Wednesday, November 6, 2013

26.2 miles closer to a cure!

Best.  Day.  Ever.  Running the NYC Marathon far surpassed my expectations in every way, shape and form.  To say the Team Fox dinner Saturday night was inspiring would be an understatement.  I am honored, humbled and moved to tears over sharing this experience with my family, friends, total strangers and new Team Fox friends.  I am already looking ahead to the next Team Fox event.  Our work will not be done until we find a cure.  Thank you to all that supported and donated, you bring me hope and happiness.  Feeling proud.  

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Marathon Eve....

Well, it is almost here!  Ok, it's HERE!  I have my bib, I am checked in with everything I need and in less than 24 hours I'll be anxiously milling around Fort Wadsworth waiting for that cue to start!

This has been quite the journey for me; transformative in so many ways.  I will be able to say I ran the NYC Marathon, a dream of mine for as long as I can remember.  I recall so many years being a spectator with my parents cheering for perfect strangers as they ran into Central Park for the finish.  The excitement and energy of New York City pulsed through the air and it was unbelievable.  I love New York more than anywhere else on earth and marathon day only solidifies why our city is so damn inspiring.  I will be able to say that I am part of Team Fox and I am making a difference.  While my dad won't be cured of Parkinson's anytime soon, I know I am helping make that happen for someone else.  I've been left speechless by the incredible generosity of my friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and strangers.  From donations to kind words and well wishes I feel more blessed than ever before.  Collectively we have raised nearly $7000, almost $4000 more than my original goal.  I have logged well over 300 miles and dealt with my share of ups and downs in terms of training.  I have missed runs due to injury and sickness but despite that and maybe a few realizations that I probably won't be winning the race tomorrow (haha) I am lining up at that start and plan to give it everything I have.  Marathon training isn't just about the marathoner.  It also involved those closest to them.  I have to give a huge shout out to my number one trainer, cheerleader, most amazing husband ever, Thomas.  When you train for a marathon life kind of revolves around runs.  My husband made dinner on the nights I had to run right after work.  He was the one who drove to meet me every few miles to provide water and pep talks and make sure I wasn't lying in a ditch.  He listened to my moaning and groaning and always believed in me.  I am the luckiest gal on earth because of  him.

To anyone that is reading this, I hope I have provided a little inspiration.  A few things to consider:
#1.  You CAN make a difference.  Find a cause you believe in and get involved, you would be amazed what you are capable of when you are really passionate about something.
#2  You CAN run a marathon!  Trust me!  If you want to test your physical and mental limits a marathon is for you.  The training is the hard part, but stick with it and you will get there.  If I can do it, anyone can.  Don't believe me?  Go be a spectator at a race by you and watch the most diverse group of people kicking 26.2 miles of asphalt!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rock as defined by "One that is similar to or suggestive of a mass of stone in stability, firmness, or dependability"

During the many runs I've ventured out on, early morning, late afternoon, after dark, I often find myself kicking up little rocks and pebbles or dodging and jumping around larger ones that lay in the path before me.  The definition of a rock, at least one of them anyway, by Websters is noted as "one that is similar to or suggestive of a mass of stone in stability, firmness, or dependability".  Those little pebbles that alter my stride also alter my train of thought during the many miles of pounding the pavement.  The Webster's definition creeps into my mind with a not-so-subtle reminder of why I'm out there, running, hoping and working for a cure.  While my NYC Marathon journey began in July our family's journey with Parkinson's Disease began nearly a decade ago.  Each passing year has brought on new challenges but has also given us pause to count our blessings.  For each family there tends to be that "mass of stone in stability, firmness, or dependability" that keeps everyone grounded, moving forward.  For the MacDonalds that stone has a name and her name is Terry, also known to me as mom.  Without reservation, hesitation or complaint she serves as the chauffeur for one that can no longer drive.  She often dishes out 95% sarcastic wit sprinkled with just the right amount of compassion that lets the recipient know she means business but it comes from the heart.  She is the sounding alarm clock when a certain someone is late to take a pill and the master of balancing fun excursions with doctor's appointments, pills and naps.  She never, not once, wishes her life was any other way.  She is the first to call my father "The Poster Boy of Parkinson's" and says more often than not "We are so damn lucky".  Her faith, her exemplary ability to reflect and live by the vows she took on August 29th, 1970 amaze and inspire me.  I love her spunk and sass, especially when she tells someone to get off their ass and vacuum (Parkinson's or not, dust still happens).  I am not only running this race for my dad but my amazing mom.  She rocks.  Plain and simple.   

