26.2 Reasons I'm Running the Boston Marathon
Tomorrow marks the 122nd Boston Marathon and I will be running on behalf of House of Possibilities, a charity making a difference for children, adults, and families, living with developmental challenges.
Tomorrow will be hard and to get me through I have dedicated a mile to someone or something. Below is my rational for each.
Mile 0-1. Kathrine Switzer
Kathrine Switzer’s marathon in 1967 became historic because she was the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon which at the time was an all-male race. She hid her gender on her registration by registering as “K.V. Switzer”. Men tried to push her off the course, but she finished and she paved the way for other women because we are indeed strong enough. May we women never forget that the rights we have in society are due to the women who came before us. May we follow in their footsteps and pave the way for our daughters, our nieces, our sisters.
Did I mention that Kathrine was a Syracuse graduate? GO ORANGE WOMEN!
Mile 1-2. Timmy and Paula Kavolius
It is because of these two individuals that House of Possibilites even exits. Timmy — Thank you for being an inspiration, a spark, and a joy for the world. And Paula — thank you for being the gold standard and a role model for how those living with developmental disabilities should be treated. Thank you both for driving our world closer to one of total inclusion.
Mile 2-3. Children and Adults of HOPe
Visiting House of Possibilities and meeting the children and adults that the charity serves was one of the most special moments of this marathon journey. Those children and adults are such a light and see the world in the way every human should — bursting with possibility and joy and love.
As Paula said, "Every day is a marathon for families of HOPe. Every month there is a Heartbreak Hill. Think of the struggling children when the going gets tough and I promise you will make it up that hill and work through that pain. Know that they are all behind you every step of the way". I run for them.
Mile 3-4. Boston Police Force, firefighters, EMTs, healthcare teams, and local/political leaders
Thank you to all the responders in Boston who reclaimed our city and our security after the Boston Marathon bombings. Thank you for serving our city then and serving it each and every day. You are true heroes.
Mile 4-5. Victims and the Survivors of the Marathon Bombings
The official B.A.A. page said it best so I will quote them:
"In 2013, this was a time of darkness. We lost beautiful lives: Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, Martin Richard, Officer Sean Collier, Officer Dennis Simmonds. We will never forget them. So many women, men, and children severely injured. While some wounds may have healed, the anguish and pain of that day will never be far from any one of us. Now five years later, as we pause to remember, we notice a light has emerged. A light of faith, hope, and love. And since that day in 2013, we have witnessed our community come together, determined and devoted that no one will ever take away our safety and our Boston Marathon."
I would also personally like to thank the survivors of the bombings for sharing their healing journeys publicly with Boston. That is no easy task to heal when all eyes are watching you, but know it helped heal me from what I was living through at the time. Your journey, though different, made me feel less alone and less crazy. I'm very thankful.
Mile 5-6. Dr. Szerlip and Joel, my physical therapist
Without these two men, I would not be even at the starting line. They have been an integral part to healing my injuries from training and making me strong enough to be Boston Strong. Their kindness, their knowledge and their dedication to getting me to this race has been so moving.
And with them, I would like to thank and for a moment appreciate my injuries. I've spent a lot of time upset with them for it has brought me pain and challenge, but they are a reminder to train differently. They are an invitation to learn more about my body and it’s proper alignment. They are an invitation to slow down. Something I’m still learning how to do.
Mile 6-7. Chris Blanchard
Quoted from the book Mile Markers describing the sacredness of the friendships that running brings you — “As our mileage logs grow, so does our ability to speak the truth to each other" because when you’re running on a long run, you cut the BS real quick and talk real.
I met Chris on a flight back from Boston to Austin. He overheard me speaking to a woman about running sneakers and he jumped in saying he was running the Austin Marathon. We chatted about training given that we were both about to complete our first marathons. And after some chatting, we exchanged numbers and we began training with one another.
Chris, now is probably a good time to tell you that I despise chatting with strangers on airplanes. I actually can’t think of anything I hate more, but I’m very grateful I spoke to you that day and that we became running partners. I certainly would not have made it through many miles if it weren’t for you. So thank you for being a part of my training.
