Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In the Spotlight with Edwin

Meet Edwin
My name is Edwin Palencia and I only have one thing to say "Running has changed my life forever".
I was once 220 pounds unhealthy and not enjoying my life to its fullest.  

I'm a happily married Christian with four beautiful children and my family is the love of my life.  I work as a driver from Monday through Friday and when I finish work I always make time to run.

I train with my running group Team Lightning Runners.

I enjoy running with my friends and I wanna thank God for letting me enjoy these moments with these friends that I love like brothers.  I forever enjoy these moments to give me energy to live forever.

Running isn't just a sport for me it is more of a passion.  I run at least 60 miles a week and I've been running for 15 years.  Running has kept me healthy and energetic.  This life style of mine has inspired many of my friends and family to do the same.  Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly, you are doing the impossible.

"I plan on running for the rest of my life.  Being a runner is my life"

Thursday, November 6, 2014

In the Spotlight with Young & Cute Rachel

Meet Rachel

I was the girl who despised the “mile” run in Juinior high and some of high school. I was gasping within minutes, although I was quite fit. Doctors blew it off as exercise-induce asthma and gave me an inhaler; it didn’t help. After years of frustration, I was correctly diagnosed, I had vocal chord dysfunction. For part of my therapy, I also began doing what I once feared, running. I remember calling my dad, in tears, the first time I ran a mile straight. I heard about a 15k run in Coronado, and knew I had to try. I came in 10th to last out of over 1,000 people, but I am positive I had one of the biggest smiles crossing the finish line.

I continued running. It became spiritual, my time with God, myself, and nature. In January 2006, while I was running the Rock n’ Roll half marathon, my vocal chords closed at mile 4. I nearly passed out, and an ambulance came. My dad met up with me to give me a hug and encouragement. I pressed on and finished. At the age of 16, I ran the Rock n’ Roll marathon in 4:57. Months after, I ran the Women’s Nike marathon with my mom ( her first marathon). After marathoning for a year, I decided give something new a try; triathlons. After hearing about the “ Ironman” triathlon, I KNEW I had to do it. November,2008, I became the youngest female that year to finish Ironman AZ. I finished in a wonder woman outifit, and tears rolling down my face. My grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and brothers were at the finish line.

 The first year of college brought on new struggles; room-mates, caf food, hard classes and boys. This is around the time an eating disorder began. I ran less, and was constantly low on energy. I signed up for my first ultra ( PCT 50 mile) near the end of my Freshman year. I was curious to see just how far I could go. The race was a disaster. My camelback was too big I realized, and I often stopped because of stabbing back pain. I was not prepared for the distance. I dropped at mile 32, dehydrated and grumpy. Two things hit me about this race, the people and the beauty of being out running on trails. I got a picture with Catra Corbett (and talked to her for a while) , and was encouraged by Jakob Herrman. These people are stopping for pictures during a race?? HAHA! I finished my first 50 with Jakob Herrman’s help a few months later.
At this time the thought of running a 100, started crossing my mind…. I DNF’d my 1st 100 attempt at Javelina Jundred 2010, but what I learned through that race has helped me grow tremendously as a runner. February 2011, at the age of 20 I ran and finished my first 100 mile run,
The Rocky Road 100. With lots of friends help and hugs, I had a blast. I realized just how far I came, not just in this race, but how running has changed my life. I can do things I put my mind too! Since that 100, I have finished 9 more 100 milers and 35+ ultras, including Western States. It was a lifelong dream to finish that race, and with the help of my family and best friends, I did just that ( birthday weekend too!).

The ultra community has taught me so much about friendship, perseverance, and to truly embrace each and every day. Life is such a gift, and I am so blessed I have found a sport that I love and am passionate about. Smile through pain and embrace the moment.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

In the Spotlight with "Rene"

Meet Rene
My story my life I was born a healthy baby girl. At 13 years old I had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized but they did not know what happened to me. Because years later they discovered that I suffered from PTSD. I was sexually molested as a child and had suppressed memories. I was diagnosed in 1992 as being bipolar after being in a severely mentally and physically abusive relationship. I was told I was permanently disabled. Then I went on disability. Being put on medicines and basically being in a coma state and began having serious mental blocks of my life. With all the medicine I began to put on the pounds. I was also led to believe I could never have a child because of endometriosis. Well I met this man back in 1997 and then I got pregnant and had a healthy baby boy in 1999. They thought with me having a child and a husband everything would be fine.

