Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Didn't mean to neglect the blog.......Thank you to everyone who has donated on my firstgiving page.  We are home from Austin and I DID IT!   I can barely type those words without getting emotional.  It was a truly amazing experience.  I know not everyone is cut out for a marathon but to experience it is like no other.   The morning of the marathon was a bit rough.  I had gotten little sleep the night before.  I was very nervous.  I tried telling myself that I was just running, what was the big deal.   I just was!  The race magazine recommended you arrive by 530am  to avoid traffic. We were about 25 minutes from the race so we were a bit early which made things much worse.  The cold really got to me on top of my nervous stomach.  I literally did not want to move.  At one point, I had my head in between my knees and began to cry.  I had to do something or I was going to cry or vomit.  I chose cry.  I know what your are thinking. What was getting to so bad that you cryed.  This was it.  It was time to put my mouth and training where the commiment was.  We had spent money we don't have to get there.  Months of training and months of talk.   What if.  What if I couldn't do it.  What if I fell.  What if I sprained my ankle.  Lets not mention the guarantees I was scared about.   It was a guarantee that it would hurt.  Hurt in a way I had never known.  I have three children so I know as a mom what pain is but this was pain that I could control by quitting.  You can't quit having a baby.  No turning back on that one.   But this I could turn back if I wanted too.  I knew there was no way I would  but with even being there was troubling me.  The pride my husband looks at me with.  The doubt.  The certainity of it all.   So many emotions coming at me by something I created, I did, I committed to.  I think it was just too much.  It was the SO MUCH.  My sister and her fiance were looking at me like "oh boy".  They started having there doubts I was going to even get out of the starting gate.   The hour between six and seven was long, and cold.  Keeping my stomach down took great effort.  But it finally came.  My sister and brother-in-law with love and concern took my coat, and started loading me up with my stuff.  I only took two of gel electrolite packets (later was a big mistake).  Just the conversation and needing to put those things in my sleeves was torture.  I didn't want to touch anything or move for that matter.  My brother in law kept asking me if I was sure I didn't want my sunglasses or my bars or the rest of my gels.  I just wanted to run.  I wanted to face it and go. 


I found two shirts in the middle of the crowd.  Complete strangers but members of the CureJM foundation, running for the same reason I was.  Never met them in I embraced them in a hug without even saying anything.  They hugged back.  I muttered I was very scared.  There words of encouragement poured over my soul as if they were words directly from God.  I glanced back at my baby sister now making her way back to get the rest of the family.  I wanted to run and jump in her arms.  But I couldn't.  My new friends knew I needed to talk it out.  They just kept asking questions and encouraging me.  As soon as 7 o clock chimed, it was time.  We began to all proceed in a walk as one.  I almost immediately felt my body release inside.  Large fireworks went off at the start line and lite the crowd up!  Something sparkly.  Feeling better.  I like sparkly things!  :)  We walked for about 15 minutes, then it was time for our "chip" to go.  We were at the start line.  I found another part of the Cure JM team right before so we tried to get together.  But I knew that this was my run and no one elses.  A strange feeling when you are surrounded by 10,000 people.  The first half mile and my body felt wonderful.  It was exciting.  I felt great.  I was so releaved to feel my body running in a perfect rythm.  We hit our first band.  They were loudly banging a native sounding drum that was electric.  People were screaming in celebration to encourage themselves and one another.  I quickly figured out I signed up for the wrong chip which I figured.  I signed up for the 16 minute per mile.  I run a ten minute mile.  So it was good and bad getting around people.  It gave me confidence but broke my pace as well. 


I was warned about hills over and over again.   LIARS!   That is what you call a hill?  Another aspect of the race.  I mean they had hills but I was expecting WAY worse.  Thank you to all the over exagerrators.  Come to Seattle.  I will show you some hills.   LOL  We go from Sea Level to Mountain Ranges in the matter of minutes.  Now that was up and running, everything went mostly well.  I was having 2 problems.  I became very hungry, and my pants kept falling off my hips.  I texted my family that they needed to find me because I needed my energy bars and different pants.  I made 10 miles by 9am with a 715am start.  I was very anxious to make that mark because the magazine said that any full marathon runner that did not make the 10 mile mark by 10am would be diverted to the half marathon and not receive a finisher medal.  I made it with an hour to spare.  Ssshhheeewww!!!!    


