Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Will Not Be Swayed...Not Even By Success

suc·cess [suhk-ses] -noun
the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.

per·se·ver·ance [pur-suh-veer-uhns]-noun
steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., esp. in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement... Or success

I am writing today from a place of love and gratitude. My personal fund raising goal for this marathon has not only been met, it has been exceeded! Thank you all so much for your grace, charity, love, support, and compassion. Because of you, people are finding hope and getting well again. A thousand thanks would not be enough to express my gratitude.

A funny thing happens when a major goal is accomplished. There is a sense of satisfaction followed by a potential "termination of attempts or endeavors". Imagine what can happen if one pushes past that point of success. I feel proud of this accomplishment but with 2 months to go, I know I can do more.

At the May 17th kick-off meeting a Team In Training Honored Teammate, Audrey Duffy, shared her personal story with us about her battle with lymphoma. She has undergone chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant and a stem cell transplant since she was diagnosed in 2002. This year, she is completing her 20th event with Team In Training! She was also a top fund raiser.
When I heard her speak at the meeting, I was inspired and filled with hope. I made a silent vow to be a top fund raiser. As time went on, I started to doubt my abilities. Not only was I facing physical obstacles, I was also far behind Brian in the fund raising campaign. He met his goal in July. Now that I have seen what can be accomplished, I have a fresh determination. I have been given the gift of seeing that I can pass limitations, achieve bigger goals and cross that finish line! I know I will look back on this moment as a life changing experience.

Training has been such a remarkable experience. I ran 7 miles with the team on Saturday, 2 of which were up a pretty steep hill. We are starting to see those San Francisco hills in our minds. I am 35 seconds faster per mile than when I started. I won't give up, for
"I have promises to keep
and miles to go before I sleep,
and miles to go before I sleep"
-Robert Frost

So my question to you guys is

We are doing it together. Your comments, your encouragement, your congratulations are the reason I keep going. I love you.

Thank you. You are my heroes.

To my anonymous donor: Wow! What an amazing gift. I am humbled by your donation and by your selfless act of kindness without the need for recognition or thanks. You represent the purity of a virtuous act.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Hamster Wheel

Like the mighty phoenix
Once again I rise from the flames set to destroy me & take flight
I am Stronger



Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS
I imagine that is how cancer survivors feel

After last week's disappointment I had two choices: bow in defeat or rise. I chose to the Phoenix.

"No more messing around"...That was my mantra this week as I confronted my pain and declared, "I will not go gentle into that good night."

I know I said I would never take an ice bath again, but desperate times call for squealing in ice water. Brian and I sat there, freezing our inflamed joints for 20 minutes while I read aloud the Newsweek magazine with Obama on the cover. My voice trembled as I tried to distract myself and Brian from the thoughts of ice crystals forming on our toes. We emerged numb and cold, but feeling better. The ice baths do really help, even if they are painful at first.

Due to the amount of pain I was in, I had been skipping my strength and cross training in hopes of speeding my recovery. Big mistake. I realize now, that strength and cross training are tools in speeding recovery and preventing further injury. So Monday, I worked my leg muscles with a strength training routine that our coach, Brett, showed me. Then I hit the elliptical for 30 minutes. I felt so tired, so drained, but I kept going.

I decided to skip hill repeats with the team on Wednesday and focus on getting myself running on flat ground. I went to the local park and forced my tired, sore legs to hobble at a slow, gentle jog. I had to walk for a bit to warm up, but I was able to run through the pain. It was bearable enough for me to complete 4 miles.

My confidence was coming back! I started to feel less sore as the week went on. I was eating better and getting more sleep. I realized that I needed to treat my body as an athlete's body. This means demanding better for myself. The discipline required to run this marathon has spilled out past the training days into my everyday life. I think about hydrating a day before my runs. I exchange parties for early bedtimes. Everything I do revolves around my runs. I can't believe this is me!

On Friday my sister, Diana, and her husband, Matt, flew us to Phoenix to celebrate my nephew's 1st birthday with my family. We got in at 8 pm, ate dinner and went to bed. We were up with the rugrats at 7:30 to go for our run. It was 110 degrees outside, so we had no choice but to hit the gym. That is where I found The Hamster Wheel... The tiny track squeezed the gym, requiring 12 laps to complete a mile. It laughed at us as if to say, "See if you can do this without losing count". I felt like a hamster in a wheel. During the first 3 miles, I fought off the insanity of passing the exact same point 36 times. I tried not to think that I would see the same weight set, same aerobics room, same staircase 144 times before I was through. This was a mental battle as well as a physical one. The good news was that I was running without any pain. This kept me going and pretty soon, I found my rhythm.

Brian zipped by with the occasional goose or pat on the back.
He lapped me more times than I care to mention, but I didn't mind. He inspired me to try harder.

I met a girl named Heather on the track. She was also training for an endurance run. She plans to run in the New York marathon in November. We ran together from mile 4 to mile 6. This was just what I needed to take my mind off the dizzying merry-go-round of a track we were on. I started to get more energy and felt my pace quickening. At the end of mile 6, we parted and she took on the treadmill for a while. Her timing was perfect. She got me over that hump. Thanks Heather!

At about mile #9 I started bargaining with myself. "Maybe I'll just do 10 miles," I thought. Once I got to 10, Brian ran by and asked if I was going to do 12. A breathy, "we'll see" blew out of my mouth. My legs were dumb to the running and I felt hardly any pain. My mind, however, was very aware of each lap. I developed a counting system on my fingers so I wouldn't lose track. Each lap was a step further than I thought I could go. Brian ran 14 miles in the time it took me to run 12. He actually completed his run 3 laps before mine was finished, so he ran beside me as I pushed myself past all my mental barriers. When I finally stopped, I couldn't believe what I had just done. Did I really run 12 miles?!? Why weren't my legs hurting? It was like a dream. I CONQUERED THE HAMSTER WHEEL!We left with enough energy to enjoy my nephew's first birthday party. It was a lot of fun! My sister made cakes that looked like baseballs. Jeffrey, my nephew, had cake all over his face. My niece, Sadie, and I decorated the house with streamers and balloons. Jeffrey handled himself in style. He wasn't swayed by the army of kids scampering around, popping balloons. All he cared about was mom and cake.
It was a pretty good day.