Snapshot Challenge Saturday

For this week’s Snapshot Challenge, I wanted to use an awesome picture from last weekend’s Miami Half Marathon. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the work we have to do and in everyday life too, but it’s important to stop and notice the beauty around us whenever we get the chance to do so. Nature’s beauty is constantly surrounding us, but it’s ultimately up to us as to whether we decide to enjoy it or not.

View from Venetian Causeway

View from Venetian Causeway in Miami Beach

Completing My First Half Marathon

Yesterday I ran my first half marathon (13.1 miles) and it was such an incredible experience, to say the least. To have weeks of training pay off and to say that I was able to accomplish something I would have never thought possible, was extremely reassuring and motivating. We arrived at the American Airlines Arena, at 5:00 in the morning, along with 20,000 other runners from eighty countries and all fifty States. The race officially began at 6:15 but since my brother, sister, and I were assigned to the last corral, it must have been close to 6:50 by the time we finally started. We crossed the Miami Causeway, passing by the Port of Miami where all of the cruise ships were docked. As we made our way into South Beach, we ran along Ocean Drive, home to the Versace Mansion as well as the Miami Art Deco District. From there, we cut through a few streets which led us to the Venetian Causeway, before passing through Downtown Miami and finally arriving back to the Miami Airlines Arena.

The nonstop energy from the runners, and the support from local spectators are what truly made the half marathon so worthwhile. People held posters, passed out energy chews, and offered high-fives as we ran past them, but hearing their cheers and words of encouragement helped us make it to the end. Some of the more comical posters like “Chafe now, brag later,” “Why do all of the cute ones always run away,” and the ones pictured below showed how supportive the locals were, making the event that much more enjoyable. It was beyond rewarding to cross the finish line and know that hard work and determination really did pay off. Not to mention, with the help of family members, friends, and fellow bloggers, we were able to raise $1,200 and counting for Misioneros Del Camino, a home to abandoned, neglected, and abused children in Guatemala.

Setting a goal and working towards it, achieving the goal, and running for a cause has been an unforgettable experience and I am so glad that I was able to follow through with it. I can’t help but wish that running in a half marathon was on my bucket list so I could say I successfully completed it. However, it was still rewarding, nonetheless! While describing their running experience, I heard someone after the marathon exclaim that the only person who ever doubted her crossing the finish line was herself. But it just comes to show that when you have your mind set on something, all you need is persistence and a little support to help you reach your goal. In an attempt to make myself sound like a master runner, I won’t tell you what kind of pain my legs were in after the race and how difficult it was to get into and out of the car on the way home. I’ll instead mention that I’m considering signing up for another half marathon in the near future, so it’s looking like this will be the beginning of a great running experience!

Simple Quote Sunday

Since I’ll be running in the Miami Half Marathon this morning, I’ve pre-written this blog post and scheduled it to publish automatically (technology is pretty cool these days). As you’ve probably read throughout the week, I decided to run this half marathon to raise money and awareness for a cause I wholeheartedly believe in. But since this past week was dedicated to my training process, I thought it would only be suitable to have this week’s quote relate to running as well. And who better to quote than a well-known runner and co-founder of the New York City Marathon.

“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”
-Fred Lebow


Fred Lebow

Snapshot Challenge Saturday

Since this past week has been all about my half marathon training for Misioneros Del Camino, I wanted to dedicate my Snapshot Challenge Saturday to the cause as well. Meet Luz, whose name translates to “light” in English. Luz has autism, and came to the home a year ago. While a common aspect of autism includes impaired social interaction, Luz broke through one of autism’s biggest characteristics when she walked up to me and held my hand. It was truly a beautiful experience, and if that doesn’t follow through with my challenge of capturing beauty this year, then I don’t know what does.


Luz, or “light”

Half Marathon Training Weeks 9 and 10

The only good thing about the Half Marathon being less than two weeks away is the fact that the runs are getting smaller and smaller. The reason for this is so that I can recuperate quicker and ultimately be prepared for the big day. Week 9 has actually been one of my favorite weeks of running, not only since the distances are less than usual, but because it continues to boggle my mind thinking that I have been training for 9 weeks to reach a goal I had set for myself. In this week alone, I reached 22 miles and am anticipating the big day, which is now just one week away.

