Earlier this year my Glam Runner partner, fellow Girls On The Run board member and friend Monika coached and paced me to a PR at the Carlsbad Marathon. That’s been pretty typical throughout the course of our friendship. She has this way of leading me to believe a better version of myself was just around the corner if I just worked hard enough. When the Marine Corp Marathon registration opened up and she signed up minutes after me, I was ecstatic. It was ON!! My plan? I would train as hard as I could and hope I could stay with her for the first 20 miles. At her pace, I figured I’d still PR even if I slowed down the last 6 miles. We would raise money for Girls On the Run (the group that made our friendship possible) and have another awesome experience we could file away in our memory bank.

Carlsbad Marathon… Good Times!!

Life had other plans. On September 21st, Monika found out the root cause of her recent headaches and exhaustion is a brain stem tumor. All her family and friends, including myself, had theories of what might be causing all the physical ailments. Vitamin deficiency? Stress? Bell’s Palsy? Thyroid woes? Never in our wildest dreams did we figure brain tumor. Shock, fear and tons of sobbing filled those next few days (at least for me). Then in Monika fashion, with grace and humor she picked herself up, dusted herself off and all of us were forced to do the same. She made it known that if there was any chance she could go to Washington DC to run MCM, she would absolutely go. Due to the scheduled biopsy and necessary recovery time, we learned pretty quickly that those chances were zero.

As women tend to do, especially Girls On the Run women, we rally together in times of crisis. Amy Jerome, Executive Director of GOTRSD, stepped up to the plate and is going to bat for Monika to run the 26.2 miles on her behalf and in her honor. With just 4 weeks to train, Amy will be pushing herself to the limits. When another bib became available, Girls On the Run coach Allison Cordes also signed up for the party. Together we will honor Monika by running for her, for Glam Runner and for Girls On the Run. Through miles, love and friendship this is our way of helping Monika battle that unwelcome squatter in her head (Die Tumor Die!!). Not only does that tumor have to fight Monika, it has to fight ALL of us.

In another show of support, Amy and I will be fundraising for Girls On the Run.  Monika served as head coach for many seasons in Carmel Valley and has been on the Board of Directors since 2010. We would like to fund a team in Monika’s honor. If you would like to help in our fundraising efforts, please donate here:  http://www.active.com/donate/sdsolemates/TBaize1

Monika’s biopsy is scheduled for 10/8 and potentially will not be able to run for another 6-8 weeks.  A fellow runner and friend, Trasie, came up with the idea to start a facebook page where everyone logged their miles from her surgery date to the Marine Corp Marathon and dedicate them to her.  Everyone would then get a certificate with their miles completed and would be able to send it to Monika with words of encouragement.  https://www.facebook.com/MilesForMokie

I wish I didn’t have this purpose to run. I wish I coud run for superficial reasons like fitting into my jeans, or keeping me youthful.  But sometimes you are not given a choice.  I will run for her until we could run together again.  I will be a stonger person and better friend because that’s what she needs me to be.  When life throws you a curve ball, you gotta hit it out of the f*cking park.