Sunday, February 27, 2011

In the Spot Light is Sally

Meet Sally from California, she's beautiful inside and out...

I'm a mother, wife, volunteer, coach, swim instructor, college graduate, and domestic engineer to name a few of my titles. But, when I wake up in the morning, I'm a runner. I run because I can. I run because I love it and I guess I have always loved running. I took a break during college to focus on my studies and after I completed college I still only got back to dabbling with my running so I could stay fit. It all started when I was 8. Oh, it seems so long ago now, but I don't feel my age and refuse to act my age. My mom and dad hired me a coach. I say that loosely because back in 1976 there weren't many running groups and around and my first 5K was over 2 hours from our house. My coach had one other runner and the three of us went running a few times a week. I also ran with my dad when he had time. My dad started running because his brother was on the cross country team and he wanted to follow in his brother's footsteps. Well I wanted to follow in my father's because girls love their father's and I'm the leader of that group. So I ran with my coach. I played soccer as well, but the ball coming at me scared me so I only played a few years. I swam competitively as a child, but now I know why that didn't last either. It's hard to talk with your friends when your face is in the water and your sucking in as much air as you can when your mouth is out of the water. Plus, the water was cold! In junior high my cross P.E. teacher said I was a good runner and asked me if I wanted to come try out for the Cross Country team at our high school. He was the head coach and I said "yes" I ran Varsity Cross Country all four years in high school. I wasn't the fastest on the team, but that didn't matter. I was taking care of my body and I was having FUN! It was fun to run and have a social life at the same time. What a concept. These other athletes in other sports didn't know what they were missing. I'd chat with my friends, run, stretch, and chat with my friends some more. It was AWESOME!

In 1993 my father decided he was going to run his 2nd and final marathon. The L.A. Marathon was local and he figured he should do it as his final hooray. I mean the bucket list was complete complete so this was just icing on the cake. He trained and trained and the day of the race I came to watch him. Well, watching wasn't too much fun so my brother and I decided to run the race back towards my dad so we could go find him. We ran about 2 miles and then ended up running the final 2 miles back with him. When we found him he didn't look so good and he had blood oozing out of one shoe from a blister that had developed on one of his feet. However, I was amazed at the experience. I couldn't believe the people that were running beside him. I mean how could an old lady be beating my 48 years young dad? How could a fat man be beating my fit 48 year dad? It just didn't make sense to me. I was amazed, confused, and motivated to discover the secret. Before we left the race I told my dad, "Hey, dad if you want to do this again next year, I'll do it with you." What could he say? He'd been a runner since he was in his teens. He was a lifelong runner and his oldest daughter wanted to run a marathon with him. Being the good father that he is he said, "yes." I know now since he hadn't recovered from the pain of that marathon that he really didn't want to, but what's better than doing something that you love with your children? Nothing!

We trained together almost every weekend. It was great! My fiance', Chris, would come with me to Riverside and he'd hang out with my mom and dad and I would run. We'd stop for Michael Jordan's favorite Gatorade at the local 7 elevens as a treat along the way and enjoy each other's company. It was fabulous and at the time I didn't realize how important it really was because I didn't have any children of my own. We completed the 1994 L.A. Marathon. We ran, walked, complained, and had a ton of fun that day as we crossed the finish line together hand in hand.

Chris and I got married in 1995 and started our careers and saving for a house. Dad and I ran the Palos Verdes Marathon in 1997. He pulled me though that one and motivated me like I'd motivated him back at L.A. We are a great marathoning team! Then Chris and I stared having kids in 1998. I wanted to say that my kids were marathoners so dad and I walked/ran the L.A. Marathon in March of 1998. Dad is a doctor so he was concerned for his first born grandchild. We monitored my heart rate to make sure my baby was okay along the way. On July 8, 1998 my first daughter, Delaney, was born. I love that girl, but I tell you I was hungry when I was carrying her and I gained 45 lbs. I couldn't think of a better way to lose the weight than to rain for a marathon. So dad and I stared training again. We couldn't train together much, but we were together for the races. We ran my 4th and his 5th marathon in January 1999 at the Walk Disney World Marathon. We wanted the Mickey Mouse ears medal and were willing to go anywhere and make a family vacation out of it. As a bonus, my weight came off and I was back to running. As a double bonus, my husband, Chris, who said he didn't run when we started dating, now wanted to run a marathon.

