New York City Marathon (New York, NY)
Finish Time: 4:19
Temp: 51 degrees
Conditions: Cool Temps and Dry
Run For: Erin
The New York City Marathon. This was the 49th year of this marathon and the 2nd time I have run this race. I ran this marathon for the first time 14 years ago which seemed like a lifetime ago. 2005 was just my second year running races, more specifically the marathon distance. That year New York was going to be my 5th ever marathon and I went into it with a pretty bad case of runner’s knee. I decided to run through it, like I did with almost all the running related injuries I was getting during that time. Runners are stubborn and I was the epitome of a stubborn runner! I figured I needed to push through because this was the New York City Marathon and who knows when I would ever run it again. As it turned out the answer to that question was 14 years later, this past Sunday.
When I ran that NYC marathon years ago it was before my knowledge of Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis; I did not know about Team Challenge. It was about five years before I would learn about this army in orange, this group of IBD warriors that fight on a daily basis. So, this time with the marathon I knew I had a huge support team, encouraging and supporting me the entire way. I also had Erin, literally in a hospital bed, fighting and going through her own marathon battle, cheering me on, on her birthday!!! How could I not be motivated by all of that? I had so many pushing me through 26.2 miles on what turned out to be a beautiful day to run! All of that could have been enough to get me through but, there was still so much more. With each marathon I run, I have an entire community, an entire family, my TC family cheering me on from near and far. On Sunday, I had so many tracking me live during the race and I was able to see friends on the course cheering as I ran by. I had so many loved ones pushing me along that course on Sunday and I could feel it, I used it. It really helps more than you know and more than I can describe.
Mentally I felt so strong and so confident about finishing and that’s in large part to all of you. That positive energy and support truly does help keep me going mile after mile. Physically I didn’t feel my best; more specifically my left foot was not being cooperative. Prior to this marathon I had been dealing with some tightness in the arch of my foot, a slight case of plantar fasciitis. If you’ve ever had this you know it is not all that fun and can be very painful. The first 8 miles felt great and I was cruising along at a pace quicker than I had planned but still not out of my comfort zone. There were some hills and inclines coming later on the course which would slow me down slightly and that was alright. Around mile 10 I started to notice my foot as it was getting a little “cranky.” I slowed my pace; made sure I kept my proper running form and pushed forward doing my best to straddle that line of being smart versus not making things worse. Remember that stubborn runner from 14 years ago? I tried really hard to not be like that old version of myself and felt I was succeeding. It is a fine line between being a smart runner and getting hurt, luckily this is not something I’ve had to deal with much during a lot of the marathons with this challenge.
To know Erin was cheering me on from a hospital bed was both good and bad. Yes, the cheering part was completely welcomed; I just wish she was doing it from a different place. To have the person I’m running a marathon for actually be sick, in the hospital during that marathon, on their birthday, makes me sad. It makes me want to run a thousand marathons to get us those cures quicker. I hate that these diseases take away a part of someone’s life or makes them alter how they want to live. I have heard Erin’s story and I have seen her struggle and fight for years. I first met Erin during my first year with Team Challenge in 2010. I saw her finish the half marathon that year with our team and experience that “runners high” and even better more that “Team Challenge runners high.” That’s the one where someone achieves something they didn’t think, at one point, was possible, all while running with Team Challenge. I’ve also seen her not feel well, way too many times, yet continue to fight harder than most on so many occasions. Erin’s fight, her story, is a tough one and she has been through so much. It may seem like it never ends and right now it’s a difficult time for her. However, Erin’s story does not have an ending yet. I truly believe we can help write her ending with IBD! She is fighting right now, at this very moment, to change how this story ends. She doesn’t quit, it’s not in her to give up or just say it’s over. She is one of the most determined (maybe stubborn is a better word) IBD heroes I’ve ever known. Erin spent this past weekend being strong and staying tough, yet again when IBD is trying to take her down and it is so inspiring to me. To be able to run with the Team Challenge jersey on my shoulders allows me to feel that strength and toughness and to finish each of these marathons. Sunday was no different and I can honestly tell you that all these marathons are so much easier, now that I have my TC family pushing me through each and every one of them. I really couldn’t do this without you all and especially without thinking of Erin and feeling her support during this one on Sunday.
Erin you truly are a hero to me and to so many. Your Strength even when you feel weak is unmatched. It was my honor to run for you and I am so thankful for allowing me to share your story. It is an important story and you deserve to have it shared with everyone. Despite this most recent stay in the hospital I hope you had a very happy birthday and are feeling better. Thank you for showing me what real strength is and how to put up a fight like no other. I’m inspired by you, and even more I’m just so happy to call you a friend!
This marathon was for you and it was the New York City Marathon on your birthday weekend!
This 26.2 was for you Erin! 26.2 For You!