Today I woke up a different person. I am now part of this elite club of runners that has pushed their body and done the seemingly impossible! But this is only part of my journey. I will continue after this, especially because I feel so empowered.
This weekend went by in a blur. Friday I had planned to go to the Expo and also drop off our tent after my college roommate, Erin, arrived. She had driven up to Virginia from her home in South Carolina the night before, and was routed through DC which really delayed her. I decided to put Harry down for a nap, call my Dad to come over, and then run to Philly. I made it back somehow before Harry woke up and Erin arrived, which was great. We went out to dinner and had beer and bacon and french fries and generally enjoyed the night.
Saturday I had to work in the morning, which I should have planned a little better. Working was fine, but I hadn’t packed before Erin arrived and we really had to rush out, so that stressed me a bit. Kristen and her husband Joe thankfully stopped by the tent and erected it for me, securing us a really good spot. Josh, Harry, and I swung by the expo and then finished the tent and table set up before we headed to the hotel. We stayed at Le Meridien right by city hall, which was beautiful and I would highly recommend it. The service was outstanding. Saturday night we met up with some of the team members at a delicious dinner that Kristen had set up. We ate pizza and pasta and wished we could stuff ourselves, but couldn’t.
After dinner, Josh, Harry and I swung by Barnes and Noble to meet in the cafe with my new friend Jimmy. Jimmy runs disABLE the Brand, where he blogs and also sells really cool merchandise. He’s working hard to disassociate the negative implications of the term “disabled”, and teach people not to be defined by their limitations. Having a disease, disorder, disability, whatever, does not define you. This is something I believe to my core, and I want Harry to have role models like Jimmy in his life. We weren’t able to chat long (I didn’t even take a picture!) because Harry was really ready for bed, but I felt like I had known Jimmy a long time. He was well spoken, easy to talk to, and interesting. I look forward to picking his brain in the future, and possibly collaborating on something amazing.
The night before the race, I snuggled in to the surprisingly comfortable hotel bed and fell asleep in record time. I woke and felt rested, surprised that I had slept through the night undisturbed, only to realize it was 1am! I tossed and turned the rest of the night. My plan was to get up early, eat, and head to the tent. The hotel was about 1.5 miles away from the start. In the morning I had my banana, peanut butter, and a couple of bites of a bagel. It was waaaay too cold to walk, so we caught a cab to the start. My parents drove in the morning, and we stuck my mom in the hotel with Harry so he could sleep in. Unfortunately they never made it down to the race, it was too cold for the little man, but at least he had fun with Mimi! Josh and my Dad rallied the volunteers. What a great support system we had! Family and friends made the early drive only to freeze their asses off while we all ran. I was too cold to think, let alone take pictures during the run (or after really, for that matter), so I don’t have a ton to share. Booooo.
Okay, the run! I cannot believe how fast the first 4 miles went. (My friend Ryan threatened to punch me after I said that) I ran most of the way with friends Kristen, Liz, Nicole, and Ryan and Kelly started with us. I saw a couple of friends as our paths crossed throughout the run. I even got to scream at some people, like Amanda and Erin, and my screams kick started their runs! The course was cold but I’m glad I made the last minute decision not to wear my jacket. I added another layer under my t shirt and I was pretty alright throughout the run. The last 5k of the race was tough. My short stride shortens even more as my quads tire, and by the end I was taking baby strides. At mile 12 I was emotional and felt like I was going to cry. Liz asked why I wanted to cry, and my answer was, “All of it.” She laughed and asked, “All of the feels?” I nodded. It was too much. Completing a seemingly impossible run, running with an amazing group, doing it for Team Momentum, thinking of my little man, it was intense. As I crossed the finish line I felt like I was going to throw up (from the overwhelming emotion) or cry, so I let the cry out that I had been pushing down. It was incredible. Friends who have never raced – there is nothing like the feeling of crossing a finish line, and the feeling intensifies as the distance increases. Simply amazing.
Prior to the start of the race we had unfortunately lost about 10 runners, most due to illness. I hope everyone is feeling better, and know that you were missed! We had a couple of runners who did it on injuries – not a great idea but they were careful and they made it! Way to go!! We also had runners who were actively sick, one that had vomited in the morning. Somehow they pushed through and I could not be more proud of their effort.
All in all, the group we had was absolutely amazing. Due to the weather, no one really stuck around so we didn’t get to party that much, but we still had a blast! We were just all freezing and tired and ready to warm up. I for one finished and thought about eating my way back to the hotel. Strangely enough, when I got back to the hotel I wasn’t really hungry (but today that has gone out the window. Hide your sandwiches.).
I just can’t say enough positive things about this run. I don’t think I will ever be able to convey how thankful and blessed I feel, but I hope everyone knows a fraction of it. I mean it when I say I truly love you all. While this wasn’t “for” Harry, we did it for him and in his name. I want everyone to remember the bigger picture – we are making strides for muscle disease. We should be angry and want to yell and scream about this group of diseases that needs our help, now. Being part of Team Momentum, creating Harry’s Heroes, learning to run and love it, all of these things have changed me. There’s no looking back, and I’m happy to keep marching forward. I hope this is the first of many events for Harry’s Heroes. I’ll keep you posted on future events, until then – happy running!