Monthly Archives: April 2016

38 Miles – A novel

I woke up yesterday morning questioning my sanity. Over and over again, I said to myself “WHY AM I DOING THIS??”

The answer quickly came to me. That’s obvious.

So my next question was “Isn’t there a better way? Do I really have to run my age year after year to convince my friends to give clean water to people in Africa? Because I don’t want to do this again.”

I was a bundle of nerves.  I felt like garbage. I could barely eat half of my breakfast.

What’s the problem, Sinead? GO!!
I know a lot of people think this is just what I do now.
Sinead runs a lot. Sinead loves running. This must be easy for her. This must be fun for her.


I love a lot of things that happen because I run. I love finishing running. But I wouldn’t say I love the physical activity of running. I don’t care who you are, marathon distances are H.A.R.D. and scary. They are never, ever easy. At least they aren’t for me.

Plus, IT WAS SNOWING!! I hate snow. I hate cold. It’s April 7th, for goodness sake?  Is this a sign? This must be a sign. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this.

“I asked God to make it easy… instead, He gave me the ability to endure.”


No joke. The moment we pulled the Kia out of the garage, at about 8:40am, the sun peeked through the clouds. Blue skies emerged. Have you ever noticed how the sunshine just kind of changes everything? We drove right into it, 9 miles straight east on Stillwater Rd. Actually, I drove – it makes me feel more in control, and that’s what I needed. I needed to feel like I was in control of something. I don’t remember what we talked about for those 15 minutes. But even Dan didn’t understand my trepidation. “What are you worried about?”

I immediately started to feel better when I saw my friend, Tammy Kasal parked at a little Baptist church along the route. I was relieved that someone was there for me. And then when we arrived at Lakeview Hospital, we saw my friend, Nora Benshoof. My courage was increasing. I wouldn’t be alone.

Sidenote. Have you ever been at the exact place you were born on the date you were born? It’s kind of surreal. This year and last year both, I teared up a little bit when I walked through the door and down the hall toward the maternity ward. This was where it all began… and it all… has been A LOT.  Quite a journey so far, that’s for sure.

We snap a pic and off we go. About 9am.


The sun is still shining and I am running with a couple of THE MOST incredible women. It was their first time meeting so I asked them each to share a portion of their story. WOW. They give me so much COURAGE. By mile 1, I am far from nervous. The sun is shining and I’m with them. This is AMAZING!!


Running west down 75th. Photo cred: Nora

Amazing people came and went all day. Dan drove my support vehicle, so he’d drive down the road a couple miles and wait for me, or take phone calls from people who were hoping to meet me out on the course. He tells me it’s a lot of work (and I believe him) but based on the videos on my event page on Facebook, it looked like he was having fun. We were thrilled that the live tracker was working well – basically in real time.


Stopped at home from a potty/coffee break.


We started to pick up the pace at about mile 10… And at about mile 10, my lower leg started to tighten up.  I stopped to stretch the first time around mile 11.5. Rolled it a bit at 12. Again at 13. It wasn’t helping. I tried to switch up my gait a bit. It just kept getting worse. And of course, mentally I was in a bit of a tailspin. I started wondering if I was going to rupture my Achilles or do some sort of serious damage. I started getting scared.

I didn’t see Dan at all between miles 16 and 21, and I needed him. I needed to roll, or more prayer, or something. When he finally found us, I ate a PB&J and alas, I had some ibuprofen and I was desperate. Within about a mile, I was golden, moving along probably better than before. 2 miles later, I was having a good old time, and not even thinking about my leg. Hooray!!


With every person that showed up on the course, whether to run or just to say hi, my day got better and better. And when there were four or more, separate conversations began and new friends were made <— that’s my favorite.


When you’re running a marathon, the last thing you want to hear from spectators in those final miles is “YOU’RE ALMOST THERE!!”

But, when I was making the final turn into Minneapolis, crossing the Ford Bridge, and my remaining mileage was in the single digits, I kept telling myself, I’m almost there!! Maybe 2 more hours of running doesn’t seem as bad when you’ve been running for 7 already. But then the rain came. A nice hard drizzle. Either way, both were motivating factors. I was ready to be done.

