Meet Sherrie

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Hi, I’m Sherrie, owner, writer and mastermind of Pianorunner.com.

I wanted to create this blog as a place to share some of the passions I’ve developed over the years.  But first, allow me to give a little history about myself.

Where to begin?

I was born into a wonderful, very large LDS family.  Two loving parents and 7, yes, SEVEN siblings.  I think the sense of positive, competitive spirit between my brothers, and sisters and I, is the thing that nurtured my inner drive.  They continue to give me positive motivation every day.  I love my family!

Because of the deep, unwavering faith of my parents, my siblings and I were raised in a very strong Latter Day Saints (Mormon) home.  Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a pivotal part of who I am.  This life is important, but it’s a teeny, tiny glimpse on the eternal spectrum of our lives.  I believe in my Savior Jesus Christ, and in following Him in everything I do in my life. Because of that, everything I write about in the blog, directly or indirectly reflects my testimony of Jesus Christ.

My parents love music!  They instilled that love in us from a very young age.  I believe it is my spirit who sings.  I have always had a deep passion for music.  I started singing at the young age of 4, and shortly after that my mom taught me to play the piano.  I would sit and play for hours and hours.  I loved it so much.  I still revel in the fact that my mom admittedly let me get out of doing household chores because she loved to hear me play.  She has always been an amazing support of encouragement for me with my music.  When I was around 15 or 16 years old, I started teaching the neighbor kids piano lessons, then a few family members, and my teaching career blossomed from there. I have been teaching for 20 years and plan to teach many, many more.  I love teaching piano.  I love to see the progress in my students, the light in their eyes after they’ve accomplished a difficult piece, and how proud they are of themselves after performing in a recital.  Teaching piano is my job, but it certainly doesn’t feel like work.

In May 2000, I married the love of my life, Clint, in the Logan LDS temple.  In 2001, we started our little family, when our first daughter was born.  We then had a son in 2003, and another daughter in 2005.  I absolutely love being a Mom.  My children and my husband are my best friends.  It’s the hardest and most rewarding thing I could ever do.

Shortly after I had my third baby, I decided I wanted to give running a try.  I envied my friends and family members who ran, and I wanted to try it too.  So, in Fall of 2005, I signed up for a 5k on a Tuesday, and the following Saturday, showed up to run my first race.  I had never run more than a mile and half at one time, and not recently.  Talk about trial by fire!  My mom and sister-in-law came to run with me.  It took me 42 minutes to finish and I had to stop in the middle to go to the bathroom.  But even as slow and laughable my race time was, the fire was lit under me. I loved it!  Within the next several months, I would go on to finish a few more 5k’s, and my first 10k, gradually increasing my pace as I trained.  In Summer of  2007, my friend and I got this crazy idea that we could run a half marathon.  We registered for one the following Fall, and started training.  Every long run was a rush.  I couldn’t believe I was running 8 miles, 10 miles, 13 miles! I ran my first half marathon in January of 2008.  When I crossed the finish, I was pumped.  I wanted more.  5 months later, in May 2008, I ran my first full marathon in the Ogden Marathon.  In September I ran the Top of Utah Marathon, and then in October the St. George Marathon.  That race in St. George in 2008 still holds my personal record, something I fully plan to blow out of the water with my next marathon coming up this September.  I ran the Ogden Marathon again in May 2009.  That’s when things started to go back downhill.

Earlier in 2008, I had a strong prompting to quit teaching piano.   It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made.  At the time, I truly could not see why I should quit teaching.  But the spirit spoke pretty loudly to me, so I decided to listen, whatever the reason, and I quit teaching.  During the hours I had given up teaching, (in addition to mothering 3 busy kids and training for my new running passion),  I spent time playing, practicing, and improvising at the piano.  What I discovered was an untapped well of music inside my soul, waiting to come out.  I wrote, arranged, rewrote, and recorded several new piano solo pieces.  I recorded them on my mom’s grand piano with my brother’s Korg dubbing device.  I decided to make my own little homemade album to give to family and friends.  One day, I got up the nerve to send my little album to Greg Hansen, a local Utah music producer of LDS music.  I’ll never forget the day I heard back from him.  It was a Friday in October.  The day before I was to run the St. George marathon.  I was busy packing, arranging kids, and getting read for my road trip south, when the phone rang.  It was Greg.  He told me he liked my music, compared my style to a very prominent LDS  pianist saying “your music sounds like {him}, only with more soul,” and told me my piano was out of tune, and that he would like to help me produce a professional copy of my album.  I couldn’t believe it!  I have no doubt, that I ran as fast as I did in that marathon because I was on cloud nine!

