Thanks to the PKD Foundation, I ran the 2014 New York City Marathon this past weekend for the first time. The journey to the marathon has been a life-changing event for me.
When I received the email from the PKD Foundation looking for runners this past spring, I was in a personal funk. I knew that I needed to face some big changes in my life, but I was afraid of exploring them.
I have a dear friend that if we don’t see each other during the year, our standing date is the 26 mile marker of the marathon. For years we watched people finish, and I thought it must be amazing to do. But, after a few hours of watching runners finish, I always thought it would be too hard. The email from the PKD Foundation helped me take the leap of faith.
I knew that if I did the race a few things would happen.
- I would commit to the training to ensure I wouldn’t get injured.
- Committing to the training would be committing to myself also, helping me learn to stay focused on me.
- I’d be challenged, pushed out of my comfort zone and tested.
All of these points came true. But what I learned along this journey far exceeded my concerns, fears and expectations. I learned that:
- People can be very generous. When people heard I was doing this, they made donations, even if I didn’t know them well. I was blown away. It made me look at my own generosity. Was I/am I giving enough support to others?
- Running is hard. Running can be easy. Running isn’t something I love, but I have come to enjoy what it can do for me. I have learned more about NYC and Central Park that I ever realized. I like running TO places and not being in a hurry so I can discover things along the way.
- I am stronger that I think. I’ve learned about inner strength and perseverance. I have found great pride when I have been out running in the rain when most people chose to stay inside.
- I can deeply listen to my body and better understand the signals and warnings.
- Like a great meditation practice, I have learned to become more conscious of my thoughts and where my mind has taken me.
- I want to train for another SHORTER race, which surprises even me.
At the pre-race dinner that was hosted for the runners, I was moved to tears by the courage of those who are living with PKD or who lost someone to PKD. Suddenly, the reason I was doing this race really hit home. I learned about PKD from my childhood friend, Michele Karl, whose children have autosomal recessive PKD. I originally saw running as a selfish thing I was doing for me while I raised some money to help others.
At the end of this long journey, I learned that it was more than about me. It was /is about a community, a city coming together to believe in the extraordinary. I am deeply humbled by those who ran the race with greater ease. I’m humbled by those who live with PKD and go on because they have dreams and desires for a life without pain. I’m grateful to the PKD Foundation for having a spot in the race and am proud to help spread the word of the work that they do. THANK YOU for all the support and encouragement!
With deep gratitude-