Thursday, September 5, 2013

Team Run for HD - year 3.

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!

Find us here!!
I’ll be there before and after the race.
  It is technically against race policy to smuggle bloody mary fixings into the race, but if you know me - *wink!* And our team mascot Waffles will be guarding the tent with Rachel and Matt.  Stop on by and celebrate the third year of drunken crazy that is Team Run for HD!
Look for this unamused dog!
And enjoy these highlights from our journey!


  1. I was trying desperately to win a free entry to the Chicago Half, pretty much for the sole reason to go to be able to attend the Team Run for HD post-race party. It seems like every blogger with two followers was giving away an entry to the Chi Half. Somehow, I lost every contest. So, I am now going to run my lonely 16 miler on Sunday on the trail, a few miles north of the action and afterwards I will be forced to drink water instead of a Bloody Mary made with a PBR at the Team Run for HD tent. What's that combo called again? Have fun, and I hope to be there again in 2014.

    1. Oh my gosh- the red ribbon!!! Although this year we will be making them with miller high life, because that's what this classy gal has in her fridge. Sorry you didn't snag an entry - I think it's a conspiracy. I'll give waffles a pat for ya!

    2. Red Ribbon, that's it! Oh no, I'll miss Waffles too. Thanks in advance for giving her a pat from me! :)

  2. I'm pretty sure, despite the bullshit that is losing a parent at such a young age, you are an amazing individual. This is so awesome. :)

  3. I'm with Pete in that I tried my hardest to win an entry!

    Also, if you EVER need help with behind-the-scenes administrative management of Team Run for HD, please let me know. I'm the world's worst fundraiser but I can manage other stuff like a boss. Oh, wait. I am a boss. So there you go.

    Good luck on Sunday!!

  4. Fundraising is HARD, so that's awesome you've raised so much money! After my first year raising money for the Lung Run last year, I swore I'd never do it again too. It's really frustrating sometimes, but here I am, running the race again tomorrow. And I'll probably keep doing it year after year.

    I'd love to help you next year too! I raised $500 for lung cancer by having a bunch of bloggers and friends over for beer and BBQ a couple weeks ago - maybe next year we can combine efforts, have some huge fundraiser and split the donations?

  5. so amazing you are doing this. I won't be at the half, I did try to win a spot...but prob best I didn't get it.

  6. I'll see you AND Waffles on Sunday! Hugs!!

  7. Ditto the poster above me. I miss your blog, too.