Saturday, August 30, 2014

AM~Erica's Open Letter to the Blacklight Run KC

So anyway...

As I recover from my 5k last night, I am pondering how I want to word what I want to say to the organizers of the Blacklight Run's stop in Kansas City. Why? Because there is SO much I really want to say!

Well, you're in luck! I'm going to let you all know what that might look like right here.

Get comfy, grab some popcorn, and here we go...

* * * * * * * * * * *

Dear Blacklight Run Organizers,

On Friday, March 28, 2014, I read an article about SELF Magazine doing a story on running fashion faux pas offenders. In the story (which was supposed to be satirical, but didn't come off that way), one of the "offenders" was a tutu-wearing runner. She had a tutu organization & had some health issues herself. That made the situation worse, but the fact that tutus are so trendy right now to get people (yes, even guys) motivated to get out there and go, I thought it was a shame. I like the tutu thought. But I was NOT a runner.

On Saturday, March 29, 2014, I was on Facebook & noticed a few of my friends running a couple of different races on the same morning: Run or Dye & the Diva Dash. They all looked like they had SO much fun! They were covered in colors, covered in mud, getting medals, wearing tutus...and they were not avid runners. Well, not that I knew of, anyway. So, my interest perked up. Maybe even I could do something like that! I could work to try to get some bling, get covered in colors, and of course, wear a tutu in the process. So, I kind of wanted to go running.

On Sunday afternoon, March 30, 2014, I went for my first motivated run EVER! I'm not counting the high school runs I would have to do for a grade. This time, I WANTED to do it! My hubby thought something was wrong with me, and my children offered to have an ambulance waiting for me when I got to the end of our short driveway. They thought I was crazy since I didn't run. But I went. It took me about 10 minutes to run about a third of a mile. But I went.

Then Monday, March 31, 2014 came. I had announced that I had run. I even did a BLOG POST about it to keep myself accountable. And then it happened...
My friend, Beqi, decided she wanted to try this thing called the"Blacklight Run." It was a 5k that would be at the end of August. She convinced me that I would be ready for it by then. With great hesitance, yet excitement, I decided I would do this night race, be covered in color, and run with my friend. I registered for my first race ever. I filled out the online form, put in my credit card info, and took some deep breaths before I hit the "submit" button. As I was either thanked or congratulated for registering for the race (it's been a few weeks), I just sat there & cried. Part of it was excitement; part of it was wondering what the heck I'd just done. It was pretty emotional.

I also helped come up with the team name so it would be amazing, fun & fitting for us & for the race.

In the meantime, I have gotten to run a few 5k races, wear tutus & get some bling. I've worked really hard to seriously have fun. The one thing I still needed to do was get covered in color & have the total Blacklight Run experience! The outfit I was planning to run in to support my team, the GLOWden Girls, the tutu, the neon nails...all of it! Colors all over, black lights to make it glow, and photos that would be awesome!

I was emotional when race day came close. Even though I've done of few of these runs now, this one was the first one I'd ever registered for. EVER! 

It was pretty exciting to know that I got my earlybird registration done in time to get the amazing registration price of $20! Especially knowing it could go up at any time. Then as each $20 deadline passed, it only made me laugh, after a while, to see that the $20 price wasn't going to change. Even as race day approached, the "Full Price: $60" was a lie. But I could look passed this ridiculousness because I was going to have fun!

When it came to packet pickup, I was not excited I would have to drive 45 minutes to pick up my bib. Especially since I would be driving another 45 minutes a different direction to run the race the following day! Geez! That's a lot of milage for my little car, Bessie. But I digress...

After all the gas I had to put into the travel just for this race, imagine how frustrating it is to have to PAY $10 to park for the event. I mean, really? Why didn't you have folks just pay $35 up front at registration? That would have helped. And I felt for anyone who had to pay the extra $5 to have to pick up their race packets on site. I mean, really? "How dare they make us wait!"

