They said "She's waiting for you"

I haven't talked about M or E recently, let's just say it's difficult losing a loved one. 

M was a cancer warrior for six years. The last five months were tough with a few chemo treatments sending her to the hospital before making the decision to stop treatment and begin hospice care.

Last week my husband and I video skyped with my parents from Sydney, showing them the Opera House, the ocean and a few other places. M was doing great, two weeks ago she felt so good that she told me, "I feel so good Mari, don't be surprised if I'm here next Christmas".

She went to bed Saturday night and didn't wake up on Sunday, still with us but non-responsive. 

Just hours after getting back from Australia I received a call to come home. Due to weather and flight schedules it took two days for me to get home. I didn't think I would get there in time. I walked into my parents home Tuesday night at 11PM, hugged M, told her 'I love you', took her hand and sat next to her bed. I looked up to see tears from her closed eyes. She knew I was there.

We sat together for two hours, when I mentioned her mom she teared up again. M died a few hours later. At home. In her bed, looking so peaceful.

It's hard to explain but she found a way to wrap us in love as she left the world Wednesday morning - leaving us missing her terribly but filling our hearts with the miracle we experienced in her last hours with us, here on earth.

Just before I left yesterday, my dad found this photo in her purse so it's only fitting that I include it (my son Andrew with his Gaga, taken last summer). 

I love you M!

Hello from Sydney!

It's Saturday morning here, in Sydney.  Tomorrow we pack up and move to another location and I can't wait!  We are heading inland to the Blue Mountains and will touch the Outback before returning back to Sydney (and then sadly... home).

Here's a photo from my four hour hike to Manly North Head.  I love hearing the sound of the ocean crashing on the rocks (my sunburn is from this hike, so the sun did eventually appear).

Being here has made me shift my view on food and I am going to attempt to make some dietary changes. More on that later.... but can I tell you how much better everything tastes here?  I can't explain it but the banana's taste amazing.  I will miss the food here and that's a statement coming from me!

Ultra Marathon (50K): I'm as ready as I can be!

~ a shirt I will be wearing
keeping Eleanor close ~
What am I going to talk about after this weekend?  For months YOU have been training with me so I ask you...are you ready for Saturday? 

I have dedicated the run to my friend Eleanor.  Eleanor is a warrior, diagnosed with stage 4 Inflammatory Breast Cancer June 2007.

Last January she was trying to earn a place on the US National Women's Kayak Polo Team, balancing cancer treatment and training would be tough but she was ready.

She made the team but everything changed after learning she had 30 tumors in her brain. She blogs, 'Results are back.  I do have cancer in my brain.  Lots of it'. 

Eleanor continues to defy the odds, finding ways to outwit cancer to stay alive.

Running:  Just before I moved I was lucky enough to spend time with her - she told me she wasn't done fighting.  She spent Christmas with her husband and three children and earlier this week I had good news for her.  Eleanor will be running with me Saturday.  I will be wearing two bibs, one for each of us.  We are doing this together.

Not an hour goes by when I do not think of Martha and Eleanor, most of the time it's a simple thought like 'I hope you are having a good day'.  They are part of me, they make me a better person. They are fighting to stay alive, I can surely cross a finish line. It's nothing compared to the race they are running.

Timing and Weather:  Based on my long run, 27 miles in 4:54 I should be able to finish the 33 mile run in less than 7 hours.  The trail is icy, post blizzard and snow is in the forecast tomorrow.  I'm mentally prepared for this since it's out of my control.  Could make for an interesting day!

Cheer for us!

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