Next Monday (December 16) marks DAY 1 of my 2014 Dana Farber Boston Marathon Challenge (DFMC) training. It feels like it was just yesterday that I crossed the START line in Hopkinton. I prefer to think about the excitement and adrenaline that I felt at the start of the race, rather than what happened at the end.
This year’s race is monumental in so many ways. The whole city/country/world will be tuned in to show love and support for Boston Strong! I can’t even begin to imagine what race day will be like… For me, there are several special milestones that take place on race day--April 21, 2014. First and foremost, it will be the 20th anniversary of my mom, Patty Shields’ death. I can hardly believe it has been that long. My participation in the DFMC has been my way to celebrate my mom’s memory and do my part to battle the disease that took her from us too early.
Second, it will be my 5th running of Boston on the DFMC team. As I sat at my very first DFMC pre-race pasta party, I was so swept up in the positive energy of the event that I declared that I would do this race 5 times. Third, the 2014 race is the DFMC’s 25th anniversary. It feels amazing to have such an incredible organization be part of my life. Fourth, if all goes as planned and I reach my 2014 fundraising goals, through the generosity of my family and friends (and their family and friends), I will have raised over $60,000 for the DFMC. 100% of all donations go to the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research.
I am excited to share that I will again be running in memory of my buddy, Jonathan Smyth. For those of you not familiar, Jonathan was my In Memory partner in 2013. Jonathan was a very brave “little dude” who fought cancer like crazy, but lost his battle in January of 1998 at the age of 7. What makes Jonathan extra special to me is that he is buried 2 headstones down from my mom in Wadsworth Cemetery in Sudbury, MA. Whenever I visit mom, I can visit Jonathan. I believe the two of them kept me safe during last year’s race.
You will certainly be hearing from me throughout the next 18 weeks as I run the cold, dark streets of Lower Merion, PA. Your continuous love and support is what keeps me going!