The pre party was looking amazing! The crowd of people jumping up & down with their hands in the air to amazing music was phenomenal to watch! People in their light up accessories, white shirts, neon accents & makeup with things that glow-in-the dark was an amazing sight to look at & witness!

My pre-race pic with Beqi...
...while there was still a blacklight working.

As the evening's clouds looked ominous, we were hoping things would clear out pretty quickly. Well, if you were there, you would know the skies opened up pretty good. So did the light show in the sky. 

Participants began to gather their things to start the race, but quickly realized no one really knew where the race was starting. As a teammate & I hung out under an awning, we were hoping to make a mad dash to the race start by where we were. However, we weren't by the start line. So we planned to make a mad dash to the other side of the stage to the start line when we realized the masses were going to the "start line" where we thought it was going to be. We walked for a VERY long time. Many of us runners were pointing out how weird it was we had to walk so far to get to a start line. But we went with the crowd anyway. 

With the rain still going, and lightening in the sky, I opted to hand my phone over to my daughter (who was there to try to take pics of the start line, finish line, and anything else pre & post race) so it wouldn't get ruined. I don't know when we started for sure, but I know eliminating the waves of the masses to get folks through the race in a hurry was probably not the best or safest idea. It's a little terrifying running the race trying to pass & penetrate the masses of walkers with many streaks of lightening across the sky as we go.

Yes, we got covered in colors. Cool. But when you have to unplug preset backlights throughout the race because of the storms in the area took away from the experience for sure. Figuring out there were no photographers throughout the race, probably due to storms, was disappointing.

The closest I'll get to a finishing pic.
No blacklight in sight to make this glow.

The folks out there with their light up wands showing participants where to head where AWESOME at their encouragement! But when you come up to an older guy holding a flashlight pointed at the ground, even before we can see where the finish line is, telling runners, "Get to your cars as quickly as you can," is not a good sign. I also heard a voice over his walkie-talkie stating that everyone should be clearing the area & how the after-race party was cancelled. That was a bummer. I couldn't even see the finish line, and it was semi-defeating at that point.

As I ran around some cones to what I thought might be the finish, the anti-climatic finish line was a bit devastating. I was rain-soaked, covered in colors...and no black light pictures to show for it. Just a couple of pre-race pics in the photo booth. 

So I paid a $20 "earlybird" registration for a race I was emotional to do & looking forward to (which was the amount the whole time), with a great outfit planned & with an awesome team name...just to be let down by the disorganization of a race with rain, a start line that began at the finish line & the finish at the start line, and a free glow pack I haven't even opened since it was to be a part of this amazing after party that I drove a total of 3 hours between getting the race packet AND paying $10 to park so I could run this race that fizzled.

The take aways:
T-shirt, unused glow pack, temporary 
and an overall yucky experience.

No after food or drink that I could see. The participants just ran/walked for 3 miles. We were already fairly disappointed. Instead, we were just sent to our vehicles.

I'm sure it might have been more exciting without the storms in the area for the actual race, but it's not worth the drive time & extra fees as it is...but to put everyone around in danger AND to have half of the experience taken away...well...

My face when I got back to my car.
This is how I felt about the Blacklight Run experience.

When I heard about the $10 parking fee, that's all that told me I would not run this race again...and then the rest happened.

My 18-year-old daughter was taking shelter in the brick bathroom for refuge in the storm...just to be told she couldn't be there because of the storm. The safest place to be, and there were people not caring much for anyone's safety...just the safety of a large portion of the ever-so-precious equipment.

You're only dealing with thousands of people. What should that matter? I know the electricity thing plays a part in it. Don't get me wrong...but maybe you should have had a back up plan for lightening in the area taking away an experience I was longing for...along with thousands of others.

I'm sure you'll have many people continue to participate in the future. I will not be one of them. And even though I'm only 1 of thousands...I will make sure this word gets out to many other people so they can heed my warning, and they may share this warning with the people they know.

That word-of-mouth thing can work wonders.

The one race I was emotional about doing since I signed up my second day of running ever wasn't worth it. It's too bad. The experience was taken away for lack of safety precautions. Doesn't bode well at all.

