Monday, June 30, 2014

Lacking Patience

I have never had patience, even as a kid I could never sit quietly and wait. If I knew something was being planned or coming up, I simply could not wait. That still holds true today! I guess you could say it's my krytonite. I can see why Superman hated it so much. It sucks. ;)

Today I should be starting Week 2 of my marathon training. But instead I haven't ran in 4 weeks since I had my ankle sprain in May. I'm over it! Completely O-V-E-R IT!!! I tried last week just to see if I could go and nope! I felt a pulling on the inside of my ankle and the more I tried to go the more it hurt. I still haven't ran the virtual 10k from Chaz's race! To say I miss running is an understament.

I miss having sweat stinging my eyes, or trying to get in a few more miles before calling it a day. I miss the long runs and having to get up at 4:30am on my day off to beat the heat that will be rolling in that day. I miss seeing the sunrise and thinking to myself how lucky am I to see this. I miss yelling at drivers who don't see us, knowing they can totally hear every word I say as they drive on down the road. ;) I miss setting out water before the start of long runs and hoping no one steals it. I miss my running buddies and all the laughs we share along the way. I miss GU, I even have some of the new flavors and I have yet to try them. I miss hill repeats (did I really just say that?!). I miss the sprints. I miss having that one power song on and it pushing me to run the last mile or that huge hill and still keep going. And I miss being the runner that other people saw while driving. I miss scheduling my weekend around long runs just so I can get it finished. I miss two-a-days.  I miss accidently cranking out a long run by accident and still feel like I could have done more. And I miss the crazy tan lines from compression socks or racerback shirts. I just miss it all.

I have races to be training for and I feel like I will not be prepared for any of them. I am basically starting over from scratch. I have the Women's Half Marathon on September 27 and The Middle Half on October 11. And my biggest race of the year, the Marine Corps Marathon on October 26. This will be my first marathon and I have such a goal with it. Yet, I feel like I will not make that goal. Much less be prepared for tany of those races. I am trying to keep up with the cross training, focusing mainly on upper body and keeping the legs to a minimal. Especially since I am not sure the extent of the injury just yet. But it's hard, very hard. Fingers crossed maybe I'll need just a few more weeks off and then I can start back running with no issues. And come back even stronger than before.

Here's to trying to be patient a little longer..................

Friday, June 13, 2014

Chasing Chaz

Where do I even begin with this blog post?!?! There is so much to say and I have no clue where to even begin. I've had this post started for awhile and I keep coming back to it a little each day. I guess I should start with who Chaz please bear with me as this might be a long one. ;)

I met Chaz in 2010 when his wife (and one of my childhood friends), Jessica asked me to come photograph her family before Chaz deployed off to the "sandbox". I was so excited to see her again that I didn't even care that it was over a 2 hour drive to get to their home in Clarksville. I honestly had no idea it was so far away until someone pointed out "you are at exit 111 and you are going to exit 1" did it put it in real time how far it was. I was so honored to come out and photograph them and give my thanks to Chaz for his service that I didn't even care if it was 2 hours away. When I arrived at their house, Chaz was (you guessed it) playing his game on his computer. And I'll admit, first meeting him I was kinda intimated just a smidge. ;) But that quickly went away. We were suppose to go to a park for their session, but Chaz wanted to chill at home so we did them in the back yard.  Here are a few shots from that day...(please excuse the editing, this was when I first started).

As you can see Chaz hasn't changed a bit since his injury. Really, he hasn't. I've been asked many times if he has changed any since his injury and every time I tell them "no, he still has the same attitude that he did when I first met him. He is hilarious to be around." 

