Thursday, April 19, 2012

Running for Cherubs and Angels

I am a big believer in dreaming big, setting goals and going after them.
I also believe in living a life that is inspiring to others, especially your own children.

I have small moments where I feel like I am achieving those two goals but many, many moments where I feel like I fall short. Such is life. Lately I have taken on a new goal, a mission, a purpose and a new determination to reach a goal I have had for a long time. You see, it is a goal that seems absolutely impossible in my own mind and for me to achieve it I need to face a lot of fears and misconceptions I have about myself. It is going to test me in ways that I am terrified of facing. I am scared of failing and therefore have many times put off even starting. 

My goal is I want to run a 10K marathon.

For many women running 10K is nothing. Easy even and a daily part of their routine. Running for me is not easy. I am not a runner and when it comes to running I am more of a couch sitter. I much prefer to walk and I do not have a good running style. I am not fast, I run slowly and when I run I feel like it is awkward, uncomfortable and not natural for me. In fact, I remember people laughing at me on many occasions when it came to running as a younger child.

So to help me achieve my goal I have been spending time running nearly every day. I have now finished the Couch to 5K running program and can slowly run 5K. I run on my treadmill at home as I am too embarrassed to run outside and my time for running the 5K is not fast at all but I can keep running until I hit the end. I am still amazed by it and have been thankful for the lovely support from other bloggers and readers as I have shared a little of my journey on twitter and facebook.

Now that I have achieved the first goal of being able to run 5K I am working on the big goal of making it to 10K. I knew it would be hard but I am finding it a lot harder than I thought. 10K is a really, really long way. So to help me get to the end I have come up with a plan to help motivate me and to help raise awareness at the same time. 

You see, I always wanted to have 10 kids and have finished having my children at the number 7. I have decided to let the 10K represent 10 cherubs. The first 7 for each of my kids and the last 3 for those mothers who have lost children and who have angels in heaven. The reason for this is that I really think that if I push myself I can run 7K. The last 3K I simply don't think I have it in me to make it myself. To make the distance I need to do it for someone else. I need that to motivate me to finish. 

Therefore, the first 7 will be for cherubs and the last 3 will be for angels.

So as I start to step up this journey I want to blog about it to help raise awareness for an organisation that helps mum's who have lost cherubs. I have a lot of friends and even some family who have lost sweet cherubs and it has been heartbreaking to watch. I do not know what it feels like to lose a baby. What I do know is that my heart will never be the same after hearing Kristie read out a blog post about losing her dear Avery. Her grief, her pain and her deep, deep sorrow was life changing for me. I have not stopped thinking about it since I heard it. 

Running for me is painful. Exercise and pain do not mix well for me. I am too weak. I stop when it starts to hurt and I give up. In thinking about this I keep coming back to the fact that it is nothing compared to what many women face when they lose a baby. You have no choice when it comes to facing pain when you lose a cherub. You have to face it, you have to immerse yourself in it and you have to live through it to move on. 

Every time I get on the treadmill, I feel weak and I don't feel strong enough to achieve my goal. I think of those women who have lost cherubs and I try to push myself through the pain. Most of the pain is in my own mind and not in my body. It is a battle of self belief that I can do it and make it to the end. I think about this small dream that I have and of all the lost dreams that mother's have who lose cherubs and then I start to run. I run and I cry.

I can't begin to tell you how many times I have started trying to achieve this goal and failed to make it past this stage. This is the longest I have ever tried for. I also have to say that I am really scared about putting this out there and not being able to do it. I am so not a runner and am really scared about failing.

But, I have decided it is better to try and to give it a go and to see where it takes me and to see if it is possible to make it to 10K. I am currently up to Week 4 of the Couch to 10K program and I am hoping I can make it to the end of the program.

One organisation that I know has been of great help to those who have lost cherubs is Heartfelt

{Heartfelt is a volunteer organisation of professional photographers from all over Australia dedicated to giving the gift of photographic memories to families that have experienced stillbirths, premature and ill infants and children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units of their local hospitals, as well as children with serious and terminal illnesses. Heartfelt is dedicated to providing this gift to families in a caring, compassionate manner. All services are provided free of charge.}

I personally know Fiona and Carissa who are heartfelt photographers and love that this is a free service to provide beautiful memories for families who are dealing with grief and loss. The many images I have seen of families and cherubs is inspiring and also heartbreaking. I am hoping that as I run and blog about my journey that I can raise more awareness for those sweet angels who did not need to spend much time here on Earth and for those families who are left behind.


  1. Naomi that is beautiful.

    I was swept with emotions the first time I did a fun run and I certainly think the thinking and emotions spurred me on.

    Good on you. This is just perfect. Have faith you'll get there and I've learnt, there is no such thing as slow there is only such a thing as running. You're doing it.