At least the full rainbow, I couldn't get a picture of without my phone, was nicely painted scenery for the sky to begin the unnecessarily long walk to the start line. It was the highlight.

I hope this can be worked out for anyone in this position in the future. Not sure how you make this up to so many disappointed participants in this particular race. It may be something to consider how something like this might be handled better next time.

Either way, thanks for the t-shirt & glow pack I couldn't use anyway. I'm sure I'll wear the t-shirt while sharing my experience with others; I'm sure I'll treasure the unused glow pack for quite some time.

Erica Williams

P.S. What charity did this go to, and was that $10/vehicle going to that charity?

* * * * * * * * * *

There you have it, folks. The experience of my first race I ever registered for. A let down.

I might have PR'd this race, too. Trying to figure that out since I didn't have my phone with me for the run. I just wanted to get it over with. Probably not the overall attitude you should have for a race like this...but I was done with it before I got thru the 1st mile.

I just wanted to leave.

It's OK...I have more & better-planned run experiences coming very soon. This is not a defeat...just a bad stepping stone along the way.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Just an update, as of a little after 12:30, I received a response from the Blacklight Run about my above experience.

Believe it or not, it's the first time in the race's history they have ever had to call off the after party. I was also offered a significant discount on an upcoming Blacklight Run or Glow Foam Race.

I wasn't fond of the idea of heading all the way out there (both to pick up my packet AND for the race) just to pay $10 for parking...but I might have to consider.

The races that don't offer bling are the ones that offer an amazing experience...and hopefully some pics to prove how much fun you were having. Last night was NOT it. But for the discount I've been offered...*sigh* I'm thinking. I'll keep you updated.

In the meantime, I do know the Blacklight Run has donated to the KCK Huggers & the Special Olympics of Kansas. So...there's that.

Time to start pondering & praying...


As I am paying attention to other participants, I am finding the uproar is deafening.

I'm also finding that, even though I have gotten a response & discount to another race that I already said I didn't want to do because of extra costs...many others aren't getting these offers. The word of mouth is getting out about how midwest weather can bring out how unprepared [dis]organizers can become when they forget to check weather in the midwest. Ummm...lightening happens. That's unsafe to be out in. And to not have a real explanation for the extra fees & to not be able to make this fizzled race OK for thousands...whether they speak up or really disheartening.

The care is not with the people. I'm not sure how much of the funds go to charity, but it's an overall ripoff. I'm thinking I may not accept their offer. The experience was ruined for thousands, not just a small handful.

Even if they rescheduled the race for all participants & to keep your parking pass on hand...because it would be ridiculous to have to repay for all of it again. But they want money no matter what. That says a lot.

So...keep in mind the same organizers do the Blacklight Run AND the Glow Foam Run. Maybe steer clear of these races. It appears great up front...but once you have to dig ain't so deep...

And if you want to see some of the backlash to give you an idea, click HERE. They've apparently disabled the posting option so no one else could bash it anymore. Says a whole lot.

I cannot, in good conscience, take up an offer like this knowing so many were in my same situation & are being denied even a discount. I'm glad my letter was read & heard...but how many others are trying to get thru that are being ignored &/or rejected? Not good business. I'd be wary of this company...or participate at your own risk.

Even though many got to run/walk...the experience was cancelled. That's what this is about. If you cannot fulfill that part of your need to make it right.

Friday, August 22, 2014

AM~Erica is Freezin' for a Reason

So anyway...

Several months ago, an adorable acquaintance of mine posted a video on Facebook where she was doing something for charity & was going to dump a bucket of ice water over her head. I was really baffled! Then she called out who else she wanted to do the same.

I knew she had to be crazy. (But that's part of why I like her.)

Then, just a few weeks ago, someone we know from StL posted a video on Facebook where she was doing something for charity & was going to dump a bucket of ice water over her head...
Sound familiar?

I paid more attention this time & realized it was to support ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - aka: Lou Gehrig's Disease).

