In October, two years ago, I ran the Chicago Marathon for the 4th time. It was my slowest time, but the best run of all. I approached the whole training season a little differently than I ever had before. I wasn’t planning to run at all, having recently sprained BOTH of my ankles. Despite lots of physical therapy, I just didn’t think they’d hold up through all training and the marathon itself. And then I got a phone call that changed all of that. I found out that my dad had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I was shocked, sad and scared. What can you do when you get news like that? Well…you could freak out! You could donate money. For me, the first thing that popped into my head was to run the marathon (on 2 bad ankles), rally support from friends and family for my dad, and raise some money for Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s research foundation (a.k.a. TeamFox). It made sense in my head.
So training was interesting with the ankles, and even more interesting given that it was a REALLY hot summer and my asthma decided to kick into high gear. Yikes! I approached every run totally differently than I ever had before. I started leaving my Garmin (gps) at home, and just went out there to focus on WHY I was doing it. My reason was bigger than my ankles, bigger than my asthma, and bigger than me. I focused so much on that reason, that the rest didn’t matter. I had four months of training to really think, and come to terms with my dad’s diagnosis. I dealt with a lot of emotions and feelings. Anyone who runs knows that it sort of becomes a form of therapy. I needed that. Don’t we all!?
So marathon day came. I had no garmin, no watch, somewhat healthy ankles and TWO inhalers! It was another hot marathon day. Ugh. Despite using my inhaler every 20-30 minutes, I made it! It wasn’t a personal record, by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a personal triumph. Again, I thought of my dad and my reason for the entire race. This was the culmination of all of my hard work and therapy! I felt awesome! People commented on the message I had Sharpied on my legs and cheered me on. My reason carried me through, and reaching the finish line was sweeter than ever, despite it being my slowest time. I felt good!
I have a new goal now, a new reason. It’s bigger than me! I feel good knowing that friends and family members are joining me on my new mission! Health & fitness can be contagious. I highly recommend getting this bug, it’ll make you feel good. And feel free to infect other people, they’ll thank you for it later. 🙂