Well, I did it… I survived.

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: April 29, 2013

Active in NWI Graphic

It is amazing what some people will do when faced with hardship and tragedy. The incident at the Boston Marathon had so many people band together to help and support the victims and their families so quickly. Recent events these past few years have taught us Americans two things: kindness can come in many forms, and there is never a shortage of people who want to help.

Deanna Grimes wanted to help. After what happened in Boston, she decided to pay tribute to those who were hurt in any way at the Marathon along with those who rose to the occasion to help amidst the tumult and confusion. This piece shows not only how she is Active in NWI, but also why she LOVES being active in this great nation of ours.

deanna-grimesWritten by Deanna Grimes

Well, I did it... I survived.

26.20 miles of training;

4 hours 30 minutes from start to finish;

Actual running time 4 hours 18 minutes;

2 bathroom/water refill breaks;

1 amazing day of weather;

1 amazing runner running with me.

Rewind a few years…

I moved to Northwest Indiana from Cincinnati in 2007. In 2008 and into 2009 I decided for the first time in my life to get into shape by running. I lost nearly 50 pounds in that time. In the beginning I started with some basic walking/running. I went from Couch to 5K. My first official road 5K was the Portage Turkey Trot in 2009. A good friend Sara Post told me after the Turkey Trot she was going to join Nikki Huber's half marathon training program. I told Sara she was crazy but then signed up myself. We trained together and completed the Indy 500 Half Marathon in May 2010. From here on I was addicted.

I have run 2 marathons, 1 trail marathon, more half marathons than I can remember as well as other races. I joined the Calumet Region Striders in 2010 when I started my half marathon training. Being part of the Striders and running in Northwest Indiana gives me a sense of family. Since my family lives so far away going to race here feels like a family reunion. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging and I couldn't ask for a better

Now back to present day…

deanna-grimes-2The could not have gone better. My running friend Dan, who was crazy enough to agree to come along for the long run, set out with me on the bike trail at 91st Street. We went all the way past Crown Point High School and down around the nearby neighborhoods. Before I knew it, the miles were flying by. We headed back toward Crown Point and all the way the Meijer in Merrillville for my planned bathroom/water refill break. Then we set down a few streets in Merrillville. We tried to run through a neighborhood to get in some distance but it turned out not to be much. We decided to head back toward our cars and if we had to we would just pass them up. As we neared mile 20 I started to smile... I was doing it. I even said to Dan I can't believe we have run 21 miles because this has been way too easy. Then we got closer to mile 22 I felt like I needed another bathroom break and the port-a-potty I planned on using was missing from the park. So I decided I would wait until we got to Starbucks.

They kindly let me use their restroom and I was able to refill with a little more water. I didn't really need to go this was a total mental block. Then we hit the bike trail back to our cars. We were 2.10 miles short. So we went a mile past our cars to complete the full 26.2 miles.

I told Dan that I wanted to dedicate this run to the city of Boston. We did. It was an amazing feeling. Dan and I run with a group of runners who headed to the Louisville Marathon, so this was all of our winter training that we have done.

Now I know I thought I can truly make it another 5 miles because I did not bend or break. I feel good. So my goals of doing the Tyron Farm 50K are still in my sites... I only hoped I would feel this good when I ran my 10 mile race at the Apple Orchard. The thing that I really took away from the day’s run is that I was able to run. I just keep thinking of all those who were hurt or injured in Boston. This run was for the those who cannot run. That day I didn't run for me... I ran for those who can't.

"Family."

{valpo}Check out last week's submission about Eric Beschinski!{/valpo}{laporte}Check out last week's submission about Eric Beschinski!{/laporte}{portage}Check out last week's submission about Eric Beschinski!{/portage}

So are you Active in NWI? We want to know about it! Send out your story and a few photos to {valpo}share@valpolife.com{/valpo}{portage}share@portagelife.com{/portage}{laporte}share@laportecountylife.com{/laporte}{nwindiana}share@nwindianalife.com{/nwindiana}!