May 5th

I had a free hour at work today and I logged on thinking I would finally finish my 2015 Boston Marathon Recap.  I knew as soon as I sat down at the computer that my heart was in a completely different place.  Shortly after I received a text from my Mom that confirmed my feelings “Happy Birthday to my special boy!  Hope you have a special day reflecting on the great things he taught us and know he loved and cherished you!!”
May 5th.
May 5th 1988, the day that 2 year old Shelly changed forever.  
May 5th 1988 the day that Trevor James, “TJ” came into her life and the most amazing, loving, genuine and perfect bond formed.  Love at first sight.  Best friends sharing everything together. 

Trevor and I, best friends as we were, absolutely were far from perfect.  Together we embraced the highs and the lows of life and no matter what, hell over high water, we were always 100% there for each other.  We both went through a lot of trials, especially as teenagers and young adults but our deep-rooted bond that developed as soon as Trevor came out of the womb never faltered.

As hard as I try to think of a day that Trevor and I even as much as argued there is just simply none to be discovered.  We literally never fought a day in our lives and we never ever went a single day without talking.  We knew the deep dark secrets of each other’s lives, the intricate details, the fears, doubts, hopes, and dreams.  That bright blue eyed, red curly haired boy was without a doubt my favorite person on the planet. Trevor and I, we understood and accepted each other for our many imperfections, we just “got” each other, and nothing would rock that bond.  We would be best friends forever. 

Today, May 5th 2015 Trevor would be 27 years old.  Trevor has been gone from this earth for over 5 years.  I truthfully cannot believe it and I struggle to even comprehend how I’ve moved forward without him.  That’s the thing about adversity, I don’t think we’re even supposed to understand it.  If we did we would hide from it and run away. We wouldn’t grow, our opportunities would be limited and life would be stagnant.  When we are faced with trials quitting isn’t an option.  We have no choice, so we falter, we fall down, the wind becomes stronger and the fight becomes harder.  Yet somehow in the dark chaos and turmoil of tragedy we too become stronger, more resilient, and capable of weathering the storm. 


What I do know and understand, as I reflect on the life and legacy of my brother, is that I am a better person and a changed person because of his influence in my life.  I am also a better person because of the lessons Trevor continues to teach me as I carry on without him on this journey.  I don’t always slow down enough to see what is supposed to be gained from the struggles and fears I face but when I do there is so much to grasp and appreciate.

As I woke up to the sound of my blazing alarm this morning drowning out my eardrums at 5:30am I laid in bed and simply starred at the ceiling.  I thought of my brother and appreciated Trevor’s simplicity.  I went for the slowest run around the orchards in my small neighborhood and remembered my brother.  I stopped.  I listened to my surroundings, I breathed deep and took in the sights of the morning, and I thought about my life.  

I was overwhelmed with love, emotion, and thoughts of my brother and his simple love and compassion for others.  It really made me reflect on what I want to be, what kind of legacy I want to live, and what I want to be remembered for.  Trevor always cared most and was a good example of what really is most important in life.  Trevor you see, didn’t have a whole lot.  He didn’t have a car, a cellphone, or many friends.

Trevor’s joy came from reading history books, eating at taco bell, watching re-runs of Family Guy, Cheese Nips, and time.  Time talking, joking around, and laughing about life.  He did not care one bit about how much money he or anyone else had, how many likes he got on a facebook post (he didn’t have facebook), how strong his muscles were looking, or if his friends thought he was cool. 

He was never trying to beat anyone at anything or prove anything to anyone else.  Trevor was mindful and simple.  Most importantly Trevor devoted his time, love and energy to the people who he loved most.  I’m so thankful that through losing a sibling I have been blessed to change my perspective, see life a little differently, and grow and develop my relationships with my family and those who matter most.

My message to myself, and to you, on today the day that will forever in my life be Trevor’s day is to focus on the things and people who matter most.  Forget for a moment how fast you can or cannot run.  Forget about mistakes you have made in your past, or things you wish you could change.  Unplug from your smartphone, take a break from your studies, or even leave work an hour early to be with your family.  Miss that all important work meeting or event that is scheduled at the same time as your son’s soccer game.  I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who on their death bed said “I wish I would have spent more time at work” or “I wish I would have spent more time on social media.”

At the end of the day the things that matter most, and what I remember Trevor for are the way he treated other people and his deep genuine love for his parents and his family.  Trevor was a pure, simple, and perfect example of unconditional altruistic love.  Happy Birthday baby brother.

Running for Recovery – Raw, Raw, Writings

Today I cried on the treadmill, and not even just because I was running on a treadmill.  I was just so overwhelmed with gratitude for where I am in my life.

 I’m not sure if it was the nostalgia of Eminem on pandora, thinking about Boston, reminiscing about my life since I ran Boston in 2012, tapering (in so many more ways than just for a marathon), or the sheer combination of all of it hitting me at once.  But I just lost it.  For the record, I am not a crier, it is an emotion that I have a difficult time achieving.  But I felt smooth running on the treadmill this morning, I felt alive, strong, determined, fast, thankful, blessed, and sober.  Running and coincidently life for me has felt pretty awful for well over a year.  However, today I felt such a strong glimmer of courage and hope.  Today I felt so good I wanted to jump out of my skin.  It was liberating and one of those rare moments that you just want to bottle and hit rewind on the cassette player.  I hope to experience many more of these moments.

