Essexville woman picked as Rookie Runner, vows to change life after family tragedy

Monica Carlson, 2011 Rookie Runner

An Essexville woman vows to turn her life around after a family tragedy.

NBC25 found out how being nominated as one of Bay City's Rookie Runners will help her do just that.

One week ago Monica Carlson TMs 87 year old mother died after battling heart disease for most of her life.

I was with my mother when she passed away, and I thought I don't ever want my boys to go through this, said Essexville resident, Monica Carlson.

Carlson tries to eat healthy, but recently found out it wasn't enough.

My cholesterol was up, my blood pressure was up a little bit, my weight was up, I thought I TMve got to stop this chain, said Carlson.

As Carlson searched the paper to find her mother's obituary, she stumbled across an article about the Bay Area Runners Club, looking for applicants to be the next Rookie Runner.

Carlson took it as a sign from her mother.

I saw the article in the paper, and I thought, she's talking to me, I need to do this, I need to commit, said Carlson.

That dream has come true. Sunday, Carlson was one of two people picked as Rookie Runners for the St. Patrick TMs Day Race in Bay City.

The motivation and determination in her essay was screaming I need you to help me, and I can't do this on my own, said Ann Gasta, the St. Patrick TMs Day Race Director.

Ann Gasta is the race director and will train Carlson for free.

Trauma in our lives tends to throw everything out of perspective; she needs to focus on how to get herself back on track, said Gasta.

Carlson hopes to walk out her front door and run several miles throughout her neighborhood, she hopes to one day participate in a marathon with her husband and son.

It TMs an accomplishment she would have wanted to share with her mother.

I wish you were at the finish line to see me, said Carlson.

NBC25 will be following Monica Carlson throughout her journey, all the way to the finish line at the St. Patrick TMs Day Race in Bay City.