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.