I have absolutely no idea where I am going with this piece of writing.  I doubt I’ll have the courage to hit publish once I complete this hot mess but here I am writing anyway.  Writing just because it feels like the right thing to do and sometimes, for me, purging deep emotions and just following my heart is healing.  If I’ve learned anything in my life it is that the greatest opportunities often come from the hardest trials.  Taking risks, facing fears, and leaning in to the uncomfortable is terrifying but without trying it we never really know how good it could possibly be.

I am a Manager by trade.  I am passionate about my career and absolutely 100% committed to Intermountain Healthcares mission of “Helping people live the healthiest lives possible.”  If you know me personally you know that I LOVE my job.  I have a deep profound love and appreciation for my 14 employees.  I love my boss and truly admire his consistent and uplifting example to me.  Work is important to me and I love what I do.  I am a natural leader. I love helping others, nothing NOTHING makes me feel more joy than helping others succeed.  Relationships with people are incredibly important to me.  I do not know how to work a computer, I can barely spell my own name and I have absolutely no sense of logic.  But gosh I sure like people and I think I’m kind of good at listening, helping, accepting, understanding, and caring about others.

Unfortunately I’ve always really struggled with helping, listening, and healing myself.  I’ve never really loved myself enough to help myself.  Where on earth is she going with this?

Running, Relapse, Addiction, Anxiety, Therapy, Eating Disorders – Let’s start talking!

I’m not going to dive into the background right now.  I’ve always been fairly raw with my writing and I’m pretty openly honest, probably to a fault.  But I had such a strong overwhelming sense of peace this morning while running.  My entire life up to this point flashed before my eyes and I was left thinking why am I not sharing my trials?  If I left this earth what would I want the world to know?  If I could help someone else with their personal trial through sharing mine why wouldn’t I?  It is my duty to pay it forward, to be authentic, and to stay true to my core value of being a leader and helping others through my words and my example. I’ve suffered lived with addiction for basically a century.  Anorexia–Bulimia–Alcoholism–Running–Disordered Eating–Narcotics–Relapse–Replace–Repeat–you get the picture!

Yep you read all that correctly. This energetic, happy on the outside athlete is an addict.  An addict that has gained so much from giving in, letting go, and heaven forbid even asking for help!  I’ve never in my life asked for help before and it was terrifying.  Letting go of pride, shame, running, restriction, and probably most importantly substances has been pretty awful.  I have such an intense and infinite love for my family.  I love them to their core and cannot ever repay or begin to thank them enough for loving me unconditionally.  Unconditional love is so rare and truly so incredible.  God knew I would need this family of mine.  Unconditional love of my parents, siblings, and brother and sister in law is why in my opinion I am okay.  My family has never given up on me, and I truly bare testimony to you that if you unconditionally love those in your life who are facing demons they will return.  It may take a year, or (like me) it may take closer to a century, it may not even happen in this life.  But if you do your part and have faith it will happen.  Yes I’m getting all religious on you!

Rock Bottom

I had just run a half marathon in 1:17.  My running career was thriving and my career at the Hospital was as well.  I was promoted to Manager and on the outside I looked like I had it all.  On the inside was an intense fear of myself and my own emotional reality.

Anxiety – anxiety so bad I didn’t even have the brain capacity to comprehend it was anxiety.  I have never experienced anything so utterly confusing and terrifying in my entire existence.  I did not understand what was happening at the time at all.  I was intensely over taken by fear, all I knew was that I had to simply survive each day.  That was my only goal each morning – to get through the day.  I am crying as I type this right now because I’m having flashbacks of how truly frightening it really was.  The anxiety was so intense that I could not focus on anything for more than a couple of minutes.  The only time I felt any relief was when I was running, starving myself, or sometimes with other people.  It was constant anxiety and felt like my body and brain were zapping from every direction.  I was afraid to wake up in the morning, afraid to go to work, afraid I was going to be in trouble, afraid of everything and anything.  For those that have experienced anxiety I’m sure you may be able to relate.  I do not think it was very apparent on the outside but I’m not really sure, I was so ill and so out of touch that my memory from the time isn’t the best.  I cannot be 100% certain of what the anxiety stemmed from but what I do know is that it was a combination of my malnourishment, my relationship, isolation from my family, and a deep and real fear of gaining weight.  Clearly I was again using the eating disorder as a crutch.  I was such a mess and so very scared.  My brain was not working because I was not feeding it and the anxiety was too much.

I was desperate for any relief from my anxiety yet too ashamed, afraid, and confused to ask for any sort of help.  Instead I turned to narcotics.  I hurt my back rollerblading with some friends in November 2013.  (In hindsight I likely fell because I didn’t eat that day and still ran my normal long run.)  Anyway, I was legitimately in a lot of pain.  I (my eating disorder) actually loves pain.  I deserve to be in pain according to my ED voice and the more pain I put myself in the more my ED thrives!  Remember that one time I ran a sub-3 marathon and then literally couldn’t stand for 4 hours?  I basically have no stopping point and I’m not incredibly proud of it.  Anyway, Steve offered me a Lortab and thus a love affair began.  I was in pain, yes, yes, I was.  Isn’t that how it always begins?  What I quickly learned is that the Lortab eased my anxiety and made life bearable.  It was complete survival mode for me.  Looking back I honestly feel like I was coping the only way I knew how to survive each day.  My anxiety and fear was that bad!

I wanted to shake the shit out of myself, I knew so much better.  I was an alcoholic for years, my grandpa has been addicted to Lortab for over 20 years, I’ve had two cousins commit suicide because of addiction, and I dated a heroin addict for 5 years!  Addiction runs so very deeply in my veins.  I knew so much better and I also knew exactly the road this was leading down.  I hated myself yet I couldn’t stop.  That euphoria, the build-up, the anticipation of taking the pill, the act of swallowing, snorting, and the relief!  Oh the glorious relief.  So numb, so incredibly numb and released from my emotions and my internal denial and pain.  The narcotic addiction lasted four months and I didn’t tell a single sole.

