After Mom died in July, a friend asked me if I thought that our family’s commitment to fighting Parkinson’s Disease would change. I told him that I felt even more urgency to help find a cure. Our involvement in the Michael J Fox Foundation is part of Mom’s legacy, and being able to raise funds in her memory helps keep her alive in our thoughts and in the world.
That said, I wasn’t expecting to do much more than host an annual pancakes party. I had concluded after Chicago that I was a “one and done” marathoner. After all, I’m a much better hostess than runner, and pancakes parties are a pretty effective way to make a difference without any of the physical pain of running 26.2 miles.
However, I hadn’t anticipated how convincing my brother could be. Watt reached out to me in August, less than a month after Mom passed away, with a proposition. Team Fox had two entries for the London Marathon, and he was taking one of them to run in Mom’s memory. The other one was mine, if I wanted it, but “no pressure.”
I had to give this a lot of thought. Not only would this mean running another marathon, which I’d sworn I’d never do, but it also would mean running a spring marathon, which requires lots of winter training. Finally, I knew that my plate was full, between work, our family, and my commitment to chair the annual gala for the Children’s Theatre Company in September 2015.
However, all of those difficulties that stacked in the ‘no’ column could not overcome the knowledge that I couldn’t miss this opportunity. To run in Mom’s memory, with Watt, in London, for Team Fox…I had to be a part of it.
Therefore, I started training. My amazing trainer, Luis, signed on as my running coach and developed a weekly plan that could get me into fighting shape. A few months of fairly moderate training, Watt and I had the chance to run together just after Christmas in Spring Island, South Carolina.
Watt had been fighting an inner-ear issue for months, so his mileage had been limited. When I proposed a 10-miler, he was game, even though he hadn’t run that far since November 2001, when he ran the NYC marathon. Happily, we both survived the run, which gave us our first real glimpse of what running the marathon will be like in less than 4 months.
There will be a lot of miles between now and April 26, but Watt and I have our eyes on the prize. It may seem like pigs are flying and Hell is freezing over, but it feels absolutely right to us.