Strava Marathon (Bellingham, MA)
Finish Time: 3:40
Temp: 52 degrees
Run For: Lydia
This year has been tough on everyone in a bunch of different ways and on so many levels. The running community has felt the hit with most major, and a lot of smaller races being cancelled. Some races have gone virtual, but that just isn’t the same and I know I miss running with others. I miss being surrounded by other runners, seeing and hearing the crowds on the side of the road cheering us on. I miss the major marathons, like Boston, Chicago and New York. I miss getting together with thirty to fifty thousands of my closest friends and running through the streets and experiencing these big cities from a running perspective.
The charity aspect of running has also had a rough year, especially Team Challenge and our TC family. Team Challenge is the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s endurance training and fundraising program so naturally without these events taking place it’s hard to participate in them to help raise money and awareness for IBD. I know I miss my TC family a lot where getting together isn’t just about training and running, it’s also a form of therapy, it’s good for the soul especially for those battling these awful diseases. I miss them and I miss this part of Team Challenge more than the running.
That being said, Thankful is what I am today! This is how I am feeling having run this marathon just a few days after Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for the ability and honestly the opportunity to run, not just marathons. During this pandemic, I made it a point to get out and move, to stay motivated, making sure I stayed in the best physical shape I could while all this was going on. I felt I needed something positive to come out of all of this, something to keep my focus on while the world was in an unstable and crazy place. I’m thankful I’m healthy enough to run and to push myself physically day in and day out. Running doesn’t just help me stay “in shape” it helps me mentally process and deal with all that is going on. For me personally, running has helped during this past year as I tend to think about everything and everyone who is greatly affected by COVID -19. Unfortunately, those with IBD are at such a greater risk than most and I worry about those in my TC family that are so vulnerable. I’m thankful that most are doing well and are still being safe across the country.
I’m also so very thankful for friends like Lydia, whose story is not just remarkable but flat out unbelievable. I met Lydia through the Team Challenge cycle program a few years back. She had shared some of her story over that time since we met and I knew doing 26.2 For You, that I wanted to share her entire story. It was unlike any other story I heard over the 10 years I’ve been involved with Team Challenge. Her story is sad, happy, inspiring and really just very powerful.
The IBD struggle is real and she has experienced the highest of highs along with the lowest of lows. “Realizing I probably would not see my 28th birthday, I began the process of acceptance. I felt cheated of a life I so very desired to live. I began to let go of my dreams, aspirations, and tenacious motivation to fight the disease.” Hearing her say this is so sad yet extremely powerful at the same time. IBD was really hitting her with everything it had and it seemed like it was going to win. Fortunately it didn’t win and Lydia was able to find a treatment/procedure that would get her back on the road, living her life under her terms.
I’m so thankful that she given the opportunity of an autologous bone marrow transplantation (ABMT) and that it worked! No one should have to go through what Lydia has gone through, but I’m so thankful she has come out shining on the other side. To hear and see what she has accomplished since the ABMT is nothing short of amazing. Lydia is inspiring on so many levels and being able to ride with her while wearing that TC jersey meant so much to me as I know it did to hear as well. I’m impressed by all her achievements and even more inspired by her positive and cheerful attitude she has while accomplishing them. Lydia is always seemingly smiling and happy despite how crazy her life has been at times. She is as tough as they come and the strength she possesses is second to none. Her “fight” is amazing and it is one of the major reasons why she is still here today and able to share her success story. If there is something I’ve learned from Lydia is to keep fighting but also to go into that fight knowing it’ll be hard, but refusing to back down from that challenge.
Marathon 46 is done and I’m thankful to Lydia and the other 45 IBD heroes that have allowed me to share their story while running a marathon for them. Even though there is still a lot of uncertainty as we come to the end of 2020, one thing that is for certain is the strength and courage of someone battling Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. I try my best to channel that strength each time I start to struggle while running all these marathons.
Even though races are still being cancelled and postponed I can still run, on my own, for 26.2 miles. 26.2 For You is exactly that, 26.2 miles for you, run either at an actual marathon or solo out on the streets around my neighborhood. 26.2 For You works no matter what is going on in the world and I’m so thankful for that.
I’m also so incredibly thankful for all the support I’ve been getting from all of you that are following along. I’m beyond thankful for my TC Family and hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Thank you again Lydia for all you do and have done for those battling IBD, this 26.2 was for You!