We. Did. It.

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Though it’s still a little surreal, one week ago today my mom and I wrapped the races of Running for Nana: Round Two with the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

There honestly isn’t a sufficient way to capture the feeling of crossing the finish line together. Suffice it to say – it was a moment neither of us will ever forget. 

We are both so deeply grateful for your love and support throughout this adventure, and truly couldn’t have crossed the finish line without you. And, thanks to your incredible generosity, we are thrilled to share that we’re now over 80% of the way to our $10,000 goal for Running for Nana: Round Two in support of Achieving Cures Together. We are absolutely blown away and so honored and humbled to be fighting against C. difficile with all of you. You are making an immense difference in the lives of folks who are facing or will face this awful infection, and we are so grateful to be traveling that journey together.

If you would still like to join us in this adventure, we would simply love it! Either click the “How Can I Help?” tab above to learn more or click the link below to be directly routed to the fundraising tab of Achieving Cures Together: https://www.achievingcures.com/marathondonation.

We’ll post a final update soon of our overall fundraising efforts, and we can’t wait to see where we’re able to go together. In the meantime, just wanted to share a few highlights from the race itself.

PhotoPass_Visiting_WDWRUNDISNEY_406303840516We boarded the bus around 3:45 am, and the first corral stepped off at 5:30. Lucky for us, daylight savings had just happened, so not only did we get an extra hour of sleep, but there was also some daylight by the time we really got going (fewer opportunities to trip in the dark – score!).

Also lucky for us, it was cloudy for the whole race. This was huge, because although we trained at high altitude (thank you, Colorado), the humidity was over 90%, and added sunshine would have been pretty tough. 

The course was really neat – it runs through the Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot, and several characters line the route as well.

IMG_7241We knew Nan was right there with us the whole day and around Mile 9, we had one of our best signs yet. As we got closer, we could hear the music from Mary Poppins, and then saw the penguins from the Jolly Holiday scene – Nana loved that movie, and we knew she was cheering us right on. 

By the time we got to Mile 13, we could hardly wait to see that finish line. As soon as it came into view, some awesome level of additional adrenaline kicked in and boosted us all the way through to the end. And, lucky for us, we had Cheerleader Extraordinaire #1 (aka dad/Tom/husband) waiting for us at the finish line! We are truly the luckiest.

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We could write a lot more, but we’ll leave it there for now – the next adventure is on the horizon, so stay tuned!

Thank you so very much for all of the support, love, grace, and joy you’ve sent our way in Running for Nana: Round Two – we are so deeply grateful for you. We are also so blessed to know and be able to support the work of the incredible people fighting hard against C. difficile – Peter and Jon Westerhaus, Dr. Alex Khoruts, and everyone else on the University of Minnesota and Achieving Cures Together teams – thank you for making it possible for us to run to fight C. diff

Because of your research, we truly believe there will be a day when no one will fight against C. difficile the way Nana did. What an extraordinary day that will be. 

As always, this one’s for you, Nan. We love you more!

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10K complete, one race to go!

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6.2 miles later, I’m so excited to share that Race #2 of Running for Nana Round Two is in the books! Couldn’t have asked for a better day for a race (minus the humidity…dry Colorado air, where are you?). It was also the first race I’ve done almost entirely in the dark – we’re excited for Daylight Savings to shed a little more light tomorrow on Race #3!

Although the finish line is incredible, my favorite part of every race is the start line. There’s an unmatched sense of energy, excitement, joy, nerves, and commitment that’s hard to beat. And, shortly after the start line, I had a sign from Nan telling me that she was right there the whole time. Moon River – her favorite song – came on my shuffled playlist of over 100 songs in between Mile 1 and Mile 2! Thanks, Nan 🙂

img_7183.jpgI am also so deeply grateful to my beautiful parents, who came to the start line (we boarded the bus before 4:00 am…) and then came to the finish line and waited until I crossed. Does a girl get any luckier?

