Sunday, December 5, 2010

DEC. 5, 2010: The Infamous Appendectomy

TOP: Friday night...feeling good, heading to Runner's World gig in a problems! Then: ER, with an IV and happy medicine, thought I would hydrate up and still run, still in a good mood, NEXT: A few hours after appendectomy, team member Erin O'Mara gave my her NYC Marathon medal, and it sparked a tear or two, LAST: Made it to Central Park to visit Ryan's bench and rock 3 days after surgery (not gonna lie it hurt to sit in that pic)

It's been almost a month since I flew to NYC to run in a deeply heartfelt race in honor of my brother, Ryan Shay. I tried to be honest without being too open in most of my blogs during the year of running and raising funds for the Wounded Warrior Project. However, the moment the ER doctor told me I couldn't run the race (which was a few hours away), I just wanted to bawl like a baby and scream out loud, "Why!"

But instead, this is how it played out:
I am originally from Michigan, and so my older sister Jodie, and two younger brothers, Nathan and Elliott, car pooled together from Detroit and Chicago and drove all the way to NYC to watch the big race. I flew in on Friday late afternoon, and all was well. I was worn out a bit, but super excited to be in the Big Apple; my adrenaline on super speed. I dashed over to the Runner's World event, and then headed back to the hotel on Friday evening. I was anxious, but slept none the less. Saturday I woke up with no problems, but started feeling nauseous an hour or two later, so I ate, and then the food came right up! From about noon until 7-8pm I threw up and felt stabbing/twisting pains in my stomach. I was super dehydrated and asked my sister to take me to the ER.

I was determined to run the race, which at this point was less than 12 hours away. We went to the closet ER, St. Luke's Roosevelt, in Manhattan. I must have looked like crap because they got me to the back pretty quickly and started in IV for hydration, and a little happy medicine for the stomach pain. But then the pain started sliding toward my appendix and that's when the CT revealed I should get my appendix removed. It was about 2 in the morning at this point, and I was still determined to run. But they said no way, and so I cried for maybe 30 seconds. The meltdown I thought I would go through, I didn't.

Three years prior played through my head, when my brother was rushed to Lennox Hill hospital and died from a sudden heart attack at 28. I looked at my tired sister, and thanked God she was there to help me. My brothers would join her a few hours later after the procedure was completed.

When the surgeon, Scott Belsley ( introduced himself before surgery, I was a little on edge, but also a little incoherent from lack of sleep and pain medicine. He told me I would be getting a laparoscopic appendectomy. This meant 3 small incisions. I thought, 3 seems worse than one slice near my appendix...but I was wrong! It's been almost a month, and you would never know I had my appendix out unless I told you. I don't know if every laparoscopic doctor performs with such skill at being non- invasive, but I would probably bet he has a lot of satisfied patients. I went in expecting a gash on my right side, and I have healed almost completely with barely a scar for proof.

I was feeling pretty good around Day 8. I would have ran around Day 10, but I haven't ran since the procedure was performed. I have been a little run down. The 2 CT scans and the contrast I had to pump into my body among other drugs left me wiped out when I returned to Austin on November 11th. I had to get back to work and play catch up and things are still a little off, but I hope to run again this week. I did a few walks near Thanksgiving time when my other sister flew in from the Netherlands and it felt good. I have a few more tests to get done, and hopefully all will be clear and I will put my running shoes by the front door again. I don't know if any of this has to do with my Lupus diagnosis from over a year ago, or if I had a really bad bug, or if I took too much on and wore my body down. But I really felt ready to run that marathon. One day, I am walking around, taking in the big city, the next I kissing cold porcelain and wishing the pain would go away.
People were shocked, my parents worried, but I was really thinking about how lucky I was at that moment in time. Just a couple of hours before the race and I was on my way to recovering from an appendectomy instead of being on the race course and falling out mid-run because I would have buckled over in pain, and could have been a lot uglier.

I arrived to work on Monday, the 15th of November to a huge bouquet of flowers, and a banner that read, "Welcome Home, Sarah" The office even catered a welcome back lunch for me and we all just sat around and joked, "Maybe if you give a lung up next time, the boss will give us even more." Ahhh...and that was the moment, it really all made sense..."the next time"....yes, there is a next time, if the cards play out that way. When I was in the hospital, and someone mentioned that to me, I was thinking, no, this was it, and now the moment is gone forever. But, it was only my appendix, and there are thousands of appendix-less racing everyday.
So, today, I get a message from my Wounded Warrior team page that says, Karen Clay, has joined your team. Hmmm,'s been a month, and I was coming to terms that Running For Ryan was a closed chapter in my life, but then another guy, Andrew, from Chicago, wrote recently to see how he could run for Ryan.
It's been a month, and I didn't do the race that would have meant the world to me and my relationship with my lost brother, but that fact that I still have strangers joining the team made me get back in the computer today and give thanks again for all that I have, and to all those who care as much as I do about Ryan and our troops! Thanks!!!!!

The medal Erin gave me, I handed to my son Max after returning home, and he said, "cool, thanks." I told him I didn't get to run the race, but a friend gave me her medal. He told me I could run another one, and maybe get a trophy this time!:)
The goal was $26,200, and we getting near $22,000. Personally, the race was for my brother, but the donations that have gone to the Wounded Warrior Project, have made me feel proud because of the great support and joint effort of everyone invovled. If you feel I should run another marathon to make up for NYC, never say never....

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Running For Ryan and Pete, and our Heroes

Runner's world nite, Expo center, with coach, in a NY Taxi:)

Abdi, Ryan, Meb

(soldiers taking a break overseas; Ryan May 4, 1979-Nov. 3, 2007; Pete Feb. 3, 1979-Aug. 14, 2010)

NOVEMBER 5, 2010
Exhausted! Got into hotel about 5pm then headed to the Expo to get bib number, yeah! Next, headed out to meet some great heroes and athletes at the Runner's World gig, and now about to hit the sack. Tomorrow I will take a solo trip to "Ryan's Rock" and a little jog around Central Park. Everything is going well so far, but hopefully don't get too tired on all the adrenaline I am on right now!:) Thanks for your suppport! We can/will get to the goal!

NOVEMBER 3, 2010
$20,000 of $26,200 Goal Met! Thanks!
I just finished making the running top for the race. I used my top from the Austin Marathon and tweaked it a little bit. I want to give thanks to a lot of people before I leave Austin and this could be the last night I have time to write. Gary Brimmer, from San Antonio, was the very first person to contact me about getting the word out about my first marathon. I posted a little blurb on a running message board, and he contacted me right away and got me in contact with John and Stacey Conley of Conley Sports. All of these individuals continue to be very supportive. Also, Sente Mortgage of Austin, TX. Their dedication to the cause for the Austin Marathon was heartfelt and an amazing act of kindness. Pam LeBlanc, from the Austin American Statesman, the Notre Dame Club of Austin, Notre Dame Alumni office head quarters, especially Mark LaFrance. Ryan Posanby and Mark Floreani from Flotrack (and my tenants...ha ha) Bumping into Bart Yasso at the Austin Marathon really took this fundraiser to a new direction. Bart introduced himself to me, and went back and asked Runner's World to follow up with me. That lead to the November article, which has opened the doors for a lot of positive attention and donations to the cause through various other current media. A special thanks to Mary Wittenberg and the NYRR club!

