There are a lot of reasons why you should come out for the Red Balloon Run & Relay next Saturday, Oct. 9: To support the patients at Children’s. To get some good exercise on a Saturday morning. To bring your family together for a good cause.
And there’s another reason that you probably don’t know: You’ll get to see an Olympian. Or at least one in training. Heidi Morse wouldn’t want me to call her that, but she’s earned the title.
The Children’s ICU nurse was running 80 to 100 miles a week to train for Olympic qualifying – while working 12-hour shifts and leading the youth group at her church – before getting a stress fracture in her pelvis a couple of months ago.
She’s feeling better now, though, and is gradually working her way back to Olympic training. The Red Baloon Run & Relay will be her first organized race on that path. She’s on the Simtations, a team of Children’s staff who either work in or interact with the Sim Lab and some of their family members, including Heidi’s parents.
“I can’t promise how fast I’ll run, but I’m excited to do it,” she said.
I asked her how fast she usually runs.
Her answer: “I was running a 3-hour marathon (which equates to under 7 minutes per mile), but I’m running around a 9:30 mile right now, which is really slow for me.”
My response: “That would be the fastest mile of my life.”
“It’s going to take a lot of work, but it’s within reach,” she said.
She said she’ll keep running even if she doesn’t qualify for the Olympics, though.
“It’s the only time I can get away from my cell phone and all the other distractions and listen to music and have prayer time. It’s my de-stress time.”
You can meet her for yourself next week at the relay, which “runs” from 9:30 a.m. to noon at Children’s Medical Center at Legacy. You can also donate to Children’s on behalf of Heidi and the Simtations here.