NYC Marathon: The Saturday Before

So I’ve already written about The Race, and I thought I’d share a little about what happened the Saturday leading  up to the big day.

Saturday morning before the marathon, I joined up with Run, Selfie, Repeat’s shakeout run. I “knew” a whole bunch of We Run Social and IG people attending and I was excited to finally meet some social media friends in person. It was a great turn out  (i.e. a shit ton of people) so we broke out in mini groups; it was a perfect 2.5 mile fun run.

BL: Me with Kelly aka-Run, Selfie, Repeat; M: Me with Gregg aka-NYC Sweat; BR: Me with Carlos aka-Carlos the Runner

BL: Me with Kelly aka-Run, Selfie, Repeat; M: Me with Gregg aka-NYC Sweat; BR: Me with Carlos aka-Carlos the Runner

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Saturday night was my charity’s pasta dinner. This was quite different than when I ran Chicago for the Ronald McDonald House. The V Foundation was more private and close knit which was really cool. The food was absolutely amazing but the biggest deal were the guest speakers.

Andy Katz from ESPN was the main speaker and he shared his story for why he has chosen to run for the Jimmy V Foundation the past few years. He talked a lot about how much more meaning a race has when you’re running for something other than yourself–which is a big reason why I think a lot of us do this (run for charity).

Andy Katz, me, and my husband

Andy Katz, me, and my husband

Then, he introduced his friend Seb Bellin. Seb was a professional basketball player turned successful businessman. He was in Brussels during the horrifying terrorist attack at the Brussels airport and very badly injured. Seb shared what helped him survive his near-death experience and his story brought the room to tears.

Seb almost died. But, less than a year after, here he was standing right in front of me. He related to us that while he’s never run a marathon, he can imagine that there are moments during the race where we felt like quitting. Where we felt the pain was too strong for us to keep going.

Seb recounted how there were many moments when he felt like that in the Brussels airport. But because he remained calm and in the moment, he allowed himself a chance to survive. He didn’t hope for the impossible–walking out of there; his legs had been severely damaged. Instead, he focused on what he could do: see, talk, and move his hands. He used his strengths to help find a way to get out and get help.

First, he was able to grab something to use as a tourniquet for one of his legs. Then, he pleaded for someone to put him on a luggage cart and take him outside. Once outside, he told the rescue officials arriving it was imperative they put him in an ambulance; he was losing blood fast and time was not in his favor.

He did all of this in unimaginable pain.

As he was speaking, I couldn’t help but think that running a marathon felt so trivial compared to the very near death experience he was sharing. I simply couldn’t imagine being as strong as he was in that situation (and I thanked God I had never been close.)

But I thought a lot about Seb when I ran NYC Marathon. I thought about how lucky I was to be able to run, to feel pain. And his words definitely helped me. His words helped me to embrace the pain–to accept it and find a way to push through it.

This is the video he shared to us that night. There are graphic scenes, but you can see/hear Seb recount the awful moments of that day and how he was able to survive.

The New York City Marathon is a race I’ll never forget for many reasons, and his story is one of them.

Team V with Seb--the tall guy in the back :) <3

Team V with Seb–the tall guy in the back 🙂 ❤

–What thoughts get you through tough moments in a race?

 

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TCS NYC Marathon Lottery Results

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I didn’t win, but I’m still going. 

What do I mean, you ask?

Well, as luck would have it, my husband got in on his first try–just like in Chicago–and I didn’t. If you remember, I ran Chicago through charity raising money for the Ronald McDonald House. I was nervous, scared, and intimidated by having to raise money (and a lot of it) but I had such an amazing experience that it helped me decide to run for charity again, this time for NYC.

I won’t be running for Team RMHC though as I’ve elected to run for the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research. Sadly, we do have a connection with cancer, as a close family member is currently fighting; yet, Coach V’s fighting words of “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up!” is a motto that so many of us can relate to, whether we have an affiliation with cancer or not.

If you’re not familiar with who Coach Valvano is, he was a NCAA basketball coach for NC State in the 80’s and led his team to a surprising championship win in 1983. They were the underdogs that season and game after game proved their championship worthiness to the very end. They never gave up.

Then in 1992, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In the short time he had left to live, unbeknownst at the time, he did so much to help with cancer research creating the Foundation knowing it probably wouldn’t benefit him, but that didn’t make him lose hope. His hope was that foundation would help others and it has, many, many years after his death. He never gave up.

A couple of years ago, my husband and I saw an ESPN 30 for 30 special on Coach V and his NC State team. It was incredibly moving and my husband and I still watch from time to time. In the documentary is his Arthur Ashe acceptance speech at the first ever ESPY’s. If you have a few extra minutes, please take the time to view it. It really captures Coach V’s spirit.

Running for charity is scary in many ways. First, the New York City Marathon itself is kinda scary–it’s the biggest marathon. It’s huge! I’ve run some big races–Chicago, Marine Corps–but NYC is bigger than both!

Second, the charity amount I have to raise is twice that of Chicago. But I feel like Coach V’s words ring through in so many ways besides fighting a terrible disease like cancer. In so many aspects of life, we have to overcome obstacles or challenge ourselves and never, ever give up. That’s what I plan to do–in training for New York, in raising money to run New York, and in crossing that finish line in New York.

I hope you consider helping me with this important cause. Your donation, of any amount, will help me run a dream marathon, and most importantly, help keep dreams alive for others.

You can donate here:

Helly Runs For Team V

–Have you ever run a race through charity? 

–Do you know who Jimmy V is or heard his speech before?

–Have you been to New York? I went when I was 10 and don’t remember a thing, lol! It will be my husband’s first time though 😀