What an experience! My wonderful brother Brad and I crossed the finish line in 5:55:18, but more importantly, thanks to all of you we raised nearly $3,700 for MMRF! This was the 10th time that I have crossed the finish line for a marathon, a full 90 minutes slower than any other, but still the most satisfying and emotional experience of my running career.
For the first time in my running life, I was really nervous about the race, due in large part to a recent injury that developed after returning home from vacation. I had an IT band issue similar to what had happened with my brother Dave a year ago before his first marathon, and it affected my knee to the point I couldn’t run at all for 2 weeks. I was able to run 3 miles pain free, 4 days before the race, then had a massage that night and visited my PT friend Lisa on Friday for some acupuncture therapy. All of this was in hopes of delaying the inevitable “gremlin” to a later part of the race. It wasn’t a matter of if, but when. The gremlin woke up around mile 16, but I still finished.
Ramona and I attended a wonderful MMRF reception on Saturday afternoon, where we were able to meet all of the other members of the MMRF racing team. We also met Jane Hoffmann, Alicia O’Neill, and Heidi O’Rourke; the MMRF organizers. The event became a very emotional sharing of stories, about what brought people to the marathon and how Multiple Myeloma has affected their loved ones and their lives. At the end of the event I was asked to tell my story, which was a wonderful forum for me to share my last 17 months with an entire room full of people who really understood Myeloma.
I shared some details of my softball injury that led to my diagnosis, my chemo treatments and 2 stem cell transplants. I then asked all of them what motivated them to be there, knowing they were there out of loyalty, compassion and most importantly love. I thanked the MMRF organization for what they have done and the ground work being laid for future achievements towards a cure. Then I shared my motivation for being there. I had received many opinions about not doing the race, taking it easy, or that I was just plain crazy. My reason for running the marathon was to honor all of the team members and donors that raised money and trained to support the MMRF. They were in fact running for me, and I ran to give hope to other patients.
I then closed by dedicating this race to 2 heroes in my life. Heroes to me are ordinary people doing extraordinary deeds. My first hero is my amazing brother David, who first launched his fundraising efforts for MMRF last June after finding out about my cancer. He has been such a steady and motivating force in my mental as well as physical recovery through his training, running and positive messages. My second hero is my fabulous wife Ramona. Her unwavering love and support has guided me back from the dark days of early cancer, to truly living again. She is my angel on earth looking out for me! We have so much more life to live together. My family, friends and extended family complete the support network that keeps me afloat.
Until the next adventure… My deepest gratitude, Jeff