A Girl Runs in Brooklyn

The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step

Running 4 Judy….my biggest motivation to heal fast and get back to running!

on January 11, 2014

Yesterday night I returned home from a long day at work to find something special had arrived in my mailbox: The medals for my Virtual Race for the “I Run 4” organization! What is this, why is it important, and why is it so motivating? Allow me to explain. First off, pictured below are the medals. They are going to be engraved with names once I complete the Virtual Race, one will be engraved with my name and sent to my buddy Judy, and one will be engraved with Judy’s name and I will keep it:

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Now, allow me to explain what I Run 4 is and who Judy is :):)

Back in July, I learned about an organization that matches runners with children and adults with special needs (http://www.whoirun4.com/) (https://www.facebook.com/groups/irunformichael/). A runner gets randomly paired with a “buddy” that the runner can dedicate his/her races, training runs, and other workouts to. The runner and the buddy post updates on the facebook group page, in which the runner will post to their buddy about the runs and races for him or her, and the buddy’s parents will post to the runner updates about what is going on in the buddy’s life as well as encouragement for the runner. The group is such an amazingly positive and inspirational place and I would recommend it to any runner!! Runners posting on the facebook page will often make signs, T-shirts, photo collages, videos, ect (a few have even gotten tattoos for their buddies!) to show their buddies that the runs are dedicated to them. It is so much fun!

I got randomly matched with a girl named Judy to run for. She is 15 years old, and diagnosed primarily with Being the Most Awesome Teenaged Girl on the Planet; secondarily with Being Sweet, Kind, Adorable and Absolutely Hilarious; thirdly with Being Sassy, Stylish, Inspirational, Smart and Cooler than I Could Ever Dream to Be; and least importantly with Down Syndrome. It was a random match, but I truly believe something in the Universe was at work when we were matched together (Destiny? Divine intervention? I could never pretend to know but it was a PERFECT MATCH!) We both love most of the same things, in particular chocolate ice cream, the color pink, yoga, Disney Princesses, music, and cheerleading (she is a cheerleader who competes nationally in the Special Needs division, I was a cheerleader for 10 years) and the list just goes on. Here’s my Judy Girl and her brother Matthew on their first day of school in September, sent to me by their awesome mom Kim (and pictures of Judy and Matthew are being used in this blog post with her permission):

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Isn’t she the cutest??? Matthew too :). He has his own runner, but I still love him!

On top of having a ton in common, it turns out that Judy’s family only live about an hour outside of NYC. Judy told her mother that she wanted to come see me race. However, the problem was Judy’s mother works weekends (when 95% of races are held), but on Labor Day the stars aligned! There was a race on Roosevelt Island (little island in the East River between Manhattan and Queens) on Labor Day, when I was off work, Judy and her brother were off school, and it was a weekday so their mother Kim was off work too :). So Kim and her sister Shelley brought Judy and Matthew to my race. Unfortunately, a car fire on the Queensboro Bridge that goes right over Roosevelt Island broke out in the middle of the race and in the interest of the safety of the runners they cancelled the race halfway through. It was a 10K race and I was stopped at just under 3 miles and not allowed to continue. However, it still was my most fun race to date because I got to spend the day with Judy and her family afterwards 🙂 here are some highlights from the day:

Me, Pre-Race:

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Meeting Judy for the first time, Post-Race (well, post when the race was ordered to stop):

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Delivering Judy some dimes I saved for her (Judy has her OWN ORGANIZATION called Dimes 4 Downs, in which she collect dimes in order to help grant wishes for children with Down Syndrome through her mother’s organization Gifts from the Heart for Downs):

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Judy and I having a “girl chat” and her cracking me up with telling me about the celebrity boys she loves (band boys like One Direction and vampire boys like Edward from Twilight):

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Judy wearing my race number:

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A pic Judy’s mom snapped of us walking together…..we inadvertently wore matching ribbons in our ponytails….I think it is the once a cheerleader always a cheerleader thing:

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Hanging out on Roosevelt Island with Judy, Matthew, and Aunt Shelly:

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And a Chinese food lunch:

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What a great day!!!!

Running for Judy has been a true honor these past 6 months so far….her family is wonderful and I am so happy they are in my life now. I am also thankful for the I Run 4 organization in general….the positivity of the exchanges between all the runners and buddies on the facebook page is so motivational and inspirational!

For the New Year, the creator of I Run 4, Tim Boyle, decided to have a Virtual Race to benefit the organization and other organizations that contribute money towards different causes that support people with special needs. The concept of the Virtual Race was that sometime after January 1st the runner completes an amount of miles specified by their buddy. Once the amount of miles is completed, you send the buddy medal to your buddy (and can choose to engrave it if you want, or write on it in Sharpie, whatever floats your boat) and keep the runner medal. Judy chose my mileage for me….my Virtual Race is 150 miles!!! She originally chose 150 MILLION but we compromised at 150 :):). So, now that the medals have arrived, I cannot WAIT to start running miles to get to the 150 so I can get this medal to Judy :)! If that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is!!!!

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5 responses to “Running 4 Judy….my biggest motivation to heal fast and get back to running!

  1. Kimberley Adams says:

    What an awesome post Kristin….I can’t wait to have Judy read it!! She is going to be so excited!! AND wait until Matthew see’s himself in the photo’s…..hahaha….I can see it now, not wanting to leave the page!!! You are right about the pairing of you and Judy…the match was PERFECT!! Thank you Kristin for your support to both Matthew and Judy, we love you!!!

  2. lynnpg says:

    This is so nice!

  3. Diana says:

    Oh, come on, you know you could run 150 million miles if you put your mind to it! 😉 So fun that you got to meet Judy. Now heal up!

  4. […] next 10K, already recapped as a part of this blog entry, was a DNF due to a fire on the course, but I ran for and MET my buddy Judy who I was paired with […]

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