Erin O'Mara is my new hero. Erin is from Michigan and is an excellent distance runner (2:50) marathoner, and has her own story to tell that will touch any one's heart. She barely knows me, and joined up to help raise $2,000 with me in just the last month. She is running NYC too, and I can't wait to see her do well!
I had an awesome support group in Austin from my son's family to great friends and co-workers who all chipped in to help entertain Max while I got in the longer runs. Most importantly, my siblings for always being there and never doubting me, and taking the time to hike it to NYC again for this occasion. Alicia and her family and really everyone who has supported Running For Ryan by donating money, training products, or encouraging words to get to the finish. Thanks!

Most of all, I give my appreciation and thanks to our troops! As an ex military spouse and getting Max through his father's deployment, I do know it's the hardest job in the world!

NOVEMBER 3, 2010

Today is the 3rd anniversary of Ryan's passing, and I awoke with some great energy and instantly thought about being in NYC in a few days. Today an insecurity I had a year ago about completing one marathon, let alone a second one seem to be hiding somewhere in the back of my head. Today, I remember Ryan with a smile on my face. I saw a miniature pug the other day and it reminded me of the last time I was with Ryan at his Flagstaff home in August of 2007. I probably mentioned this in an earlier blog, but Ryan's main goal at the time was to get my son,Max, and his dog to wrestle around on the floor the entire night...running down the stairs saying, "Guys check this out! It's so funny! You gotta see Max wrestle the dog."

That night, as Abdi was in his room, and another runner in her bedroom, and my brother Nate on the couch, Max and I camped out with Ryan and Alicia upstairs cracking jokes, and talking about old school stories from growing up and picking on each other through out the evening. That was the last night I spent with my brother before heading on the road to drive back out East the following morning. That weekend was precious, and I should of had my camera out, but as usual, you just don't think it will ever be the last day...

Today I give thanks to my mom and dad who have been supporting me through this year of running and fundraising. I have seen how they have changed in the course of 3 years. My father especially, softening his ways, and while they are still very active in the Northern Michigan running community with coaching and mentoring, running doesn't seem to be the top priority these days as well as peace of mind.

My dear sister-in-law, Alicia, you are thought about today. I look forward to seeing you in NYC and taking in the beauty of Central Park in the fall and taking in the excitement and wonderment of such an event in such a huge city!

OCTOBER 31, 2010

Someone forwarded me an article of Alicia Shay that was in the New York times today. Alicia was Ryan's wife. In the article she describes what the last 3 years has been like for her, and as his wife, I cannot imagine what it has been like dealing with the ups and downs since his passing. She also talks about how her future won't be that of a grieving widow, but of someone who wants to pursue her running dreams and continue to live her own life and get through this in her own way.
As his sister, I know what the last 3 years have been like and mean to me. What I got from her article was that no one can tell you when to stop grieving but with a loss that has been great for my entire family, we have learned to appreciate our current relationships and have found happiness among the moments of sorrow.
I too once loved someone so much, but at the time we were together, I did not lose him to death, our paths just went separate ways after college was finished for the two of us. When my college sweetheart Predrag "Pete" Dakovic did die in a car accident in his hometown of Porgorica, Serbia on August 14 of this year, I was still shocked as if I had just said goodbye to him when he left America to go back home. The world is made up of loss, but it is how we choose to honor those who have died that I believe will make us better humans while we enjoy what and who surrounds us while we live each day in appreciating the moment.
So, on November 7, 2010, I am going to run this marathon in NYC and do it for Ryan and Pete, and all the service men and women who have left this world too soon. As quoted on the Wounded Warriors Project homepage: "The greatest casualty is to be forgotten".

No amount of time can fill the void of a lost loved one, but it does certainly help us to treat living as precious and hopefully encourages us to always let those in our life know how special they are before it's time to go.

One week before the BIG day!!! I hope if you are reading this, you continue to spread the word and help get us to our goal of $26,200. It's never too late to donate, and it would be a great honor to see us reach or surpass this amount. We are at $19,000! THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
100% of donations for the fundraiser go to the Wounded Warrior Project

CREDIT CARD DONATIONS MADE BY CLICKING ON DONATE ICON ABOVE, then click on Sarah Shay, or any team member and follow online directions


Running For Ryan
c/o Sarah Shay
P.O. Box 300766
Austin, TX 78703

information at:

Sunday, October 24, 2010


(me and Max , and girlfriend's hubby pumpkin carving this weekend:))

It's Sunday, October 24th, and two weeks to go before the big day! I am getting nervous! It's starting to sink in and today is the first time my nerves have become a little uneasy. But, there is also excitement as I feel there will be a big relief when the race is finished. For over a year, I have been blogging, running, and juggling the day to day responsibilities of a mom as well getting to work everyday to bring home the bacon. So, come November 8th (day after the race) I will be sore, but pleased to complete a journey I thought would have been finished after the Austin marathon in February.

Ryan continues to be my thoughts daily, and as I mentioned before, there is not a day I do not think about him, and how his appearance in a dream of mine last September started this whole challenge. Three years ago, when he passed away, there was a definite missing link between myself and my other 6 siblings. But now, I have to say, I feel closer to my siblings than I ever have, and the sadness I felt then is not like the inspiration I feel now. I know the death of my young, beautiful, determined, and often stubborn brother will always have an affect on my own personal relationships in the future. I find myself nervous when I don't hear from someone I care about, or sometimes overly apologizing if I feel I upset someone because of the big word, regret. I think I mentioned before that I was suppose to go to Ryan's race in NYC the day he passed away. The last words I said to him on the phone were, "see you at the race, punk". But, with a 2 year old, and a big city I was not sure how to get around in, I changed my mind last minute and left a voice mail on his phone to tell him good luck.

Honestly, after the running the Austin marathon in his memory, that's when the guilt of not driving to NYC that November lifted off my shoulders.
I ran 14 miles yesterday, and felt pretty tired. Even more tired than my 22 mile run the week before, so with 2 weeks to go, I am going to get some nice easy running in, and prepare mentally for the trip and race day. All I want to do is carry these legs over the finish line and visit Central Park and visit with family and see NYC in not so gloomy way like we all did when we went back together the following year in 2008. I do look forward to the weather! As it's going to be in the 90's this week in Austin! Wondering if I will ever get used to these high temps!

Monday, October 18, 2010

(brother Stephan, Meb, and me Houston-2010)

In the above link, there is an article written in the Wall Street Journal about Meb Keflezighi, defending NYC Marathon Champ, explaining how there have been struggles trying to convince America, he is an American athlete.
About half-way through the article, Meb's wife, Yordanos, explains how my brother would always be one of the first runners to defend Meb against the negative comments frequently spewed by some other runner (who I think might just wish they could run half as fast as Meb). I read this article a couple of days ago, and it choked me up inside. It seems easier to talk about my brother these days than to hear someone else talk about him because it makes me realize just how much he is missed by more than just his family.

I know Meb had a great bond with Ryan, as well as Ryan's housemate Abdi. Both runners not American born, but running and training in the country they love. It makes me swell up in tears and beam with pride that Ryan was one of those runners who encouraged Meb and if he could have seen Meb win the NYC Marathon last year, he would have been the first to congratulate him for representing the USA strongly.

While I am nowhere in any category as Meb, I have had a lot of self doubt over the last year. Especially now that media has picked up from Flo Track, to Runner's World, local coverage, and inter net coverage through his alma mater, Notre Dame, I have put myself out there. I didn't know a year ago I would be asking the public to donate to a very important cause all the while doing it in Ryan's memory.

