BENEFITING: RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE OF NEW YORK
ORGANIZER: RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE OF NEW YORK
Last year I ran my first half marathon. It was an awesome feeling of accomplishment crossing the finish line. I started running about 5-6 years ago and finally last year I have worked my way up to being able to withstand the fatigue of running 13 miles within a two hour period of time. I guess every runner has their own personal way of dealing with the pain. For me, memories of the more trying and difficult times in my past help me fuel the power I need to move my body.
Last year I ran it for myself, no one else. I needed to prove that I can do it. This year I'm running for a special group of people that most of us can certainly commiserate with.
Sometime last summer I was in a hardware store and noticed a man at the counter trying figure out how to open a small battery compartment in a desk clock. I watched him struggle for a bit then finally grabbed it out of his hands and replaced the battery for him. He was a funny guy, well dressed, smart, he thanked me and we spoke for a few mins. He mentioned that he has a deck and that his wife wanted to replace it in the future so I gave him my number. A few weeks later I get a call and go to check it out. I pull up into a beautiful gated community drive to his house and meet him and his wife. We hit it off and the focus of the conversation shifted from the deck to all sorts of other parallels that we had common in our lives. He told me he was related to a famous Russian writer, I told him about my famous Russian ballerina mother, he loves vodka, I love vodka etc etc. I was telling him how I started running in all sorts of 5-10k's, and that I did the NYC half last year and wanted to compete next year (being this year). I proceeded to tell him how I also like to bike and that I wanted to do the NYC triathlon but I have a torn rotator cuff and it's very painful to swim. That's when it happened. He suddenly got very quiet and suddenly the smile was wiped off his face for the first time since I met this guy. His eyes filled up with tears, his voice got crackly and began to tell me about his son who had passed. He had lost his only child a few years back. His son would have been 40 something and some disease took his life quickly. He began to tell me about his son and that he raced bicycles, and was an all around athlete. I will never forget the pain in that man's eyes when he spoke about his dead son. It changed something in me.
He continued to share that he worked so much during his son's upbringing that he felt cheated that he can't spend any of his golden years w him. This guy had every luxury in life and would give it all up instantly to have his son back in his life. It's inherently wrong for a parent to bury their child. The more I thought about the situation the worse I felt. Who do you blame? I left his house with a heavy heart. I couldn't shake it off me. I thought about my grandmother. What she must of went through when my mother died. How she must of felt when my mother was no longer. Then I thought about the people who lose their babies or young children or young adults. What's worse? Losing at a very young age or losing right at the point that you can enjoy watching your baby become a man or a father.
So I guess this is my way of recognizing this particular group of people that will forever have a void in their hearts. I am so very sorry for your losses, I run the 2016 NYC Half for you. The parents at Ronald McDonald house deal with this on a daily basis, I run for them. And for my grandmother up in heaven pulling strings for me, I run for her.