Why 100 marathons?
I know it sounds a little crazy, but actually so many people have done way more than 100 marathons. There are some people that have even done over 100 marathons in one year. Yes it is true. Yolanda Holder, Trent Morrow, Larry Macon they are all world record holders and have run way more than 100.
So whether it’s 100 marathons, 100 years, 100 miles, 100 bottles of beer, (wait that’s 99), the number 100 is a milestone and a BIG number. I figured it would be another great way to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer. It wouldn’t be easy though, I had to cram in about 13 marathons in 6 months and give up my goal of re-qualifying for Boston, but to me this was bigger and more important.
It’s will be 100 marathons over eight years. You see, eight years ago, I was a single mom, raising two teenage kids. I was stuck, depressed and overweight. But instead of acknowledging that voice within, I filled the void with lots of comfort food and an array of extra-strength antidepressants, which I desperately needed at the time.
In April of 2007, at my lowest point, my parents treated my kids and I to a week long vacation in Kauai. When I hit the beach that first day swimming in the ocean and running on the sand something in me awoke. In that moment, for the very first time in I don’t remember how long, I began to feel alive again. It was if I was being reinvigorated by the energy of the sea, the waves and the sand. While I was on vacation, I didn’t miss a day of swimming and running. I immediately felt more positive, and confidant, so much so that I made a pact with myself to keep running with my dog when I returned home to Santa Monica. And I kept that pact and did one better, I stopped taking those supercharged antidepressants. Running became my new antidepressant. I simply did not need them anymore, however some do and I thank god that we have medication to help those who need it. But with a clearer mind and a healthier body, I felt like I could take on the world! With this feeling as my fuel, I signed up for my very first event, a triathlon.
Just five short months after I stepped foot on the beautiful sandy shores of Kauai, I completed the triathlon. As you can see exercise wasn’t just great for my spirit, it was good for my waistline too, I lost 35 pounds in about 5 months as I trained for this event. From the first Triathlon, my father became my biggest and most devoted fan. I thought, hey, if I can finish a triathlon and a ½ marathon, what’s stopping be from finishing a full 26.2 mile marathon? So in 2008, I signed up for my very first marathon. The 2008 Los Angeles Marathon.
Don’t I look happy and refreshed? No, I actually hit the wall at mile 14. Ouch! I am happy to say I did finish, but when I crossed over the finish line I thought, that was truly AWFUL! I think I’ll just stick to 10ks and ½ Marathons. But the lore of qualifying for Boston kept me coming back for more. 18 times more, I thought the more marathons you ran, the faster you would get. I was a newbie and doing all my training at race pace, but I was still having fun, sort of.
I finally hired a coach and on my 18th attempt, I missed qualifying by 2 minutes. I was disappointed, but not nearly as disappointed as I would be when my mom called me the next day to tell me that my father had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and there was nothing the doctors could do.
Sadly, my father passed away just 35 days after diagnoses. I felt lost, shocked, devastated and hopeless. My father was my biggest fan, there was nothing like the joy he got when he saw me run and I wasn’t about to stop now. I had another race coming up in just 10 days after he passed away. Anyone would have understood if I didn’t run it, but I ran that race, and YES I qualified for Boston that day, with my hands pointed to my father in Heaven and my rapture is for us both. He was in my heart, and I knew we had done it together. I still get chills as I tell the story today!
After that day, one thing became very clear to me. If your goal doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. This was my truth, just a few years ago, my life was off course, and I lacked purpose, a north star. Running gave me the answer. But after everything I had been through with losing my dad and learning about pancreatic cancer, I knew I needed to do something BIG. So I woke up one morning, with this crazy, half-baked idea that I could run 52 marathons in 52 weeks. I didn’t know how I would do it, but there was nothing that would stop me.
Now some would say 52 marathons in 52 weeks is crazy and enough, and for a while it was. However, cancer does not take a day off and I feel like I still need do more. It is my mission. So here I am, at 93 lifetime marathons completed. Who would have thought? If I at 37, a person who never ran in school, could complete such a feat, there is no telling what you can do. Our dreams are still possible. Maybe mine came in the form of a mid life crisis, but that’s ok. Some people go shopping, some start drinking or far worse. It was running that saved my life and now possibly the lives of others.
While reflecting on the many lessons I’ve learned on this journey, one of the most important is to “Always do what you are afraid to do”, but remember, whatever you do, means so much more, when you do it for someone else. Now with every marathon I run, I dedicate it to someone affected by cancer. It’s not about me anymore, it’s not about the marathons, it’s much bigger than that. It’s about saving lives and changing the course of history of a disease called pancreatic cancer that has gone nearly unchanged for 40 years. So live Boldly, live Big and know that you’ve got to touch your own life first, before you can touch the lives of others. We Got This xo
I’m now running with Project Purple. The nations largest pancreatic cancer running charity. They are official charity partners with The Boston Marathon, New York Marathon and Chicago. I’m currently over 300K in total donations, but let’s hit that million dollar mark by my 100th marathon, The 2016 Los Angeles marathon, so we can really make a difference. Please share and donate today if you can. Thank you xo Click here to DONATE