If anyone knew my brother, they would know he never settled for less. When it came to running, it was like, I was the younger sister, and he was the big brother. In high school, I had one shining moment when we won Cross Country Regionals together. It was my senior year, and his freshman year. I remember he came up to me and patted me on the back and said "Good job." I almost probably felt like saying, "Thanks, coach." But instead, I just just beamed inside, knowing I was never going to have a moment like that again.
Someone recently told me they didn't support my marathon because I have a disease (Lupus) and a son to think about. Well the other day, Max mentioned once again, if I win the marathon (aren't kids cute) that it must go on his dresser in his bedroom. So, this time instead of doubting if it was all worth it, and if my body will make it through another 26.2 miles, I will just give it my best and only worry about believing in myself. What I have recently learned and I am 34, so it took awhile, that no one will ever believe in me until I trust myself completely. It doesn't hurt that my favorite little 5 year old continues to give me his blessing!

Now I just need to find a good trophy shop in Austin.:)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

OCTOBER 17, 2010 22 MILES!

I am pretty exhausted, as I recover from a 22 mile run today, but very happy to have completed the distance. It took about 4h15m, and it's pretty hard to run for 4 plus hours at at time, but my mind was full with a lot of thoughts, so it helped to make the time go by a little faster. It's probably the longest run I will do until race day on November 7.
Thanks for the donations that continue to come in and please keep spreading the word as we try to reach $26,200 goal. We are over $17,000 right now and that's pretty awesome. For once, I am too tired for words, so going to sign out for the night. Take care.

Monday, October 4, 2010

OCTOBER 4, 2010 21 Miles and a Goat:)

The past Saturday I did 21 miles! Truthfully, the time was slow, but I am really not complaining. To be honest, with the crazy hot temps. over the summertime, I wasn't sure if I would get in any extra long runs, so pleased with that, and pleased my legs keep moving. Slight joint pain lately in the toes of my right foot, but it usually gets better through out the day. Recently I got plugs in my tear ducts to help force tear production and it's been amazing. Ah, so much for not being able to cry anymore...ha ha. Seriously, it's a great and simple procedure and since I could not afford the $200 a month prescription it was an affordable alternative to relieving my eyes. Do it, if you have the same problem!!!

The run was smooth,(best part was seeing a woman push hear GOAT in a stroller! Gotta love Austin) and I look forward to getting in another 20 plus mile run before race day. Today's run was amazing. Short on help this week with watching Max while I run, so asked my boss so kindly to let me leave early enough to get in a run before picking up Max from school, and off I went! The trail was quiet, the temperature PERFECT, and my mind was totally relaxed! I have been trying to get in the zone I remember being in last winter while training for Austin Marathon. And today I was there! Once again, crossing over the I35 bridge, I looked down at the water and thought about Ryan. It's amazing how over the course of a year I have went from desperately trying to come to terms with his death, to embracing his spirit that lingers pleasantly each time I touch the ground and start running. Sometimes he hears me cursing pretty loudly (especially in the dreaded summer heat) but today I am pretty sure I was smiling the whole time I ran for 70 minutes, and it's these exact moments that make me appreciate everything good in my life right now. It was an "Ahhhhhhh" kind of a day.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

SEPTEMBER 29, 2010

Yeah! Yesterday was a training day I wish I had everyday! Town Lake was bustling with determined runners zig-zagging all over the trail. You could tell everyone was enjoying the "cool" 80 degree evening and I enjoyed a very satisfying tempo run. I knocked off 15 min. of a 7 mile run and only 2 minutes slower than my average 7 mile training run last winter.

I love this time of the year in Austin, and anywhere in America. Fall is definitely my favorite season, and with a month away before the big day, look forward to being in New York and catching all the leaf change colors we don't really see that much down here in Texas.

It's a pretty chilled day, and I look forward to another run this evening. I appreciate all the support and donations. It's really sinking in, that in about 40 days...I will have to complete this marathon, rain or shine, pain or no pain...but it's the thought of the challenge that keeps my adrenaline going!

Please remember if paying by check to make payment to: Wounded Warrior Project
and mail to:

Running For Ryan
c/o Sarah Shay
P.O. Box 300766
Austin, TX 78703


Saturday, September 25, 2010


Hi there. Oh, it's a pretty super day because today I completed 18 miles in high 80 degree weather. Granted, such a blessing from the 100 degree summer heat, but NEVER thought I would be able to do 18 in these temperatures. It was kind of slow, about 30 min. slower than my winter training, but I am pleased anyway.

We have received some kind donations over the past few days, either in the mail, or on-line and I want to say, THANKS SO MUCH!

After the checks go through we will be near the $17,000 mark! I really appreciate the ongoing support. After today's run, I feel like I will be able to conquer 26.2 miles again!

On a side note...Thursday I was coming down with an awful cold. My head was pounding, throat scratchy, neck swollen, sinuses clogged, and a bit of the fever aching feeling. remembered I had I had these symptoms in early July and ignored them...ended up with full blown bronchitis, and had to go on antibiotics. The cough lasted over 30 days.

So, I was rummaging through my over-the-counter meds and found some Sinus Buster spray I used several months ago. Totally forgot I had it, and totally forgot how great it works until I tried it again. I don't get paid to say this, but I wanted to share my secret weapon that got rid of my symptoms and pain within a day and a half. I was literally going to go into the doctor on Friday and say, hit me up good with something...I gotta do 18 on Saturday.

I used the natural, red pepper spray, and viola...I am feeling 95% better. I swear on this spray, and recommend anyone to try it. It saved me a trip to the doctor, and it's all natural...and I am pretty sure I got it a Wal Greens. I think it's about $15. It's costs money to take time off of work, pay a co-pay at the doctors, and then, for me anyway, shell out hardworking money for an expensive prescription!! This product, as well as SCAPE sunblock have been great finds during my year of training for these past 2 marathons. Since early August facial lesions from my Lupus have pretty much been in remission, and I give a lot of credit to SCAPE because it has been the best sport's sunblock I have ever used. So, if you have Lupus and run outdoors, or you are prone to skin cancer, I would totally recommend it to you! It's not a cure, but it's a good training buddy to wear on your skin.

Once again...THANKS FOR THE DONATIONS!!!! Please keep spreading the word.


or CHECKS can be mailed to:

Running For Ryan

c/o Sarah Shay

P.O. Box


Austin, TX 78703


(100% of donations go directly to WWP after we credit amount to Team Ryan Shay Memorial)


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

SEPTEMBER 21, 2010

I felt alive again today. Similar to all the running/emotional highs I had while training last winter for the Austin Marathon. I was looking forward to a run after work, but it started pouring rain around 4:30 pm and I just stared at the window, thinking, oh great, day 3 without a run! But, Mother Nature was kind enough to stop to a drizzle by the time I hit the trail. Barely anyone was running, and I pretty much had the 7 mile run to myself.

It's as if today everything that is been so chaotic over the past several months just stopped for my 70 mins of training. The air was comfortable, there was no sun blazing in the sky, and my confidence increased due to the fact my run time was almost comparable to when I was training in the cold weather.

I also have Ryan in my thoughts more often again, as date of the NYC Marathon grows closer. On my run today, I remember when I wrote about a dream I had about running this race with my brother...before I even fathomed running the NYC Marathon. I think I even had the dream before I finished the Austin Marathon. I would have to go back and check when I wrote about it. But the main part of the dream involves us starting together, and running over a bridge and heading up into some clouds. Ryan took a break and sat down, and said, something like, "Now go now...get to the finish", and I jumped down from the clouds on to a road and kept on running.

It was the second dream I had about finishing a race with him in the dream. So, I really think it's meant to be to finish this race for him.

I feel like I lost focus during the summer, and it felt so nice to run a great tempo run and make peace with all the zillion thoughts in my head relating to everything I have been juggling lately.

