4 Year MS Anniversary

Today marks my 4 year anniversary of being diagnosed with MS.  What a 4 years it has been.  I have said many times that while I certainly would not have chosen to live with a disease that has no cure, I believe that God equips us and works through us to use the difficult things in our life for HIS purpose.

I do not take my health for granted.  In these past 4 years I have done things I had only previously dreamed about.  Last month I completed my 13th marathon (my 9th since my MS diagnosis) and in the past year and a half I completed not just one Ironman triathlon but two!  I think that being confronted head on with the unknown of what my future health will be (debilitating MS symptoms can appear in an instant) has inspired me to go after some of these dreams.  In doing so, I hope and pray that I have been able to inspire and motivate others that are facing challenges in their life.

I originally started this blog after my diagnosis because I could not find any information or anyone with MS who was participating in endurance sports.  I’m thrilled to say that over the past few years I have been blessed to connect with many people battling MS that are staying healthy and fit through running, hiking, biking, swimming and even some that are crazy enough to push their bodies 140.6 miles and complete an Ironman like me!

Thank you to my friends and family that walk by my side and support me in this life.  Thank you to my new friends that I have met through my blog and through the articles that have been written about my journey.  We are all in this together.  My hope is that someday there will be a cure for MS, but until then, I will dedicate myself to being as healthy and positive as possible and spreading hope to others.

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2015 Tucson Half Marathon

This past Sunday I ran the Tucson Half Marathon.  I have run this race twice in the past, the last time was 3 years ago.  It is a great downhill course, although there were a few significant rolling hills between miles 9 and 11 that slowed me down a bit.  A few firsts happened to me on Sunday.  It was the first time I missed the start of the race because I was still in the porta potty line!  You may have heard (or experienced) that before a race starts everyone has to go to the bathroom and there are never enough porta potties, however, this was the smallest amount I have ever seen at a race.  I contemplated going in the bushes (like many others), but the sun was just beginning to rise and I was not that brave.  The other option was to just start running and either try to hold it or find a porta potty along the course, but since I was trying to run a certain time in this race, I knew I neither wanted to be full of fluid and uncomfortable nor did I want to take a minute or 2 to duck into a porta potty “on the clock”.  I decided to finish waiting in line, used the porta potty, then ran to the start and quickly hopped into the next wave that went off (the race starts in waves, but you have a chip that doesn’t start your time until you cross the starting line).

Mile 8

Missing the start of a race can certainly give you some anxiety, but I tried to relax and get into my stride and just focus on the race in front of me.  I was shooting for a time below 1:42 because I think this will help me get into the New York City Marathon in 2016.  It’s a very fast time for me, but I knew this course was fast and it would be my best chance of hitting the time.  And since my dad lives in Tucson, it was a great chance to go see him.  My sister and I drove out for a quick weekend, and we had a wonderful time.

Back to the race…it was a gorgeous morning with temps in the mid to high 40s to start and warming up from there.  My perfect running temperature.  I began clicking off miles in the 7:30-7:40 range, a bit faster than where I needed to be, but I knew the hills toward the end would take some time back.  I ran by my dad and sister around mile 8.5 and that gave me the extra boost I needed those last miles.  I managed to run a 1:40.58, 61 seconds faster than I needed, cutting it a little close, but I was thrilled that I made the time I needed to hopefully get back to the NYC Marathon next November.

Finish lineAfter the race, I found my dad and sister and wandered over to check my actual finish time, and that’s when the other first time thing happened to me.  I had to check twice just to be sure my eyes were correct, and sure enough, it showed I finished first in my age group!  This has never happened to me before (apparently all the faster 40-44 year old women stayed home that day), so I was stunned and still think it’s rather funny!

First place

A huge thank you to my sister for driving out to Tucson with me and supporting me throughout the race.  She is one of my biggest cheerleaders both at races and in life and I am blessed to have her.  And thank you to my dad for also cheering me on, even as an adult it is an amazing feeling to have your dad see you cross a finish line, it was so special to me!



I know I have not been posting much around here, life sometimes gets in the way. However, I do post a bit more frequently (just a bit!) on my Facebook page and Twitter, so check Miles and Trials out there too!




2015 MS 150 Mile Bike Ride

This past weekend I rode in the New Mexico Pedal los Pueblos MS 150 mile bike ride.  It was my fourth year of participating in this amazing event.  I was diagnosed with MS in March of 2012 and have rode every year since then to help raise money and awareness for MS.