But I also knew I needed help.  I was so incredibly aware that the pills were just masking my anxiety and I was committed to dealing, for the first time ever, with the source.  I knew the anxiety I was feeling was not normal.  I went to the doctor and worked with an incredible Physician who prescribed me the right medication and helped stabilize me on an antidepressant which calmed me enough to seek treatment.  Then I embarked upon an entire year of therapy.  With the assistance of my doctor, therapist, family, Brene Brown and her amazing writing and most importantly my heavenly father I have come so far.  It has been the hardest year of my life by far.  But I survived it and I am okay.  I am still healing and piecing my puzzle back together one little piece at a time but I’m slowly learning to love myself, forgive myself and move forward.  I’m tapering off of my medication slowly and with the help of professionals and so excited to live life free of restraint.  I will never live completely free of an eating disorder.  Eating disorders are hard, really hard, and I truly do not wish an eating disorder upon my worst enemy.  But I will live in remission and free of chemical addiction. I will continue to work on myself.  There is no finish line for the remission journey I am on and it’s not a race.

I felt compelled to share this story today because SO MANY people live with addiction and/or mental illness.  Someone in your family, one of your friends, your neighbor, someone at your work, or maybe it’s even you.  Don’t judge them.  Just accept them, love them, and support them.  Most importantly let’s take a stand and start talking more transparently about these realities.

When I line up in Hopkington on Monday to run the Boston Marathon it will be much different than 2012.  I will not be running for a time on the clock.  I won’t really care much about what place I take or how well I execute my plan. 

I will meet up and run the race with my good friend Becca.  I will run with a renewed purpose.  I will run for recovery.  I will run for me, I will run for Trevor, I will run for all those out there who have overcome addiction.  I will run for those who are fighting right now, and I will run for those that have lost the fight.

And I leave you with inspiration from Cinderella – Have courage and be kind.  This post has taken me a lot of courage and I hope I can continue to lead by example and have courage and be kind.  If that is all I achieve in this lifetime that will be enough.

Snow Canyon Half Marathon Recap

Running = invigorating, nostalgic, peaceful, simple, joyful, energizing, challenging, rewarding…..always a constant in my life.  Life is busy, life is full of highs and lows, life can be difficult.  Running helps me to grow, running makes me a better person, running has taught me that I am capable of more than I ever imagined possible.
I am forever thankful for running in my life!  I am back to my little corner of the internet today with a race recap.  I’d like to start blogging more, I’ve always got so many subjects on my mind.  I’d like to share more of my knowledge and thoughts about running, about life, and about finding that running and life balance.  But I’m not making any gaurantees.  My life is very full right now — I am happy!***

Cliff Note Version:  1:17:55, 5:57 pace, 2nd place female finisher.  The report below is a direct candid copy from my training blog.

I am really happy and proud of the way I raced on Saturday.  I’ve ran some decent times this Fall but I haven’t really felt fluid racing since July, so most importantly it felt good to feel good!  Times on the clock are arbitrary…but what I always remember most about races is the way I felt.  Even if the time is good or I win the race it doesn’t mean as much to me if I felt like crap and finished feeling in a hole (Huntsville).

I had a rough week going into this race.  My brothers 4 year anniversary was hard on me this year, I always hate Halloween because it is the day Trevor was buried, and driving down to St.G makes me cringe every single time because that is where Trevor’s accident happened.  I was in a weird place emotionally and felt off.  I was also way more nervous about this race than I normally get for races and I let that get to me which is normally my strong point.  I’m usually good at staying calm and handling pressure but I needed to do well at this race for myself, I needed that monkey off my back, and I psyched myself out a bit–which is odd for me!  Anyway none of this really has anything to do with anything besides to point out that life/running do collide and I think all of this going on in my life makes me even more proud of my ability to channel that energy, focus, and mentally prove to myself that I am stronger than I realize.

Nutrition:  32 ounces fluids (mostly Gatorade) pre-race and a banana.  1 gel during the race and a little bit of water.

Splits:  6:07, 6:03, 5:54, 5:26, 5:17, 5:26, 5:33, 6:19, 5:54, 6:02, 6:14, 6:15, 6:16, 1:10 (5:37 pace)

Finish Time:  1:17:55

Race Strategy:  Run off of effort.  Take the first 2 miles easy and then go for broke.  Hold nothing back.

I stayed in Mesquite Friday night and my boyfriend gave Christie and I ride up to the start.  We got there in just enough time to use the bathroom and get a little warm-up in.  It was a little chilly but pretty perfect for racing.

Get in a groove miles 1-2 :  Started out running with JeffL and just tried to focus on staying relaxed and easing into things.  There was no reason to push these first 2 miles.

I believe I can fly miles 3-7:  Whoa…..whoa these miles were FAST!  I could not allow myself to even glance at my watch because the pace I was running was flipping frightening to me.  I was passing a lot of people and keeping my sights on AmberG up ahead.  Being so close to her scared me.  It was freaking Amber Green my running idol….what in the heck was I doing running so close to her?  In all honesty I felt great and ran off of effort.  I know this sounds nuts but I was not really pushing at all.  Just racing on effort, I felt really strong and was enjoying the course.  I knew the fast miles would either lead me towards a massive blow up or a huge PR.  I wanted to take the risk, it was worth it to me and heck it was kind of fun!