 

It’s hard to believe we’re closing in on the big day – the final race of Running for Nana Round Two. Almost a year ago, my mom and I were prepped to run the Disney Half Marathon in January when it was cancelled the night before due to forecasted thunderstorms. We were so deeply disappointed, especially after so many months of training and mentally preparing. But, they were kind enough to let us transfer our registration to another race, and here we are again on the eve of a Half Marathon! What a difference a year makes.

I cannot wait to line up at the start with my beautiful momma tomorrow morning. What a gift it has been to take on this adventure with her! I’ll sign off here for tonight, but can’t wait to share more about tomorrow’s race. If you’d like to join in this adventure, please just click the link herehttps://www.achievingcures.com/marathondonation

Tomorrow, we’re running for Nana!

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Race #2 and #3 have arrived!

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It all feels a little surreal, but I’m writing on the eve of race #2 (and the eve eve of race #3) of Running for Nana Round Two. Where does the time go?!

We’re here at the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend and tomorrow morning (Saturday), I’ll be stepping off at the starting line of the 10K Race! My mom is resting her knees tomorrow and then we’ll BOTH set out at the starting line for the Half Marathon race on Sunday. We are READY for that celebratory post-race glass of wine!

 

Two years ago this month, I officially decided I wanted to run a marathon to celebrate my beautiful Nana and to fight back against C. difficile, the infection against which she rallied time and again. The past two years have been an incredible, unforgettable ride, and I have each one of you to thank.

And, because of you, we’ve already raised $3,585 of our $10,000 goal for Achieving Cures Together and the fight against C. difficile! I am so deeply grateful to everyone who has already joined in this journey. You are truly making a difference in the lives of people fighting C. diff like my Nana. If you would like to support this adventure, please click the link herehttps://www.achievingcures.com/marathondonation.

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I’ll keep this post brief because it’s getting a bit late here at the 10K race steps off at 5:30 tomorrow morning! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your amazing support throughout this journey – and we’re not done yet! I can’t wait to share more after tomorrow’s race as we prep for the final run of Running for Nana Round Two.

Though I always get a little nervous on race eve/day, I’m reflecting tonight on the immense honor it is to run for my Nana. No course is ever lonely and no race is ever too long, because I always have my angel cheering from afar. Cheers to you, Nan. I love you more!

Two weeks to go!

Twin Cities 10 Mile Race…CHECK.

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We couldn’t have asked for a better first race on the books for Running for Nana, Round Two! What an honor it was to cross the finish line with this incredible lady.

AND, thanks to you, I’m thrilled to share that we’ve already raised over $3,000 for Achieving Cures Together and the fight against C. difficile! I can’t tell you how grateful I am to every person who has joined in this adventure already, and I can’t wait to see where we go from here as we get closer and closer to the goal of $10,000. If you’d like to learn more about how to get involved, head on over to the How Can I Help? tab.

In the meantime, our final race weekend is just two weeks away. As we get close, I want to share some reflections on the 10-Mile race day – one that started with this incredible sunrise.

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And, because it rained as a bit as we got lined up (and through our first couple miles), we had a chance to see this gorgeous rainbow. Nan’s sign that she was with us from the start line.

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We took our own pace together, and it was hard to believe how quickly each new mile marker appeared. Encouraged by all of the incredible race-watchers, clever signs, and selfless volunteers, we just had a blast. Even the uphill climb from mile 4 onward felt doable with so much joyful support.

All of a sudden, we were already next to the Basilica, where we’ve all (Nan included) seen my beautiful sister and brother-in-law perform before – it felt surreal. And then, just beyond the Basilica, we finally had the Capitol – and the finish line – in full view.

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There aren’t really words to describe the feeling of crossing a finish line for the first time next to my mom. Suffice it to say, it was a moment I’ll never forget. We were so lucky to have our incredible support dude (aka Dad/Tom) waiting at the finish line, along with the incredible Laura Mascotti!

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And then, we had the opportunity to attend a post-race event for the Achieving Cures Together team. At the event, we had a chance to meet so many of the incredible folks that made Running for Nana (Round One) possible and who continue to do the same in Round Two.