Friday, September 27, 2013

The miles just keep coming

Well into Week 11 of my training I've logged somewhere around 300 miles since this journey began-give or take of course.  I'm on my second pair of sneakers, have consumed approximately 30 or so packets of GU, sport beans, gels or chews, have visited an orthopedic doctor and have risen before the sun on more than one occasion.  The range of temperatures has been as low as 35 (hello 5:00 am in Binghamton in September!) and as high as 90.  I've run 16 miles talking about topics with my fellow runners ranging from the new Pope to stress fractures to GU flavor preference to our dog's antics to the pros of compression socks to the preference on running on a Saturday so you can have a glass of wine on Saturday night.  I've run 16 miles alone slowly contemplating and reflecting on why I took this on and how at times it has seemed like a little bit more than I could handle on a given day.  Throughout the past few months the end goal, doing this for a really important cause, running for my dad, dot and Alice, has never waivered.  I've realized on those very long runs that I have the best husband on earth, who waited patiently in the car every three miles for me to arrive to provide water, a pep talk and make sure he didn't have to peel me off the road 3 miles ago.  The marathon on November 3rd has always been the end goal but it's really the time leading up to it that strikes me as the real accomplishment.  4 months of rearranging your life around runs, waking up to run in the dark, the heat, the rain.  The support of your loved ones when they get behind such a crazy idea often is the most validating, the most significant part of such a journey.  It will all be worth it and I'm always aware how blessed I am to have this opportunity to get out there and pound the pavement for people that I love.  Run on folks.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Runners unite!

I'll admit it, I've been delinquent here.  I haven't posted in a while and promised I would.  My apologies!  Summer is winding down and I'm heading into week 6 of my training...crazy!  I am so lucky to have found some lovely ladies that I've been doing my long runs with.   They make it so much fun!  They are a wonderful family in my neighborhood that are just so darn inspiring I smile when I think of them!  I love runners.  I love runners because they are probably the most supportive group of people out there.  They will cheer each other until the very last person finishes the race.  They come in all ages, shapes, sizes, colors, genders, religions and abilities.  You have your sprinters and first placers and your tortoises and fight-to-the-end-dig-deep-into-my-soul-I-wont-stop-till-I-finishers.  I love running races because you can see multiple generations of families running together, young athletes giving it their all or those that finally found their time to take up something new.  Maybe it's the runner that runs for something or someone.  That always gets me.  The photo on a tee shirt, the name written across a chest.  A tribute.  Whatever one's reason for running, I say...go for it!  I'm not a star athlete.  I've actually never come in first and I am okay with that.  I don't run to win.  I run to stay sane.  I run for my health.  I run for my family.  I run, simply, because I can and because I love it.  I've logged many miles and participated in many races in the past ten years ranging from 5k Turkey Trots to full marathons.  The single, consistent thing that has occurred in every race has been the smiling faces of spectators.  These are people that I've never met nor will I ever see again, yelling " Good job!"  "Keep Going!"  "Looking Good!".  It's been the nod of a head of the leader of the pack going for first place on an out and back course that quietly says "dig deep".  It is the sheer camaraderie of total strangers that makes you feel so alive and part of something great.  I love that every race has a finish line and regardless if you are the first one or the last one to cross it the glory and feeling of accomplishment never diminishes.  I'm fairly certain I've crossed nearly every one with arms raised like Rocky.  I'm up to twelve miles for my long runs and even though I have a long way to go I do feel just the teensiest bit proud at my little accomplishments, one foot in front of the other, mile by mile.  I think about the struggles that my dad, and Dot and Alice face daily. How some days...some mornings even, they are running their own personal marathon.  Parkinson's sucks.  It really is a shitty, shitty thing.  But I think and believe that one day we will knock it out.  That things like Team Fox and the huge hearts of people like my family, friends and coworkers who donated will annihilate PD from this earth.  All of the runners of the world that run for PD and the many other ailments, diseases and causes inspire me.  I am headed to my favorite place on earth this week- Lake George, to celebrate a very special birthday/anniversary.  So,  I'm early in saying it, but happy 73rd to my dearest father-truly the best father anyone could ask for.  Happy anniversary to my mom and dad.  43 years and going strong, a true testament to love, friendship, faith, for better or worse, in sickness and in health.  Cheers!