I felt very connected to Ryan on this run, and to top it off, as I was crossing the I35 bridge today, nearing the halfway point, Journey's "Dont' Stop Believing" played into my headphones and for once in what seems like a long while, I started visualizing the finish line in NYC again. Yeah!:)

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20, 2010 16 miles and a Bite

(crazy bite mark on my leg just before heading out for 16 mile run)

Ah, finally, blessed with some decent temps as last Saturday's run was welcome with overcast skies and rain. I managed to get my longest run in since the Austin Marathon, 16 miles. As I headed to the car to make my way to Town Lake, I notice a bite on my right thigh instantly go black and blue with a bite mark in the middle. It was kind of scary because I can't remember having a reaction like that before, but after a couple of days it's down to a pale bruise and starting to disappear. Being in Texas and all, you never know what's lingering around waiting to take bite at you!

I am trying my best to get back to more frequent messages on this blog, especially because it's getting so close to race day, November 7, 2010.

This time around, fundraising has been difficult. I am so much busier with work, and in life in general, that I haven't had nearly the amount of opportunities I had raising money for the Austin Marathon. But, every little bit helps! The Flo Track interview brought in nearly $1,300, and I did have the chance to do some mail outs over the weekend while Max was with his dad. Thanks, again to Erin O'Mara who helped bring in $1,000 over the past few weeks by joining the team.

Right now, I just need to keep on asking that if you are reading this and can spare a few dollars, or know others willing to give to such an important cause, to please donate and keep spreading the word.
Thanks again for all the support! Your donation helps get us to $26,200 for some amazing servicemen and women who often use the Wounded Warrior Project to run, bike or walk again with loss of limb(s) in different sporting events across the nation.

Monday, September 13, 2010

SEPTEMBER 13, 2010

(good bud, "B" when he was overseas)

Hi there! It's been awhile, a couple of weeks, I guess. Well last week was just crazy at work with Tropical Hermine whisking through Central Texas, and all that could accumulate work wise, did. Happy Belated Birthday to my dad and sister Amie who share a birthday on September 11. My thoughts did go out to all of those who lost loved ones on that day. I knew it was September 11, but I forgot as I hit the trail Saturday morning for a blistering, insane, wanted to pass out and just cry 14 mile run in 95 degree weather. It was the slowest 14 mile run I have ever attempted, nearly 2 hours and 50 min. As hydrated as I was, I still felt like my body would burst into flames at any given moment. But I was heading on Riverside and bunch of motorcycles passed with American flags attached to their bikes, and it reminded me, it was 9/11. This naturally got me thinking about our troops, and just about being so grateful in general for the life I do have. I really try hard not to take things for granted (especially after Ryan passed away), but of course, we can stray from time to time, and occasionally need reminders of what really is important.So, simply seeing these bikes parade down the road, helped me truck through another mile or so with just a little more energy.

Recently I have been reconnected with a friend I have been writing for 3 years as he has worked and lived abroad as an active duty Army guy and now doing wonderful things far away as a civilian. He has been living and working in places I could not imagine, and always upbeat about his work, even when times are hard. It's great to keep in touch this long, and it seems we just always know when to reconnect and catch up when the timing is right. Also, happy to hear another friend has returned from Iraq, and safely back to work in the U.S. Now, waiting for my very best bud to return. It's been awesome catching each other on Skype, but look forward to having her back home!

Their selfless sacrifices do keep me humbled, and as I get into less than 2 months before race day, I will try hard to write more, and start reaching out to as many as I can about contributing to this great cause.

Good night!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Being exposed to media can make you feel vulnerable, but it has helped the cause. In the past few days, Running For Ryan has gained $1,000, moving up to $15,600 of $26,200 goal. Mark, from was kind enough to invite me over to their HQ for a brief interview, and though I was nervous as hell, I am glad it brought in some great donations. My thanks to Erin O'Mara, from Michigan who has a goal of $1,000 for Team Ryan Shay Memorial, and is well on her way to making it! She is running the NYC Marathon too.

BUT---You don't have to run the NYC Marathon to join the team. Anyone can join. If you have another race in mind you want to raise the money for, go for it! Otherwise you can join the team, and help raise money without even running a race. Maybe you have a husband/wife, father/mother, brother/sister, etc. benefiting from the Wounded Warrior Project, or you just want to give back to our troops. Sign, up, set a goal, any amount is appreciated, and spread the word to your family, friends, and even local businesses.

We have 2 months to get there, and any help is welcomed! Thanks again for the support!

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Pete" Predrag Dakovic -Goodbye My Friend 8/14/10