  2. That is so brave. I am a bad runner too, although I don't have the attitude to persevere through it. One of our family friends is a former Olympian runner,and I have quiet often had chats with her about running as she is now primarily a coach. She coaches a lot of kids and professional sports people, including football players and cricketers. Her coaching helps them work out their technique, etc. Have you considered treating yourself to some coaching? Your local little athletics association should be able to point you in the right direction. A 10K run is a huge undertaking and a coach will help you learn how to pace yourself, ie. when to accelerate, when to decrease, etc. Best of luck with it xx

  3. Oh Wow Naomi.
    I don't know where you think many mothers can run 10K but I do not know many and am DEFINITELY not one of them. :-)
    What a beautiful way to help you reach your goal - I think it is great and you have nothing to be ashamed or afraid of in taking the journey.
    Good luck and let us know as you go!

  4. Well, you certainly have me in tears. What you you may feel you lack in physical strength you certainly make up for in love and emotional strength. I miscarried my twins just on 6 years ago and it was the hardest battle of my life so far. I lost them 3 weeks apart and was so angry, hurt and bitter for such a long time, as I was told due to the complications our family was complete at 4, when I had wanted so many more children. I think that battle was a lot like a marathon though and I am nearing the end. I am grateful for the gifts of my own 4 cherubs, and I can see the light in life again. Rest assured so many of us will be cheering you on from the sidelines and I am excited to share your journey with you. You are so very brave x

  5. This is an outstanding goal!! You can so do this! I have been wanting to run a 1/2 marathon(13.1 miles) for a few years now. I-like you have never been an athlete. When I was in Junior High I had a terrible Physical Education teacher. She decided who was an athlete and who wasn't. There was no learning how to become and athlete. Unfortunately, I believed her for the next 25+years. I have just started to realize what happened and am reclaiming that inner athlete!

    I have had a desire of running that 1/2 marathon for a couple of years. It has just been talk. This year I decided that I had to do something different. During our family's goal setting Family Home Evening I put out there that this is the year I will run the 1/2--now I have to do it!

    You are so much stronger than you realize! So many of the feelings you have are all in your head, stop listening to those voices from your past. Almost anyone can become a runner. It isn't easy but it can be done! The desire is there so therefore it WILL happen!!!

    Way to go!!!

  6. What an amazing act of kindness :)
    You can do this.

    I have found that writing down my goals helps me achieve them, and when they are public, on my blog, it encourages me more, because I am accountable in a way. That is how I stuck to saving for America!

    Good luck :)

  7. Love your article Naomi and I know you can do it! Heartfelt sounds like a wonderfully deserving organisation as well! xx

  8. You are such a wonderful lady. I can't wait to follow you on this journey.

    And for the record, while I can run 10km any day of the week, I am a horrible looking runner. My left leg kicks out and I look really uncoordinated.

    But you know what? It doesn't matter :)

  9. Such a beautiful goal. You can do it Naomi, I never, ever thought I'd make 10km but I finally hit it a couple of weeks ago. You have all the support in the world from us! xx

  10. As a mum of an angel ♥Logan James 14th May 2010♥ and a volunteer with Yasminah's Gift Of Hope, I'd like to say good luck and thank you on behalf of Angel Mums everywhere ♥

  11. We've "chatted" about this before on Twitter but I will reiterate that you WILL be able to do it. I started off doing the Couch to 5K and decided that my first run would be the 10km at Run Melbourne in July two years ago. Best. Feeling. Ever...until I ran the half marathon at the Melbourne Marathon last October!! I'm not being facetious when I say if I can do it, anyone can because I am not a runner but it's the only way I feel able to be bothered keeping a little bit fit. Gyms are not my thing. Too indoors :)

    I belong to a running group at the Tan on a Monday night. It's away from my suburb and it's my little bit of time for myself. I'm not sure you're able to get away but it's a group where you can work at your own pace and there's runners of all persuasions.

    Heartfelt is a lovely cause too. Congrats!

  12. Sometimes words don't do emotions justice. You CAN do this.

    I'm amazed at the power our thoughts have over all we do. I'm no expert, but, in my opinion running is 90% mental, 10% physical. There is nothing quite like showing your mind that your will to run is stronger than its pull to keep you down. It's empowering. Liberating. (Not to mention making it completely justifiable to eat an extra p'nut M&M, or two.)

    I'm always touched reading your posts how much you look outside of yourself. How focused your mind is on others. Validating others. Encouraging others. Loving and lifting as you go. What a gift.

