Measuring Moments

Every day I'm one mile closer to my goal of running 1000 miles in a year.

When I decided in January to set this goal I honestly thought it would take the entire year. But I'm only 115 miles away from realizing that goal. Certainly training for and running in a variety of races, including a spring half marathon, have made this come about much faster than I thought it would, and averaging about seventy to eighty miles in a month...well it all adds up.

That's a lot of sunrises. 

And although I'm not there yet, I still have to say: 1000 miles. Who would have thought that even possible?

And perhaps because I have been so focused on that goal, and then training for my first full marathon this fall in New York, I've not been writing as much as I have in the past. Wait, let me rephrase that. I'm writing facebook status updates and clever quips to accompany instagram photographs, and as an active advocate, I have quite a bit to say about ending poverty, polio, and Parkinson's. Certainly not a day goes by when I'm not speaking up, whether verbally or by a deed, about causes I am passionate about and dedicated to. As is often pointed out to me, I tend to "walk (well, run) my talk." I've spent this spring and summer advocating in Washington, DC, with both my fellow champions from the UNF Shot@Life program (about the importance of global vaccination efforts) and fellow anti-poverty cause agents from RESULTS (on strengthening EITC and other tax policies to help lift the millions in poverty out of poverty and keep these families from falling off the fiscal cliff). I also spent time this summer in Africa, hiking to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro with my friend, Liz Nead, and supporting the Wounded Warrior Project and Girls on the Run, International. And all of that walking and talking adds up (and with the use of the Charity Miles app I can also help contribute financially to those causes) and thus I recognize I am at a point where I believe my actions have spoken louder than my words.
wisdom where the sidewalk ends

But on today's run, the first five miles of the month, I happened to glance down and see...words. It was a message of encouragement. And while I wasn't struggling physically during this run, I have certainly struggled at other times. And as I stood there, breathing, I realized how much a disservice I have done to myself by making it sound as if there has been no struggle at all during my training. I think it's past time to rectify that, if only to set the record straight about what this soon to be 1000 mile journey has been...and renew my sense of hope and a future.

Because the truth is... I'm tired.

I'm tired because in this past July I ran 72 miles. I ran those miles in sweltering heat and humidity. In rain. In a lightening storm (I promise I was only outside for ten minutes before I dashed inside and finished my miles on the treadmill. Dedicated. Not crazy). In the best of health. In the worst of health. I ran alone. I ran with a friend. I ran in the dark just before the dawn of a new day. I ran on city streets and on uneven trails. I ran. I ran with guidance, support, and a plan from my coach Scott at Team All American. And if you add in the 41 trekking miles from base to summit to base again on Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, or the biking and walking miles, it was a month packed full with close to 161 miles of movement. 

I'm tired because turning 45 in just two weeks (even with an on-line health insurance assessment which says I'm no older than 43) and having my oldest son turn 16 in a week are things to take note of. Also my knees loudly protest and remind me every minute of every mile that I'm not as young as I look, even when people assume that I am. Yes, it's flattering to be mistaken for a twenty-something, but I'd be happier to have twenty-something knees than a twenty-something...something else.

And I'm tired of keeping track of my pace, of how much water I've drunk, how many calories I burned to know how many calories to consume. I just want to eat a pizza covered in guacamole. Followed by a big bowl of mint-chocolate chip ice cream. Okay...two bowls. And yes, I said a pizza...not a slice. Soon. Soonerish. 

So, there you go. Despite the numerous high-fives and "rock star" or "you are my hero" cheers I receive, I am by no means either a rock star or any hero. I am simply someone doing a something because I am capable of putting forth something of an effort for someone else. And I'm not a hero either. I'm completely selfish as to why I run. While I am running to honor the memory of my step-father, Donald, who passed away two years ago and navigated Parkinson's to the best of his ability until his death, I also run for, well, as an apology of sorts in the only way I can apologize. I was a lazy daughter. Like many adult children I assumed that, even though I knew he was ill, that we would have more time together. That an email was as good as a phone call which was a good substitute for a visit. Sadly, nothing can replace sharing time in the same place as the person with whom you want to spend time with, and once you run out of that time you cannot get it back. So, I run because every time I do, I hope that I am helping someone else, somewhere else, be able to have a moment of time with someone they love. And because I can't say I'm sorry the very least I can do is work to change a story so someone else doesn't have to say it either. 

But being tired won't stop me, because being tired is temporary and being tired will pass. But for far too many people, those who have Parkinson's and those that love them, they know this isn't temporary and it just doesn't go away after a nap or an extra cup of coffee. 

But without all of us working together, Parkinson's will stop someone.

Beth and Donald, with love
So I turn to you. My family, my friends, my cheerleaders, my caregivers. As you know, I am not very good at asking for care. I tend to believe that I can do it all, in my own way, without help, or support. But I realize that doing this alone isn't going to get it done. I've made a commitment to run in NYC for my step-father, Donald, for my mother, Beth, who passed away unexpectedly back in March after breaking her hip, for friends who have, through illness (fibromyalgia, polio, cancer, and PD) lost their ability to run (let alone sometimes walk), but yet get up and get moving, every single day, no matter how tired they are. 

Those are your rock stars and heroes. 

So help me honor them and consider making a donation to my Michael J. Fox Foundation, Team Fox, fundraiser, "One Step Beyond"  , because any amount makes a substantial difference just as any amount of time you share with those that you love creates a memory out of a moment.

And those moments? They give us hope that the first mile will turn into a thousand. 

One step at a time. 


  1. I wouldn't change a word. I love you.

    1. Thank you Paula. Your support has meant so much to me during these many months. I might add I'm tired of being occasionally mistaken for a teenage boy when I run, lol, but that typically happens in winter when I'm completely covered up in my ninja gear :-) Much love to you as well!