Last weekend was a jam-packed weekend of Sjogrens love and support! Not only was it the Fall Sjogrens Foundation Board Meeting, but Team Sjogrens was in full force at the Las Vegas Rock-n-Roll Marathon.
The 31 participants of this Team Sjogrens Raised over $47,000 for the Foundation and broadened our message. That’s a big woo hoo for several reasons:
- The Team had the largest participation to date with 31 runners in the 10K, 1/2 marathon and marathon. We are growing with Sjogrens patients, and friends and family of patients who run for those they love.
- The $47,000 raised is by Team Sjogrens will go to help support patients and educate medical professionals to better understand Sjogrens.
- Our team t-shirts brought awareness to the general public. So many people asked us about Sjogrens or shared that they know someone with Sjogrens.
As many of you know, I am a patient whose life has changed because of Sjogrens. So WHY did I do this 10K…and HOW did I do this 10K?
Joining Team Sjogrens was a Trade
Every year in early December, the Board of Directors for the Sjogrens Foundation meets in D.C. for our winter Board meeting. This trip is always hard on me — the long flights from/to San Francisco are a challenge and I have often been trapped by storms trying to get out of D.C.
So when I learned that we had a large Team Sjogrens dedicated to the Las Vegas Marathon, I stated that if we moved the Board meeting to Vegas, I would participate in the 10K. Several others agreed that the trade worked for them as well. I traded off the long flying time with a 6.2 mile walk.
What I forgot about was the poor air quality inside the hotels (forced air and Ozium to mask the cigarette smoke, plus the extra perfume in the system for ambience). It was a bit of an assault on my eyes, and nasal cavity. Vegas is a fun and exciting environment of rich entertainment, but be sure to ask questions about this or book a non-smoking hotel if you plan to go. It turned out that the trade was not the 10K, but the air quality inside of the hotel where we held our meetings, dined, and slept all weekend.
My Rock-n-Roll Marathon Experience
I walk 3-5 miles a day with my dog. So I knew that I could add a little more distance and train for the 10K. For me personally, as a walker of the 10K and a patient, it was such a pleasure to join Team Sjogrens and take part in this joyous event because everyone is there to HAVE FUN. There were athletes going for their best times, but there were also people of all ages and fitness levels taking part to have fun, raise awareness for their cause, and to simply take part in something grand.
Before the event began, we had a minute of silence for the Las Vegas victims and their families; it was powerful to hear 30,000 people chatting with excitement and then become completely still. WE were all together in that silence honoring those families. I walked with past Chair of the Sjogrens Board Ken Economou and we had a blast taking part, raising funds, and listening to the five bands along the route to keep us moving. That’s us crossing the finish line in a jog.
Take Aways from Joining Team Sjogrens
I committed to the Las Vegas Rock n Roll out of duty and respect for my role as a Sjogrens Foundation Board member. What I received was something quite surprising.
Like many of you, I can feel isolated and lonely sometimes. I live alone, I work out of my home, and I’m often too fatigued to engage in social activities on the week nights. I do my best to have a positive attitude, but sometimes it is quite challenging, especially when life’s bumps happen. My yoga and meditation practice helps me feel better and stimulates my Vagus Nerve (see why this is important), but nothing beats being fully engaged in an activity with other people.
Being part of this group of 30,000 people made me feel connected to them and the causes they care about. I don’t know them personally, but we were all on the same mission (finish our race) and THAT WAS FUN. My spirit felt so lifted. That feeling has actually lasted for the week. It was well-worth taking the chance of a relapse to receive this reward.
LESSON. It is worth pushing beyond my perceived physical limits in order to gain connection and joy. It is important to test myself (occasionally) to ensure I have not set my limits too low. I had lost touch with how isolated I had become.
If you want to try to walk or jog for Team Sjogrens, you can investigate what it takes here. You may find it lifts your spirits as well. Or stand at the finish line with other Sjogrens patients who cheer their family members on!