Strava Marathon (Bellingham, MA)
Finish Time: 3:50
Temp: 52 degrees
Run For: Kelley
Associated Virtual Marathon: Honolulu Marathon (Honolulu, HI)
It’s the weekend which means it was time to run a marathon again. Running outside today was actually really nice because we had above average weather today, with the temperature being in the 50’s. The sun was warm, there was a light breeze so it felt more like a day in May than it did mid-December. I seriously could have run all day today and it just felt so great doing it in this weather. It was only fitting to pair this marathon today with the Honolulu Virtual Marathon based on the great conditions for running.
I ran today for Kelley and I couldn’t have been more honored to run for her and share her story with Crohn’s disease. Kelley is the true definition of a Team Challenge rockstar because if there is something Team Challenge related, she’s probably signed up and doing it. Kelley has run a half marathon, completed a triathlon, and during the pandemic when all normal events were cancelled, she took part in the two “newly created” virtual TC events, Get Gutsy and the Ultimate Team Challenge. She also joined the Thanksgiving virtual race hosted by Team Challenge which she has done last year as well. See, she really does do everything and also tirelessly raises money and awareness, not just for herself but for everyone dealing with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. She’s simply a rockstar when it comes to Team Challenge.
Speaking of her doing every event, we have had a tough and unusual year dealing with COVID, Kelley and I were supposed to meet in person as she was all set to take part in the TC cycle event this year. One of the very few things with Team Challenge that Kelley hasn’t done yet. She needed to ride her bike with the cycle team, which was supposed to happen this past fall. Being the coach for the cycle team this was where I met Kelley through many emails, team video conference calls and our virtual group rides together. We did start our training like normal, but once the event was cancelled and our season basically postponed, we decided to keep training going and continue our season. The plan was to ride virtually together but from home, the weekend we were supposed to be in Albuquerque, New Mexico doing our event. Kelley, of course, was totally on board with making this pivot in order to keep things going, still doing something as opposed to nothing. IBD doesn’t stop happening when there is a pandemic so why should we?
The really impressive aspect of all this is the fact that Kelley was still taking part in the rides and the training all while being pregnant with her first child. Kelley and her husband, Kevin are expecting the arrival of their newest little edition in about a month. So as we trained and continued to ride, Kelley did so as her belly became bigger and rounder. Riding a bike was getting harder and more uncomfortable the further we got into training. However, Kelley did not quit, she persevered and pressed on. When it comes to fighting Crohn’s disease and taking on endurance sports, Kelley doesn’t know the word quit. She is relentless and this was so evident to see over this past year. Even as her little one was getting bigger inside her belly, making it more and more difficult for her to be on her bike, she still did what she could. There were even times when she would exercise lightly on the elliptical just to keep moving.
I’ve heard Kelley tell her story a few times over this past year and I knew I wanted to share what she went through with 26.2 For You. Even though she is in remission, she knows that can all change in the blink of an eye. With no cure for IBD there is always that fear yet people like Kelley do not let it stop them from living their life. I’d truly admire this in the many people I’ve met through Team Challenge and Kelley is another perfect example of one of them. She is an IBD hero for this alone, nevermind all that she does for Team Challenge and the Foundation. It really was my honor to run for her today and I’m grateful to her for allowing me to share her story.
My legs and body feel great and my mind is still in a really good spot after running all these marathons. Having run six marathons over the last six weeks, I honestly feel like I could keep going and run forever. Your body adapts and gets accustomed to the demands you put on it and if you are smart and listen to your body, you’ll be amazed as to what it can do and what you can achieve. There are no aches or pains, no tight muscles and my spirit is higher than ever, and I can’t help but attribute this to the energy and support from people like Kelley.
Thank you Kelley for all you continue to do for Team Challenge! Your determination, attitude and toughness are unmatched and something I definitely draw strength from, and I know I’m not the only one to do so. I’m excited for the arrival of your baby and know you and Kevin will make great parents to a pretty special little one who is coming soon.
Marathon 48 is complete and this one was for you Kelley. I couldn’t have been happier to run for you and share your story. Thanks again for allowing me to do this for you, it was my honor to run this 26.2 for you.