Why we run
3 kids in the house : 2 of them have weekly activities : 1 of them attends every activity to cheer them on.
1 of them doesn't have anyone cheering her name. 1 of them doesn't have a name on her jersey or a trophy case.
1 of them doesn't have a chance to make the team. This is why we run.
Mabry loves to be on the go, riding in something.......anything. She requires constant supervision and engagement by adults, making it a challenge for our family to get much done around the house or even a moment of peace and quiet. My "me time" is fitness, and with this, I'm always looking for an excuse and way to get in some exercise. My wife, Amy, and I are a great tag-team......and for us, that usually looks like Amy taking the brunt of the caregiving during the week, and I take on the brunt on the weekends. With this, going to the gym on the weekend has never really been an option for me, as it's not fair to Amy or Mabry. I've never been a runner, but even escaping for a 30 minute run on a Saturday or Sunday was a dream of mine. In fact, I found myself battling resentment to the fact that I couldn't even break away a for run on the weekends. What kind of life is that?
Then the idea came: "I wonder if a running stroller for adults exists?" Sure enough.......they do! Problem: these strollers can cost up to $1,000.......which was more than Amy and I wanted to spend not knowing if Mabry would even like it. But when Amy is on a mission, things happen. Within a week she found a used one and bought a new cover for it, and $175 later, we were ready to go on our 1st run.
Our 1st run was around 2 miles at a 13 minute/mile pace. Remember, I wasn't a runner, and now I'm pushing 150 pounds! But Mabry loved it! So we kept at it, 3-4 times per week......improving our distance slowly each week. For the first few weeks, I didn't share our new hobby or make a big deal out of it.......as I still wasn't sure it would stick. But once it became clear that we were on to something, #runMABRYrun was born. It started with a simple Facebook post sharing our new journey, and it blew up into something much more.
We committed to training for 3 months leading up to a 10K on Thanksgiving Day of 2018. If Mabry still loved it, we would continue after that.........but if she was over it, then it would end there. We printed a small number of #runMABRYrun shirts to raise $$ for The ABLED Movement, and to wear during the Thanksgiving Day race. Well - within 24 hours of posting online those shirts were sold out and a second large order of shirts was placed. The word was out........people were loving it.......and Mabry was loving it.
Our current training involves 3-4 times a week, typically around our hometown of Prosper, TX during the week, and often at a destination on the weekend. Mabry loves to ride, but her highlight is engaging with people. She waves at almost every car that passes by, she high-fives (or tries to) other walkers/runners on our path, and she especially loves seeing the Fire Fighters and Fire Trucks as she circles the Fire Station twice on our most frequent route. By the interaction of others, it appears to be their highlight as well. With this, I make it a point to run through neighborhoods and areas of higher traffic (safely) as opposed to jogging trails and paths. We have even had a few "guest runners" join us, and would love for this to become more of a "thing." We offer to anyone who wants to join that the guest will determine the distance and pace of the run, as long as it's not further/faster than we want to go :)
For Team #runMABRYrun, our journey is about so much more than achieving running goals. As I often say, "God created Mabry to have a positive impact on peoples lives, and she can't do that by sitting at home." She needs to be out, on the go, where people are........and she doesn't have the ability to get there on her own.
The wonderful things mentioned above that have come from the #runMABRYrun journey are very apparent, visible, and tangible. But there is a Huge blessing that comes to the Gayhart family through this that people don't see. It's called respite. Respite is defined as "a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant," and is commonly used in terms of giving caregivers a "break." These runs provide Amy and Mabry's 2 younger brothers (Jack and Slater) a break, and a house with no Mabry. To have the option to clean the house, take a nap, have a friend over, or read a book is something doesn't come often in our house, and it's a total game changer.
Mabry's story is not a sad one.......it's a story of celebration, of triumph, of inclusion, and of inspiration. Thank you for your interest, for following, and for supporting #runMABRYrun. You are the reason she does it.