Run With Your Life: Part 2 – No Exceptions

Once upon a time~
Someone sent me a link to a video about Team Hoyt. This was a long, long time ago. As I watched this father push his son, I was floored. I was inspired. It gave new meaning to “strong enough.” At the time I didn’t think that it had much to do with me, but I never forgot those images. I never forgot the love.

Last year when I registered for both half-marathons, I admit, I checked the rules. I looked to see if a stroller or a wheelchair would be allowed. The rules clearly stated that wheelchairs and strollers were NOT allowed. Did I secretly give a sigh of relief? Maybe. I’ll never tell.

This year I checked the rules again as I registered for the Salt Lake City Half-Marathon. Nothing had changed. In fact it stated “No wheelchairs. No strollers. No exceptions.” I was checking the rules for myself… sort of, I mean Lucy hadn’t even asked about it. I just wondered how it was that Team Hoyt seemed to find so many races that would allow them to participate when so far I was ZERO for Three.

And then one day not too long ago she said it…
I was in the kitchen. Lucy was on the sofa reading. She looked up and said, “I really want to run a half-marathon.” My heart sank just a little because… I had already looked. I already knew the answer was “no.” I smiled at my daughter and said, “That would be fun wouldn’t it?” But, I could still see the words “No Exceptions” clearly in my mind.

When Leah registered to run the half-marathon with us there was a part of me that felt even worse! What was I going to say now? “Sorry Lucy, see Leah’s just deaf and you… well, you got a bummer deal on the ol’ legs. You can’t walk and you can’t run so you get to stay home with a babysitter. Chalk one up for spina bifida and cerebral palsy.”

More than two weeks had passed since I made the call. YES, I made the call. I set the girls up with their homework and I went outside on the front porch. I shut the front door and I called the Race Director. I got his voicemail and I left the most compelling message I could muster up. In the face of No Exceptions, I was just committed (or crazy) enough to ask for one anyhow. I actually said, “I am calling to ask you to make an exception.” (Bwahahaha!)

Weeks went by and no one called me back, so I posted “Run With Your Life” and I only talked about Leah joining us in the race which was exciting and amazing and… I knew something was missing. You knew it too. You asked about Lucy in your comments.

Then… two days later I got word.
Lucy was in!!!

I might have jumped up and down in my front yard and whooped and hollered a bit. I just might have.

I couldn’t wait to tell Lucy. As soon as she was off the school bus and the bus engine had faded enough for us to talk I told her, “Lucy, I have really exciting news! You can do the half-marathon with us! We can all run as a family!” Lucy’s eyes were wide with disbelief. She put out her arms to hug me. Her eyes welled with tears. “Can you believe it Lucy?” I asked.

Still slightly shocked she looked up at me with a huge smile and said in a half whisper, “I am going to get a medal!”

We hadn’t been training with her and now the race was only a month away. We didn’t even own a jog-stroller. I called my friend Mike at Baby Bling Design Co. I knew that even though he doesn’t make the kind of stroller that I needed, he could tell me what I needed and point me in the right direction to find it. Like I said Mike doesn’t make that kind of stroller but as luck would have it he just happened to have one that he had used as a prototype for sheepskin stroller inserts. He had been trying to figure out what to do with this brand new jog-stroller in his warehouse. (Are you kidding me?) Within two hours of our “exception” Mike had donated the stroller and it was on its way to us!

And that’s how it happened that THIS Saturday Aaron, Rachel, Leah and Lucy Coleman will ALL be participating in the Salt Lake City Half-Marathon!!!
You can jump up and down a bit and even whoop and holler. I wont tell. Or better yet, if you are in town we would love to have you cheer us on. I think we’ll be pretty easy to spot… see, we’ll be the ones with the stroller.

