WESLEY CHAPEL — For Trish Trout and her children Alexa and Adam, "family time" usually means a trip to the beach or a ball game.
Recently, however, the Wesley Chapel mom found an innovative way to celebrate Mother's Day early this year. She invited her kids to watch her run in the 2014 Boston Marathon.
Alexa, 17, and Adam, 14, waited at mile 6 of the 26.2-mile race, greeting their mom with bananas, water and plentiful high fives.
"My kids were the ultimate pit crew," said Trout, 39, who lives in Meadow Pointe. "I knew where they'd be in the race and I was looking for them. My kids kept me going."
And as much as her kids supplied her with refreshments and inspiration during the race, Trout wanted them to take away valuable life lessons from the marathon experience.
"I wanted to show them that if they set their mind to it, they can do anything," she said. "I wanted to encourage them to stay active and think of something apart from themselves."
It was a philanthropic spirit that motivated Trout to claim her place among 36,000 runners in this year's marathon.
"I ran cross country in high school and was the slowest person on the team," she said with a laugh.
Although competitive racing never came easily for Trout, she took up marathon running as a means of helping others. She ran half marathons as a part of Team Freedom, part of the radio station Joy FM's efforts to fight human trafficking. And as a charity runner in Boston last month, she has raised more than $11,000 on behalf of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, with all funds generated going to support the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research.
As the daughter of a cancer survivor and a onetime patient service representative at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Trout feels she has a personal connection to people battling this disease.
"Many of the patients I worked with became close, like part of my family," she said. "And when my father was diagnosed, it really hit home."
Trout dedicated each mile of her Boston Marathon run to an individual cancer patient. Mile 21 was dedicated to her dad, George (Pappy) Pacich, a five-year cancer survivor.
All of the honorees' names were listed on the back of Trout's running shirt.
"Every mile meant something," she said.
Son Adam expressed pride in her efforts.
"My mom is pretty cool," said Adam, an eighth-grader at John Long Middle School. "She's sweet, a good person to be around. She does good things."
In many ways Trout regards her day-to-day life as something of a race. Now a quality assurance analyst with the 352 Inc. digital agency in Tampa, the divorced mom works 40 hours a week, always making it home in time to give her kids a homemade dinner.
She devotes herself to frequent Bible studies and charity projects — she also helped spearhead Uncork the Cure, the Krewe of Zingaro's fundraising event that benefits the Children's Cancer Research Group in Tampa as well as the athletic career of daughter Alexa, a top-scoring diver and National Honor Society student at Wiregrass Ranch High School.
"My mom puts my little brother and me first," said Alexa. "If there's anything we need, she's right there."
As Alexa saw her mom run across the finish line at this year's Boston Marathon, her respect grew deeper still.
"When I saw her reach her goal, I knew I could reach mine," she said.
Beyond their words of praise, her children made a $100.99 donation to Dana-Farber.
"From Alexa and Adam," reads a pledge statement found on Trout's fundraising page, "in support of Momma Trout."