Back to reality miles 8-13:  Mile 8 was really, really hard for me and I was afraid I was toast.  Transitioning from flying to climbing was not welcomed and I really had to focus to get through that mile.  I took a gel and felt really fluid again by mile 9.  The last 3 miles you wind through Entrada golf course and neighborhoods and it is pretty monotonous.  It was tough and I really had to fight hard to stay on pace but I never once lost focus and I never once questioned my ability to fight to the finish.  My feet really bothered me the last 30 minutes of the race.  I am getting so used to the pain but gosh it is just incredibly frustrating and unfortunate.  I tried my best to kick it up once we hit the track at Snow Canyon HS and was completely elated to reach my goal.  In hindsight I knew all along I was capable of my goal but to actually execute such a strong race and finish 30 seconds behind one of my running idols was incredibly exciting to me.  Also exciting to me was that I didn’t settle for just running sub-1:20 once things got hard…instead I pushed outside of my pre-concieved idea of what I thought I was capable of.

I was very happy to break 1:20 and run a 3 minute PR but times aside I’m really proud of the way I held it together and raced until the finish.  Running is great and I am continually thankful for the way it enhances my life and makes me a better person.  There is always someone faster than me, there is always room to improve, and there is never a ceiling on my capabilities.  I know I’m cheesy but I am forever grateful for the personal growth I achieve through running.  It is a great sport and I am so thankful for the many amazing influences I have and the positive way it has changed my life.  It was really great to hang around after the race and watch all of the runners finish.  No matter what time you run there is just something magical about running and seeing people achieve the goals they set for themselves. 

I am ready and excited for a break from racing.  I need to rest, recover, relax, take a step back, enjoy running, and focus on other areas of my life for a bit.  I can’t even count the amount of times Saturday I said “holy crap I finished 30 seconds behind Amber freaking Green.  She is such an amazing runner…she’s won St. George marathon like 3 times!  There is no way I was actually that close to her…What does this mean?”  It is very overwhelming to me to accept where I am at with my running.  It is scary and I need time to wrap my head around it and figure out what I want moving forward.  There is one thing that I know for certain and that is that I am not done.  In running it is not easy to continue to improve but it is always possible and at the end of the day I have the desire.  That desire has gotten me to where I am and will cotinue to propel me moving forward.

Utah Valley Marathon Recap

Cliff Note Version:  2:59:05 – 6:50 pace, 3rd place overall female finisher.

Before I copy/paste my report from my training blog I just really need to publicly say Thank you.  I am beyond blessed to have so many incredible people in my life that support me, inspire me, motivate me, and most importantly make me want to be a better person on a daily basis.  I am so very humbled, so grateful, and just so lucky to be surrounded by so many people that genuinely love and support me.

No matter how hard a marathon is we live for that euphoria of crossing that finish line.  Just like life we go through highs and lows out on the course, trials and triumphs, moments of weakness, and flashes of joy.  No one ever crossed the line of a marathon and said “that was easy”.  Marathons are hard, life is hard.  In the end, once you cross that finish line it is always worth it.  I always want to live my life in a way that no matter what I am striving to get to that finish line.  My steps might be slow, I might have to crawl at times, and I may even need someone to carry me through the hardest parts or the journey.  But I want to never forget how worth it it will be when I get there.***

My 3rd year in row running UVM (2011-3:31, 2012-3:12, 2013-2:59).  I pretty much love this race.  The course is awesome (although this year it felt much less awesome than years past), I love that it is close to home, I train on the course all the time, the support is absolutely amazing, and well UVM weekend is just pretty much like a Holiday to me.  I knew that my feet injury I’ve been dealing with would be an issue for this race but I wanted to run it anyway, so I did.  My goal for the race was 2:55 and I honestly thought that was a reasonable goal.  I was 4 minutes off of my goal but I gutted it out and somehow managed to hold it together after the wheels came off.  These races where we somehow keep going after falling apart truly are humbling and teach us so much more about what our bodies are capable of.  So although I did not reach my goal I really am not too disappointed.  I was not really trained optimally for this race and I still managed to run sub-3 which after taking a step back to analyze I feel is still pretty awesome.

Nutrition:  Bagel, banana, & 32 ounces Gatorade before the race.  2.5 gels, half a 5-hour energy before the start, 2 salt pills and 2 ibuprofen 800’s during the race, not enough fluids. <—this may have been a limiting factor for me.  Hard to say….I have not been training with fluids and just could not seem to force much down me during the race.  My stomach just wasn’t handling it well.

Splits:  1:27:31/1:31:34  Also just to note this is my first time positive splitting this course which just sucks!  Not a fun way to finish a marathon. 6:28, 6:25, 6:26, 6:24, 6:33, 6:33, 6:31, 6:57, 7:02, 6:38, 6:42, 7:04, 6:40, 6:52, 6:49, 7:00, 6:49, 6:38, 6:41, 6:52, 6:53, 6:59, 7:04, 7:20, 7:11, 7:09, 6:40
Report – Wallsburg miles 1-7:  The first 7 miles of a marathon are just so much fun.  The emotional roller coaster begins and I was definitely on a high for this section.  I forgot to start my watch at the start of the race and ended up starting it about a minute in so all of my splits are off but I think my first mile was like a 6:28.  I was running with a pack of guys that were all gunning for 2:55.  Jacobs friend joined us shortly into the first mile (I cannot for the life of me remember his name) and ended up running with me until mile 7.  My feet started bothering me at mile 5, mile freaking 5, and after he left me I told him I would be shocked if I finished today.  Physically I felt great, heart rate was low, breathing was under control and I figured I’d at least try to make it to halfway point.

