Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Believe Run Across Ohio 2010

            At this morning Shaun and I agreed to meet at the intersection of Bellus and
Ridge Road
in Hinckley. Three days earlier this is where I stopped, less than 20 miles from my goal of Edgewater Park. The plan was for me to crutch anywhere from 5-10 miles down the road today. I would then do the same thing the next few days till I got to Edgewater. Driving up the hills and curves of Ridge Rd into Hinckley, I will admit I thought it was dangerous and there wasn’t enough room on the road for me and a car, especially since right next to the road was a ditch or lots of snow, which may have been okay if I didn’t need a boot or crutches, but probably not. However, my determination/ stubbornness often puts safety second and I was going to do it anyway. I get out of the car to meet Shaun as the snow started to pick up and then he talks me out of it.
            This is part of the story, but lets talk about why even bother to attempt running across Ohio. First item to attend to: WHY: Why can’t you just do a bake sale? Why do people run for charity, shouldn’t people just donate just because?
            These aren’t easy questions to answer and even as I right this I will understand if you don’t agree with me. You see, at an early age I realized I had no special talents. I was never the best at anything. In school, I often found myself taking much longer than Rachel and all other classmates on assignments. I was average in sports, music, art, etc. However, I learned I may not be able to control how naturally smart I am or how naturally athletic I was or anything else, but I had full control of how hard I could work and my determination. If it took me twice as long to do homework as someone else, so be it. If I had to lose sleep from working on paintings I’ll deal with it. If I had to spend hours more training than others for a sport, that’s okay too. I’ll be honest, some days I took on too much and I was far too often exhausted but I always got good grades, got college art credit from high school, and played two years of college basketball, though I really wasn’t enjoying it anymore. To get back to the question, the two qualities I feel that make me up are my determination and my sincere want to help people. I may have no idea what religion I am, but I do believe in God and I think he purposely made me “too determined” (as my doctor said lol) for the purpose that I will go at any length to try and make a difference. I didn’t want to do a bake sale, it’s awesome when people do it, but I believe it’s important to try and tie in what you love with helping people. I think people can feed off of a person if they see their passion. Rach and I also hoped to make people see they can do things they normally wouldn’t think they could if they work hard, as well as work together with others.
            A little over a month before the run I saw a comment that referred to running for charity. The person did not agree with it and thought that people should just donate out of the goodness of their hearts. I admit it makes sense. Why should someone use running as a way to help others and why can’t people just donate? I think there are tons of reasons people run for charity. For instance, I see tons of people running marathons to help raise money for cancer research ,etc. Having two loved ones die from cancer, I think it’s a person’s way of saying “Thank you for showing me how to be strong and brave” to their loved one with cancer. Running takes physical strength, but it takes even more mental strength. I learned so much of what strength is from my own loved ones, what better way to show them how much you appreciate them by running in their honor while raising money to help defeat the illness.
            My own reason for running for charity this time around was because in the past few years I have learned how much people are truly struggling every day in our own cities. We may not see it because we don’t want to, but there are far too many people in horrible situations. It breaks my heart to see the situations people have to deal with everyday, struggles that society has brought upon them more than anything else. Sure, 50 miles for 5 days is tough, but it’s not as tough as having to choose to put food on the table or taking your kid to the doctor because he is sick. Compared to this, running is simple. Running is something that is dear to my heart, and so what better way to use it to send the message that when things get tough, keep on believing in yourself. If you’re losing hope, ask for help, there are a lot of people who care about you, even if you don’t know them. I think this helps get people to open up their hearts so they do donate. Thus- why Rach and I did this run for charity.
            Since I’m now on the subject of if your losing hope, ask for help, I think it’s best if I skip ahead to the end of the run. Mile 150+-200+ was great. I wasn’t sore at all and I felt like my body was adapting to the miles. I start of the last day and I expected to hurt the first minute and then have any pain go away as the last few days, but it didn’t. My body felt great except for my right knee (which I could get through) and one point on my right shin. I tried running through it for a few hours but it kept getting worse. It felt like something was trying to press against my shin so it would break. I started walking, it still hurt, but with the help of others I made about 30 miles before I called it a day, saying I would finish the last 20 on Sunday.