We met Dr. Alexander Khoruts, one of the leaders of the University of Minnesota’s Microbiota Therapeutics Program. Dr. Khoruts has so graciously given of his time and expertise to share information about this life-saving treatment for patients facing C. difficile like my Nana, and has helped to cure over 100 people from recurrent, refractory C. difficile – all at no charge to the patient.

We met Peter Westerhaus, founder of Achieving Cures Together, and his dad, Jon Westerhaus, who organized the ACT Race Team for the Twin Cities 10 Mile and Marathon. Peter was a recipient of the fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) procedure from the University of Minnesota, and started ACT to support research that will help find cures.

In addition, we met Russell Betts, who was formerly with the University of Minnesota Foundation. We worked together often during Round One to get the funding page set up and ensure all of the dollars were going directly to support Dr. Khoruts’ team and their work. Russell and Jon also ran the marathon as part of the ACT Team – incredible!

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It was such an honor and to meet each of these inspiring people, as well as so many other incredible, dedicated supporters of this effort. So grateful for their passionate, tireless work to end C. difficile and other terrible infections.

We’re gearing up for the final two races of Running for Nana Round Two – a 10K and a Half Marathon – at Walt Disney World in two weeks. If you haven’t already joined us on this adventure, I’d like to invite you to join our fight against C. difficile. Each donation moves us closer to the goal and closer to better outcomes for those who are facing or who will face C. diff.

Thank you again for being a part of this journey – it means more to me than I could ever say. Love to each of you!

Aaaaaannnndd…we’re back!

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Good morning, and happy Tuesday!

I’m so incredibly excited to be writing to announce the launch of Running for Nana…Round Two! The plan is pretty simple – tackling three races in the next month to continue the fight against C. difficile. Just like in Round One, I look forward to celebrating the journey with you through this blog and celebrating our efforts to help stamp out C. diff.

In the meantime, head on over to the “About” tab at the top to get the full details! I’d be so honored if you’d consider coming with me on this adventure – I can’t wait to see where we will go together!

 

Thankful for you!

 

Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

I hope this post finds you well, perhaps defrosting your turkey or doing some last minute grocery shopping. Wherever you are today, I hope you’re already with your special people or will be very soon.

This Thanksgiving Eve, I am so excited to write this final (for now) post of the Running for Nana adventure. One year ago this week, I told my family that I wanted to run a marathon. It was our first Thanksgiving without our Nana at the head of the table, and I knew I wanted to run to support research for treatment of C. difficile – the infection against which she fought so hard.

During the next several months, you helped to make that dream a reality through your kind words, training tips, encouragement, and donations to the Microbiota Therapeutics Program (MTP) at the University of Minnesota, one of the leading C. diff research programs in the country. Your giving continued even beyond the marathon, throughout the summer and into the early fall.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to each of you for being a part of this adventure and today, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share the final numbers with you:

  • Thanks to 77 incredibly generous individual/family donations, together we REACHED the goal of raising $10,000 for the MTP!!
  • Then, thanks to a very generous family donation, each gift was MATCHED, bringing the total to $20,000 raised for the fight against C. difficile!!

 

But wait – it gets even better. Your donations have already made a difference.

Last month, I had a chance to correspond with Dr. Alexander Khoruts, Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Minnesota and a faculty member in the MTP, and I want to share a few things with you:

  • With the help of philanthropic support, the MTP was able to bring Dr. Matthew Hamilton, PhD, back to their team. Dr. Hamilton previously worked with the MTP to develop capsules of the freeze-dried microbiota. Like the fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) procedure delivered through a colonoscopy, these capsules are used to fight C. difficile. The capsules are even more simple though, as they can be taken in one session without the need for any special prep.
  • Dr. Khoruts said that with your help, the MTP developed this encapsulated preparation that has already helped to cure ~60 people from otherwise refractory, recurrent C. difficile infection.
  • The team at the MTP believes that this will be critical as they continue to advance therapies for C. difficile and other conditions. Moving forward, they aim to increase the production of these capsules at the University of Minnesota and across the country to be able to cure patients with C. difficile, ideally free of charge.