(pics of Pete about 1999-2001) "Pete" Predrag Dakovic Feb. 3, 1979- Aug. 14, 2010
(from top: Pete and my mom; Northwood University graduation 2001 w/ Pete, me,sister Amie; Notre Dame game with brother Ryan, me, Pete, brother Case, sister Amie; Notre Dame Football game Me and Pete, Pete and a best friend "Juke")
AUGUST 28, 2010
Today another 10.15 loop around the lake. Next week I will start increasing my long runs, because the 2 month count down is on the way! Well something kind of interesting happened on the run...a soft ball was an inch from my head when I ran by a game in progress. My back was turned from the field and so all I saw was the ball falling to the ground as it went right over my head and dropped in front of my feet. Yeah, for being one inch to quick for the ball. And well...I was pulling away from Town Lake and noticed I needed gas (gauge is broken, so I estimate by my mileage). I said out loud, "I need gas." So, at the stop light by the Pflugerville pedestrian bridge and Caesar Chavez my car stalled. Oh yah, and it wasn't pretty... people were honking and some chic couldn't give me enough of her horn. So, I am getting out of the passenger side because it's busy street and I am calling everyone. No one answers on a nice sunny Saturday afternoon. Then after about 5 minutes my knights in shining armor appear. A truck of men hopped out of their truck, pushed my car up a curb on the grass by the trail, and went and got gas for me! Chivalry is alive! While I was waiting 3 other men asked if I needed help, but not one woman...hmmm, where's the sisterly love? In a way, it was a good social experiment. Men help a "damsel" in distress, but my fellow "sister" honked her horn at me until I felt like hiding under the tree. Oh well, issue was resolved painlessly, and I am so grateful those guys went out of their way to help! It made my day.
AUGUST 25, 2010
I just read a letter from Pete's sister, Ana, to me and let me tell you, it was the most touching email I have ever received. In the middle of the madness with the loss of her brother, she reached out to me to let me know they were all looking at the photo album I gave Pete before he left America. That means a lot to me.
Coincidently, I was just breezing through the Austin Statesman the other day and remember my horoscope reading something like, "take a lot of pictures now, and document this part of your life". Only just a week or so ago, I mentioned to someone to never let go of photos, because you never know when you might want to have a look at them again one day. I know I had more pictures of Ryan, but can't find most of them anymore, and in general, I am horrible with arranging things in boxes. Nowadays, all is digital, so it makes it easier, but there is still that warm feeling I like when paging through a book of photos or opening up a box to a moment in time that might just let a laugh or two slip out from memory of the special occasion.
This evening's run was another energy charged run. I got about 6 miles in, and then shared a chocolate sundae with oreo cookies with Max! Yah, it was as good as it sounds. Little Max has been a trooper. Kindergarten is kicking his butt! He's one pooped out little guy, but told me today, school was awesome because there were so many things to do! Didn't inherit that school enthusiasm from me, that's for sure;) I was too busy day dreaming...
AUGUST 24, 2010
Today's run was amazing! Thanks, Mother Nature, for chilling out a bit. It went from feeling like 110 outside to less than 100 by the time I hit the trail. Admittedly, there's a new found energy running through me lately as well. Celebrating Pete's life with friends, family, and even strangers has been uplifting for my soul. I have received some very touching emails, and so I wish to keep the pics up for a while longer. I feel like I am running now for Ryan, the troops, and Pete. All of them unconnected, yet connected in some way that makes sense to me. Ryan's dedication to the sport and my love for him as his sister, our troops dedication to our country, and Pete's huge heart that touched the lives of everyone he met. A sluggish summer of training, may start turning into some pretty decent runs, as the temperatures look to ease up a bit beginning in September. There's hope yet that I will get that 20 mile practice run in before the big day!
AUGUST 22. 2010
Wow, today's 10.15 mile run was HOT! This weekend, Max was with his dad,and because of the emotional week, I slept in today, until 9 a.m. So, the morning run, turned into a lunch time run, and by the time I hit the trail, it was blazing. Thank you 7 Eleven guy for letting me put ice in my water bottle!!!:) My water was almost gone, and really warm by the time I got to Riverside. The ice was instant relief! I want to share some pictures from the past because I heard that many of Pete's family and friends saw the blog and appreciated the story about him. I have a lot of photos, but can only post so many. Pete also had a special woman in his life, before he passed, so I have to be sensitive about the pictures I post. I put the one of my mom and Pete up because my parents understand the loss of a son. I called them the same night I found out from Pete's friend, "Juke", that Pete had passed away, because they were lucky to meet Pete when we drove up for my little brothers' cross-country meet. As you can see, it was hard not to like Pete. My parents wish to give their condolences to Pete's family...from one mom and dad, to another.
All week, I could only think about my Northwood University days, and when I ran for my training, I was sorting out memories in my head, like placing photos in a photo album.
At one time, Pete was like a family member, so it will take some time to get use to the fact he is only here in spirit now.
One thing is for sure, it keeps me in line with appreciating what I have right now. Because you know we can all start to take things for granted from time to time. Max will be in Kindergarten on Monday! I cannot believe how the years have gone by so fast. It seems like now that school is starting, Autumn will soon be right around the corner. This means, the New York City Marathon is approaching too! If you are reading this, please tell everyone about the charity run for our wounded soldiers. I appreciate all the donations. Donate online at Thanks!!!
AUGUST 18, 2010
I am told I wear my heart on my sleeve, so I won't pretend that Pete's passing has not been on my mind since the moment I knew he was gone. I ran today with a heavy heart because it's hard to believe that just a couple of months before the NYC Marathon, I think about another person who shared an important part in my life. He was also the same age as Ryan, so both of their young faces will be etched in my memory forever. When Ryan passed, I didn't blog, I didn't really discuss it for two years. But now that I am writing about my journey to the NYC Marathon, writing about Pete comes naturally. Maybe the timing is just climatic as he was young, and we also shared a trip to NYC for Christmas of 2000. It was a road trip from Michigan to New York, and then a friend's house in Baltimore for New Year's. The first and only time we both went up the Empire State Building, and seeing the Twin Towers before the fateful 9/11 date. Maybe I am taking it harder than I normally would because I have been single for a few years, added with the fact that Pete being gone forces my memory to let all the great times flood my brain. I spoke with a girlfriend today about the strangeness of it all. I guess I am a little raw with emotion, because only a couple of months ago he asked how I could manage the fundraising, working, running, and being a mom? I told him, "I have no clue". Sometimes we just decide to do crazy things, and we don't look back. I told him, I was proud of his work with The United Nations, and wished him well with his current relationship and his family. That was the last time I had contact with him.

So, I am trying not to think about how a great young man was lost and I will do like I did with Ryan and think about the good times when I am out on the dirt or the pavement and once again appreciate that LIFE IS go for it, and keep on truckin!
AUGUST 16, 2010
It's very ironic that on Saturday as a current dating relationship was ending, so was the life of a dear man I was blessed to know while studying at Northwood University in Midland, Michigan. "Pete" Predrag Dakovic died in a car accident on August 14, 2010.
I bumped into Pete while taking a math class. I actually took an earlier class that day because my schedule was messed up, and he happened to be in that particular class. It was a mutual check each other out kind of moment, and the rest is pretty much history. Well, I mean it took a week or so to finally get introduced at a party, and the first thing he said was, "You are that newspaper lady." Yep, that was me. I was on the school paper and often wrote about world issues at the time to include, Serbia and Kosovo. Pete was from a city called Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, Serbia.
Our first date was interesting, he talked about "man" and "woman" as though he lived in the caveman days. But eventually I gave him a chance and it just took off to become a healthy, fun, magical and exciting relationship during our junior and senior years at Northwood. Pete had a heart of gold, and always surprised me with amazing acts of thoughtfulness, not surpassed by most. At 6'7", Pete was tall, and strong, the center of the basketball team, but he was kind and compassionate and proud of his homeland. An athlete and "A" student, he always made time for us. Later in life, I would often judge men on the "Pete" scale. Though I have had other good relationships since Pete, he did set the bar for what I would eventually want in a long term relationship. We were young. I was 24, he was 21. Eventually, he had to go home, and I went to Australia, and so we parted ways. But the time I had with him was a blessing, and as I deal with a current ended relationship, I will think of Pete for a moment and smile knowing that what he shared with me was something to be treasured forever. It also reminds me that it's not too much to hope for another relationship down the road that will bring me new memories, similar to the way Pete and I enjoyed life back in college.
Pete met my brother Ryan, along with other siblings, as we drove down to Notre Dame to catch our first big college football game. He bonded well with my brothers, especially Case, as they both enjoyed picking on me and instantly acting like they were brothers in real life. I never met Pete's parents, or his 2 sisters. But he spoke highly of them, and we often sent greetings to them in the mail while he lived in the States.
My thoughts to his family and friends, as I cannot imagine the hurt they feel now. But Pete was such an amazing person, and like Ryan, there will be great stories to enjoy about him in the future. Pete was kind enough to reach out to me when Ryan died and continued to encourage me to run the NYC Marathon after the Austin Marathon was completed. Rest in Peace, Dear Pete.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Wow! So yesterday, I had a really great run. If you can believe that in 100 degree weather, with heat index of 105 plus. I was slowly jogging along and wondering how the run would turn out, being the sun was blazing and already tired from a busy Monday at work. But yah, all of a sudden midway through the run, my head was clear and I didn't focus on the sun or heat, rather just the rhythm of my feet hitting the trail. Even that really hot area crossing the I35 bridge and running along Riverside Dr. didn't bother me as much as usual, and I may have even had a smile on my face as I felt like, wow, this will be the first run in a while where I don't need to stop and rest a minute and let my body cool down. I was getting near the finish, about a quarter of a mile away, and I could hear the breathing of a runner behind me. This triggered me to finish off with a strong semi sprint and in the end, a great sense of accomplishment. It's funny because I was quite elated with the run, but almost instantly wanted to cry. I just felt this sense of peace, and it was like Ryan was there to let me know the training sucks in this heat, but it will be okay in the end. But I didn't bust out in tears, instead just smiled to myself and happy that my mental focus got me through a grueling run. My running times are a lot slower than the winter training I did for the Austin Marathon. But, I am okay with that now, just knowing I need to truck along enough to make it pass the finish line for the NYC Marathon. Max comes home tomorrow from summer vacation with his dad, so I plan on hanging out in Austin for the evening, grab some grub, maybe listen to some music somewhere. Max starts kindergarten in 2 weeks! I cannot believe how fast time flys. Less than 3 months from NYC...momentum is building!

I just want to throw it out there that if you are already registered to run the ING NYC Marathon on November 7, 2010 and want to help raise money for a great cause, please email me at

Anyone is welcome to join the team, and you can choose your own goal amount. It's quite easy to join, just let me know!