The 3 humps 7-13:  I passed Marcie right before the hills started and she informed me I was in 2nd.  Wow I honestly had no idea.  I noticed that Amber had went ahead but figured surely there was someone up there with her.  This was motivating and helped me hold it together during the hills.  Honestly the hills were not bad at all and I just focused on maintaining my effort.  The uphills felt good and controlled but the downhills that followed were just killing my feet (especially my left) and I tried to focus on relaxing, landing light, and trying to land on my midfoot instead of my toes.  I still had a lot of miles to go and this was not a good sign that I was in so much pain already.  I hit the half at 1:27:31 and was right on pace for 2:55.  Although I was on pace I could tell I had worked harder than I had hoped and feared the 2nd half may not be pretty.

JulieC bike miles 13-20:  I held it together pretty well until mile 15 and was excited to see my friend Francis at the mi 15 aid station.  Tara passed me at that mile looking incredibly strong.  Usually I have more fight in me but I just kind of let her go and this is when I realized I was struggling.  Fortunately JulieC rode with me during miles 15-17 and that helped a lot.  Those miles seemed hillier than normal?  I don’t know I was really falling apart already…crap!  Thankfully Julie entertained me with her stories and kept my mind off of the reality that the next hour of my life was going to be completely terrible.  I hit mile 19 at exactly 2:01 (on my watch that I started late so probably realistically 2:02) so despite feeling pretty craptastic I was miraculously still on pace for 2:55.  Cam met me at mile 18 and despite my feet I actually felt pretty good up until mile 20.

University death march 20-26.2:  Not really much to say….just the classic wheels coming off and trying to hold it together.  My sister road with me on the bike during these miles and Cam ran with me until mile 23.  I’m sure that was fun for them….not!  My parents were also at miles 21 and 23 and I made sure to high five them both times.  I was really struggling and that hill at mile 24 that I’ve ran at least a million times seemed to grow about a thousand feet overnight.  These 6 miles took a lot of mental strength and I just kept reminding myself that I could do anything for 6 miles.  I truly took it one mile, one street light, one aid station, one person in the crowd, one step at a time.  “one step at a time” would somehow ultimately propel me to the finish line.  By far the coolest thing about this marathon for me was the support I received that last .2 miles.  It was freaking awesome!  There were so many people chanting my name and screaming and hollering for me.  In my foggy blur I could not really recognize anyone but I could hear everyone cheering for me and it was so incredibly cool.  I crossed that finish line feeling so blessed, so thankful, and just so proud and happy.

The fact that I didn’t reach my goal didn’t really matter because I was reminded of how lucky I am just to be out doing this.  Honestly this marathon was one of the most emotional for me because I just had so much support and gosh it is just so cool.  If you would have asked me two weeks ago if I thought I could run UVM I probably would have said no way.  But being in that moment and knowing there were so many people out there supporting me is ultimately what kept me going.  A big huge thanks to JulieC, Cam, Lily, Jen, and most importantly my family.  I know it sounds so cheesy but I truly could not do any of this without such a great support system.

Aftermath:  My feet cramped up immediately after crossing the finish line…it was the weirdest thing ever.  I couldn’t stand for about an hour so I just laid on the grass and iced my feet.  I felt bad because there were so many people I wanted to talk to and thank but I just literally could not stand – it was pathetic!  I’m feeling better now but am really hoping to get this foot thing figured out so that I can run healthy again. 

An Update on Running

I feel compelled to visit my little corner of the internet today for a quick update.  The thing I love about blogging is that I am not forced to do it and yet I always know I have it to fall back on when I feel the urge to write, document, or journal my simple little life.  I know not many people read about my shenanigans but I do enjoy having a reference to come back to.  And to be completely honest sometimes it just feels nice to purge out my feelings and write.

 I’ve been running quite a bit and enjoying everything else that life has to offer.  I’ve ran a few decent races, met some incredible people, and even traveled to some pretty cool places.

Back in May I ran a half marathon PR of 1:20:51 at the Provo City half.  More importantly my sister ran her first post-baby 5k that day and she allowed me to share that experience with her.

In the middle of May I had the opportunity to travel to Rochester, MN and then to Fargo, ND to pace the Fargo half marathon.  Of course the trip revolved mostly around hanging out with my bestest friend Julia and sharing in her experience of a new marathon PR.  It was such an awesome and unforgettable trip!

 On Memorial Day I ran the traditional Run of Remembrance 10k with my sister and other running friends.  This is the third year I have participated in this event and I truly look forward to it every year.  This day was especially exciting because my sister ran her first 10k!  I honestly just could not be more proud of her.  She has truly committed to training and it absolutely just brings tears to my eyes to see her accomplish her goals, fall in love with running, work hard, and succeed.  This is what it is all about.  Running is all about pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, getting healthy, and finding happiness and balance in life.  Gosh I just freaking love it!

 And last weekend I traveled to Moab with a group of girls to pace the Thelma & Louise half marathon.  Such an incredible experience.  This all women race was just what I needed to remind me of why I run.  It was just awesome and I met so many inspiring people.