So, here's what goes down:
If someone accepts a challenge from someone else who dumps a bucket of ice water over their heads, they, too, either dump a bucket of ice water over their heads (recorded for proof) within 24 hours or pay up $100 to ALSA in the association's support. (Although, usually...folks will do both: dump & donate.) Some have chosen to say they are donating to a different cause, but for the most part, it's been for ALS.

This is a great campaign to bring awareness to ALS!


"As of Friday, August 22, The ALS Association has received $53.3. million in donations compared to $2.2 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 21). These donations have come from existing donors and 1.1 million new donors to The Association."

That's right, folks. It has spread like wildfire & has taken the interwebz by storm! You'd be hard pressed, right now, not to look at your Facebook newsfeed, thru the Twittersphere, celebrities' videos posted in news articles on Yahoo!, and even covered by many news stations! It's gone viral! And you haven't seen this yet, you've lived under a rock.

I'd been pretty pleased. I have been entertained by many. And I was sitting here, smugly silent, about how I hadn't been nominated. And probably more surprised my hubby hadn't been yet, either! But it really was OK. I didn't mind. Not like I would want a bucket of ice water 


 Yesterday evening, it happened. Hubby & I were BOTH challenged! D'oh!! And on a day I have been trying to get established as #PhilanThursday (more on that in the near future). Just sharing some chances to be a philanthropist, and it happened on PhilanThursday!! So, I  didn't have much choice but to openly accept.

 So, we started planning...we had to move swiftly...
How would we pull this one off?
Who should we nominate?

After our first Friday back, officially, for the school year...even though we had to get our usual grocery shopping in, we were trying to work in some conversation. We talked about Christmas, we talked about rearranging our living room, we rearranged our living room, and how to hand THE CHALLENGE!

So, we decided who we wanted to challenge, worked on our timing...especially so we could get in our 24-hour time period, and how we could get it to be set apart from others we've seen... So we got our list of nominees, decided we would dress as Superman & Wonder Woman (I was the one dressed as Wonder Woman in a cosTUTUme, of course. Just to be clear.), got Teen Boy & Lil Guy to come help record our endeavor for proof, and then nearly got hypothermia after laying down our challenges! was really cold. And, could you tell? Lil Guy (who recorded from my phone) thought it was hilarious! You know what? As cold as it was...what fun! And what a great cause!

I would also like to point out that the challenge has somewhat gotten out of hand by having someone else dump the water on the one challenged. The ones who have the Gatorade coolers dumped on them were from around National Football League & Major League Baseball get a slight out...cuz it's funny & fitting. After they win a game, the coach &/or player of the game get doused with what's left in the Gatorade cooler! Other than are supposed to dump it on yourselves. My hubby & I have talked about how disappointed we are with the challenges shown who have others do it for them. When we got challenged, we KNEW we would have to dump the water on ourselves!

Also...we wanted to make sure we were by our apple tree so it could get a little extra water the best we could for the video. We would have done it in our garden...but we do not have a garden.

 So, if you are challenged to do this, have fun with it! But also get to know what it is you're doing it for. It's more than just a deadline challenge. People suffer, folks! You can suffer for 2 seconds-ish. We did...and lived!

Oh, the things we do for charity!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

AM~Erica Wants Ye Ta' Be Preparin'

So anyway...

Today is August 19th. The boys went back to school a week ago. The summer is winding down. Oh! And there's exactly one month until International Talk Like a Pirate Day!


If you remember, it's one of my favorite holidays to celebrate! It's a little ridiculous, but I do love it. And if you are fairly new to this part of me, or want a reminder, check out my past TLAP celebrations HERE.

As I always try to look toward holidays to celebrate, I try to look far enough ahead to have an idea on what can be accomplished to sufficiently celebrate. Talk Like a Pirate Day is no different. It's one of the holidays I've always got ideas swirling in my head about!

Recently, I started running. (go back & find out about the journey so far HERE) As I sit here & think about it, I run as a means of celebration! The bling of medals, the fun of being covered in colors, getting to wear tutus & costutumes (yeah...I said "cosTUTUmes"), and I have also discovered the fun you can have with pictures, too!

