Monday, March 19, 2012

NYC Half-Marathon with Team Continuum

Thank you to Team Continuum for inviting me to race with them!  They are a very important running/charity group and an enormous piece of my training and love of triathlon.  If you aren't familiar with Team Continuum's mission, you should check them out.  TC is a non-profit group that raises funds, through endurance sports, to help people with cancer (and their families) to fund household expenses.  They also donate money to fund health care facilities to enhance the delivery of care.  Why do I choose to race with Team Continuum?  Here is a little background story:

In 2005, I graduated from New School University.  My father made the trip to NYC to attend my graduation -- with a 1.5 inch "cyst" on his neck.  We weren't concerned- it was just a cyst.  After graduation I went back to MA for a visit with my family. One morning, I decided to keep my dad company to get the results from his biopsy.  We still weren't concerned.  Then... I was in the room when they told my dad he had stage 4 throat cancer, I watched the color drain from his face, I saw him faint, I called my mom and told her to come home from work.

It was over a year that felt like we were trapped in a bad dream.  With chemo, radiation, morphine, and a feeding tube (because he couldn't eat solid foods), my dad was a shell of his former self.  I drove from NYC to Boston every weekend to help take care of him.  It was the entire focus of my life at that moment.  Luckily, he had a lot of support, including the gift of his full salary from his boss, Steve Grossman, of Grossman Marketing Group.  Steve is also the MA State Treasurer. Here's the thing -- my family was lucky, most jobs are forced to lay off sick employees.  I don't know where we would have been without that help.  We would have been one of the many families applying for help from Team Continuum.

With so much love and care my dad made it through chemo and regained his strength.  With my nutritional guidance, he was able to eat solid foods again and he made them ALL healthy.  We transformed his diet, and during a walk one day I said, "Dad, I bet you could do a half-marathon.  I bet you could finish that distance even if you had to walk most of it - with me".  Within a week, my father, my grandfather, and I were registered for the Inaugural NYC Half.  My dad focused his energy on following a run/walk training plan.  He continued to build his strength through nutrition.  He finished a long run of 14 miles!  Then, because of issues with his knees, he wasn't able to race.  But I raced for us both that year and I proudly delivered his hard-earned finisher shirt to him after the race.  He WON his race the day he decided to fight cancer and not to give up.
My goal splits for the race

Back to present... I ran the NYC Half with Team Continuum yesterday.  I can officially call myself a NYC Elite runner with a qualifying finishing time of 1:35:04 and I'm thrilled.  I flew, feeling weightless and effortless, over that course and I thought of my dad and of Team Continuum.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to contribute to their mission.  Come race with us!