Monday, November 4, 2013

November 2nd, 2013 – The Hard Rock Café Hollywood 5k

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This race meant so so so much to me! And I’m glad because it was WONDERFUL!!! It turned out to be 20 times more wonderful than I hoped it’d be when I registered for it.

First of all, I registered for it on or around the same day that my surgical team scheduled my Double Mastectomy. I felt like there were so many horrible things on my calendar, with all the testing and Pre-Op appointments. I wanted something that (1) I had just a tiny bit of control over and (2) was fun!!!!

There was a Half Marathon in my area at the end of October that I knew was too ambitious. However, this race date was well after my surgery and the distance was short enough that I felt like I’d be able to at least get to the Finish, even if I had to walk it….. slowly.

My doctors were ok with me scheduling the race at first, but then we didn’t get clean margins and I had to go back in. Shortly after the second surgery, I developed an infection. It was looking like I wasn’t going to make it to the Start Line.

My doctors told me to forget about it, that there would be other races.
They were right, of course. And Chris agreed with them. But…..

As any runner will tell you, once you’ve paid your race fees, something just takes over your brain!! Not doing a race that you’ve paid for just seems like the HEIGHT of ridiculous!!! Like turning down a glass of wine or saying, "Michael Jackson's not AWESOME!" It just doesn’t make sense!!!!

I didn’t want to hurt myself or set back my recovery, but I was determined to make it to the Start Line!!

After much rest, healing, being a good girl and whining about it at every appointment, I was cleared to start running a week before this race!! My Oncologist’s exact words were: “Yes. Run. You will be much happier if you run.”

At that point, I hadn’t run for 7 weeks and my fitness had taken a serious hit. I started out planning to walk it.

When I finally got my first run in, it really wasn’t that bad. Once again, Running showed itself to be far more faithful to me than I had been to it! After 7 weeks of complete rest and dense food (awesome!), my legs felt heavy but not horrible. I meant to go out for a 1-mile run, per my doctor’s instructions, but I really felt fine. I finished the entire 3-mile loop.

It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t elegant. I took it very easily, allowed myself to rest at traffic lights and I got through it!!! After that, I felt like I could do it! I could actually RUN this race!

I started training to maintain a 12-minute mile. It didn’t start out well, but it got better and I was finally able to do it without excessive pain afterward. I felt good!!!

So then it was Race Day!!!

And it was WONDERFUL!!!

I woke up early, which is typical of Race Day. A 4am start was necessary, for there was much to do!

I was already packed. My clothes and gear were laid out the night before. I had to leave early to meet friends who were going to the race with me! And we were taking the train!!

This is quite a BIG deal for me, as I am most often alone at a race. This time my friend Paul had agreed to come with his husband, Marc. They had never been to a race before and agreed to be my entourage, take many pictures and carry my gear. You can't that!!!

I met them at their home and I gorged on blueberry pancakes, coffee and bacon!! Marc is an excellent chef! Mmmm…..

Then it was off to the race!!!

This is us on the subway!! A new experience for me! I had never been on the Subway before!

Of course Hollywood is a magical place with much to see! I had an eye out for only one person, The King of Pop!!

This was the inaugural event, but it was *very* well attended.

I was a little stressed and quite nervous. My body had changed rather drastically since my last race. Not to mention, the 10 extra lbs I'd gained! What if this new body wasn’t structured for racing? What if I just couldn’t do it? What if my new “mechanics” made it so that I no longer found joy in it? What if my new form made it so that I hurt in places I never did before? What if I just flat out didn’t like it anymore?!?!?!!

Running had become such a huge part of my life over the past 3 years. What if my recent illness had damaged our “friendship” or severed it completely?! What if my relationship with running had changed forever and I had to find something else to make me ME again?

These were the thoughts going through my mind as I was lined up, listening to final announcements and the “National Anthem”.

And then the gun fired (or in this case a horn blast)…

I was off.

Suddenly, I was no longer a wife with chores to do. I was no longer a mom with faces to wipe and owies to kiss. I was no longer an employee with reports to finish and accounts to balance. And I was no longer a cancer patient who was unsure of her future.

I was a runner. The part of my being that I thought was damaged, perhaps beyond repair, was back. No body knew that I'd been sick. No body knew that I'd been cut open and gutted like a fish. No body knew that 6 weeks ago I wasn't strong enough hold my own head up or walk across my room. No body knew that 4 weeks ago I was paralyzed with pain and fear. No body could see my scars. No body could see my weakness.

All that could be seen was a runner.

Did I PR? Of course not. But I didn’t expect that. I hadn’t trained for that. That’s not what this race was about. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that I kept a 11:18 pace, which is 0:42 faster than I had trained for.

After the race, we took the subway back to Mark & Paul’s house and ate the rest of the pancakes. They were DELICIOUS!! I got to tour their house and enjoyed their company generally. They’re great!!

So this race was extra special for a good many reasons. A milestone, a good time, a good pace and good friends! Thanks Marc & Paul!! Much love to you both.