My Sister’s Love Allows Me to RUN!

Yesterday (Sunday)  was the Verdugo Mountain 10K in Glendale California.  My sister (Payge) and her husband (Ernest) arrived at my house at about 5:30am with my teenaged niece (Helayna) sleeping in the back seat.  Ernest, (seriously, the absolute best brother-in-law EVER) folded my scooter up, loaded it into the back of their Suburban, and helped me climb in.

We were off to Brand Park for the run!

Once we arrived, we headed over to registration to pick up all the swag. Cool stuff! After dropping the goods in the car. Payge and I took the Hobson’s Choice of the NASTY park restrooms with no soap, and the 10-second “palooza” of water from the overly touched push button faucets, versus the DISGUSTINGLY overused and out of stock port-o-potties that smelled like fresh hot hell. AND using those portable toilets can be super tricky especially from a wheelchair (just sayin)…but I digress.

Following that experience, we started on the 1/4 mile hike to the start of the run.

Payge and the “bestest” brother-in-law Ernest before the run!

Since the onset of my illness and disability, Payge has been conquering runs like this. She took up running when the illness changed my life and that of my family in 2004, vowing that…she’d do it if I couldn’t, because, if I could, I would.  All these years later she is still running!

She’s done other 10Ks  (6.2 miles) at various venues throughout Southern California and does 1/2 marathons (13 miles) once per year. Despite the fact that she runs regularly, she was admittedly nervous about this one because it is mostly uphill.

She claims that she might have made a different decision had she known all of the facts, but I beg to differ. Any person who spends time, as she does, looking for crazy runs to do, cannot be fearful of the runs chosen. This run, however, gave her a run for her money!

The Verdugo Mountain Run is considered the most difficult 10K in California. This friggin race started at 925ft elevation and climbs steadily at a clip of about 500ft per mile at a 10% grade! As if that weren’t enough, the loose dirt, gravel, rocks, stones, potholes, and the faster runners headed down while you’re still going up, makes it mess with your body, mind, and spirit! Not my sister though! She CRUSHED it! She said this course was just as hard, if not harder than the 1/2 marathon… AND she plans to do it again next year.

Ernest said he was so wiped out by the time he’d run uphill for so long, that coming down with control of the momentum of his body weight and managing not to trip on a rock or something was an awful game of craziness!  In many ways, he added, the downhill portion was as tough as going up!

My beautiful niece Helayna taking selfies while waiting for her parents to finish the run!
Payge and me!

I am very proud of my baby sister who has had life challenges that she has pushed through, despite obstacles and naysayers.  She is feisty (yes, more feisty than me), determined, focused, confident, fearless and resilient.  She is also a nurse for the homeless/severely disadvantaged in downtown LA, a mom of 3, a grandmother,  has done competitive martial arts too! One of my nephews (her son Cammy) is graduating from the University of La Verne in a few weeks!  She is the epitome of a Bad Ass!

I am proud to watch her run and although I can’t run with her physically, I am with her in Spirit.

Words like Love and Pride don’t seem to be big enough to encompass my feelings of love for her.

We are planning to run/bike together soon.  I intensify my workouts, in solidarity, every year as she prepares for the 1/2 marathon in June.  I am looking for a recumbent road bike so that she and I can complete these challenges together.


#Verdugo 10K

Love and Light!



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