Day 7: Gratitude

We got to sleep in!! Wake up call was at 5am. I can honestly say that I am starting to enjoy this early morning waking up and exercising!! We’ll see how long it lasts when I’m done ­čśë

Today was by far the strongest my legs felt. My blisters had turned to calluses so I didn’t feel them at all and I didn’t make terrible noises every time I started running because there was hardly any pain!!

Today I dedicated┬áto family. To my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. You all were there when I was diagnosed and have been a great support since. To my in- laws, I am so incredibly blessed to be a part of your amazing family. Thank you for loving me for who I am and supporting me in all I do. To all of YOU, your posts, texts, messages, emails, and just incredible support. I truly couldn’t have done any of this without you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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I was greeted at my start by all of these incredible people who were ready to run, walk, bike, rollerblade the day with me!! Luckily today we only had 19 miles to do!!

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A few miles in we were running near Amish country and a buggy passed by. My mom asked if I could get my picture with the man which then lead to getting a ride in the buggy.

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It was so awesome to have so many people out supporting me and getting a glimpse of what I ran the past 6 days. It got pretty toasty so I was glad we didn’t have as long to go today!!

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I spy orange. Must be a potty break in the cornfield

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After mile 4 a sheriff showed up to our stop because he said that this was unusual activity in the country and was curious as to what we were doing. After we explained what was going on, he gave us a police escort on the busier roads and checked in on us throughout the day.

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Today was definitley not a flat day. We pushed up some pretty brutal hills. Thank goodness for training in NC. My Aunts rode up the largest hill like this. It was pretty impressive!!

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It was awesome to have my mother and father in-law as well as my sister and brother in-law out there running and riding!! Love you guys so much.

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There were always lots of different games I played throughout the week such as ‘how many people can I get to wave’ or ‘how many different animals can I find.’ Today’s game was a version of I spy: I spy baby racoons on top of the tree and I spy orange up and down the road!! It was pretty awesome to see!!

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It was awesome to have my cousins and aunts and grandma here to cheer me on, run, ride, and provide lots of laughs!! Love you all.

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With the Kaminski girls, it doesn’t matter how far you’ve run, how late you were up, or what you have going on, there’s always a little time for some dancing and goofiness

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My sister Lauren and her boyfriend took care of our dog Sierra for the week, so they brought her up for the finish too!! I missed my little partner in crime.

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This was after mile 12. It was starting to get blazing hot and the roads were starting to get busier but these guys were right by my side!!

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I also got a police escort for 2 of the last 3 miles into Medina. I truly felt like a celebrity. Pretty unbelievable!!

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The last mile I ran/ walked all by myself. I cried the entire way. It was definitely some bittersweet tears. Tears of gratitude for all of the incredible people I have in my life. A few tears because I was sad it was over. Lots of tears because I was so ready to celebrate and take the next step in this chapter. Even more tears as I reflected on my week and thought about a close friend who is going through a tough situation. It just reminded me that life is so short to get caught up in the pettiness. We truly never know what tomorrow may bring, which is why I do everything in my power to enjoy each moment of each day.

I was greeted at the finish line by all of my family and a couple friends who were stopping traffic, cheering, crying, and laughing with me. It was such an incredible feeling to know I accomplished something many thought I was crazy for doing or questioned my sanity. What a feeling.

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There is no way I would have ever succeeded this week without these two incredible people. This is not an easy job and by no means is it for everyone. Thank you Kendra for becoming like a sister and Tim like a dad. I appreciate everything you did.

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I challenge you to take a few minutes every day to put your cell phone down, get off of social media and be present in the moment wherever you are. I never thought running through corn and soybean fields for 7 days could teach me so much, but what a lesson I have learned. Be in the moment.

Much love to you all and some day I may have words to describe how you all got me through this past week, but for now all I have to say is a simple Thank you!!

 

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Day 6: A leap of faith

3:45 couldn’t come soon enough this morning because I got to see my husband, Andy. He drove 9 hours from NC getting only 3 hours of sleep and sleeping in his car just to be able to spend the day with me. Now that is true love!! It was so incredible to have him here by my side.

Today was dedicated to my faith and my incredibly supportive husband Andy. I truly believe God has a plan for all of us as long as we listen. So grateful that I listened to Him when He put Andy in my life. He is the most supportive, positive, and adventure seeking person I know. I am a better person because of you, Andrew. Love you

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I wore different shoes today that I really didn’t like during my training but they are ultra running shoes, so they have more cushion. My legs were a mess after yesterday, so I decided to give them a try today. Holy cow did they make a huge difference. I didn’t feel my blister and I ran most of the day.

It was another incredible sunrise and was actually chilly as I started running, so of course I wanted to get as many miles in before it got blazing hot out again.

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Today was full of some awesome rolling hills. Some were definitely a bit more challenging than others, but it reminded me of being back home in Raleigh during my training so I stretched out my stride and dominated those bad boys. My legs were enjoying it so much they told me to keep going, so I busted out 28 miles so we would have less to do tomorrow!!

