Running for Anna

On December 12, 2010 our family was devastated by the loss of my niece, Anna Rogotzke, on her fourth birthday, to a rare cancer called Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. On December 4, 2011, I ran in the California International Marathon to raise money for the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative, a leader in the fight against sarcomas. This blog is created to update those interested in my journey and progress as I train for this event and events thereafter.

....And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Running Partner

Three words I never thought I'd write ... "my running partner".  Running is my "me time", my "alone time", my "nobody call me or text me unless it's a dire emergency time".  My favorite time to run is at 4:30 a.m. before everyone else wakes up and the world is still quiet.  I can think, I can pray, I can plan the day and run away my worries. 

That all changed a few months ago when my son said he wanted me to help him train for a 1/2 marathon.  Of course, I couldn't refuse him but, as I've written before, I worried about giving up that solo morning run for a late afternoon run with another person. 

It didn't take long before I realized the advantages of having someone else to hold you accountable, to push you, to encourage you.  Together, we ran through snow storms, freezing fog, warm sunshine, and rain.  We ran 4-milers that felt like death and 10-milers that felt like magic.  I've watched my son progress from struggling to finish 2 miles to running 12 miles with relative ease.  I've watched myself actually becoming faster (wait... what?) to the point where I'm actually hoping to PR this race instead of just finish.  No doubt, a little part of this is due to the little competitive voice in me that still doesn't want to be beat by my child.   Some runs were completely without conversation.  Most, though, included talks about classes, friends, homework, and other "stuff" that probably would have been left unsaid had we not been spending this time together. 

Life still continued.  My "running partner" got his driver's license (yikes!).  We celebrated  Thanksgiving, Christmas, and my husband's birthday.  Through it all we ran. 

It will all culminate this Sunday when we run the Davis Stampede Half Marathon in Davis, CA.  I am so excited to run this race!  I can't wait to see how well my "running partner" does. 

Of course, just when I'm getting used to and enjoying running with somebody else, he's already talking about running another half-marathon and maybe training on his own in order to get a faster time (sigh).  I'm sure that, soon, I will be back running alone in the early morning hours.  But, I will always remember this time ... the one time I allowed for a "running partner". 

 Pictures from the "freezing fog" run.... yes, it froze even to our hair. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Two Things That Make Me Happy Today

My son's first 10-mile run ever!

A trip to the Under Armour outlet store in Vacaville, CA yesterday

Hopefully, I can add a third tonight with a Packers win over the Vikings in the playoffs.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

As We Begin 2013 ...

I don't consider myself a "New Year's" person.  I get the desire to want to "start fresh"...become a "better person"...resolve to be "perfect".  But, the fact of the matter is our past never completely goes away.  It has made us who we are...sometimes for the better, sometimes not.  Have we made mistakes?  Absolutely!  Do we have regrets?  Unless you are super human, I would imagine all of us have something we would have done differently given a second chance.  However, the person I am today is the sum of all my experiences - good and bad.  I can look back and see that God has led me through the happy times and has used the sad / hard times to develop strength and character I may not have had. 

So, while I don't fault people for making resolutions at the beginning of the year, I realize that I'm the type of person who needs more short-term goals.  Just about every morning and evening, I need to pray for God's help to be a better mother, a better wife, a better friend, a better employee, ... I could go on and on.  I fall short every single day, so a general resolution that should last all year won't do me much good. 

The end of 2012 was kind of tough for me.  My sister said that December probably won't ever be the same for her again.  We celebrated Anna's 2nd birthday in heaven on December 12th (what would have been her 6th birthday here on earth).  I don't think any of us who experienced that day in 2010 will ever view December the same way.  While we rejoice in the birth of our Savior and the promise that it brings, we also remember that the pathway to that promise is often difficult and heart-breaking.  Whether it be a child succumbing to cancer or a gunman entering an elementary school and taking the lives of innocent kindergarteners, we come to realize that God's plans are not ours.  We, by ourselves, cannot comprehend why these things have to be.

As with all tragedies, I hear people ask, "Where is God?".  Or, they just give up on their faith because a loving God couldn't possibly allow these things to happen.  I find that I just have to cling to Him all the more tightly.  I will never understand His ways this side of heaven.  But, I do know He is in control of all.  I do know He is the only one I can turn to and that, without His loving comfort, I would be completely lost. 

On to lighter things ...

My running is going pretty well.  My son continues to train with me for his first half-marathon.  We've had a few interruptions (sickness, travel, etc.), but we're right on track to complete the Davis Stampede Half Marathon on February 3 in Davis, CA.  At some point, I realized this was also Super Bowl Sunday and couldn't believe I scheduled a race on that day.  However, we should be done in plenty of time to get home and watch the game.  If the Packers somehow manage to be in it, we WILL be home in time.

Some memories from the latter part of 2012:

The following pictures are from Thanksgiving weekend.

Our annual Christmas tree hunt in the mountains

Grand-nephew Noah

Grand-nephew Carter

 The next pictures are from none other than Lambeau Field.  My brother texted me one Friday and said he had an extra ticket to the Packers/Lions game.  I got on the Internet and found a semi-reasonable plane ticket to Chicago the FOLLOWING DAY (I live 2000 miles away from Green Bay, after all).  It was AWESOME!  I'm still not sure if my brother was seriously inviting me with his text, but wave a Packers ticket in front of me and watch out!  Ended up going with my dad and three of my brothers.  Was treated to a classic division game - in the snow - on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.  No better way to spend a Sunday evening. 

My son participated in a "We the People" constitutional law competition on December 15th.  He and his team did great! 

And, of course, Christmas...

I never thought I'd be excited about a kitchen appliance, but LOVE this!

Me and my best friend (since 5th grade)

My husband's gift... like the gift wrap?  (This is what I had to bribe him with in order to go to the Packer game)