Happy post Memorial Day!
I had a fabulous weekend. Friday night was spent relaxing (I think, I honestly can’t even remember right now) and Saturday I went up to Boston to get ready for my race.
I ran the Run to Remember 5 miler with my sister, on behalf of DetermiNation and the American Cancer Society on Sunday!
Saturday was a really nice pre-race brunch at Lucky’s Lounge near the Seaport. Katy at The American Cancer Society New England had a great program that made me laugh, cry and get seriously psyched for the race. My sister and I spent the rest of the day lounging, due to the 90 degree weather (okay, it wasn’t but it felt like it!) had a delicious carb loading dinner at Amrhein’s and then met up with her friends to watch the Celtics game for all of 15 minutes. Our wakeup call was at 5am!
We woke up and headed to the Seaport Convention Center (about 20 minutes from her apartment – thank you, Southie) for 6am where we met the DetermiNation team. I pulled on my singlet and added some ACS ribbons (including a cancer survivor one). The half marathon started at 7am and we started at 7:15am.
This was the first race I’ve run in almost two years, and it was the first race I’ve run since I went through surgery, radioactive iodine treatments, lost an important gland and my body’s ability to make calcium. Needless to say, I was a little nervous. I had a lot of emotions and thoughts swirling around in my brain.
“What if my legs cramp so bad that I can’t walk? What if I’m too tired? What if I come in last? What if I pass out?”
I realized as we were lining up that it was also the first race I’ve ever run where I didn’t have a time goal, a watch or expectations. I just had to let it go and remind myself: I was just going to run it, be grateful for all the people who donated on my behalf, and have a good time.
And I did – or should I say we did. I was really happy to have my sister with me throughout the race. She got up at 5 with me. She ran with me through the DetermiNation cheering station, where all of the signs and posters and cheer-ers made me feel so grateful that I started sobbing (note: it’s really hard to run and sob at the same time.). She ran with me even though she’s been working out like crazy lately and I know she could have had a really good finishing time. She ran with me when we got passed by the half marathon elites, a 12 year old and an 80 something year old.
The race is called Run to Remember because it’s devoted to the memory of Massachusetts police officers killed in the line of duty – but for me, it had another meaning to it. As I ran, I remembered how much I love running. How fun it is to be part of a big race, to hear people cheering you on, to joke with other runners on the course, to wear a race number. These are things I haven’t done in a while – in part because I’m busy with school, but also because a little part of me was really scared that this piece of my life – my life as a runner – would be vastly different after cancer.
And, of course, it is. Because pretty much everything is – but not in a bad way.
It’s made me much more appreciative of my body and what it can do. It’s made me more appreciative of the support of my sister, Doug, my family, friends and community. It’s made me more determined to get back to running regularly. It reminded me that I’ve been complaining a hell of a lot lately – how tired and worn out I am at the end of a crazy year, how I’m tired of not being in shape, how I’m stressed, etc. It’s reminded me that I have absolutely full control over so many aspects of my life and need to remember that it could be far, far worse.
I have no idea what our finishing time was and I like it that way. It’s not about the time, it’s about far more important things.
It’s about being proud of the fact that the $1,091 dollars my community helped to raise will go towards fighting that fight and making sure other people with cancer or families with cancer get to run regularly, support each other, sleep at the Hope Lodge, have another birthday and have fun.
Looking at survivor ribbons on my fridge will help me not to forget.