For a few different reasons, I was recently doing a very small bit of online research on William "The Fridge" Perry. Perry is a former Chicago Bears defensive lineman, well-known not only for his size, but also (and particularly in Chicago) for being a member of the 1985 Super Bowl Bears winning team. As this year's Super Bowl draws ever nearer, Chicago Bears fans are reminded, yet again, that we, yet again, didn't even make the playoffs. But I digress.
This past August, I had the luck and privilege of attending a climbing camp for cancer survivors in Jackson, Wyoming. One of the stipulations of the week-long adventure was that every camper was given or earned themselves a nickname. One of the amazing things about First Descents is that once you arrive, the person you were before camp, all of the pain and uncertainty that marked your life, doesn't matter. You are given a new name; all that matters are the people surrounding you, the friendships you make; the literal mountain to climb. On my first afternoon in Jackson, I mentioned to one of the group leaders that I was a pretty big Chicago Bears fan. (FYI, I don't remember statistics or names or most of the football minutia. I am unable to identify plays and only recently learned what a "pump fake" is. In short, I am a terrible football fan. But I also spent a lot of time in a hospital bed about three years ago with nothing to do and not much to look forward to other than playoff games and a Super Bowl in which my Home Team was playing. Those games got me through a pretty long mid-winter in Chicago and solidified my allegiance to the Chicago Bears).
So I was dubbed "The Fridge," Fridge for short. William Perry and I have very little in common. Sadly, I do not get to run people over for a living. I am also nowhere near 6'2, 382 pounds. I do like to eat though, so I suppose that is something...
This all ties together, I promise. In Jackson, for whatever reason, more than a few of the survivors there were runners. Meeting them, even, once, running with two of them, I realized, hey, maybe I really can do this. These women and men have triumphed over cancer, and now they are running marathons and participating in triathlons. They took their illness and what they learned from it and ran with it. Literally. I couldn't stop thinking about them and their strength once camp was over. I returned to Chicago and on October 11, 2009, the day of the 2009 Chicago Marathon, swore to myself that I would be among those runners in one year.
As of January 20, 2010, I have taken the second step. I, Caroline "Fridge" Bridges am now officially registered to run with Team in Training for the 2010 Chicago Marathon. I know it is official because they have even given me my very own Fundraising Page! I am not soliciting donations (yet), just pointing out that I am Going to do this. Although October and 26.2 miles seems a damn long way away from January and three miles...
Sitting in my bedroom, pushing through some SADness, I know the winter doldrums cannot last forever. It helps to have a long-term, solid goal. It also helps that I am running with Team in Training, and I know that everything I am doing, all the running-pain I will be willingly forcing on myself over the next eight months will (hopefully) help another person with leukemia or lymphoma. I'm all about paying it forward, that is, once I figure out the best way for me to do it. Which in this case, means running like a maniac for an organization I strongly believe in.
So that's what is up. Hopefully you are surviving January.... Go for a run or something! Haha. Alright, happy Saturday. Peace.