Strava Marathon (Bellingham, MA)
Finish Time: 3:40
Temp: 66 degrees
Conditions: Overcast, a little humid
Run For: Ben + Julie
With this marathon I wanted to change things up slightly with who I ran for. Even though I am running for those who are fighting Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, like Ben and Julie, Amanda’s husband and stepmom, I am running “for and with” Amanda. Amanda is an IBD hero in every sense of the word! Yes, living with these diseases affects the lives of those who suffer, but it also affects the lives of those who love them. The caregivers go through their own struggle and pain, a different side of how these diseases affect those who are not patients. It also affects the families. I know firsthand, with my dad and other dear friends, how hard it is to be a caregiver and see someone you love, like a family member, struggle to just feel better. It is horrible and takes its toll on the entire family. Being a caregiver, suffering, may not have any physical pain associated with it, but the emotional pain is at a 10!
The hardest thing for a caregiver is to just stand by, doing nothing; Team Challenge is proof of that! Not only does TC consist of those suffering, but it is also made up of many who are doing this for someone they love. Amanda is the ultimate caregiver and I have seen what she is willing to do for her family, and her TC family! She is an IBD hero and if you know her you would agree!
When I first met Amanda, I heard about why she was with Team Challenge, her stepmom and her husband. I know she gets some of her strength, determination, drive, and refusal to quit from them. I have seen her do amazing things for them and everyone else she has met through Team Challenge that she calls friends. Like she said, she started running for two people and now she runs for over 3 million.
Speaking of running and doing all that she can for those who fight, last year Amanda ran the Chicago marathon, her very first marathon, for Team Challenge, of course. I was able to follow along with her training updates as she pushed through all the long runs and showed her determination on a weekly basis. What I found to be the most impressive was the number of long runs that she actually ran on the treadmill. Amanda did some of her longest runs, ALL on the treadmill, which is extremely impressive! Running for hours on the treadmill is not fun at all, yet Amanda did it, more than once, and I was and still am in awe. That had to be so mentally and physically hard, but not doing it wasn’t an option for her. She refuses to stop doing all that she can for her loved ones and she continues to prove that year after year, running a number of races for Team Challenge while raising thousands and thousands of dollars. So like I said, when you think of an IBD hero, a caregiver like Amanda is the ultimate IBD hero for all that she does. All of it!
As for this marathon yesterday, the weather was just about perfect, maybe a little on the humid side, but overall great for running. This was another self-timed marathon so being able to run without music and without a lot of people around is something I really enjoy about this sport. I felt really good and was running some pretty quick miles early on while exploring some old roads I haven’t run down in a while. Peaceful and relaxing, as much as running 26.2 miles can be.
At mile 20 I started to feel some tightness in my heel so I played it smart and slowed down. Honestly I was expecting something like this to happen earlier in the run because all week the muscles in my back had been tight. Knowing that tightness in one area can lead to other muscles becoming affected; I wasn’t surprised to feel the tightness in my right heel. I slowed down my pace for a few miles to help but then I had a plan.
I stopped running outside at mile 23 and for the last 3.2 miles I would channel my inner Amanda and run inside on the treadmill where I could control the running environment. I kept the incline at zero and was able to monitor the speed, both of which helped the heel feel better and allowed me to finish up safely, while paying tribute to Amanda and her crazy treadmill runs.
Marathon #31 was run for Ben and Julie, but with Amanda. I am a caregiver like her, running for my Dad and all of the dear friends I have made through Team Challenge. I was honored to be able to run for the Hall family and to share Amanda’s story. I was able to run the Chicago marathon last year so I am proud to have run Amanda’s first marathon “with” her. I know Amanda is not done fighting or running because we do not have those cures, and I’m beyond proud to be in this fight alongside her. I will continue to fight with Amanda, Ben and Julie and so many others because cures are coming. It’s because of people like Amanda, who will help us get those cures soon!
Thank you, Amanda for being who you are and doing all that you do. It is so inspiring to see what you’ve accomplished and I’m honored to have you as a friend. All those IBD patients are lucky to have you on their side as well, especially Ben and Julie. Marathon #31 is done with a few treadmill miles thrown in at the end, and we are another 26.2 miles closer to a cure. Thank you again Amanda for being a true IBD Hero!!
This 26.2 was for you Ben, Julie and Amanda! 26.2 For You!