As some of you may know, lately I have been having a hard time keeping up with my training schedule and I have been nervous about my upcoming marathon. When I was training to run in the Philadelphia marathon, I kept thinking to myself, 'If I miss a single run, I won't be able to do the 26.2 miles!' I was so superstitious about it that I think I may have sort of put myself in a bad position for this next marathon. I have missed about three long runs so far and because I am so superstitious about things like this, I had sort of told myself that I should just give up or try to find another event.
Last night was our Hill Graduation Day at our Group Training Session. For the past six weeks, we have been working on running hills--how to work the hills to your advantage, how to crest hills, how to run down hills without killing your knees, what kind of form to use when running up, all the while working on getting stronger in all those essential hill-running muscles. It has been exhausting but rewarding and I feel like I am now intimately acquainted with every single hill that Central Park has to offer. I had run them all before, but running them several times in one session was a different experience altogether. Prior to the beginning of our practice, one of my friends from the Team got up to share something with all of us. She has known a significant number of people affected by blood cancers, and runs in honor of two who are survivors and who are very close to her. Unfortunately, not everyone that she knows who has been affected by cancer is as fortunate as those that she runs in honor of, and last night she told us that she learned yesterday that she may now be running in memory of two people who are very close to her. Her father recently died of pancreatic cancer, and now a family friend who was extremely supportive during this difficult time has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Although pancreatic cancer is very different from the blood cancers that we are raising money for, I think it is really important to stress that we are all still doing something that is impacting a lot of people in a really positive way. My heart goes out to my friend, but I am happy that she can be a part of Team in Training and honor the memory of people that she has lost or is losing in a way that helps so many people and possibly brings us all a step closer to less suffering and fewer losses.
My friend's story reminded me of something really important: this marathon is not about me or running a personal record, or even running every single step, it is about helping and honoring people who have fought a battle that is more daunting and difficult than any marathon could ever be. It is also about helping families of those dealing with blood cancers, and working toward a cure so that, in time, fewer people will have to cope with the pain that accompanies losing someone dear to them. Knowing this gives me the strength that I need to keep going, and I am confident now that I will be able to run this marathon; however, if I have to walk every single mile, it is still not only worth it, but only a small portion of what I hope to continue to do to help people.