Run With Your Life - No Exceptions

~With special thanks to Team Hoyt for paving the way and special thanks to The Salt Lake City Marathon Race Director, Scott Kerr for being a “Yes” in a world full of “No”

This entry was posted in Crazy Little Thing Called Life, Strong Enough and tagged , , , , , , , , , , by Rachel Coleman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Rachel Coleman

The opinions and late night musings published on this blog are Rachel de Azevedo Coleman's alone, and are not ever intended to represent the opinions and sentiments of any organization or product that Rachel is, was, or will be associated with. Rachel Coleman is the creator and Emmy-nominated host of Signing Time!, the children's American Sign Language vocabulary building series. She is also the creator and host of Baby Signing Time, Rachel & the TreeSchoolers, and Rachel & Me. Rachel now serves as the Executive Director of the American Society for Deaf Children, a 501c3 nonprofit established in 1967 by parents of deaf children. ASDC is the American Sign Language organization for families who are raising deaf children. Motivated by her child, Leah's deafness, Rachel has spent the last 18 years creating ASL products to help bridge the communication barrier between hearing and signing communities. In 2006 Rachel founded the Signing Time Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to putting communication in the hands of all children of all abilities. In 2014, the Signing Time Foundation launched a 50-Lesson online ASL curriculum called "Sign It: ASL Made Easy" that is available free-of-charge to families with deaf or hard of hearing children ages 36 months and under. Apply at For those who do not qualify to receive Sign It ASL for free, they can find it for purchase at very reasonable rates on Rachel and her husband, Aaron, live in Salt Lake City Utah. They are parents to Leah who was born profoundly deaf, and is now a senior in college at NTID/RIT in Rochester, NY. They are also parents to Lucy who has spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and recently graduated high school. In 2010 the Colemans were joyfully reunited with Rachel's daughter Laura. Rachel is proud to be Laura's birth mom. Laura was placed for adoption as an infant in 1992 when Rachel was 17 years-old.

118 thoughts on “Run With Your Life: Part 2 – No Exceptions

  1. Pingback: Follow Friday – Women of Strength

  2. this is my first comment on your blog- even though your face and voice have been a constant presence in our house for almost two years and i feel like you’re a friend of mine. i’m wishing you all the best of luck in the half-marathon!!! your belief in your own abilities and the abilities of your beautiful daughters are an inspiration to me. my own lucy, at 2.5 years old, knows about 300 ASL signs and her interest sparked my own interest to take ASL at a local college. i LOVE it!

    i run in my five fingers, too! are you running the half marathon “barefoot”? GOOD LUCK, TEAM COLEMAN!

    • Rebecca,
      I have a 2.5 year old named Lucy as well! She is learning signs and loves th videos 🙂 I’ve wanted to take ASL classes too, very cool!

    • Yep I really ran the half-marathon “barefoot” I will be posting our training schedule soon. It wasn’t until mile 10 that I remembered I was wearing Vibrams and that THAT was sort of a big deal as well. I did see 2 other “barefoot” runners in the race. We cheered each other on, ya know like when you see someone who is driving your same car;)

  3. A friend of mine mentioned your blog, and after reading of your desire to share your love of running and the racing experience with your daughters, I wanted to help make it a big day for them. I’ve been very blessed in my athletic pursuits, doing things that I never imagined possible. April 17 was a training day for me in preparation for my next race (Ironman St. George) so it was fun to be on the sidelines for once to cheer for friends and other runners.

    I was the “fan” at about mile 2 with the Leah/Lucy poster and cow bell. I don’t know if the camera worked when Lucy shot the photo, but if it did, I would love a copy.

    I had my camera, but holding a poster that is trying to curl back on itself, ringing a cow bell, and running backwards was all I could manage, so…sorry I have no photo to share. If you would like, I can take a photo with the poster and send it for a post race memory for your daughters.

    Best of luck and much success to both you and your daughters in their racing and other pursuits.

