Today’s guest post is from Amber, one of my closest friends and one I’ve mentioned more than a few times here on Beth’s Journey. She is the one who I scheduled “healthy dates” with when I first started to lose weight where we would go for a run or a swim and then do healthy dinner together, and we actually have one of those dates tonight! She has always been one of my fitness inspirations, and I hope you enjoy what she has to share with you all today!
My mom has always been my biggest inspiration for health and fitness. Some of my earliest memories of my mom include her coming back from runs early in the morning, sweaty and energetically preparing breakfast. She started me in athletic activities from a very young age, carting me from dance lessons to gymnastics, and later to swim team and soccer practice. In fact, there is not a time I can remember her not participating in some sort of physical activity — which is why it was particularly alarming that winter in 2002 when, while standing on a ski slope coaching my high school ski team, she noticed an issue with her right leg. She was having trouble turning in her skis… something she had been doing with ease for decades.
Several months and many opinions later we received a frightening diagnosis. My mom had Parkinson’s Disease at the early age of 46. It is no surprise that she has faced many challenges since then. Physical limitations, sure. But worse have been the emotional stresses and feelings of loss that come from not being able to do the things you really love to do.
I have chosen to deal with the emotions my own way — by continuing to do the things WE love to do in honor of my amazing mother. I have gained the wisdom not to take these abilities for granted, understanding now that I might not have them forever. I think of her often when I’ve hit a "wall" on a run, or just don’t feel like trying in yoga. It allows me to dig deep and gives me an innate sense of strength and helps me finish strong.
This came in particularly handy while running my first half marathon in October 2010. At the time I had never run more than 10 miles, and during training I only reached 8. You can imagine the "wall" was pretty intense — made worse by the fact that I had chosen the hardest course imaginable in the hills of West Virginia. I’m not sure I would have finished if not for the inspiration and motivation I gained while thinking of my Mom at mile 10, 11, and 12. I finished alright… and as my 3 family members cheered me on I had a great sense of accomplishment. But as the runner’s high passed and the soreness set in, I remember wishing I had truly run the race in her honor. Perhaps raising money for Parkinson’s… or at the very least had worn a t-shirt with her name on it.
It was then I made up my mind. I had to do something for the cause. However I felt a bit overwhelmed, not knowing exactly where to start. Should I organize a team for a run? Or organize a race? Do I need to start a non-profit? Who do I donate the money to? Then one day while running a small race with Beth last May I met John Brathwaite with the DC Running Club, and he proved to be an incredible resource. We decided to partner and begin planning a Run for Parkinson’s. Now the dream is coming into fruition, and the event is just over a month away! Here are the details:
- Move4Mobility: Run for Parkinson’s
- April 14, 2012
- Hains Point, Washington DC
- 8AM Start Time
- 5K & 5 Miler – Run, walk (skip, jump… however you want to move it!)
My mom will be there on April 14th — I hope you can join us too! Register and donate at http://www.Move4Mobility.org.
What do you do to give back to causes that are close to your heart?