Thursday, February 4, 2010

"It is necessary to dig deep within oneself to discover that hidden grain of steel called will." -- Ryan Shay

(start of Austin Marathon in Afghanistan, via CPT Johnston)
(The Sente Team)
(A good friend I have known over the past few years from afar while on a previous deployment, hanging out with some super kids)(Ryan smiling big on day before his wedding)
2-13-10 Not the First
My older brother Case ran the NYC marathon in 2008, a year after Ryan passed away. He was very jet lagged and still managed to come in under 3 hours! Along with some of Ryan's Notre Dame buddies, they honored his memory that day. So, I am proud to be able to do it this time around. I have been nervous, excited, and now relaxed in the course of the last 24 hours. The last time I was with Ryan was in Flagstaff, a few months before he passed away. On the visit, the last thing he was thinking about was racing. His biggest agenda was trying to get Max wrestle with the dog. It was obvious he was enjoying a visit from his sister, brother, and nephew as Alicia and Ryan were heartwarming hosts. It makes me realize too, before I run tomorrow that running isn't life, but life is about running. I love it now, and it's a part of me, but no matter the outcome of my finish, I have had a huge support group, and love you all.

And please keep the donations coming! For veterans looking to run their first race with life alterning injuries, the WWP helps with such events. All I have to do is move my 2 legs but some of these brave men and women are doing it with one or less. Bless you all! I look forward to having fun on the Austin course tomorrow!


I really haven't slept well since my apartment was robbed last Friday. But today there was a good energy in the air, especially with the continued support of the fundraiser and the marathon challenge. Due to a drop in temperature, which I loved, the trail was dead. I thought it was a perfect day for a run and took advantage of the solitude on the path. Then, something amazing happened, I think I had the best run of my training so far. Not once did a break my pace, and I pretended it was race day because I felt like my legs wanted to continue forever. It took me back to a dream I had about Ryan a few weeks ago. Not, the one that got the ball rolling;when my legs felt like lead and wouldn't move. But a few weeks ago, I called my parents and let them know I had another memorable dream. Ryan and I both had running bibs on ready to start the NYC Marathon. I was in the elite group(remember this is a dream) and the gun went off...suddenly there were all these obstacles, and I turned to him and asked how we were going to finish now? Suddenly we were crossing over a bridge in NYC, and soon it became a single rope and we commando crawled to a tree house that was high on a pole in the sky. Ryan sat down and in a peaceful voice, said, I have to go now, and so do you. Open up that door and jump and you will find the road again. So he closed his eyes, and I jumped, and my feet hit the ground and I just started running. I can't explain how he really has been a phenomenal positive force in the past 6 months. I don't how it's possible to feel him around me all the time, but I just can't shake the feeling, and tonight, once again when I ran over the I35 bridge and looked down at the water, as it sparkled so happily that I didn't even question why I felt so good, I just went with it and had the best run in a very long time.


Friday,apartment robbed, check(get renter's insurance, I didn't have it, duh!). Saturday, car smashed in store parking lot(bad hit in run while in the store, big white truck driving guy didn't leave me his insurance info., shocker! But it runs, barely, and Max was not inside ), check. Sunday, realized not only was my computer swiped, but my small jewelery box. I probably cried a good hour, feeling all invaded and creepy inside knowing a stranger was taking my memories away stored in that box. Besides a few valuables, there were a couple of Ryan memorabilia I will never get back. I despise you dear thief, for this made me cry more than losing my technical equipment. No sleep, check, for I feel like someone is still creeping around my home. Great run on Saturday, yes, surprisingly, due to lack of sleep. Having breakfast with the team was uplifting as well, as Sente is just a group of the nicest people you will encounter.

On a serious note, (yes the above was pretty serious), my courageous sister has been laid up for a week. She can walk, barely with the help of a walker. I pray for an answer and hope the doctors will found out quickly what is going on! She surprised me a couple of weeks ago by telling me she would arrive Saturday to watch the marathon, and apologized for not being able to walk(tears). Obviously, I told her, are you crazy, get better! But she has a great sense of humor, and we try to make light of it for now. So, sis, I will pray for your recovery and run for you too! Tonight, probably zone out to John Mayer, and do nothing...