I have this great tutu skirt that I've thought would make a great addition to a fun pirate outfit. But I also like dressing LIKE a pirate, so this cute little skirt doesn't really help.

This little overskirt is so adorable. What to do?

I started thinking about a running costutume possibility. A pirate running costutume would be SO much fun! Now...just gotta find the right race to run. I was thinking it would be great to have a run for TLAP day. I thought about if it was a walk, even, on a pier by the ocean or lake (cuz I live SO close to any of that in the midwest) & it could be called "Walk the Plank"! But I want to run it...and get some blingy booty! Maybe even some loot & grub.

Then, my running buddy & one of my inspirations, Beqi, told me she was looking at doing a Talk Like a Pirate virtual race! THAT WAS IT!! I had to get a link to sign up! You KNOW I have to do this!

Just to clue you in: a virtual race is a race that you register for, but can be done anywhere within a certain period of time. As long as you get your required distance in by the deadline, and most of the time proving it somehow (depending on the race director/company set up), you usually get a medal, maybe even a giveaway like a t-shirt or a bag, and the registration usually goes to a charity of sorts. It can be completed on a treadmill, outside, on a trail, thru your 'hood or city, on a track...just get it in!

Now you know that bit of info, you must also know I signed up for that race. Amm-i-rite? The last day to run it is September 19th. I'm waiting until then. Not because it's the deadline, but I want to run this ON Talk Like a Pirate it should be! And, just so you know...yes, I will be running thru my 'hood dressed in a pirate it should be!

Something like this as a start...

Want to join in on this virtual race that can take place from the time you register until Sept. 19th for $16.99? Link HERE!

I must possess this medal

Talk Like a Pirate Day falls on a Friday this year. It would be awesome to have a gathering for some grub from the galley! Planked TiLAPia, chicken "planks", shells & cheese, hardtack (maybe), Pirate's Booty, "Seaweed" salad, a lot of may possibilities! Maybe some rum (cannon) balls for dessert. Prizes & loot...oh yes! Don't forget the Krispy Kreme donuts! Grog & Bumbo offered up to drink. (I have made an Arnold Palmer shouldn't be surprised) I do have a pirate grub board for ideas on Pinterest. You can check it out HERE if you would like. However, a get-together is NOT inevitable...but it would be awesome!

Even if we can't make this work, I will be partaking it much of that. Maybe even Long John Silvers for some lunch to get some free fish (if you order like a pirate). So it has great possibility! Heck, last year I had fried catfish for why not!

But, with a lot of this in mind...oh do I have ideas for TLAP 2015!! My hubby just smiled & nodded at me. I know what that's my own tactic. But the inside of my head can be a crazy place to be. You never know what ideas really swirl around in there. But I'll have to see how it goes before I put it out into the social media universe.

Until then...who else wants to plan something for yourselves? Start now! I hope to be seeing pics, posts, as well as hearing about what you all are planning on doing...or what you did, come September 19th & afterward.

So...are you on board?

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Thursday, August 14, 2014

AM~Erica Sees Heightened Awareness

So anyway...

I am one who gets shocked &/or saddened by any celebrity death. Then I ponder their life, career, family, fans...and it gets really sad. But then August 11th was different. Very different.

Not only America, but the whole world, lost one of the greatest legendary talents & biggest entertainment icons in all of forever...

"You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it." 
                                                                                      ~ Robin Williams

We lost the spark of Robin Williams' greatness. Gone. Just like that.


Though I get shocked &/or saddened by celebrity deaths...this one was different. 

This man who I remember so well in my young life & on my family's television screen would wear long red pajamas with a big silver triangle on the chest or rainbow suspenders while uttering alien phrases like:
"Shazbot" & "Na-nu Na-nu".

Then I remember a great movie that brought a cartoon to life. I still love watching the corny cheesiness of "Popeye", along with it's catchy tunes.

I remember knowing about "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING, VIETNAM!!" I didn't get to watch it until years later.

