This is the part where I try to express my gratitude and appreciation, by combining every line I’ve ever read in a Hallmark card, for all the people who helped me through this year. I’m going to guess the Kleenex (or whoever’s asset Kleenex is) stock is about to spike right about now thanks to me being a crappy sappy.
So without racking my memory of when I used to read a thesaurus my grandma got me to find every other word for “gratitude”, I’ll simply go with my favorite way of showing appreciation. And that is, “Thanks so much”. I probably would have done this crazy adventure, with or without each of you, but you all made it a hell of a lot better:
To my wonderful hosts throughout the year: Daytona Barker, Maureen Sweeney, Alissa Revak, Carrie Barker, Marsha Papas, and Anna & Michael Primeaux. I am so fortunate to know people throughout the country, but far more blessed to have such kind friends WILLING to open their homes to me and support me on my crazy dream.
To the few who were gutsy enough to run with me and cross a finish line: Laura Jones, DeAnna Castello, my sister Lauren, and Anna…
…and the ones who were early birds enough to stand on the sidelines to cheer me on instead: Mom, Dad, Daytona, Shaina, Alissa, Caitlin, Brad, Sarah, Kelley, Katie, Matt, Mr. & Mrs. Klowden, Carrie, Kirstin, and Michael- thanks for being there always and in-person.
To my old co-worker, Chris Jones- the first person I told my crazy idea to one day at work and the first person to tell me what an awesome idea he thought it was.
To every friend and friend-of-a-friend who came out to celebrate my best race, any race and my final race pub crawl, cheers to you.
To every friend, stranger, college buddy and high school classmate who I’ve run into over the past year (admittedly, most at bars) and told me what I was doing was cool, crazy, insane, inspiring, awesome, or just plain stupid, thanks for motivating me...and listening to me obsess about running. Johnny Pyne, I’ll always remember how you told me my blog was “cool and hilarious” last year when I ran into you at Charlie’s in Elmhurst. I had no idea you were following my blog until that moment and indirectly supporting me; it was those random moments of support that helped me through the entire year.
A few of my best supporters:
Mel & Pete, Kevin & Heather, and Uncle Bruce- I felt like you were all always there watching over me, waiting for updates from Mom, and on-your-toes ready to congratulate me. Thanks for being the best cousins and uncle a girl could ask for.
Shaina- With every Facebook post about running, with every blog post, you took every opportunity to send me a message of good wishes and luck. Little things like that don’t go unnoticed and I truly appreciate you being my “fan”!
My roommates and best friends- Caitlin and Sarah. I don’t think there was a single race you two didn’t wish me luck, ask me how I did and tell me when I was “really hitting my stride”. And thanks for putting up with my sweaty ass on a nightly basis after every run. And making sure to ask me when I’d be home after a 12 mile run so you’d know if you needed to send out a search party along the lakefront.
Kirstin- what can I say to someone who laughs at how emotional I get about sentimental things but who has become one of my closest friends in the past year? Thank you, for designing my fundraising postcards (we got some hefty ROI), for traveling with me to Indy, to giving me a new song for each race to add to my playlist and for at least pretending like you cared about my race stories on a regular basis even if you didn’t (but I think you actually did).
Brian Weil- I don’t know why, but you’re one of those people I always say your last name with your first. Anyways, I think since the day I met you and we gushed about our love for racing, you always found the time to ask how my races went. You also always managed to get my competitive blood going when you’d clock a faster time than me. So thanks for always caring and for indirectly motivating me to kick your ass in a race someday. Your race-morning texts never went overlooked.
Chad- Aw, my main squeeze. This is where most girls would gush about how amazing of a man their boyfriend is and how they couldn’t have done it without them. Well, you know I’m not like that and I would’ve done it with or without you so I have no idea why you put up with my weird antics. But I do know that if you could somehow turn back the hands of time to have been there since I started this journey just so you could support me all along, you honestly would have. The fact that you actually considered dropping over $600 on a last-minute flight to Mobile, AL to be there with me is just absurd…but also just shows how much you care. (Thank God you didn’t, you know how effed up that place is from my stories). Your genuine support and charisma (and waking up at 5AM to call me and wish me good luck) for my last few races truly meant a lot to me, mister.
