Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Forever Changed-Part One

"Courage is the Price life extracts for granting peace."  -Amelia Earhart

After running 26.2 miles

My Dad died the day after Father's Day.
It was a beautiful June evening...the kind
my Dad liked best.

Hours before he closed his eyes
one last time I sat 
on the edge of his bed, stroking his
forehead...feeling the warmth of his skin.

I knew it would be the last time I felt
him that way. The end of his life
was near and I was saying my 

As he lay there, weak and unable 
to speak...I made my Daddy a 
I told him I would change my life.
I would live each and everyday.
I would never, ever take another moment for granted.

"I PROMISE you, Dad."

Three years later I found myself,
sitting in a conference room in 
Gladstone, Missouri...
signing up for the Leukemia Society's 
Team in Training.

A few of my teammates

"The power to change yourself is the power to change the world around you."  -Anwar Sadat

From January to June 1999
I trained 6 days a week. 
Now you MUST know that before this
I was NOT a runner. I was in shape...but running
had never been something I did.
I was determined though and 
soon found myself running 
and training
and getting 

An excerpt from my training journal

What makes Team in Training so unique...
is that not only do you train and run a marathon...
you train and run with a TEAM.
And if that weren't cool enough
we were all able to meet with the 
sweet, little girl we were running for...
Melody. She was only 7 years old and had 
already been battling the ugly disease.

Part of my Team with Melody. That's me in the red jacket on back right.

"Life is lived in the present. Yesterday has gone, tomorrow is yet to be. Today is the miracle.

I live in Maryville...approx. 100 miles north of Kansas City.
My Team trained in KC every Saturday 
and I was determined to make EACH Team day. 
But just how would that work??

Keep in mind my son Jackson was just 4
 and Emma wouldn't turn 
two until May. 
Along came my MOM to the rescue!
Every Saturday 
{approx. 20}
Dave and I would get up at 3:30 AM,
shower, get the kids ready, take them 
to Grammy's and hit the road.
Our runs were often in south KC
so that meant longer driving time.
And did I mention they started at 6 or 6:30 AM?

Jacks, Me and my Mom at the Pasta Dinner the night before the race.

"Confidence is the inner voice that says you are becoming what you are capable of being." 

I know you can't read what I wrote here is an excerpt....

"This was a turning point in my life....14 miles with Team. I can walk this...even though it's the longest distance I've ever done! A few blocks into my walk I spied Terri and Lora. They were running so I decided to try and keep up. I challenged myself beyond my comfort zone. We amazed ourselves by running 2 miles without walking. What the heck, we thought...let's see how far we can go! 2 miles turned into 3. 4, then 7 our turning point. We were feeling strong. We kept going. By Mile 10 my left leg was going completely numb. I wanted to STOP! To walk. To keep myself going I would only look at Terri and Lora's feet pounding the pavement, very rhythmic. My lungs felt like they were going to burst. At Mile 12 I said  FORGET IT! I was limping...The girls looked at me said... We have gone this far, Les...LET'S GO!! I went. I hurt. I wanted to cry. At last we came to Mile 14. I had made it! I felt so POWERFUL! ACCOMPLISHED! I grinned the rest of the day! My life was evolving into something I had only imagined. What a feeling to be living a long sought after dream. My anthem from this day on has been the song "Change in my Life" from the movie "Leap of Faith". One of my DAD'S fave films."

**Be sure and listen to that song at the end of this post. You will LOVE it!

Here is a story they did during my training. This article and race gave me courage to ask if I could write a column for the paper. I went on to write my column "View from the Front Porch" for several years.

Running this marathon 14 years ago completely changed my life, girls. I will share more photos and the finish line with you in Fridays post. Thanks so much for taking the time to read!

Here is my song Change in my Life


  1. Wow! You are an inspiration. I was moved to read about the loss of you Dad and your dedication to make the change in your life. It takes such commitment to do what you have - getting up at 3.30am when you have 2 small children. Well done you! Looking forward to reading more of your journey.

  2. Wow! So inspiring Leslie! I'm floored by your decication and commitment!

  3. Les, I have tears in my eyes as I read this post. I actually read it a day ago, and couldn't write a comment - I was so overcome with emotion. My father-in-law passed away the day after Father's Day 7 years ago. It's an awful time for a beloved father to be taken from the world . . . But then again, no time is easy. I felt like I was doing that run right along with you, reading your experience and all that you went through. I am so sorry that both our dads were taken from us. I have always felt connected to you because I know you adored your dad as much as I adored mine. they are with us, Les. each and every day. and I am so proud of you and all you have done. Keep living each and every day to the fullest. I believe in you!!!


I appreciate your thoughts and ideas...they inspire me!! I will be visiting you soon. Have a CREATIVE day!!

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