I spent the next several months working on my music, recording in a studio, and transcribing my songs into sheet music.  In May 2009, around the same time of the Ogden marathon, my first album, Solitude: a collection of Inspirational Piano solos, was released.  I am still overwhelmed at the support and positive response I have received from producing this album.

Life was good.  Really good.  So good, in fact, that I thought, it’s time to move on to the next chapter and add to our little family.  We decided it was time to try for another baby.  It had been 4 years since our little B was born.  In my mind, it was time.  Heavenly Father had other plans for me.

In late Spring, early Summer of 2009, I began having strange, seemingly unrelated symptoms.  Occasionally, my hands would shake, moving up into my body with tiny tremors that would last for seconds or minutes and then leave.  I began losing a lot of weight, despite no change in my routine or diet.  Embarrassing as this is, I started having increasingly worsening problems with loose bowels.  I went to the doctor and was told I had a bug and to let it run its course.  Two weeks later, as symptoms worsened, and more symptoms appeared; itchy hands and feet, hair falling out; I went to another doctor and was prescribed an antibiotic for a possible parasite.  Another doctor prescribed Prozac. More symptoms.  Depression, anxiety, insomnia, heart palpitations, bulging eyes (exopthalmopathy).  I will never forget the day I had to stop running.  I remember starting out with my running group and I just couldn’t keep up.  I couldn’t catch my breath.  I had no idea what was wrong, only that something was.  Shortly after that, I went to the gym to run on the treadmill.  At the end of the row of treadmills, a poster hung on the wall.  As I ran, fighting through the tightness in my chest, the pounding of my heart, the lead feeling of my legs, clinging to my philosophy that I could just “run it out,” I noticed the poster. It was a chart showing the levels of activity with heart rate levels.  It ranged from sedentary, easy, fat loss, aerobic, up to danger–heart attack zone.  So, out of curiosity, I put my hands on the heart rate monitors on the treadmill.  It read my heart rate as 210 bpm.  I was well into the “heart attack” zone.  This really scared me.  I stopped running immediately and went home.  I started wearing my heart rate monitor to bed at night.  I remember many mornings waking up to a resting heart rate of over 120.  This was not just some bug or parasite.

I went to my gynocologist, whom I trusted completely.  They ordered a TSH test, a test of my thyroid function.  A week later, when I called back to get my results, the only answer I got was, “your thyroid test is abnormal, but we don’t treat thyroid, so go back to your family doctor.”  I was frustrated, to say the least.  This was the 4th doctor that couldn’t help me.  So, I went back to a doctor I had seen years ago, for strep or something.  I asked my gynocologist to forward the test results to him.  He was amazing. He ordered every thyroid test he could, (another TSH, T3, T4, free T3, free T4, a thyroid ultrasound, and a thyroid uptake).  After the results came back, I met with the doctor again.  He told me I had acute hyperthyroidism with nodules on my thyroid and that it was very possible that I had thyroid cancer.  But to be sure, he would refer me to endocrinologist who specialized in thyroid.  Here we go again.  Moving on to Doctor number 6.  By this time, about 4 months had gone by, and I had lost about 40 pounds.  I seriously wish I had taken more pictures at the time.  Seriously, this is the best picture I have of me at that time, but you can see the bulging eyes and hollow cheeks.  Aren’t I pretty?

