Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Final Countdown

Ok, so it appears that I may have tapered about a month before the race. Oops. I've also been stress eating. Oops. I guess only time will tell how well the high-chocolate, low-mileage marathon training plan works out. I have also been feeling a bit nervous. I never really listen, but I tend to find out in the end that people were right in doling out warnings before I begin my crazy escapades, but that never stops me from automatically dismissing them once I find something new, and this marathon is no exception. "You'll be busy with other things," they said. "Wedding planning really can be pretty consuming," they said. "I'm not sure your ready," they said. "You're going to have to be dedicated," they said. There were so many warnings, and I thought they were all wrong. They were right, but I am still going to do it...and I will still finish.

I know that if I am going to reach my goal of finishing my first marathon, I have to put all the doubts out of my mind. I have to forget about the fact that I could only "run" a quarter of a mile when I started "running" three years ago. I have to forget any race I ever ran that sucked. I have to forget any training run that sucked. What I need to remember is why I decided to run a marathon in the first place. I am running in memory of my grandma. I remember the day. The turning point. I saw my grandma the last day she ever walked. It was July 4th, 2012. She was using her walker to walk that afternoon, and that evening she called me, but her speech was already hard to understand, especially over the phone, because ALS had already started robbing her. I didn't know what she was trying to tell me, and it wasn't until an hour and a half later that I found out she had tried to stand up, but her legs just crumpled underneath her. She had been calling me for help because she thought I was already on my way to her house. I wasn't. I have no idea how long she had been there on the floor waiting for help before she gave up on me and called my uncle.

I remember the last day my grandma hugged me and told me she loved me. It was September 11th, 2012. I came to visit that weekend for a family reunion. She didn't know I was coming. When I walked in her room, she thought I was a nurse at first because she didn't expect to see me. After a second, her face lit up, but she was so worked up that she couldn't get any words out, and she couldn't find her pen to write anything because most of her communication at that point was written; tears just started rolling down her face. I spent as much time as I could with her that week I was home. On my way to the airport on September 11th, 2012, I stopped to see my grandma one more time. I stopped to tell her goodbye. She hugged me tight, and then she didn't write it, she slowly and methodically said, "I love you," with her eyes locked on mine. I think deep down, we both knew it was THE goodbye.

I remember the day my grandma passed away. It was December 8th, 2012. It was my 25th birthday. We knew it was coming. ALS IS TERMINAL. There was no doubt from the beginning. She had been in constant pain. It's not as if I wanted her to keep suffering, but it is still the finality of that day that floods family members with such raw emotion. Grief. The thing is that there are so many reunions that my grandma had been waiting so many years to have that I am sure my 25th birthday was one of the best days for my grandma. She went home that day. She was beyond a shadow of a doubt the STRONGEST person I have ever known. I am running in memory of her, and THAT is what I need to remember.

I am still raising money for ALS research because I have not yet met my fundraising goal. Check out my page if you are able to help.


  1. You are so brave to be doing this for your grandma. Like you said, if you just find a way to focus on WHY you're doing this, you will be just fine!!! You've got this :)

  2. Good luck michelle, I'm hoping to run a marathon in the spring sometime, maybe one of these days we could run one together, now that you dont think im crazy any more :)

  3. Good luck Michelle! I am positive you will surprise yourself! It may not be pretty, but races never are. The thing is you will finish. You have a great goal and doing it for a great reason!