 

 

 

As we close this chapter of Running for Nana, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for your encouragement, your love, and your support in the fight against C. diff. Thank you for helping me to celebrate and reflect on the good things at a time in my life when everything seemed to turn upside down.

And finally, thank you for loving my Nana and our family like part of your own. From all of us – Happy Thanksgiving to you!

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Marathon…complete!

It’s been almost two weeks since Grandma’s Marathon, and it’s still a little hard to believe…I’m so thrilled to share that we officially finished Grandma’s Marathon! And, I do mean we, because I wouldn’t have crossed that finish line without each and every one of you – it has been such an joy to go on this adventure with you.

Because of your immense generosity, through both the Crowdfunding Page and additional donations, we have raised over $7,000 so far for the Microbiota Therapeutics Program and the fight against the  C. difficile infection! I am blown away and am so, so grateful to you. The fund is still open, and I know of a few donations still on the way. I will give another update of our fundraising total at the end of July.

Until then, I want to share some highlights about the marathon with you! First of all, to the day before. Through the emails, messages, and photos of folks wearing “Running for Nana” bibs, I felt completely surrounded by your love, encouragement, and support. Huge thank you to my family for orchestrating those bibs – you are just incredible.

I felt honored to take you along “with” me on race day through this bracelet wrapped around my belt – initials for everyone who supported the fight against C. diff!

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Everything started out well. My parents dropped me off at the line of school buses that shuttled to the starting line (a whole new kind of “first day of school”). On the ride, I met a really kind woman who was running her third marathon. She gave me some good advice – she said to treat it like a job: stand up straight and pull your shoulders back, even at the end of the day when you’re tired.

When we arrived at the starting line, there were more people than I’d ever seen in my life (more port-a-potties, too…). Here’s what I mean:

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As I walked through the crowds, I was amazed. I’ve shared before that athletic aptitude was never a strength of mine, and I had often assumed there was a particular “type” of person that could do a marathon – I never felt like I was a part of that “type”. But when I looked around, my preconceptions were proved completely wrong. There were people of all ages, shapes, sizes, genders, and walks of life, and we had all signed up to run 26.2 miles that day. It was incredible.

When we approached the starting line and I saw the big “Grandma’s Marathon” logo, I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe that after all the months of training, preparing and sharing this adventure, the day was finally here. I made a mental note to enjoy every minute.

The race started out great, and I ran straight for the first 14 miles. The course runs along the coast of Lake Superior from Two Harbors, MN to Duluth, MN, but for the first several miles, you’re surrounded by huge trees – it felt more like we were running in the middle of a forest than along a coastline. The shade was nice though – we learned later that this was the hottest Grandma’s Marathon in 6 years.

I felt like Nan was there the whole time. At moments when I was starting to get a little tired or was about to hit a long patch of shade-less road, there were little “signs” from her – a particular song on my iPod, or someone shouting from behind “Love You More”. Call it what you’d like, but I know she was there.

At mile 14, I decided to walk for a mile and have something to eat. It also gave me a moment to listen to the “symphony” of sounds around me – feet hitting the pavement, water sloshing around, motivational words from one runner to another, and cheers of encouragement from tireless spectators. I alternated running and walking for the next few miles.

When they talk about “hitting a wall” – they aren’t kidding. Somewhere between mile 18 and 19, things were getting really tough. I mean, really tough. I couldn’t believe how long 26.2 miles was. By this point, the shade was scarce and the heat and humidity were really getting the best of me. I said out loud, “Nan, I really need you, but I don’t know how.”

I kept running/walking/hobbling along, and around mile 20 or so, I passed a band on the left hand side that was packing up their instruments (I never said I was a fast runner…). Someone running next to me said, “Looks like we’re too late for the band!”

She and I were running at a similar pace and started talking. Her name was Janet, and she was running her first marathon too – a bucket list item for her as well after quitting smoking several years ago. Janet told me that her father-in-law had been taken to the hospital, but that he wanted her to still do the race, so she was running for him.

