Strava Marathon (Cumberland, RI)
Finish Time: 3:40
Temp: 90 degrees
Conditions: Sunny and Hot
Run For: Brittany
Running in August in New England usually means running in hot weather. Yesterday’s marathon was just plain hot, especially in the sun. Because of a wedding, I waited until Sunday night to run this marathon for Brittany. Unfortunately the temperature was still 90 degrees when I left the house to start. I always tell those I coach to use extreme caution when it comes to running in this kind of summer heat. Heeding my own advice, I planned to run some out and backs of no more than 4 miles each. I wanted to make sure I kept coming back to the house to hydrate so I would not be out for too long or be too far away, just in case. You need to run smart and be safe.
The first few miles were really hard and I was definitely feeling the heat. It took a lot of mental determination to stick with it and just keep going. I had to think about Brittany and how on some days when she might not feel like dealing with Crohn’s, she doesn’t have a choice. There are no “I don’t want to deal with it right now” when it comes to dealing with these diseases. Running a marathon in 90 degree heat will eventually end. I’ll be tired, I’ll be sore, I’ll not want to run anymore and after 26.2 miles I’ll be able to stop and those feelings will subside. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are marathons that don’t have an end. Yes, some treatment options help keep things at bay, but they are in no way an end. I pick and choose when I want to run a marathon, those battling these diseases don’t get to decide when their marathon starts or when things get worse.
When I coach during event weekend I always have the pleasure of running with participants from chapters all over the country. The North West chapter always has a huge team so inevitably I run and chat with quite a few of them. Every time I run with someone from TCNW they always talk about Brittany and how great she is as a person and as a coach. I met Brittany a couple years ago when she coached her first season for Team Challenge. She had participated a couple times before and then had the opportunity to coach the North West Chapter. Everyone she coaches is lucky enough to know her and see how strong and determined she is. I have no doubt that they draw strength from her and use it to help them running and dealing with Crohn’s and colitis.
Brittany’s story is so powerful and she went through so much at such a young age and then again after her college years. Her refusal to not let this disease control her is so evident in all that she does. I’m lucky enough to be a coach for this program with her and I’m honored to be able to call her a friend. She says that she is lucky to have her TC Family, but we are the lucky ones to have her.
Running in the late afternoon heat, with the short loops back to the house to try and stay hydrated resulted in a race against daylight. It turned out I didn’t time this well enough and around mile 18 I realized I wasn’t going to finish before the sunset. I made it to 20 miles before it became too dark and unsafe to keep running outside. The streets around my house are not ideal for running at night, with no sidewalks, very small shoulders and not a lot of street lights. I had to come up with a new plant to finish. I wasn’t going to quit at 20 because that isn’t what this challenge is all about. I finished up 20 outside and then headed inside to run the last 6.2 on the treadmill. I do not like the treadmill, so running a 10k was something I needed to mentally prepare for, especially after almost three hours outside. Again I drew strength from Brittany and finished strong to finally complete 26.2 miles. No excuses and not going to quit.
Thank you Brittany for allowing me to share your story and to run a marathon for you! You are a great friend and as a Team Challenge coach you touch so many lives and are an inspiration to so many. I’m just one of many who admire you and all that you accomplish. Thank you for all you do!
Marathon #15 was a hot one, but it’s done! This 26.2 was for you Brittany! 26.2 For You!