by Caitlin Graziano
Friends, Family, Veterans, Civilians, and Warriors of all Persuasions--
The training days are upon us and the countdown is getting real. I will be running the NYC Marathon on Sunday November 6th, 2016.
In 2012, I broke through what felt like an impossibility in running my first ever Half Marathon. Alongside a dear friend, I trained hard and made the finish happen at the MORE Women's Half! Just two months later, continuing a tough training schedule of running, jiu-jitsu, and MMA, I sustained an ankle break that echoed across the gym so loudly that my training buddies still ask me if it hurts. I'll never forget someone telling me I may never run again. After surgery to repair my fibula, followed by 9 weeks of recovery, I now permanently wear a metal plate and 6 screws in my ankle. But, of course, I was determined to run again. Since then, I have completed over 10 Half Marathons, continued jiu-jitsu/MMA training, and playing ice hockey and softball—my first loves.
But as you know, running and sports aren’t my only priority. As an AmeriCorps VISTA alum and practicing social worker in NYC, I'm drawn to others who are drawn to service—it's what we do. Running has brought me in contact with more of just that, the phenomenal Veterans Community of NYC. Veterans in this community, quite simply, motivate me to perform my best and never quit. We run to get out of bed in the morning, to be together, to climb whatever ladder we are on. I’m active as both a runner and volunteer with the many veterans, family members, friends and loved ones who make up a tremendous support and advocacy network for NYC’s veterans—it’s an important part of my continued service, and why I’m choosing to raise funds for the NYC Veterans Alliance.
As a runner, I still often wear memorabilia in honor of my mother, who we lost to cancer in 2002, and I run always tipping my hat to my father, who has run over 100 races, including 10 marathons, in his still very active life! The running community helps us get closer to our purpose, to explore our cause, and I relish the journey to continue doing just that.
I ask you to consider donating to The NYC Veterans Alliance as I make my way across NYC on November 6th in conquering my first ever Marathon!