Now it's 2001 and I've had 3 children and I've run/walked a marathon when I was pregnant with each of them because I figure what you do for one, you've got to do for all of them. I've also run 3 marathons after having my children so I could lose the weight that I gained with all of them. I ended up gaining 45 pounds, 45 pounds, and 50 pounds with each child. Wow those kids made me hungry and not even exercising through my pregnancy could keep the weight off. I've got 3 kids and when the youngest was born my oldest was 2 years and 10 months old. It was time that I retired from corporate America and begin a job that I never thought (though now I know differently) made a difference. My mom was a stay at home mom and I wondered why she didn't work like many of my Friend's mom's. She was always tired because she was doing everything for us 4 kids....making breakfast, lunch, dinner, running the carpools, helping with homework, etc. I thought she had the easy life, but what she was really doing was giving us her all so that we would be prepared for the real world. My mother is awesome and is always there for me and my family. I love her and aspire to be like her every day.

After I'd retired and was busy with 3 young kids I knew I needed something for me. I didn't want to lose my own identity because I became a mom. I wanted to be a great mom, but being a mom wasn't enough for me. So I ran. I ran for me because when I'm running I can organize my day. I can solve problems. I can come up with great ideas. I can be myself and not worry about anyone else. I also figured out that in life we need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of others. This is my simple philosophy on life. Investment advisors tell us to take money out of our paychecks for our retirement first. Then pay our bills with the money we have left. Anything leftover is for play. I say take care of yourself first and then you can take care of everyone else. So, 99% of the mornings,I get up and run first. Then I come home and get the kids ready for school and start switching hats for all of the jobs I do during the day.

Delaney was in 1st grade in 2004 and I'd been taking care of myself and my family, but that wasn't enough. I loved running and I wanted to inspire the generation to run. I talked to the school principal and asked her if I could start a running club at our school for anyone who wanted to join. She liked the idea, but said I needed to get insurance. Well, I couldn't afford insurance as I was a stay at home mom and we'd taken a big cut when I quit working, I was so disappointed.

In 2005 I approached our school's PTA and told them about my idea to start a marathon club at the school. I'd invite all of our students (k-5) and we'd run a marathon the healthy way for kids this age. We'd run two times per week and we'd add up all of the miles that e ran until we hit 26.2 miles. When I say run, I don't mean go out and just run. We'd make up names for runs like the gorilla run and while we ran 100 yards we'd make monkey noises and raise our arms like a monkey. We'd make up all sorts of fun runs. We'd do relay races, amazing race runs, and destination runs, just to name a few. We'd make it fun for these young athletes. We'd then go to the OC Marathon and run our final mile. All of the kids would get a marathon medal and they'd all become marathoners. They'd feel like superstars, which of course they would be and I'd be a volunteer. They accepted me! Since it was a school wide function and sponsored by the PTA I was able to use the PTA's insurance. Yeah! Our marathon club has just finished our 6th season. I've had over 800 students complete a marathon during this time and I love every minute of it. Along the way I've inspired many people to run a marathon and take care of themselves. Many families of these kids at Barcelona Hills Elementary School now do more to keep themselves physically fit. I try to inspire everyone I can to take care of themselves.

Two years ago my son, Nick who was tired of being a swimmer (something about the water being too cold...yeah, I remember) decided he wanted to try a new running club in the area. Nick joined Saddleback Running Club and he loved it. Saddleback Running Club is a club for kids in grades 3rd -8th. Wow! My son loves to run. So cool. Pretty soon they realized that I might know a thing or two and they needed a female coach. They asked me and I've been the girls head coach for almost 2 years. The awesome thing about our club is ALL of these kids love to run. Running really isn't that fun if you don't like it and not a lot of people like it. These kids love it. I love coaching these kids. They want to be out there running and they want to learn, grow, and mature. My daughter Delaney started with the club in September of 2010. After a meet at world famous Mt. Sac she said to me. "Mom, I love running." Wow, a dream come true. Two of my kids love running.

