I Ran For PCHAS!

Houston Marathon Shavana

Set goals for yourself. That is what I have taught so many of my clients to do. I work with families in crisis, and creating mutually agreed-upon goals is a very important part of the process. Little did I know that I was about to embark on a goal of a lifetime for myself. I had always wanted to run a half-marathon. Donna Lujan, in PCHAS’ central office in Austin, told me that there were only two spots left to run for PCHAS in the Chevron Houston Marathon. I wanted to run for my clients: the 20-year-old who was hit by a drunk driver and is now in a coma; the family of five who lost their mom in a hit-and-run car accident.

During the next two months, I set physical and mental goals for myself and started training. The effects of my training rubbed off on one of my clients, a grandmother who is raising her five grandchildren. When their mom died a few months earlier, the grandmother became the sole caregiver of the children, a big job for anybody! My client, the grandmother, saw the difference my training was having on me and she began to exercise. She uses exercise as a stress reliever and a way to clear her mind. We met a few times and I walked with her. Soon I was well on my way to running my first half-marathon!

The week of the race finally came and I felt the adrenaline rushing. I was pumped! That week I also received some bad news. My husband and I had both caught the flu. My doctor advised me not to run the race. I looked at him and told him that he doesn’t know me and he doesn’t know why I am running. My mind was set. I allowed my body to rest and fueled it with good food to get better. I remembered my clients who have setbacks but yet they persevere. How could I look at them and tell them to push through if I couldn’t?

The morning of the race came. I said my prayers and asked for God’s guidance. On the sidelines on race day, my clients were there rooting for me. There was a huge contingent of people there from PCHAS. It was very cold that day! When I arrived at the starting corral, it was bitter cold.

The rain came down; I was freezing; but mile after mile, I thought about my clients. At mile seven, the muscles in my legs started to tighten up. I immediately started to pray. I knew that there was no way I could run another six miles with the tightness that I felt in my legs. After a half-mile, the knot that I felt in my legs loosened up and I felt an adrenaline rush, which was what I needed to finish the race. I knew God wanted me to complete the race. I was there to run for my clients: run for the struggling teenage dad, for the grandparents raising their grandchildren, for the child that was abused as a baby, run and don’t stop. And so I did. I completed the race. I ran for my clients; I raised money for PCHAS. What a wonderful feeling!

Shavana Lopez, MSED, LPC-S, NCC, a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and a National Certified Counselor, has been a PCHAS Child and Family Specialist for more than eight years. She has a Master’s degree in education and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. Before coming to PCHAS, she worked as a Dallas County probation officer and as a counselor for a local domestic violence agency.