September 1, 2017

It’s not about waking up one morning, lacing up your running shoes and you’re off. For me, it started 2 decades ago with a 1/2 mile run. It also began with a remark from my oldest brother John, on congratulating his success at the 2002 Kings Trail Triathlon in 2002.  A master’s swimmer, an avid cyclist and, this time a winner in his age group:“John, this is incredible!”. And as only a big brother can, he said,
“What’s wrong with you?”. My response, without hesitation or thought, I chirped
“See you next year!”.Not a swimmer, not a cyclist, and not a runner, reality set in. I realized so much of my life had elapsed without taking any type of physical conditioning seriously. Many who excel at multi-sports like triathlons are gifted with the right composite of grit, gut, and genetics. I’m also quick to say that Triathlons are also strongly supported by all athletic levels, and well-suited for all ages and abilities. I did show up the next year and raced with 2 of my brothers John and Tim. When I finished, it was a mix of feelings teetering between disbelief and amazement.

Here’s what I learned.
#1. You quickly learn to set aside personal insecurity.
#2. Self-doubt had prevented me from sports in the past.
#3. I decided that, through the most difficult part of training, that life and personal conviction will allow you to strip barriers and push towards things you have never realized before.
#4 You develop self-actualization that helps you overcome those moments when you most fear failure.
#5 You chose action over fear.

The transformation from physical and introspective neglect to a fresh start and new running shoes began. A sprinkle of star dust in my universe led to a complete change in my life. And it was with this that a new sense of healing, love, and joy for life began. Through this journey, I have been so fortunate to meet a very special friend, Cari Fonseca. Today, this is about her, but in a future blog, I’ll tell you about our meeting.

Cari is that person in your life that you meet, and instantly, you realize, she is a superhuman force of nature.  She is all that I may only aspire to emulate. Her bright energy can light up Texas.  Her positive outlook is unstoppable.   Her determination endless.

Look a little further, and you will see her unloading her 200-lb son from the car and into the rolling stroller. Look a little further and you will realize her son Brandon is very special. Special to be alive, special to have cheated death, and even more special to have Cari for his Mom.

It could have been anyone of us, any son or daughter out for an afternoon of fun with friends. It could have been anyone of us to receive a call that your young adult son had been involved in a fatal car crash and would not survive the injuries himself. In an instant, Cari’s life changed. In an instant, her shock and disbelief were displaced by a mother’s instinct for her son. In an instant, she was at the hospital waiting for word.

It was a moment that played forward in slow motion for Cari and her family. Minutes seemed like hours, days felt like weeks of not knowing if Brandon would survive.  In an instant, the gripping reality of him causing a fatality crash was there. No time to cry, no time to cope, just time to cling to your core for survival. Those moments no one can imagine.

From the tragedy of the accident, Brandon survived. But the effects of his physical injuries coupled with traumatic brain injury have left Cari with a beautiful son.  By graces we will never understand, he lives an extraordinary life. The accident and immediate crisis pale in comparison to what Cari has had to overcome to care for her son in the years since the accident.

When Brandon is smiling a wide as the ocean in the running stroller, or on an outing, you will know immediately why Cari took to the streets as part of their joint rehabilitation. Cari’s determination, love and spirit have guided her through the worst of life to represent the best in life, not to mention countless marathons pushing Brandon.

Cari serves as a model to us for how to make a difference in the light of such tragedy. Instead of defeat and resentment, Cari has chosen a different path. Her whole is dedicated to a mission, the mission of the truth behind the life altering dangers of drinking and driving. Cari has spoken to students, family, adults, and anyone who will listen. Choices matter. She is committed to sparing everyone from a similar fate. She believes in helping folks understand it’s about avoiding dangerous situations behind the wheel and taking your life and those lives of ones that love you into reckless jeopardy. She is a force of change in our thinking, and it matters. It matters a lot.

Of the little we can all do, we can support her race in December. Join me in my commitment to continue racing for Team Brandon and helping to save lives, one at a time. Hug your children and loved ones today. Here’s how you can make a difference.

Join us in December for National Impaired Driving Prevention Month!

Also, a shout out to my running partner, Jake. Every day, he wakes up with boundless enthusiasm for our run, especially when mine is waning. There is no saying “not today, Jake!”. His love for running clearly has been my runway to daily dedication. Find your reason to lace up today, and make it 1/2 mile at a time. Go Team Brandon!


Published by NOT A RUNNER

​I’m a multi-sport enthusiast, aspiring yoga practitioner, chef and Momma to my family. I love life, friends, and family. I’m on an endless journey to make life better for me and those who surround my family’s life. View all posts by NOT A RUNNER

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