Well it was actually jelly beans that saved my marathon butt!  LOL  My family couldn't find me.  Street closures, tons of people, confusing routes, it just wasn't gonna happen.  I had to come to terms with this meant I just needed to cope.  I yanked and yanked on my pants.  I literally was trying to give myself a wedgie hoping my hinnie would assist me in my discomfort of needing to pull them up.  I could have taken them off, but you know, I didn't feel like getting arrested or tazed or making the evening news.  LOL  I did have shorts on my then I risked triction burns in places I didn't want them.  My hunger was really starting to rob me my energy and I began to sweat more, breathe harder and slow down. The marthon route went thru many residential neighborhoods.   So people set up in there yards to root people on with signs, bells, whistles, and CANDY!  Thank you to the young girl with a bucket full of jelly beans.  You are part of my success.  My family was trying very hard to find me.  I was able to text that I found some jelly beans and was feeling better.  I told them not worry.  I would survive.  I stopped at almost every water station from that point out.  The water starting tasting funky has the Austin sun warmed the day up.  Wax cups and water  BLAH.  After that I only stopped for anyone who had power aid.  The more miles I went the more frequency I had with run walk run walk run walk.  My wordrobe malfunction started to work itself out as well.  My family had given up on finding me.  They said they were between 21st and 22nd miles.  Something that gave me fuel, something to look forward too.  The gradual ache and pain came on.  I looked for the sign I needed to see so much.  The next mile marker. The picture is appropriately fuzzy LOL.  Those signs were great.  Once in awhile someone would have the same color jacket on.  It would make me angry when the signed moved because I quickly figured out it was not my beloved mile marker!

Towards the end when the running on nails kicked in, it became a game of I pass you, you pass me.  I sort of got into a pack.  It didn't bother me like I thought it would.  One of the more difficult aspects was the cheering sections.  These people have been out there all day.  Cheering for 4000 runners.  I could not bare to walk past them.  I did walk past a few cheering sections.  They are still encouraging but you got a much better response if you were at least trotting.  They really like it if you look like your in pain.  Which most of us were.  It also did not bother me that I was playing the pass and be passed game with a gentleman in his 70's.  So awesome!  He did so well.  I was so proud of him.   After so many miles the emotion started playing in because I knew at this if I had to crawl, naked, and bloodied across the finish line, I was going to do it.  Ok  maybe not naked.  But you get the picture.  It kept hitting me, Oh my God, I've got this.  I just might do this.
MILE 21  Energy Revitalized

There, just past mile 21 was my reason.  I began to whimper and sobb as I approached them.  I quickly sucked it up because I wasn't done.  The skys were clear, and the temp were reach the 70's.  I hugged them.  I especially stopped to hug Gary.  He stood there, unfortunately in the sun, clapping tenderly.  He didn't make eye contact with me so I got down face to face and kissed him.  I didn't stay long.  I guzzled some gatorade.  I was good to go.  I cried more as I ran on.  As always, it's all crazy beautiful. I thought as I ran on how lucky I was to have them all.


None of this was going to be easy.  I knew this.  By mile 24 and 25 my hip flexor was pinching on right side and my left foot was cramping.  I was having to compensate on both sides.  About a mile away it got really quiet.  The route took us through the University of Texas.  Everyone was walking at this point.  "I was hoping I would catch up to you."  I turned around and there was Kelly.  Kelly had the familiar blue shirt of Cure JM  on.  My angel in blue!   I almost cried again when I realized I would not be crossing the finish line alone.  She said "1/2 mile away".  Someone called from the crowd,  "6 more blocks runners!".  I admit I was surprised.  I thought I had another mile and 1/2 left.  I was happy to lose count.  Someone called from the crowd we could walk all the way up to the .2 mark then run it.  So that was just what we did.  It was wonderful.  Kelly took off running.  So did her companion.  I found myself in a full run.  I saw the clock.  I was 2 minutes away from keeping it under 6 hours.  I ran like hell.  Of course my pants started falling down again!  But I was just happy to be done.  I cried.  What an amazing experience.    I collected my finishers shirt, grabbed bags of chips, and went outside the finishers tent to hug and congratulate the other finishers from our 'team'.  It was great day.


My favorite part was getting the call from my Mom and Dad.  The moment I told them I was running a marathon, they seemed worried.  Worried my body wasn't designed for something like this.  They were worried I would injure myself or not make it and be disappointed.  They used great concern and caution when encouraging me.  My Dad was so proud he was near tears when he heard I had finished.   *TEARS*  I texted him on my 13th mile, "13th mile Daddy!".   They picked us up at the airport.  My mom could barely look at me without tears flowing down.  They even came over the next day to check on me.  Dad wanted to see my medal again.  I love them with all my heart.  It makes me so proud that they are so proud.  Such wonderful blessings. The picture is my parents dropping us off at the train station.  Thank you Mom and Dad for everything.  For helping me, for loving me, and for making me, me,  well with the help of God as well.


