Tuesday, November 24, 2009


"The miracle is not that I finished, the miracle is that I had the courage to start"
-John "the penguin" Bingham, Runner's World columnist

It has been over a week since I finished my 10th Half Marathon in Richmond. It was a great weekend, and the race was a success. My sister and I finished hand in hand. While it was not our fastest race, it was my most emotional. I broke down at the finish line and I am thankful for the amazing people that I met along the 13.1 miles. One man was running his first half marathon after losing 50 pounds, another woman was a kidney donor and was running for Donate Life, and yet another woman was running her first half marathon and she too had lost a baby and we watched her cross the finish line! It truly is amazing what inspires someone to do an endurance event. But no matter what the motivation, crossing the finish line makes you feel like an Olympic athlete. You feel like you can do anything and you have the courage to make miracles happen.

The Richmond Half Marathon was exactly 16 weeks from the day that we lost Alex. I was sixteen weeks pregnant and Elena was 16 months old. "It Was a Sweet Sixteen", that is the title of my blog and that is the number that keeps popping up whenever I think about Alex. So..as fate would have it..my sister and I checked into our hotel, got settled into our room and met our friend that was running in her first half marathon. She happened to be a minister and asked if we wanted to say a good luck prayer with her. We agreed and she asked me about the picture that I would be wearing on race day. I explained that I was running this half marathon in memory of my dear baby Alex. Just like that I turned to our room and that is when I got chills, our room number, 1116. It was as if Alex was telling me that he was there with me to give me the courage to finish this race.

The Half Marathon may be over, but my race has just begun! I plan to do another half marathon in the spring and I have made it my new goal to do at least 1 half marathon (or marathon) a year for the next 16 years. It is my hope that I can honor his memory and at the same time, his sister Elena (and hopefully other siblings) will see how much he meant to me and perhaps will learn the importance of finding courage in the face of adversity.

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."
--Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

When Life Hands you a Lemon...

My apologies for not blogging for a few weeks. My life has been crazy the past few weeks and while I have not posted any new blogs..I have been writing down many thoughts and preparing for my big Half Marathon this coming weekend.

We all know the expression "When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade". I have seen first hand how your life can change in one moment. I watch friends and family go through the death of the loved one, divorce, unaccomplished dreams..and it is not the loss itself that changes you, it is how you deal with your loss that defines who you will become. I mentioned before that Alex taught me so much in just 16 weeks and I am a different person because of the dream of him. I decided right after losing Alex that I would "decide to get better and not bitter". I can not feel sorry for myself when life does not go the way that I plan, instead, I look at what I can do to "make lemonade' from the lemons I receive and enjoy it's sweetness every day!

I continue to raise money for the Trisomy 18 Foundation. I plan to wear a picture of my baby Alex in my womb on my race day shirt. And I plan to continue raising funds after my race is over. I have raised a little over $1000 and while my goal is $1600 to represent the 16 weeks of knowing and loving Alex, I am happy with the support and donations that I have received and I will continue to raise money to reach my goal. If you are reading this and wish to donate go to www.trisomy18.org/goto/alexramirez My half marathon this weekend is just one way that I am taking my loss and doing something productive and positive. I plan to continue my pursuit of happiness and a day does not go by that I do not thank Alex for helping me find myself again, I will forever be grateful to him.

I do plan to continue blogging after my half marathon and i hope you will continue to follow my blog. I am sure that the holidays will prove to be difficult for Efrain and I , especially Christmas. I still think about how exciting it would be to welcome Alex home for the holidays. To give Elena a baby brother and enjoy the holiday with the new addition to our family. But I also think about how blessed I am to have an amazing family that has been my rock over the past 4 months. I am looking forward to spending time with my family and thanking them for being there for me.

Wish me luck this weekend, I am looking forward to spending time with my sister and completing a half marathon with a purpose and goal accomplished.

“If you want to accomplish the goals of your life, you have to begin with the spirit.” --Oprah