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Posts Tagged ‘running’

Congratulations to all of our Team Push to Walk members for their participation in this past weekend’s Half and Full Marathon in Long Branch, NJ. They did awesome!! Every member of the Team committed to complete the distance and raise funds for Push to Walk and Dr. Wise Young’s SCI Clinical Trials for a Cure. Our preliminary amount raised was almost $28,000, but we still have to tally the final figures.

Thank you to all 22 people who ran or rode their hand cycles to benefit Push to Walk. One of our clients, Celso, pictured here, was the FIRST person to break the finish line tape. It was his first event, and he is excited to pursue the sport further. When he becomes famous, we can say “it all started at Push to Walk…………” Ha ha!

Current and former clients, client family members and friends, and friends of Push to Walk all joined together for a common goal – to support Push to Walk and provide scholarship funds to people with spinal cord injuries who need our program but are unable to pay the full amount. Our scholarship fund will help offset the cost of the program for some who would not otherwise be able to come for exercise workouts. Financial barriers are often the main reason why people don’t come to Push to Walk, or stop coming after a period of time because their money runs out.

Our runners and riders committed themselves to our cause, and we are so thankful for their interest and dedication. Thank you!!!

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As part of Team Push to Walk, my son Darren will be riding his hand cycle in this Sunday’s NJ Marathon in Long Branch (May 6). He is one of 5 clients on the Team, and I have witnessed the transformation of some of them during their training. I am so proud of everyone! My husband & I have had the opportunity to ride several times with Darren as he trains. Each ride, I see him getting stronger and more prepared to go the distance. In between outdoor rides, he has been using a SCI-FIT hand bike either here at Push to Walk or at a gym near his apartment. After yesterday’s ride, I am confident in his ability to do the entire distance of 26.2 miles. I know he can do it!

What he found yesterday, though, was how important it is to be well fueled before the race! Just as a car needs enough gas to get from point A to point B, so does an athlete for an endurance event. Rest, food and hydration are all key components of a successful event. Fortunately, he experienced how he felt from not having enough to eat this week, and now be better prepared for next week. For all you athletes preparing for the big day – eat well and eat properly several days prior to the event. Better preparation will definitely pay off!

Thank you to all of our clients, and their families and friends who are participating on their behalf, as well as our Push to Walk staff and friends who are committed to our cause. So many people have dedicated their time and fund raising efforts on our behalf, and your support will enable us to offer Scholarship Funds to our clients and support Dr. Wise Young and his SCI clinical trials.

Have a great race, everyone! I’ll be there cheering you on!

Cynthia

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Happy Monday!

After celebrating my birthday for the whole weekend, it was time to settle down and start eating right again! But, boy, was it fun! Thanks for all the great wishes!

On the news this morning, I heard today was the Boston Marathon. While most of us were happy about the above-normal temperatures, I know the runners and organizers would be very concerned about the heat. After training so hard and so long, I can imagine how disappointed the 4,300 runners who did not participate felt about NOT going to the starting line. I think back one year ago to my marathon training and know I would have been so disappointed, too.

So that got me thinking about the upcoming New Jersey Marathon that Team Push to Walk will be doing on May 6. In spite of the difficulties I faced last year in training and finishing the race, I do miss not training this year. For me, it was as much about the journey of getting ready and being prepared as the race itself. Having that goal just kept me so focused and disciplined. In light of that, I really hope that Mother Nature is kind to all the NJ Marathon participants this year and all the runners and hand cyclists can compete as they have been training to do.

I was very proud of my son, Darren, who completed 14.5 miles on Saturday as part of his training. Last year, he completed the half marathon; this year he’s going for the full 26.2 miles. Go Darren! Here’s his picture at Heino’s, our favorite ski & cycle shop in Pequannock, NJ.

I will be part of the support group this year, and am proud to have that role. We have clients, family members and friends on Team Push to Walk again this year, and they are raising incredible amounts of money! These funds will help clients offset their program fees for workouts, and will allow us to continue to provide cutting-edge exercise to people with spinal cord injuries and paralysis.

If you’d like to support our Team in general or a specific team member, you can do so by clicking here:   https://sna.etapestry.com/fundraiser/PushtoWalk/NJMarathon2012/. Or donations can be mailed to us at 6 North Corporate Drive, Riverdale, NJ 07457.

Come and cheer us on! Hope to see you on May 6 in Long Branch!

Cynthia

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I think it was way back in October when I decided I wanted to run another marathon. I must have gotten an e-mail about the NJ Marathon that would be held in May, and I decided right then and there to register. I knew once I registered, I would think about a training program and set a goal for myself. I am not much of a spontaneous person; I like to plan for things and be prepared. Not having run at all since my last half marathon in January 2009, I knew if I was to be successful, I’d have to prepare very carefully. I tried not to think too much about how I felt after that event and my previous full marathon in April 2008. That would have stopped me dead in my tracks. After both events, I know I said “I’ll never do that again!” Famous last words…………

I believe my training started in November, and I felt pretty pathetic. I could refer to my notes and scribbles in my running notebook, but I think I wrote things like “I can’t even run three miles, how am I going to run a marathon?” and “I must be crazy to think I can run 26.2 miles.” You get the idea. My confidence wavered, and I allowed self-doubt to creep into my head. But thankfully, I stuck with it, and religiously followed my training program.

