Q&A with Team Reeve New York Participants

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on November 02, 2018 # Fundraising, Team Reeve

With the TCS New York City Marathon just two days away, people are flocking to the Big Apple to participate and cheer on their loved ones. We here at the Reeve Foundation are excited to be cheering on 50 members of Team Reeve who are running, handcycling, and crutching the marathon to raise funds towards our cause. This year’s marathon is also a special one as we have two of our own staff members Dianna and Kim running on the Foundation’s behalf. In between their daily work lives and training, we were able to sit down with them and ask about their training process.

Why are you running?

Dianna: I needed to prove to myself that I could do it. The challenge of completing a marathon was very intriguing to me. I’m a goal-oriented person, so having something to work toward that I knew I could achieve was helpful. I work very closely with colleagues in the office, like Alan Brown and Eric LeGrand, who are both living with spinal cord injuries. Their injuries don’t stop them from living their best lives, and they don’t let the challenges of everyday life get in their way. After that, I thought, “Where I work has a really worthy cause, and it would mean so much more to me in training.” If I didn’t have the fundraising goal in mind, it would be easy to quit otherwise. That really gave me a push to keep doing what I’m doing.

Kim: I’m running because I believe so strongly in the Reeve Foundation, and I want to help raise funds because, while I help on the policy side, money is what makes the world go ‘round

Why do you believe marathons are among the most impactful ways to make a difference/fundraise?

Dianna: Originally, the idea of doing almost 30 miles in one day, it almost feels like people are climbing a metaphorical mountain. When I read more about it, understood the history of the marathon, I realized it wasn’t impossible to do — even though you have to work really hard to finish — I realized I wanted to be in that elite group of people who said they would do something and finish it. When you’re compacting that with a challenge of “I can do this” and “people need my help,” you can do anything.

Kim: Friends and supporters want to help you succeed, and I think people are usually really impressed by others taking on huge endeavors. I certainly give to others when they approach me when they’re doing something huge. I’m from New York, so I think people know that the NYC marathon is such an extraordinary thing, on top of it. People want to support people taking on challenges. And connecting it to Superman is emphasizing that it’s taking on a huge physical feat.

What has training been like? How have you been preparing?

Dianna: When I first started out in the spring, I would beat the humidity with early morning runs. I would choose places to run where I knew I had beautiful scenery to run by, like trails and interesting places to keep my mind distracted from running. I eat a lot of protein to help keep my muscles strong, and I now do a lot of yoga and stretching to keep my body rested and not overworked. I want a fresh body for when I do the long run.

Kim: Any sort of long-distance event, I’ve always walked. I walk pretty fast, but the run/walk method is new to me. I’ve never done that before. Mark, the Team Reeve coach, has helped me. In the beginning, he just wanted me to be outside for long periods of time. Long runs have been important. That’s where you build your endurance. I also use a marathon training program app by Hal Higdon, so I’ve been training with that and Mark, and doing 3-4 days a week of run/walk.

The New York City Marathon spans all five boroughs. What part of the city are you most excited to run through?

Dianna: Central Park because 1) it will be the finish and 2) I’m such a huge Central Park fan. The woman I work the closest at the Reeve Foundation wrote a book about Central Park bridges, and she really opened my eyes to all the beautiful little things that it took to make Central Park as unique and wonderful as it is. When I reach the border of the park I think I will feel relaxed because it’s near the end, so I’m excited to see it once I’ve finished, from that perspective.

Kim: To be honest, even though I’m from Long Island, I’ve never been to Staten Island in my whole life, so that I’m pretty psyched about. I love Brooklyn, so I’m excited to run through there. Central Park is such a symbolic place, so that will be exciting, too.

What is your advice for anyone thinking about running in a marathon?

Dianna: The only advice I would give is to enjoy the whole process. I found that the most rewarding thing for me is to see how far I’ve come physically. I’m kind of still in shock that I’m doing it. A little bit of work and discipline took me a long way. I would say be proud of yourself for doing it at all. And if you’re going to do something like this, something already awe-inspiring, why not capitalize on that and see if you can raise a few dollars for an organization you believe in? Fundraising makes it more rewarding because there’s added pressure and a mental challenge.

Kim: I think it’s important to challenge yourself to be uncomfortable. People who live with paralysis are uncomfortable every day, and for those of us who don’t live with disabilities, it’s important to not always be comfortable. You just have to test your mind and body. Don’t hurt yourself, though. You have to take care of yourself and follow a plan and the advice of those who have done it before you. You have to mentally train yourself to know you’ll be out there a long time, too.

What is your mantra going to be for the day of the race?

Dianna: What I tell myself when I’m running is, “keep pushing.” And positive reinforcement for myself like, “you’ve got this, girl.”

Kim: “Be where your feet are.” My friends told me that a couple months ago when I started doing longer runs. Instead of wishing it to be over, it reminds me to not be completely distracted.

What are you most looking forward to about the marathon?

Dianna: When I was there last year, one of the things that really got to me was the positive and supportive energy from the crowd. I’m looking forward to taking a break from the negativity that’s in the news and being among the hundreds of thousands of people who are there to just cheer people on and be a part of something positive. I’m just looking forward to standing at the start line and getting that gasp in my breath of “this is so cool and I can’t wait to take it on.”

Kim: Well, of course, it’s New York. I was a cheerleader for Team Reeve last year, and I hadn’t been around the marathon in many years…and I had forgotten what it’s like there. The people there are everyday people, and I’m excited to be with this mass of them, just to travel through the city with them. And, of course, finishing.

Who will be there cheering you on?

Dianna: I am so lucky to have so many people coming. My parents are hosting a brunch in my honor, and then making their way into the city. My two sisters and boyfriend are also coming. My city friends are going to be on the sidelines cheering, having a good time in the cold. I can’t even tell you how happy that makes me feel to have people cheering me on.

Kim: My twin and brother-in-law are coming in from Atlanta. My aunt and uncle — who’s a former NYPD officer, so maybe he worked a NYC Marathon at some point — will also be there, along with a couple of friends.

Learn more about Team Reeve

Support Team Reeve New York by visiting https://give.reeve.org/nycmarathon18