The 4D Story ...
 
 Not all of us can run ...
 
 ... do you ever think of those that can't run?
We too often take our ability to run for granted.


My friend Dee Gerber has Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and has been very supportive of my running. Sometime during the week of June 17 she asked me if I had a race during the upcoming weekend and I confirmed that I did.
 
She asked if I could do her a favor. She asked me to think about her and of those that can't run when I hit the 1-mile mark on that weekend's 5K. My initial response to her was that I would make a point to think of those that can't run every time I hit a mile during a race.


 
As I thought about this request all week, I thought about how fortunate I was to be able to run. I thought about how running is not an option for all of us. I decided to make a little pin that simply read 4D—as in I am running "For Dee" since she can't. This first 'pin' was literally just the 2 characters 4 D printed out on paper from my at-home-printer and stuck on my jersey with bobby pins just like our race bibs.
 
That race was the first 5K I entered that had a hill in it—a rather huge hill. We had to do 2 laps and by the time I reached the top of the first lap, I was thinking these people are crazy. Why would you have a hill in a 5K? I had ignorantly assumed that 5K races were always flat courses. I wasn't sure I had it in me to do a second lap and realized I had no reason to. Why put myself through this type of misery and pain? I can just stop running.
 
Then I remembered that I had the 4D on my shirt. Who was I to question a second lap when so many don't even have the option of attempting the first one? So I pressed on with new inspiration. I would have quit that race if it wasn't for Dee Gerber.
 
The following weekend I ran my first out-of-state 5K in the Bronx, NYC. About an hour before the race I realized I forgot my 4D sheets of paper so I scrambled—or rather scribbled—4D onto a fast-food napkin and stuck it on my jersey.
 
 After two races of wearing 4D, I started thinking more about what it means and I decided that it can also be running 4D (as in an abbreviated "For Dystrophy"). Although Dee was the original inspiration for the idea, I think 4D could be worn by runners to signify their support of anyone that can't run for whatever reason.
 
Deciding my commitment to this effort was greater than napkins and printer paper, I opened a CafePress store for 4D merchandise HERE. This is when I decided to create an actual 4D logo with the word DYSTROPHY inside of the letter D. I opened the store so I could purchase a real pin to wear. The CafePress site automatically creates a store with all sorts of merchandise with your logo on it.
 
Within a day of sharing the link to the store online, I got questions from bikers, hikers and swimmers about their willingness to support the 4D Mission. So the next day I opened CafePress stores for Swimmers, Hikers, and Bikers. The initial profits from the stores will be used to purchase pins to hand out to runners. If the stores are financially successful, the profits will be donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).
 
 I also decided that I was going to run a 5K in all 50 states to share the message, or at the very least, carry the pin onward. Knowing this was an awesome task, I originally set realistic goals of being a weekend warrior and hitting states as the race schedules made it convenient.
 
With the popularity of 5K racing, I realized that it was actually easy to string a few states together in one weekend. This really inspired me and gave me a new challenge of running multiple races in a short time span. As I built a race schedule to finish out 2013 I began to realize that I might actually have 27 states, D.C. and Jamaica (twice) done by Jan. 1, 2014. That is over half of the country in the first 6 months.
 
 This in turn inspired a very unrealistic goal of running a 5K in all 50 states ... in 1 year. Or is it unrealistic?
 
 It wasn't. The story (literally) continues here.

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