April 21, 2012 by CJ
Just last week my thoughts about my first official 10k were vastly different from what they are right now. I wanted to push myself, run my best race yet. Set a standard that I would have to work hard to beat next time. Then, as things unfold in the real world, something happened on the way to the race.
A few months ago my older sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. Instead of running to her to offer comfort and support, I pushed her away. I built up my wall and planted my feet firmly in the land of denial. In my mind it was a mistake, she didn’t really have cancer. But as time went on, I was notified by my mother that my big sister was going to have to have a mastectomy. It was then that I was knocked back into reality. I put on my big girl pants and reached out to her. Fortunately, they caught the cancer early. She does not have to have chemotherapy and is doing well. Because of this my mother began doing what mother’s do best, nag.
She called, emailed and text “Did you schedule your mammogram?” “You need to get a mammogram.” “Have you spoken to your doctor?” “Are you taking care of yourself?” “Get that mammogram yet?” I ignored and blew off her and my sister’s constant questions about me going to the doctor. Why? Because I’m immune.
Yup, you read that right. I can’t get cancer. Why is that? I had my bout already. When I was 8 I was diagnosed with leukemia. I’ve been in remission since age 11. So you can stop with your mammogram nonsense, I can’t get cancer, any kind of cancer, again. No doctor ever told me this, but it makes perfect sense to me. Despite my very logical cancer theory, my mom just would not stop. I eventually acquiesced. I made the appointment and I also scheduled a physical and an appointment for blood work and then spent the next couple of days unable to eat, sleep or run. I had been living in this land where I was immune to cancer, and the reality that I was not and may have to go through all the ups and downs of it again shook my world.
Last week I had my mammogram. They haven’t called me back and I haven’t called to get the results…I probably should do that. After the exam, I felt slightly relieved and was able to run again. This week I went to see my doctor for blood work. I am supposed to get my blood count checked yearly, but I hadn’t done that in many years. I figured I’d be in and out in a matter minutes. I wasn’t.
When the nurse got me settled into the exam room, she took my blood pressure. It was slightly high. When the doctor came in he took it again, then again, then again. Then he had me lay down and took it another time. Seems my blood pressure is extremely high. I left a few hours later after more vials of blood had been drawn, some time was spent on an EKG, medicine prescribed and an echocardiogram was scheduled.
With all this, my thoughts and feelings and plans about this upcoming race have changed. I no longer want to push myself, not at least until I get my blood pressure down. More than anything I want to enjoy this race. Life can be tricky, scary and sad. When you get a chance to enjoy something you love, might as well take that opportunity and roll with it.
With that in mind, here are a few things I want to remember when I run
- Run the tangents– In all my races I’ve always followed the crowd. I’ve learned (via blog reading) the best way to not run more than the actual race mileage is to run the tangents of a curve in the road. I’ve never done this before and honestly, I’m not sure if I even understand how to do this, but I’ll give it a try.
- Run until I feel like walking– I’m not going to worry about my pace, time or anything.
- Walk until I feel like running – Just going to move at a comfortable pace for myself, whatever that may be.
- Enjoy the scenery– I’m going to be running throughout a part of the city that I have only driven through. I’m looking forward to having a new perspective of my city.
- Chin up, Shoulders down- I’ve noticed I run better in this position
- Drink whenever water is offered– I have a tendency to skip the water stations
- Listen to the people around me- sometimes those conversations can be pretty funny
- It’s only 6.2 miles– Only, haha! But I’ve done more so I just need to remind myself of it when I’m ready to pass out
- Once I’m done, ice cream is an ok dinner option– Don’t think I need to explain this
- Smile whenever I see a camera– In past races I’ve always looked half dead. I’d like to not look like a half crazed lunatic in at least one picture