Running, to me, has always been an incredible source of connection – connection to my mind and body, connection to goal-setting, and most importantly, connection to something bigger than myself.
In the past five years that I have had the honor of calling myself a “runner,” I’ve had so many amazing opportunities – meeting fellow passionate athletes, forging lasting friendships, and achieving things I never imagined would be possible – and nothing rolls all of these incredible feelings and emotions than my involvement with 26.2 with DONNA.
I can honestly say that my life changed in December of 2013, when I first received word that I would be on the Inaugural Team of Ambassadors for 26.2 with DONNA, an incredible race weekend in Jacksonville, FL. I had applied after being gently nudged by my friend and Social Media Butterfly for the organization, Marcia. I had fundraised for races before, and I was looking for fast race to make another BQ attempt, and I feel the stars just aligned when the opportunity presented itself.
Though I did not run my fastest marathon at the 2014 race, I did feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment that I just could not describe. The race was unlike any other experience – from the incredible race support, to the challenging, gorgeous course, and of course, the camaraderie and bonding with my fellow Ambassador Team. Everything that weekend – from the expo, to the special events, and the race – it all clicked. It was all so raw and real. We were all part of something truly AMAZING. I felt happy and proud, and raised more than $2,000 for the cause that year, with the generous support of family and friends.
As soon as I had the chance to apply for the next year’s team, I did – I mean, these gals (and guys!) had quickly become some of my “breast friends!” The fundraising season was a little longer, and I pulled out all the stops I could to boost the cause even more – and, spoiler alert: you helped me surpass $2,620! I had even planned on rocking the 110 Ultramarathon, though I changed plans later on when I got the opportunity to run my second marathon major (Tokyo) just a week after the 2015 26.2 with DONNA.
I honestly didn’t think that my experience could be better than my first DONNA year – but I was wrong! The infusion of new teammates on our Ambassador Crew proved to be the perfect cocktail of awesome. We had an incredible year, and once again, my passion was reignited to work toward another amazing race weekend in 2016.
Of course, a few weeks after my double marathon weekend, I found out the most incredible news – we would be welcoming a little one – the one I now refer to as “the littlest ambassador” – in December 2015, which was super amazing – but also, would pose a bit of a challenge in any sort of serious training for a return to the race weekend in 2016. Fortunately though, I discussed my situation with the organization and was welcomed back with open arms!
Ready for the tl;dr?
Yes, I am SO PROUD to be announcing, officially, that I will be returning to Jacksonville once again, this coming Valentine’s Day Weekend, to support, champion and participate in another amazing 26.2 with DONNA Race Weekend! In the interest of safety and comfort, I will be spreading my marathon distance over the course of the month of February, and will be pushing Little Miss Ambassador in a stroller for her very first 5K that weekend, too!
This year will mean even more to me, as I train and prepare for my new role in life as a mommy…and since finding out our little one is a girl…well, that really struck me even more. NO ONE deserves breast cancer, and as a woman – wife – daughter – sister – and soon to be mom – I want to do everything I can to change the landscape of breast cancer for good.
This race weekend is so special to me – it’s hard to put into words – but I am just so thankful to be a part of it…and thankful for your (yes, you, you reading this!) support as I raise funds once again for this incredible cause. Together, we ARE making a difference NOW for breast cancer patients and survivors, and doing everything we can to FINISH this disease – and we’re doing it all by coming together, and getting it done.
Please consider a donation today – any amount truly counts – it really means the world! ❤