            Sunday came and my shin hurt so bad it took me a half hour to walk a mile, which I admit were in tears. I thought about crutching it, wearing a boot, or biking it, all of which I was talked out of. I agree, looking back it was best, and everyone really cared for my well being.
            A few hours later, I finally found myself alone in my room. This is when I lose control of my thoughts. “You were so close!” “I wanted people to believe they can do great things, what a terrible message to get hurt twice!” “I really miss the trails and now I can’t even run” “My parents already thought I couldn’t do it and I was crazy, now I just proved them right. Now they will never support me.” And the thoughts went on.
            If you haven’t noticed I am extremely hard on myself, I over worry and over think everything. Thus, I’m truly lucky to have a b/f that understands but puts things back into perspective. I may have been 20 miles short, but last years I started walking after mile 100 from being hurt and this year I doubled that before I started walking. Additionally, after last years attempt, I went winning Mohican 100 exactly 6 months after stopping, and then won two other races, breaking two course records. Therefore, if the trend continues, I should have one heck of a time racing next year. LOL! (Give me a break, I need to stay positive).
            Most importantly, during the “I Believe” Run Across Ohio I have learned more about family, love, support, kindness then I ever have in my entire life. To start we had Jennifer and Jessica Kenny who believed in us from the start and sent us inspiration whenever we need it. My “super-friend” Chris Wagner worked till 11pm Monday night then went and picked Rach and I up to drive to Cincinnati to then crew for a whole day without sleep. Joe Shearer, who didn’t even meet Rach and I till Columbus, is an absolutely wonderful person and got Rachel and I a free hotel. We also had Joe, Mike Keller, Michael Patton, and Stephen Zeidner run with us in a very cold and snowy morning in Columbus which really helped us keep our spirits up. Steve Hawthorne, Rachel’s boyfriend I feel I owe a lot to. I honestly would have done anything to have taken Rachel’s place when she had to stop running in Columbus. As a sister, I automatically wish I could always take her pain away. I think everyone has their own battles to fight though. The reasons may be unknown at first, but I think they will one day make us stronger. Steve did what I couldn’t do. He made Rachel laugh and feel better. I can’t say thank him enough. Then there is the Colon family. Laurie is that person everyone wants to have in their life. She is the essence of kindness and support. She did everything she could to help. Her son, Rad, even walked with me for hours and talking to him made it much easier to keep going and not focus on the pain. I think he is following in his parents footsteps in being amazing. Lastly, I have to mention the Pope family. I feel like they just took Rach and me in last week and showed us how a family is supposed to support each other. Mrs. Pope was a blessing to have and I don’t know what Rachel and I would have done without her. She made us laugh when we needed it, listened to us when we needed to talk, ran with me when I wanted to stop, and most importantly she truly cared for us. I wish I could express how much that meant to me and how thankful I am to have her and her family in my life.
            The one thing I have always had trouble believing the most is that people truly care for me. It’s hard to explain all the reasons why, but in my mind I just could not accept someone actually truly cared for me. I naturally strongly care for anyone who comes into my life, but I never thought there was a good enough reason for people to care back. I think the only person I truly thought did (most of the time anyway), even though we are not as close as I would like, is Rachel. I told her before the run, she is the only person who has never put down my crazy ideas. Instead she asks how to help or how she can do them with me. Besides this, I thought my struggles were mine alone to battle. After seeing what everyone has done for me last week, I’m really starting to believe that it’s possible for people to care about me. Even after stopping with 20 miles to go, I still got enormous support. As I said before, I think everyone has their own battles they need to endure for a reason. This was my reason for a battle: realize its okay to believe that I can be cared for too.
            Coming back to today, Shaun reminded me he cared for me and so did tons of other people who will believe in me even if I don’t finish in the next few days. So I am going to finish the last 18 or 19 miles, but I’m going to wait the next 2 or 3 weeks to make sure I can run it. People care enough about me enough to not want to see me get hurt any more and I will respect that. When I finish the run, it will most likely be my last time. I loved the adventure, but my home and heart is on the trails. I will also stick to racing ultra marathons and just running on my own for some time. I liked the distance, yet my week was almost all running and I don’t want my life to become running. Running is my passion, but I owe my life to helping others since helping others has literally saved mine. Once again helping others has proved to make my life better. If I would have never have started the “I Believe” Run to help others, I probably still wouldn’t believe other could care about me.

            THANK YOU EVERYONE who has donated, helped, believed- What you have made me believe the past week makes me forever in you dept.

If you can make it, please join me in finishing the last part of the run on a Saturday in January. I will post when it will be in a couple of weeks.
Merry Christmas!