New Yorker and mother runner Karen Janos was among the thousands of runners who had trained hard and were eagerly anticipating this year’s New York City Marathon when Hurricane Sandy arrived, devastating parts of the East Coast and leading race officials to cancel this year’s event. Thankfully the storm didn’t harm Karen and her family, who live north of NYC, but she's taken part in efforts to help those in need. “I am so thankful for my house, electricity and the safety of all my family and close friends. I’ve been able to donate supplies to people in my town who have driving to the areas devastated by Sandy. I am thankful that I can help in a small way!” And she also found a way to run 26.2 after all ...
Best recent run: This would be my first run after finishing 26.2 miles for the third time. The run was only 3.5 miles, but it felt so awesome to run just for fun and the freedom it affords me. I ran at my natural pace and enjoyed every second of it.
Running & fund-raising: My mom has Parkinson’s Disease and to turn a big negative as positive as I could, I began raising money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. About a year later, I decided to start running and soon got a crazy idea to run the NYC Marathon for “Team Fox.” Without the support of my donors, this previous couch potato never would have finished training. Now I can’t imagine not raising money through my running. The two go hand-in-hand in my life. Team Fox gives me hope and each step I take gets us closer to a cure.
The “NYC non-Marathon”: I was crushed when the NYC Marathon was cancelled. This was my third NYC Marathon for Team Fox and so many people had donated on my behalf. I felt I was letting them down. Plus, I’d dedicated this marathon to my dad, my mom’s main caregiver, months earlier. Luckily, my running buddy Alison suggested we run in Central Park on Marathon Sunday. We ran 26.2 miles in that very hilly park together, helping each other along. In many ways, the non-marathon was more moving than the last two NYC marathons. There was no finisher’s medal, but there was satisfaction in knowing that I ran 26.2 for my dad.
No music for this runner (most of the time): I don’t run with music. Seriously, I never have, but I might change that soon. When I need a power song to push me through I sing to myself, and out loud at times. I generally sing “Eye of the Tiger,”,“I Will Survive,” or “Simply the Best” by Tina Turner. Sometimes a kid’s song gets stuck in my head too. The SpongeBob Squarepants theme was the worst!
Building Blocks: My first run four years ago was two blocks and I almost threw up at the end. I’ve now finished three marathons/non-marathons. There are three things I credit for reaching my goals and continuing to run. First, I built up to 26.2 slowly. I used Jeff Galloway’s Run-Walk plan and I stuck to it. Second? Raising money! I don’t think I would have finished my first marathon without knowing that people had donated on my behalf. Now my biggest motivators are my running buddies. Having someone to meet at a specific time gets me out of bed and I love spending time with each one of them. They are my version of therapy.
Goals for 2013: This next year I want to get faster in short races. I want to run a sub-26 minute 5K. I also want to complete at least three triathlons. I finished my first triathlon back in August and I think I’m officially hooked! I haven’t decided if I want to run the 2013 NYC Marathon for Team Fox. The training takes so much time. I’m not ready to make that decision yet.