This time of year is so excellent for so many reasons, including the one most pertinent to this blog–it’s high time for marathoning season! I am so incredibly stoked and happy for so many of my friends near and far who absolutely rocked the Chicago Marathon on Sunday. Congratulations to ALL of you on the tremendous accomplishment!
We’re also now in the final throes of RACE WEEK! for the Nike Women’s San Francisco 13.1 to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the race for which you generously lent your support, to the tune of nearly $2,500! THANK YOU! From the depths of my soul, thank you, thank you, thank you. I am really stoked for the experience and the opportunity to don a purple Team in Training singlet (as part of Team Yahoo!) for the first time in a few years. This race is an enormous fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and it’ll surely be a moving sight to see the sea of purple throughout the streets of SF on Sunday morning. This race has raised over a billion dollars in the decade or so it’s been around, so suffice it to say that this race is a BFD for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
On Tuesday night, the Greater Bay Area/South Bay chapter had our send-off at Sports Basement, and it was a great opportunity to meet many of the other participants, the coaches and central staff, and to hear from a patient honoree. I think the honorees really make TNT special because even if you don’t have a hard-and-fast connection to leukemia or lymphoma, hearing someone’s experience really puts things into perspective. The honoree who spoke on Tuesday night, a guy maaaaaaybe in his 40s (but who easily looked not over 30!) told us a terrifying story about how he was healthy and then, long story short, after what he thought was just a random bump on his neck, learned that he had not one but two types of cancer, one slow-growing and one fast. Basically, his medical team at Stanford told him that the likelihood of beating the slow-growing cancer was very small, and they essentially told him that he had a decade, more or less to live; I think he said that he was thirty when he got that news. Holy shit, right? Completely to his surprise, though, our honoree managed to beat both cancers–including the one that put a 10-year expiration date on his life–and he’s alive and well as he’s ever been (and, in his words, has gone on to “run like hell” and even earned a BQ at CIM recently).
Hearing this gentleman’s story was a great reminder about what this race signifies for me. I initially got involved with TNT back in Chicago in ’07, and convinced Traci to do it with me (because that’s what friends do: convince other friends to do crazy shit like run marathons) in an effort to honor her mother, who had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and my mother, who had breast cancer and subsequently, a stroke, during the time that Traci and I were in undergrad together. It is through Team in Training, and fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, as a way to do something symbolically special and meaningful for my mom and my friend’s mom, that I ever began any of this endurance/running business.
Sunday’s race will be interesting. Each purple TNT singlet will represent at least $1,800 fundraised for the organization–and many of us have raised much, much more–and for many of the runners and walkers on the course, it will be their first “endurance event” of any kind, much as it was for me when I first ran the Chicago Distance Classic (precursor to RNR Chicago) and the Chicago Marathon in 2007 with Team. There are supposed to be something like 30,000 runners on Sunday–that’s a lot of runners, people!!–and the course should be nice and challenging. I am especially looking forward to running UP the massive hill we got to run DOWN in TSFM (the one that, naturally, occurs between miles 9-11). Sunday’s half will comprise part of my 20+-mile long run that morning (50k training!), so it’ll be a blast. This race is more of a personal thing for me than it is an all-out race, but I’ll still plan to make a good effort out of it and see how all the trail/hills work translates to pavement. We shall see! Ultimately, though, the running and the race is but a backdrop to the bigger picture on Sunday.
Regardless of my lack of interest on what the clock will tell me on Sunday, this race is already super special to me because it’s one that has made me take a step back and really remember why I got into all of this in the first place.
This is one of my messier and more incoherent posts, but one last thing before we split. Do you know what would be just absolutely fantastic?? A world where we don’t have to do runs and walks like this, or hikes, or stairclimbs, or fundraising drives, or whatever to raise funds for cancer research. Seriously. It kinda blows my mind that we can live in the world that we do, and have so much at our disposal, yet we still haven’t figured out a tried-and-true way to beat cancer–to avoid it, to delay it, to manage it in a way that doesn’t totally fuck up our bodily systems and organs–and I wonder if and when “the c-word” will become something that we only hear about from historical texts. Unfortunately, that’s not the case quite yet, so I, as well as so many others, will continue to do what we can–run, walk, hike, stairclimb, whatever–to make the world one wherein cancer doesn’t exist or, minimally, a world where cancer doesn’t harm so many people, so deleteriously and so profoundly, as it does. It might be a long shot now, but we endurance athletes are known for our tenacity.
Finally, if you’re still interested in contributing to my fundraising campaign–which is totally excellent of you, and thanks!–you may do so by clicking here.
Thank you for all of your encouraging words and financial support over the past few months for this race. It means the world to me.
Let’s goooooooo, Sunday!