Strava Marathon (New York, NY)
Finish Time: 5:00
Temp: 73 degrees
Conditions: Cloudy/Partly Sunny
Run For: Mary Beth (again)
What to say…
In all of the other marathons, I ran 26.2 miles in honor of those who allowed me to share their stories. I would then write a recap about how the race went. This one is a little different.
On Sunday I covered just under 25 miles running around New York City, not actually running the marathon but instead cheering on the Team Challenge participants as they ran the NYC Marathon. We call it the “moving cheer station” being out there to support and cheer them. So, this wasn’t a race or an organized attempt at 26.2 miles on my part, like the others marathons along this 26.2 For You journey. It ended up being 24.6 miles on the streets of NY supporting those doing something amazing for such a great cause. Then to make it to 26.2 I ran a quick 1.6 miles on the treadmill at the hotel, thinking about MB. I usually don’t count or consider days like this as doing 26.2 For You, but like I said this wasn’t a normal situation. Spending a ton of time cheering on others, supporting them, encouraging them and caring about them as they do something epic like this… I think Mary Beth would have been ok with a day like today counting as a 26.2 for her.
Being surrounded by 50 Team Challenge runners at an event where they have raised over $200,000 as a team, would have made her smile. 26.2 miles were “covered” today.. some running, some walking and a whole lot of time cheering and supporting.
I have been going through emails I’ve had between Mary Beth and myself which is where I found the speech she sent me. I came across another that seemed appropriate to share here as well. So instead of a recap, from me, about how it went Sunday. I’ll share MB’s recap about her race in 2010 with TC, which she ran the day after giving her inspiring speech.
On a side note, she emailed this message to me on a random day in February of 2019. There was nothing I did or said which would have triggered her to send this email, other than this is just who she is…
(email from Mary Beth – February 2019)
Tonight, I was sharing my speech and 2010 TC experience with someone I am mentoring and I came across our emails after the race.
I’m so proud to call you a friend. Just wanted to say that.
(email from Mary Beth – June 2010)
Thoughts on Race Weekend
So..the bus dropped us off at Meditech in Canton at about 5:30ish and we immediately hopped the stone wall to get in line for the portos. That out of the way, we met as a team at the Team Challenge tent (by the lobster balloon) and took pictures and then took our places in the starting line. It was unreal, the energy pumping through the crowd at 6am! And at that point, the switch is flipped…and we became one big Team Challenge National Team. Anyone in orange was family, and we cheered on each other. Obviously, there was a familiarity for one’s own team, but really, we were one big team at that moment. At at that point, all the physical prep work was done. It was ALL mental. Then came the big countdown and we were off!
As for the actual race….it was again, surreal. I have to say, my season of training had been difficult, as it had been for alot of the team, because of illness and Crohn’s issues. And the course was hard. Hills. Hills. Hills. I rolled my ankle at Mile 3 and honestly, thats when the voice started. We all know the voice, the one that says “You don’t really want to finish, it’s really ok.” But, I pushed. And here’s why.
I can’t even count the number of people who stopped me on the course and asked if I was the speaker the night before. They told me their stories and thanked me for sharing mine. Again, this was just beyond moving and honestly…I wouldn’t have gotten through without them. People are brought to you when you most need them. I knew my family was getting to the finish line around 8:30am and would be waiting for me. And those angels…so many of them on that course…they pushed me through. And every time I saw a member of my own team, and cheered them on…that pushed me through those hills. I saw Coach Kate several times throughout and just seeing her pushed me along. At mile 11 or so, I was really feeling badly, and had a lot of doubts. At that exact time, Coach Chris came out of nowhere down the hill and came over to me and pepped me up.
Let me say a little about our coaches. Chris, Jenny, Kate and Marc. God, what can I say…we couldn’t have done this without you. You pushed us. You inspired us. You motivated us. And seeing you on the race course helped me get through! Thank you!!
Then there was the unknown man. The hill at mile 11 was killer. It wasn’t steep. It was gradual but it was long. I sat down somewhere around mile 11 1/2 and this man came out of nowhere and said “Lets go, we’re going to finish this together”. And he walked beside me and talked me through. When I slowed or got overheated, he gave me his own water bottle to dump the water over my head. Every time I wanted to stop; he wouldn’t let me. I finished because of him. At the very end, he said “See that bend…around that bend, you’ll see the finish line. You did it.” When we came around the bend, not only did I see the finish line, but I saw my family on the side of the road. I went straight for my father, and was shaking my head and he turned and pushed me back into to the street and said, “You are almost there. You can do it”. I pushed through and reached the finish and the last thing I said before I crossed was “I can’t believe it.” I turned to thank the unknown man…and he was gone. So, I hope I can someday find him and thank him…because he got me to the finish line.
So…I finished my second half marathon and my family was there to see it. I got my medal and all I wanted was to see as many as my team members as I could. I was bursting with pride, not as much for myself…but for THEM. My AMAZING mentees who were running/walking for the first time….I am so so so proud of you! You are what this experience was for me.
At the end of the race, I was able to introduce my mom to a lot of my teammates, and my fellow mentors. I am so happy that I was able to introduce my mom to my best friend on the team, Lauren Remmes, because she too was referenced in my speech. Remmes…what can I say. You are one of the best gifts that Team Challenge gave to me and you continue to inspire me every day! Love you!!
And my fellow mentors…the word “honored” doesn’t even come close. I am so honored, so privileged to have you in my life. Particularly “my girls.” The fact that we have laughed together, cried together, done crafts together, trained together, and shared our stories…this is just irreplaceable. I owe you all so much. Thank you.
Ali and Craig: I would go to the ends of the earth to talk about the CCFA and I am just so grateful to both of you for all your hard work!! Thank you!!
To all those who donated to this cause for me: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Through your efforts, Team Challenge nationally raised over 1.8 million for research and services. I just can’t thank you enough….when we find a cure…not if, but WHEN…it will be because of you!
Finally, to my family…I have no words. You have been with me this entire journey and I can’t thank you enough. My parents, for being parents of a sick kid, and all that comes along with that. For my amazing brothers, that were 3 and 6 when I was diagnosed. They only have memories of me being sick. I hope someday they can have memories of me being cured! I love you all so much! Tristan and Alecia…I love you both..thank you for being part of this family!!
So, with all that…I am still processing and still replaying the weekend. I am just so lucky…with all the crap (pun intended) that this disease has brought me, it has also brought me joy, in the form of people in my life. I was so privileged to be a mentor on this team…and I have never been so proud….never…as I am of this team.
This 26.2 was for you Mary Beth
I’m so proud to call you a friend too