Hello FAB-O friends, I am so sorry about my absence during most of the month of December!
This blog post will explain a great deal to you.
Life throws us curve balls in personal, business and more. This month, I have been hit with some whammies. Some of the curve balls are deeply private and one was not. I share my public grief with you, today.
On December 11th at approximately 5pm, I received a horrific phone call from my husband, “Sheri is dead”.
Sheri was and still is one of my dearest friends. She was the wife of my husband’s best friend, Brian, she is “Aunt Sheri” to my kids. We have known them for almost as long as we have lived in Las Vegas.
Sheri was younger than me and so, my first thought was to want to know what happened, she was not ill. I rushed to pick up my husband from work, so he could go to Brian’s house. We later found out details, that she had a cardiac arrest and died in her home.
Minutes, hours and days became a blur. How do you prepare to live without someone who has been a staple in your life? How would I fulfill my promise to her (I made years ago) to take care of her son, in the event of her death. I still have zero answers.
I had registered for the LVTC Holiday Half on 12/20, before Sheri passed away. I wanted it to be my last half marathon of the year and it was local. Within a day of her passing, I knew I had to dedicate my race to her. Racing became my final gift when Ladybug passed, I could do it again. I had to do it, again. I opened the invitation to her husband, son, mother, adult daughter to come and spectate. No pressure, but I wanted them to be there, if they could.
At Sheri’s memorial, Brian asked me to wear one of Sheri’s favorite cross necklaces. Of course, I would. I spent the next few days designing a shirt for Sheri. Yes, it was a Holiday Half, but this was my time to give her and her family, one last gift. The shirt was designed and printed at a local t shirt place in our mall.
Sheri loved crosses and skulls, so I had them printed on the back, along with her husband and two children’s names. The skull was too detailed to print on the front, I opted for the ribbon and a cross. Both sides with her name, year of birth and year of death. In addition to the shirt, I added a skull charm to my left shoe, it sits next to my ladybug charm.
Shoe charms. The skull is for Sheri
Husband was able to take the day off from work so he could come to the race. I was thrilled we all could be together at a race. He took a picture of me at the start and I was ready to run my heart out of Sheri! Waiting at the start, I met up with another racer and she described the course as a “real bitch”. I gulped, if she said that, it was tough. Little did I know how tough this course was going to be on me.
Waiting for the start!
The race began and finished at the Equestrian Park in Henderson. The gun goes off (and it was COLD – so much so, I am wearing capri’s & gloves). The first 2 miles were a good incline and then rolling hills for the next few miles. I kept a 7:30 pace all through the rolling hills. Then….I see the first HILL. I run up the hill and it goes on a sharp decline. I am thinking, “I am going to have to run back up this decline, oh crap!”.
It happened 2 more times, 2 more hills. In fact, these hills were so steep, one of the front runners (top 3) was WALKING on the way back. We reached the turn around at the half way and I have a mountain staring in my face. 2 more hills, again. By the time I reached Mile 9, my back was throbbing and cramping up. I had to stop. Not walk, but STOP. I grabbed my left side and the thought occurred to me, “well, this is weird. Sheri always had back pain”.
So, I pushed, I really tried. I had to walk a portion of the last hill, I had nothing left to go up. At the crest, I was sweating. It’s 40F degrees and I am sweating. I am looking at my Garmin and I am barely, barely on target for a sub2. I wanted to give that family a good race, but this course was beating me up, badly. That was when I dug deep – said, “okay, Ladybug – come on, it’s show time!”
I made it through the rolling hills and still on a sub2. I knew if I could get to Mile 11 the rest was downhill. Mile 11, the legs relaxed and took off. My last 2 miles splits were in the low 7:00’s. I was still holding onto my sub2, but knowing the course could be long and measured incorrectly (not uncommon), I had to step on it to be that “1” by my name.
I chatted with Sheri along the way. She had never seen me race, so I could imagine her saying to me “THIS is what you have been doing for the last 4 years – are you nuts?!?!?”
I came through at 1:58:55 with my arms and eyes pointing to the heavens. When I finished, I was told that typically, this course will add 10-15 minutes of the usual time. Considering my last half was at Avengers and 1:54 – I will gladly take the 1:58 on this monster and beast of a course.
A tribute to Sheri
I was greeted by my family and then, I saw Brian. I walked over to him and said, “I think this belongs to you”. I gave him my finisher medal as a surprise. This race was fro Sheri and the family, it wasn’t my medal, it was his. In my 4 years, I have never given up a medal and I cannot think of a better person to give one to. I love Brian, he is our friend and our brother (although, not my legal brother).
After a few stretching moves, water, bananas and more. Awards were handed out and I earned 1st in my AG. I was glad that Brian’s family could be there, and yea, I kept my AG medal.
That was our morning to smile. We smiled and laughed for Sheri. Below is a picture of Brian with his and Sheri’s son, Jordan (our Godson) and Sheri’s adult daughter, Angela (who is also a runner).
I think my Finisher Medal looks great on Brian!
Picture of me with Ladybug’s ball (post race) – why don’t I look as exhausted as I feel?
Once again, running proved to be my therapy. In the days after her death, I pounded the pavement. In the days, post her memorial, it became my moments to be with her. At this race, it was a chance to give her the only gift I could give her, at this time.
Thank you Brian, Jordan, Angela, Pat (Sheri’s mom) for allowing me to give this race to Sheri. I love you all!
I love you Sheri, I miss you so much. RIP, my friend.