...random experiences, observations and thoughts of my daily life as mommy...past journeys and dreams of journeys yet to be taken creating my life story as i go...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

the details of team JP

i am running in my first half marathon in 2 weeks...superbowl sunday...here is what i wrote about it (reason for writing beneath the e-mail):

hi jazmyn,
i'm writing on behalf of my husband. i know he intended to reply to your e-mail. we have been training together to run the surf city marathon and his story is really my story, too. i am taking a moment to share the details of our story with you even though it is most likely too late to share with the local media because i believe it is a story of LIFE and HOPE and GIVING and worth sharing, even late.
i'm not sure where the story should start...it comes full circle for both of us...you asked for a short bio and why he began to run and i suppose he can share those details. my story of "running" begins with my dad. he was quite athletic as a boy but due to a disease in his youth, arthritis and eventually breaking his neck he had to limit his exercise to brisk walking and swimming. i loved doing both of these things with him growing up. my father also loved the beach and loved to tell stories (we named our two children "sea" and "story" as my husband and i both love these things as well) i grew up inland but we spent many, many weekends at corona del mar right near the surf city course. i know my father would have been SO PROUD that i'm participating in my first half marathon. unfortunately he passed away may 28, 2006.
maggie is our leader for "team JP". she is one of my friends and was in my class in high school. her two sisters, vanessa, and amy (in my younger sister's class and later my sister's roommate in college), and amy's husband erin also went to our same high school. her sisters and their families and another family were all tragically killed in march 2009 in a nationally publicized plane crash. here is the link to the L.A. Times news story:
this past year i was on the planning committee with maggie for our 20 year h.s. reunion. our event was at the westin in south coast plaza (also near the marathon event). while we were planning our reunion, maggie mentioned that she and her sisters used to run the surf city marathon every year and she would love to have the members of the planning committee (and anyone else from the community) run this year to show our support. actually what moved me to sign up was the way she described running in her life...i wish i had recorded her word for word but wrote this during one of our reunion planning meetings (we had a morning walk during our reunion weekend lead out by maggie):
"i asked maggie for more details about her morning walk (after noticing ed wearing a very cool JP t-shirt) and it will be at 8 a.m....meet in the hotel lobby...it will be a 5k or 3.2 miles...she said to plan about an hour though it could take some people less...they will be walking in the vicinity of the hotel instead of the beach...she said she will provide JP t-shirts to all participating... this lead into a discussion of promoting it friday night at vespers to which maggie shared some appropriately timed and heartfelt thoughts on the parallels to life and lessons in the grieving process "taking it a step at a time" "everybody goes through it differently" "you don't know what each mile will bring"...she has offered to share this perspective and i thought this would be appropriate early in the vespers program as ken will be on all our minds [one of our classmates passed away just a couple weeks before the event] and i think it is a wonderful metaphor to open up the weekend events"
she has been such an inspiration of HOPE and GIVING...her family has always been so generous and supportive of so many people and they continue to give and pass on blessings (messages of hope and monetarily just to name a few) in memory of their many loved ones lost who were also so generous in their communities. the memorials for each of these people lost were phenomenally large events because their families touched so many people in so many ways...
our family in particular owes them so much. beyond the metaphors of how running can help deal with grief (this has helped me personally in the loss of my father), this summer, after our h.s. reunion, my husband's brother was in a life-threatening accident. he broke his neck and was lucky to be alive. as we struggled to get follow up care to try and rehabilitate him, it was recommended to us that maggie's husband would be a good connection. within the hour of calling the cottons to see if they could help in any way, my B-I-L was accepted into a prestigious spine center that he would very unlikely have been able to get into. after his release he was able to walk and regain nearly full function in one arm he couldn't even move before the rehab.
needless to say, my husband is also running this marathon to support the family. maggie's sisters were both married names began with "J" and "F" where they got the initials JP for the "team JP". our matching shirts list the names of the family members lost.
this will be our first half marathon. i am running for my dad, maggie and their families...i am running for my BIL and our family and i am running for myself...i am looking forward to the physical challenges involved but even more so to all the symbolism behind family members lost and family members helped...the challenge of spreading HOPE and LIFE and GIVING to others the way maggie and her family have for so many...the memories of our lost loved ones live on in so many ways...
thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share our story.
sincerely, denise
p.s. if you need any more bio info, my husband and i met in college. amy and her family were living in the same community when they were killed. maggie attended college with me as well. my husband and i now live at the beach. he is a (left out for security) and i am a stay-at-home mom. we have two children, sea (age 5.5) and story (almost 3). we love the beach and try to go there every free moment we have. we have been training for this half marathon along the boardwalk of the beaches and look forward to the location of the surf city marathon. we have been so inspired by this training that we hope to run many more marathons together in the future.
On Dec 20, 2010, at 10:04 AM, Jazmyn Lopez wrote:

My name is Jazmyn, and I work for the Surf City USA Marathon. I came across your story about how you are running to support your wife's friend Maggie who lost many members of her family in 2009. I thought it was very interesting that you are running for friends, so I have a couple of questions for you.
First off, we are looking to share people's interesting running stories with the local media (both in Huntington Beach and your own local area) and were wondering if you would mind us sharing your story. If this would be okay with you, I would appreciate it if you could expand on your story and give me a little bit more information. A short biography about you and why you began to run. How and when you started running and anything else you think would be interesting to share. I would be happy to read anything you want to write!
Please let me know either way. We will not share your story against your wishes.
Thank you very much and good luck in the race!!

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