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.
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.