My husband and I drove up at 5am Saturday morning to Santa Fe where the event started.  About 20 minutes into our drive we got a flat tire on the freeway and had to pull off the road.  I am fortunate to have an incredibly handy hubby who was able to quickly change our truck’s tire and get us back on the road.  We made it to the event just as the first cyclists were starting for the day.  We hurried to get our bikes ready, met up with our friend, Rick, and were quickly on our way.  I knew it was going to be a long day, riding 100 miles is never easy, so I wasn’t stressed that we got a bit of a late start.


We had great weather and the ride was beautiful.  The MS Society does a wonderful job of getting volunteers for aid stations every 10 miles and they provide us with lunch, as well as tons of encouragement along the way.  My favorite rest stop was around mile 80, when it was getting quite hot out, and we pulled up to find fresh ice cold smoothies being made with a blender-bike.  So cool!

IMG_2165A little bit after the smoothie stop my husband got his second flat of the day, this time on his bike!IMG_2167We finally made it through the 100 miles and that night we were treated to dinner and a presentation by the MS Society and got to spend time with friends that also ride every year.  Then it was time for some sleep to get ready for Sunday’s ride.

IMG_2170Sunday we were joined by another friend to ride with us and set off on the 53 mile bike route.  We were treated to another beautiful weather day and it was a great wrap up to the fun weekend.

IMG_2180IMG_2182It is hard to believe this was my fourth year of riding.  I’m blessed to have the health and ability to be able to continue to ride and I do not take that for granted.  I am so thankful to those of you that rode with me, sent me sweet messages, donated, and encouraged me.  It means the world to me.  I will not give up fighting for my health or fighting for a cure MS.


I am an Ironman Again!

I did it!  Second Ironman completed in 7 months on Sunday in Coeur d’Alene. It was the most brutal day of my life racing in 105 degree heat. Like nothing I have ever experienced nor would I want to again. However, in the midst of big challenges, while sometimes on the brink of complete despair and my body wanting to shut down, I found moments of great joy and felt God blessing me.

More details and pictures to come once I get home and recover a bit.  I sincerely thank you all for the many Facebook, Twitter and text messages that encouraged me all weekend long.   Thank you to my amazing husband and friends that were out there in the record breaking heat just as long as I was cheering me on, you each deserve a medal too.  Thank you to my friends and family (my sister that flew in to stay home with my kids) for your support throughout my training and every day of my life giving me the strength to continue on this journey.  Lastly thank you to God for carrying me and the other athletes safely through the day, I gave my all for your glory.


Ironman Goals

This Friday I leave for Coeur d’Alene to race my second Ironman in 7 months.  After finishing my first at Ironman Arizona in November, I knew I wanted to do another one, but I didn’t realize it was going to come so fast!

My husband raced Ironman Coeur d’Alene as his first Ironman 2 years ago and we loved how beautiful the area was.  So when we decided to pick another race this was it.  Another big selling point was that it is typically not too hot at this race vs. most other North American Ironman races.  This is an issue for me because heat can dramatically affect those of us with MS, and I’ve been known to end up in the medical a couple times after running marathons in the heat.

As luck would have it, there is a massive heat wave that will be hitting the Northwest just in time for my 140.6 mile adventure this weekend.


Current forecasts show anywhere from 99 – 107 degrees for race day.  I can’t even wrap my head around that at this point.  As if racing 140.6 miles wasn’t enough, now I “get” to do it in an oven.

Though I’m not going to stress about it.  What good would that do anyway?  The things I know for sure are that it will be hot (to me anything over 80 feels hot, so what’s a few more degrees?) and I know it will be hard.  What I also know is that I am not a quitter and I have not been training hard and sacrificing the past few months just to give up because of the weather.

The good news is that I won’t have any pressure on me to try to go fast and beat my Arizona Ironman time.  Heat and pushing your body to go faster would be a bad combination for me race day.  So instead, I will be smart, utilizing all the cooling gear and tricks I can think of, and go as slow as I need to and just keep moving forward.

That being said, if I were to come up with some goals, here they are:

  • Enjoy the day and be grateful for the gift of health that has allowed me to get to the start of an Ironman
  • Be smart, hydrate and fuel well, slow down, then slow down even more
  • Do not end up in the medical tent
  • Finish before 16 hours and 59 minutes
  • Hear Mike Reilly say those 4 famous words to me in the Finisher chute

For updates over the weekend, follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/milesandtrials and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MilesAndTrials