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April 21, 2011

In the Magic Kingdom: Heather with her oldest and youngest daughters...and a Fairy Godmother (not Little Bo Peep in her AARP years!)

Heather Gonzalez, a mom of three girls inIrvine,Calif., introduced herself by sending us her info and photo to be a part of our posse of Other Mother Runners. I’ll admit: She stood out because her youngest daughter, Gabby, age 4, was diagnosed with leukemia on the first day of 2011. Turns out Heather is a crack-up who has suddenly dropped her pace by nearly a minute. Love her!

Best recent run: I’m a new runner–and sloooow. I’m pretty consistently around 11:30- to 12-minute pace. Something, in the last few weeks, has suddenly just clicked with me, and every run, I’m knocking out 10:38-10:48 paces like it’s nothing. I can’t really pick ONE great run recently, because seeing my hard work and sweat pay off the last few weeks has been indescribable.

Gabby Gets Me Going: When I started running last year, I was lazy about it. I would struggle with a 12-minute pace. I never pushed. After Gabby was diagnosed with leukemia, running became more intense. I have to make each run count; each run is an hour (or two) that I’m spending away from my kids. When I’m tired, or my quads are burning, or just mentally not there, I remind myself, it’s not chemo. I’ve GOT this.

Half good, not half bad: The PCRF [Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation] Cinco De Mayo Halfwill be my second half marathon. I ran the

Heather, the Proud Princess

Disney Princess Half in February in 3:07:32. My training was limited, I took 100 pictures, and just had fun. I have worked HARD since then, and I’m heading into taper hugely confident. I feel strong. I feel fast(er). I feel ready. At the very least, it’ll be hard not  to PR!

Suck Less Challenge: The Suck Less Challenge was born from a need to cross train. I combined three Couch to 5K-type programs into one, creating a simple program that works my problem areas. It is easy to follow–every step is spelled out for you. It garnered some interest, so I’ve challenged friends and blog followers to join me, and Suck Less! It’s a combination of sit-ups, squats, push-ups, add in some plank, and voila—cross-training complete!

Pretty in… It’s not original, it’s pretty cliché, but I love pink! I don’t wear pink during my “real” life, but while I’m running, I love it: I feel strong, vibrant, colorful, sweaty, gross, and grimy, all wrapped up in a pretty pink package.

Zombie Chases Runner: I joke about preparing for the zombie apocalypse, but…truth is, I have this paranoia in the back of my mind that The Big One will strike, and I’ll be unprepared. Whenever I start remembering I live in earthquake country and want to stock up on creepy canned foods and survival bracelets, I call it “Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse.” And, what’s the first rule when dealing with zombies? Cardio.

Follow this mother at: www.365awesomedays.blogspot.com

19 Comments leave one →
  1. Lisa permalink
    April 21, 2011 6:21 am

    LOVE the Suck Less challenge!
    Sounds like she’s super funny, which I’m sure helps with her daughter.
    Glad to get some inspiration that someday even I may get faster.
    Thanks!

  2. April 21, 2011 6:31 am

    Love it! Live by the rules Heather. We’ll all be ready for the zombies.

    • Heather permalink
      April 21, 2011 10:50 pm

      Haha! I’m soooo ready. Bring it!

  3. April 21, 2011 9:43 am

    I follow Heather and love her attitude and sense of humor!

  4. Beth B. permalink
    April 21, 2011 9:47 am

    Go Heather! Great write-up; Suck Less Challenge sounds fun and good point on being prepared for the Zombies! 🙂

  5. April 21, 2011 12:16 pm

    Love this mother! Many warm wishes, love and prays for Abby! And much luck sucking less, seems to me you are kicking ass and taking names!

  6. April 21, 2011 12:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story, Heather. I popped over to your blog — love the pictures of Gabby! What a cutie. What a great reminder, too that even when we feel like a run sucks and is hard, it’s not chemo, its not so bad compared to so many other things. Best wishes to you and your family!

  7. April 21, 2011 2:04 pm

    Heather, an inspiration, indeed. Keep running strong through your family’s trials and life!! You rock. Prayers for your sweet Gabby.

  8. Laurie A. permalink
    April 21, 2011 3:17 pm

    Like you I am a new runner and finished the Disney Princess Half in the (almost) exact amount of time! Prayers for your daughter and your family. Continue to kick butt. I look forward to following your blog!

  9. Erica Richards permalink
    April 21, 2011 6:06 pm

    I can soooo relate to Heather! I trained for my first marathon this past year while my daughter was undergoing chemo for a rare kidney disease. I raised over $4000 for The Nephcure Foundation and thought of all the kids who have this disease and what they endure every single day. Makes running purposeful and great therapy. I hope your daughter is doing well and good luck on your next race!!

    • Heather permalink
      April 21, 2011 10:52 pm

      Great on the fundraising! I love running for a purpose.
      Hope your daughter is recovering well!

  10. April 21, 2011 6:21 pm

    Rule #2: Double Tap.

    Looking forward to following your blog! 🙂

  11. April 21, 2011 8:10 pm

    hahah! Suck Less Challenge! I loved that…so creative!

  12. April 22, 2011 6:14 am

    I love seeing others who were at the Princess Half – I just wish I could’ve met everyone in “real life”. What an inspiration and strong example you are for your daughters.

  13. April 22, 2011 9:55 am

    Heather, my daughter has Leukemia too (ALL). I write about it often on my blog. She was diagnosed when she was 5. Running is my therapy, and I too, just remind myself what my daughter is going through anytime I start whining about how hard running is. There is a shirt slogan for runners profiled in the Run Like a Mother book that says, “If you think this is hard, try chemotherapy!” I so have to get it. Loved reading your profile. Blessings to your family.

    • April 22, 2011 12:09 pm

      Shelley, I just read through your blog – and it was all so familiar. Hugs, and good thoughts for you. It’s such a tough road sometimes, but so, so rewarding.

  14. April 22, 2011 8:30 pm

    Haha! Rule #2 the Double Tap. Lov’n your Zombieland reference.

  15. Jacinda permalink
    April 24, 2011 7:10 am

    Heather – my heart goes out to you. My 3 year old son was diagnosed with leukemia on January 7, one day before his third birthday. While I don’t get out to run as much as I would like, it is now more than ever, my stress relief and therapy during this difficult time. Keep up the good work and all my best to you and your family.

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