Soon after our session, Chaz shipped out to the sandbox and then on January 22, 2011 he made one step that changed their world. I remember the day when I saw Jessica's Facebook post saying he was injured and for everyone not to call just keep praying for him. I had no idea what to do or say. I could only think back to our session and prayed everything would be alright. I remember shooting her a text saying if she needs me to call and that she didn't need to respond to my message. Soon he would be stateside and rocking his way in rehab. I offered to help Jess in any way that I could, whatever she needed. Soon, she was posting daily updates on Chaz's progress and receiving so many new friend requests that I suggested making a Facebook page. This way the guys in his unit, who were still overseas could be updated whenever they could get access to the internet. And so...Team Allen began. (If you haven't checked them out yet, you can do so HERE). 

Now, lets fast forward a bit..Since Ray and I have been on this journey with them we see first hand what Chaz goes through. We've seen him scoot up the stairs, fall down and this is just to name a few. We tend to fight right along with them on the things Chaz needs. Like a home fitted for his needs. We "leg walkers" really have it made. We can go up steps, move around really not even thinking about it. Can you imagine scooting on your hiney every day just to reach your bedroom?! Or even not be able to use your right arm to his full capabilities?! I've always said that anyone who wants to help our wounded should first put themselves in their "shoes". Literally, no use of your legs. And then, just maybe you'll grasp their need a little more. 

I am a runner. It's what I do. Our wounded heroes is my motivation to keep running, to keep pushing my limits. Seeing them learn to walk all over again is such a push to make you want to run. I got to witness Chaz "grow" and it was the best experience I have yet to witness. We really take the smallest things for granted. I wanted to do a race to help in raising funds to help our hero with his home he needs. Now, I have never directed a race much less two courses at the same time before and man it is a lot to do. I got frustrated often and had one person to tell me that I am so passionate about this, that I want it to be perfect. And yes, that was true. The Allen's are pretty special to us and not only to us but to everyone else who has met them. So for this race, I wanted something longer than a 5k because Chaz wanted to ride his bike. But 5ks are so popular, so I decided to do both. And since so many follow their journey, I added in a virtual run. We even had a guy, David from Team Overwatch to sign up and tell us he was going to run the 10k in a bomb suit!!!!! He even rallied a few more runners even sponsoring four enteries and raised $773 for the Allen's.   

On race day, we had 126 runners to attend the race! The total from both attending and the virtual runners was 181. My mind is still blown by that number...181. This is my first time ever doing a race and I never imagined having that many. The total funds raised so far are $7,005!!! I say so far, because funds still keep rolling in from the race. I am so excited about this. I got teary eyed the day I closed the account out and took the check to their bank. (I was even scared to death that I would lose the check in the 10 miles). People are just simply amazing. Thank you again to everyone who came out to support our friends. I would like to thank our sponsors for their help. Ben Lomand Connect, Vanessa's Place, Scott's Portable Toliets, Fastenal, Security Federal Savings Bank, Dr. Pepper, The Cumberland Clinic of Chiropractic, Regions, Barrett's, Kidd Ford, Miller Photography, Denise Lobodinski, It Works with Mandie Muller and Sox Box. Our awesome volunteers, Ft. Campbell, National Guard, the City of McMinnville, Patriot Guard Riders, McMinnville Police Dept, Kelly Walker and Bryan Denton. And especially thank you to our friends Franz and Shannon Walkup for driving in from Maryland so Franz could bike the race with Chaz. Franz is also a wounded hero from Woodbury and it was such an honor to finally meet them. 

The race did have a few hiccups and a few not so nice comments overheard. I know where the issues were and those will be corrected for next year. And as for the comments, well....I won't lie, it did hurt my feelings when I was told them. But then Jessica said something to me that made me realize those comments meant nothing. She said "the only opinion that matters is Chaz's because the was about and for him!" I realized that person ran the race for the wrong reason. And that's ok. Sometimes people tend to have tunnel vision and miss out on what is most important. We are all guilty of that at times. 

Thanks again to Miller Photography for their shooting skills. And a very special thank you to Superior Walls for the use of their America Flag. The flag the runners ran under carries alot of history. It belonged to a POW from WWII. And now for some of my fav shots... 

David running the virtual 10k

I can not express my thanks enough for everyone that came out and continue to support this hero and his family. Thank you!!