Marathon Day was beautiful! I was excited, nervous, and felt ready. Everything had fallen into place. All that was left was to run. For the first half and even more, I kept to my training pace of 11 minute miles. I felt good. Somewhere between mile 16 and 17 I was losing focus. I had stopped to use the bathroom and tried to re-group. I tried to concentrate on where I was on the course, but even couldn’t keep track of that. Had I passed the 16 mile marker or the 17? How far was I following this straightaway south before we turned north? Where was the next water station? I definitely was not focused as I had been in training. Why? I’ll probably never know, and it probably doesn’t matter.

I had a goal of finishing in 5 hours. My previous marathon time was 5 hours and 10 minutes. I felt sure I could beat it. In fact, I was hoping to finish in 4 hrs and 50 minutes. I could do it if everything went right. But……….it didn’t. By really concentrating, digging deep and thinking about Darren and those who had inspired me in the first place, I changed my strategy to just finishing. At times, I even questioned that, but I was so determined, and so many people had gotten involved in the cause, I just couldn’t let them down. Nor could I let myself down. One step at a time, and I finally crossed the finish line with a time of 5 hours and 16 minutes.

There – I said it and now I can move on. Am I a little disappointed? Yes. I didn’t reach the goal I had set for myself, but I did finish a marathon. All 26.2 miles of it. And for that I am proud of myself.  Setting a goal, working hard, being committed to something bigger than myself – that’s what this race was all about for me. Concentrating on my training helped me keep other areas of my life in focus. It helped remind me of what’s important in my life. It gave me time to think, to plan, to organize my thoughts and my days. It gave me time to think of Push to Walk, our clients, and our purpose.

Now that it’s over, it’s kind of a let-down. I know I need to recuperate and let my body heal. I will take time to figure out what my next big goal will be. Please, please remind me of my own words “I’ll never do THAT again,” if I ever even mutter the word “marathon” again. It was great, and I am proud of my accomplishment. Maybe next time I’ll have a goal of winning an eating contest instead – hot dogs, anyone???!!!    

Cynthia

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I made it! I finished! Crossing that finish line, arms held high and smiling for the camera, I hugged Darren with tears streaming down my face. I did it – that’s all I could think about. I was physically and emotionally drained. Smiling and crying at the same time, I hugged my dear, dear friend Stephanie who ran with me the entire time – all 5 hours and 16 minutes of it. For those of you who know me, you won’t be surprised to read that I am crying as I write this now. What an emotional journey.

There is SO much I want to write about, and I know I will write several entries all related to the race and the event. But for this morning, I want to thank the entire Push to Walk team and our support crew. From Darren who inspires me every step I take, to my husband for supporting me even though he doesn’t understand (who can?), to my incredible staff, our clients, runners and hand cyclists. To our generous supporters and donors who contributed way more than I ever imagined, to my old friends and new friends for taking part in this great event. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

I told Darren the night before the event that I only wanted him to do two things: do his best in the race and be there for me at the finish line. Being the wonderful son that he is, he came through with flying colors. He finished the half marathon (13.1 miles) in just 1 hour 47 minutes and was there to greet me at the finish. What more could I ask for? I hugged him and held him and didn’t want to let go.

I never expected my dear friend Stephanie to run with me the whole time. We had never spoken about it beforehand. Perhaps that was her intention, but I didn’t know it. She is an experienced marathon runner and a successful Ironman triathlete.  She could have run at whatever pace she desired, but she chose to run with me. For that, I am very, very grateful. THANK YOU, Stephanie. You are a kind, caring, compassionate person and I am proud to be your friend. Thank you for encouraging me, supporting me and running with me.

My husband, John, is my biggest fan and cheerleader, doing for me whatever has needed to be done for the past almost 6 months of training. Whether it was doing the food shopping while I was running, bringing me supplies, checking up on me or picking me up at my ending point, he always did what would help me. While I can’t say he understands why I felt the need to do this or agreed with the whole idea, he was supportive and encouraging. Thank you and I love you!

And last but not least, my daughter Arianne has encouraged me in every way during my training. During my last marathon in 2008, she ran miles 21-25 with me. While I knew she couldn’t be with me this time, I knew she was with me in spirit. As I thought about my aches and pains this time around, I thought of her encouraging words last time, and she helped me keep on going. She also sent me and Darren a very sweet card the day before the race, wishing us success and letting us know she was thinking about us.

While I have so much more to write, I will try to organize my thoughts and write more in the next few days. Two things I distinctly remember seeing on the course – one was a large sign that said “The reward is the journey,” and another hand written on the back of a Team in Training member (running for leukemia and lymphoma) that said, “If you think running is hard, ask my Mom about her chemo.”