My dad’s slot car racer friends (for lack of a better description…Hey Roberto!): Your kindness and generosity baffles me. For being a group of “goofy guys”, you are all definitely “dads” at heart. Thank you for hosting a race in honor of my breast cancer fundraiser and for the extremely generous donations. Thank you for reading my blog so much that when you’d ask my dad “how’d the race go?” You were taking about my races, not the slot car races. Roberto, sorry this post took so long. And sorry you’ll be short on reading material.
Aunt Elizabeth, Aunt Marge and Aunt Linda- Thank you for fighting the terrible disease of breast cancer so courageously and inspiring me to take this journey on. Thank you for reminding me about the important things (people) in life; thank you for being the whisper in my ear on days I didn’t want to train anymore. From both Heaven and Earth, you all watched over me and supported me so very much.
And finally, Bob and Mary Ellen… the most supportive parents in the entire world (I checked 13 states, so I think that description is fairly accurate). I made you both a promise a long time ago that I’d hook you up for life when I made it big so you could live a luxurious and worry-free retirement. I’m utterly failing at that promise, and seeing that I just spent my bank account to travel the country the past year, this isn’t looking too hopeful…yet. But I did accomplish one part of that promise: I feel like I made it big. Thanks to you. Without the values, courage, love, dedication, discipline, motivation and work ethic you both instilled in me, I would have never been able to accomplish this feat. (Note: I did not say athleticism. I have no idea where I got those freak of nature genes, because I know they didn’t come from you.) Combined, you were at 6 of my races and I know if I had asked or not known people at the other 7, you would have been there too (okay, maybe not the Alabama one. I don’t blame you). From driving me 25 hours within 48 hours to Atlanta and back to watch me run to sending me simple “Don’t forget to hydrate. I love you” texts, you both were there for me in the greatest way possible.
Dad, I’ll always remember something you said in the car when you picked mom and me up from the airport when we arrived back home from my final race. I sat in the backseat with Honey and thanked you for picking me up again from the airport, and you responded, “Well, that’s always just been part of your marathon thing.” While I did my best to always ask you and mom ahead of time if you could take me to/from the airport for my races, you guys always just assumed you would and always seemed to be happy to do it. I’ll always remember that because it just goes how completely selfless and supportive you were whenever you got the chance. (Fine, Honey the dog was too…happy dad?) I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay you for the love and life you both have always given me, but truly showed the past year more than ever.
My donors-Thanks to you, I far surpassed my fundraising goal by over $1,000. More importantly, thanks to you, someone out there with breast cancer is going to live a little longer. So to my donors, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so very much: Sara Brown, Brian Weil, Marsha Papas, Sue Hillsand, Sue (Mrs. Lepore- you’ll always be that to me!), The Lansdowne’s, Shaina Chechang, Morgan Meyer, Caitlin Humrickhouse, Sarah Klowden, Katie Kieft & family, The Sullivan’s, Chad Walker, Nick Henderson, Hayley Besheer, Kirstin Whittington, Bryan Hauhe, Veronica Martinez (and her lil’ children!), Amanda Plymale, Allison Gordon, Kiran Gummadi, Pete & Mel Dean, Kevin & Heather Dean, Uncle Bruce, Steve Bauer, Lish Hammer, Steve Sorrentino & my dad’s fellow racers, Larry & Molly Klowden, Hayli Dennis, Lauren Minger, Mary & Pat McDonald, Alissa Revak, Uncle Don & Aunt Marge, Aunt Lorraine, Bob Quitter, Carol Henderson, The Koehler’s, Cheryl & Manny Zapata, Ashley Dick, Doug & Vivian Beach, Stefanie & Ray Zimny and my parents…I really, really, really hope I didn’t forget anyone! Your generosity has truly been humbling and so very much appreciated.
And so, the end has come. My roommate’s boyfriend, Matt, used to always tell me how I should turn this blog into a book; while I’ve always dreamt of being an author, I can’t say I’d want anyone to pay for my horrible jokes and pictures of my smelly, sweaty 13.1 worn-self. So thanks for reading my free horrible jokes and not telling me how disgusting I looked after every race. Thanks for holding me accountable and thanks for being here until the end for me. The End.