  13. So very brave to be running! I cant run either :)
    Love the you are using Motivation to run the last 3k's for the cherubs that didnt make it - I heard Kristie blog story in Melbourne at the Digital Parents Conference - it was so incredible xxx

  14. Naomi this is so inspiring to read. I have four children 3 cherubs and one angel. The pain of losing one of them is both unimaginable and yet unavoidable. There is no hiding from it. You can't give up you just have to keep on going. You have inspired me to comit this attitude to running. I have always wanted to run yet never been good at it and never enjoyed it. I too have been told i look awkward and odd running and that maybe i am just not a runner. There is something about it that makes me want to do it. I have 5 weeks until i can start (injury) but i am going to do it. I will start with 5k, 3 for my cherubs, 1 for my angel and 1 for all the others. Thank you for inspiring me and for raising awareness about this sadly still unspoken and taboo subject which unfortunately effects far too many of us. Xxx

  15. So beautiful, and what a great way to encourage you onto your goal.

  16. I could not be more proud of you. And I can not think of a more worthy cause. I have no doubt that you'll do this, Na. You're fiercely determined, unendingly compassionate and you're going to have so many people behind you.

  17. That such a great post Naomi! You are a true inspiration! I'm sure you will succeed with your goal and we'll be cheering you on!
    You've motivated me as well to keep up with my goal of running 5k. I've started running for a first time in my life this Monday, felt so great, like I flew to the moon & back & then Tuesday a "close" friend made the remark that it's not only about starting, but keeping it up. Ouch! I felt lower than the grass. Now I feel motivated again. Thank you for this!

  18. What an inspiration you are Naomi, not only to us readers but also to your cherubs! They are blessed to have a mum like you xx

  19. This is exactly why I love you :) You are constantly inspiring those around you and doing things that are hard!! You know I have my own angel baby and this post brought me to tears. Thank you for everything you do!!!

    ps) I LOVE the sound of Heartfelt aswell - I am going look into it and see how I can get involved!! xo

  20. pss) "Don't you dare be the one thing standing in your own way"!!!! You know what this if from!! :) You can do it - YOU REALLY CAN!! Self set limitations are just that! To quote the movie 'The little engine that could' (the one I got from you :) "If you think you can, you will. If you think you can't, you won't. Either way you're right"!!!!

    When you want to stop, keep thinking of those angel babies and your own cherubs and just imagine a 'Jillian style' trainer jumping up on your treadmill and telling you not to stop!!! xo

  21. You are amazing Naomi... so amazing.

  22. From a fellow non-runner, who is trying to take an interest in it to keep up with her family, and a fellow Heartfelt photographer (whom Carissa sent in your direction), I am with you all the way! Heartfelt can only succeed and continue if people like you help us to spread the word and your support is amazing. Fly like the wind, Bullseye! ;-) xx

  23. Hi Naomi, My husband is a mad runner. His biggest joy is doing ultra marathons on trails (like long bush walk except you run it!) Ive often wanted to join him but have never been able to run more than a couple of kilometres, as my natural state is a much more stationary one.

    Well Ive just discovered a thing called 'barefoot running' and it is such a joy. It is a lot easier to run this way. Im still just starting out and I dont know if I will ever be an ultra runner but I am actually enjoying the little runs I currently do.... something that in the past that I would have simply endured because I wanted to keep fit.

    You can google barefoot running and there are a couple of good books you can get at the library that explain it. The other nice thing is that barefoot running is injury free and the way all of us used to run before the invention of the shoe.

    One other thing... while it is called barefoot running you dont have to do it barefooted. It is all about the style of running not the footware. I use vibrams 'five fingers' as my shoe replacement but there are lots of 'minimalist' shoes on the market.

    Good luck with your 10k goal.

  24. Beautiful Naomi! And a little inspiring too might I say. Keep sharing :)

  25. Good on you! All the best... what a great thing you are doing xx

  26. Hi Naomi
    I read this on my RSS last night but wanted to come back and say what a great inspiration you are. Well done on the 5km and what a grand idea to help you get to the 10km mark. I myself am chuffed after a nice big 10km run so I do understand how much of an effort it is going to be. Good on you for continuing and taking the bar up a notch. And with such a powerful reason too!x

  27. Awesome Naomi if I can do it, you can do it! You can nail this goal, you have the determination and the drive to do anything. Good on you! Go be awesome! Kelley xx

  28. Awesome Naomi!! I love that you are using something so worthwhile to motivate you for those tough kms.

    I started the C25K in August last year and I did a 6k fun run in January. I am still plodding along at around the 6km mark, and as I say VERY slowly - you have motivated me to aim for 10km by the end of the year.

    I am reading your Pockets of Happiness book for the second time at the moment. You are impacting on my life in so many ways at the moment. xx

  29. Such a beautiful cause to run for Naomi. Good luck on achieving your goal xx


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