Then, my view of Robin changed in a deeply changing movie for me. A story so brilliant, it was in a rigid ruled-school where the same gender dressed alike & were expected to be cookie cutters to enter the world...when an English teacher broke that mold. Ripping up a rule book & letting them know about a bigger world out there...and letting them know they are individuals. Oh...and using their smarts at the same time. The story has a tragic turn...and a situation happens that mirrored Robin's actual end 25 years later. And the tribute of acknowledgment still remains. "Oh Captain! My Captain!" It remains one of my all time favorite movies.

From a spin on Peter Pan to being Aladdin's Genie, to playing a cross-dressing nanny to see his kids to getting lost in a magical game, from heights of goofy or even dark comedy to hardcore dramatic roles, and to amazing standup & living in total improv...he made people cry. Whether it was with laughter, or with sadness...his gifts knew no bounds. At least to our knowledge...

In fact, he had been battling demons of depression & addiction for years. One of the most kindest, gentlest human beings who could light up a room or screen just by showing up was the same one who hurt so much. And, he was such an amazing actor that he could use his gift of humor and a well-chisled mask to cover the pain to the naked eye.

I had not heard any of the derogatory remarks about this, personally, until I came across something this morning. I came across a doubting remark from someone, who obviously does not suffer or is not aware of those who do, as to why the passing of this celebrity is so monumental. 

And I am going to keep this death out there since I am a passionate advocate of the very thing that killed him: Mental Illness.

No, many of us didn't know him personally...but...he made his way into our lives in amazing ways. It should also make all of us realize this nasty disease really can happen to anyone. And if it can take someone like Robin...then imagine what it may be doing to the person next to you while you may have no idea. His death should be making us talk about why the stigma still lingers. It makes mental illness even more real.

As a reminder as to why I advocate for this SO much is because I do suffer. (the reminder of my coming forward HERE) I have also attempted to take my own life because I was hurting SO badly on the inside. (reminder of that coming forward HERE) But when I attempted, and obviously failed, I had no idea I was dealing with this madness. It took years before it was brought to light in the midst of another very low time. It all began to make sense. Because I didn't know I needed help at that time.

You know what? I know of those close to me who refuse to acknowledge what I just told you, above. When I begin to advocate & make this awful illness known from my own experience, I know the ones who blow me off. I have also heard, from those close to me, that those with depression just have issues & they need to get over it. Ugh! If only it were that easy. It's not. 

Along the same lines, I am really hurt by those who talk about suicide being some selfish decision & that it shouldn't be lifted up in awareness. It's actually disgusting to know that people who have no idea what those of us who do deal with it actually go thru. At least try to understand & to listen. 

I am so thankful for my husband. Though he's never really been in my shoes, he sees what it can do. He can see it's not some decision I've made to cower in a corner & just be a shell of me. He tries to help me talk it thru, or knows to leave me alone for a little while, but is always checking. I appreciate him so much for that...and just another reason why I love him so much.

A former pastor of mine, mentor to my husband, and still very good friend, Geoff, also suffers. He wrote an amazing blog post when the world found out about the death of Robin Williams. I would like for you to take a moment & read it HERE. And, interestingly enough...I have noticed that some who blow off my story (like it never happened) have rushed to Geoff's blog postings (by him or others) & and 'liked' it on Facebook. I'm hoping it's like when your own kids don't listen to you, but if someone else says it, then it sinks in. Maybe it will start to sink in.

Also, for any doubters & those who spew any level of vile lies about suicide...I challenge you to actually look at the resources that have been so readily available since Robin's death, and actually for quite some time before that. Read it. All of it. And if you refuse to read it, then please do not give a misguided opinion on what you, the unaffected,  believe mental illness, suicide, and their connection is about. are usually in the presence of at least one person everyday, unless you live under a rock or a complete hermit, that is suffering or has suffered from mental illness. 

