…And Ends At 26.2 Miles

 

IMG_0013If you would’ve told me five years ago that I would run the NYC marathon for childhood cancer, I would’ve told you that you’re crazy.

Five years ago, I was settling down in Arizona, pregnant with my daughter, Qwynn, with no plans of ever living in NYC again. Little did I know, I would be back in this amazing city, raising two kids, meeting people that would change my life forever, and running the race of a lifetime for a cause that I will never stop fighting for.

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Throughout this journey, I have learned that life is all about connections and timing. I think about the last five years and everything that has brought me to this point…the decisions we’ve made for our family, the friendships we have formed, the loss we have experienced, the stories that have inspired us. It has all lead me to this moment. A moment I will never forget. The moment I finished the NYC Marathon and raised $5,765 for childhood cancer research.

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The marathon journey was just that…a journey. The training was intense and emotional, and the 3 1/2 hour trek to the starting line was a marathon in and of itself. I had to hold back tears the entire trip as I thought about all the kids I was doing this for and picturing my family and friends cheering me on along the way. I had the opportunity to meet some amazing people too, including a guy who was about to run his 21st NYC marathon!

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The energy from the other runners, the view of the bridge, and the sound of the starting cannon were all so exciting. The crowd was simply exhilarating. They carried me so far, and for most of the race I felt unstoppable. Around mile 15, I felt my energy draining. Seeing my family and friends at mile 18 gave me a boost, but by mile 20 I had hit a wall. My mantra has always been, “the more you run, the sooner you’re done,” so I resisted the urge to walk.

By mile 22, I was sure I wouldn’t be able to finish. My calves were on the verge of cramping and my energy was fading fast. It was at this moment that I asked Ronan for help. I asked him to help me keep going. I asked him to take the pain away.

And then I instantly felt shame. How dare I ask this brave little soul who suffered so much to do that for me. How incredibly insensitive for his mother, father, brothers and sister who live through the pain of losing Ronan everyday. I quickly realized I needed the pain. The pain reminded me of why I was doing this and who I was doing this for. The pain was part of this journey. So, I simply asked Ronan to just help me finish.

And he did just that. I FINISHED!!!

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But this isn’t the end. I will continue fighting for this cause because every mother and father deserves to see their child grow up. Every brother and sister deserves to have their best friend by their side. Every child deserves to have a childhood. πŸ’›

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who supported me along this journey and donated to The Ronan Foundation! You are all rockstars!!

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Be Bold, Go Gold!

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Valerie