It’s now less than one week to race day and there’s a lot I have to do. For one, I need to finish unpacking and doing regular household chores left and/or created since I returned from San Diego. The cat seems is also sick again so the fun of pet worries abound. Joy. Also, poor kitty!
Some of you are waiting for race reports from Portland and San Diego. Yes, I PR’d both events and was extremely joyful about both experiences. I learned a few things about myself in the process!
Last night, however, I realized I wanted to talk about something else today. I was doing laundry so i would be able to actually run when I want to make the effort. (all my running bottoms and bras were dirty) As sometimes happens I found the drawer full of running gear a bit overflowing and made the time to sort through singlets, shorts & self wicking socks to remove the winter gear into storage. I also moved a growing stack of memories to the side. Bittersweet memories running through my mind that brought up thoughts of 7am mission moments that moved me to tears as I learned of how cancer changed a child’s life from one of playgrounds and hopscotch to chemo and blood counts. Thoughts of heart wrenching emails from afar describing the pain and loneliness of undergoing clinical trials. Memories of the smiles and laughter of loved ones taken by cancer. But mostly it brought back thoughts of how much cancer affects all of us and how far we are from eradicating these diseases. It brought home how often the word comes up every week without a reference to the word “Cure”.
When I say the drawer overfloweth, I’m not joking. The only thing that gets folded is socks so that I can grab a pair quickly and go. Everything else is a jumble since what I plan to use is mood and weather dependant. (Because, you know, Snow in April…). I pulled these memories out of the drawer and neatly folded them for the shelf. I thought of each of these lovely people added to my jersey hours before race time. Each served as an inspiration to me not just on race day, but the entire time I’ve known them. Liz and Sweetie were the first one. My first race, my first half marathon my original inspriations. Two beautiful women who inspire me to be more. Sadly one was taken by Thyroid Cancer, but the other lives with a Joie de Vivre that serves as an inspiration to others around her. Six months later Liz told me about her friend My Tam who was beginning her battle. A beautiful woman with a love for words and creator of delectible image and dishes, she is also thankfully beating her cancer. CURE! is a word that can be applicable to her life. JOY! is another applicable word as it always seems she lives her life filled with it. Another six months passed and my aunt was taken from me. Darline was a beautiful person in life who taught her kids to live with joy. Lung Cancer was the villian that took her too soon. Cheri has been the latest. her name adorned my jersey in “Sunny” San Diego a few short weeks ago. And I say Sunny tounge in cheeck because there seemed to have been a perpetual cloud our entire weekend there. Only to disappear shortly after we flew out. Normally I’d say “What the hell?” but really it helped. I digress though. Cheri I met a few years ago. Like many of my other inspirations, she was full of joy and an eagerness to learn and experience. No small feat given that she was french. Cheri was the mother of a friend of mine and it was shocking to see what cancer did to her. I can say I wish I had spent more time with her, I wish I had known her better, but the truth is that she was put into my life at the exact moment I needed her. I thought about her a lot in San Diego….
Race day, as I said, is now upon us. Emails fly back and forth between my friends and I as we coordinate race day details. Where to meet, who’s carpooling with who and such. It’s a crazy time of chaos which leads me to thoughts of that bottom jersey. It’s blank because I haven’t chosen my inspiration yet. it’s not a methodical choice, nor is it instant. It’s just one of those inherent things that “come to me” when the moment is right. I told someone earlier today that after doing 2 12K “practice” runs and 2 half marathons (complete with PR’s) in the past month and a half, at this point, I hope to just finish as healthy as I started, completely inspired by my team of purple warriors out there beating the road down for a cancer cure.
I’ve been struggling with my goals this season. Both in running and fundraising. I started the year saying I wanted to PR all my races this year and I would spend the time in road to make sure that it happened. (This means to beat all my current records) But once January waned like many resolutions, my resolve slowly melted away.
I can make lots of excuses as to why. The weather was wacky enough to keep it bone chilling cold. (and it’s hard to run outside in weather like that). No gym membership meant that I had no treadmill alternative to use. My normal cohorts, Michelle and Teri, both got busy with life and were difficult to schedule weekly runs with. and I just plain didn’t want to get out of bed to go to a 30-40-60 minute run a half hour away in the rain. wha wha wha. lots and lots of whining. But some pretty miraculous things happened lately that made me realize how thankful I should be.
