Strava Marathon (Bellingham, MA)
Finish Time: 3:56
Temp: 59 degrees
Run For: Phil (with Amber)
This marathon was for Phil, an IBD patient I never had the opportunity to meet. It is also a marathon run for Amber, his sister and someone I have met and is my friend. There are some IBD heroes that are not patients, they are caregivers, family members and friends of those who suffer from Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. I have had the privilege of meeting many of these people, who will do anything for those who have IBD. It is truly amazing and these are some of the most giving people will such huge hearts. Team Challenge is made up of many, suffering from these diseases, all fighting together to find cures for IBD but not all of them are patients.
It’s funny, because even though Amber isn’t a patient she knows exactly what those suffering from IBD are going through. Experiencing IBD as a caregiving has its own set of feelings associated with it. It can be agonizing, heartbreaking, extremely frustrating and can leave you feeling unbelievably helpless. To see someone, you love, go through pain and sadness, it’s flat out frightening. Unfortunately, Amber not only watched her brother suffer from all that Crohn’s Disease threw at him, she lost him to this battle.
A majority of the stories I have shared so far involve some pretty awesome people going through some really nasty stuff. My heart goes out to Amber and her family for the loss of Phil, and at such a young age. Even though I did not get a chance to meet Phil, he lives on because of Amber’s efforts and I feel like I do know who he was as a person. Like she mentioned in her story, he never wallowed in self-pity despite being diagnosed and kept pushing on, doing things to help others. Phil was already involved with the IBD community when he was sick and did some endurance events of his own before he passed away. Amber literately took over and to say she has been crushing it is an understatement. Last year in September I got to witness Amber take on her 12th event with Team Challenge, her first time with the cycle team riding her very first century ride, yes, that’s 100 miles on her bike.
Not only does she take on these physical challenges but she is the ultimate IBD advocate and she is a rockstar fundraiser. She raised over $27,500 last year alone leading up to the cycle event last September. Let me remind you that this amount she raised was just for one of the twelve events she has done!
Amber impresses me on multiple levels and I was honored to be able to pedal alongside her during some of this ride. I got to witness firsthand how determined, gutsy (pun intended) and simply amazing she is. I know she is making Phil extremely proud.
As for running this marathon, I finally got back outside to cover some miles in the warmer, spring temperatures we are getting here in the northeast. However, during the very first mile I ran hard, straight into a head wind that I didn’t expect, which made me quickly rethink my strategy for the remaining 25 miles. Luckily, Sharon joined me for the next 3 miles so I was able to settle into a good pace while running with her. It always great to have some company during these marathons and it’s pretty special when Sharon can be a part of 26.2 For You as well.
Overall, I was able to get in 8 miles outside before transitioning back indoors onto the treadmill to finish up the remaining 18.2 miles. The treadmill miles felt easier, mainly since I was out of those gusty winds which really would have made me have to put in a much harder effort. I’m not sure it would have been enjoyable and would have been a tougher challenge for sure. I can still say I’m getting used to the treadmill, especially mentally and I’ve come to enjoy the challenge of staying on that moving belt and trying to be as consistent as possible for as long as I can. Yes, running for long periods of time on the treadmill can be hard but I like doing hard things, so bring it on.
This marathon is done and I am tired and my legs are definitely sore but with a few days of rest I’ll be recovered and ready to go again. To be honest, being able to run and pair it with the stories energizes and motivates me more than I thought. I knew it would be inspiring to run for these IBD heroes, but I never could have imagined just how this was going to impact me. It truly means the world to me to be able to do this and I know I’m going to make it to 100 largely because of the push I’m getting along the way with each story. 61 marathons in and I’m feeling strong, confident and more focused than ever.
So, thank you Amber for allowing me to run for Phil, joining you in keeping his memory alive. You do an amazing job carrying on that legacy he started, making a difference in the lives of those battling IBD. You are both inspirations to me and I’m so happy to be on this journey with you. When I think of you I’m reminded of a saying… “not all heroes wear capes.” You, Amber, are this hero and I’m happy I get to call you my friend. Maybe we do need to get you a cape though, you deserve it! Can’t wait to see you at the next one…