Saturday, July 10, 2010

Long-distance runner, what you standing there for?

The 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is three months from today.  From Today. 10/10/10 is just over 90 days away, and, fittingly, my Team in Training group ran 10 miles this morning.  Somehow and somewhat surprisingly (at least to me), I actually ran 10 miles this morning.  Every Saturday at 7:00 a.m., the whole training team meets up for our weekly "long run."  And every Saturday morning I stand around with everyone, waiting, almost shaking in my sneakers with nervousness.  Sleep is rubbed from eyes; good mornings are exchanged.  We listen to each week's "Mission Moment," where someone shares their story or a friend or family member's story about their experience with a blood cancer.  The Mission Moment is basically a few minutes for us to reflect on why we are putting ourselves through this; it is a reminder that, whatever our personal reasons for running are, there is a greater purpose behind all of it.  And then we push ourselves out of the parking lot and begin the journey to a set mile-marker and back.

This morning, prior to our running 10 miles, I offered up the Mission Moment.  I briefly shared my story, my diagnosis and subsequent remission.  I also brought up the importance of running in my life.  How the worst part of treatment was being unable to run, sometimes even unable to walk from exhaustion and all the other stuff.  And now here I am, three years later, preparing myself to run the longest distance I have ever run.  I told my team members that I have trouble finding inspiration from myself; others' stories and accomplishments keep me going.  But I realized and tried to express that I am surrounded by inspiring people.  Watching my teammates run, knowing why they are running and that they are pushing themselves to their physical and mental limits because they can, That inspires me.  That is amazing.  People will do amazing things for the causes they believe in.

When we signed up to join the fall Team in Training program, we were all given TNT technical shirts to wear during our runs.  They are a bold purple and have TNT in large, block letters on the front.  On the back of the shirt, on top of the list of sponsors, is the phrase, "Creating a world without cancer," a pithy summation of the LLS mission to cure blood cancers.  I was just about at my eighth mile, and, while I wasn't exactly struggling, my body was wearing down.  (8 miles having been, so far, the longest I'd ever run...)  Anyway, I passed one of our run/walkers, and, for whatever reason, her shirt's message really struck me.  If you'll please excuse my language, basically, my immediate reaction was, "F*** cancer.  F*** it for screwing up my life and putting me in this position where I can have such deep-seated anger at something."  And then I clenched my fist and gritted my teeth and ran just a little stronger.

Because here I am.  I finished the run in about 1 hour and 45 minutes, which is about a 10:30 min/mile.  Certainly not fast, but, whatever; I finished strongly.  I am proud of myself, and I am proud of my teammates, and who knows...  Maybe I will actually be able to run a whole 26.2 miles.  You never know what life will offer you in the form of opportunity.  Maybe it's a job offer; maybe it is cancer.  Either way, I would not be who I am and where I am right now if the events of the past four years never happened.  Maybe for better or worse, but here we all are, so I guess it is all about getting up, getting off, and getting out of that door... to finish this post's title.  Thanks, Grateful Dead.

So that was this morning.  That was my running update.  As for everything else, the colonoscopy went well...  The biopsies were all negative, so now I just have a wonky colon and no good reason why.  It's fine.  It is hot in Chicago; I guess it is hotter in Boston.  I drink an ungodly amount of coffee, and yet I still desperately want to find a job where I don't get as much free coffee and coffee-based beverages as I want...  Oh Starbucks; what would we do without you?  Life is life I suppose.  I hope you are enjoying your summer, staying cool!  Thanks for checking in, and when was the last time you checked out my Training Page??!!  Thank you So MUCH if you've donated...!!  Happy Saturday; Happy July.