Well having bipolar just does not go away. I also now found out I had a thyroid condition gaining weight again then down the line they discovered I had fibromyalgia. I had tried so many diets but kept gaining weight being overweight and having fibromyalgia I was almost immobilized. I was getting more depressed not liking how I looked not being healthy at all. I started sheltering myself from life. Then I decided with the assistance of my caseworker Margret who had WLS when it first came out. I began to research about WLS then I was checking on the computer for information and I kept seeing about people loosing hair call me vain but it scared me I backed off. Then a year later I was so tired of living the way I was and researched more about weight loss surgery. I started making appointments to prepare for surgery, with the help of my caseworker walking me through every step and every appointment. It took about 8 months because they are so thorough thank God. Then it was time for the WLS. I had some people close to me that were very negative towards my decision to have surgery. But it was all about me and my life so I was not going to let anyone stop me. After my surgery it was different. I lost a total of 108lbs from my heaviest weight.
 I started walking with a friend of mine, Maryann, who was one of the captains of a running team called WRTT. I was scared to walk with the team. How could I walk with WRTT? Walking with Maryann felt good there was a Mohawks 5k coming up in 2 weeks I decided I can do this. I sighed up only trained for 2 weeks. She walked it with me and encouraged me the whole way. I kept thanking her because I felt I would not have been able to do it without all her support. I ran through the finish line OMG what a thrill I was facing my fears head on. I felt unstoppable. So now I wanted to join WRTT I signed up. They were such a positive group of people. I began running 5ks then one day a member of WRTT Karina posted about a race Blessing of the Fleet and I noticed it first thing in the morning. I had an appointment went to my appointment came back it was still there I had to ask about it how much she could not go and she wanted someone to use it. God Bless her it was free. Well I wanted to go and I did not even know where it was. I messaged Maryann she said she would get out of work early and come with me. I did not know it was 10 miles I thought it was 10k but l I was persistent to finish my first long race all by myself with a beautiful view by the beach. I prayed through this race you can do it well was fine until they took the cones down and it began to get dark. The traffic opened back up. Well only I would get lost I realized I had gone too far. When I saw the highway oh no I had to try to find my way to the end no one around for a while then I began to see people and kept asking how I get to the finish of the race. I kept praying only God could get me through. I prayed for my friend to not be scared when she did not see me. I was so happy and so high on life when I finished.
Then I was told my leg was sprained before the race but it was healed I could run again well a few weeks later I had to go see an orthopedic he said I had osteoarthritis in my knee and I needed shots called orthovisk but first I had it continue my own therapy. I was taught in physical therapy to make my leg stronger for the shots. I could do everything except run I thought my world had ended. I came home and cried like a baby. Well about 8 weeks later I go back now I am just waiting for approval to begin and then after treatment I can run again I cannot wait.

I am going to train for a marathon. Watch out there’s no stopping me. Then I am also going back to school. I have not completely decided on my field. But know this peeps I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me anything is possible keep the faith.
-Rene Lomba-

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In the Spotlight with "Kit Brazier"

Meet Kit Brazier

Mother of 9 kids, 13 grand kids, teaches kindergarten, an ultra marathoner and she’s over 60!!!

 I started running at UCLA in 1972 and loved it.  I ran track and cross-country for UCLA for 2 years.  Running was the best part of UCLA.  My first first marathon was the Santa Monica marathon in 1975.  I was hooked. In 1977 I ran my first ultra (50K) and I finished in 5:20 which put me as the 7th fastest woman in the US for a 50K.  I also ran a 3:29 marathon that year and qualified for Boston. 

 When I was dating my husband I took him on a long run down San Vicente to Marina Del Rey (17 miles) and he didn't complain but kept with me.  He always encouraged me to run. 

We have been married for 36 years and have had 9 children.  I wanted a big family and  feel that running through the pregnancies and running with the kids made me a better mom.  As a young mother with a lot of kids, running was my time to think and sharpen my skills to be a better mom. 

 As a young mother with a lot of kids, running was my time to think and sharpen my skills to be a better mom.  I always felt so rejuvenated when I would come back from running and I was a better mom, more energetic, happier, plus I made my closest friends from running.

