Posts Tagged ‘Team Tiny Miracles’

I set a new personal record – a PR, to those of us in the biz – in the 5K on Sunday morning. But I didn’t realize it for more than 24 hours, time I spent wallowing in mild disappointment about what I considered to be an uninspired result.

And that was the moment I realized that I’m not the athlete I sometimes believe myself to be. And that the training I’d done – running at least a couple of miles for 135 days in a row – wasn’t as intense as it could have been.

Of course, there were extenuating circumstances. For starters, it was warm and humid by September in Sioux Falls standards. At least, that’s what my buddy – a legitimate runner – told me. As you know, I’m all in on natural heat yet I’m more than willing to blame Mother Nature for slowing me down. (more…)

Mark Covert, I am not. Never heard of him? He’s a 62-year-old Californian who jogged at least one mile every single day for 45 years, a foot-crushing run streak that ended in July.

I’m also not Scott Nelsen, a friend and loser of roughly 100 pounds over the course of a nearly year-long streak that ended cruelly due to a car accident. He’s the inspiration for starting a streak of my own.

On Sunday, it reached 101 days. Again, no big deal in the grand scheme of things. But it’s by far the most I’ve ever strung together – probably 10-times over – and an interesting ongoing experiment.


Team Tiny Miracles shirts: Now with extra swag.

Team Tiny Miracles shirts: Now with extra swag.

Things have been normal or something close to it at home for nearly a month. No difficult pregnancies, life-threatening illnesses, births, deaths or extended leaves from work. Just six people – half of them under the age of 3 – playing and laughing and eating and sometimes bickering and hardly sleeping. It’s been mostly glorious, the least eventful stretch my family has had in 3 years.

But now it’s time to pick a scab.


Forgive me, loyal readers, for posting this here (unless you like it – then by all means join in). I needed somewhere with a permalink …

Hey everyone,

There’s really no fun or interesting way to do this so I’m just going to spew out the details …

For the second year in a row, we’re rounding up friends, family members and strangers to participate in the Sioux Falls Marathon, Half Marathon and Miracle 5K in order to raise awareness and funds for premature babies. Our name: Team Tiny Miracles.

This year’s Team Tiny Miracles shirts. Purple is the color of premature baby awareness.

The event is scheduled for the morning of Sunday, Sept. 9 in Sioux Falls, and the race fee is $25 if you sign up by July 31, $30 if you sign up by Aug. 31 and $40 after that. You’ll receive a race shirt and post-race food. Further details can be found here:

When you sign up, please choose the team category – no matter what distance you’re planning to do – and select Team Tiny Miracles.

We’ll also be selling Team Tiny Miracles shirts for $20. Broken down, that’s $6 for cost and a $14 donation to the Breley Ann Vandrovec Endowment through Children’s Miracle Network. Breley is our middle daughter. She was born at 24 weeks gestation at 1 lb., 6 oz., and died two days later, buying just enough time to help her twin, Kailey, survive.

The shirts will have the same design as they did last year, except with reverse colors (purple shirts, white writing). Feel free to order a new shirt – whether you’re going to race or not – or reuse the old one. We’re grateful for your support either way.

Place your shirt orders via email ( or through an online sign-up sheet ( The deadline to decide is Aug. 22 (although we’ll likely order a couple extras). We’ll work out payment and shirt pick up as the orders come in.

Make sense? If not, don’t hesitate to email ( with questions. Last year’s event was beautiful and emotional – we’re really excited to do it again in honor of all the tiny miracles.

Thanks again.

Terry and Jessica Vandrovec

During his farewell speech as host of the Tonight Show, Conan O’Brien urged his viewers to avoid becoming cynical. Along those same lines, it seems like people are reluctant to be inspired anymore (unless it pertains to getting rich).

Maybe they’re disillusioned by corruption in politics or cheating in sports. Even art has taken a hit as music and film seem more interested in recycling than creating. Still others see the idea of looking up to someone else as cheesy or weak.

That’s sad if not dangerous.

So let me make this very clear: I was inspired this weekend. Over and over again.

My wife and I organized about 50 friends, family members and relative strangers to participate in the Sioux Falls Marathon, Half Marathon and Miracle 5K. It wasn’t so much about wellness as raising funds and awareness for premature babies. We called ourselves Team Tiny Miracles. Got shirts made and everything.

Here are some of the inspiring parts:

  • One team member, Aaron, ran a half marathon – that’s 13.1 miles – for the first time. Why? Because he was inspired by the fight that our premature twins showed and wanted to do something difficult – even though he’s plenty busy with a wife, three kids and 1.5 jobs. He then enlisted another rookie, a co-worker, to make the same new journey. They succeeded and seemingly without breaking a sweat. They deserved those finisher medals.
  • My brother and his wife made the trip from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. That’s a long haul for an event like this. But the truly incredible part is that they recently adopted an almost-1-year-old girl from Ethiopia. This was our first time getting to meet her, and she is incredibly sweet, content and playful. To think that they rescued someone from a country facing a famine said to rival those from the infamous 1980s commercials and a continent that’s plagued by rampant rape is absolutely incredible and heroic.
  • The last man to our cookout was our team’s only entrant in the marathon – Charles. He stood out not just because he finished the marathon, his first, but because he joined Team Tiny Miracles at all. See, I’d never met him before. He follows my work and attended the school I cover, but we were basically strangers before Sunday. Yet he felt compelled to support our cause even though he’s in the process of completing more schooling – no cheap endeavor – and then stopped by our house with his gregarious 3-year-old daughter for a veggie burger and a really nice chat. (I’d never cooked one of those before. Think I nailed it.)

Beyond that, some longtime friends attended from the Twin Cities, one member of our crew ran his guts out to the tune of a second-place finish and – as always – all sorts of family members were on hand to lend support.

The whole thing was overwhelming. In fact, it was more emotional than I expected. Seeing an old NICU friend volunteering on the course threw me for a loop and I nearly curled up in the fetal position at the 57th St. underpass. But I managed to finish with a new personal best for a 5K if short of the goal I had set.

What’s more, all of this took place on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, a date that – at least temporarily – restored the idea of public servants and everyday people as heroes.

Inspiration, for the sake of helping others and/or bettering yourself, was alive and well this weekend in our corner of South Dakota. And it felt good.

Team Tiny Miracles