Last summer, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to run a marathon and a half over two days. (yes, you may laugh now)
I’ve run marathons and other road races before. I figured if when I started hurting, I could always slow down or walk. It was a RunDisney race after all, and not my first, and I know how well Disney entertains a crowd. I also figured Disney magic would certainly distract me from any potential pain. So I signed up to run the Goofy Challenge at the annual Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2013.
A few months later, my best friend Meridith and I discussed running a half. On the other side of the country. One week after the 39.3 mile Goofy Challenge. I knew I was nutty, but quickly agreed and registered for the race.
Heck, what’s another 13.1 at that point, right?
Fast forward to late December.
I’d been training. I finished more races, including another marathon. I cross-trained with a week of hiking with family in Maine, some sporadic yoga and heaving logs and branches in my yard, courtesy of a 100-foot-tall tree downed by Superstorm Sandy.
Several weeks before the run, I covered a horrific tragedy. I am a newspaper reporter in Rochester, New York. On Christmas Eve, four volunteer firefighters were shot – two fatally – as they responded to battle a house fire in Webster NY. The men were shot by a convicted felon who set his house on fire and laid in wait until first responders arrived. Then he opened fire.
I still can’t wrap my head around what happened that day and in its wake. I also keep tripping upon emails from one of the victims, who I knew professionally because he was also a lieutenant and information officer with a local police department.
So I decided I would run in memory of the slain firefighters Lt. Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka.