Saturday, April 26, 2014

My Run with Andy

Ok, so as I said in my last post, Andy asked me to run with him and his family at the UCP Life Without Limits 5k.  They do this race to raise money and awareness for Maddie.  She is Andy's cousin and due to complications at birth, she suffered brain damage. As a result she has cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and limited verbal communication skills.  She is now 16 years old.

UCP has been a huge resource for Maddie and her family as they have helped them time and time again.  I have donated to their team in the past but this year I actually got to run with them.  I was excited to meet everyone!

For those of you who may be new here, a little history about Andy and me.  I can't say for sure, but I think one of us commented on the other's blog and that was it.  We started talking after that and a friendship was formed.  We have supported each other for the last 2 +years and in fact, he is usually the first person I go to when something new or exciting is coming up with my running.  For instance, when I have something big to say, he usually knows before everyone else, except Mr. RWM of course. We finally got to meet in person last year and we ran together for the first time.  Such a great day.  I was hoping to be part of his Broad Street team this year, but timing did not work out.  I will, no matter what, be there next year!

Now, we had to leave for Rhode Island right after the race.  I had to plan for that. Clean, dry clothes, snacks, cleansing towelette so I didn't have to drive with a sweaty face for 5 hours. Yuck!

The plan was to meet Andy at 5, have some hang out time, race, and then hit the road.

The weather was supposed to be stormy and I decided to dress for strong winds and rain.  As we were leaving my parents to head to the city, the rain started.  By the time we were on the bridge, it had ended.

Parking was very easy and Andy arrived at the same exact time.  Andy's wife Jenn was the first person to see me and she gave me the biggest hug hello. It was the first time I was meeting her.  Hugs and introductions all around. I knew from an earlier post that it was the third birthday of Tessa, Andy and Jenn's daughter. So a big Happy Birthday to her as well.

Andy and crew had a lot of stuff to unload and I was not registered, so I headed to the tent while they got their things together.  I met Maddie's mom and Andy's mom at the registration tent. From there, Gracie started to run the Rocky steps.

Meanwhile on the weather front, sunny and warm, no rain.  However, the radar said it was coming.  I had on capri's and a long sleeve tech shirt.  Over that was my Miles for Maddie team shirt.  I went back and forth with just wearing the team shirt and in the end, decided to keep both.

Andy and Jenn had a huge tray of Chik-fil-A nuggets and fruit for everyone. That was so nice of them and my kids went to town. I am pretty sure they ate the most!  Since it was Tessa's birthday, they also had cupcakes for everyone.  Again, my kids were in heaven. It was so nice to sing and be part of the celebration.  I did skip the cupcake though. I was pretty sure it wouldn't sit well right before running.

Right after that, I asked Andy if he had a goal in mind?  He said he would do whatever I wanted but sub 30 would be cool. I have not hit a sub 30 since October and was not sure I could do it.  This was also a PR course for Andy. I think he said 24:xx last year or close to that.

Team Miles for Maddie
Me and Mr. RWM

George and I

Just people

Coming down the steps for the 100th time.

Miles for Maddie was a team of about 60 people.  Some were walking and some were running.  Same with all the teams. They were all big and consisted of walkers and runners.  We lined up pretty close to the front as did some walkers.  This was pretty low key and no one seemed to mind.
Here we go!

I decided to try for the Sub 30 and if I couldn't do it, no big deal. I did make sure Andy knew that I did not want to hold him back from a new PR. He said I came all the way from Rhode Island to run with him and he was sticking with me. Ok, let's go!

The gun went off and we were running.  Had to go around a few people at first and then we hit a downhill pretty much in the first tenth of a mile.  "Yes", Andy said, "We have to come back up this hill at the very end."

Pretty much right away, I knew I should of taken off a layer. The sun was still out and it was much warmer than the weather man had told me.

I was running, feeling hot and my chest was a little tight and Andy said something like, "How are you doing?'  I said I was struggling a little and he told me were doing an 8:40 pace!  I am pretty sure I laughed and then we slowed down a bit.  I started to feel better.

It was so nice to catch up with Andy. We talk a lot on line but being so far away, it is hard to actually meet up in person.  And to be able to chat and run together, well, I was just in runner heaven.

Now we were cruising pretty good and boy was it hot!  We were approaching a mile and a half and there was a water stop there. This was also the turn around to head back.  I slowed and had water.  On the way back we started to see other Miles for Maddie's team members.  It was so nice to cheer each other on.

About 2.5 miles, I wasn't sure if we would get our Sub 30 and I gave Andy one last out to take off and go for it. Again, he was not leaving me.  At 2.65 miles, we saw Jenn, the kids and few other team members.  At this point, the kids came running out to meet us. I started to run with Braden who made it clear that he was a fast runner and would most likely beat me.  He was adorable!  He told me his age which was four. The excitement on this little boys face just warmed my heart.  All I could do was smile.  Then, I looked back and saw Andy running with his daughter and his niece Jamie.  Again, such an awesome sight. You just can't say no to the kids, especially on their third birthday.  And if you know Andy and I, the kids are part of why we run in the first place.  This race was as much for them as it was us.
See, what did I tell you! How could you not run with these two cuties!

Can you see me up ahead. I am turned talking and running with my buddy Braden.

I can't say for sure how long we ran with the kids. Probably just a minute or so.  Once they tired, Andy was next to me again and we got back to the pace we were running and up the hill we had first came down and then through the finish line.
The finish

We hugged and congratulated each other, then I saw Mr. RWM and the kids and hugged some more. We had to go and Andy wanted to run back to his family and walk them into the finish line.  Sadly, we said our goodbyes and thanked each other for such a fun night.

A couple shots of the kids and Rocky and then to our car.  I changed into dry clothes and got the kids in their PJ's for the long drive home.  I handed Philadelphia pretzels back to the kids and Mr. RWM and we pulled out of the lot.  The skies opened up and and the rain finally came.  How lucky were we!
My little champions!

I texted Andy to make sure they made it to the car in time and they had. He then texted me that our official time was 30:25.  Wow, that is great for me and I know we could of hit that sub 30 but I am not  sorry, running with he little ones was so worth it!

Our drive home was fine and it did not rain the whole way. I was so happy to be in dry clothes and the cleansing towelette really did a good job. We made it home at one in the morning and it was so nice to get into my own bed after sleeping on a blow up mattress for four nights.

This truly was a nice vacation and I am sorry to see it end.  We promised George that we would take him to a PawSox game, so we did that on Thursday. It was our first family baseball game. From there we shopped a little and then went to a Japanese Steak House. So very yummy and the kids really thought it was cool.

Sunday is the Newport 10 Miler so I will blog about that a day or two after.  Anyone else racing this weekend?

I have said this before but I have met some really wonderful people through this blog and my running.  Every time I get to meet one of you in person, just thrills me and when we get to actually run together, well, it just doesn't get better than that!  Thank you again for all the support that you have given me the last two and a half years.  I never dreamed that I would still be blogging but I am happy to still be here.  You all rock!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nicole!

    I have nominated you for a Liebster Award. Not sure if you are familiar with it or not. It’s for bloggers to nominate other blogs they enjoy reading that have a small following. Your blog reminds me very much of myself. I love your humour.

    Anyway, for the questions I was required to ask you and the list of rules, you can see my blog post where I have nominated you here at

    Thanks and awesome job!