Going the Extra Mile(s)

I thought John might strangle me mid race when we realized what we thought was a 5k turned into an 8k.

The Ronald McDonald road race was on Sunday, and the weather was absolutely perfect. Starting a run when it’s chilly and finishing when it’s just starting to warm up is racing perfection.

My brother and his family joined us for the race, and we all set off at the gun. Tony sprinted ahead while John and I found our groove among the crowd. Maneuvering a jogging stroller in that crowd was tough. As we approached mile three, John turned to me and said, “So, this isn’t finishing at the Ronald McDonald House?” A lady next to us interrupted and said, “It is.” I received a death glare from John because we were almost to mile three and nowhere near where we started.

As we ran beyond the third mile, John called it quits. He had been a great sport and simply said, “That’s what I signed up for. I did it. I’m done.” Elijah and I kept going. Beyond mile four I was honestly starting to worry. I saw people ahead of me turning off towards the right, farther away from where we started. It confirmed what I feared, we were on the half marathon route. Panic. I knew I couldn’t push the jogging stroller for 13.1 miles.

At the next corner, a woman on her phone rerouted me and a few other runners up the steep hill towards Carver Arena. Talk about an arm and leg workout! I rounded the corner towards the finish line and confirmed with my brother that neither of us had run a 5k. It turns out that only the very first runner was routed for the 5k, and everyone else followed the half marathon route.

All things considered, we didn’t do too bad. (Besides the fact that Colin fell out of the stroller while Ashley was pushing it!) Tony ended up being a top finisher, Elijah and I were in the top 12, and even John finished just a couple of minutes behind us.

Thankfully everyone was in good spirits about the mixup. No matter how many miles we ran, it doesn’t come close to the challenges the families face when they need help from the RMHC.

I’ll run the race again next year, but it might take more convincing for John to join me.

An Extra Valentine

img_5895Sometimes I’m too busy to check my mailbox at school. I guess I should have made time yesterday because an extra special valentine was waiting.

John and I have made an extra effort to give back to The Ronald McDonald House Charities since Elijah was born. We used this service in Iowa City during Elijah’s surgeries so that we were never more than one mile away from him. We also used RMHC charities through St. Luke’s when Elijah was placed back in the hospital at one-month-old. Both locations offered support in the form of a shower and food when we were away from home.

My eyes were opened more than ever during our stays because of the people we came into contact with who were fighting battles much scarier than our own. Some of the people had been at the RMH for a year or more as they underwent cancer treatments themselves or watched their children fight cancer.

John and I chose to skip Christmas presents to one another this year and donate to the RMHC instead. The organization lists their “needs” online for anyone to purchase specific items or give a monetary donation. They need a lot because they serve a lot of people- more than 1,000 families from around the world each year.

My Valentine’s Day gift goes with this theme and the golden chocolate bar is just a bonus. The donation was given to the St. Luke’s Family Room and will benefit families in need.

As much as I love sharing gifts with my husband, we know that when we needed help, people were there. We want to return that favor in any way we can in the years to come.

We have no intentions to stop donating to RMHC, and we are even signing up for their Red Shoe Run/Walk in May. I considered running the half marathon for this event, but I think pushing Elijah across the finish line in the stroller will mean that much more to me than 13.1 miles alone. If you’re interested in joining us, you can even see John come out of running retirement to support the cause.