Raising Money For NBIA Research

Help me raise money for NBIA research by making a donation as I run the Boston 2011 Marathon in April, 2011 in Brittany's honor.

Although I have crossed my marathon finishing line, the race isn't over for NBIA! Please consider making a donation...

We are so close to reaching $5000...only $135 to go!

Checks payable to:

NBIA Disorders Association

And can be sent to:

Boston for Brittany

c/o Sandy and Rich Leap
14852 Ashby Oak Ct. Haymarket, VA 20169 (Brittany's Mother and Father).

Funds will go directly to research in hopes of finding a cure. Also, they are 100% tax deductible.

Racing to Find a Cure

Friday, April 22, 2011

Boston for Brittany Recap

 Get ready for one detailed Boston Marathon Recap!  Are you ready?! 

Garth, Sommer, Calvin and I arrived in Boston on Saturday after catching a ridiculously early flight.  Rich, Brittany's dad, offered to give us a ride to the airport, picking us up at 4:30 am!  Bless his heart.

After maneuvering ourselves and baggage through the "T," we easily found our hotel and checked in.  We were thrilled to be given an awesome upgrade (much bigger room with 2 bathrooms).  It was only 8 am, but we had already been up for 4 hours.  With stomach's growling, we walked through the beautiful Boston Commons and headed straight for my favorite breakfast place, "The Paramount."

There are many others who love this restaurant and the line was long.  So long in fact, we had to wait in it for about 40 minutes.  But after receiving our 3 larger than life pancakes (mine with fresh blueberries), we quickly forgot about the inconvenience. 

The weather was unbelievable cold (in the high 30's), and we all suffered (except Garth who  brilliantly packed three coats).  After putting on a couple extra layers, we headed to the ultimate rush, the Boston Marathon Expo!

Garth and Calvin hung with Sommer and I for a bit at the madhouse, but had happily made other plans, attending a Boston Red Sox game.  And even with the freezing temps, they had a super time!

Sommer and I had no problem having fun at the Expo.  Sommer immediately spotted a "hot" guy, the famous Josh Cox (fastest American in the 50k) signing autographs.  I was surprised when she asked to hop in line to meet him.  We were lucky to be given the last spot.  He was incredible gracious and chatted away.  We talked about his new baby, his fast running and of course what all runners talk about...bathroom issues (I won't go into details about that for all of you non-runners)

We spotted Ryan Hall (American's fastest marathoner), but that line was way long...and luckily Sommer didn't think he was quite as "hot" and therefore not worth the wait.  We did however sneak in a picture.
The expo was full of some serious crowds!
We picked up my race bib and shirt and then started our quest to find all of the FREE stuff we could get!  We loaded up on everything from bottles of Pom juice, powerbars, chips, tattoos, SO MANY THINGS!  I love it.

Our favorite booth at the expo was the Sweaty Bands!  Women were flocking it!  They had rows and rows of every style, color and size of the cutest head bands.  We had a hard time narrowing our selections...they were not cheap (ringing up at $18 each)...why don't we think of this stuff!

After purchasing the coveted "Boston" jacket, we pushed and shoved our way out of the crowds and to Boylston Street (the finish line).

There we found plenty of runners kissing it, laying on it and visualizing their finish. I asked Sommer if she wanted to give it a try but she refused.  I too wasn't quite interested in the kissing part.
 The next day brought warmer weather giving us the opportunity to enjoy the many outdoor restaurants.  We met up with Jen, Frank and Katie for a lovely lunch.  After chowing down on plenty of carbs, we finished with a stop at Pinkberry (my first time)...and how yummy was that?!

 We had plenty of "down" time and decided that the movie theatre was something we wanted to take advantage of while we had the freedom.  Sommer and Calvin were able to see 5 movies...yes 5, I came in second with 4 and Garth was able to see 3. 

While waiting for various movies to start, we found plenty of time to "goof" around.  On Saturday afternoon, they had a group from Nielson Ratings, doing surveys.  We were asked to participate (we had to watch a few previews and rate the movie).  We were thrilled to give our opinions, especially when freebies were involved... popcorn, t-shirts and other goodies!

We were sure to get a few random shots in the cardboard advertisements.  You can see what Calvin might look like as a girl or how Sommer reacts when a "skull" is attacking.

 On Sunday, Jen and I were thinking our race outfits were lacking just a bit.  We decided our nails needed some hot pink polish!  You would have thought nail salons were a dime a dozen along the busy shopping street...but no...we could only find one.  It as an Aveda salon and they did not have a technician available to do our nails.  We truly knew the importance of having our nails done so we decided to just purchase the polish and do our own nails. The only problem was Jen and Sommer had old polish still intact.  So we asked the receptionist if we could use some remover to take our polish off.
They were kind of enough to honor our request, even letting us sit down at the station and proceed to do our nails.  After plenty of giggles...and thinking we might even get a job offer...our nails were gorgeous and ready for the race.
As we were painting our nails, one of the hair stylists, Roberto came over to chat with us.  As we were leaving, I asked him if he knew how to braid hair.  He replied, of course.  And my last problem was solved...

