October 15, 2010: Breast Cancer Diagnosis
October 16, 2011: California Wine Country Half Marathon.
Can I just begin with: Wow. Wow. Wow.
As you may recall, last weekend was the one year anniversary of my FBC diagnosis. I will now also remember the anniversary for running a 1/2 Marathon exactly one year later.
Running the 1/2 Marathon on Sunday was truly one of the great experiences of my life (Silver Lining). It was so powerful because it symbolized the end of illness and the rebirth of my health.
From the start of the race, I was very emotional. The HOTY (a/k/a Husband of the Year) came to the start line with me to kiss me goodbye. It reminded me of the last kiss before being rolled into surgery. It was an “I love you and will be here waiting when you finish” kiss. I love this man. So. Very. Much. He has been my greatest Silver Lining. And to add to his HOTY-ness, he drove 820 miles in 2 days so that I could run 13.1 miles. How great is that?!?
Back to the race. It was a perfect day. When I say perfect, I mean PERFECT (and I’m pretty picky when it comes to running!). It was cool and cloudy, which is ideal running weather. Save for a few gentle rolling hills, the course was flat. And so very, very pretty.
Running through the vineyards of the Russian River Valley was incredibly peaceful. It was this peacefulness that allowed me to spend the better part of the 13.1 miles recalling detailed memories from the last year: from the day of the diagnosis to the HOTY’s return trip from Israel (after having been there for a whopping 7 hours), to talking with 4 3/4 (now Finally Five), to surgery, to adopting Buzz, to chemo to radiation and recovery. Wow. It’s been some year!
I thought about all of the down times and all of the incredible Silver Linings that went along with them. There were (& continue to be!) SO MANY Silver Linings, by the way. In fact, thinking about the SL’s, I found myself smiling during much of the run. I was just so happy. And grateful. And Buzzed up!
When it comes to running in races, I’m a little Secretariat-ish in that I tend to start slow, hold back and then finish very fast (though that is the only way that in which I am like Secretariat!).
So, it was at mile 11 when I kicked into high gear. Something just turned over in my mind and my legs that took things up a notch. It felt soooooooo good!
I did have one minor snafu. Just after I passed mile 11 and picked up my pace, the song Go the Distance from the Disney movie Hercules came on. Remember the lyrics that last week were motivational? Well this week, they caused me to promptly burst into tears and propel me down the path of hyperventilation! I mean just read these lyrics:
And I won’t look back
I can go the distance
And I’ll stay on track
No I won’t accept defeat
It’s an uphill slope
But I won’t lose hope
Till I go the distance
And my journey is complete
But to look beyond the glory is the hardest part
For a hero’s strength is measured by his heart
I was a blubbering mess. The poor woman running next to me had a look of sheer terror on her face watching me cry and struggle for air. All I could do was give her a thumbs up and smile to let her know that I’d be ok.
I quickly fast forwarded my iPod to Lady Gaga’s Poker Face to get myself back on track.
By mile 12, I started passing people (and passing people and passing people). It was so FUN!
When I rounded the corner and saw the finish line, I started sprinting. I felt like my feet were no longer touching the ground. I was so joyous.
And there was the HOTY, waiting for me. As always. I fell into his arms and had a wonderfully cathartic cry.
Thank you ALL so very much for your love and support and encouragement. I felt every bit of the positive, Silver Lining energy that you sent to me.
I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.
– Maya Angelou