I told Janet about Nana, and her battle with C. diff. I showed her the string of beads on my belt and our efforts to fight C. diff as well. At mile 21 was the nursing home where my Gram and Gramps (my Dad’s amazing parents) had lived for a number of years, and where I remember visiting them. When I told Janet this, she told me that her mom had stayed at the same nursing home and had contracted C. diff there – what a small world it really is.

As soon as she said that, I just knew that Janet was the angel Nan sent to keep me going. And keep going, we did. We ran/walked the rest of the way together, and chatted every chance we had.

My family told me that they were going to be at Mile 25, and I couldn’t wait to see them. As we approached Mile 25 in downtown Duluth, I heard my Dad call out my name and I looked over. Standing on the corner was my mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, uncle, and two friends from St. Olaf who had come up to surprise me. They were all clad in blue (Nan’s favorite color) t-shirts, with “Running for Nana” bibs and pictures pinned on the front and back.

Now, if you know me, you know that I cry at a good Hallmark card. So, you can imagine that there may have been a little crying when Janet and I ran up. Here are a few photos:

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After that, I felt like I had already won. The last mile was so full of joy, and I knew we were really going to finish. My “entourage” scurried quickly to see us again near the finish line, and called out to us from atop bridges and on the side. Coming in to the final stretch to the finish line, my brother-in-law even ran along the side with me for a little bit!

And then, 26.2 miles later…

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It was done.

There are million other little things I could tell you about this day, but I’ll stop there. To each of you, thank you. You made this dream of mine a reality, made me feel like anything was possible, and made a huge difference in the fight against C. diff. I will write again with an update on our funding progress at the end of the month.

To Janet – thank you for being my running angel, and for making it possible to get to the end.

To my family, I love you more than you could ever know. To Nan, I love you more, and I know you were there the whole way – and as always, you knew how to help me when I didn’t know how to help myself.

 

Until the next time – all my love and hugs to you!

Love, Emily

PS – here are a few more pictures from the finish line! A huge thank you to my mom for this awesome pictures. She’s been capturing our special moments for our whole lives, and I am so thankful to her. Love you, mom!

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WE’RE (almost) THERE!

Register for marathon…check.
Train for marathon…check.
Eat some pasta (and then some more)…check.
Feel overcome with gratitude from the outpouring of kindness, generosity, BIBS, love, well wishes, support, tips, and encouragement that you’ve thrown my way…check, check, check, check, check, check, check (for a long time to come).

Run a marathon…tomorrow morning, here we come.

This will be a very short post, as it’s getting late here and I hear you’re supposed to get some sleep before a big day. There are so many things I would like to write and would like to say, but as I sit here on marathon eve, I’m at a loss for how to adequately say thank you. You helped to turn an item on my bucket list into some of the most meaningful, special, and healing months I’ve ever spent. You filled my life with joy in ways I never could have imagined, at a time when I wasn’t sure the joy would come back.

And, you made (and continue to make) a difference in the fight against C. diff, and that will continue far beyond today. If you’d like to see where we’re at or would like to support that fight, just click this link: https://crowdfund.umn.edu/civicrm/pcp/info?reset=1&id=527&ap=0 The fund will continue to stay open after the marathon is complete.

It has been such an honor to share this adventure with you through this blog and I hope you know how grateful I am to each and every one of you. I can’t wait to write more this weekend to tell you about the race, but until then I’m going to end this post where it all started – with my Nana, and a note for her.

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Hi, Nan! I know you’ve been watching (and reading) all along, sending signs and little reminders when you knew I needed them the most. I wish more than anything I could see you at the finish line tomorrow, and give you a great big (albeit very smelly) hug. But, I know you’re going to be watching. I know you’re going to see it all! And, I know you’ve sent your other angels to be there cheering with open arms and cameras blazing. It’s such a gift to have the whole family here, Nan, and I know you’d be so thrilled that we were all together. Right now it’s getting late and (as Mom reminded me) you’d probably say, “It’s just time for bed.”  So, I’m going to take your advice once again. I love you more, Nan. I’ll see you tomorrow somehow – let’s go get that marathon together!

