Keep Running. Just Keep Running.

I don’t know how I ever managed to get so lost in my running.  I can’t pinpoint the first day that I found that zen-like place. I don’t know how I found a comfortable stride and, though I know that  a chronic cancer condition is what made me start,  I’m not sure what made me keep going. I’m guessing it’s learning to live with a disease.  When I run, there’s something soothing about controlling my breath and it calms my soul.  I can lose myself for miles and miles without a negative thought or care in the world.  I love that.

I ran my first 5k at a Livestrong event and received a yellow survivor rose when I crossed the finish line.  That single moment changed the way that I would think about setting and meeting goals forever.  It took hard work and a determined mind to help me commit to my first organized race and finish and it took a good mental attitude to keep me on the course for the entire 3.1 miles.  I learned so much when I crossed the finish line that day.

Today, I retired my Brooks Ravennas. There are so many memories in a pair of shoes. They carried me for over a thousand miles: all around the neighborhoods surrounding my house, through my first marathon, lots of 5k’s, two half marathons and, finally, the Goofy Challenge.  They also carried me through a lot of frustrations, fears, anger, and joy. I never knew that running could be such an awesome vent and I never knew that a pair of sneakers could mean so much.

The Goofy Challenge took place at Walt Disney World last weekend.  I ran back to back half and full marathons, totaling 39.3 miles over the course of two days.  I trained for months and ran through a lot of pain, sweat and sometimes even discouragement. I never, ever in a million years thought I would even attempt a distance run at that level.  Cancer didn’t just change me; cancer challenged me.

I don’t know what comes next for me.  Originally, my plan was to run a marathon.  It had always been a bucket list item and, when cancer came knocking on my door, I thought to myself, “oh man, I have to start doing all the things I always wanted to do.” I didn’t stop at a marathon, though.  I kept going.

It has been almost four years since my diagnosis.  My cancer has been stable for all of that time. I am so fortunate and I no longer think that I need to squeeze in all of the things that I want to do in a short period of time. I think I’m going to be on this earth for a very long time and I look forward to life’s challenges and new adventures.  Bring on the next obstacle.  I’m ready to roll.