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I met with the endocrinologist a couple of weeks later.  He did his own set of tests and told me he was happy to report that my nodules were not cancerous, not threatening, and that what I had was known as Graves disease, an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid and puts it into hyperdrive.  He prescribed a very risky, controversial anti-thyroid drug that required me to carry around a special card at all times, because a “common” side effect is bone marrow infection.  Uh…yikes!  I took the drug for 6 weeks, and went back for a follow up.  There was no change in my thyroid levels.  So, my doctor recommended radioactive iodine ablation treatment.  I was very hesitant.  Through out this whole experience, I had begun to explore more homeopathic health care.  I wondered if there were something I could do aside from the radiation treatment.  It was so permanent.That scared me.   And I didn’t want to be hypothyroid.  In the end, after exploring our options, we decided to go with the treatment.  I spent 3 days in isolation, waiting for my thyroid to slowly die.

The next several months were incredibly difficult.  As my thyroid deteriorated, so did my mental focus, my energy, and some days, my will to live.  I could see my personality changing, inside my head, and felt powerless to do anything about it.  I was put on hormone replacement meds.  It was a long and difficult process.  During this time, my doctor told me that because of the imbalance of hormones in my body, I would no longer be able to get pregnant.  I was devastated.  Heartbroken.  I loved my 3 children, but I knew that our little family wasn’t done yet.  We looked into adoption.  I just couldn’t accept the prospect of not having more children.  I refused to allow someone else to have the final say in the future of my family.

Several months later, due to a series of homeopathic remedies and determination, things started to even out with my hormone levels. I thought it couldn’t hurt to ask, so I told my doctor I would really love to try for another baby.  He explained to me the risks–not even being able to get pregnant, possibly passing along the Graves disease to my baby, the baby not developing a thyroid.   For the past year, my hormone levels were so severely irregular, that trying to get pregnant wasn’t even an option.  The miracle was that, now, they had leveled off at a very healthy level.  My doctor was in awe.  The only thing we could come up with was that the supplements and oils had helped my body balance itself out.  So, I was given the go ahead to at least try, with instructions that I would need to be closely monitored through out the process.

I kept using my meds, and my supplements.  For several months, nothing happened.  Again, I was heartbroken, but didn’t want to give up.  Finally, after many months, I believe I resolved to accept my reality.  I remember the exact day.  It was morning.  I had just gotten out of the shower.  Sometimes, when it’s all quiet, I like to kneel in my room, and say my prayers.  That day, I remember kneeling in my closet, to pray about having another baby.  This day, however, instead of pleading with Heavenly Father to send me another baby, I found myself being overcome with an overwhelming sense of peace and gratitude.  And I realized how happy I was with my 3 beautiful children, and I learned to accept that I was incredibly blessed already.

Faith is a funny thing.  Heavenly Father has a different time line than we do most of the time.  When I was finally able to accept and be happy with the idea that I wouldn’t have any more children, I was blessed with a miracle.  One month after that day, 2 years after my initial diagnosis, and 6 years after my 3rd baby girl was born, I discovered I was pregnant.

In September 2011, my sweet little baby girl, R was born.  She came out a spunky, redheaded, little spitfire.  We were instantly in love.  She came at the perfect time for our family.  The older kids adored her.  Her nickname quickly became “the favorite.”

With the 6 yr gap between kids, I worried about little R being all alone once they all got older.  I thought, she needed a sibling, a buddy.

In July 2012, I discovered I was pregnant again.  R was 9 months old.  Irish twins!  My precious baby boy, J was born in March 2013.  What a wonderful blessing!  Having these two babies in our family have been absolute, pure joy.  They are best buddies, holy terrors now that they both are in full toddlerhood, turn my house upside down every single day, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Finally, my family is complete.

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Shortly after I had R, I joined a group personal training class, which I continued to participate in thru my pregnancy and after J was born.  I gained a great love of strength training, weight lifting, and fitness.  My trainer became one of my dearest friends, my inspiration and has always been such a positive force in my life.  She has helped me get to where I am today.

In Summer of 2014, I decided to get my group fitness instructor certification thru AFAA, and shortly after that went thru the NASM course to become a certified personal trainer.

In Sept 2014, my dreams came true as I ran the Big Cottonwood Marathon and qualified for the Boston Marathon.

In April 2015, I ran my first Boston Marathon!  The experience was surreal and amazing and one I will never forget!  I have completed a total of 15 full marathons to date, countless half marathons and other distance races, one sprint triathlon, with more on the horizon.

 

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