i am honored to have the following blog post featured on lifescript.com, a site that reaches over 7 million women worldwide. below are a few snippets [plus some bonus pics!] for my beloved blog followers, however you can read the entire story here.
after five months of half-marathon training and fundraising, it all came down to this: an overcast morning on the streets of san francisco lined with more than 30,000 women supporting the 2013 nike women’s marathon – the largest estrogen-fest in racing history. but for me, this wasn’t just a race. it was the culmination of months of training and fundraising, while grieving the loss of my momma.
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while most of my energy has been positively focused, don’t think for one second that i don’t have tough days or some significant pity parties. many times i have asked, “why? why did i lose my mom? why her? why.” my most recent “why moment” was at the TNT inspiration dinner, the carb-loading festivities the evening before race day. i should have been inspired by all the money raised, the thousands of people gathered in the name of curing cancer, and the boundless energy in the big ballroom. but my emotions started veering down poor-me avenue. in 25 years, TNT has raised more $1.4 billion to fund research for curing blood cancers, and all i could think was, “why her?” the applause, shouts of joy and cheering were drowned out by that single question. i snapped out of it, when the crowd stood up in a roar to recognize and honor the leukemia and lymphoma survivors who would be running the streets of san francisco in celebration of their lives. when i saw the name of our own team fitbook runner jeff dreher at the top of that list that, i realized why i’m doing what i’m doing. yes, i lost my mother and nothing can bring her back. but feeling sorry for myself does nobody any good, and i know if she were here, she’d softly tap my bottom lip and tell me to perk up.
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with our hearts pounding, feet jumping and goose bumps, team fitbook took off from union square at 6:30 a.m. on oct. 20, 2013, to brave san francisco’s hills. we passed fisherman’s wharf and ghirardelli square with alleged views of alcatraz and the golden gate bridge, but we couldn’t see them through the fog. miles 6, 7 and 8 were the most intense inclines, followed by equally steep declines. they were made slightly more endurable by the crowds, who were cheering and chanting, handing out orange slices and flapping witty signs in the wind. my personal favorite: “keep it up – you’re running better than congress!” struggling around mile 11, a TNT coach from texas sidled up next to me and asked how i was doing. when i uttered “not good,” she ran the next mile with me, giving much-needed encouragement. before she left my side at mile 12, she said to me: “remember why you’re running. if you can find that, you’ll finish strong.”
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we wound down the hills and through the trees along the great highway toward the finish line at ocean beach. words can’t describe the joy of turning that final corner at mile 13 to see that beautiful tiffany-blue finish line. the words running through my mind the entire race were:
“run your own race. do it for her – not your own glory.”
and with tear-filled eyes, pain-filled limbs and a joy-filled heart, i crossed that finish line with a time of 1:56:36 at a pace of 8:54 – my best half-marathon time yet on the hardest course, in my humble opinion. with legs trembling, i passed the tuxedo-adorned san francisco firefighters, who famously hand out the tiffany’s boxes and headed straight for my boyfriend, who was waiting for me, beaming with pride.
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i quickly took in all the joys the finish line had to offer, but my main focus was keeping warm post-run because it was only minutes until i had to walk to mile 25 to run in team fitbook’s only marathon runner, anne, my running-buddy-turned-friend. was crampy, cold and subsequently cranky, but all that went by the wayside as i saw her approaching. she had run 25 miles and had only 1.2 to go to finish her first marathon. with my boyfriend on one side and me on the other, we pushed her, distracted her and supported her as she uttered to me the sweetest words: “the only thing that has kept me going is thinking of you and your mom.”
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running the nike women’s half-marathon was more than just a check on my bucket list. facing those hills was symbolic of my personal feat over the past eight difficult months.
my momma was my world, my best friend, and cancer took her from our lives so suddenly. finishing this race taught me how strong i really am, and also accept and embrace my moments of weakness, and surround myself in life with a team of people that rally around in love and support. we put blood, sweat (and a few) tears into raising money and running miles, but in the process, each of us changed.
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to support team fitbook as we continue to raise money, donate online, where 100% of your tax-deductible donation will go to LLS in my mother’s memory. any amount, big or small, is a blessing.