Something I don’t frequently mention on here is Team Run for HD. Mostly because nobody cares – and that’s not a slight on you –why would anyone care?
Five years ago this Christmas my dad died from a (somewhat) rare genetic disease called Huntington’s Disease that robbed him of his ability to do anything over the last 5 years of his life. I would love to tell some fluffy heart-warming story about how it brought us together in the end and shaped me as an amazing individual, but it would be total bullshit. Watching a parent mentally and physically decay like that was a horrible, life-scarring experience that has forever impacted me in a negative way, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone ever. Of course the kicker is that because it is a genetic disease, my brother and I now face the same awful fate. My brother has chosen to ignore it, and that’s totally cool and I respect it. In fact, the only time I have ever seen him run is at the mention of HD (in the opposite direction of course!). I on the other hand chose to be awesome. Actually first I tried to drink a lot and pretend it didn’t happen, but honestly I’m a lightweight, and only like the fanciest of drinks so it’s totally financially unsustainable. A few years ago I had gotten into running thanks to some mentors in grad school, and my awesome marathoning roomie when I came back to Chicago.
I was drunk (naturally) and decided I should totally run some kind of distance race and fundraise for HD, but there was NOTHING out there. This led to like 5 marathons, and also the brain child of my best friend Rachel and I – Team Run for HD! I raised almost $2,000 by my lonely self the first year, and amassed an entire team last year that collectively raised over $15,000! This year, we have a team with 25 people, as well as “satellite runners” who will be running the Chicago Marathon, the Grand Rapids Marathon, and the Door County 50-miler! All of them are fundraising as a part of Team Run for HD! I have had a lot of “brilliant” ideas in the past (read: terrible ideas) but have never had the organization to bring anything to fruition. I can’t believe my baby is in it’s third year, and actually growing and becoming something.
I get it, it’s not like I invented facebook or anything, but I am still pretty amazed. Every year I get so stressed out I vow to quit and not do this again next year, but I keep coming back after I see how happy my runners are, personally knowing the battle they are fighting with HD, and how ugly it is. There are late nights with Rachel, embarrassing failures of fundraisers, frantic emails by the dozens, calls, race day texts, MEETING STRANGERS(!!!), and the questionable time Rachel and I got drunk and broke into Arlo Gutherie’s tour bus to meet him. Every year, a few days before race day (read: today) I have a total freakout, and realize it’s too much to handle, even though the finish line is in sight. I am terrified of everything that could go wrong for my 25 runners. I can’t sleep, nor can I stop eating the rolos (yum!) I have sitting in a bowl on my desk. I don’t even know how I am going to finish the race on Sunday, let alone be a role model for others. Basically, I’m a hot mess, and I don’t think it could happen anyway.
This is really a long-winded way to say:
- 1. People with anxiety disorders probably shouldn’t start and manage charity running teams
- 2. Come see my baby this Sunday! (and me, acting a mess as usual) If you are running the Chicago Half Marathon this Sunday, or will just be in the area spectating, stop on by! I’ll be in a heap crying near mile 10, so bring me a beer!
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