As I progress through week 10 of training, I’ll have run 26.1 miles by the end of the week, 13.1 of which will be completed at the half marathon! I keep wondering whether or not I’ll continue to run after the marathon and stick with the training, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out. The first step though, will be completing the marathon, which we can only hope actually happens.

A few days ago, I wrote about Mami Leo’s story of having started the orphanage on her own with only $2,700 to her name. She has managed to provide thousands of children with food, an education, and a home to call their own, but most importantly, she provided the children with love, which is something they never received before coming to Misioneros Del Camino. Over the past two years, Mami Leo’s health has been declining, but that hasn’t taken away from the love and care that these children still receive on a daily basis. When I last saw Mami Leo in November, I remember seeing her saying, “There is still more I need to do.” Together, we can help Mami Leo continue to fulfill her mission and help these children have the life they deserve.

The work that Mami Leo has done is what has been motivating me to train for this upcoming Sunday’s Half Marathon, and she is the reason why I continue returning to Guatemala year after year. If you would like to help contribute to this incredible cause so that we can carry out Mami Leo’s work, please feel free to click on the below link. And if you would like to learn more about Misioneros Del Camino, please feel free to clink on the bottom link.

Click on the pictures below to read the stories of each child

Half Marathon Training Weeks 7 and 8

By the end of week 6, I noticed that my right ankle was hurting every time I put pressure on it. I took a few days off from running and began cycling instead. I was only able to run 9 miles throughout the week, which was less than I had run in just one day the week before. Nerves were beginning to course through my body, seeing as the race was only three weeks away. Normally I would never complain about being given an opportunity to take a break and relax, but this definitely wasn’t a good time for me to do so. Lucky for me, a week off from running was apparently all I needed, because when I ran for the first time during the beginning of week 8, I felt better than ever! I ran 28 miles throughout the week and completed my longest distance run of 11 miles without passing out. If you ask me, I’d say that’s a success. The young girl pictured below being carried on her mother’s back is Darlin. She is 4 yrs. old and has Cerebral Palsy. They live in a very poor village about 20 miles from the Neurological Center. To bring Darlin to therapy, her mother has to carry her daughter on her back to take a bus that leaves her about 5 kilometers from the Center, and then she walks the rest of the way with her daughter on her back. To return home she does this again. She has been doing this since 2011, to help her daughter. Darlin has made fantastic progress! She is starting to take her first steps and is saying a few words. Hers is a long road, but there is hope. A few short years ago she would not had any hope and no access to help. These are the people who Misioneros Del Camino are helping – children who would normally have no access to help and parents who love their children but are too poor or isolated to get help for them. Stories like that of Darlin and her incredible mother are what have been motivating me to train for this upcoming Sunday’s Half Marathon, and they are the reason why I continue returning to Guatemala year after year. If you would like to help contribute to this incredible cause so that more children like Darlin can be helped, please feel free to click on the below link. And if you would like to learn more about Misioneros Del Camino, please feel free to clink on the bottom link.

Darlin and Her Mother

Darlin and Her Mother

Half Marathon Training Weeks 5 and 6

By this point, I’ve come to learn that there’s no point in dreading my daily runs. It’s something that has to be done, so I might as well learn to accept it and try to look forward to it. Okay, so that last part of looking forward to running was a little overboard unless I were to put a Twinkie or donut in front of the treadmill and try running towards that. But with these two weeks of training, I’m officially at the halfway mark of training, with only four weeks left until the half marathon! With the fifth and sixth weeks having concluded, I completed my longest distance run of 10 miles in one day and reached 27 miles throughout week 5 and 28 miles throughout week 6; which to put into perspective is 27 more miles than I even drive each week!

Meet Carlitos, pictured below. In May 2013, Carlitos being only 18 months old, was rescued by the authorities, when his mother was caught beating him. She beat him on a daily basis and would take him out to the yard, hose him down with cold water, then leave him in the sun all day. His skin was charred and scorched by the sun, and had bruises on his face and body, swollen by a form of malnutrition known as kwashiorkor, which, if not treated early, can cause developmental disorders, and death. Carlitos could barely stand, let alone walk. He is currently thriving and doing better than anyone could have expected.

Stories like that of Carlitos are why I am running in this week’s Miami Marathon, and why I continue returning to Guatemala year after year. If you would like to help contribute to this incredible cause so that we can help future children like Carlitos, please feel free to click on the below link. And if you would like to learn more about Misioneros Del Camino, please feel free to clink on the bottom link.