The Long Run

It is hot here this weekend and I was due for a 12 mile training run. I knew neither day would I get out of the house early enough to beat the 100 degree weather. So I decided to do 5 miles of hills yesterday and a hard 7 miles today. I was finally listening to the experts who said splitting up the run is not a bad thing in ridiculous weather.

As I was gearing up for my long run today out came my F*CK Cancer shirt. I hadn’t run in it in a long time and decided today was a hard enough effort to put it on. As I got running the history of the shirt came flooding back to me and carried me through the heat and hills.  I was reminded of when the company that makes the shirts asked to me to blog for them, why I wear it and this is what I wrote:

I wear the shirt, because it captures the first thought that came to
my mind when I found out about Lisa. I mean, once the original shock
wore off, of what I was hearing….so it was possibly my second
thought. Lisa, who threw my bridal shower as one of my bridesmaids;
and two weeks before had celebrated not only her 34th birthday but
her engagement and pregnancy too. At her birthday dinner party we sat
around the table celebrating all of her joy and confidence in the
future and seemingly endless possibilities. Three weeks later, I get
the call and Lisa has been diagnosed with leukemia.

I wanted to help. I wanted to fight for her. My friend and I started
Team Lisa to raise $10,000, a small portion of the $600,000 she would
need for her bone marrow transplant. (And that is with her insurance
covering 80%.) We started raising money by training for a Half
Ironman. 400 hours of training at $25 an hour equals our goal of
$10,000. Our shirts drew attention. Our shirts raised money. Our
shirts made other cancer survivors or those who knew friends and
family battling cancer smile and nod. On race day, as soon as we
stripped off  our wet suits, on came our shirts over the tri-gear
for the bike and the run. People clapped and pointed at our shirts,
people stopped us and asked us where we got the shirt, people asked
how they too could help.

I wear the shirt now, with its ripped off sleeves, on days when I
don’t feel like running but go anyway. It reminds me that I can run
and Lisa cannot. I wear it days, when I want to send her extra
energy vibes, when she is too weak to talk or even listen to
encouragement. I wear it too, because it always get a second look. I
love the half a second of an extra glance from a stranger, that tells
me without saying, “my thoughts exactly”.

Crossing the finish line at Miami 1/2 Ironman

A year after I wore that shirt in that race my friend Lisa died and I was seven months pregnant. The next time I wore the shirt in a race, was the November after Seven was born and I did my first 1/2 marathon. I wasn’t fully recovered from having him or fully trained; but I put it on that morning and Lisa was with me the entire way. I literally had goose bumps the whole run and my under trained legs just kept going on and going. She was pushing me from where she was and the thought of seeing Seven at the finish line, it was all just so powerful.

After the Thanksgiving half.

Lisa gave me another gift today, being with me as a ran and thought about our journeys. I will wear it on my long training runs this summer and definitely during the marathon this October. I love the companionship it brings and the reminder of just how lucky I am. Thank you Lisa. Miss you.

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One Response to “The Long Run”

  1. rawqueen Says:

    Sorry you lost your friend. It sounds like she was an amazing woman. Look at all the inspiration she left and I didn’t even know her! Rock that shirt girl!!!

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