So I have accomplished this goal, but not by myself. At times, I was only thinking, just one more step, one more step, and I WILL get there. Thanks for helping me and being a part of this incredible journey.       

Cynthia

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Today is my birthday! I love celebrating my birthday and enjoying the day with family and friends. I even made cupcakes yesterday, but it was so I could eat the cake batter, not the cupcakes! There’s no calories in cake until it’s cooked, right?! I love getting cards, e-mails and reading Facebook posts. Every single one brings a smile and warm thoughts about the person who was so thoughtful to not only remember, but to send a greeting of some sort.

I love the American Cancer Society’s slogan – The Official Sponsor of Birthdays. Whoever came up with that is a genius! While some people I know don’t like to acknowledge or admit their age, don’t like to celebrate birthdays and get depressed when yet “another” one rolls around, I am just the opposite. Not that getting old is so great, but living certainly beats dying by a very wide margin. Even at age 53, there is so much more I want to do, want to learn, want to see. I want more birthdays!!!

Three years ago, I ran my first full marathon 6 days before my 50th birthday. It had been an important goal for me, and I accomplished it with a lot of dedication and commitment. My family and friends were with me all the way and were there to catch me at the finish line. It was an emotional scene that still brings tears to my eyes. Even my long runs in my current training schedule get me choked up, imagining the finish line I will be crossing on May 1st at the NJ Marathon in Long Branch. Running is therapy for me: time to sort out my thoughts and think through ideas. Time for myself, dedicated to myself. And, as you know by now, to our Push to Walk clients.

I’d like to think that the American Cancer Society doesn’t own that slogan all by themselves. If we all live life to the fullest, help ourselves and others celebrate life, we can all be sponsors of birthdays. I’d like to think that Push to Walk can sponsor birthdays as well – helping people with spinal cord injuries stay healthy, live full and productive lives, and live longer lives. I sure hope we do!

Here’s to birthdays! And to celebrating life! May you enjoy your day today as much as I am enjoying mine!

Cynthia

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If I was this anxious about running 20 miles, I imagine I am going to be down-right nervous about running 26.2! I know I’ve done it once before, but that was 3 years ago! And after feeling like I had been beaten up after running 18, I was worried about that, too. Maybe it was the very pleasant weather and sunshine that helped me this week. I felt pretty good, even though I got a little sunburned, and felt fine afterward, too. Committed to stretching and icing definitely helped. Thanks to all those who helped me realize how important they both are!

So Saturday’s run was about 4 hours. A long time to be with just myself. But I wasn’t alone; I had Push to Walk family members I was thinking about. First up was Charlie. Here’s a guy who tells it like it is. He doesn’t sugar coat anything and will be quick to tell you how much spinal cord injuries suck. Really suck. For a C7 injury, he has regained a lot of function in his arms and hands. In fact, the way he gets around in his chair makes you think he’s a para. And that’s at Push to Walk. I can only imagine what he’s like at the body shop he owns. He says he goes up and over things, through things, and only sometimes around things. I envision an obstacle course that includes steps to either navigate or get carried up/down. The wear and tear on his chair tells you this is not a sendentary person! Charlie keeps active and works long hours. Somehow he manages the almost 2 hour trip each way from the Princeton area for his weekly workout at Push to Walk. The long drive is tough, no doubt about it. But Charlie feels it is well worth it.

He enjoys spending time with his 2 kids and his girlfriend, Michelle. He is dedicated to not only getting stronger and more independent, but to figuring out how to do the same things he used to do before his motorcycle accident. Not much stops this guy, and I give him lots of credit for that.

As I’m running and at times struggling with the idea of “going the distance,” I think of Charlie and his downright stubbornness to not give in to things. Darn it, he’s gonna figure out a way! Well, darn it, so am I!  And I keep on running!

Somewhere around the halfway point, I realize that I’m not thinking of anyone in particular, so I try to focus on someone, something. My mind is all over the place, thinking of things for a brief moment, then the thought is gone. I play games with myself: how much more time; how many more miles; do I have enough water; if I eat an extra gel pack now will I have one at the end when I really, really need it? Then I tell myself to focus again.

I start thinking about what takes 2 hours – the rest of my run. Of course – a workout at Push to Walk! I think about the clients and a “typical” workout. Knowing how much energy it takes them to complete a workout and how tired they usually are afterward, I have a renewed motivation. I break the remainder of my run into 15 minute blocks. First, that’s how often I drink water. Then I think about the different equipment that is used during a workout and the parts of the body that are being worked on. If our clients can do a particular exercise or set of exercises for a 15 minute time period, then I can run for that long. Then it’s onto the next piece of equipment, the next 15 minutes, and a sip of water. One foot in front of the other. I can’t say the next 2 hours “breezed” on by, but I did get thru them, and I felt pretty darn good afterward! Whew!

Am I ready for the full 26.2? I think I am! I hope so!!! I look forward to the next three weeks of “easier” running and preparing my mind to go the distance. If you have any thoughts to share on getting me thru this, I’d love to hear them!

Cynthia

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