 We left the salon experience with lovely nails, braided hair and a good story.  And both Jen and I had a "happy" moment or two during the race where we glanced at our nails and smiled, remembering the previous days fun.

 We could only have so much fun before race day finally came.  As usual, I slept horribly.  After a full night of tossing and turning, I stopped the fight and started getting ready (5:30 am).  The crazy thing about the Boston Marathon is the start time.  The race doesn't even start until 10:20.  But the tricky part is everything that happens before that.  All of the racers make their way to Boston Common to board one of hundreds of buses.  It was a chilly...and windy morning!  Linda and I met in our hotel lobby and made our way to the bus line.  After what seemed like hours of suffering, we finally made it on the bus. 

The bus ride can be a bit disturbing.  You see, they drive you to the start!  And although they don't take the marathon route, it does seem daunting driving and driving and driving....the whole time thinking...I have to run back?!  And the suffering doesn't end there.  If you have been sipping your water and Gatorade, the bladder pain begins during the bus ride.  Runners begin to moan and groan as the final miles of the ride linger ever so slowly.

This year's bus ride had the usual male subject who couldn't "wait" any longer and insisted the driver pull over.  The rest of us, are then privy to a potty show out our window as the runner relieves himself for what seems like hours.  We of course all need to "go" too, so that makes things even more disturbing.
After surviving the bus trek, we are dropped off at the Athletes Village, or as I like to describe it, the muddy, crowded, freezing high school field.

This year didn't disappoint.  With winds blowing and temps low...we were indeed cold.  As we all gathered together, we made our final outfit adjustments (should we wear our gloves or not? hat? how about arm sleeves?), and pretended to be calm.  In reality, we were all a bunch of nerves wondering what the outcome of the race might be.  We knew there would be pain and suffering...but how much?  Those questions would be answered shortly.

 What we actually did while at the Athlete's Village was spend time standing in the outrageously long porta potty lines...a few times.  You see, you gotta do, what you gotta do.

Because there are 3 different start times (10, 10:20 and 10:40), we couldn't all stick together.  So after hugs and kisses we separated, dropped off our gear at the buses, and began the .5 mile walk to the start.  We are alone at this point (unless you are lucky enough to have a friend in your corral...Jen and Steve, John and BethAnn, Linda and Ann)...okay so I was the only one alone...
I made my way to my starting corral with a few minutes to spare.  I said a little prayer and the crowds of runners began their way to the start.  It took me about 4 minutes to actually cross the starting line.  And then it was show time.

My goal was to keep my pace between 7:50 and 8:00 minute miles.  My first few miles were right on.  I felt great. I was high fiving as many children as I could, taking in the roar of cheering fans and just loving the experience.

But all that usually changes during a marathon.  The key is to have your "light switch" go off as late as possible along the course.  I started feeling the "dimmer" switch making its presence known about mile 8.  I did my best to ignore it.  That didn't work to well.  My body required a "potty" stop at mile 9.  I hoped that would be the end of it (ha) but that was wishful thinking.  It wasn't many miles after that I had to stop again.  I did my best to run a bit faster after making my stops but 3 minutes is tough when you are already running your pace.

I still was running some pretty good splits though and my light switch by no means had turned off...so I kept moving.

I knew the previous miles of downhill would cause my quads to weaken and sure enough, I began to feel them.  I began to anticipate the "Newton Hills (3 miles of gradual hills, the final one, Heartbreak Hill, quite a doozy)," and took a quick gu break, chugging down two and a big glass of water in preparation for them.

That seemed to work and I really was able to settle in to a painful (yes painful but doable) climb.  I have a little thing I do on hills (or when I am in pain).  I make my way to the road's painted lines.  I put all of my focus on the line, not looking up at any point, just driving up and up until the up is over.  It works pretty darn good. And I am always surprised how many people I pass...that always boosts your morale.

At mile 22 (after the heartbreak hill), there is a wicked downhill.  And although my heart enjoys this portion, my legs do not. 

But on you go...what choice do you have?  I had my music on shuffle during this portion of the race and a random song came on (I can't even remember it) that was right on my cadence.  Funny thing, I ended up hitting that song over and over again...for about 2 miles...seriously.

At mile 24, one would think, with only 2 miles to go, how simple it would be...but on the contrary.  The last few miles seem like an eternity.  If you glance at your watch (and I try not to do that at this point of a marathon), each tenth of a mile goes along ridiculously slow.  It can tempt you to walk (and my last Boston I actually tried the walking thing...found it just as painful as running...but slower)...but I don't fall for that.  I just keep putting one foot in front of the other...in running motion.