As a very important side note.  Today is my cousin's birthday.  She is another one that inspires me everyday.  Lots of love always to my little praying mantis.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

When life imitates art and you just have to laugh....

Take it in stride.  Roll with the punches.  Find humor in the challenges of life and all will be ok.  You always hear these phrases yet sometimes it's easier said than done.  Life throws you a curve ball and you want to smash your bat (or head) against the proverbial brick wall.  Sometimes, you meet the rare person who actually can make the lemonade from the lemon.  In this case, it's Don.  I mentioned his way to share the PD diagnosis was to make a joke.  This was far from the first time he showed us that regardless of the situation the world doesn't actually end (seriously, he made a joke about a Parkinson's diagnosis).  Ironically this laid back attitude sometimes drove my mother crazy but hey, what can you do?  Take for example a comparison of Don MacDonald and Clark W. Griswald.  ( If you are reading this and don't know who Clark W. Griswald is do yourself a favor and rent National Lampoon's.  You can thank me later).  These two men, one fictional and quite well played by Chevy Chase, the other, my dear dad, really defined their lives by one thing:  their families. 

In a case of life imitating art a long, long time ago there was a dad (mine) who decided to take his two cherub children on a special father/child road trip to Busch Gardens in Virginia for spring break.  He took the time off from work, methodically packed the family sedan and before the sun rose (actually several hours before the sun rose because he likes to "beat the traffic") he piled his son (Jim) and daughter (me) into the car and off we went.  My mother waved goodbye and secretly was jumping up and down inside to have the house to herself for a week.  It was a long journey but we knew the end result would be well worth it.  After what seemed like days in the car we finally arrived at our hotel.  My dad was so happy and upon checking in asked the clerk the best way to purchase tickets for entry to The Park.  Solemnly, the women glanced at the eager faces of two blonde haired children and said quietly to my father " Busch Gardens is closed for renovations and repairs, it will reopen next week".  His eyes widened to the size of saucers and he responded "Yourekiddingme".   And there you have it.  Wally World in real life. So we did the next best thing, one week at Colonial Williamsburg.  I remember looking for souvenirs and finding replica lead musket balls from the revolution- no neon tee shirts here!  Yet, the main memory, the most distinct wasn't the closure of Busch Gardens or the constant sounds of cannons that caused temporary hearing loss at Williamsburg.  It was the fact that my dad laughed, smiled and made the best of it.  It was also that his buddies started calling him Clark Griswald for weeks to come when he returned to work.  He is one hell of a guy and the best father there ever could be.  All the miles that lie ahead are nothing and when things seem like they just aren't going my way, well, I'll just keep laughing and smiling because that's what Don would do!  For those of you that can't remember, when Clark Griswald arrived to a closed Wally World he was arrested for holding park employees hostage.  Score one for Don.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


My "official" training for the NYC marathon starts on Monday but I'm still trying to log some miles in before that.  Talking about running the  marathon often gets a lot of great feedback but when I share the fact that I am doing it with Team Fox an entirely new conversation happens.  Many people that know me know of my dad's journey with PD.  More often than not is that they don't know he doesn't travel this path alone.  In earlier posts you were introduced to Dot who is married to MacDonald brother #4, Robert.  Alice Kelly is my father's first cousin, her mom and my grandmother Jessie were sisters.  And as it goes with the MacDonalds, family bonds are stronger than steel.  Alice, Dot and my dad are three incredible people that share a lousy thing in common yet despite the setbacks of PD they inspire us all.  Meet Alice!