This Past weekend I ran the 4 Jakes Sake 5k. While I'm certainly proud of how I did, I'm more proud of the cause that I ran for. My team, The Sisu Project, has become very involved with this cause. My teammate David "Passion" Zanca has gotten very close with Jake and his family over the years and we, as a team, have as well. Jake Marrazzo was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy just before his 8th Birthday. This is a degenerative muscular disease. The onset is between 3-5 years old. 4 Jakes Sake is now a charitable foundation that helps families with the simple things that we take for granted. Creating a ramp just so a child can get into their house, for example! Offsetting any costs to make the home more handicapped accessible, giving kids independence and the ability to live each day they have as fully as possible. I remember going to a Gala a few years back to help Jake get an elevator in his house so he can get to his bedroom without being carried. Jake is now a teenager! Could you imagine being a teen and needing to be carried into your house or up into your room by your parents?! We all just want what is best for our children, and a little bit can go a long way for these families!
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This is the first time I've been able to attend the race due to surgery and injury... but I wasn't going to let pregnancy keep me from the race. Matt was going to go to the Harpoon 5 Miler, he accidentally double booked himself... (I blame the time change in Switzerland) but since I had picked him up at the airport, my sister still had my car and we woke up totally forgetting that I did not have a car to get to a different race than he was at....and we didn't have enough time to get my car and then get where we both needed to go... SO Matt and I BOTH went to 4 Jakes Sake 5k... and I think it worked out for the best!
I was in such a hurry that I forgot my watch! It was actually pretty nice to be free of that expectation and knowing exactly what mile I was at and how I was doing. It helped me to fully embrace listening to my body. I genuinely thought that racing with the stroller would keep me from getting too competitive, but that was NOT the case! ... I just can't turn that part of my brain off if I tried....It's okay though! Raea had fun going faster than turtle pace for once!!
I started the race pretty far back to keep the stroller out of the way of other people (again, I thought I was just going to have fun....), so I spent the majority of the race passing people. Navigating the traffic, sidewalks, curbs, and participants with the stroller was tricky... I thought about navigating the world with a wheelchair... At times I almost had to come to a complete stop to get up and down sidewalks. I made sure to always put the safety of the three of us first at all times, but it certainly wasn't easy to get around! I got extra cheers for pushing the stroller... and on occasion someone noticed I was also pregnant, so the positive momentum generated from the extra challenges were nice! I assumed the water stop was somewhere near the halfway mark and I was still feeling really fresh. It came at a perfect time, just around the only "hill" in the course. Truth be told, this isn't a real hill... but 7 months pregnant pushing a toddler? It was a hill, today! Nothing like being in a wheelchair going up heartbreak hill... I had watched a lot of that just a month ago... but it was my own little challenge. The Braxton Hicks contractions kicked in so I went through the water stop real slow to let those ease off a little bit and then I carried on.
It's an odd feeling because I'm way more fit than the pace I'm able to go. I'm hardly breathing heavy, the struggle is more... ya know... that big belly in my way messin' with my stride!... I talked to Raea a lot. She cheered for me and the others saying "go, go, go!" the whole time! She also pointed out every dog, cat, and car we went by! (there were lots of cars that go "vrrmmm vrmmmm!") I got to a section where there was a construction site which was only about 25 meters long. It put me in a tricky situation with the stroller. I had to slow my pace significantly out of fear I would get a flat... BUT From that point on I knew where I was so I began to pick it up. My breathing became a little labored, but still conversational. My lungs have less space now so it was more a discomfort of not getting the air in that I'm used to being able to get and having to work harder to take a full breath... It's a little different sensation than a full effort with lactic acid build up and a body that just can not process oxygen quick enough. I thought about Jake and others with similar disabilities. We take for granted the easiness of breathing. Our muscles just involuntarily do it. Matt and I recently watched a movie called Extraordinary Measures... it focuses on Pompe's disease. It's not the same, however there are some similarities in the sense that the disease progresses over time and it effects many muscles and the surrounding organs. These thoughts were fresh in my mind as one of the characters nearly dies from her lungs and diaphragm not being strong enough... I carried on.
I heard my teammates and picked it up. I rounded the corner and could see the clock reading 22:50's and I pushed harder because I've missed too many barriers too many times in my life! Unfortunately I crossed around 23:01. I was disappointed as my last pregnancy race was 20:04...another time I just missed a barrier.... both were faster than I expected, but I hate those seconds hanging over my head! I later found out that since I started so far back my time was 22:56! I'm used to starting right on the line because USATF team results are scored based on gun time... so this was an unusual circumstance, but I'll take it!
Raea, Matt, Baby Germain and I all came home with Hardware. Matt won first overall, I got second, and we also double dipped for age group prizes... PLUS the finishers medal! Raea wore it proudly and points to it saying "muma"...
Melt my heart!
It was a beautiful day and an amazing cause! People often ask me why I'm still running pregnant, what is the point? Well, the point is that I'm healthy, and that I can do it... and there are others out there who can not. Jake was quoted before the race saying "Mom, we are so lucky, nothing bad ever happens to our family"... It's all about perspective! From my perspective, getting out and enjoying my health is the best way I can honor my body and the gift of health that God has given me! Don't take the little things for granted!
It's the little things that make the biggest difference!
So DONATE a little to 4 Jakes Sake to make a Big Difference!!
Welcome to my blog! I blogged my entire pregnancy in 2017 and I had high hopes for where I could take my running after baby number 2, but my body had other plans. At some point I got too discouraged to write and recently realized that it is essential for my personal growth and development to keep putting feelings into coherent(ish) thoughts. I still hope to run sub 2:45 in the marathon one day, but for now I’m trying to focus on the process and I’m learning to enjoy it. You can come along for the ride, apologies in advance for grammatical incorrectness!