I began this battle just over two years ago as a way to fight the depression that was mentally restricting me from doing so many many things in my life. They felt like chains constricting me and holding me tight. Running was my way of escaping from them and the endorphins I got from running enabled me to move through life with a semblance of competency even though all I wanted to do was curl up and stare at the wall all day. Eventually I got better and those moments were few and far between. Last year, I got involved with Team in Training with a good friend and my battle started anew. I wasn’t just running to escape my own demons any longer. I was running because others could not. To raise money for cancer patients and cancer research and to make a difference in the lives of those around me. Cancer’s been on the peripherals of my life almost since high school. The firstborn of a family friend was diagnosed with AML, Acute Myeloid Leukemia before he could even finish elementary school. The information provided to his family by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society became almost like a bible to them for those dark days. Jimmy was lucky though. He’s 5 years out of Chemo and even though he’ll always continue to go in for checkups, he’s considered CURED and is happily married and living life like any other person. But not everyone is so lucky. My grandmother, my aunt Darline and Sweetie (another family friend) all fought their battles against various forms of cancer and lost. People like Derek Miller, @Tommusic and so many many others lost their battle. People like My Tam are beginning their battles and starting on that painful journey of therapy. I run for all of them. To remember those we’ve lost, to celebrate the battles won and because there are those still in treatment who can not even run to the toilet, much less 13.1 miles. A cancer survivor and fellow teammate I recently met put it most eloquently…. I run until there’s a cure.
This week has been a hard mental battle of chaos for me. Even though it’s my 2nd half marathon, this is the first one that I’ve had to manage all the details on my own. Even though I’ve had the support of my Team, there’s no one to tell me to be someplace by a certain time, or guide me to the starting corral. I’ve pulled back from many activities as I manage my idiosyncrasies that cause me to panic about every little minute detail involved. Will I have enough GU to get me to the finish line? Will my Plantar Faciitis act up mid race? Do I drive down to the start line or take the shuttle from downtown? What time do I need to wake up? What’s the best foods to get me fueled enough this week so mid-run I don’t feel like hurling? Will my socks chafe against my foot? Crazy yeah? I’m better now. I stopped and took a few hours yesterday to focus on simple non-sensical tasks like unpacking and then went to have dinner with some Teammates. But tomorrow will still be Chaos. I’ll miss tonight’s Summerfest concert so I can be in bed early for a 430am Wakeup. But I’ll love every moment. I’m remembering last November as I ran my 1st event. The family members of others cheering us all on. Perfect strangers cheering my name as they read it off my Team in Training Jersey, the Soliders lined up with a Flag Salute in Madrona Park, and most especially crossing the finish line.
Will I see you there?
Tomorrow’s race is for My Tam. I’ve yet to meet her, but we’re both friends with Liz. My Tam has a great support system of friends who are helping her with my battle. We should all be so lucky.