 

THIS week.

It is an exciting week for the race to Grandma’s Marathon, but I just can’t kick off this post without first acknowledging this weekend.

My Nana would have been devastated by what happened in Orlando on Sunday. She was always very informed about current events, and she would have watched the coverage for hours, until she just couldn’t watch anymore. Her heart would have ached for each the beautiful lives lost, their grieving families and friends, the survivors, and all of the people reeling from such violence, especially the LGBT community.

She would have held each of us a little tighter, and would have been grateful for all of the “helpers” and the stories of heroism, love, and genuine kindness that will no doubt surface over the next few days. Honestly, in the wake of such heroism and bravery, running a marathon seems like a much smaller feat. As this countdown week begins, my heart is with the people of Orlando.

It is an honor to be able to celebrate the beginning of this final week. In just 5 short days, I’ll be lining up at the starting line for Grandma’s Marathon. I have to pinch myself a little while typing that, as I can’t really believe that it’s almost here.

As far as training goes, I’m excited to share that I’ve officially completed my last long training run – 20 miles. From here on out, I’m going to be tapering down and trying not to be too clumsy before the big day. I can’t wait to add up the miles after the marathon is over and make my second donation to the MTP. Also, I’m excited to share that I’ve completed 12 miles on my Marathon of Joy, and I can’t wait to finish it out.

And, I won’t be lining up on race day alone. In addition to the 9,099 other runners (a sold-out celebration of the 40th running of the marathon), I will be lining up with each of you. The starting line will be filled by the words of encouragement, love, hope, support, and humor that you’ve filled my life with over the past several months. It’ll be filled by a deep desire to not trip over my own two feet (at least not before the race even starts…).

Most of all, it’ll be filled by your generosity. Over 50 families, friends, and loved ones have made a commitment to support the Microbiota Therapeutics Program and the fight against C. difficile. I’m absolutely blown away. And, you’re coming along with me – let me show you what I mean:

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This is a photo of the “bracelet” I’m going to be taking with me on race day. (It’s expanded a little bit, and will now be worn on my belt). It has the initials (or a heart symbol if your initial contains an “r”, as my bead set has no “r’s”…) of each person or family who has donated to the Microbiota Therapeutics Program as part of this journey. I know it is going to be a challenging race, but whenever I need to, I will be able to look down at each bead and remember that I’m not running alone.

You have given me and the the Microbiota Therapeutics Program an immense gift. Because of your generosity, we are over 56% of the way to the $10,000 goal as we enter this homestretch. Just think about what a difference that will make to the fight against C. diff! There is plenty of room left on that string, and it would be an honor to keep adding initials all the way to race day.

If you haven’t already done so, I’d like to invite you to make a donation to the Microbiota Therapeutics Program that is meaningful to you. Please know that every donation matters, and no amount is too small. To join this fight against C. diff, please click here to make a donation to the Microbiota Therapeutics Program. Thank you so, so very much!!

To wrap up this post and to kick start a Monday morning, I think it’s only fitting that we have a few smile-inducing videos to celebrate together.

[Spoiler alert: They’re all from the Ellen Degeneres show because she’s the best and watching her videos/show has been a wonderful part of this training adventure. Also, her movie, “Finding Dory,” comes out the day before the marathon, so there’s got to be some good mojo there]. 

  1. A mood booster just for Monday: http://ellentube.com/videos/0-68qknfb5/
  2. Here’s what I hope to not do on race day…
  3. Here’s what made me cry like a child. Ellen’s generosity knows no bounds.

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Two. Weeks. TWO WEEKS.

 

I’m just going to go ahead and say it: we’re in the home stretch. Just two weeks from tomorrow, I will be standing at the starting line for Grandma’s Marathon. WHAT??

I have no idea how the time has flown so fast, but as we zero in on the big day, I have three exciting things I want to share with you.

#1: My sister is incredible.