Mile 7-8. Mom
This woman supports me in absolutely everything that I do. She answers every call and every dumb question. This woman has shaped me into who I am and I am more of a woman because of her. I hurt when I think of all the daughters who aren’t close with their mothers because I hit the jackpot on mine and everyone deserves this kind of relationship.
Mom, thank you for getting me to Marathon Monday and every other mile marker in my life thus far.
Mile 8-9. Dad
Growing up in a household with his 3 brothers, having daughters brought challenges I’m sure my dad could never have expected. But God or the Universe or whatever we want to call it knew my dad was up for the challenge.
Thank you for raising us with the highest of standards and for living those standards yourself because you truly model what I expect out of others. Thank you for being you and for calming my anxiety down always, even if it’s an emotion you weren’t all that prepared to handle when life gave you kids. You’ve handled it in every instance since, like you did 5 minutes ago in calming me down for this race.
Mile 9-10. Colleen
I secretly wish I embodied more of my sister sometimes. Colleen, you are patient. You love everyone with the most open heart and lack of judgement I’ve ever seen. And you ride every struggle life throws you with lack of intense reaction (I wish I did). You teach me to be more of you. And I love you more than I tell you.
Mile 10-11. Gram
The world knows I love this woman. The love I have for her doesn’t compare to anything else in my life. Before I went upstairs to do my final preparations for this race, she leaned to me and said “you know you’re doing this because you wanted to so there is nothing to be nervous about. I love you 100”. Well Gram, I love you and your heart 101.
Mile 11-12. Wanderlust Yoga and the family it brought me
My life in Austin before I met you all was really hard. And the lessons that you taught me during my 200 hour teacher training have forever molded me. I have no idea how to thank you for that. And thank you for routing me on as you watched this marathon journey unfold. You are forever a part of this. Hopefully my hips start to open up post-marathon training and I can finally do some of those yoga poses y’all can do!
Mile 12-13. My donors
This run would not at all be possible without those who financially supported me. Thank you for every dollar on behalf of House of Possibilities. Those $7,483 dollars mean so much more than something solely financial. They represent support for a beautiful charity who does so much good in this world. And they represent your belief in me to do something hard. There were MANY moments when I knew how much easier it would be to quit and give up, but I never did because I could not let you down and I knew you believed in me. Thank you for the encouragement to keep going.
Mile 13-14. Auntie and Karin and Elise
Not only will Auntie and Karin conveniently be stationed at mile 13, but this mile is for them because they have put so much effort in to helping me fundraise. They recruited 90% of my SuperBowl square participants. They have supported me financially, and they absolutely have supported me emotionally in this race and in everything I've decided to run after my entire life.
And this mile is also for my cousin Elise. Even from miles away and in the middle of delivering a baby, she found a moment to think about me during this journey by sending me love and a book about running. The inspiration for this article is from that book she gave me. Elise, thank you for supporting me and for your wisdom as a fellow runner.
Mile 14-15. My coworkers
During my training, I got injured and that required me to go to the doctor. The doctor said I needed to go to physical therapy and one time I needed an MRI. Before I knew it, a lot of time was being taken away from my job. Thank you for allowing me to come in late every so often to get those things done. I’m so thankful to have a team that knew it was what I needed to do to get to Patriots Day.
And I’m even more thankful for the money they raised for me. The day I walked into my team’s space and it was decorated with Boston Marathon signs was one of the most touching days and one of the most thoughtful things anyone has ever done for me. It stands out as a highlight of this journey.
Thank you all for supporting me financially, emotionally, and mentally as I took on this challenge. And for always reminding me that “I did this to myself”.
Mile 15-16. Connections that this journey has brought me
Thank you for allowing me to be vulnerable and open and to share this journey with you in person or over social media. It has allowed me to connect with old high school friends, with strangers on Instagram who are not strangers any more, with family, with people on airplanes. Every person and every message has meant so much to me. How beautiful is it that the Boston Marathon brought us together?
Mile 16-17. Alisa Vitti and Dr. Jolene Brighten (and all the other women changing the landscape for women's health)
Thank you for healing me body. Your work has empowered me in every definition of the word. I am so proud to live in my female body so thank you. During this mile, I'll be grateful for it and for my follicular phase ;)
Mile 17-18. Margaret Morehouse
When I told Margaret I was dedicating a mile to her she said “Can it be mile 1? First day of college, first friend, first mile!”.