I have been so swamped for time, aren't we all, right! American, work, work. It's hard to get a blog in these past few weeks. But with all the hard work comes the sweet reward of knowing I have helped kept Ryan's memory alive as well as honor our awesome men and women in uniform.

Although I started alone with a dream to do this challenge, the end result of success comes from dozens of loving supporters.

Thanks to Gary Brimmer who found my blurb on line about doing this. He got me in touch with John and Stacey Conley of Conley Sports. They have been the best support team, and I appreciate all the help. Pam LeBlanc introduced herself to me at a fundraising event and is the kindest type of person you could ever meet. I am bless to know her, and thank her and the Austin American Statesman for their support in sharing this story and promoting the cause.

Andrew Smith from Sente Mortgage, but more importantly someone who once met Ryan and opened his heart to this challenge and introduced an entire team to help raise the second half of the goal amount. Team Sente, I appreciate all your efforts, and know you will continue to do good in the future with your charity chapter of your company.

Amanda and The Notre Dame Club of Austin (Ryan's Alma Mater) Thanks for the race uniform tops! We will run proudly in them!

Local Austin Businesses such as: J Conn Roofing, Granite Properties of Texas, Go With The Flo, Red Licorice Events, Jack and Adams Bicycles, Rogue Running, Bettysport, Highway Technologies, STN Properties, Abilene VFW Post, and many others who wish to be anonymous.

Thanks to all the supporters from my home state of Michigan. Some of you know me, but many of you were fans of Ryan, or coached with my parents. Thanks!

Thanks to Joey Trimyer, my media guy. I have no idea how to make a web page, so thanks for building it for me, as well as your support with fundraising events! You are a easy to work with, and it's been fun!

Thanks to my coworkers who I have annoyed for 6 months with all the running talk. Yes, I once was annoyed by runners who talk about running, and now I do it! However, I do have to say, I am impressed with Terry and Barbara for training just as hard for the 1/2 marathon. Yeah!

My parents have been a huge support. I have never talked to them more in my life! It's a good thing!
My brothers and sisters, who I miss extremely and love so much. I wish we all lived in the same city! It's hard not to cry right now, just thinking about you all!
My best friend on deployment, you know who you are!
My ex-husband and well, my friend. You have been very supportive since returning from your deployment. I am glad this experience has allowed us to grow as friends. I wish you happiness in the future. Now that's growth!:)
Charlotte and JP , and Barbara. While Max's dad was away, you bent over backwards to help with Max while I trained. Thank you!
Christine and too! Thanks for being there for Max and I.

My son! I love you more than anything in this world Max! I know it's been so busy at times, but you have always been such a trooper. I can't wait to see you at the finish line. Because as you told me once, "I want to see you win mama because we are getting money for the hurt soldiers." You are such a kind and caring boy. Many kisses xoxo.

To everyone I might have forgotten (on accident), and to those who privately support this challenge, thank you! I have been touched by emails, and words of encouragement. I really feel my life has changed for the better. Most of you supporting this cause are not rich like myself, but we knew we could make a difference, and it's been awesome. If I could keep running for charities and quit my job, I would (no offense job, but it would be cool). There's an addiction to lacing up some shoes and going for a daily run. Add a very worthwhile cause in to the mix, and you have the best feeling out of life one could imagine.

Thanks to CPT Johnston for supplying the photo above. He too has become a fan of running. The picture is a group of servicemen and women completing a half or full marathon in Afghanistan with support from the Austin Marathon. That is cool!

Six months have flown by. Ryan has been with me every step of the way. I love you dear brother. You left us way too soon. But your beautiful, young, angelic face is etched in my memory forever. Included in this blog, one of my favorite pictures of you from the day before your wedding. You were beaming from ear to ear.

I look forward to an exciting future with you guiding me along the way.

To all of our men and women in uniform, THANK YOU!

1 comment:

  1. Thinking of you today and this weekend. I'm so excited for you and I'm sending some wings for those shoes!!!

    Looking forward to the race report. Go girl. Run for Ryan and the troops!

    ((GIANT HUGS))