People stayed with me for 10 miles in the rain!!

Then my watch died… at about 36.5 miles. The live tracker went dead and people began to wonder what happened. Fortunately, I had called out our mileage not long before so we were able to estimate the remaining distance. I was going to have to run past our destination point and run back to hit 38 on the dot.


When I finally finished and arrived at the Chatterbox Pub, around 6pm, I was ready to eat. I normally eat very limited amounts of gluten, dairy and processed sugar, but I ordered a big ol’ pretzel stick w/ beer cheese and a root beer. They tasted AMAZING… but about 45 minutes later, I was so nauseous, I thought I was going to pass out (I’m a fainter). Thankfully I didn’t. I have a feeling that might’ve scared a few folks if I passed out at that point. Once I got home and laid down in my bed, I quickly recovered.


Today, I’m not feeling too bad. My friend Molly, hooked my up with a cryo therapy session this morning and that helped. I’m sore yeah. I’ll probably be worse tomorrow. Oh, and I’m pretty sure my calf issue is an Achilles issue. My ankle is pretty swollen. I’m having it looked at tomorrow.


I made it. I am so grateful.

First of all, my husband rocks. This guy takes the day off work, drives around all over the Twin Cities to take care of me. We think he put around 300 miles on the car yesterday. He fields phone calls. These are things that might typically make him super crabby – but he remains cheerful all day.  He goes above and beyond for me. Some people laugh when he jokingly laments that he has a really hard job to do. But he does. 8 hours in a car amidst chaos.  Dan rocks. He’s my hero.

It was when I first took on this birthday run thing last year that Dan had his first real taste of Team World Vision. Even though I’d ran on the team for 5 years at that point and he was always super supportive of me individually, he wasn’t very familiar with the team – the people. But it was this birthday run, last year, where he finally saw what I saw. The people – the passion –  – the encouragement – the community – the COMMON UNITY. It was seeing all this, that for Dan, changed everything. It was the people that made him say yes to taking on his first marathon. Pretty spectacular.

It is the people. It’s the team. While I wasn’t able to stop and read any texts or facebook messages – just seeing the numerous alerts told me people were encouraging me and donating and giving more people clean water. And every time someone new arrived on the course – it’s just THE BEST. You have no idea how much that means to me.


MELISSA BORNER * JASON COMO * JOHN HENRY * JAMES KASAL * AURELIA KASAL * RAYMOND KASAL * CARISSA DAHLEN * KRISTI MYRE * TIM STOFFEL * VICKI NEWENDORP * PAT ARMSTRONG  * JOSH ANDERSON * CARL GEORGE – Thank you for being out on the course, just long enough for a sweaty hug and to see me run by. So kind.

– Thank you for stopping by to celebrate when I finished!

My gosh, if I forgot someone, I’m a total idiot. I’ll feel terrible. I probably did – ahhh. Please don’t take it personal. Please understand the whirlwind and ppppplease forgive me and correct me!

THANK YOU to every single person who was there for me. I absolutely could not have done it without you there. No way.

And to my donors. WOW! Because of you…

218 people now have access to clean water. 

Water changes everything.You have given people hope and life.

And Team World Vision – Twin Cities is FIRED UP and ready to begin 26 weeks of training. Over 330 runners already signed up, over $65,000 has ALREADY been raised! HERE.WE.GOOOOOOOOO FARTHER TOGETHER!!

My heart is full.


Was it easy? No.

Will I do it again?

When Dan and I were driving home from Minneapolis last night, he said “Next year you should run home?”

WHAT?!? Ummmm, no.

He meant start 39 miles away and have our house be the finish line. We could have people over to party afterward, etc.

So I checked. If I run the entire Twin Cities Marathon course to the State Capitol finish line… it’s about 12.8 miles home. I think I could do it. Lord willing.


Thank you Jesus. I absolutely adore you. More than anything, this is for, and because of, YOU.