A blog about resources for autism and care and treatment.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Sticker

by Laura Marroquin
Mom of 3, one recovered from autism; Director of Program and Development at ACT Today!

Laura, second from left

The sticker on my car proudly displays, “13.1.”  To some, it is just a number. To me, it is a badge of pride. I didn’t start running with Train 4 Autism with the goal of completing a half marathon. I just wanted to be able to finish the 10k that I had signed up for last April. For the past 3 years, ACT Today!, the charity with whom I work, has been hosting a 5k/10k in San Diego with proceeds benefiting our military program. 
 (Register now for our April 6th event: 


I have run 5ks in the past but my 13-year-old daughter Amber and I decided that this year we would challenge ourselves to finish the 10k.We all run for different reasons and we all come to be a part of Train 4 Autism because we support those impacted with autism. I continued to run after completing my 10k in April because Amber loved it and it was something healthy that we could do together. Granted, I was always 10 minutes behind her on our training runs, but working towards a common goal with your teenager was priceless. Unfortunately, two months before the Long Beach Marathon, Amber was experiencing too much knee pain and had to postpone achieving her half marathon goal.

By this time, I was feeling stronger and enjoyed the encouragement from the others in the Train 4 Autism Orange County chapter. After completing the 12-mile training run in September, I was confident that I would finish the half marathon in October. As the event approached, I realized that I needed to be both physically and mentally prepared for race day. I took an inventory of my life and the challenges I have endured and overcame. One great challenge that I deal with daily is that I have type 1 diabetes and am required to wear an insulin pump to manage my blood sugar. Exerting myself in a half marathon is a huge juggling act in relation to managing my fuel intake and medicine. If I told you I wasn’t nervous about it I would be lying.

During the last few miles of the half marathon, I needed to pull from my “mental shoebox” that I had prepared for the race. Type 1 diabetes, rounds of infertility shots followed by premature twins who spent their first 6 weeks in the NICU, relentless tantrums from my son who was diagnosed with autism, a stressed out marriage and financial struggles – these were some of the challenges in my life that I have experienced and withstood. As I ran those last miles, I thought, if I can handle these challenges and survive, I can certainly run 13.1 miles. And so you see why the 13.1 sticker that is displayed on the back of my car window is much more than a number, it is a badge of pride.

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