BENEFITING: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association
EVENT DATE: Nov 04, 2012
Mileage Tracker: 53
I am running my first marathon in New York City on November 4, 2012. Although I'm already whining about training in the blistering summer heat, what I'm really going to need is something to inspire me in those last miles come November. And no one could be more inspirational to me than my cousin, Bob Wolf. Bob was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, otherwise known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), in 2004, and lost his hard fought battle with the disease on January 25, 2011. And in his memory, I will be raising as much money as possible before the marathon to go to the ALS chapter in his town of Ambler, Pennsylvania.
My first memories of Bob and seeing him standing on a branch below me, climbing a giant tree in his backyard with a giant smile on his face. There is hardly a memory I have of him that doesn't involve him smiling, laughing, or making some sort of ridiculous joke. I remember being so afraid of going to see him after his diagnosis, thinking the disease had affected the man I knew and looked up to, but he was still just the same. Even when he got thinner then I could ever imagine, when he became relegated to an electronic chair, and when every breath he took caused his body to shake...that contagious smile never waivered and the jokes never stopped. In the final years of his life, he remained so full of joy and so willing to step up to every horrible challenge and face it head on with a smile on his face. He never let any negativity show, and never let his disease define him - he always seemed hell bent on getting out there and celebrating each and every day he had.
I know the marathon is going to be a killer, and no matter how many miles I run this summer and fall, I'm never going to be completely ready. But when I hit that wall at mile 22 (or maybe mile 14, who knows) I want to think of my cousin Bob smiling at whatever came his way and know that if he could get through 7 years of ALS, I can get through 26.2 miles and keep that smile on my face, for him.