Life has been full lately.  Full of running, full of friends and family, full of trials and stress, full of happiness and joy.  Life is real, I am real.  Running is a part of my life yes.  But I am so much more than a runner and running is simply an ingredient that helps balance my life and make the perfect little Rachelle cookie!  Humor me if you will. 😉

Speaking of full, I am running a full marathon this weekend.  It has been pretty touch and go as to whether I would/should toe the line this Saturday at my favorite Utah Valley Marathon.  But as of right now, for better or for worse, I’m throwing myself into the fire and praying my feet don’t burn. 😉  Here is an insert from my training blog today of how I feel about Saturdays race: 

There are so many variables going into the marathon I am attempting to run Saturday.  My feet have pretty much plagued me on and off the entire year.  Enough so that I actually went to a Doctor for the first time since I was a kid.  I do not know if the cortisone shots will help and I won’t know until the race.  I’m not really willing to experiment until then.  My marathon build up has definitely not been perfect….are they ever?  But I know I am in great shape and can run well if my feet do not hold me back.  I might not be in ideal marathon shape but I’m fit nonetheless.  I am going into the race knowing there is a 50% chance I will DNF.  I am completely okay with that.  I have absolutely no desire to just run another marathon.  I want to race and if my body holds me back I’m out.  People might think I’m dumb (I admittedly probably am) for even toeing the starting line but it’s what I want to do and my heart is telling me to go for it and hold nothing back.  The feet situation is unfortunate but it is absolutely no excuse and I will go into the race with confidence and give it 110%.

I promised myself after Provo City half I wouldn’t even attempt to race Utah Valley Marathon if I didn’t get my feet figured out.  I ran Provo City Half well but fought through pretty intolerable foot pain for the last 5 miles.  I absolutely do not have my feet figured out but I do have two cortisone shots, a doctor, family, and maybe a few friends that still support my insanity.  Above all I’ve got my brother watching over me and a really big heart that feels compelled to take the risk. 

“The miracle isn’t that I finished, the miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

Deseret News Article: Running saved Payson woman after accident stole her borther’s life

To avoid my nonsense and skip straight to the News Article click here.

It caught me pretty off guard yesterday when Amy Donaldson with the Deseret News called me as I was lounging around my house still in my running clothes.  I had just finished running a lovely 7 miles along my typical loop on a crisp, cool, and very relaxing Sunday morning.  It was a good run – the birds were chirping, the weather was perfect, and it was quiet, tranquil almost.  It was one of those runs that really allowed me to think about Trevor and reflect.  It was a run I needed after a very difficult weekend.  My pace was leisurely and I even stopped to soak in the crisp air and take a picture of my surroundings. 

The weekend was very heavy emotionally for me and my family.  We laid my cousin Lieutenant Joshua Ryan Wall to rest.  It was a difficult day.  Josh was witty, intelligent, humble, and lived an amazing life of service for his country.  Many of his incredible qualities reminded me so much of my brother and it was an absolute honor to know Josh.  His funeral service was perfect and such an incredible tribute to the amazing life he lived and the impact he left on all of those who were lucky enough to know him.

With Saturday’s events still weighing heavily on my mind it felt so right and so natural to share my story with Amy when she called.  It is overwhelming and scary to open up about such personal details in my journey of overcoming my little brothers death.  It is difficult to relive and tell the story of those moments, days, weeks, that I lost him.  Those moments that I lost a part of me!  But never have I  felt so right about sharing my story and letting it go public.  When you are interviewed by a reporter over the phone and sharing an incredibly raw, candid, and personal story it is hard to know if the words are coming out correctly.  But Amy did a phenomenal job of portraying my story perfectly:  Running saved Payson woman after accident stole her brother’s life

I am really full of emotion as this story hits the local news shelves.  I barely slept a wink last night worried about how my words would come out on paper and if what I was saying would make sense and resonate with others.  Overwhelming feelings of anxiety, embarrassment and being undeserving of this type of publicity and recognition flooded me this morning.  However as I sit here typing now, still processing, and re-reading the article my worries have changed to triumph and thankfulness for the opportunity to share my story and to honor my brother’s legacy.  My brother Trevor was unique, creative, loving, and nurturing.  He was one of a kind and too perfect for this earth.  His struggles with mental illness were indescribably difficult but he never complained.  He lived his life with love and always put others before himself.

May I remember my brothers incredible example and continue to move forward and accomplish my goals in his honor.  One step, one breathe, one moment at a time.         


Vacations are not at all about where you go or what you do and see.

Vacations are all about whom you are with and what you make of your time together.  Memories do not cost anything to create.  Our little family vacation was so simple and full of all of the things I love most; family, love, and laughter!

A walk to the temple with my Mom and my Sister’s family to celebrate Easter morning…

Swinging and playing at the park with my entire family, everyone together…

Running in a new place and slowing down and soaking in my surroundings…

Bowling with my entire family all together…

Going to a little discovery museum and playing, seeing, running around exploring, and enjoying…

Playing in the toy aisle at target for hours…

Such a great reminder that the most important things in life are simply time spent together with the people you love most.  It has been a tough couple of weeks with the loss of loved ones in my family.  My oldest cousin, Lieutenant Joshua Wall of the United States Navy passing away completely unexpectedly and gone way too early.  My uncle Mark’s brother Gary passing away tragically at such a young age and leaving behind a young family.

May these tragedies serve as a reminder to hold on a little tighter to the ones that you love most and never pass up an opportunity to spend time with family and friends.  Kids do not need elaborate vacations, expensive toys, or the latest gadget.  Kids and adults alike need attention, love, and time. 

Every. Single. Step.

Life and running are not all about time, setting a new PR, reaching goals, or getting to the finish line first but about our experiences along the way.  Once you cross that finish line, complete that big work project, make that “x” amount of dollars you’ve been striving for, ect, that chapter of your life might temporarily close but the book doesn’t end and the journey continues.  We are always moving forward in life and running one step, one minute, one experience at a time.

Every single step counts and none of them should be taken for granted because there are experiences to be gained from every single step we take in life.  Every. single. step.

