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Running for a Cause Revisited

Saturday I am running the Police Chase for the 7th time. It's a 5K. It is not the most scenic route, but it does go past the town dump, a waterfall, and the park is nice if you like pollen.

It will be race number 90-something.

Before you get the impression that I am sort of running action hero figure, I want to make it clear that I never ran a 5K in my teens, my 20s or my 30s, or even my 40s. I had a whole bunch of other things that seemed more important than my health. I smoked for 20 years and ate whatever I wanted.

It took me a year to do C25K!

As most of you already know, that little bout with congestive heart failure and a stint in Hotel ICU for a week in 2011, got my attention. I have been on the Get Healthy or Die Train ever since. Of course, my first ever race, an American Heart Association run was awesome because I simply finished. The second, a memorial to a fallen policeman in a local town, was great because I finished in well under 30 minutes.

We'll see how close I come to 30 minutes this time.

What is it about this race besides it's the only one I have run every year since I started running? The one that makes it more special than the others? I ran it in memory of my mother who died of pancreatic cancer on September 14, 2001. It's an awful disease and I hate it. The race proceeds benefited Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Every year I run it like pain doesn't matter - like it is going to be my best time ever.

The first time, my little team from the YMCA showed up on a gorgeous sunny morning. We did a short warm up, took our customary team photo, did some stretching together, and jogged around near the starting line until the race was about to get under way. I got a lot of thumbs up for my Cancer Sucks t-shirt!

I will wear it again this year!

The gun went off, and 200+ runners pushed through the start gate. I had a good pace going to start and cruised along to Lenny Cravitz in my headphones. I thought of how my mom would have enjoyed this beautiful day as I ran on the brick walk beneath the majestic maples. I passed a large group of runners looking for some space to get back on the mark.

I wasn't holding anything back.

As the pack started to thin out we crossed the dam on the reservoir. The fresh cut suburban grass and the smell of lilacs was in the air; the water glistened in the midday sun. Again I thought about my mother...

I was half-way to water stop.

I could see my teammate up ahead a few hundred yards - she is often the pace setter and we are always close in time; each of us having a win over the other. I started thinking this is the best of 3 series and I am falling behind. I picked up the pace on a level section of the track. However; the pounding became too intense and my breathing was off.

With about 1/2 a mile left, I just got in as comfortable a groove as possible wishing it was all over.

Then it occurred to me that my mother hadn't given up when she was in pain. She did everything that she could do to keep her life as close to normal as possible during the treatments. We spoke on the phone the day she died.

I pressed on.

In fact I sprinted the last 400 yards as fast as I could go. I passed more than a dozen runners as I blasted across the finish line.

This year I wont be setting a personal record.

 I won't even run with music. I will just run, think about my mom, and proudly display my cancer sucks t-shirt.

Tell us about someone that you would run in honor of?

91 votes + -


aimeetu wrote 38 months ago:
Inspirational as always!!
solieco1 wrote 38 months ago:
Love your writing so much ?
goodasgoldilox165 wrote 38 months ago:
I think that any Mum would be proud to be remembered this way.

It is a great way to honour her - with your own courage.

However, it is also part of that fight to be as fit and healthy as she would like you to be.
Hoppymom wrote 38 months ago:
Your mother would be proud of you in so many ways. You've done so much good in your life. Set such a great example of persistence in the face of adversity, making such great choices in your life, and being a wonderful example for the rest of us. Keep it up!
farmboyphotography wrote 38 months ago:
As you have told me at least a few times: Just keep running. Your writing reminds me that I haven't yet run in honor of my father. He lived a long time, but died with a history of heart problems. Speaking of that, I run and walk to avoid following in his footsteps. No offense, Dad.

Despite your health challenges, to echo a very wise man: Just keep running!
goodasgoldilox165 wrote 38 months ago:
'Tell us someone you would run in honor of'

I wouldn't run (it is unfair on my native soil to crush it so hard) but have climbed (ok, scrambled) a mountain this year - to honour a person who died up there 30 years ago. He was a great striver and known as 'nudger' for his habit of encouraging everyone to get on and do their best. I know that he would have approved. An engraved stone from a place he loved was placed inside the cairn at the top of the mountain.
brittvshows wrote 38 months ago:
You made me squeal this morning. Just joy at seeing you posting again. First laugh of the day, too, courtesy of running past the town dump. Thank you, thank you for the inspiration you bring and the joy of life you remind me to celebrate.

I'd run to honor my dad who died at 45 from a heart attack after having bypass surgery at 42. He, his brother, and four male cousins all died at 45. A fifth male cousin lucked out and received a heart transplant. As you can imagine, all males on that side of the family held their collective breaths when that birthday arrived.

Me? I challenged tradition and had my heart attack and bypass surgery at 60. Love ya, Dad!

And you, too, David.
texteach66 wrote 38 months ago:
I'm a relatively new runner, but I cycled for a few years and had the opportunity to do a ride wearing my mom's and grandmother's name - both passed away around the age of 60, my mom of leukemia and my grandmother of lymphoma. It was an honor to ride with their names on my back.
Thehardmakesitworthit wrote 38 months ago:
I look for your blog every day! Glad to read such great words again! I am running June 8th in my first race. A 12K. The race is not for a cause but it is for me. Because 75 pounds ago I wouldnt....or couldnt... and cancer can suck it. I am 16 years in remission this year.
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