Athlete Name: Cyndi Gross
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Education: Wake Forest University | Washington University in St. Louis.
Tell us a little about yourself
I am so honored to be chosen as the official Team Boomer Athlete of the Month for January 2020. I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at the age of one, and my older sister, Laura, has CF as well. I have a wonderful, supportive husband, Jonathan, and we have two sweet children ages 6 and 9. I work as an attorney, and my favorite hobby is running. I started running in my 30s by first just trying to run to the end of the street. I slowly worked up to running my first 5K in 2012. After running in 5Ks for a few years, I wanted a new challenge. So in the spring of 2015, I trained for my first half marathon. At the end of the race, I was so amazed that I could run 13.1 miles. I have stayed very active since finishing my first half marathon, and I have now completed 9 half marathons and 2 full marathons – including running the New York City Marathon with Team Boomer.
“I am motivated to keep running so that I stay healthy and live a long life for my husband and children."
Tell us what motivates you the most.
I am motivated to keep running so that I stay healthy and live a long life for my husband and children. I love setting a far-reaching goal (like running the NYC Marathon!) and staying determined until I achieve that goal. Running has been a constant challenge for me, with facing injuries and illnesses and some very rough long runs. But after every race, I take time to reflect on that training season, and the dedication it took to get to the finish line, and I am so proud of myself.
Why do you exercise? Tell us a little about your marathon training.
I have never felt better since I started running. I feel so strong! Training for the NYC Marathon was particularly grueling because of the number of miles and the number of long runs that took place in the heat and humidity of the summer and fall in Nashville. I am fortunate that I had three wonderful friends from Nashville train with me for the marathon, and they were my inspiration and support to get through all of the training runs.
What was your pump up song?
I have so many songs on my marathon playlist that pump me up! A few favorites are “Don’t Give Up on Me” by Andy Grammer, “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” by Fall Out Boy, and “Whistle (While You Work It)” by Katy Tiz.
What is your best fundraising tip?
Expand your outreach beyond your immediate family and friends. My parents offered to mail a letter to their extended family and friends about my fundraising efforts for Team Boomer and the NYC Marathon, and we were amazed at the generous response.
How was your overall NYC Marathon experience & do you think this is something you would want to do again?
Running in the NYC Marathon was an amazing experience! It was overwhelming how much support, encouragement, and prayers I received from family and friends. I was grateful to have my three friends from Nashville with me at the Start Village while we waited 4 hours to start the race. We stuck together as a group for most of the race, and one friend stayed with me the entire way until we crossed the finish line together. Along the route, I had family cheering for me at Miles 7, 17, 23, and 25. There were bands, drumlines, music, and people cheering along the entire course. Since I had my name printed on my shirt, people cheered me on by name the whole way too. It was so encouraging! When I got to the last few miles in Central Park, it was surreal to be running where I had seen the NYC Marathon runners on TV the years before. The race felt hard the entire time with the hills and bridges, but the weather was perfect and it was such a tremendous race experience.
I don’t know if I will run the NYC Marathon again, but now I have my eyes set on conquering another big marathon, like Chicago.
I am so grateful for this NYC Marathon experience and will treasure it for the rest of my life. From the bottom of my heart, I am thankful for Team Boomer and for the donors who made my race experience possible and for donating money to benefit Cystic Fibrosis patients.