I have to go back a few years now because I'm also a daughter and I'd been having so much fun running marathons with my dad. Dad and I ran the San Francisco Marathon in 2004. We met a man during the race who was wearing a 50 States Marathon Club t-shirt. The man looked to be dad's age and he'd run a marathon in all 50 states. Wow! We thought that was pretty cool, but had no desire to do anything crazy like that. Two years later we'd run a few more marathons and had figured out that you could make family vacations out of these marathons. So mom, dad, Chris, Delaney, Nick, Maddy and I all went to Maui for the Maui marathon and a family vacation in 2006. Before the race started I saw the same man that I'd spoken to years ago at the San Francisco Marathon. I went up and introduced myself to him and he said he remembered me, but he's nice like that and I don't really think he did. His name is Larry Macon and he's phenomenal athlete. He's a few months older than my dad. Thinking back, I think it was probably Larry's fault or should I say Larry's good nature that led us to where we are today. I told dad that we should run a marathon in all 50 states. He thought about it and agreed. Now, dad and I travel the country together running marathons and creating memories. We run with a camera and I'm constantly slowing him down with all of the picture taking. He complains about me, but we have a great time. Then, in 2008, while standing in line to buy my Boston Marathon jacket,I met a nice guy and we started talking about marathons. He spoke about his group and how he'd volunteered here at the Boston Marathon in the past. I asked him what group he was in. He said Marathon Maniacs. Now I'd heard of them and I'd seen them,but I didn't really know them. Then he tells me he's Maniac #2, Chris (Hollywood). I was so excited. I knew then that dad and I had to be Maniacs. We were already qualified, but we just needed to sign up. Later at the expo I ran into Hollywood again and now he was with the other two wise men. I got my picture taken with them and flew home to sign up. I'm maniac #1463 and dad is #1463. We love the maniacs. These people aren't really crazy, they just like to run and have fun and so do we. We've met a lot of nice maniacs and people along our marathon journey. We've completed marathons in 31 states so far and we're loving every step of it. We plan to complete the states by 2014. Then dad, who will be way over 100 marathons, will patiently wait for his oldest granddaughter to become 18 so the three of us can ran a marathon together. Who knows what the future will hold, but we're having a great time. What started out as my dad completing his second marathon ended up as changing my life and so many other people's live. Thank you dad!

There are so many people that I need to thank for my running. Top of the list along side my dad is my mom and husband. Chris is very supportive of my goals and desires. He is always encouraging me and right there beside me to support whatever crazy idea I can dream up. When I said I wanted to run 40 miles for my 40th birthday he said, "Great, what day are you gong to do it." When I told him that I wanted to become a streaker (someone who runs at least a mile every day and doesn't take any days off)he supported me. He even cares enough that he reminds me on the 1% of the days that I don't run first thing in the morning to get out and run my mile. He knows I'd be disappointed if my streak ended. He is the best husband and father and I love him dearly. My mother is also there supporting us. She complains a little about what dad is doing to his body by being 65 and still running marathons, but she knows he's got the marathon bug and she lets us go run our races. She often comes and helps Chris with our children if we have a crazy sports weekend for them. She also flew our with us for our first double marathon (a marathon on Saturday and another one on Sunday) in Mississippi and Alabama so she could drive us back and forth to the states. She didn't want us being too tired to drive and getting in an accident.

My children are now 12, 11, and 9 years old. They are all currently doing 2 ports and are busy in National Charity League and Boy Scouts. My current goal in life is to help them become the best young people they can be and keep them busy with sports, social activities, and volunteering. School comes first and grades are very important in our house. I have great hopes for them in their future and I hope running and swimming (Maddy is my swimmer) are always apart of their lives. I want them to be healthy so they can be here for their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. That's my goal as well. along the way I hope to inspire many people to take care of their bodies and exercise. I lead by the only example I getting up every day at 4:30am and being a runner.

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