Monday, December 3, 2007

Jingle Bell Time is a Swell (?) Time

As we turned the corner toward the starting line, a wintry blast of wind whipped our faces.

"Whose idea was this?" Katie said.

Yep, it was mine.

"You are never allowed to pick out races again," Jamie said to me.

And so started the Jingle Bell Run on Saturday. According to a weather report later in the day, it barely reached 4 degrees with the windchill factor in Concord.

Just a few days into my TnT program in August, I put two Jingle Bell Runs on my calendar, both of which were fundraisers for the Arthritis Foundation. Unfortunately, my IT Band problems prevented me from doing the 10K in Portsmouth a few weeks ago, so I was determined to make the 5K in Concord on Saturday.

And so I did -- despite the chilly temps and a hectic planned workday creating a float for Manchester's Christmas Parade (later cancelled due to the cold and wind).

Katie, a co-worker-turned-friend, agreed to join Jamie and I with her sister-in-law for the 10 a.m. race start.

It's a good thing we planned to go as a group. I have to admit that if I was planning on running solo I might have taken one step outside and decided against it. But knowing there were people waiting for me, made me know I couldn't back out. So I bundled up in several layers and headed out.

The four of us (five if you include Katie's dog, Buffy) found each other amid the Santa Claus hats, running elves and other Christmas costumes.

The race went rather quickly. It was a nice course. No hills. Jingle Bells pinned to the runners' sneakers made a festive sound as we made our way through the 3-mile loop.

Somewhere along a dirt road on the route, a woman chatted with me as we ran. "Why do we do this?" she asked as the snowy wind hit our faces. I laughed slightly and said, "Because we like it???" ( I emphasized the question marks strongly.)

We talked a little the type of weather we like to run in, other races around the state and a few other topics. As we parted ways (I can't remember if I pulled ahead of her or she went ahead of me), I thought more about here question: Why do we do this?

I thought about the training schedule for my half marathon. I thought about the social aspect of meeting a few friends for a Saturday morning run. And I thought about my mom, whose rheumatoid arthritis has taken away many of her physical abilities and required numerous joint replacement surgeries.

That's why I ran on Saturday. The four of us running together donated around $100 to the Arthritis Foundation with our registration fees.

I know that no matter how miserable the weather was -- the bone-chilling temps and snowflakes in the air -- or how busy the rest of her day was supposed to be, my mom would give anything to be able to run like that.

And I'm sure, when her doctor introduces a new treatment, she'll be reminded that perhaps it was funded with money from the Arthritis Foundation. My $23 registration fee and a bit of cold on a Saturday morning could make a difference.

Suddenly it didn't seem so cold after all. Okay, that's a lie. It still seemed ridiculously cold, but it still made the end of the run a little easier.

Read more answers to the question "Why Do I This?" at these posts (both of these are linked under the September archive):

The Cancer Center:

I Run Because I Can:


Have you donated to my fundraising campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society? If not, please consider doing so. You can donate online at Please pass this link to everyone you know. Every dollar helps me get a little closer to the Disney 13.1!



  1. What month was Jesus born?

  2. A daughter any parent would be proud of. Always giving of her in the name of helping others. I can only hope my daughter turns out to be as giving of herself.

  3. The Last Month of the Year

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