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My reflection today was all about taking a leap of faith.There is so much that we all are faced with in life and we all face very different things. However, one thing I have learned in the past but truly forgot until the last 6 days of this incredible journey, is in order to grow as a person and have an impact in this world, we all have to take a leap of faith and believe that we will be given wings to survive. There is no way I would be where I am today if I did not put myself out there and hope, pray, and believe that God was going to take care of me.

Faith has always been important to me, but is something that I definitely lost and grew away from for the past several years for many different reasons. About 6 months ago, Andy and I took a huge leap of faith and stepped WAY out of our comfort zone and decided to join a small group of young couples from our church. We knew no one and had no clue what to expect, so we went in with an open mind to give it a try. All I can say is that we are so glad we listened to a calling that we were very unsure of but felt right. These are some of the most down to earth, incredible people who met us where we are in our faith, and are walking with us along our journey. It’s all about taking a leap of faith wherever you are in your life.

I definitely took a leap of faith opening my life up to Andy. It was not something that was easy but he made me feel so comfortable and it was like we knew each other for years after meeting each other once. He is one of the most incredible people I know. I couldn’t imagine anyone else by my side. It was so great to have him here today to see what my journey has been like over the past 6 days.

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The biggest thing I have learned this week is to be in the moment and to truly appreciate it. Put your phone on silent, put aside the schedule and just live right now in this moment. Even if it’s just for a little bit each day. None of us know what the next moment may hold so enjoy it NOW!

Here are some fun photos from our day:

I have gotten used to dogs coming down the drive way to protect their house but definitely not a goat
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This is some of the farm equipment that I have seen more than cars over the past 6 days

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I passed this little produce stand where they have the honor system and you pay and take. I had $2 on me so I was tempted to get some squash and zucchini but then I quickly remembered I’d have to carry it 4 miles.

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Tim found some cans for my dad’s collection.

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There’s always time to stop and pose on a bridge

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It was such a relief when I looked down the road and saw this awesomeness coming towards me

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I think this is the closes I’ve come to a horse in about 15 years. Horses and I don’t always get along. See it’s all about getting out of your comfort zone.

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My mom, Grandma and Aunt Ginny drove from Indianapolis tonight to be here for the finish tomorrow, so they brought us a little picnic dinner at our campsite!! So excited to see my sisters and in laws tomorrow!!!

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It’s so hard to believe that I have only 1 day and 19 miles to go. You all have been with me every step of this journey and I couldn’t be more grateful. I truly couldn’t have done it without you.

We don’t have to be up until 5:00 tomorrow!! Yippee!!! Have a great weekend!!

Day 4: Find the positives

Our alarm at 3:45am was soon followed by a thunderstorm. I was a little relieved at first thinking I could get more sleep, but then I quickly remembered what happens in the Midwest after rain/thunderstorms: crazy humidity. Therefore, we went through our normal routine and headed to the starting point for the day at normal time (5:30am) hoping the storms would pass. Along the way we picked up my dad who drove from Indianapolis late last night!!

Today was dedicated to┬áall of my middle and high school cross country and track teammates (and classmates) as well as all of the running and sports coaches I’ve had in my life. I learned many life lessons from all of you especially my Pops!!! He was with me at every cross country and track meet coaching, cheering, and reminding me to relax my shoulders. Well he’s here today to keep coaching and running with me. Love you Toddo!

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We all face daily challenges and whether you live with MS or not most likely you don’t even know what those daily challenges are going to be. Your plans may not go exactly how you wanted, maybe something unexpected happens, maybe your dinner gets burned (I’ve never done that ;), and when you live with MS some days just lifting a leg to get out of bed can be a challenge. But no matter what ┬ádaily challenges you may face, there is ALWAYS at least 1 positive thing that you can find. Today was one of those days that brought forth some mental and physical challenges, which made find the little positive things even more important.

Some of my challenges today:

1. It was raining for the first 8 miles and my socks and shoes got all wet

2. I have some gnarly blisters that turned to calluses and wet socks don’t help that

3. I started on busier roads today with a small shoulder so there was a lot more dodging cars, stopping to let cars pass, getting sprayed with all the water after semis went by, and not too many cornfields to pee in.

4. My legs were feeling pretty sore.

However, if I would have dwelled on these challenges all day there is no way in hell that I would have made it the whole 26 miles. So here are the positives that I got me through the run:

1. It was raining which meant that there were lots of puddles to jump in and that is one of my absolutely favorite things to do (besides run in the rain)

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2. My dad was able to run/bike with me. Because of logistics of moving the RV to a new campground he had to drive along and meet up with me but it was the best feeling when I saw him riding or running towards me. Thanks Pops!!

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3. I have never had blisters like this before so my feet are getting tougher and if that is the only pain I have, well I can deal with it.

