Monday, March 14, 2016
Run, Kenley, Run
Saturday was my fourth time attending the Brianna Marie 5K. For those who don't know, Brianna Marie is the daughter of my friend Aran, who I had not met until the first year the 5K was held. Brianna died as a result of Fetal Hydrops, which is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in areas of the baby's body while in utero. Aran started the Brianna Marie Foundation after her daughter died to help raise money for awareness and research. She works closely with local doctors to help save the lives of babies affected by this condition. Brianna and I share the same birthday, and the first year of the race was also my first birthday without Kenley. Attending the 5K that first year gave me a sense of purpose for that day, and it has been a tradition ever since.
My first year, I attended but didn't participate because I was still healing from my C-section. The second year, I was pregnant with Piper and had just gotten over being sick, so I didn't walk because I didn't want to chance it. Last year and this year, I walked with Piper in her stroller. What I love about this 5K, besides its wonderful cause, is that friends of mine just automatically sign up to run it in honor of Kenley. I didn't really do a great deal of Facebook promotion regarding it this year, but still, my "regulars" were there - for the fourth year in a row. It really warmed my heart to know that I have people in my life who support me and remember my daughter. I never really had any doubt about this - but it's nice to actually see in action.
It was a good day for a race. The sun was shining and the temperature was warm. I did my best to keep a pretty good pace and finished with an 18 minute mile, which isn't too bad for walking with a toddler in a jogging stroller.
After everyone had finished the 5K, we released butterflies in honor of all the babies who are no longer with us.
My walking partner all ready to go.
Colleen, Susie, and Me after the race
My mother, the marathon runner, finished the race, and backtracked to take Piper's stroller from me so I could cross the finish line without it. She's pretty amazing.
My Little Ham
Releasing butterflies in honor of Kenley and all the other babies
Confession time: The Brianna Marie 5K was the first step in a year long journey I am about to take. After the race, I headed over to Running Zone and forked over a kidney for a new pair of Asics. Once I got home, I pulled my brand new FitBit out of the package to charge and set up. Today, I strapped Piper back into her jogging stroller and took her for a two mile walk. I'm building up stamina. I'm researching the Galloway Method and am working on a good running playlist. In the beginning of July, I will scramble to get myself registered for my end goal. And on February 26, 2017, I will complete the Disney Princess Half Marathon for Kenley's fourth birthday, most likely in a Ninja-worthy tutu.
I have no delusions. I know this is going to be hard. I'm almost 38 years old. I'm an out of shape asthmatic. I have a toddler and a husband who works nights, and finding the time to torture myself with long distance running is only one of the many challenges I am going to face this year to meet my goal, but Kenley's Legacy is more than being a voice in the loss community. Kenley's Legacy is also about making me a better person - about making me stronger than I ever thought I could be. Three years ago, when she died, if you had told me this is where I would be, I would have never believed you. Three Years Ago Me would have been convinced that she would have been in a mental institution by now - or maybe even in a vase right next to Kenley. But I'm not. I'm here. I'm surviving. I'm creating a life where she isn't.
I am going to do this. For her. For me. For the sake of accomplishing something I never imagined I could.
I'll see you at the finish line.
Run, Kenley, Run.