Saturday, October 15, 2011

I raced in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

I *did* it. I set a goal, and I made it. I've been doing the October TRick or TReat Trot training program, and Saturday was my race!

I wanted to do a real 5k for my first time, and lo and behold, my city's annual Race for the Cure popped up. So I signed up. I didn't expect much, just to walk, go home, and be proud.

Honestly though, I found the entire experience to be electric. There were more than 4,000 runners there, and the atmosphere was just incredibly charged with emotion. I found myself randomly tearing up while waiting for the race to start, and a few times while walking, just moved by the power of the whole experience. I walked alongside survivors in their dark pink shirts, supporters, people who've lost friends and loved ones to breast cancer, and people who have been touched.

My aunt Kathy (who isn't really an aunt, but might as well be) is a breast cancer survivor.

My grandmother Ninney is a breast cancer survivor.

My great-grandmother Gamie was a breast cancer survivor.

These wonderful women were who I raced for. I can't describe the feeling I had when I was done, walking back to my car, and I saw a group of four survivors walking by. I teared up, raised my hand, and shouted, "You go ladies!" And they smiled, waved, and thanked me, and meant it.

My first 5k wasn't only an accomplishment for me to be truly proud of, it was a spiritual experience. I wasn't even done walking, and I was already plotting to RUN next year's race. Not to challenge myself, but to do more for these incredible women who were celebrating their fights and lives.

Nothing seems quite as important when you're walking behind a woman whose hair is still growing back from her chemotherapy, to revel in the power of her life as she's walking with thousands of others in a fight to make many more like her.

I raced for the cure. And I won. Sure, I was far from first, but I won something so much more special than a medal or recognition. I can't even quantify it, and I've been floating ever since. I was a part of something truly amazing, and it was nothing short of intense.

I've never lost a loved one to breast cancer, though it has touched my life in many, many ways, as it has threatened a lot of people I hold dear to me. I'm at risk myself, with a strong family history, so much so it played in to my decision to breastfeed my children (nursing lowers your cancer risk.) But I cried today for women I've never met, who have been lost to this disease. The feeling of joy and sadness was a physical thing at the race.

I've never been so proud of 57:15 in my life.

No comments:

Post a Comment