A Journal of our Journeys

Hot Chocolate 5K

So I’ve signed up for my first 5K since I moved back to Georgia, the hot chocolate 5K, and I’m super excited about it.  The last 5K I did was in Florida, and that’s kind of like running on a treadmill because the terrain is so flat.  So I need to do some serious preparation for this one.  The first thing I did was to go onto Pinterest and start a board called hot chocolate 5K.  This does a couple of things.  First it allows me to find motivational articles, helpful tips, and nutritional recommendations.  The second thing it does is remind me to stay motivated.  The way it does this is that once I create a new board Pinterest will send me emails every few days or so with recommendations for new pins to add to that board.  Even if I don’t do anything with those pins, I still have that reminder that “hey, I’m doing this 5K in six weeks or so and I need to get on it.”  I haven’t done very many 5K’s so I can’t really speak on how other races help its participants prepare, but the hot chocolate 5K sent out an email with a six week training program to help me get ready.  I don’t quite have six weeks, so I’m increasing the intensity of the  training program.  But, strangely, the six week training program that the hot chocolate 5K sent me is more motivational to me than any of the pins I have found.

Photo courtesy of the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k Facebook page.

The best part about doing this 5K is the charity that it supports.  The hot chocolate 5K supports the Ronald McDonald house, a charity that is very close to my heart.  When my son was born there were complications.  It turns out that I have a genetic anomaly.  I can never remember the name because it is a full fifteen syllables long, no, I’m not exaggerating.  Anyway, it causes my antibodies to attack my baby. When my son was born his platelet count started to drop inexplicably.  He was transferred to NICU, neonatal intensive care unit, and a few days later, when my antibodies that were in his blood stream, started to die off his platelet count began to rise.  His was a very mild case.  It can be very severe, and can even cause death.  Thankfully that did not happen, praise the Lord!  The point of this story is that when my son was in NICU I was able to stay at the local Ronald McDonald House.  The Ronald McDonald house was a whopping two blocks from The Children’s Hospital, and if I hadn’t just had major abdominal surgery, I could’ve walked to the hospital.  The cost to stay at the Ronald McDonald house was about $10 a night.  They ask that you help out with one chore a day, although they were pretty lenient with me because they knew that my child was newborn and that I would be at the hospital pretty much from dawn to dusk and beyond.  Despite their leniency, I still tried to pitch in as much as I could.  The Ronald McDonald house was amazing!  The kitchen was always stocked with food.  There was always fruit, cereal, and yogurt so I could eat in the morning when I woke up and at night before I went to bed.  The beds were comfortable, and had a private bathroom.  The only thing that the rooms did not have was a TV, which was a problem only because I really needed that distraction.  Thankfully I had my laptop and a couple DVDs so I was able to turn something on and just tune out when I got back from the hospital.  The Children’s Hospital that my son was in NICU at was a good 45 minutes from my home.  The first night he was there it was too late to check into the Ronald McDonald house, and so rather than getting a hotel room in Jacksonville Florida, we did go home because my poor husband had to go to work the next day.  To this day I consider going home without my son the worst decision I’ve ever made in a long life of bad decisions.  After that night I decided that I would not return home again until he was with me.  So even if my home hadn’t been so far from the hospital, I still would have needed the service that Ronald McDonald house provided.  Without it I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through the stress of that week.  Having a place to go that had a comfortable bed, nice people who knew exactly what I was going through, and food to eat that was easy to prepare, but wasn’t home, was the only thing that allowed me to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
I look back at that week and I marvel at the strength that my husband and I found in ourselves.  The entire nine months that you’re pregnant you worry about this kind of thing.  “What am I going to do if something terrible happens when my child is born?  How will I make it through?  How will I know what the right decisions are to make?”  When that did happen I found that we made it through the day, and then we made it through the night, and then the next day, and the next day, and the next day.  I don’t even remember being scared that week that he was in the hospital.  This was just something that we had to get through, in fact I didn’t feel the fear of that week until after it was over.  I give credit to my husband, and my parents, and my friends, and my family for supporting me and giving me the strength that I needed to get through that week.  But I also credit the Ronald McDonald house because it wasn’t home.  It wasn’t familiar.  It wasn’t the place that I was supposed to bring my baby back to.  It was just a place that was welcoming and understanding. It was just there.
If you would like to help me raise money for the Ronald McDonald house, then just click here.  And thank you.

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