Strava Marathon (Bellingham, MA)
Finish Time: 3:49
Temp: 47 degrees
Conditions: Rain and Cool Temps
Run For: Rocco
Running a marathon is hard. I’ve said this before and I’m saying it again. Running in general is tough on the body, physically, the repetitive impact with the hard ground, your muscles working hard to keep propelling you up and down the varying terrain, and mentally the struggle we have with our brain that keeps telling us to stop. For some runs it’s harder physically and for others it’s the mental battle, today, this marathon for me was not a struggle and it did not hurt. Numb is the best way to describe how I felt for most of this marathon.
What do you think about when you run? That is probably one of the questions I hear the most when people find out I run as many marathons as I do. As most of you know I don’t run with headphones, I don’t listen to music or podcasts, I just run. I listen to my breathing; I pay attention to my form and listen to my body. What do I think about? It really varies from run to run and my best answer is, I sometimes think about everything and sometimes I think about nothing. I’d like to tell you I thought about Rocco and his son, Nick the whole time today, but I didn’t. I had been thinking about both of them a lot for the past month, for those of us who know Rocco; it’s hard to not be thinking about him. I pretty much zoned out for this marathon today and that’s ok. My mind basically went numb and I just went out and ran today not really thinking about anything, I just pushed myself forward.
Rocco has been pushing himself forward for almost his entire life when it comes to dealing with his Crohn’s Disease. He doesn’t get a break and there is always the fear that when things seem “fine” the possibility of a flare or something worse could be right around the corner. He just pushes himself forward, living his life the best way he knows how. He runs to help find that cure he needs himself as well as his entire Team Challenge family.
Over the past month, Rocco has been doing the same thing, pushing forward, trying to live with his reality now without his son. I can’t begin to describe what he must be going through and I’m also not going to try to relate any marathon or running itself to what he’s dealing with. You can’t and I won’t.
I think today’s run was my own personal way to just take a break from thinking about my friend. Not that I don’t care deeply about Rocco, believe me, my heart aches for him and his family. Today I ran a marathon for him and for Nick and I couldn’t have been more proud to do so. Apparently my body and my mind just needed to go numb and not think about anything, I just needed to get out there and run for my friend and do this marathon for him.
Some runs you really don’t think about a thing and today was that day and that really made for an easy day out there. Rain was in the forecast and I got in about 4 miles under cloudy skies before the rain started to fall. I love running in the rain but I’ll admit 22 miles is a little long and by mile 20 I was about done being soaked and cold from this weather. Unfortunately, things were only going to get worse as the day went on so the mentality was to just push forward and finish so I could dry off before it actually got worse.
The nice thing about running “numb” is that usually you are relaxed and get into this running state, a smooth rhythm and nothing hurts or tightens up. I honestly could have kept running today, that is if the rain stopped, and just gone on forever. The pace felt right, the leg turnover was comfortable and breathing never felt labored. Some runs everything just falls into place and you just go, pushing forward. Today was that day and running just felt easy, as easy as running a marathon could feel.
I’m truly honored to be able to run this marathon today for Rocco with Nick in my heart. Thank you Rocco for being the person you are and the friend you’ve become to me and to so many. I believe all you have to do is introduce someone to you to accurately describe what Team Challenge is. I’m looking forward to running with you again soon as you train for your next half marathon and love that we get to honor Nick throughout the entire process. Nick was lucky to call you his dad and you were so fortunate to call him your son.
This 26.2 was for you Rocco! 26.2 For You!