, I'll tell you the real story. 

I ran my heart out; I ran 13.1 miles in my goal time of 2:00:04. 

This journey has been rewarding in every way possible. I started this adventure with a gut feeling, hope, desire, and idea and a new partner in Outdoor Mindset. I never considered running prior to this adventure. I always relied on the inside of a gym and a 45 minute work-out or in my former life a pool to stay in shape. You got a glimpse of a very personal side of my life, you started with me on this running adventure and getting outside and having an Outdoor Mindset and helping those with neurological disorders and stayed with me for 3 1/2 months until I ran a half marathon as I promised I would. I have to admit, I was never totally sure I could do it. Until I did.

I, we, raised over $7000.00 in honor of my Mom and the Remembering Robin ALS fund and have loads of people to thank for it. Family, friends, friends of friends, best friends and strangers that heard of the cause and wanted to help. So, I clearly raised awareness through the Outdoor Mindset blog and surpassed my monetary goal. Thank you all. 

Two amazing friends, Margaret Roscoe and Kourtney Matter surprised me and came to Sweden from the States the day before the big race. They are my right and left arms in life and this time they were my right and left legs. Kourtney was in the last 4 miles, I think, both my right and left legs as I was a hurting puppy and she made sure I got to that finish line at 2 hours. There is no way I would have done it without her there running. They are the best friends anyone could ask for.  

My husband has been my mental sanity and steady supporter for 3 1/2 months along with my kids when I started this adventure. I even got to hug them at the 12th Kilometer still smiling. And so many came out and cheered for me and Kourt on the race track. It wasn't until the 17th kilometer when digging deep was not a joke. And there in begins the aftermath, the reality for a first time runner going through this.

The race:
It was amazing. The weather was perfect. I mean truly perfect. I was telling someone, maybe you, that I was praying for great weather as I'm not really all that tough so I needed, wanted, hoped for the absolute perfect running conditions and got them. The race started. We took it out a little fast and felt good. Our goal was 2 hours. We were going to take it slow in the beginning to build reserves for later. But then we got cocky and wanted to catch up to the next heat in front us so we ran our hearts out. We felt fine. In fact I'd say we pretty much felt fine up until the 17th kilometer. Then we both started hurting. We started digging deep but we did stay on pace. Then I started to feel nauseaus around the same time. And a little delirious. It was waves of nausea, came and went, came and went and it didn't let up. My body was fine. Don't get me wrong, I hurt everywhere, my thighs, knees, mostly my knees actually, but it wasn't anything I couldn't get through. But my stomach. Not so much. Finally we rounded the final corner and saw that finish line. It was amazing. We crossed it, hugged and I haven't taken my medal off yet. Amazing, Kourtney was amazing - one tough runner, the buzz was amazing, the music, the crowd, the scene. I was relieved to be done. We walked to meet up with Erik, the kids and Margaret. We bypassed the massage booth and honestly I did it knowingly. I just wanted to get home.  

Dinner of Champions!
We hopped in the car and soon after getting home it came. Yup, full on dry heaving for 3 hours.  Thank goodness it was my best friends and husband who were seeing me in all my glory of dry heaving and not someone else. While Kourtney was jet lagged and just jumped in and ran and was fine - drinking Rose wine with Margaret, celebrating, having a grand ol' time. There was a party next door I was supposed to go to with all of my friends and just couldn't make it. All I wanted was to drink Champagne, celebrate with my husband and my two champion friends here from the states and party next door and I. Was. Sick. I had Marg google "nausea after running". Three things: 1) eating too much too close to the race (within 2 hours) That wasn't it. 2) dehydrated. I knew that wasn't it as I drank and drank and drank before and during the race. 3) drum roll...... Overexertion of the body. Bingo! That was it. I pushed my body past it's desired limit. I'm still a little mystified as I'm used to doing this. Back in my swimming days I did this daily. Well, I guess mama ain't 18 anymore. Well, I finally rallied later in the night and the only thing I could keep down was a bag of cheetos and a flat coke. I got to chat away with my friends and husband finally. At least I redeemed myself a little.

The lesson: I need to train my body it has to keep up with my mind and heart. Any ideas welcome. Cause I'm not backing down now. I will do this again. Save this space!

