THE ARTISTIC LIFE – Living the creative life in everything we do

Posts tagged ‘half-marathon’

Mission Accomplished

Cue the music. My mission has been accomplished. I completed my first Half Marathon!

Things didn’t start out well that morning, as I never even fell asleep the night before because of nerves and excitement (and my thyroid meds don’t help). So, the alarm went off at 4 am, but it wasn’t even necessary, since I was just laying there anyway. Also, the temperature and humidity were higher than normal and we were given repeated warnings about the heat and proper hydration. So, I knew it was going to be rough going, but I did it (and even at my predicted time). Below is a picture of me (taken by my husband, who waited along with me by the corral) sporting my self-designed Thyroid Cancer Survivor shirt

In honor of this race and Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, I am hoping to raise money for ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association (http://www.thyca.org) through September 30. Donate or read more about my story here.

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Run Like the Wind

Did I tell you that I signed up to run my first half marathon? Yep, in 9 days, I’ll be participating in the Virginia Beach Rock n Roll Half! With some weekends out of town lately, it’s been hard to find time for the long training runs, but last Saturday I was able to. Ran/walked over 12 miles on a hilly trail in the park. I just love trail running, in comparison to pounding the pavement on the road. In fact, here’s a little poem I wrote in my head while I was running:

The woods are whispering, “Run like the wind!”
My feet and my mind become free.
The willows sway,
The leaves listen.
“Here she comes!” they say.
My smile returns to me.

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Why Run?

So, as I was thinking about my recent fun and successful 10K race and my desire to run more races and even work my way up to a half marathon, I was thinking more about WHY I am running. Of course, there’s the obvious health factor. Not only the cardiovascular benefits, but keeping weight down, boosting the immune system, and (hopefully) minimizing my chances of a recurrence or another kind of cancer (after my thyroid cancer and radiation, I’m at higher risk). However, continuing with the cancer theme, as one goes through the diagnosis and treatment phases for a serious condition like cancer, one feels dehumanized. I became a piece of meat, a pin cushion, a set of lab numbers, an appointment slot, another seat in the oncology waiting room…This isn’t to say that I didn’t like the care from my doctors and nurses overall. In this situation, it’s something that can’t really be helped, when you’re in a sterile environment (both literally and figuratively as you’re sitting in a clean, white medical room without personality), focusing on your bodily functions and measurements, and not on your soul, mind, or personality. While running does focus on your body, it also focuses on your other aspects of humanity as well – your mind, your determination, your drive, your goals, your enjoyment of your surroundings, your musical taste as you listen to your choice in music, etc. It is a way to control your body after a time of losing control and also rejoining your body with your mind and soul.

Also, having racing events to work towards can get you through the tough times. In the near future, I will be getting more medical tests done and seeing doctors to try to decipher if my cancer has been successfully and completely treated. I will admit I am nervous about this and not looking forward to it (although I do blissfully dream of hearing the words “You are cancer-free!”) However, I’m thinking of signing up for an 8K race that’s 2 days after a big medical appointment. Is this a good thing? Well, I figure, if I receive bad news during the prior medical appointment, this will be a way for me to cope and not dwell on the bad news. If the appointment goes well, it will be a joyous way for me to celebrate! I even may sign up for a Half Marathon in the Fall, not knowing for sure if I will need any more medical treatment (RAI or surgery) during that time period. Worst case scenario – I’m out 70 bucks if I can’t run the race. Best case – I stay in top physical shape, with this goal keeping my mind busy through the tough times, and I reach the goal of completing a Half Marathon.

Running is also good at forcing one to seize the day and make the most of each moment, which is something that many cancer patients learn. When life is short (and it is for everyone, not just cancer patients), make the most of what time we’ve got. Running involves counting minutes (even seconds), timing oneself, and celebrating the big finish – what a great way to live in the moment!!

Survivor Sticker

Cancer Survivor Euro style sticker

Cancer Survivor Euro style sticker

As I’ve been training for my first race ever (Monument Avenue 10K) as a previous non-runner, I’ve been thinking about my journey for the past 5 months from “Couch” to 10K. The first time I ran (2 weeks after my high dose of 150 mci of Radioactive Iodine for my thyroid cancer), I could barely run 1/3 of a mile. Now I can run 6.2 miles. It has been a journey full of challenges (including cancer, asthma,  and reactive hypoglycemia, just to name a few). I was also thinking about those Euro style “26.2” and “13.1” stickers (they even have “6.2” versions!) that race finishers often (deservedly) show off. It certainly is a milestone and a wonderful accomplishment, especially for those with health challenges and other obstacles. However, I was thinking that for me, at least, my journey with dealing with a diagnosis of cancer has been so much more challenging than this 10K. Why not show off the accomplishment of being a cancer survivor with a “Survivor” sticker?! For many, this will be the greatest challenge of our lives. Although I found many ‘survivor’ decals and stickers offered online, I didn’t see any of these Euro-style accomplishment stickers for survivors, hence I designed one (check it out at my CafePress shop).

Congrats to all the race finishers and cancer survivors out there and be proud of what you have accomplished!

 

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