Truth is I needed to save Margaret for the later miles, for when is starting to get really hard and my body is starting to get tired. Margaret has been there for me since the first day of college. She was there for all the fun parts like the frat parties and getting into a sorority and living in 852 — but more importantly and more of a testament to true friendship I think — she was there for all the dark moments too, all the moments no one likes to talk about.
Margaret, thank you for helping me survive then. Thank you for helping me survive this marathon and thank you for your friendship in the future. Not sure what I did to be so lucky for a friendship like yours.
Mile 18-19. Marissa Blanchard
So many people do not understand how Blanch and I get along because we couldn’t be more night and day different. Every time I hear that I always giggle because Blanch and I are so different and I think that’s what makes our friendship so special. And though we are different, our shared experience with sexual assault bonds us so deeply and more so than most can understand. Blanch, thanks for helping me healing in college and far beyond. Thank you for keeping my life full of surprises and thank you for being my friend. I’m so lucky to know your heart, your drive and your spirit.
And as I run for Margaret and Blanch, I’ll be thinking about the other 852 roommates we lived with our senior year of college and what a beautiful time that truly was.
Mile 19-20. The Little Family
Nick and Heather Little are my second parents. Will and Kyla Little are my non-blood brother and sister. Not only have they been on this marathon journey with me, but they've been on every journey towards healing. Heather, thank you for being the one who encouraged me to use my voice in the first place five years ago. Nick, thank you for taking the brunt of SWEAR on. Will, thank you for being a warrior and an example to men your age. And Kyla, thank you for being a steady steady rock for your family and mine.
I'm not sure what life would be like without this family... and as life continues, I'm glad I'll never have to know.
Mile 20-21. Every survivor who has told me their stories
Mile 20 is the final hill, the legendary Heartbreak. In itself, the incline is merely challenging; but after 20 1/2 miles, the effort becomes the toughest stretch on the course. It is no coincidence that I've chosen to dedicate this mile to every sexual assault survivor that has crossed my path. Hundreds... if not a thousand women and men have shared with me their very intimate and personal survivor stories in confidence. Each story — different and unique — all share one common struggle toward healing. Every day is a climb, an internal struggle. It is painful, but the hill eventually ends and we survive. Healing is hard and so will be this mile, but this mile is not nearly as difficult as life and my survivor family gives me strength to do what is hard.
Mile 21-22. Katherine Frega
At this point of the race, I'm going to be in screaming pain. Katherine has survived much harder shit. She beat cancer. So dear future muscles — shut up and keep running because this isn't hard in comparison.
When I told Katherine that I was dedicating mile 21 to her — infamously known as the "Haunted Mile" because so many runners drop the race here — she told me that 21 was her lacrosse number in high school. I had no idea... and it feels even more fitting that I have one of the women I admire the most carrying me through as I near the end.
Katherine, I don't even know where to begin but thank you for being raw, for being real and for being my friend.
Mile 22-23. My sorority family
Call me a sorority girl all you want... but I have never felt unconditional love like I have from Alex, Cait, Krista, Brittany, Sam, Emma, Carla and now Lange and Ceci. You women motivate me each and every day.
Mile 23-24. The Universe
Because somethings are beyond your control. Because the world has a way of handing you the cards you're meant to be dealt. Because some things cannot be explained with words. Because some things you do simply because you feel they are right. Because the Boston Marathon feels right.
Mile 24-25. Julianne Kelly
For those who are unfamiliar with Julianne Kelly, she is one of the victims of the Pan Am 103 bombings in 1988. She corresponds with the scholarship I had my senior year of college and with the coordinates tattooed on my arm.
Julianne, I have no idea how you felt about the Boston Marathon, but I do feel the need to appreciate this moment because of you. I get to live this moment and I promise you that I will enjoy it because this moment is a gift even if it's hard.
25-26. The people who will be at the end of the race cheering for me
Because I'm almost there and because I'll get to see my parents, my sister, my cousins, my aunt, my other aunt and uncle, my best friend, my family friends. They are all waiting for me and I can't wait to see them at the end.
Because I get to. Because my body is going to get me across the finish line. Because I can do this. Because I don't honor myself as I should for my accomplishments. Because I am enough.