For the first time in an interview, the interviewer asked me: "If your grandmother were alive today, how do you think she would feel about what you're doing?" (Because the article hasn't come out yet, I won't give away my answer, however, it was this question that caused me to completely lose it...even the thought has my eyes watering again).
As I've thought back to that question, and I've had a lot of time to think while traveling and out racing, it's caused me to think more in-depth about why and what I've been running for. This past Sunday (Easter), as my family was gathered and I was holding my now 3-month old nephew, it hit me like a ton of bricks (or the cinder block I train with) - I've been running for the little guy asleep on my chest. I've been running for my mom and my aunt who were there every day for their mother helping her cope with the disease. I've been running for my dad who helped provide strength and support. I've been running for my sister and my cousins who experienced the same emotional pain I had of watching a loved one robbed from us because of this disease. I've been running because one day I hope to be fortunate enough to have at least one child of my own (assuming I can find a woman willing to put up with me lol) and I don't want them to live in a world where Alzheimer's exists. I've been running because many of us sitting there that day and our extended family across the country related to my great-grandma and grandma all have a greater susceptibility to also being afflicted with Alzheimer's because of a potential genetic predisposition. I've been running to prevent history from repeating itself.
As much as the past 10 months the focus has been about my running the races in honor of my great-grandma and grandma, it's with greater realization as I near the finish line that while this has been about honoring their memory, more importantly it has been about bringing greater awareness of the disease, it's prevalence and devastation, in hopes to find a cure for those still living.
And that's exactly the way my grandma would have wanted it.