Monday, November 2, 2009

Why the blog?

Hello! My first attempt at blogging...bear with me.

I have decided to capture my training experience blog-style as I prepare to run the 2010 Boston Marathon on the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute team (my 2nd!!) in memory of my mom, Patty Shields (thus the web address). So, for those of your supporting me or just interested in my process...welcome!

Running this race is a BEAR. Well, any marathon is a bear...I have done 3 and everytime I hit mile 18, 19, 20ish, I just want to die. I mean, you are so far into it...but you have so far to go. I read a cool book about running the NYC marathon (A Race Like No Other by Liz Robbins) and at one point, it explained WHY humans hit a wall at about this point (something about glycogen and carbs...). It made me feel better because there is a physiological reason WHY it happens.

I will never forget the despair that I felt around mile 18 of the 2008 Boston Marathon. I KNEW that Heartbreak Hill was still ahead of me...and I was already dying. Thank the LORD that Jill Swartz jumped in and ran with me for the duration. I mean, I would have finished. I would NEVER have quit. But having her there, goofing off and getting the crowd to yell for me was enough of a distraction to keep my feet going one in front of the other.

So, why do I do this? As the title of this blog simply states---I am Running For Patty. Mom died 15 years ago. I can hardly believe it as I type it. My husband, kids and most of the people in my adult life never met her. My brother has now been alive longer WITHOUT her than with her. It is a sad, awful thing. She was so sick, so quickly---and all the while, I was in college. I never really had ANY part of her illness. I can imagine that she is probably glad about that. But I have so many regrets. It honestly just feels like a bad dream from a past life.

Two years ago, I was way into running. I was two years out from having my 2nd baby (Declan). Back in shape, coming out of a major post-partum funk, feeling like I was finding time for myself again. I ran the Philly Distance Run (1/2 marathon) in September and decided that I would just keep training and go for the Philly Marathon in November.

I was doing a long training run, coming down West River Drive and had a crazy thought--I wonder if I could ever qualify to run in the Boston Marathon (you must meet a certain time to run that race...unless you run on a charity team)? I got home from that run and hopped on the computer. Pulled up the website for the 2008 Boston Marathon and saw the date for that race---April 21, 2008. I got chills--it was the exact day that mom died...14 years earlier. I noticed the Dana-Farber logo on the site---and remembered Jill Swartz (life safer mentioned above!) ran the Boston Marathon on a charity team--Dana-Farber. I had to be on this team. It was meant to be.

And the rest is history. I ran that race on that beautiful day, Monday, April 21, 2008. It was hard as hell, but no where near as hard as my mom had it during her illness. My family surprised me by wearing "Yell For Amy/Mommy" t-shirts...which meant SO MUCH to me to see them at mile 18! When I turned that corner toward the finish line banner...and everyone was screaming, and I saw my family again...I pointed up to Mom and I said, "WE DID IT!!!"

And on the way home from the race, Regan and I saw a rainbow sliver just peeking out through a cloud. Just a little secret wave from mom.

That is why I am doing this again.


  1. You're amazing... I never really knew your mom when we were growing up, but I do know what it's like to lose a parent. You are a true inspiration, and I look forward to reading more of your blog! Best of luck!


  2. Did you send me a link to this? If so, I totally missed it. Some how I just stumbled on your blog...and totally cried! Thanks, sis! I am so proud of you and am looking forward to cheering you on this April.