Monday, August 2, 2010


Oh, Today it was definitely, Journey's, "Don't Stop Believin". It was actually quite fitting, because today was an odd running day. It was 100 plus degrees on the trail today, and mentally I was like, "Hmmm, don't know how this run is going to go, maybe I will just trudge along". But man, when I think about Ryan, I get in a daze(a can-do attitude!), and just pound away, not even realizing I just made it up a hill without pausing for a second in the brutal heat.
It's also fitting that it was the last song to play on my IPod today, because it helped me finish the last quarter mile hard. Journey is probably my favorite band of all time, and this weekend I got to watch some very old Journey videos/live performances with another huge Journey fan for the first time. And... well... if you ever want to see the cheesiet video ever made, check out "Separate Ways". On the otherhand, "Faithfully" was such a great video and still one of my favorite love songs of all time.
Anyway...just a little random chat about my favorite group.
To top off the great run, I was rehydrating at the water station after the run and some random runner hollered at me, "Man you smoked me the entire way...I was trying to keep up but couldn't" Surprised, I didn't even notice. I was actually kind of shocked, because, yes it was a male, and most guys never have trouble passing me on the trail. But I do know what he means. I too focus on someone ahead of me, and often make it a goal to either stay right at his/her pace, or pass them just to keep a steady pace going. Though, haven't done that much this summer. I always seem to be the one getting passed as I bite my teeth and sweat my way to the finish.

Now, I am in full adrenaline mode, especially after hearing the interview on
I got to talk about Ryan and the Wounded Warrior Project in a way that just made me feel good about this challenge. Bart and Chuck were super sweet, and really Bart Yasso has been a great supporter for the cause ever since we met at the Austin Marathon.

So with this extra dose of adrenaline running in my veins right now, I just want to keep asking anyone reading this to PLEASE spread the word. We need to get $10,000 or so in 3 months. Please help me get this money for our brave and dear veterans.

If you need a little extra motivation, go to Melissa is actually the amputee veteran pictured in the photo above on Running For Ryan. I was following the Wounded Warrior Project on Facebook before I ever knew I would start to raise money for the cause, when this picture popped up on a Facebook posting, and that was when I decided to run for Ryan and our soldiers. Melissa Stockwell is an awesome veteran and a great athlete who always seems to smile and keep very positive outlook in life. Along with Ryan, she is definitely a huge motivation to keep 0n running. I have never met her, but you don't need to know someone personally to feel inspired. You just have to know her spirit. Check out her website, the Wounded Warrior Project sponsors her. She's amazing!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


(above pic, just emailed to me from David Monti, awesome pic of Ry smiling! Thanks for sharing, David)

Hi there blog. It's been a couple of weeks, but recently mentally re-focused again to start rounding out the last few months of this training and fundraising. I have a couple of amazing runs lately. I got in a great mid distance run on Tuesday, and an awesome tempo run yesterday as the temperature dropped a few degrees in the overcast weather. It's been a roller coaster of a summer, but Ryan's spirit has seeped back into my running workouts, and it's actually been very helpful during the tough moments on the trail when I feel like stopping or even slowing down to a minimal jog. I am starting to visualize the finish line in NYC right now, like I did when I started getting geared up for the Austin Marathon last Valentine's Day. Personally, a few rough patches here and there, but nothing that won't work itself out in the end. It's amazing how training for a previous race can be totally opposite for another race. Undoubtedly, I will feel so much happiness, relief, and satisfaction with the ING NYC Marathon. When I visited Central Park a few times after Ryan's death, near "the rock" in Central Park, the sunlight always seemed to illuminate through the trees and shine down, just enough to feel him looking down on the city. I hope to write more is the training will start to pick up, and fundraising becomes very important in the final days. I continue to feel lucky to have this chance to keep Ryan's memory alive and give back to our troops. My best bud just headed back overseas today, and I found out someone else dear to me will go over for a 2nd tour very shortly. As usual, the realness of their service, and of all our men and women over there is what helps me truck along with Running For Ryan. Thanks for helping spread the word.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


So, a couple of weeks ago I had a message from a guy named Ryan to see a condo we manage in the Austin area. It was the first day back after returning from Michigan, so my desk was swamped, and my energy limited, but I made the appointment to show this unit and the funniest thing happened. Actually, I would consider it a fateful thing.

I showed the two guys the place, they liked it, and so I started the small talk of, "So, what do you do in Austin". Mark told me he was in computer software, or something like that, and Ryan said he helped train professional runners. I was like, "cool, my brother was a professional runner, Ryan Shay." Both of them kind of dropped their jaws, and said, "You are Ryan's sister"? Then they said in unison, "We are Flotrack"( . I was like, get out of town, huh, what a small world. So, we got to talking about Ryan and my younger brother Stephan, and pretty much how funny it was for me to bump into them, neither of us knowing each other, but connected through the common interest of running.

We finished chatted, they got the place, and a couple of weeks later, I got a nice email from Mark about meeting up soon for an interview regarding Running For Ryan. So, I look forward to the opportunity as funds need to start coming in now as we are nearing 3 months before race day. (By the way, I asked Mark if I could bring this story up---as I am not usually one to discuss our clients, but this was a unique encounter indeed).

Well, going to get a 7/8 mile run in later on, and Max comes back, after vacationing with his dad the last 2 weeks, so looking forward to a lot of hugs and kisses this evening from my little man!

Friday, July 16, 2010

JULY 17, 2010

("T" (left), and me)

Ahh, I feel somewhat better now that I have some medication for my 2 week cough that turned out be be Bronchitis. I am going to knock this madness out with some antibiotics and hopefully be on the way to a full recovery in a couple of weeks. I did get in a 4 mile run today, very slow pace, but manageable. Came home, laid on the couch, and started my antibiotics and cough medicine that wiped me out for a bit. Now I am pretty much wide awake in the middle of the night, but hopefully writing a little bit will get me tired again.
I still plan on running while getting through this upper respiratory infection, but I will allow my body to decide how far and how strong.
Got some great news recently that my best bud who is currently serving overseas is on R & R for a couple of weeks and she's going to pop into Austin and hang out with me for a day before heading back home and flying back overseas. It was quite a surprise, but I love her for taking the time to visit, even though it's only for 24 hours. Her friendship to me is unlike any other, and well, I am sure we will have some nice long chats about my current dating situation and her on going sagas as well. I mean what's better than grabbing some good food, maybe some good chocolate and shooting the breeze with a woman I admire so much for her service to the U.S.
The visit is a great boost for my spirit and I hope for hers as well. Okay, now I am getting to the point of maybe catching some zzzzzzzz again. I will attempt a long run around the lake tomorrow and going to bake some banana bread with the rotten bananas on my kitchen counter tomorrow. I have been know to bake some killer banana bread. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

JULY 15, 2010

Yesterday morning I had the great opportunity to chat with Bart Yasso and Chuck Engle for a Purefit Radio interview. This lead to meeting some ladies of a great online apparel store, Check them out, as they have befriended me, and may just be able to help out a bunch in the near future for Running For Ryan.

It's been about 10 months since I first started blogging for Running For Ryan, and in between the hustle and bustle of being a mom, working, running, and trying to get the word out for donations, I managed to squeeze in some dating. I must admit, I am pretty awful at it, but it wasn't until recently that I met someone I find interesting and well, the first man I have known for more than a couple of dates since my marriage ended 3.5 years ago. But unfortunately, I may still have a bit to go before I know just how to ease into another relationship. I think I pretty much blew this chance, because I still have a hard time communicating what's important to me in a partnership because I am afraid I am not going to like the results/answers I may receive in return. I guess I am not at that level of confidence I need to be, so I will keep on trucking and trying. I am not saying this guy has run away, saying, "get me out of here", let's hope another chance at getting to know each other is in the works, but like running....the more I get out there and do it...the easier it gets.

