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Team In Training: 'The journey is the part that changes you'Team MultiCare.
By Rebecca Carey
MultiCare Program Manager, Cost Structure Improvement
If you told me a year ago that I would be running 20 miles in just over four hours, I would have said you were crazy. But, I did it and have lived to write about it.
We started in the sunshine where we always do, our fearless coach giving us great advice and telling us a story of hope for a girl battling cancer. I mentioned the butterflies and knots in my stomach and coach said, “Great, just like race day in 3 weeks.” And off we went.
A run of reflection was my goal, take time to think about the last 5½ months of learning how to run the looong distance. I am no beginner to what others call “endurance” events. I have walked in my fair share of three-day, 60-mile events. I have been in a triathlon but I never considered myself an athlete, until now.
I have tried in the past to “run” -- going as fast as I can until I collapse out of breath, tired and frustrated after only 30 minutes or so. This training experience was a whole new journey. We started out as a team of about 30, all in various stages of learning with teammates, mentors and coaches. We were told to take it easy, run/walk was the name of this game, never go faster than you can sing the ABCs (with a 4 year old, I am pretty good at that song) and until you buy “real” running shoes, you should run 1 minute/walk 1 minute. Well, I felt good after that first Saturday practice, but could I really call myself a runner if all I did was run/walk 1 minute intervals? Trust the mentors, trust the coach and trust the process I kept telling myself.
My Mom is a breast cancer survivor so I had a pretty personal connection to raising money and awareness. This was different. One of my dear friends was diagnosed with cancer and not responding to treatment, my mother relapsed and needed multiple surgeries, a double mastectomy and chemo and more and more of my family and friends were becoming much too familiar with all the medical terms we wish we didn’t know. All the more reason to run like I had never run before, I can choose to run; those I love cannot choose to not go to chemo.
My dear friend lost her battle to cancer. She was 37, so young and had a very close relationship with my daughter. We miss her every day and talk often of how she is doing in heaven.
There are so many reasons to get up to run early on a windy 30-degree day, and this is one of the most powerful motivators for me. I run and raise money to help end cancer.
Fast forward to Saturday, April 14, the start of our 20-mile run -- the final training run to prepare for the marathon. I felt good. Nervous, but good. I thought a lot about a new friend (a young mother of twins) recently diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. While I couldn’t fix her cancer or even do a ton to help her, I can raise money for helping families and researching cures and I can RUN!
It was a beautiful day, seeing all my running buddies, having coaches meet me along the route to run for a few minutes and visit and share. I made it out to the end of the Narrows Bridge and felt wonderful. At mile 15 I was tired but not dead yet and by mile 19 I knew I could do this and finish it.
I know that in two short weeks, the marathon will be spectacular and the victory party will be fun to share with my husband and daughter but the journey is the part that changes who you are and how you look at the world. Running is now a part of me, along with finding a cure to cancer.
I knew nothing about nutrition, sweat ratios, eating salt en-route, ice baths, building my core, needing so many pairs of running shoes and workout clothes when I started. It hasn’t always been fun, carbo loading, not drinking wine on Friday nights, going to bed early, being cold wet and tired, feeling bad when my daughter says, “Going running again, Mommy?” It has been an amazing journey. I have met new friends, gained a mentor and coach, and raised yet another few grand to support those in need (one of my prouder moments is to think I have raised more than $10,000 to support cancer research over the past few years).
And despite all odds to the contrary, I became a real runner.
"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard ... is what makes it great!" - Tom Hanks in “A League of Their Own”
Posted on Apr 23, 2012 in Cancer