Once upon a time, in a memory far far away I remember when life was simpler, the work day ended at 5 p.m. and kids played outside until they were called for dinner. Although that way of life seems like eons ago, it is still vividly ingrained in my mind. It seems as if it is getting harder to find the balance that promotes happiness and success. So, in an effort to capture the magic of days gone by, I decided that I was going to mix things up! In June of 2022, I got back to basics and decided to train for a marathon. There is nothing like being outside, one with nature and yourself while training…or so I thought.
I made the decision to run this marathon because in 2018, my dear friend Tishi and I planned to run the Philadelphia Rock and Roll Marathon. We trained ALL summer and we were ready to go. Then, I was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine cancer. I needed surgery, so when I told my Doctor, husband and mother I needed to wait until after I ran the race, they all vetoed that idea immediately – and into surgery I went. I vowed in August of that year that I would get that marathon done – one way or another.
Then, with another cancer diagnosis at the end of 2019, three surgeries, treatments, and not to mention the Covid disaster, I thought I would never have the opportunity to fulfill my dream of running a marathon. Fast forward to today, October 2022, I am training hard and often wonder what my doctor, husband and mother thought of me wanting to postpone surgery in that office in 2018. What the heck was I thinking?
Here is where my story turns. Three weeks into my training, I had to make a decision. I was struggling. Was I all in? Or, would it be a better decision for my mental and physical health to ditch the run? I am not a quitter, so the thought of not participating in the run was scary. So off to the running store I went. I purchased my Brooks Glycerine running sneakers and decided Struble Tail was where I was going to start to train. I have been training three days a week for eight weeks now, and each and every run is still a challenge. I have the energy and focus to run as far as I need to, but my radiated lungs tell me a very different story when I am out there on the trails logging miles and doing hill sprints.
As you age and are faced with decisions, you find out where your determination and grit come from. For me, grit is part of who I am. I do not think you can learn it, it comes from deep within. Not everyone is as lucky as I am to have the kind of determination it takes to make hard decisions and proceed with uncomfortable choices. I have learned through my experiences that grit is usually the one thing that keeps me going, along with loyal, supportive friends! I have two friends who had no interest in running a marathon previously, until I told them I was struggling. They immediately signed up the very next day and started to train with me. They said they were not going to let me do this thing alone. My friend Trish has never run a marathon before and when a workout gets hard, she always says “Jazz Hands will get you through.”
I may have had to switch up my training plan to accommodate for my breathing, and I do not run an 8 minute mile anymore, but I WILL run this race. I will finish and I will have proved to myself that cancer will not define me or wear me down. I will fight with everything I have and every ounce of grit I can muster, even if it takes me 5 hours to finish, I will finish!