Thursday, June 19, 2008

Erv's Angels

I'm still recovering from that nasty flu bug from yesterday. My mom called it "the Mocus". So, now that's what I call it. I guess because it kind of sounds like "mucus", and it seems like a less disgusting way of saying I've been puking my guts out, and suffering from "Montezuma's revenge".

I woke up this morning feeling significantly better, until I stood up and then the world started spinning...again. Then, I thought, Oh, I just need to eat, since I didn't eat all day yesterday. Once I got something in my tummy, that woozy, churning in my stomach resumed. Yuck.

I can deal with being sick...I mean, heck, yesterday, the kids played outside ALL DAY and I finished a book. Actually, other than feeling like CRAP (no pun intended), it's kind of nice to lay around all day, sleeping and reading.

Except that my house is completely torn apart, and I have a friggin' race tomorrow, that now, I'm really, really....( x 10) nervous for. I was OK, mentally, about it until yesterday. How can I run a relay, overnight, with no sleep, when I haven't eaten anything in 2 days?
Hopefully, by this afternoon, I can actually eat something without getting nauseous, and I'll be Ok.

Laurie offered to run my legs for me. She offered to run both her legs and my legs. That was really nice of her, but there is NO WAY that my pride will let me do that, sick or not.
I'm running, baby. No if, ands, or buts! It might hurt a little more, I might be slower, but I'll survive.

I've never really talked about our relay team. We have kind of unique story. We were originally called "Insanity Prevails". But, after Laurie's Dad, Erv, who was going to run on our team, was diagnosed with lung cancer (he's been a super marathon runner for many years), given a year or so to live, and then shockingly, had multiple strokes, and passed away about a month ago. So, we changed our name to "Erv's Angels" in honor of him. Laurie wrote a beautiful story about it, and sent it in to the Ragnar officials for the race.

I would post a link to it to save space, but I only have it in a word doc, so here it is:
Myomed Ragnar Relays,

I am writing to tell you my story of our Ragnar team. For the last three years I have had a team that included my Mom (63), Dad (64), sister and myself, Laurie. I want to give a little background on my family. Almost 30 years ago my family took up “jogging”. This was around 1980 and our whole family participated in numerous “Fun Runs”. We started in the two mile races and progressed to the 10K’s. My sister and I both ran cross country and track in junior high and high school. My parents moved onto marathons and triathlons and we all became very dedicated “runners”. When my sister and I were younger we manned many aid stations, drove the support vehicle for triathlons and otherwise watched my parents live a very active lifestyle. We both carry on the tradition. In 2005, I heard of the Wasatch Back Relay and immediately wanted to be involved. I got my family and eight others crazy enough to participate and signed up. We loved every second of it. (We were the “Easier With A Dozen” team). We also competed in 2006 (12 Megahurtz) and 2007 (Y M I Do N This). In preparation for this year’s race I called my family in January and asked if they were in. Of course they said YES! We put together a team and were all set.

Unfortunately, on the day my Father, Erv Olen, retired, March 26, 2008, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. At the time we were all training for a half marathon and he had done a ten mile run within weeks of being diagnosed. He seemed perfectly healthy. They gave us reason to hope that he might live for a year to a year and a half. As can be imagined this was devastating news. He was determined to fight this and very hopeful that he could. We all hoped and believed that almost 30 years of running would allow him to beat this, or at least give him longer than the predicted 1.5 years. As he began Chemo and radiation treatment we all realized that he would have to sit out the Wasatch Back Relay this year. So we found someone to replace him. My Mom decided that she, too, would forego the race this year as she was busy (and wonderfully) taking care of my father. As we replaced them we did so with the expectation that next year we would be doing it together again.

We have since learned that sometimes cancer wins. We lost my wonderful, dedicated, active, crazy, and encouraging father very unexpectedly to cancer on May 9, 2008. As his impending death approached and we as a family struggled to deal with this tragedy, my Mother came to me and said, “I want to be in the relay.” I contacted the person who was the last member to join our team and asked if he would be willing to give up his spot. He graciously stepped aside and allowed her in. Someone else on our team suggested we rename our team “Erv’s Angels” and run in his honor. We were all touched and everyone on the team eagerly accepted the suggestion. We wanted to run for him.

So far this has been a wonderful event to prepare for. We are having t-shirts made up with a specially designed logo in his honor. It’s been a meaningful and rewarding experience and provided an opportunity to remember and reminisce about all of the races and events that my father participated in.

As we approach this race and look forward to completing it, I will always believe that my Dad is watching us with a smile on his face. We are living the life that he always wanted us to live. One of our team’s members described my Dad’s fight with cancer as being similar to the way a distance runner approached a long race: with “courage, poise and grit.” That was an apt description of my Father.

We love and miss him and will think of him during the race. Thank you for the opportunity this race has provided us as a family to spend quality time together. Please watch for “Erv’s Angels” on the course and know that we have a thirteenth member along with us.



The Motherboard said...

Oh my goodness! that made start crying buckets over here!
That was beautiful! I just love Laurie and her girls... I am sure you will all be wonderful, and Erv will help you along Sherrie!

Good luck tomorrow! This WILL be worth it!! You are awesome!

Jen said...

What a great story, your friend sounds like a neat gal! Good luck this weekend, what a great team to be a part of! I hope you feel better and I know you'll do an amazing job!