OK. Breathe in. Breath out. Each time I even consider this my heart races. But, if I say it publicly, it is official and I can't try to weasel my way out of it.
I'm running the National 1/2 marathon relay. This really really scares me. You might not think that a relay is so bad. Sure, it is no Iron Girl, no triathlon, and no marathon. However, coming from a girl, who hasn't run more than one mile consecutively since her 9th grade fitness test, any leg of this relay will be a challenge to me.
UCF had our Team Fight kick-off event this past Wednesday with over 100 people supporting the cancer community in attendance. Still being relatively new on staff I haven't yet run at an event for the fund. However, I knew attending the kick-off might motivate me. It surely did.
While sitting in our reserved section at Looney's I started to feel this overwhelming swell of energy. Brock introduced the evening with a simple statement, "this is why we fight". He went on to explain after a slide-show of some of Team Fight's most inspiring and challenging moments, that each step we take, the physical pain we endure is all in the name of raising awareness for the young adult cancer battle. Although it doesn't take much, my tears were already flowing. The sincerity and sense of team in the room was really powerful.
I was sitting next to Alyssa, a young adult survivor who will soon be volunteering for us at the University of Maryland Medical Center as a Peer Mentor. I mentioned that I might like to run, but it would be a real challenge for me. She said, "I've been through cancer, there isn't much else I can't do."
Well that really stopped me. Who am I to whine about running a few miles, sweating a little, and possibly cramping and aching? Alyssa was 20 years old when she was first diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. And there my decision was made. I was going to be a member of Team Fight. I knew since the National Marathon is in March, I would need to start training ASAP. I explained my apprehension to Alyssa, "how can I make myself just do it?" Again, my new friend said something that made me step back and think, "you just get to a point where you say, 'I'm done saying I will'".
I'm done saying I will. I hopped on the treadmill yesterday for 30 minutes and it was a start. I plan on running around the track at my old high school today. You heard it here and you should hold me to it. I've said it out loud and now I can't !
Alyssa is really an inspiration to me. And although I know in this case she was talking about running around a track, her words can apply to so much more than that. I am both very nervous and very excited to run my first relay for Team Fight. I think it could be something I'll do once, to say I've done it. Or, it could be the start of a beautiful love affair with running.
Either way, Alyssa will be running one of the legs of the relay with me as she prepares to run the marathon in the Baltimore Running Festival in 2010. More powerful than accomplishing my goal of surviving the relay is Alyssa's survival. As of December 2009 Alyssa has had clean scans for two and a half years.
If you are interested in joining Team Fight, please visit our website www.teamfight.org or contact Katrina at 410-964-0202 (ext 104).
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