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In a week and a half, I will be participating in the Tuna 200, a 12-person, 200 mile relay run from Garner, NC, to Atlantic beach, NC, in support of Alzheimer’s North Carolina. Each team member will have 3 legs of the run over varying distances.
Am I an avid runner? Definitely not! I’m not so sure I even enjoy running. When I was approached to be part of the team, without hesitation, I responded with a, “sure, why not, this will be fun”. Anyone who knows me is aware I am a “team person” and doing something for a cause? Well, I’m in!
Am I training for this? Yes, but I haven’t been as committed as I would like to admit. There always seems to be other things that take priority over running/training 4 days a week … time with friends, a TV program (not even a good one), extra 30 minutes of sleep, balancing my checkbook, planting or picking flowers, cleaning a bathroom, painting the trim in my bedroom - or my toenails, not to mention work. A “36 Hour Day” would be so helpful. Oh, how I can make the excuses!
Will I get thru this race? Of course I will. Will it be easy? No way! I suspect I will have moments of feeling like I can’t go on or even take another step. I will be riding in a van with 11 other teammates - comradely yes, but sleep deprived, sweaty and smelly for 36+ hours. I expect to be exhausted to the point that it may take me a few days or a full week to feel “back to normal". If I give it too much thought, it becomes quite overwhelming.
So, you may be asking yourself, “Caryn, why are you doing this”? Believe me, I’ve asked myself that same question numerous times (especially when getting up at 6am on a Saturday to run in the RAIN). I’ve planned for it, I’ve had it on my calendar for months. I am choosing to do this relay run by choice. No one twisted my arm or decided for me.
When I think about all the people I know; personally and professionally that care for someone with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s, the answer is quite simple: I am doing it for them! I am running for those who live with Alzheimer’s daily, whether the care recipient or the family members caring for their loved one.
Every day I meet with families who have questions and are seeking answers. They are exhausted, multi-tasking, working full time, getting little sleep, often putting their own health or job in jeopardy. They need care solutions, resources and to know they are not alone, that’s why I'm running.
Follow us on Facebook - team name: Go Big or Go Home, for AlzNC. All money raised will stay in NC for caregiver support, research, respite, advocacy.