And after what seems like a few hours, you see mile 25.  For me, that mile marker tells me one thing...I can finish.  Boston throws in a little under pass followed by a little steep climb...a total joke in my opinion.  After one  finishes that not so funny terrain, the road turns.  And just like that, you are on Boylston Street.  You can see the finish.  The crowds are lined up 10 rows deep...screaming, cheering, motivating.  The problem with this portion of the race is the big blue arch signifying the finish seemingly far in the distance. In reality it is only something like .3 miles away...but man it seems farther.

But digging deep is a marathon requirement.

I dug.  Garth, Sommer and Calvin see me (I am in the black shirt with argyle skirt).  They cheer.  Those strangers around them join in...GO MOM!  The finish nears.  I finish.  Not the ultimate time I wanted but a time I am proud of: 3:36:53.  After walking through each station (water, medals, blanket, food), Steve and Jen call out, "over here Heather."  We share our marathon journey story.  We wait for our other friends.  We make new friends (this naked guy ran the entire marathon with only a loin cloth...no shoes!), we stretch, we try to walk, we smile.
My splits:

Mile 1: 7:54:42
Mile 2: 7:48:97
Mile 3: 7:56:45
Mile 4:7:50:80
Mile 5: 8:05:05
Mile 6: 8:01:18
Mile 7: 8:00:62
 Mile 8: 8:07:73
Mile 9: 8:01:16
Mile 10: 7:41:77
Mile 11:7:57:90
Mile 12: 7:50:74
Mile 13: 8:06:63
Mile 14: 7:59:17
Mile 15: 8:15:10
Mile 16: 8:21: 87
Mile 17: 8:18:81
Mile 18: 8:38:13
Mile 19: 8:09:00
Mile 20: 8:35:67
Mile 21: 8:46: 63
Mile 22: 8:09:94
Mile 23: 8:02:10
Mile 24: 8:05:07
Mile 25: 8:35: 75
Mile 26-26.2: 10:21:05

For me, the race is over. But for Brittany, her race continues. If you would still like to make a donation to NBIA, please do so...I am SO close to reaching $5000!

You can send a check (made out to NBIA) directly to me (14807 Ashby Oak Court, Haymarket, VA 20169) or Brittany's parents (see above).  All donations go directly to NBIA research...we promise! I picked up a special Boston Marathon souvenir just for you.  I will be having a drawing for all of those who donated, a pair of black Boston 2011 arm sleeves (totally cool)!

To see more pictures click here. (type in Porter and bib # 13637 and Boston 2011) To see it bigger just click on the magnifying glass at the bottom of each picture).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The Boston Marathon is over....whew!  My legs are still feeling the pain from the massive downhills followed by the intense uphills...followed by more downhill...uphill...downhill...pain, pain, pain. and pain.

I will share a detailed Marathon Weekend post in the next day or two (with tons of pictures).  But today I wanted to let you know that we raised over $4800 for NBIA!  I was hoping to hit $5000 but I am as pleased as punch that we were thousands over my original goal of $2620!  I couldn't have done this without you...my dear friends...thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now...drum roll please...we have some prize winners:

My official finishing time was 3:36:53 (so bummed I didn't PR but happy)!

Here is the breakdown of prize winners!

The closest guess goes to Julia Turner of Haymarket, VA with a guess of 3:36:42 and will be taking home a $50 gift card to The Running Store!

2nd place and winner of the totally darling Coach cosmetic bag with a guess of 3:35:25 is BethAnn Telford and John Carmichael (I hope he will let BethAnn have the bag) of Centreville, VA!

3rd place and winner of  a $10 gift card to Starbucks with a guess of 3:35:11 is Kirsten Printz of Roanoke, VA!

4th place and winner of a Cold Stone gift card with a guess of 3:35:07 is Claire Pothier of Gilbert, AZ!

5th place and winner of a $10 gift card to Starbucks with a guess of 3:35:02 is JoAnn Hahn of Centreville, VA!

6th place and winner of a Cold Stone gift card with a guess of 3:35:00 is Ann Anderson of Gainesville, VA!

7th place and winner of a Cold Stone gift card with a guess of 3:34: 20 is David Pothier of Gilbert, AZ!

8th place and winner of a Cold Stone gift card with a guess of 3:34 15 is Ethan Porter of Haymarket, VA!

All winners will be receiving their prizes soon!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Boston Here I Come!

My bags are packed.  My music has been downloaded. My shirt is ready.  And I am ready to hear thousands of spectators cheering out, "BOSTON FOR BRITTANY!"

 Both the Leap Family and I are truly grateful for your outpouring of support...donations just keep coming in!  We are now approaching the $5000 mark (woot! woot!)...wouldn't that be crazy awesome if we did?!

