Ever run a 5k an hour after your flight arrived from Paris?

I just did that exact crazy thing last Thursday. Although I wouldn’t exactly call my performance “racing.”  My fellow blogger, Traci Mitchell of Get Fit Chicago, already wrote an excellent blog summarizing the Run for Gus—you should read it—and it was all for a great cause: Pediatric brain cancer research. I already wrote a blog beforehand about why I was running the race, and why I asked my WHOLE immediate family to run the race with me, but you are under no obligation whatsoever to go back and read that one.

The morning of the race, I was totally bummed when I received notification my flight, normally scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 1:30 pm, was going to be four hours late. I figured there was no way I’d make the Run for Gus, so to console myself, I used my extra four hours in Paris to…go for a run. I ran 3.1 miles in homage to the race I was sure I would miss and in honor of Donna, a brave little girl, and daughter of ChicagoNow blogger Mary Tyler Mom, who died at the age of four from a brain tumor.

After the nine-hour flight, when I arrived at the gate in Chicago at 5:55 pm—race time was 7:00 pm—I texted my husband to see if he was available for “Princess Service”.  You know, Arrival Level pick-up out front in a CAR vs. my regular limo service—the CTA Blue Line (Normally, he’d be on his way home from work around then; it could have worked out perfectly.) No, he wasn’t available. He was already at home getting the kids rounded up and down to Diversey Harbor for the race. (Have I mentioned recently, he’s the Best. Husband. Ever?) So instead of Princes Service, I told him which running shorts to grab for me and then I ran to catch a cab.

For the first time in the history of O’Hare airport, there wasn’t one single cab in the taxi line. When they finally did start showing up, I had the misfortune of landing the one and only non-aggressive cab driver in all of Chicagoland. He truly missed his calling as a little old lady. But he cautiously and steadily made his way to the start line, and I arrived there right at 7:00 pm. The kids had already started out on time and my husband waited for me while I changed in a Port-O-Potty (and that’s probably the craziest part of this whole thing. Oui! Oui!) After checking our gear, we jumped into the race around ten after seven. I even managed to borrow a tutu, a blue one.

Maybe it was the adrenaline, or the insanity of the whole thing, but I managed a good race. Despite the heat and humidity, my run earlier in the day (doh!) and dehydration from nine hours in the air, I didn’t have to stop and walk. Although I did get water at both stops. Or maybe what kept me going was the spirit of all those people out there doing good, trying to raise money for an important cause.

When the race was over, as my family and I posed for a picture for Mary Tyler Mom, my daughter stopped us. “Wait! You have mascara all over your face!” she said to me. (I had come straight from work.)  I started wiping, missing and then just asked her, “You get it.”  It was a mother-daughter moment. When we finally turned to smile for Mary Tyler Mom, I don’t know for certain, but I’m pretty sure the moment was not lost on her. It was a moment she would never share with Donna.

So today I am grateful for my daughter and her health, for my whole family’s health for that matter. I’m grateful I can run two 5k’s in one day, with a 3800 mile flight in between. I’m grateful I can afford to splurge on the most milquetoasty cab ride to downtown in the history of Chicago. And I’d be even more grateful, if that’s even possible, if you’d donate a little something to Team Dancing Donna. Because together we can prevent any more people from missing out on life’s precious moments.


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Filed under: Cancer, Family, Parent, running

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