Last weekend I stepped off of a plane and into Phoenix Arizona and was greeted by some familiar smiling faces.

I had the coolest opportunity and experience a person could possibly ask for when I set foot into Arizona.  I was fortunate enough to share steps and run with Emz for 18 miles of the Phoenix Marathon and I am so incredibly grateful for every single step

Every single step I shared with this girl was special to me, every single step!  Some steps were easy, some steps were hard, a lot of steps were excruciatingly painful but she kept moving forward one single step at a time.  When the steps in life and running become hard, impossible even we have a choice to make.  We can throw our hands in the air or we can keep moving forward one step at a time.  Every single step we take in life is an experience and forward progress if we allow it to be, every single step!

Emz was told by a doctor not to run, she was dealing with an injury, she started cramping at mile 15, she had every single reason to quit, to give up, even to drop and never step across the finish line.  No not her, not this women!  Not once did she consider stopping or using her injury to justify quitting instead she moved forward one single step at a time.  She persevered through every single step and finished with a PR of 3:17 and 2nd place in her age group.  The fact that she finished 14th overall and in the top 5% of the marathon is cool but what stands out to me is the way she fought for every single step.  What an incredibly strong women and what a great life lesson to be gained from her example.

I am thankful.  I am thankful for the opportunity I had to share this incredible experience with Emz and to share those steps with her.  To see and to feel her determination, her heart, her grit, her will to fight for every single step.  It was inspiring.  I am thankful for her for allowing me to share these steps with her.  For sharing her life with me, her home with me, her family with me.  Again grateful for the experiences running continues to bring to my life.

What a great reminder to me to embrace all the steps in life.  There will be easy steps and there will always be hard steps.  It is not how we handle the easy steps in life but how we react to the hard steps that truly matters. We choose how we embrace and learn from the hard steps in life and  no matter what we must remember to keep moving forward and never take any of the steps for granted.  Life is a continuation not a destination and it is overcoming the hardest steps in life that define our character.

Make the most of every. single. step.

If you are reading I would like to ask you an important question.  I am not sure who reads these shenanigans (Mom and sister I know you do) but if you are out there please respond.  I am speaking and presenting about healthy living at a women’s conference next weekend and am wondering if you were attending what would you be most interested in hearing from me?

Running Connections

When I first started running I ran out of anger.  I was angry that I had lost my brother.  His sudden death did not seem fair, I did not understand and I missed him.  I was angry, and so I ran. 

Running was my punishment.  Trevor was at my house the night of his accident, he was driving my car when he crashed, he died while under my watch.  I had a lot of guilt and so I ran harder and faster to ease the pain.  Running connected me to Trevor, it was a way of purging my emotional pain into physical pain.  It was a release from reality, a time to be with my brother with no distractions, a time to reflect.  It helped me cope.  Running was always there for me, it was consistent, it did not criticize or judge me.  Running saved me.

What I did not realize when I started running is the connections I would make with others through this simple shared passion.  Running will forever connect me to my brother but running has also connected me to so many amazing people along the way.  My trip to Arizona for the IMS Arizona Half marathon was such a great reminder of the people I have been blessed to meet through running.  So many magical moments happened on that trip that I will never forget and it was such a great testifier of faith and confirmation to me that everything happens for a reason.

Running connected me to a women named Jill on my flight out to Phoenix.  We were placed next to each other on the airplane and we shared running in common.  Jill and I ended up talking the entire 90 minute flight and I know we would have talked for hours if we would have had more time.  Our connection started with running but Jill and I shared so much more in common, and the casual conversation became so much deeper.  We had very similar stories of how we started running.  She had suffered the loss of two brothers and pointed something out to me about my brothers death that I had never thought about or fully processed.  It was something I absolutely needed to hear, it was magical, it was so very inspired and being placed next to Jill on that flight was so meant to be.

Running connected me to my good friend Heather who picked me up at the airport, let me stay at her home, and showed me around Phoenix.  Heather is a special person, one of my very best friends, and we connected through running.

Running connected me to Heather’s friend Nikki and her adorable family.  Through this shared passion of running Nikki and I hit it off instantly when we ran Napa Valley Ragnar together.  It was so fun to meet her new daughter, reconnect with her and go to dinner with her family the night before the race.

Running connected me to Emz.  This girl is simply amazing and words cannot even begin to describe how much I admire her.  I have always loved her blog but meeting her in person and having her cheer for me at the race was indescribable.  Another connection made through running that was 100% meant to be.

Running connected me to Michael and Jim.  Two people whose running journey’s I’ve been following for over two years now and have always wanted to connect with in person.  They are both so inspirational to me and truly even more amazing people in person.  It was running that connected us and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to meet them.

As I reflect on my trip to Arizona I of course go back to that euphoric feeling of crossing the finish line and setting a huge half marathon PR.  Revelling in that magical moment was everything I ever dreamed it could be and I never want to forget it or take it for granted.  But what also stands out in my mind are the connections I made. 
I started running as a way to connect with my brother and through time it has connected me to so many incredible people who I would never have the opportunity to know if I wouldn’t have taken that first step.

Running has saved me!

IMS Arizona Half Marathon Race Recap

Spoiler Alert:  Pretty big half marathon PR for me on an honest course.  I finished in 1:21:54 which was good enough for 3rd place female and 9th finisher overall.
I am going to basically copy this recap straight from my running blog in order to save me from repeating myself.  It was a really great day for me in Arizona on Sunday and above all I walk away from the experience feeling incredibly blessed and very thankful.  Thankful that I have a body that allows me to run.  Thankful that I have such an incredible support system.  Thankful that so many people believe in me.  Thankful that Ibelieve in me.  Thankful that new and exciting opportunities lie ahead.  Thankful! 