The autopsy results came out for Robin. They are gruesome...and it shows how much despair he must've truly been in. A pain so great that he was doing anything to longer be a burden to others in his life. Which is not true...but he was not in a reality mindset. He must've been in such darkness that the only way out was to leave life. There was so much good happening for him that he could not see by the clouded view of mental illness.

Why should we be talking about this celebrity who did something so awful when so many other people have done the same thing & we aren't talking about them? This is not just some other celebrity death. Life is precious. But we don't all know each other. However, we are all familiar with Robin Williams. It's the familiarity of the name & the person that has all of us realizing what we have lost in this person, collectively. Should we be lifting up these other folks? Absolutely!

My friend, Jenn, has an amazing support system she has created. I want each of you to go check out SOLOS - Survivors Of Loved Ones to Suicide (HERE). She created it after losing her mom to suicide. And I want you to read the stories shared thru SOLOS. This is one way to bring this nasty disease to the forefront, as well as having names of loved people attached to it. 

Because I'm a failure, I am so honored to be walking Out of the Darkness on October 4th. This is raising funds & awareness for those who have been lost to suicide, those who continue to fight suicide (like myself), and the mental illness(es) that can lead to these. Here's where you can help in this. Be a philanthropist & give to this cause. Here's a couple of ways:

You can fund my fundraising effort HERE. I have raised my goal again since that last post. So anything to help would be amazing! Or you can also click on the graph at the top right of this blog page.
You can also join us on Team SOLOS HERE, and you can join in the cause & raise funds, too.

click above photo for fundraising page & story

For the next 9 days, ONLY (as of today), you can support my friend, Jenn (our team captain), by showing your support & getting your own t-shirt HERE. This is the shirt most of us will be wearing for the walk.

click above picture to purchase a SOLOS shirt
Your help would be greatly appreciated!

Do you know what else would make me & many others grateful? Educate yourselves. Keep educating yourselves. I do...often. Just reading an article or two is not enough. Another thing to do is to talk to someone who actually has suffered or who does suffer. Know that there is not going to be a lot of logic in what you hear. It's because the brain is sick & has difficultly deciphering why we are so down, alone...even when others are around. If you want us to find help, quit using us as a punchline or looking down on those of us who go thru it. 

On September 10th is World Suicide Awareness Day. Just to let you know, the high-profile Robin Williams will be used as an example then, too. Be ready.

So...for all of you who question why we are even talking about a 63yo celebrity, named Robin Williams, who died due to mental illness & suicide...this is why. For those of you who are annoyed by those of us who have banded together in great grief over this particular passing, be wary as to what words you spew. We should mourn any suicide that happens. Because it could be any of us at any time. I'm envious of those of you who don't understand. It's a sad & broken place to be in.

If you go back & watch "What Dreams May Come," please pay attention to how suicide is covered. I grieved that part in the movie. I felt every moment of it...because I get it. 

Please do not turn your nose up or back upon this very real thing in anyone...celebrity or not. At times I still get that low. And if you don't understand that, then try to attempt to understand & get educated. Otherwise you are spewing hate against a very misunderstood illness.

And now, in our sadness, we should take some solace that Robin's soul may now rest.

And let us not allow Robin's spark to be completely lost &, instead, let's allow it burn brighter as we carry it on like a torch...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

AM~Erica was Running With a Reason

So anyway...

I realized I haven't done a post since the end of June. A lot of life & chaotic schedules kind of took over July & bled into August. But I thought I'd sum up a few of the things since our last race happened. (reminder HERE)

We went on vacation. We went back to Colorado! We didn't think we'd be able to do a whole lot for vacation this year due to monetary depletion (we did have a GRADUATING SENIOR & such), so we were trying to come up with something on the cheap. It came to our attention that we could use a shared discount on a condo in Colorado, very close to where we stayed last year, for a killer deal! So...we took it! And we spent the week of Independence Day at Lake Dillon. A parade in Breckinridge, a concert & fireworks by the lake, as well as some other things. Like? Mountains.

Ahhhh...mountains! My hubby & I love the mountains. And with us picking up running (reminder on my journey HERE), we were excited to take in the scenery during our well as the weather.