First, Carol Toro called and asked me to do a mission moment for a team run. She said that she found me to be a great inspiration and she wanted me to share my TNT story. (So I told the story of Jimmy, a SURVIVOR of childhood AML) Second, a gal I know via Twitter and the general interwebs of Seattle, decided with her family to form a team and walk Relay for Life. She does this because her mother and cousin are both battling Cancer in their own way. A family of fighters and survivors to be sure. Third, another local Seattlelite tweeted/facebooked his wait from the OR waiting room while the love of his life lay on an Operating Room Table having Cancer removed from her breast. All these things are singularly breathtaking in their own right. You (or at least I) feel emotion when I read these words. They were all great reminders of how thankful I am to have the life I have.
So back up on the horse I got today. With diffuculty as my boyfriend Justin will tell you. He almost had to push me out the door. But out I went for 40 minutes on a day that would not normally be a run day. Alone as I haven’t done in quite a while. And I thought about these people and how lucky I am to have them, even peripherally, in my life. How I am thankful to have my friends and family share time with me day after week after month. How lucky I am to have my health. I think about how cancer tried to take loved ones away from one gal and how they told Cancer to EFF OFF! How wonderful it is to see their family bond as a unit. (Because not every family does or can). I thought about that guy and his wait and how happy he was to have it over. Most of all I thought about how important those 40 minutes were today and the 40 I have planned for tomorrow. For each of those minutes will help fight cancer through donations from my friends and family. And if you donate 10 cents or $10,0000 I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
And let me not forget to say Thank You. Thank you to my family and friends for loving my crazy self for exactly who I am. For being exactly who you are & being right where I’ve always needed you in life. Thank You to my co-workers and customers for keeping me more humble than my family does and reminding me day after day to be thankful for the gift of life. Thank you to the regular readers to my not so regular blog for sticking around and listening to the ramblings of a slightly neurotic woman. Thank you to my twitter friends for just being you. I’ve learned so much from just listening in on your conversations. Thank you for just being you.
With my plan this season being to run a FULL marathon rather than a smaller half in October Team in Training and to also do the Seattle Rock n Roll half marathon in June. (45 days away!) I’m buckling down on my training. It helps that the weather is getting warmer and the sun is finally peeking through (I wore a tanktop last night!). The truth, though, is that I need the discipline of other runners. Team in Training helps me with that. It tells me that this group is going to get together to run and I should join them and then go have beers.
I worry though. I just sent an email to one of my wonderful coaches about a pain I’m having in my leg. Friends tell me it might be shin splints and since I’ve never experienced this phenomenon I worry that it will slow down my training just as I’m buckling down. I won’t lie – I haven’t run a full event. I do walk run intervals and with the few months I took off after my last event (there’s that discipline thing), I needed to almost start back over. I’m currently walking 3 minutes and running 2. It makes ramping up easier and if it wasn’t for the pain in my legs I’d add another 30 seconds to that run portion this week. Let’s see what coach says though. Online searches tell me that I may need to alter my training and switch to things like treadmill or elliptical runs. If that happens I may need to join a gym again. Sigh. Seriously – go inside now that the sun is finally out?!? Boo!
This weekend though is jam packed so I guess it’s not a huge deal yet. I’m finally moving the rest of my stuff into Justin’s house and I’ll be headed over to Chris Pirillo’s home for our first big fundraiser of the season. Last year with the help of Chris and the Lockergnome community, we raised almost $1000 for blood cancers, hopefully we can meet or exceed that this time. This year cancer is hitting closer though. A great man that Michelle and I met through Chris passed away last week after a long exhausting battle with Colon Cancer. Derek Miller, also known as @Penmachine, fought a long and hard battle and the amazing part is that he chose not to exclude it from his blog. He was very frank about the disease and what it was doing to him and in the end wrote a goodbye letter as a final blog to be posted when he passed.
My heart hurts for his family. While they had time to prepare, I know from when my grandmother passed that you’re never truly ready. Maybe I’m just the over emotional type who cries at it all. At Derek’s passing even though I never truly got to know him. At the passing of @TomMusic, at the Dear 16 Year Old Self Video, and even at the Facebook wall postings of cousins I barely know as they continue to mourn the passing of their mother – two months after she also succumbed to cancer. There’s gotta be a cure out there and I won’t stop running until it’s found. Well… ok. I lied. I won’t stop wunning as Gerb says since I’m run/walking. Eventually I’ll get to a full run and even though I won’t qualify for Boston, Imma keep on going. Not even Kanye can stop me!
