When I first had the idea of doing a trek across Maryland it seemed crazy. Then it came up again during a Happy Hour for Cool Kids Campaign in the spring of 2014. There was a cycling team traversing the East Coast and donating money to our charity. Perhaps it was a wine infused conversation that evening that made me think I could do this. But the more I thought about it, everything fit! The key elements in my story fit! What it all came back to were the numbers. My age when I almost lost my leg, my age doing the first trek, the year, and much more.
Numbers are very important to me. I can’t explain why, but maybe having a mild form of dyslexia helped numbers make more sense than words sometimes. They have meaning. Even Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory has his thing about 73 being the perfect number. I would always see my birth date or even 11:11 on the clock to ‘make a wish’. I know Pi out to 50 places, and so on. It appears everything about this journey was perfect. It is why I set the goal of the particular number $14,000 to raise the first week. We reached that on my final day entering Ocean City, and then jumped to $24,000 after the trek ended.
What I have laid out below relating to the numbers still gives me chills.
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14 – My age when sick and almost losing my leg
41 – My age (in 2014 for the first trek), a reflection of those digits and a great reason to ‘reflect’ on what happened and since. That includes my recovery and all the people that had made me who I am now.
This is why I picked a total of 41 miles (or more) per day to trek.
14– The number of years I was on TV in Baltimore. This has been the longest period of time in any city during my TV career. I started in two station in central New York (WSTM- Syracuse and WBNG- Binghamton). Baltimore was my springboard for my very large social media network I wanted to justify it beyond pride or ego. I never saw it as a popularity contest but rather felt I was blessed to reach a large audience (over 200,000 follows now) and should do something good with it. Good- outside of myself. That is why Cool Kids Plays Such A Big Role.
2014– This year
14th Place: The 2014 winter was hard in Baltimore and it ranked number 14 in snowfall dating back to the 1880s.
14= 2×7: It has been 27 years since my illness and hospital stay. That one reason I picked 27 miles to hike each day for the Cool Kids to hopefully encourage them to believe they can tell their story 27 years from now about when they ‘were sick’ just like I am doing.
14 = 6+8: My height was 68 inches when I got sick, and the drug treatment (Keflex) crushed my thyroid halting my growth then. I continue to take thyroid replacement medication every day.
14– The mile marker I made it to before stopping in my only marathon. It was my friend Kelly LaBare who trained me for that race. I had injured my ITB and tried to let it rest for only 14 days before the race. I stubbornly decided to run, and made it to mile 14.
14:41 This last one gave me chills.
My friend Kelly LaBare is the reason I got into long distance running as an adult. I was a sprinter and never thought of myself as an endurance athlete. Kelley changed that for me. Her untimely death at the age of 25, after I didn’t finish my race made me want to go back and do it for her.
I already had these numbers, the reflection, in mind and printed on this bracelet I still wear today. The ‘:” colon was places with an extra space just as the only separation I could think of. It looks like a time, but not intended to be that way.
A month prior to the first trek, I was informed that there was a memorial race in Kelly’s home town of Binghamton, NY. When I looked up the race on the event website, I found that the course record was set last summer…by Christian Thompson.
I can’t make this stuff up! Click on the image for a larger view. See her memorial race web site with that record time still intact.
I realize that some people see meaning in numbers like I do may have chills like I still do from this. If you don’t, then this is just coincidental. But it’s hard to ignore that there is something here. It just proves to me that this was my mission. My purpose. I was supposed to do this and do it now. AND I DID! Everything played out the was it was supposed to be and I am so grateful to have realized and have the strength and health to carry it out.
**POST RACE FOLLOW UP**
As if I wasn’t nutty enough, on our way home we stopped at Noodles and Co. for dinner. It was the first time my youngest son agreed to go there without a fuss. This was our order number to put on our table:
I share a lot with my boys. I teach them science, hard data, solid conclusions vs. guesses… but also respecting all views and keeping an open mind. I told them about about the numbers and all the other reasons for my trek. So after all of my numbers fit and the trek was over, it still wasn’t. This last 14 at the end of our journey was a surprise.
We weren’t spooked, but had a good laugh. It all fit into place just right.
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