New York, New York
So, it has been pointed out to me that I am running the New York City marathon in 8 days. Holy crap you guys, the marathon is in EIGHT DAYS!!! Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited, and despite everything going on in our lives, I think I am ready for it. But there is just something about having an event that you train for for so long – that has always seemed so far away – suddenly being HERE – that never fails to shock me. It’s not months, or even weeks, away any more…it is DAYS away!
Because of my husband’s cancer diagnosis in August, and the effect it has had on our lives, I have not trained for this race as much as I trained for the Boston Marathon in 2009. I have done all of my long runs (and then some – five 20 milers and two 22 milers)*, but other runs have been more along the lines of “fit in a five to six mile run 3-4 times per week” than the regimented tempo and speed workouts I have done in the past when training for a marathon. So, it think it is safe to say that while I am not worried that I won’t be able to complete the marathon, it’s probably equally safe to say that I won’t be setting a personal record in New York next week. That being said, I don’t think there is any doubt that it will be the marathon I will be the most proud of finishing.
The last few months have been unbelievably hard, both physically and emotionally, for both of us. But we find out on November 3rd if the weeks of chemotherapy have been working and we are incredibly hopeful that we will get good news, making our trip to NYC just a few days later, a celebration of sorts – a symbolic triumph over the weeks of hard training, life changing cancer diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy (and all of the resulting side effects). I am planning to run in a LIVESTRONG t-shirt** and Andrew is going to be there to cheer me on, just as we had planned when we booked this trip almost a year ago. The fact that he is currently strong enough to do that is a victory in and of its self.
Obviously, I do not mean to in any way equate Andrew’s fight against cancer with my marathon training. That would be disrespectful to him and his fight. But in a strange way, training for this marathon has given me something positive to channel my feelings of anger and frustration and helplessness into during a time when they threatened to overwhelm me. It became the one thing I could do for us – if he was going to have to go through hell, then I was going to push myself physically and try to make him proud. This isn’t just going to be a marathon – it is going to be my tribute to him, and I hope it will serve as proof that cancer may have invaded our family, but it doesn’t control our family.
*I have relied on my weekly long runs to help cope with Andrew’s cancer diagnosis. Now that I am in taper mode (and especially once the marathon is over), I may need to turn to prescription drugs.
**I still think Lance Armstrong is a bit of a douche who left his wife and kids and may or may not have taken performance-enhancing drugs, but the man has raised a ton of money for cancer research and that is a cause I can get behind.