Today, I ran

Today I ran a 5k.  That isn’t all that impressive in and of itself considering the number of people I know who regularly run full and half marathons.  And I’ve run in 5 races prior, so it’s not my first time.  But for me it’s a huge deal.

For one, I’m not great at running.  At my physical peak, I’m built like a mediocre swimmer, not a runner.  And I’m not at my physical peak.  Because I’m 36, I like pizza and I’ve had poison in my body for the past 6 months.  
But I decided to run.  Because I wanted to show cancer and whoever is paying attention that I could do anyhing I decided to do.  So I trained.  And I trudged.  And I did it even though it hurt and once actually made me barf. That might have been the chemo.  But, I puked and got back on the treadmill.  My feet go numb unless I’m barefoot and they hurt when I walk a lot.  And running is worse.  But I don’t care.  
I ran today.  And it rocked.  I mean, the hills sucked and I wanted to die a couple times.  And I was slow.  Only a few hundred people out of the 1600 timed runners finished after us – hey, I’ll take it – if the lions were chasing us, they would have had to eat like 350 people before they got to me.  (You don’t have to be the fastest – just don’t be the slowest, I always say.)
I ran today and I was inspired.  You see, at the back of the pack is where the inspiration is.  People are slow and jiggly and sweaty and red faced and it freaking rocks!  Those gazelle like creatures at the front, they are awesome too but it comes naturally.  Look at us back here!  I’m not the most compassionate or sensitive person, but damn, I love the under dog in a 5k race.  I love the older ladies scurrying along, the huge person moving forward by sheer will.  The 9 year old in their first race.  The guy with the knee brace.  The girl with big boobs who just finished chemo.  šŸ™‚  We are fantastic.  
The whole time, I want to shout “look at us!  We’re doing it!  We rock!” 
And the supporters.  OMG.  You people and your handwritten signs and high fives and cow bells and “the finish line is right around the corner!” shouts!  I love you. I tear up when I see a kid on Daddy’s shoulders with a sign that says “Go Mommy!”  Damned right.  Go, Mommy.
My own kid stood on the corner, waiting, cheering for me.  That’s an amazing feeling – your child seeing you achieve something important.  
I ran today and I wanted to kiss Pittsburgh on the mouth.  The city is beautiful during a race.  The rivers shimmer a little more and the buildings sparkle.  Such a show off, Pittsburgh.  Such a flirt.  
In a race, it’s like we’re all in this together.  We all want each other to do well.  The whole city wants us to do well.  Maybe the whole world.  It feels like it, anyway.
Today was a challenge.  I loved it.  When’s our next race, friends?

Outrunning Cancer

Of course you can’t outrun cancer.  But running while you’re attempting to kick the crap out of cancer is an interesting challenge.  I’ve decided to sign up for the Pittsburgh Marathon’s 5k.  This race takes place at the beginning of May.  My treatments end in the middle of April.  So, I have to train now.  While getting chemo.  

I’m exhausted, just thinking about it.  This might be a bad idea.
But it’s not.  Because physical activity, while it feels like the last thing in the world one wants to do, is actually good for cancer patients.  Many simply don’t feel up to it.  I don’t feel up to it.  But I’m going to do it anyway.
Running is hard for me.  Even in optimal health.  I am a woman of some stature and, let’s just say it, boobs.  When I run, it’s not pretty.  I kind of trudge along.  There is a lot of jiggling.  You could probably beat me in a race on a pogo stick.  Or walking fast.  But whatever.  I run.  
Yesterday I ran/walked (mostly walked) one mile.  It was hard.  I was tired. My body protested.  And I’m in the best part of my chemo cycle right now. I am feeling anxious, imagining three days post chemo, shaky and nauseous, climbing onto that treadmill.  But you know what?  I’m going to do it.
Want to help me?  One of the ways I can employ my aversion to public shame as a motivation tool is to invite you to support my effort by making a contribution.  I’m raising funds for the very excellent Light of Life Rescue Mission as I kick cancer, fear and doubt in the backside.  Would you encourage me by making a donation?
The more money I raise, the more determined I’ll be to cross that finish line even if I have to crawl.  Thanks for your support.