I have been on day 10 of a nasty persistent cough, but managed to get some good runs in earlier in the week. Looking forward to an easy run tomorrow evening as I gather up energy for a 10-12 miler on Saturday.

Watching Forest Gump (on VHS!) as I check emails/blog and I cannot believe how time has gone by. The movie was filmed in 1995, but the love story is always still great to watch between Forest and Jenny(Forest never giving up, yeah!) , and the resilience of Gary Sinise's character as the amputated Lt. Dan always makes me think of our troops, past and present. It's time to get rolling and pump of the energy for remaining training months. I pray good things come our way for Running For Ryan, and we get this goal met. If you are reading, keep spreading the word, and make a donation---any amount is appreciated!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

JULY 13, 2010

(Ryan Shay mid-summer night run shirt and medal for July 4, 2010 race in Central Lake, Mi. I ran it in 59:34, going for a 10 min pace, so ok with the time :))

I really enjoyed my time going back home. As I mentioned, it was the first time I had been back since Ryan's funeral. Yah, I know almost 3 years, but with moving from Michigan, to Maryland, and now Austin, it was a busy 3 years. One thing I realized though, was I don't want to go 3 years without a vacation again. I don't mean to say this in a spoiled sounding way, but with the divorce and the death, I was a non-stop working machine, focused on supporting my son and myself, trying to make ends meet, and build on some kind of stable future. But I realized along the way, everyone needs a break! Whatever your budget is, get out and live a little! Before I headed to Michigan, I was having Lupus flare ups, for a few weeks, and I caught something towards the end of my vacation, because I have been hacking and coughing for a week now, so I think my body is telling me to slow down. So, I took a little vacation from my vacation and did nothing this weekend expect spend it with great company and some pretty great running days despite the heat.
I am starting to come to the crucial months of this fundraiser. Due to being kind of worn down the last few weeks, I couldn't put too much time into this challenge. But yesterday my 7 mile run was different. It was like the running I used to do for the Austin Marathon challenge. I was energized mentally, which made the physical challenge of coughing and feeling a little weak feel alright. Sometimes I wish I didn't open my big mouth about doing a fall marathon. I really think I was even a little crazy to think I could train in this heat for the NYC Marathon, but when you make a promise to a cause dear to your heart, there really is no excuse to quit. My brother would never quit at anything, and it wouldn't honor him to put up my shoes now. I am very lucky to have made the trip home, as it reconnected me to loved ones, and to Ryan's spirit. I was a little homesick when I returned to Austin for the first couple of days, but Austin has become my home, and I will continue to kick up dirt around the trail and hope that I can reach out to those who also feel our troops need our support. I am almost certain this will be my last marathon challenge in Ryan's memory for the Wounded Warrior Project. If you are reading this, I TRULY appreciate helping spreading the word and donating any amount you can. Thank you!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

JULY 1, 2010---Hometown Visit

(Ryan Shay Run banner)
(Me and bro Nate, who gave me courage to not worry about Lupus marks in photos anymore!)

It's ridiculously late, but felt like writing a little before I finally close my eyes. I arrived in Chicago yesterday and spent the night at my brother's house. It was a great night of catching up and finally seeing him again after so long. What I love about my siblings is that we can go several months, maybe even a year or more without seeing each other, but it's always like old times. Last night was one of those special times when we bonded after Max finally crashed for the night, discussing, who would have guessed, relationships! It was pretty good chat and kept us up a couple of hours, which allowed for a late start up to Northern Michigan. But without an agenda, Max and I got up here at a decent time and enjoyed an awesome dinner at the Blue Pelican, a local place in Central Lake ,with my parents.
Before the dinner, I put my running shoes on and hit the country roads for an amazing 5 mile run. It's soooooo cold up here compared to Austin right now that I am in running heaven! The tempo run felt great and there weren't any strong UV rays tearing into my face. One thing about this trip is that I hope to calm the Lupus flare up a little and enjoy the pleasant weather before heading back to Austin.
On the way into town I saw the Ryan Shay race banner for the first time, and it took my breath away. Sadness, mixed with inspiration, as I cannot help but feel him everywhere I turn while I am at home right now. I kept picturing him running toward me on my run, as I know he pounded the same pavement hundreds of times while visiting my parents over the past few years before he passed away.
As I was helping my mom prepare a little for the race this evening, she told me she had an amazing dream about Ryan a few days ago, dressed in fatigues and an absolute positive vibe came between her and him in the dream. My mom didn't get why he was dressed in camouflage, but, I will take it as a sign to keep on trucking with this challenge and get the monetary goal met for our wounded soldiers.

It's almost 4th of July, and while it seems many are frustrated with America lately, let's never forget how much more difficult our severely wounded veterans have if there were no funded organizations, like the Wounded Warrior Project to help meet some or several of their needs.

Please continue to spread the word to family and friends and businesses. Thanks!

Monday, June 28, 2010


A week or so ago, I wrote about this sunblock I discovered that has really helped with my training in the hot Texas summer weather. Well, SCAPE labs was kind enough to send me some more product and I just wanted to write about how I appreciate the kind gift.
Their kind donation helps with my training, and in return helps me keep running to raise money for our wounded veterans. So, in return, they are giving back as well. Anyone who helps me in anyway is also helping our troops! I appreciate all the support I get, via product donation or financial contributions to the cause.

I love this product because SCAPE has developed a sunblock that does not come off! I sweat like crazy in 95 plus degree weather in Austin during the summer. When I get over heated in my long runs, the sunblock remains on my skin even while sweating and dousing my head with water.

The scent is a hint of lemon, and when you apply it to your skin it does not leave your skin greasy and slimy feeling. As mentioned in previous blogs, I do have Lupus, and sun can really be an enemy, especially in the summer when UV rays are stronger. Before heading out on, I apply from head to toe with the sunblock, Face Stick, and lip balm and at the completion of a run I still feel confidently covered with SPF protection.

Before my Lupus diagnosis, I never thought too much on sun protection, but now that I found one that works with training in the intense heat, I want others to know about it too!

Check out for more product information.

Today is another one of those days when I will need it! High 90's and about to hit the road soon for an afternoon run.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


(2nd annual Ryan Shay Mid Summer's Night Run, Central Lake, MI July 4, 2010, register at Proceeds donated to local high school for college scholarships.

It's Tuesday, and I am laying on the sofa with a pillow behind my back and blanket over my legs. I had to call in today, as I just had that feeling of, "oh, I need to rest right now". I just got carried away with running dehydrated, stressing about work, and being too busy to breathe. My ears are ringing and my eyes hurt, but after this little write-up, going to sleep for awhile and let my body catch up with me.

No fear, my boss knows, and I cannot remember the last time I called in sick anyway.

Everyone has those moments when they feel just slightly off enough to know when to slow down, and so I am doing that today. If I feel better, I might even do a slow jog in the evening.

The good news is this summer is way more approachable than last summer! Now that Max's dad is back from deployment, Max enjoys catching up with him and it gives me some free time to explore Austin more. I have started getting back into a social scene and it has boosted my confidence in terms of being new to this city. Going home to Michigan in a week will allow me to catch up with family again, but I have to say Austin is growing on me more and more. It's definitely a place to meet some very interesting people.

Before I head home, I will be interviewing with Chris Sanchez of Inside Austin a weekend radio show. I am not sure when it will air, probably weekend after this. I hope to generate some funds back home, and when I get back to Austin really need to get back in fundraiser mode and see about getting this goal met. One thing about me, is if I say I am going to do something, I want to make sure I go all the way with it.

