Six months ago, on October 7th, 2009, at 4:26pm – I received an email from Kevin Cosgrove, founder of Wake Up Narcolepsy asking,
“Julie, Would any of your friends want to run the marathon for WUN? We’ve received 4 official entries.”
Exactly three minutes later, at 4:29pm, I responded:
“Hi Kevin, That is such great news! If there are any extra bibs, I would love to run the marathon for WUN. -Julie”
Clearly, I didn’t take much time making this decision. No matter the mileage or the complications of narcolepsy – I knew that I would give anything to make this happen. Just having the opportunity to run the Marathon for narcolepsy research was a dream come true.
Since that day, I’ve never looked back. Soon thereafter, I began jogging a few times a week — slowly working my way back towards being “a runner” again. I researched marathon training plans – finding a plethora of options depending on one’s mile pace (8 minute miles, 10 minute miles, etc.). I found one plan, at the very bottom of a webpage called “To Finish.” This was the plan for me, as I had no goal for the marathon other than simply to finish.
In November, I started my official training. On Thanksgiving Day, I ran 7 miles on a treadmill in New Hampshire. Two days before Christmas, I ran 12 miles along a beach in Florida.
Most of my miles were logged on the streets of DC – 18 miles through snowy slush, and more recently – 6 miles in 80 degrees muggy heat. Just yesterday, I ran my last mile and a half in the rain around the Reservoir in Chestnut Hill, MA.
Although most of my training took place far from Boston, this story truly began here a few years ago. This story began just a few hundred yards from Heartbreak Hill, at Boston College Law School, where I tried so hard to stay awake and study hard, all the time fighting a sleepiness of excruciating depths that I thought I could will away. This story began in my Fenway apartment and in the streets of Boston, where I collapsed to the ground with cataplexy on multiple occasions.
Although I will never forget these difficult memories of adjusting to life with narcolepsy in Boston, I’m so excited to add a new and exciting chapter to this story – the Boston Marathon 2010!
Over the past six months, I’ve run over 312 miles towards my goal, and as of today, I have just 26.2 left to go! Although 26.2 miles is a long way to go – this seems like the most exciting and straight-forward part of the journey. I have nothing left to fear, although I know that I do not hold complete control over “my results” tomorrow – I truly believe that every step I take is a step in the right direction.
In closing, one final thought: if you have a chance to watch any the marathon, either on TV or in person, you will see crowds of hundreds upon hundreds of runners passing by- many different faces, body-types, physical abilities, running paces. There will be over 25,000 runners, and as far as I know, only one person with narcolepsy. But don’t be fooled – narcolepsy is deceiving. There are an estimated 200,000 people with narcolepsy in America – which is 8 times the number of people participating in the Boston Marathon. So for every face you see in the marathon, multiple that person by 8, and you will begin to grasp just many Americans are affected by the same symptoms I live with daily.
I cannot thank you for all your support along the way. It’s been a pleasure sharing this with you. Of course, check back soon for post-marathon re-cap and pictures!!
Julie a.k.a. The REM Runner