On October 7, 2012, Carlyn Shaw, a Steps for MS board member, will be running the Portland Marathon in Portland, Oregon. Below is a message from Carlyn. If you would like to donate on behalf of Carlyn’s efforts please donate here!
On October 7, 2012 I will run my first Full Marathon (26.2 miles) in Portland, Oregon. I know… it sounds crazy, but there are a number of reasons I chose to do this.
First of all…the challenge. March 18, 2010, I chose to take myself off all MS Medication and put matters of my health into my own hands. With this decision, I also decided to become a runner, signing up for my first Half Marathon Training Program. Since then, I’ve participated in 7 Half Marathons (13.1 miles)… all awesome, yet, never once have a finished and thought about turning around and running back to the start 😉 However, something came over me this year. The idea of pushing myself that much further, proving not only that I can reach a new boundary but also showing the MS world the very essence of my power to overcoming obstacles. MS or not, 26.2 miles is tough!
Next… the location. I’ve never been to Portland, OR. What better way to check out a new city that to experience it on foot! One of my mantras is to “plant my feet all over the planet as long as I can”. Even though I did not know if I would be able to accomplish my goal, I had to give it a try. And to me, it only makes sense to do it somewhere I have never been. Even though, this means planning a trip and flying to the starting line.
Finally… because of friends. I’m very fortunate to have friends in Portland excited to cheer me on. I’m also blessed to run the race with two friends. In particular, one of the girls I will be sharing the journey with is another gal with MS. And we have never met!! Two years ago, within a month of her diagnosis, my Dad ‘happen’ to sit next to Rebekah Skelly on a flight, sharing a conversation with her about MS. He told her about his fundraising involvement, walking in all 13 50-Mile MS Challenge Walks. But more importantly, he told her why he did this: for me. He told her the story of my diagnosis at age 19, my constant determination to raise money & awareness, and most significant, how I live life allowing the diagnosis to motivate me and fuel my endeavors. After the flight, he connected us on Facebook, which lead to us being Pen Pals ever since. Without thinking much about it, I reached out to let her know I signed up for the Portland Marathon. And, within 48 hours she took it upon herself to take on the feat of covering 26.2 miles on her own two feet, knowing that if MS doesn’t stop me, it can’t stop her either. Now we will both cross the finish and celebrate together!
At this point, I am asking for support. I am running on behalf of Steps4MS. For each of the steps I take during my almost 5 hour run, covering 26.2 miles, I will be thinking about the friends I have that also have MS that can’t. I will be running because I am fortunate to have the strength that allows me to check off another item on my Bucket List. I will run to show the world that someone with MS can lead a healthy life, it simply means taking on life one step at a time.