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Heart and Sole 5K

2 Mar

March 1, 2014

The Heart and Sole 5K was run in the memory of Alexandria Danielle Romeo. 09-3-1990 – 11-23-2011. All proceeds from this race were donated to epilepsy research. Rest in peace Danielle. You can learn more about her life and events held in her name to fund further research for the treatment of epilepsy here




Before the race began Danielle’s mom welcomed and thanked the participating racers and walkers who all came out to support finding a treatment for epilepsy. Her daughter Danielle, died from a seizure in 2011.

Right before we started, Danielle’s best friend released doves to guide and protect us through the race course.

The doves flying over our heads as we started.

The doves flying over our heads as we started.

It was a very touching and moving tribute.

The race was held in Lakeway,TX which is a very beautiful, but VERY hilly part of town. As we drove in, up and down, up and down, over the many, many hills we knew that there may not be much running during this race.

It was way steeper than this picture portrays.

It was way steeper than this picture portrays.


Kekoa decided that he was going to run and walk the entire race. He did not want to ride in the stroller at all.

He decided that at the beginning. And then quickly changed his mind once we began.


Running is hard. It’s not easy when you start. At all. It takes persistent practice and a positive attitude that you CAN do it. That you WILL do it and that it will get easier as you progress.

As soon as we started Kekoa started to give up and I reminded him of this.

We’ve told him that we will go at his pace. We will go as fast or as slow as he wants and that when he needs to walk we will walk with him.

I wasn’t the one who decided that he was going to run with us from now on.

He decided that.

The last two races that we did he wanted to run and then he quickly began to defeat himself shortly afterwards.

I repeated our promise to help him through and go at his pace.

He didn’t want to listen to me as the tears began to fill his eyes and he began his mantra of “I can’t”.


“You CAN Kekoa. You can. I know you can. It’s hard and it hurts and it takes a while to get into shape. It was and is STILL hard for me sometimes. All I ask is that you try. That’s it. I just don’t want you to give up because your mind is telling you that you can’t. You cannot just give up in life when things get hard. You keep going and you get through it. Just keep going.” We’re walking side by side and I can see that he really doesn’t want to give up. He just doesn’t have the self-confidence to know that he can get through it.

I know this feeling all too well.

I know what it feels like to feel like you can’t make it. Like the weight is too great and the pain is too much and it would just be soooooo much easier to give up.

I know this… because this is what I felt when Oli was born.

I know what it feels like to honestly believe that you will never make it through.

I know that running and giving birth to a child with disabilities is different.

But the lesson is the same.

I can use my experience about life and a positive attitude and pushing through the tough times to teach my son to do the same.

Even if to him, it’s only finishing a tough 5K, it’s still an opportunity to teach him how to live.

It’s a lesson that cannot be learned in one race.


But it is a lesson that I will repeat as long as he is willing to try.


And he did.

He felt defeated and tired. It was hard and frustrating.

And at the end, not only did he finish, but he finished helping his dad to push the heavy stroller up a hill.


By the time we finished it was an hour later and Oli was DONE and Ginger was DONE and Kekoa was DONE and Seth and I were ELATED that we were almost to the finish line.

It was not the best race that we have ever done together, but it was one of the most valuable.

I learned to be more patient with my son and to give him the positive encouragement that he needs.

Kekoa learned that he can complete an entire 5K ALL BY HIMSELF.

Soon after we walked over the finish line, the tears and frustration were forgotten and he was proud of himself.

He really was proud that he had done something that many 8 years old had not done.

He was proud because he finished and he DID NOT GIVE UP.

He was proud because, as much as he wanted to, he did not sit his butt in that stroller. He just didn’t.

I was proud of him.

As the day wore on and I thought back over our race, the prouder I became of my son.

This race was run for Oli, but it was all about Kekoa.



And he’s excited to do it again.


17 Feb

I’m going to start posting the races that we do together for Team Oli. The 5K’s, 10K’s, and triathlons.

I’m doing it mostly to keep a diary for me, to remember all of the fun we had doing these together. Another reason I wanted to start this is to share with other people some fun pictures, video’s, inspiring moments, accomplishments, or just plain funny stories from the many races that we do together.

I also want other people to be able to experience what this has really done for Oli.

What it has done for my ENTIRE family.

When we started “we” was just Oli and myself. Now it is my husband Seth, my son Kekoa, my daughter Ginger, Oli and I, and most recently our dog Shaka. The “Baby Genius” as his trainer calls him. Shaka is a one year old rescue pup that is completely deaf and missing one eye. He is currently in training to become Oli’s service dog.

He's so cute.

He’s so cute.

It has been so much fun doing these races with my entire family. It also has been so incredibly humbling and inspiring to watch Oli as she sometimes struggles to walk across the finish line. She has never given up, never cried, never sat down. She may stumble, lose her balance, and reach out for me, but she just keeps trying.

Every single time.

She has walked across every finish line since we started back in August 2013. She has gone from timidly walking to confindently blazing across that line clapping for herself. It’s been amazing.

I wish I would have thought about doing this sooner. But, better late than never.

Our race for today Sunday, February 16, 2014 was down in San Antonio, TX at the McNay Art Museum. This was the 60th anniversary of the museum.

The race start.

The race start.

This race was especially nice because not only was the course on the road, it didn’t start until 10am.


Ginger, Oli, and I? We’re not morning people.

Once we got down there everyone was ready to go.

Shaka couldn't decide whether or not he wanted to lick Oli's face or eat her pop tart.

Shaka couldn’t decide whether or not he wanted to lick Oli’s face or eat her pop tart.

We had plans for Kekoa to run all of the race. Well. Run/Walk. He had trouble finding his confidence and rhythm at the beginning and was a bit tearful. After he got going he was fine. He rode a little bit in the stroller…WITH THE OTHER TWO KIDS!! (Yeah. My husband is awesome.) He was on his feet for most of it though.

He was exhausted, but he did it.

Looking tired Kekoa.

Looking tired Kekoa.

Now you're looking good. Look at that nice, poofy hair!

Now you’re looking good. Look at that nice, poofy hair!

Even little Ginger ran a lot of it!

I think one of my favorite parts, besides the finish, was watching Oli walk the middle part of the race. This was the first race that she walked in the middle.

She’s at the point now where she doesn’t just want to walk at the very end, but wants to walk throughout the race. She is able to go for longer distances and more frequently so we are more than happy to encourage her. Plus?
She’s HEAVY! It’s nice to let her out!

She just smiles and bops her head along, letting us lead the way. She’s so unbelievable adorable.

My MOST favorite part, as always, is watching my beautiful girl cross the finish line of any race.
She has gone from a tiny little baby with an uncertain future to a confident young lady with a future full of dreams.

The sky is the limit.

The whole family.

The whole family.

Because of these races Oli will never let her disabilities define her, nor let them determine what she can or cannot do.

This girl can do ANYTHING!


Logan is challenged but not limited, and he is living his life like a boss. I am just lucky enough to be along for the ride.

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