So there you have it. The full unabridged story in all it's glory. It was amazing, it was hard, I was sick and now I'm fine and I'm going to do it again.

I am blessed to have so many supporters that care about: my Mom and helping me fundraise for ALS research, Outdoor Mindset and what they aim to do now and in the future for all those living with neurological disorders and me during this journey. I am one lucky girl. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

I wasn't a runner so naturally I signed up for the Stockholm Half Marathon with a goal. And I'll do it again. My running, blogging, fundraising adventure has come to an end. The race is over and it's all done. I am wearing my medal and my Outdoor Mindset shirt with pride. I will no longer invade your in box or infiltrate your facebook pages with running clutter. Well, one more blog is coming out so I may peek my head in once more.

I hope you've enjoyed our journey together. I certainly have. Thanks for joining me in Remembering Robin. And you can always find me at www.outdoormindset.org. That journey for me has just begun.

Love,
Julie

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Understanding

When I read this next blog from Julie, I was reminded of how important it is to have a varied support system for the person who is going through the neurological challenge, as well as for those who are providing support.  By varied I mean a wide circle that can help tackle the complexity of feelings, provide entertainment and distraction and even encourage strength and growth through the changes that a neurological disorder can bring.

One of the things that I admire most about Julie’s family is that they kept the door open and invited people in as they faced one of the toughest medical diagnoses there is to face. But, as in most life challenges, even with an enviably wide circle of friends, most of us will at times feel alone at some point.

It was years after her mother passed away that Julie was looking for additional support.  Living overseas, with all of the busyness and joys of a young family, she realized that she needed a connection that would help her work through the complexities of grief.  Through Outdoor Mindset, she has found a friend who is cheering her on as she runs and raises awareness and funding for ALS research.

Even if you already have a strong support system (which statistically speaking, most of us do not) it’s important to round it out with whatever other channels you need - professional or non. And of course in our opinion, the best environment for that support is outdoors and while being active!

Week of September 3:
video
Have you or someone you loved ever been affected by a neurological disorder? If you're out there, keep reading; Outdoor Mindset is here for you.  They are a group of wonderful people that understand, that care about what you've been through and can even make you smile.

I remember my Mom would want to get out of the house every day and that wasn't so easy but we had the support to do it.  She has tons of friends that came over every day. We kept our doors unlocked and people would just sort of show up. It kept our family sane too to have so many people help, want to help, need to help and we allowed it. We were (are) a very open family. We let people in. It worked, they wanted to come over and see us, we wanted them there.

We would get her in her wheel chair, down the elevator, out the door and into a new van set up for wheelchairs and we would take her riding. She would get out and we would all figure out a way to laugh, to eat ice cream, to have adventures, to have an Outdoor Mindset, to breath again. I remember driving after we had ice cream and there was a load full of her friends (we called them all “sisters”) that were in the back of the van all eating ice cream and she was thirsty. But she couldn't hold a cup and straw on her own anymore so this thirsty thing was not as easy as it seemed. I couldn't just hand her some water. We pulled over and her friends in the back, all goofy, funny ladies were laughing about something, telling stories, just having a grand ol time. We stopped, I gave her a drink and held it in her mouth for her while she drank and these girls were still talking away and of course making her laugh. She was now snorting the drink, whatever it was, out of her mouth, nose, ears if it could go that way. Laughing, all of us laughing. It was great. I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that perhaps if you're reading and you need support, we can help - just like my mom's friends helped her laugh during her struggling times.

My friend Jan and I are two people connected by this wonderful group and were two caregivers for loved ones with ALS. We nurtured and loved our Mom's through it. She's not only someone I've shared my story with but she is also a runner and helping me now power through my first half marathon. She is getting me mentally through some of the tough parts of this running thing that I'm brand new at. She is my supporter, an inspiration with her own ALS experiences in her family and a friend from across the world.

Personally, for several years I was reluctant to talk about it - I was exhausted from it. Now I'm ready to help those dealing with it or those who are caregivers and perhaps don't want to talk about it but would like to know that a community exists. We, OM, can provide you with support. When I was in the thick of care giving, the last thing I would've wanted to do would be to read anything about ALS. I was living it, breathing it and wanted it to end. Sort of a league of its own and well, if you're reading, we, I understand. OM understands. We can just be there for you if you are ready for us.

Thanks for reading.
Julie