In the excitement of the marathon we were caught off guard by the weather.  I had kept an eye on it all month.  Rain was expected.  When we landed in Austin, it was cool and cloudy.  The next day it rained and rained.  Sunday came and it was clear and beautiful.  For parents of a kid that is very sensitive to the sun, this is not a good thing.  Gary was exposed to the sun.  When I came in on the 21st mile I immediately had bells going off in my head.  I hugged and kissed him then looked at everyone and said "get him covered up as soon as possible".  I crossed the finish line.  Took photo's and everything.  We looked down and Gary was throwing up all over.  And it wasn't a cute little up chuck.  He was full on heaving.  I had to get off the phone with my Dad.  I picked him up and began hobbling to the car which was about 4 blocks away.  Everyone tried to take him but he wanted me.  He threw up more and more.  It was our first domestic bug or over exposure to the sun or a bit of both.  We got him back to the hotel and put him right in bed which is where I wanted to be at that point too.  He slept for a few hours, woke up again and vomited, again.  I called Children's in Seattle because like I said, it was our first time since being diagnosed.   I have heard these kids can dehydrate quickly.  Their bodies have been through a lot with the heavy drugs.  I did not want to take any chances.  But the rheumatologists said to keep him hydrated the best we could.  Make sure he was peeing.  If we couldn't get  his meds to stay down then we would need to get a anti vomit drug.  But it didn't come to that.  He woke up that night and his stomach opened up.  He was better.  Thank you God!  The sun left behind a terrible rash which we are keeping an eye on. It's better today but was much clearer.

I know there are so many people I have on my heart to thank.  I thank everyone for there generous donations.  But I wanted to publically thank the following people in my life who were involved in my training nearly every single day and made it all possible. In no particular order:

Thank you to April Fleming.  April is one of my best friends.  She would willingly watch Gary for me 3 and 4 times a week so I could run and train.  She encouraged me so much.  She never doubted.  Gary looked forward to going over to her house to play with kitty, watch cartoons, and eat all of Auntie April's snack.  That made it so easy for me.  I love you April.

Thank you to my brother-in-law Bill Saas.  Not only did he take Gary for me nearly everyday, he would often hunt me down "Your running today right."  He even printed out a training schedule.  He held me accountable to what miles I had done.  He was encouraging above and beyond.  He even joined me on a run during the holidays.  All this energy he put into me despite his own struggles, including breaking his knee 2 weeks ago.  I love you Bill!

Thank you to my sister Amy.  She encouraged me so much.  We would not have been able to even go to Austin if it wasn't for her.  I love you as much as I love myself.  Thank you for all that you do for my family and for my children.  You are a wonderful Auntie.  I had a wonderful time in Austin.  Add it to one of our many adventures we will be yapping about in the nursing home years from now. Thank you for being apart of it all. *Thank you too Ray!*

To my husband, my reason for doing my best to be the best mother and wife I can be.  His positive up beat energy drove me.  He was just as nervous has I was the morning of the run.  I am a lucky girl.  Thank you honey for sharing in my passion.  Thank you for taking me to Austin, Texas and being there for me.  I am so glad I did not let you down and not finish.  You are that important to me.  I love you so much baby.  I love you so hard.  Your the sunshine on face. 

THANK YOU to all who made donations!

To be continued.....


  1. Yay you did IT!!!! I am sooo proud of you....You are an AMAZING MOTHER and BLOGGY FRIEND!! JUST AMAZING.... I have tears reading this post....YOu ran for your son, you ran for all of us with Dermatamyositis....Thank You Thank You....If my legs worked better I would do it....Hopefully someday maybe if the meds really start to work I could walk a little one....

    I laughed right out loud at the whole wedgie thing and wanting to take your pants off...that was funny

    Glad you found some jelly beans....
    CONGRATS AGAIN I know your family is very pround of you....

    Summer :0)

  2. Erika, I'm so incredibly proud of you! What an amazing experience for you and an awesome thing for you to do for Gary and Cure JM! You, Damon, and all of the other runners for Cure JM are an inspiration!!!

  3. I am SOOOOO PROUD of you! You are totally an amazing mom, wife, sister, and friend!!! You are an inspiration to me and many others. I wanted to stay and be there as you crossed the finish line, but they kicked me out of my watering hole! Then my parents called and said it was snowing at home so we decided we better head that way. From 70 degrees to snow. What was I thinking? Anyway, I was so glad that we actually got to meet. You have truly inspired me. I actually ran (ok walk mostly a little jogging) 2.1 miles Wednesday night. That is like a marathon to me! I will be there to WALK next time. I can do it for our kids! I am praying for you guys and I can't wait to see you again!