As we planned our runs in the high elevation, we knew it would be odd breathing as we ran & tried to brace for it. We did run slow & not nearly as far...but running around the lake's dam AND having the mountains around us...during the 50-something degree weather...was magical. I would like to throw in that we were running 3 miles at 9,016 feet...thank you very much.

We had also heard that once we came back down to sea level, our running would increase & be amazing. You know what? It felt amazing to run when we got back! And? I even ran a whole 4 miles shortly after our return home!! CRAZY!!

But then something happened. I felt it. It was a lot like the feeling I had for the week before we lost my grandmother 3 years ago (reminder HERE). I'm in MUCH better shape now, though. And I couldn't breathe on my runs. My last living grandparent, my grandmother who I had so many of you PRAYING FOR last year, had been in not-so-good health. We knew she may be slipping, but I didn't want to believe it. The time was coming that I had been dreading so hard for so long. And I was getting that feeling. I didn't like it. I couldn't even run for a mile & a half because it felt like someone had me pinned down with a steel boot on my chest...even while I was upright.

After a couple of days of this, my concern was heightened for my grandmother. We were being told we should probably see her very soon. I already made up my mind we were going on Monday, July 21st. We would make it work, and that was that. She was not cognizant & was seemingly snoring loudly. The hospice nurse with her was talking about seeming all of my grandmother's CDs & noticed a lot of gospel & hymn themed collections. So...she found an all-hymn station on her iPad, turned on the bluetooth option to play thru my grandmother's TV, and just played hymns for my grandma as her body was failing. The nurse told me she could see my grandma's eyebrows going up and down & her jaw was moving...we guessed she was trying to sing along. The nurse simply said they were enjoying having church. Loved it. We spent a little while there with her, letting her know we were there & letting her know we loved her. It was hard to see her that hard. Then...on Tuesday morning, July dad called to let us know she'd gone. The day I had dreaded for years. hurts all over again just putting that back out there...

I was grieving so hard...I had to take some time off running. It hurt to breathe. And it was hard admitting that. My physical grief had taken over & I just turned my focus on helping getting things prepared for her funeral. Which was SO hard. I'd known this woman for 40 of my 24 years. And I wasn't looking forward to the funeral (duh! right? I know...I  know...) because I knew it would be the very last time I would gaze upon her. That may be weird to think about...because it wasn't her...just her shell...but still...the very last time.

After all of that, I knew I needed to start running again. Why? I had race a week later! And hoping I could pull myself together to get thru the 3 miles of the Royals Charities 5k at The K (aka Kauffman Stadium) that even includes running the warning track of the field! So...I got in some distance, a bit easier, and even some hills...
I wasn't even looking to PR (set a Personal Record) this race due to my training set-backs. But I wanted to run for my grandma, and someone brought up wearing an angel pin during the race. She had so many angel pins, I could have quite a pick. I also decided to write her name on my arm...and then to just go have fun. Especially since I probably wasn't gonna PR anyway...

My hubby was running, as well as my friend Beqi (who also ran our last race)...and our encourager from our last race, Rob, ran this one, too!

And...Holi Stromboli! My hubby is a stud & PR'd in a HUGE way!! He was a RockStar!! And...AND?? I totally PR'd, too!! You wanna know what else? Well, I'm gonna tell ya anyway. I decided I would pose for the camera. Especially since I "wasn't gonna PR". LOL!

That's right...I finished the race by doing a grande jete' over the finish a dancer/runner should.

Also, I came in 508th over all of 1500+ racers, 23rd in my division. HUGE!!

Then, in the time since then, we've gone to Chiefs' training camp and been getting the kiddos ready for school. Also...I haven't lost any weight, but it's been redistributed & I'm down a dress size.

We now are getting Teen Girl ready for college...and then another race.

I've picked up my training & getting ready to do the Blacklight Run in a couple of weeks...the first race I ever registered for. Ever!

Mourning my grandmother's passing while coming across so many reminders, and also continuing many changes gone thru & still to come. It's been a lot. But still going...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica