Mitchell’s Run for Russ 8/20/12

 Saturday was the Mitchell’s Run Thru Rockford.  Its an event that Tim and I do every year.  The 5K run is a fundraiser for Muscular Distrophy and over the years has grown and grown.  Part of the reason its so special to us is because our friend Russell has MD.  So even when I’m pregnant and shouldn’t be signing up for races, this is one I just couldn’t miss out on.

 I met Tim because of Russell.  Way back in 2007 my sister, who was a waitress at a little restaurant bar in Kentwood figured out that Tim would be my perfect match.  Russell lives in Kentwood and was a frequent customer at the restaurant.  Anyone who has ever met him will understand how my sister got to know him really well by working there.  Russell is a very social guy, and I’d wager that anyone that meets him pretty much loves him off the bat.  Anyway, Tim was living in Kentwood too and would frequently meet Russell at the restaurant.  Well, since Tim and I are now married, you can figure that we finally did meet, and life has never been the same.  We have Lindsay and Russell to thank for that.

 To know Russell is to love him.  He and Tim have known each other since their Kentwood grade school days.  Russell was diagnosed with MD when he was 20 or 21.  Sometimes I try to imagine what he went through at that time.  I can’t imagine finding out at that age that you have a life long deteriorating disease where you eventually will not be able to walk, among other things.  I can only imagine what that would have been like for me, and know that it would have been an incredibly dark time.  I didn’t meet Russell until he was nearly 30, but I can tell you that when I met him, he was the most genuinely kind and positive person that I’ve ever met.  I don’t know his own internal struggles and battles, but I do know that if he does have dark moments, you would never know it on the outside. 

 I’m a better person for knowing Russ.  He teaches me to appreciate all the goodness that I have around me, no matter how bad things may seem.  His family is the same way.  They are just good people.  Sometimes I wonder how something like this could have happened to such a wonderful person.  I wonder if Russ ever thinks that way too.  Last year, Russ gave us quite a scare.  He stopped breathing.  That’s the ugliness of the disease.  It gets progressively worse.  When I met Russ back in 2007 he was still walking, albeit with a walker and very slowly, but he was still walking.  Now he’s in a wheelchair.  So back to last year, his mom found him not breathing and his step dad (who used to be a paramedic) helped until he was able to get to the hospital.  Russ was kept under for several days and had bad pneumonia, developed pink eye while in the hospital and some bed sores that you just knew were horrible.  I remember seeing him sleeping in that hospital bed, thanking God for powerful pain medication and that he didn’t have to be awake for all of this.  We came to the hospital and wrote messages to him, all the time feeling like we wished there was more we could do. 

 Even after Russ woke up and was improving, he still was in the hospital for a couple months.  He just wanted to go home and when he finally did he was so happy to be there.  Yet to talk to him about this horrible event, you don’t ever hear that he feels sorry for himself.  Instead, he’s just always thinking about the positives.  Just thinking about him and that time gets me teary-eyed.  I just think about how strong of a person he is and how he makes the best of everything.  Always full of love, always full of jokes. 

 Sometimes I feel sorry for myself for this or that.  When I couldn’t run due to my injury sometimes it felt like life was so unfair and then I’d think about Russ and how he deals with everything and it was hard to feel sorry for myself for very long. 

 So that run we did on Saturday is for Russ.  And I can’t imagine not doing it.  This year was different for me.  Last year I won the women’s race and was disappointed running a 17:30 something.  This year I wasn’t sure how fast I’d go or what I’d feel like so I had no race plan whatsoever.  I ended up running completely even splits, 6:21, 6:21, and 6:21.  There were times I was worried that I was going too fast and I’d force myself to slow and think about my baby.  It was a nice cool morning though and I was less worried about overheating.  It was surprisingly hard for me to not want to pass everyone around me.  The whole race I just passed people and never got passed until the final 400 meters when people started their kick and I just coasted in.  I ran 19:53 and was surprised after standing around and talking that I started to feel a little dizzy.  I made sure to grab some water and did a slow cool down.  I talked to Val about my concerns that I’d run too hard and she made me feel much better, telling me that she had done something similar when she was pregnant and everything was fine.  

 Its really hard sometimes to know your limit.  As an athlete, you’re trying all the time to push yourself to your limit.  You’re used to the pain, used to feelings of coming so close and not being physically able to go further.  They say when you’re pregnant that you need to manage that level yourself.  Talking is a good guide, but I can usually get out a few words, even when I’m running fairly hard.  I mean, all out 5K pace feels much different than what I ran on Saturday.  I didn’t go all out, yet the dizziness I felt afterwards made me question if I had come too close to that line.  So for the time being, I don’t think I’m going to sign up for too many other 5K’s.  Its just too hard to properly gauge how hard you’re working until you’re done.

 I was a little sore even on Sunday.  Nothing like after a big race sore or anything, but just slightly in my legs.  I haven’t really run 3 miles that fast in so many months that it wasn’t really a huge surprise.  So I took it easy today.  Nice 7 mile run in the cool morning air.  The sky was black except for the many shining stars (no visible moon) and I even saw a shooting star when I first set out.  It felt good, not too hard, yet long enough to make me feel really accomplished after I’d finished.  

 This is a big week for us.  Tomorrow marks 12 weeks of pregnancy, a big step.  This is usually when your risk for miscarriage goes down considerably and many people start spreading the news publically.  We have our ultrasound on Thursday afternoon.  This will be the second time we get to have a look at our little one and since the first one was so incredible, I’m looking even more forward to this one.  As long as everything looks normal, I plan on sharing the news at work the next day.  Then Tim and I leave for vacation (Babymoon) on Saturday for a week.  I’m hoping to take a creative picture so that when we come back we can announce on facebook.  Here we go…isn’t life amazing!

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