In the past 40 years I have run almost 50 marathons including ultras.  Since I turned 60 I have become a marathon maniac and I have met the most amazing, inspiring people.  I am a grandma of 13 kids and I have enjoyed this stage of my life so much - and a big part of that is running.
 I teach Kindergarten and have my students run daily - all of my 9 kids run and 3 have run marathons.  They are the best supporters and my #1 fans.  
I am truly blessed.
-Kit Brazier-

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

In the Spotlight with "Rossana Zemek"

Meet Rossana

Running taught me that life is much like the race course: "Dress the part and there is no doubt who you are." 

 I had this epiphany when I ran You Go Girl Half, 2014. My girlfriends and I wore Wonder Woman costumes. Cheers seemed intensified as volunteers yelled "Wonder Woman!" And I heard lots of compliments on the outfit.  It didn't matter that I am far from elite, am "back of the pack" or started running at 43. For this moment, I was a superhero. I am Wonder Woman.

 Just five years ago was a different costume. I was chemo ridden, tired, weak, battling cancer. I wore heels and leather jackets to chemo. I was openly bald.  I put my makeup on like I was in a music video.  I smiled a lot and stood tall, despite my need to collapse with weakness. "Dress the part and there is no doubt who you are."  Somehow those outfits made me feel happy and strong.

 I have been a breast cancer survivor since 2010.  I began running to celebrate life, to encourage others, to do something that scared me more than cancer.  I have completed two ultras, seven marathons, 30 half marathons, and a number of 5K's. I also completed eight rounds of chemo, three surgeries, and 33 rounds of radiation.

I realize now that adversity made me who I became.  Running my town as Wonder Woman gave me a sense of invincibility. I carry that sense in my recent days and look back fondly at my Wonder Woman costume. It reminds me of that invincible feeling.  I hope everyone finds their costume, dresses the part, and is recognized as who they are. That costume changes the course of the day.
 I am a wonderful woman. I am strong. I am defender.  Secretly, I fly an invisible jet. I have red boots on, and know how to use my lasso.
 -Rossana "Wonder Woman" Zemek-

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

In the Spotlight with "Irma Gonzalez Hereford"

Meet Irma
RELENTLESS = showing or promising no decrease in force, intensity, or strength.
This is me. This is what I live by.

I am a married 38 year old 'Fit Momma'. I have 3 children…10 yr old twins (boy & girl) and a 5 year old son. Both my boys play basketball (year round) & my daughter is in dance.
I work full time, M-F & I start my shift @ 4am & I train 6 days a week.
Everyday I ask God to guide me in balancing out wife/motherhood, my 'personal' life, my career & housework. It sounds like a whole lot & it is but it is possible...you just need to find what works. One thing that works for me, is having my Faith in the man upstairs...without him, I would not be able to carry on as I do or get up after each time I stumble.

Being fit and working out has always been part of me…ever since high school when I got involved in dance and cheer. The hard work of practicing, challenging your body to perform new, harder moves and the euphoric feeling after competing…it all stuck with me...even after several years.

After I had my twins, one day i saw a few young mothers, younger than myself @ the park. They would get out of breath and break out in a sweat after being up on their feet, chasing their kid(s) around. It wasn't a pretty sight to see or hear…and i refer to that ‘health-wise’. These mothers were on their way to being ticking time bombs if they didn't do something to get healthy. I was moved to do something about losing my maternity weight after i had my twins…and i did!
Then about 6 months after having my youngest son, i remember not being able to go upstairs without being out of breath and not having my legs hurt or feeling super heavy. One day it just hit me hard…it was 6 months since i had my son, i had dropped most of the wt i gained while pregnant but i couldn’t lose the last 20 lbs plus the wt i gained from fertility treatments. I became discouraged…and disgusted with myself. I had no excuse for this. I had to take accountability. It took a good 2 weeks after that one hit for me to focus mentally, get it together and execute my plan of action.
When i finally dropped those ‘pesky’ 20 lbs from my pregnancy…it took almost 6 months to get it off of me. Boy, was i PROUD AND ON CLOUD 9!!
The changes i see in myself, physical ones as well as mental and emotional ones…each day i notice something different and/or new that is just FABULOUS!! This keeps me going forward and forces me to push harder.