I never want to take running for granted and I always want to remember why I started running.  Setting new PR’s, getting faster, and achieving success is fun and exciting but running is so much more to me and I never want to forget that.  Now onto the recap.

I am still processing this race and trying to wrap my head around the idea that it actually happened. It’s still a little surreal to me but let’s get to the details.

Background: I signed up for this race in July because I saw a deal on fb for $40 for the full marathon. I called my friend Heather that lives in Phoenix to see if she was on board. She was and so I signed up and decided it would be the perfect time of year to get out of Utah. I didn’t know much about the course or the race besides the fact it was a total no frills race and it was in Feb in AZ. I switched to the half marathon (smart decision) in January after battling some injuries after TOU.

Pre-race: I wanted to PR (1:28 on a flat course) but I also felt I was capable of 1:25 so that was the goal. My training had been different (more laid back) gearing up for this race than ever before but I knew I had worked hard and I felt ready.

Nutrition: Mostly noting this for myself for future reference. 3/4 plain bagel & a banana pre-race (55 grams carbs?), 20 ounces of Gatorade & 16 ounces of water. Gatorade at every aid station except the first and last (maybe 1oz total in my mouth at each station…plenty on the face) and a gel at mile 7.5. Oh and the 5-hour energy 10 min before the start!

Splits: 6:22 (slowest mile), 6:13, 6:11, 6:11, 6:14, 6:10, 6:11, 6:14, 6:20, 6:09, 6:16, 6:16, 6:12, 5:38 (50 seconds).

Elevation: 186 loss / 48 gain

Report: 1.8 mile warm-up with a few strides before wishing my friend Heather good luck and lining up at the start. There were a few girls that looked fast and a couple of people talking about going for sub-1:20. I was wondering what in the heck I was getting myself into but managed to stay incredibly calm. Staying calm is critically important to performing well in my opinion. I had looked at the course map a few times and some people I met on the bus ride up told me there was a hill at mile 7 and 12.5. I decided before the race I would run on effort and did not calculate goal splits. The race started and I managed to hang back and let people go. Little did I know that my first mile would be my slowest of the entire race! I started as 5th place female and eased into a comfortably hard pace. The first mile felt awkward and hard and it took me 3 miles to find a grove and feel like I was in control and not forcing my body. I was in 3rd place by mile 2. The weather for the race was perfect but there was an 8mph headwind that was annoying. It was not a big deal but just enough to be annoying. At mile 3 I caught up to a tall guy with bright pink socks (Steve) and did my best to draft off of him. I hit the 5k in a little over 19 min and decided at that point to not hold anything back. I was not really following my plan of 6:25 minute miles and realized I was risking blowing up but I wanted to take the risk. Why not? So I just went for it and continued to run off of effort. I hit the 10k in 39 minutes still tucked right behind pink socks friend. The effort was starting to get to me and I contemplated slowing down. As we came into an aid station and I caught back up to pink socks friend he mentioned that the female Arizona Ironman Champion was not too far ahead and then said “how cool would it be to catch her”. Although I never actually saw her and had no idea how far ahead she was those words sparked some sort of fire in me and gave me just the boost I needed to fight and keep pushing the pace. Runners were very few and far between and besides me and pink socks friend Steve there was only one runner I could see ahead. We finally managed to catch white shirt guy at mile 9 and after seeing his back for 9 miles I was so excited to reel him in. He was very supportive and would end up working with me until the finish. The effort was getting harder but my splits were coming in consistently and I just continued to work as hard as I could. I hit mile 10 at 1:02:30 and thought about slowing down and just running a 5k in 22 minutes and still reaching my goal of 1:25 (moment of weakness). Or I could really see how tough I was and run a sub-20 last 5k! I wanted to see what I was capable of and I really fought for every step that last 5k. I had caught white shirt guy and stayed in between him and pink socks dude. Having these two to work with was incredible helpful. This was a small race with very little crowd support. My feet started bothering me at mile 11 and my calves were screaming at me but it felt good! This is what I work my butt off for; I train for these moments of complete pain when you are pushing yourself so far outside of what you ever thought you were capable of. This is what it is all about. I managed to stay focused and ran with my heart. I kept repeating in my head and out loud (poor white shirt guy) “run with your heart” “run with your heart”. The little hill at mile 12.5 was not too bad (freeway overpass) and I powered up it and then flew into the finish with the biggest smile on my face. My friend Emily was cheering at the mile 13 mile marker and since my family wasn’t at the race it was so great to see a familiar face. I was beaming from ear to ear as I crossed the finish line and was so incredibly happy!

After talking to the first & second place girls and my friend Emily I jogged back to mile 12.5 to run my friend Heather in. 1.2 mile cool down.

Post-Race thoughts: Still processing a lot of this. I feel disappointed when people ask if I won and I have to respond that no I didn’t win but I did run really well. Hard to explain to non-runners that winning was not the goal. I am so incredibly happy with the way I ran and at the end of the day I am only out there competing against myself. By far the coolest thing about it all is that I paced 6:15 for the race which is the Olympic Trials Qualifying pace. I want to keep working hard and make that dream a reality!

The race was perfect and everything I dreamed it could be but the trip to Phoenix was memorable for so many reasons more important than the race.  So many magical things happened and it is so crazy how people fall into your life for a reason.  I now this to be true and I cannot wait to post more about the trip in the next few days. 

Thanks for reading my shenanigans!