For those of you who know her, the above statement likely won’t surprise you. So, what makes her particularly incredible today? Well, I’m so happy to announce that Abbe is the first person to finish her Marathon of Joy! [As a reminder, the Marathon of Joy is an invitation to give to 26 others – by sending a card, letter, postcard, phone call, skype date, email, etc., one for every mile of the marathon. Click the link for more information.]

Not only did she reach out to 26 lovely people in her life, she also created an opportunity to share a bit about the fight against C. diff. She crafted the note below and included it in each of her letters. Pretty amazing, huh? She invited me to share this card with others, in case you’d like to adapt her idea to share more about C. diff with your special people, too.

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I am inspired by Abbe to keep working on my own Marathon of Joy, and I hope you’ll consider doing the same!

#2: YOU are incredible.

Over the last month and a half, well over a dozen families, friends, and loved ones have made a difference in the fight against C. diff by donating to the Microbiota Therapeutics Program (MTP) at the University of Minnesota. Because of your generous donations, we are over 33% of the way to the fundraising goal of $10,000. If that’s not amazing, I don’t know what is. Thank you so much to everyone who has made this possible!

If you haven’t done so already, I want to invite you to make a donation that is meaningful to you – no amount is too small. Every donation makes a difference in the fight against C. diff, supporting outreach and education to recruit microbiota donors, as well as training for young research scientists and physicians interested in microbiota-host interactions.

We’re well on our way to hitting the $10,000 goal, but we can’t get there without you. If you’d like to support the fight against C. diff, please click here to be directed to the funding page. Thank you so, so much!

#3: The Colfax Half Marathon was incredible.

If you read the last post, you know that I decided (last minute) to run the Colfax Half Marathon as a training run for Grandma’s Marathon. Honestly, it was one of the best experiences in my life to date, and I’d love to share a couple of highlights!

  1. The miles went by fast. The first 1-3 miles of any run is always my toughest time, and when I feel like quitting the most. At the race though, I was enjoying the experience so much that I couldn’t believe it when I saw the first mile marker on the ground. Naturally, I had to stomp on that mile number (and all subsequent miles) to make sure it really counted.
  2. Running won out over walking (this time). I surprised myself by running the whole race. I don’t anticipate doing this for Grandma’s Marathon, but it was really empowering to feel like I could run this distance straight through.
  3. People are awesome. There were so many supporters and volunteers who came out to cheer on loved ones and strangers, and that made such a difference. Some even brought signs – my particular favorite was near the end of the race and it read: “Trump is still running, so can you.” Regardless of political persuasion, this sign made me laugh hard enough to power through to the next mile.
  4. Smiling was inevitable. Honestly, my face hurt almost as much as my legs at the end because I couldn’t wipe a smile off my face. I think running (and many other things in life) should just be joyful (otherwise, why do it?), and it sure felt that way on the race day. Here’s a photo snapped by the race folks!
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I could share many more things about this day, but there’s just one more highlight I will share for now – it’s also my favorite.

When I was making my music playlist (at 4:30 am the morning of the race…), I added roughly 6 hours worth of music – about twice as long as I thought it would take me to run the race. On a whim, I added Nana’s favorite song, “Moon River,” to the list. It’s certainly not a “running” song, but I couldn’t not include it. With so many songs shuffling on the playlist, I figured it was pretty unlikely that it would come up.

As I neared mile 5, my music got really quiet and I thought it had turned off. As I was just about to reach for my iPod, I heard the soft beginning notes of – you guessed it – Moon River. I couldn’t believe my ears.

During the song – I kid you not – the sun came out from behind the clouds for the first time all morning (it had been a very chilly, cloudy day). Then, shortly after the song ended, the clouds covered the sun once again.

It was unreal. I know that she was right there, cheering me on like always, just with a different view this time. I don’t have the vocabulary to express what this meant to me, but suffice it to say it was a moment I will never forget.

And with that, it’s time to power through these last two weeks. You ready?!

PS – it was an amazing experience to race alongside Matthew and Andrew. That’s a whole other post, but I wouldn’t have done it without them (and Janet too, of course!). Here are a couple other photos!

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