This has been another amazing year for me and Running On Air. Not all of the 2016 goals were met, but we came close to some and have a lot to look forward to in 2017.
Run the Year
Once again I was part of Run the Edge’s Run the Year virtual challenge. I didn’t hit the 1100 miles I started out the year wanting to achieve. I ended the year with 802.25 intentional miles, just 17.81 short of last year’s finish. My biggest hiccup was two rounds of IV antibiotics, one that started in May and the other in October. I’m still happy with my end of the year push. Both November and December I achieved 100+ miles in each.
Running On Air had seven people on four teams: People Committed and Determined, Pretty Crazy Divas, People Challenging Diseases, and Run2Breathe. Only the last team made it to 2016 (and beyond). The other teams finished over 1500, 1800 and 1800 respectively.
Amerithon Challenge Ambassador
Run the Edge introduced another challenge this year called the Amerithon. This challenge started July 4 and with eight of us we are virtually crossing the United States, a total of 3,521 miles. The challenge started in San Francisco and ends at the Washington monument in Washington, DC. My team, the Cross Country Coughers, has less than 350 miles to go. The nice thing about this event is it allows any cardio activity like swimming, biking and skiing, instead of just being limited to walking, hiking, running or elliptical, like the Run the Year event. My team consists of four people with PCD (we have a combined lung capacity of two people), two PCD moms and two PCD spouses (including my husband, Ed). You can follow the Cross Country Coughers on Facebook or on Running On Air’s website. For this challenge my contribution in 2016 was 749 miles, 277.25 of which were biking.
I was honored by Run the Edge asking if I would be one of their ambassadors for this challenge. They are an awesome company and their events inspire people to get moving and become healthier. They have created a wonderful, supportive community and I love their generosity and how they support their members.
My new favorite half marathon was in November at Disneyland. My husband gave me the Avenger’s challenge as a birthday present. We did a 10K on Saturday, going at our own pace (he is much faster than I am) and then he did the half marathon with me on Sunday. I had a personal record (PR) in both. He helped me get across the half with a finish time that cut 16 minutes off my previous PR. As the morning started heating up, he also made sure I stayed cool by getting an extra cup of water at the water stop to pour on my hat.
I had my first did not finish (DNF) at my half marathon in April. I was sick and had done a 5K Friday and a 10K Saturday. I was moved off the course at the 15K mark because I couldn’t keep up with the course pace. While I felt devastated by this at the time, I also know I couldn’t have pushed any harder. One of the bright spots was a fellow Run The Year member who also did the race offering me her medal. Just another example of the generosity and support of that group.
This year I completed 14 races – a miler, a 1.5 miler, 5 5Ks, a 5 miler, 3 10Ks, a 12K and 2 half marathons.
New States and a new Country
I didn’t reach my goal of five new states this year. I did add three new states though; Michigan, Utah and Massachusetts in the first six months of this year. In July I became an international racer by completing a 5K in Canada.
Started Our Spreadshirt Shop
We started a Spreadshirt shop to make our Running On Air event t-shirts and logos more readily available in a variety of colors and sizes in shirts, sweatshirts and accessories. This has been a great supplement for our virtual races. Not only has this made things much easier for us, it has made the shirts more readily available to anyone who is interested.
We made about $365, most of which went to our non-profit virtual race partners. You can check out our two shops. Running On Air’s shop has our logo shirts, along with all our virtual race shirts. Our other shop is for the PCD Foundation and all the profit from this shop goes directly to the Foundation.
This year we hosted two virtual races. The first was for Rare Disease Day 2016. This event was a huge success and our first event to sell out. We raised over $1200 from the event itself which went to the National Organization for Rare Disorders and the PCD Foundation. Registration for this year’s event is now underway.
Our second virtual race was in October for PCD Awareness month. We had more registrants than the previous year and raised over $4000 dollars between the event, donations, and sales in our Spreadshirt shop.
Social Media and Blog
This year we had an even bigger social media presence. We more than doubled our followers adding 572 on Facebook, 57 on Twitter (Mary_RunOnAir) and 70 on Instagram (RunningOnO2).
While we only added 2 vides to our YouTube channel called “My PCD Life”, we have 570 views and 10 subscribers. We hope to have a video a month this year.
Our blog got its own address this year. We had eight total blogs, with one being from a guest. We had 1,387 visitors from 32 counties who viewed our blogs 1,815 times.
Runner’s World Cover Search
I once again entered the Runner’s World Cover Search contest but did not make it to the 100 semi-finalists this year. I struggled with whether to enter this year because I was on IV at the time the contest started. I had even more support and votes this year, and managed to stay within the top 17 for the entire first part of the contest. A big THANK YOU to everyone who voted to help raise awareness.
American Thoracic Society (ATS) Conference
I had the great honor of being asked by the Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD) Foundation to be one of their patient speakers at the ATS Conference in San Francisco in May. I was joined by my sister, who also has PCD. This was a huge milestone for the PCD Foundation having their own breakout session for the first time. My sister and I took about 7 or so minutes to sum up our experiences as PCD patients. PCD has been overlooked for years and many just think it to be no more serious than having a cold year round. My sister’s double lung transplant and my 40% lung capacity because of this disease helped to raise awareness about its seriousness.
And we’ve got even bigger plans for 2017. I’m signed up again to Run The Year 2017. Running On Air has 9 people forming 4 teams. We would love to add more people and teams so please contact us on our Facebook page if you’d like to join us. The Amerithon team will be wrapping up it’s miles by the end of January. I will continue my solo journey and anticipate finishing before the end of 2017.
My running goals for 2017 are
- Average 100 miles per month walking/running/racing for a total of 1200 miles.
- Complete my first marathon.
- Race at least one new states (and possibly one new country).
Running On Air’s goals:
- Continue to bring awareness to PCD/lung disease/oxygen use/rare diseases through races, real and virtual, and to increase media coverage.
- Host 4-6 virtual races (you can register for our 1st one of the year here).
- Become a corporation.
- File for non-profit status.