Monday, January 30, 2012

Running for My Dad – Danielle

My name is Danielle Taber. I live in Ashaway, RI with my husband Stephen and our three kids, Grace 13, Jack 11 and Lidia 4. I started at Newton-Wellesley in 1997 on a full-time basis and after each child, I cut down hours. I am now about 8 to 16 hours a week. I am primarily a stay-at-home mom but NWH has allowed me the flexibility to manage a busy family and keep up with my credential and enjoy what I love practicing, and that is nutrition. At Newton-Wellesley, I am an acute care dietitian. I have my master's in nutrition and am a Registered Licensed Dietitian.

I'm a “soccer mom” in the literal sense. My oldest daughter, Grace, is a die-hard soccer player and plays on a Premiere team, a competitive club team and a recreational team. My son Jack plays on a competitive club team. My four year old will play in the fall, but for now does a lot of traveling in state and out of state for games and tournaments. She's a good sport to say the least. Between games and practices, I'm spread fairly thin.

I never ran until after I had my third child at 36 years old. It was a dark winter that year and I knew if I didn't get out of the house, I would go crazy. My mother-in-law bought me a jogger, I got some running shoes and off I went with my newborn baby all bundled up. I walked at first and then started running. A few months later I ran a 10-mile race and that fall, a half marathon. I have done another half marathon since and a few other 10-mile races. I haven't done tons of running but I have a “bucket list”. It includes getting my nose pierced, which I did at 39 years old, running a half marathon, running a marathon (in particular Boston), and several other things I intend to do in the future.

I'm embarrassed to say that I don’t have a specific training plan. I just run on a regular basis and do weight training. I run three times a week. Typically two short runs and a long run, but I primarily let my body dictate how far I go. There are some days my body just doesn't want to run far, so I settle for short and vice versa. With each week, I set out to do more mileage if I'm going to run a race. I usually try to overshoot the number of miles the race is for; hence, I work to 17 miles if I have to run 13 (I don't think I'll overshoot for the marathon though!). I figure if I get to 20 to 23 miles, I'll be good. In between runs, I do workouts with weights and strength training. My biggest issue will be figuring out how to replenish and hydrate during the race. I've been know to get up early in the morning, drink a cup of coffee and head out for a long run. I've done 17 miles that way. I know I won't get away running 26 miles that way. So I have a little research I need to do on that one before I get into the higher miles during training.

I want to do Boston because for several years I worked Patriot's Day and would always go and watch the runners. I guess I just thought that someday it would be cool to be a part of this particular race but I never actually thought I would eventually pick up running as a hobby and actually run myself. People come from everywhere to run this race and the crowds cheering them on are phenomenal.

I sure training will change my life to some degree, but not too much. I've always been pretty fit, working out about five to six times per week on a regular basis. Sure my long runs will take me longer but I'm fortunate to have three days during the week when all my kids are in school. My last one just started preschool this year, so those hours will be used to run.

I'm going to say my biggest concern about running is the possibility that maybe while I'm training, I'll injure myself. I already have an issue; I am going to physical therapy to fix a hip/back problem that I've had for years. My right hip is rotated forward. It needs a little fixing to help improve my running form. So things like this make me a bit nervous.

I am certain that I will cross the finish line though. My dad always said I could anything if I put my mind to it. Unfortunately he was diagnosed with a rare form of NHL, July 2011. I took him and my mom from their home in Maine back to RI to live with me while he underwent treatment at Dana Farber. He fought a good fight, but his cancer was stronger than he was. He was gone within four months. The disease took my dad without mercy. My dad was one of the strongest people I knew but not strong enough for this. So I run in his memory. He was many things to me, a great father, a best friend, a phenomenal grandfather and someone who was always there to listen or offer advice if needed. I miss him a lot but I know in my heart he is in a better place. So this one is for him and I know he'll be with me in spirit. I look forward to the fundraising aspect of this event. It is a great feeling to know that this money goes to help those people like my dad.