(Won’t you help me out by donating a few bucks?)
This past few weeks have been hard ones, but good at the same time. We started our season off and have a great team. I’m currently mentoring, which for those of you not involved with Team in Training basically means that I’m a “Fundraising Coach” for a group of gals on the team. It’s not always just gals, but I just happened to luck out? At any rate that’s been the good part. However at work and in other area’s it’s been a horrible few weeks.
Cancer has been hitting my world hard. As I mentioned in my last post, my aunt Darline passed away from Lung cancer. It hit so many of my family hard and I sat here thinking about how much life and laughter she had in her. How I wish I had gotten to know her better. A few weeks after she passed, my twitter stream filled with the news of @TOMMUSIC passing. More sad faces and tears. This was a man I was only loosely connected to, had never met, but had recently spoken at Ignite Seattle about his cancer. (Click on the link to hear him speak about his Lymphoma). Then local Seattle personality Kim Ricketts passed. In the middle of all this, I realize that I hadn’t seen Derek Miller tweet in quite a while. Derek was one of the few who inspired me to begin this journey. Michelle definitely talked me into the info session that began our journey, but I remember thinking about Derek and Drew when I was making my decision. Both men who have briefly touched my life, but their journey with Cancer struck a cord in me. Made me want to do more and with Team in Training I could finally do that.
Derek passed away two days ago and yesterday his family posted his final blog post. A goodbye letter of sorts to the community that had been such a large part of his life. I’ve spent less than 20 minutes total talking to Derek in the 2 years I’ve known of him. Make no mistake, I met Derek, but in typical Liana style I was too shy to talk to him. His photos were awesome and his love for his wife, evident in those pictures and the way he tweeted about her, was inspiring in my post-marriage pre-divorce world. It gave me hope and made me smile at a time that I didn’t have much to smile about. Derek’s post circulated the interwebz and the amount of traffic driven to his site via his twitter, facebook, podcasting families on top of his real family and friends (and what seemed like have of Canada) crashed the site. Quite a legacy if you ask me.
Add this to the lay-offs at work and I’ve had lots to sigh about. But as always Mission Moment last Saturday drove home the point of our mission. Megan Lanier, who works with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, read to us something from an honored TEAMmate. I braced myself for a letter detailing someone’s path with cancer but the last thing I expected was a mother’s comparison of what life of a normal 3 year old was like compared to one with Leukemia. “Welcome to Leukemia”.
All these cancer related deaths. It’s hard, but I’m sure it was harder on the families. I know my aunt left behind four boys and a husband who loved her deeply. Derek left behind a wife and two girls. Hug your family closer tonight as you remember the legacy they left behind. They are why we do what we do. Because Cancer has to have a cure. Somewhere out there.
Thanks to those of you who have donated already.
On any typical night home, the first stop after work is home to refresh my clothing, perfume, etc and ensure that my pet has the love and attention he needs to not make my home a poopy mess while I’m gone. And I’m gone frequently unfortunately while I find my way around life again. It’s addictive, yet these pauses at home are nice to have as a breather.
The other afternoon, on my way home, a song came on the radio. I’ll admit to a widely eclectic taste in music mainly driven by mood. It’s why I like music sites like Musicovery.com where can specifiy my random plays based on mood. Other times, I’ll just use Pandora or Grooveshark. All three are great players. Today, though, the radio sufficed for my ride home. Not surprisingly, the song I want to be a Billionaire came on. You’ve probably heard it. It’s played on most of top stations at least a billion times since it’s release.
Today I identified with it in a way though. I do want to be a billionaire. However, I’d rather take that money and give some to my parents to make the rest of their life easier. Pay off their debts and buy them a few toys. I’d like to endow a couple of scholarships for Pacific Islanders. Not the typical ones that require a 3.0 GPA, but one based on need and desire and passion and drive. I think there is too much talent out there that isn’t being realized because of lack of appropriate numbers. I want to fund research projects for various forms of cancer. Did you know that Leukemia patients, even in remission, have a likelihood of developing another type of cancer? It begs the question of if there is one tying element to these various forms that could become a universal start to a cure? My grandmother died about 5 years ago of Esophageal Cancer and when she was intially diagnosed they told us it was rare. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that their definition of “rare” and mine differed greatly.
Oh and yeah, I wanna buy a few toys for myself, but truly honestly, I want to share it with others that just can’t find the right break. What would you do?