4. While I love the sunshine, but when I’m running in Farmland Ohio, I love the clouds even more. Today was an absolutely incredible running day which gave me the strength to push through!

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5. Dad always collected cans on our walk/runs growing up so today he collected a whole bunch and is going to turn them in and donate the money to the run. Thanks, Dad for teaching me the importance of taking care of the earth we live on!

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6. When Sloan and Anne came to run on Monday we all ran in animal hats. Of course my had to be orange so I chose the Tiger. I texted Sloan because this tiger needed a name. He ┬ásaved the day during yesterday’s intense run so I have worn him every day since. Naturally he came up with the name JT the Tiger after our good friend James who was the most incredible person. Anyone who met James instantly had a smile on their face and became a better person. James lost is fight with Leukemia and is not one of the most incredible angels watching over us. JT, you are with me every step of the way and I couldn’t be more honored to be your friend.

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7. Hitting the 100 mile mark. I actually made it to 104 miles, which means I am in the double digits my friends!! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!

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8.Getting all of the texts, emails, posts from all of you. Words can’t really explain how you all are on this run with me. I know I’m not in this alone and that means more than you know!

Just remember when you are faced with a daily challenge, there has got to be something positive that can come from it.

Time for some sleep…Never would I dream that I would think getting up at 4 am is sleeping in!!!

 

Day 2: Running with Wild animals

So today started a bit differently with a 3:45 am wake up call. Of course I fought it at first because mornings and I are still working on our relationship. However, I knew that it would be so much cooler running and I got to run with some pretty awesome people today, so I got moving a little bit faster!

Today I dedicated my run to┬ámy DG sisters, BGR friends, and all of the other Boilermakers that have impacted my life. College is a time where you grow and change as a person and when you are told you have MS at the age of 18 you have 2 choices: 1. Let MS take over or 2. Take over MS. Definitely couldn’t have dominated this disease without out all of my college party people who taught me what friendship and living in the moment truly means. So grateful for each of you!

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We got started around 6am and it made a world of a difference temperature wise! There was some pretty thick fog, but I was so incredibly grateful to have one of my best friends from college and his wife who drove from Cincinnati and ran with me all day long!! It made today go so much faster and I ran a lot more today, which mean I got done a lot sooner!!

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There’s just something about running on country roads, listening to nature, and taking in what God has created for us. Today was a day to do just that. Lots of flat corn and soybean fields, but it was awesome!!

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We finished around 2pm today, enjoyed some delicious Mexian food for lunch and headed to our new campsite for the next couple days!

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2 days and 52 miles done. I’m feeling great with a little soreness and a couple blisters but that is nothing to complain about!! Feeling grateful for all of the love and support from some many people in my life. You guys ROCK my world!!

 

Bags are packed and emotions are flying

It’s so unreal to think that 8 months ago, I received the acceptance card from Ashley to be a part of the 2014 MS Run the US relay team. I remember thinking, “oh that’s in July, I’ve got a really long time.” Well, my friends, July is here and I begin my segment in just 2 short days!!!

As I have been packing and preparing for this incredible adventure, I have been, once again, reassured that I have some of the most incredible, supportive, encouraging, positive, MS butt kicking friends and family.

My friend Erica has been helping me so much with strength training, stretching, coaching, and just keeping the nerves calm. When we got done with our last session this week, Erica gave me this awesome care package. You’re the best, Erica!!

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On Wednesday, I went to lunch with Monica and Paula from the Greater Carolinas Chapter of the NMSS. These two women are the main reason I even found out about MS Run the US when they invited me to attend the National MS Leadership Conference this past year. Everyone at the entire Greater Carolinas Chapter has been so supportive and encouraging and they all came together and made this awesome care package. Thank you everyone for all you do for this fight!

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Then, after lunch, I came home to this very unexpected package from 3 of the guys who have kept me active, keep me laughing, and remind me to live life to it’s fullest. ┬áIt’s a bravelet bracelet and part of the proceeds go to Can Do MS foundation. Thank you Scott, Kyle, and Craig for this incredible bracelet and for your friendship.

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Needless to say, my emotions have been flying, and I am overwhelmed by all of this love and support, so to top it all off, some of my running girls and great friends all chipped in and made me the BEST gluten free/running care package a girl could ever get. Thank you, Kristin, Jackie, Katie N., Katie P., Jen, Jenny, and Leigh for your thoughtfulness and awesomeness!!

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And now my wrists are filled with incredible, meaningful bracelets. photo 2 (1)

My left arm muscles are going to be extra strong by the end of the week. ­čśë

This morning, I had coffee with one of my college girlfriends and she of course got my emotions going again. Thanks Jame for my 1 card a day. I will be sure to share those tears with you every day!! Love you.

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So for now, we have a quick pit stop in Columbus, OH for our friends Shannon and Jon’s wedding and to see my little sister and her boyfriend!

Stay tuned for many more updates. You all ROCK MY WORLD! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!