Now I am going to sleep for a bit and rest my tired body.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


(In effort to try and take more photos while blogging, Me after my most humid run yet, and favorite essential items that get me through the hot runs)

Oh Austin how I love it when you rain in hot temperatures, like today. It rained about an hour before my run and so the entire run was like running in a hot shower. But surprisingly my 7 mile run time was not too bad, even faster than the last one.
Schedule is very crazy these days because work is very busy and I am so tired before I slip my running shoes on, and wish so badly I was able to run in the morning. But I am getting used to it slowly, and when it does drop 5 or 10 degrees it is an instant relief on the trail.

Over the past 9 months I am learning different ways to comfort myself during the training. Winter season was a cinch because the sun was less intense and my Lupus was minimal in terms of creeping around. But with the sun and heat come challenges. A couple of things that help me cope below:

First off, I finally bought some new shoes, first pair since January. Shoes are expensive, and just dropped $500 into my car last week, but had to bite the bullet, for my feet's sake and get a new pair. I like to recommend what works for me, and I have kind of flat feet and it's hard to find a good match, but the Adidas Super Nova Glide II are awesome, the only running shoe that has ever fit my foot like a glove. If you are flat footed, do try on a pair.

Because my face gets affected by the sun when I have Lupus flare ups, bumped into the best sunscreen for anyone sweating it out in Austin or anywhere hot or by the water. It smells awesome, and it stays on and does NOT burn your eyes. It's from Hawaiian Island Creations, and it's in a yellow tube and is SPF 50 2X Sunblock. I pour on the sunscreen from head to to toe before the run.

I have felt a little queasy around the half way point of my runs lately, but decided to grab a 20 oz of Gatorade and slam shortly before I start running (even chill it in the freezer at work for a bit, so it's slightly slushy) and it has helped greatly with energy and and only needing water along my run. It makes me feel cooler for awhile too.

I bought a new hat and some new shorts. I have been wearing a regular ball cap to shield the sun, but makes my head overheat, so bought a running hat, and some light dry-fit shorts, big difference on feeling lighter and cooler.

I continue to use regular over-the-head headphones when I run because they are large enough to cover my ears and help prevent Lupus inflammation (which can hurt inside the ear area) by keeping the sun off.

So, with all this preparation, I have felt all right in the sun, and though I complain of the heat, I am relieved that I am still able to train without too much difficulty heading into the harshest part of the summer.

I cannot wait to go home and visit in a couple of weeks. I have not been to Michigan since Ryan's funeral. It will be strange, a little, maybe, but look forward to seeing my family and watching them sweat in 70 degree weather while I put a sweater on! Ha!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

2nd Annual Ryan Shay Mid Summer Night Run

In a few weeks(4th of July) I will head to Michigan for the 2nd annual 5 and 10k put on in my brother's memory in the town I graduated high school. I pretty much left Central Lake when I finished high school, and have returned less than a handful of times over the passed 15 years. I definitely had the restless soul out of the 8 of us at that time and besides going to college I scraped pennies to fly here and there in and out of the country for a good several years. I missed a lot of Ryan's post collegiate runs because of the traveling adventures, but always kept up with his races through the inter net. He would even email his running schedules to us (just in case we were in the neighborhood during a race). But Ryan would go back to Central Lake and continue to run the back roads of Northern Michigan and visit our old high school, and hang out from time to time. So, it's definitely fitting to have a run in his memory started in our home town. Proceeds from the race go to our local high school for college scholarships. I asked my father if I could do some kind of donation booth for Running For Ryan, and I believe we will have a table set up for anyone who has a few dollars or a check book handy to give to the Wounded Warrior Project, so if you happen to read this and live in Michigan and will be at the race, please spread the word.

We are at about $14,600 right now of $26,200 goal. I have not had an opportunity to have some kind of benefit gig in Austin yet, but would love to do something before the NYC Marathon to get a boost in donations. If you are a business or individual with an idea, and or resources, please contact me at

Please remember donating online is very easy and safe. I continue to donate on line when I have a few extra dollars and the payment system is very secure. Just click on DONATE icon, and click on my name and it takes you through the steps.

Checks can be made to Wounded Warrior Project or Running For Ryan and mailed to

Running For Ryan

P.O. Box 300766

Austin, TX 78703

As I mentioned yesterday, it was a pleasure to meet Doug Ulman, CEO of LIVESTRONG at the Austin Marathon/LIVESTRONG meeting. Since living in Austin, I have been very lucky to meet such inspirational people like Doug Ulman, Dick Beardsley, and Bart Yasso. I was hesitant to pack up and move down here without family and without a circle of friends, but it's a great city with a lot of great organizations to take an interest in and give back to. Just as these above names are familiar, just as many without such known names have been very inspirational to me, especially everyone who helped with the entire Austin Marathon journey. My head has been very focused for a few days, and I continue to visualize the finish line in NYC. Max told me I had to win this time (ha ha) so better get working on a mock trophy for his dresser.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Meeting A Survivor, Doug Ulman, CEO of LIVESTRONG

(Doug Ulman, CEO of LIVESTRONG)
I have been really blessed to meet some great people in Austin. Joey Trimyer made Running For Ryan web site free of charge and continues to maintain it for me as a volunteer. When a coach in San Antonio, Gary Brimmer, introduced me to John Conley (Austin Marathon Director) I didn't realize how much help I would get for getting Running For Ryan off the ground. . Through an Austin Marathon event, I met Bart Yasso, who befriended me so genuinely as we share the desire to run, him with Lyme Disease, me with Lupus. Bart has helped spread the word about the fundraiser and continues to encourage me to see it through to NYC. John Conley invited me to LIVESTRONG/ Austin Marathon announcement event today at the LIVESTRONG HQ in Austin. Because it was in the middle of the work day I almost didn't go, but so glad I did!

I remember reading about Doug Ulman in the Austin Monthly Magazine when I was waiting at an appointment. The magazine was covering non-profit CEO's and he was the lead feature. So, I read his article and was thinking to myself how amazing it was to be a survivor and then go right into running a huge cancer non-profit organization. I had no clue of his life, and his cancer fight, so I sent an email of congratulating him on taking a serious situation and turning it into an inspirational journey.

He responded with a nice thank you email, and that was it. So several weeks go by, and I get this invite to go to the announcement event today. Doug Ulman and John Conley present, with Mayor Leffingwell. Well, I thought it would be pretty interesting to see these guys talk, so I decided to see what the big news was going to be. Well, turns out the Austin Marathon will be sponsored by LIVESTRONG for the next 3 years, yeah for both organizations!

So, I was going to head back to work, but I decided, I wanted to introduce myself, and palms sweaty did just that. I told him I was Sarah Shay, I sent an email about your article a while back,and he pleasantly spoke to me, and said he was in New York the weekend Ryan passed away, as he ran the regular marathon the following day. After we chatted for a couple of minutes, I decided to head back to work. But as I was outside I turned around and told myself, "Go get a pic for the blog...he's a nice guy!" So, palms sweaty again, he politely took a pic with me and welcomed me to HQ anytime:)

This positive energy carried through out the day and I had an enjoyable 6 mile run after work. About a mile from the finish I just busted out in a good cry as I couldn't help but just look to the sky for Ryan. I instantly missed him, but thanked him for giving me the courage to go out and meet inspiring individuals through out this journey to keep his memory alive and give back to those who survive daily with life altering injuries. I just feel very lucky right now. I feel like I am doing what I am suppose to be doing at this moment in my life. Thanks to Doug for the sincere introduction.