Saturday, September 11, 2010

Running for Recovery and Remembering Hayden

Today was a good day: I ran in my first race! It was fun and I did better than I thought I would. I'm not much of a runner, but since I started P90X, running has become more enjoyable for me because I'm stronger in the cardiovascular department. I ended up coming in 43rd overall, with a time of 34 minutes. I was happy with those results!

As part of the Utah Substance and Alcohol Recovery Awareness Day in Salt Lake City, a bunch of my family members ran the 5K race in honor of my cousin, Hayden, who died a year ago today of a drug overdose. I was glad to be able to support people in recovery because, since Hayden died, I've gained a better understanding how important it is to overcome the harmful habit of using drugs. We all miss him dearly, and because his death was personal to me, I'm even more vocal now about saying no to drugs and alcohol. I felt like the activities of the morning were a great way to remember Hayden's life and the importance of staying healthy and drug-free.

Sean and Vanessa (Hayden's dad and stepmom), Mary Ann (Hayden's mom), Preston, Bella, Hunter (Hayden's siblings), Karen (Hayden's grandma), Jane and her husband, me, my mom, Skyler and Casey, and Tanner (cousins and aunties) all ran along with about 600 other runners. The course was beautiful; we started at Gallivan Center and ran up State Street to North Temple. Then, we ran a block east and up the hill through Memory Grove. The weather was brisk, the sun was shining, and the trees were just beginning to show some yellow. It was perfect! Then, we turned around at the top of the hill and ran back down the route. It was a nice run.

At the finish line, we enjoyed some of Mary Ann's gourmet granola in delicious yogurt parfaits. Then, we rocked out to a show by Pink Stilettos. The crowd was groovin' and everyone had a great time. When the girls sang "Beautiful Heart", a song that my sister Angela wrote about Hayden, there wasn't a dry eye in the audience. It was really touching and I think the song had special meaning to the attendees who are in recovery and who have lost loved ones to drug addiction and alcoholism. It's really a beautiful tune; click here if you want to listen to it.

I am thankful to have a healthy body, to be able to run in a gorgeous setting while reflecting on all the good things Hayden did in his life, to spend a special morning with some dear family members and friends, and to support people who are trying to make their lives better and recover from bad decisions they've made. I'm thankful to know that Christ atoned for the bad decsions we all make in our lives and that He made it possible for us to be together after we die. Families are forever!

I loved Mary Ann's Sharpie tattoo: HH for Hayden Housel.
Bella and Skyler before the race. We'll see if they're smiling at the end. He he.
Skyler, Jolyn, Hunter, Bella, Sean, and Vanessa waiting for the race to begin.
Preston, Hunter, Skyler, and Mary Ann before the race.

Shelley, Sean, and Nat during a warm-up chat.

Here's Bella at the finish line. Yep...still smiling! She's adorable.
Mary Ann and Hunter finishing the race.
Finishing my first race in my humongous t-shirt. Yay!

Hunter, Sean, and Grandma Karen cross the finish line.
This food was the prize at the finish line. Mary Ann is a magnificent cook and her granola was to die for!

Someday I'll run as well as my mom. She's an awesome runner!