Our total so far: $4749.71

Donations will be accepted through Monday morning and can be placed in my mailbox!

If you are planning on following my progress on Monday during the marathon, here two options:

To have a text message sent to you tracking my progress click here.  It is as simple as texting RUNNER to 345678.  You will then need to enter my bib number: 13637

To follow race day coverage, go here on race day, look for the link to follow runners and simply enter my bib number 13637.

See you all on Wednesday when I post the results!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

We Did It!

We reached our goal...wait...let me correct that...we SURPASSED our goal!  A huge THANK YOU to all of our friends and family who donated in honor of Brittany for NBIA research. I know there is still money on its way...and it will all be collected and sent directly to the NBIA headquarters in California (so if you still would like to donate...please do so).

My original goal was to raise $2620 (honoring the marathon distance of 26.2 miles), we have gone way beyond that goal by over $1700!  I will most definitely post the GRAND total when I return from Boston next Tuesday.

As you know, Brittany has been in the hospital all week working on her breathing issues.  But the latest and greatest news is she is returning home with mom and dad tonight.  So this thumb's up is also for you, Brittany from all of your fans!  We LOVE you!

Tomorrow I will be posting all of the information on how to view my progress on Monday during the race.  Starting time is at 10:20 am.  There are multiple timing mats that each runner must pass over throughout the course. Each time we cross over a mat, our time is recorded and sent directly to you.  It gives a predicted finishing time and changes as each runner progresses along the race.

I know each time I cross a mat, you will be cheering for me.

So be sure to check in tomorrow to learn all of the details!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


You all know I think Brittany is the coolest kid around. My kids are pretty cool too.  So are your kids...all rockin'! Kids really do amazing things.

I mean, just today I went to visit Brittany in the hospital (great excuse for me to have Chipotle with Sandy)...yes, she is hanging out there again (breathing issues).  When I arrived she had just fallen asleep as her mother was reading to her...a tough night makes for a sleepy day.

As I was just about to leave, she awoke.  She forced her tired little hand out from under her sheet and lifted it to mine. I squeezed it.  I told her I was ready to run the Boston Marathon for her.  The best fun was telling her all about my cool race outfit...complete with BOSTON FOR BRITTANY (in zebra letters) on the front and GOOGLE IT on the back!  I think she approved!

So, you know I think the world of Brittany.  I love hearing about other children that are "outta of this world" awesome.  Can I share the story of Dayton's Legs with you? 

Do enjoy this touching story!

We can all give...in so many ways...whether it is our time, our touch, our talents.  Don't hold back on giving. 

"Be grateful for every opportunity to serve. It helps you more than those you serve."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Heart Brittany...We all do!

It was six months ago that I started this little blog capturing my Boston for Brittany journey.  It was my hope to raise attention and money for NBIA for my friend Brittany as she and her family struggle with this difficult disease.

As I look back on the past few months, I have seen a person living with an imperfect body living a perfect life.  She is patient. She is kind.  She is giving.  She is a friend to all.

She lives a life with so many "can'ts." She can't run.  She can't walk. Her back bent from scoliosis, she can't sit on her own.  Her small feet twisted and sweet hands bent, she can't use them.  She can't talk.  She can't see perfectly.  She can't eat....

But she doesn't care.  Because she know what she CAN do.  And although I am sure there are times when Brittany wants to scream and shout (probably at her mother...and I am just saying this because my daughter does it to me...it's only fair to say), to walk, to share all of the thoughts that remain trapped within...she lives a life beaming with joy.

We are all given hardships in this life.  No one is exempt.  It is what we do in  these difficult times...who we become...that is of up most importance.

I heart Brittany because I know who she has become.  She is someone that makes me a better person.  It might look like I am there "giving" her so much as I spend time with her but that is not the case in any way.  I am the one that has been blessed by serving Brittany.

I want to share THIS amazing address given to a group of students at Brigham Young University in 1996 by Elder Busche giving advice to those listening on how to become a disciple of Christ. 

May we all lose the "can'ts" in our life and embrace the "cans." And by so doing, we will become who we need to be, true disciples of Christ.

If you feel you "can" donate a small amount for NBIA research, please do so.  And to those that have donated...

Thank you

Monday, April 11, 2011

It's the Final Countdown...AND NEVER TOO LATE!

It is official, the BIG race is in one week!  Woot, woot, woot (fist is pumping Arsenio Hall style)!

I can't tell you how excited I am to run for Brittany.  I am amazed at your generous donations on Brittany's behalf for NBIA!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
My dear friend Robyn, created this little Smilebox sharing my Boston for Brittany journey...

Thanks to you, I have surpassed my goal by over $500!

But we shouldn't stop there!  No Way!

Can we add a little more?


Please send in your donations (or drop them by)...

It is not too late.