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Op-Ed: Wake up, open your eyes, count your blessings

Author Sheila Hernández is a mortgage loans originator.

Today when I opened my eyes I felt blessed. Blessed for the opportunity of waking up and being with my family and being here alive. This is a small thing, opening your eyes, but at the same time is a really big thing.

We are living hard times; not everyone got hit by Hurricane María the same way. Some were lucky and others not so much. We should see with those eyes that we can succeed and impact one another in so many ways. Sometimes the little things are the biggest ones…

I have a group of friends that are the moms of my eldest son. These moms are the bomb, we have so much fun that sometimes we don’t include our kids anymore!

One mom got the running fever three years ago and she started to slowly infect the others with this running thing. We started running at San Juan from El Escambrón to El Morro and some were fast, others slow; some ran, others walked; some were happy and others grumpy (this is done Saturdays at 5:30 a.m.), but we supported each other.

As time passed, some took vacations from running but others started planning to run this year’s 26.2-mile Chicago Marathon. These girls were happy, committed and ready. They had the hotel, airfare and everything booked.

But one day we opened our eyes and Hurricane María hits us really, really bad. You see, we tried to be prepared, but the unexpected always changes our plans.

After eight months of hard training, Norma Ramírez decided to cancel her entry. Her circumstances changed and she could not leave her business and family at this time of uncertainty. She canceled her entry but did not cancel her goal, she said “competition is within.”

On Oct. 8, she started running from El Morro at 4:06 a.m. with her husband Maiki by her side (on a bike) and she ran alone, with obstacles on the road, with no light, not the best conditions but with a goal on her mind and Jesus on her heart.

Along the way, she got phone calls of encouragement from many friends. Esther, who went to Chicago (and succeeded!) called and they cried wishing she could be here; you see the meaning of that run was powerful.

She ran the last 8 miles with two friends — Vilma Mercado and Rose Previdi — that gave her the confidence see needed to finish. She made a time of 5:36:45, the only Chicago marathon runner that ran in Puerto Rico.

Running is very much like life. Sometimes you don’t want to get up, but you must. Sometimes you feel like quitting but you keep going. Sometimes you feel alone but you’re not.

Sometimes life hurts, but if you open your eyes and see the blue sky, the immensity of the ocean you realize the beauty in life and that you must keep on going even if you hurt, even if you cry. Wake up, open your eyes and count your blessings.

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Author Details
This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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