    • Jeff THANK YOU!! That was awesome! Just awesome! As we were running by I saw the sign “Go Lucy! Go Leah!” and I thought, that can NOT be a coincidence. Yours was the first of 13.1 miles of Team Coleman shout-outs and smiles and conversations with other runners. It was the easiest 13.1 miles I have ever run because there was so much support from participants and spectators. I just kept grinning!
      I’ll check to see if we caught a picture of it, AND I would love for you to send one my way. Seriously, you helped make our day so memorable. All day I told people about the guy we didn’t even know with the sign cheering us on. Thanks for being that guy:) you can send the photo to
      ~Rachel (Team Coleman)

  4. I am so happy that the “no exceptions” rule was altered! I just wanted to tell you how inspiring you are, and how much my family and I love signing time. It has been so awesome watching my two boys learn sign language and love it! Good Luck on your run I am so happy for you both!

  5. I’m officially very impressed! I looked up your times and Lucy is WAY faster than I am (by myself) even in a jogstroller! Congratulations to Lucy! And special congratulations to Leah for training for so well and completing a tough endurance race! Well done!! (You too, Rachel!).

    What’s next!?!?

    • What’s really great is that we ran Leah’s pace. She was a total RockStar! I am hooked! I’m looking forward to my next race though it’s sort of a juggle with my Signing Time performance and travel schedule.

  6. Wow. I was just sitting here feeling sorry for myself tonight, husband out of town AGAIN, another deployment looming, with a two year old, who has given me a difficult day, sleeping down the hall. I just happened to look up that chick from the sign language songs on Nick Jr., who incidentally my kiddo LOVES, and I end up here. I am in awe of your family, what you’ve accomplished, the grace you have shown in the face of great challenges. Bravo, Rachel! Keep up the good work.

    Btw, I wish I had known about you when I was first teaching my son baby signs. I just sort of treated it like my own little science project, not really expecting him to catch on, but I was astounded by what he learned! Baby sign language has been such a blessing to my family. Right now he loves to do “surprised!” from your “Feelings” song on Nick Jr. 😉 Thank you for what you do!

    • Kelly, I am glad you searched us out and thrilled you found us on Nick Jr. Just so you know, The Feelings song can be found on DVD Volume 4 “Family Feelings & Fun”
      I am not surprised that your son loves Signing Time, BECAUSE you signed with him as a baby it is familiar and he may not even know it but because of those early experiences he may feel a sense of accomplishment and mastery… “I know this! I can do this!”
      Welcome to The Signing Time Family!

  7. My name is David. I recently purchased your collection of dvd’s, flashcards and so on. This was not something I would have done without a good reason. That reason is my daughter who has not officially been diagnosed as deaf but she shows no reaction to a large variety of sounds. I would just like to say Thank You so much for filling your day with helping families like mine to grow and communicate with one another. She is only 4 months old, however I know this will help her in life and that makes my heart jump with joy. Words can not express the help that you have sent in that brown box, but it is a lot. Thanks again. A response back would be fine. thanks again.

  8. Rachel, I have two boys, a 17 y.o. and a 3 y.o. with Speech Delay and Sensory Processing Disorder. We taught him signs via your videos when he was 18 mos. and at one point he knew @ 50 signs, far more than words. He’s been in a Speech pre-school for the last year and is now doing so well he’ll be going to a mainstream pre-school in the Fall. I’ve always wanted to tell you how much I appreciated you & Signing Time when our little guy just couldn’t talk! Then, when I found your blog I had to comment because in addition I’ve been trying to “start” running for some time now! I’m inspired by you and was trying to tell myself I could do it and afterall we’re about the same age (sadly, no, you’re several years younger!) but I’m still trying to convince myself! Anyway, just had to leave you a little message.

  9. Pingback: Learn Sign Language » Signing Time Friends and Family Share their Experience of Running the Salt Lake City Half Marathon

  10. Way to go Rachel and Lucy!! BTW I have a non-verbal daughter with CP and we have over 15 Signing Time videos, she loves them and has learn a lot of signs from them (me too). She also competes in marathons inspired by Team Hoyt…check us out at

    Thanks so much for your videos!!
    Kathy Hempel

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