Hello, everyone! So this whole time I've written in the blog, I've never truly talked about my true inspiration for this journey.
I never had the pleasure of meeting her in person but little Emily Holum's story continues to inspire me. Emily is the daughter of a friend's family from my hometown suburb of Arlington Heights, Illinois. From what I've heard, she was a happy, active girl who loved her mom, dad, and 2 sisters. At the age of 4, she was diagnosed with hemophagocytic blood disorder, which quickly progressed into acute myeloid leukemia. One of her sisters gave a bone marrow transplant. Emily endured two rounds of chemotherapy before undergoing a bone marrow transplant from her younger sister, Caroline, in February 2006. After a short remission, the cancer returned and Emily passed at the age of only 6.
Since I started training for this race in May, several similar stories have jumped out of the wood work from friends and complete strangers. I found out that one of our KFOR photographer's mother died of Leukemia when he was only 12 years old. One of my close high school friend's little brother was diagnosed with a blood cancer a little over a year ago. Thankfully, treatment worked and currently there is no trace of the cancer.
These stories keep me motivated and will ultimately help me cross the finish line tomorrow afternoon. All the money raised from my training will go towards families impacted by Leukemia & Lymphoma and towards research. I'd like to think that all of this work may one day allow for a little girl like Emily to survive and live a long, healthy life. Click here for another survivor's inspiring story. She is training for the Walt Disney half marathon through Team in Training!
The race is only one day away! I can't believe it! I am so excited, anxious, and bit nervous all at the same time. I will tell you I've enjoyed tapering and carb loading.
Joleen and I went to Trattoria El Centro yesterday in downtown OKC. I had a groupon to use and thought this would be a perfect place to carb load! I told our waitress but I think she thought we were crazy. Maybe because we ordered an eggplant parm appetizer, alfredo pasta, and pizza. Yes, we ate all but 3 slices of the pizza. Oh, and don't forget the 2 pieces of focaccia bread at the start! It was delish but FILLING...and I loved it! Boom!
Last night I went to the Matt Nathanson/Train/Maroon 5 concert for a friend's birthday. I was good! I did not drink and stuck with water! Hydrating is key! What a great concert! It was also a great way to get my mind off things for a bit.
This morning we tested out the swim course...sort of. The buoys aren't up yet but it was my first time swimming in Lake Hefner. First of all, due to recent rain, the walk to the lake is very muddy. I mean cover-your-whole-foot kind of muddy. I will have to keep an extra water bottle handy to clean my feet for transition tomorrow.
It's going to be a chilly start tomorrow morning! But with the wetsuit on, the water felt good. It was a bit choppy...I hope the winds actually stay down. Always seems like Lake Hefner has a breeze even when the winds are "calm." Notice how I'm rocking the Mizzou sweatpants? The Mizzou v. OU game is tomorrow! I will have to watch while recovering and cheering on my friends doing the FULL Ironman! I can't imagine doing that!
Thanks to my parents, brother, and family dog for sending "good luck" flowers! What a great surprise! If you are free, please come and cheer on all the triathletes at Lake Hefner on Saturday! We've worked really really hard for this! Let's show the out of staters why Oklahomans are such great people!