My kids know that mommy has to go to the gym and is on a special diet. They are very aware and involved of my goals because i show them pictures of women in figure…plus they witness what i do. I love it when they get to see me, especially my little girl…i love showing her that women, especially mommy’s can be strong, fit, healthy and gorgeous!
They know about hard work…they see what i put in, time-wise and strength-wise…i use this all the time with them and their everyday struggles, such as with homework or their after school activities/sports. I remind them that hard work is not easy, it takes practice and patience and that something AWESOME will come of all this hard work. They understand this concept well, they just need to reminded of it sometimes, especially when they get discouraged.
Just because you are a wife & a mom, it does not mean you can forget or neglect yourself. Wives are supportive & encouraging...they are willing to help & hold the 'home-front' while they're husbands are @ work/on duty, especially those who are in the military, law enforcement & fire/ems services. My husband is a fireman & is away quite often. So while he is gone, im both Mom & Dad...

Moms are nurturing, caring, loving and protective of their children, their family…and they should be just like that with themselves. Moms must learn to get their ‘HAPPY’ on and get inner peace…i think that without these 2 driving forces, moms have a difficult time being truly happy. Lets face it, if moms can’t make themselves happy, who will make them happy?? It all starts within yourself.

This is what I've learned and experienced…pain, you will feel lots of it, but it’s ok, physical pain is temporary. Hard work is trying and results take time to see…but all that time and effort you put in SHALL SHINE THROUGH when you least expect it. The changes you want to see, well you won’t see them overnight but you will…just need to remember that these changes are probably already there, YOU just can’t see them because we tend to be our worst critics. 

Here are a few things that help me out, daily...I pray & talk to God. I breathe deeply & I smile, a lot.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

In the Spotlight with Kim Fitmiss

Meet Kim Fitmiss
I am Kim Fitmiss and I love to run.  To date I have completed 7 marathons and 7 ultra marathons and many races of varying distances. I even ran throughout my entire third pregnancy completing the  2011 Chicago Marathon  4 months pregnant. Like most people, I began to run to lose weight. But once the pounds were shed I discovered a new person. This person had determination , tenacity and commitment. I would have never known I had these traits until I started to run. Running has helped me in other areas of life to go forward with dreams that I have been afraid of pursuing. One of those dreams is to pursue a degree in Kinesiology. 

I began to go for short runs  about a half of a mile in 2009. I would run at a park near my home on the South Side of Chicago. One day I was at Walgreen's and I purchased the book Marathon Training for Dummies. This peeked my interest so I made a bucket list goal to run the Chicago Marathon in 2010.
I ran my first marathon October 10, 2010 and fell in love with the sport. I was not too pleased about my time so I signed up for the Georgia Marathon the spring of 2011. I then learned its not about my time its about the journey. After completing a few more marathons I decided to try some ultra marathons. My first ultra was the Chicago Lakefront 50/50. I ran the 50 k portion 6 months after giving birth.

It is sometimes a task running, having a family, a career and a  social life but I wouldn't trade it for the world. It's about making adjustments. For instance instead of watching TV, I use that time to run. I run when the children are at their sports practice. I also get up and run at 3 am on the treadmill before running the streets at  sunrise. I believe in no excuses when it comes to running. 
In late 2013 I decided to explore the other side of 50 miles. In April 2014 I attempted my first 100 mile ultra marathon in Albion, Indiana the Indiana Trail 100  . I became ill at mile 75 so I had to drop. I was devastated and cried for five hours. My friends quickly reminded me that I gave my all and that was my best.  I will try again April 2015. July 2014 I participated in my first 24 hour race Christmas in July in Lisle Il.  I completed my first 24 hour race and placed second overall female completing 79.57 miles. 

To end the year I will run the Des Plaines Trail 50 miler  on October 18, 2014 followed by the Chicago Lakefront 50/50, the 50 mile portion on November 1, 2014. As an added bonus to myself I decided to run an extra 12 miles after the lakefront  race to complete an 100k (62.137 miles).

My goal for running is simple to keep running. I will accomplish this by eating well, drinking more water, and most importantly resting. I hope to finally cross an 100 mile ultra finish line. If I don't  I will keep trying until I succeed.
-Kim Fitmiss-