Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tonight must be a reflection night

Latley I've been up this late searching the internet and pretending to do homework. Tonight I gave up all pretenses and decided to focus on matters more important to my emotional being.

Below you will find the poems I wrote after my first and second marathons. I never finished the poem for my third marathon since I was so focused on my Mile Marker Letter. Tomorrow night I'll work on finishing it up and posting it.

I also have a short blog about my upcoming run although I'm not positive when and where it will be. The new run started out as a family challenge that is slowly becoming something more. Trevor and I have even talked about undertaking the creating of a race since this one is specifically . . ah, I get ahead of myself.

Read on. Be warned that tonight was a reflection night. It was way past due . . .

Poem I wrote after my second marathon

I run . . .

to watch the sun peak the mountains int eh morning as
the cold of night burns off in mists,
and the clouds of my uncertainty are lifted from my mind.

to experience the sound of birds in flight,
wind in the grass and leaves, subtle changes of the seasonsand my heart that take
my breath away with their beauty.

to hear my heart pumping,
feel teh pulsating of the blood in my veins,
vibrate with the hum of being alive.

because my girls see what true strengh and power are
while learning about dedication
and why "can't" is a bad word.

because I work all week at being a single mother,
a receptionsit, a cook, a pet trainer, a volunteer, a . . .
and for a short moment I'm just myself.

because I love hearing my girls yell, "That's MY mom!"
when they see me on the marathon course
and hear little feet pounding the pavement behind me.

in memory of my friend Michael
who taught me about becoming empty of bad to be filled up with good
before Leukemia took him away.

in memory of shawn who didn't make it to eleven
because there wasn't a treatment for Childhood Leukemia then,
but would have a fighting chance today.

in memory of who I was when I started my journey,
in celebration of who I am now because I had the courage to start,
and with hope for who I am transforming myself into.

because I am not promised a tomorrow.
As I started my run this morning
the sun began to rise over the mountains
and I realized again that today is all I have.

because Today is beautiful.

Poem I wrote after my first marathon

Pictures I couldn't take
October 2005

There are pictures I couldn't take
with a regular camera
while I ran my marathon.
There was no camera available to capture
the moment at mile 22
when I read the sign that read,
"You are one step closer to calling yourslef a marathoner"
and I choked,
and swallowed hard, hoping to push the tears back,
and realized that I had done it!
Six months of training,
of running,
of dragging myself out of bed in the morning,
and here I was, almost to the finish line!
I had done it!
I had taken all the frusteration of my divorce,
the heartache of not feeling up to par as a mother,
the overwhelming feeling of drowning and desiring to escape my life,
and I had run with it as my motivation;
my desire to take it all
and run until it was all gone, so I could walk home
knowing that I was empty,
ready to be filled up wth good now.
I couldn't find my camera to take a picture
of my teammates, my friends, who were running with me
seeing me break into tears, put their arms around me,
mistaking my tears of pride for ones of pain.
strangers slowing down to reassure me
we would all finish this together, offering to emotionally pull me along
so we could finish what we'd started for so many different, yet
individually powerful, reasons.
Noboody was around to catch me
as I walked the finish grounds
in my foil blanket, calling those
who I had leaned on when my strength was non-existent,
to let them know that I had come to realize that I too was strong
and no longer needed them to hold me up
because I had just proven to myself
and my world
that I was bigger then anything that will ever come my way!
My heart screams, "I have just run 26.2 miles!
There is nothing I can't do!"
and, no matter how hard I try,
I haven't been able to take a picture og myself
glowing with pride as I look in the mirror.
The morning after my marathon, I attached a few new labels to
the girls I see looking back:
There are images that I wish I could physically hold in my hands,
but they were never meant to be seen by the eyes.
They were meant to be etched into the mind,
seen by the heart
to be there to remind myself when I forget
that I am strong,
I am courageous,
I am a finisher
beacuse, simply put,
I am a marathoner.

New Type of Run

I'm used to running in honor, or memory, of people who have, or had, cancer. I've never really thought about the possibility of running in honor of myself. The reality of the situation is, I will soon be doing just that.

Sitting on the exam table with the doctor sitting on his rolling chair in front of me, my mind kind of blanks out when I hear the C word. I'm struggling not to cry and trying to understand the rest of the words that are coming from his mouth; I'm not too successful with either. I leave in a kind of numb and cold haze wondering how I'm going to call my husband to tell him what the doctor said . . .
. . . knowing I can't just tell him something like that over the phone . . .
. . . not wanting to tell him to his face since that will make it real.

How do I tell my girls?

Many sleepless and tearful nights I spend looking up information on the internet as Trevor and Riggins sleep. I make lists. Lists of questions to ask; lists of symptoms I have; lists of symptoms I don't have yet; lists of treatments; lists of more questions.

Slowly word of my condition starts to spread -- family, friends, co-workers, co-students. I tap into my continually growing resource of survivors for support, answers, and more questions to ask. My confidence is growing, and I once again find the deep calm I've come to know as peace with what is happening in my life. This is just another Mile 22 I must push through.

This will be a different type of run for me. I'm going to be running with many of the people I love, surrounded with the healing powers of love and hope. I'm looking forward to the new experience.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Top of Utah, Here We Come!

Next up on the running docket is the Top of Utah Marathon on September 20, 2008. This one is in Logan, Utah. I've never done it, so it will be a new adventure for me! Yeah!!!!

For those of you interested in joining, we start training on June 7 at 8 am. Long runs are every Saturday at 8. Meeting places will change, so be sure to contact me if you are interested.

I'll keep everyone else posted on the journey, and I'll do another Mile Marker Letter.

Here's to Pinky-Promises!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Next up . . Ogden Marathon

So it's been a while . . . far to long . . . since I've been in training. I was talking to a few of the girls I work with at Hug-Hes Cafe about running, and we decided to get in training and do the Ogden Marathon!

Since I'm the only one who has run a marathon before it fell to me to come up with a training schedule. We started in January and are slowly adding up our miles. So far I've only been able to convince one other person (Christa) to come run the long miles with me on Sunday mornings. But we are enjoying it and each other!

It's cold in Ogden, Utah! I'm so not a fan of the snow and ice, and definately looking forward to spring. Thank heavens the Ogden Marathon is on May 17th!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Finished the Rock 'N Roll Marathon!

I did it! I finished the Rock 'N Roll Marathon on June 3. My time was 5:24:50. Not bad for an away marathon! I started a newsletter that will go out to all who donated to me. If you want a full copy, let me know. Here's the section about my Marathon Journey and the things I thought about along the way. Enjoy!

June 3, 2007
Race Day! I’m still surprised that it’s already here! 5 am we are lining up in the pre-dawn getting ready to start this Grand Adventure, some of us for the first time! The clock starts at 6 am, the crowd screams, and we are off!
For the first mile I think about anticipation. The build up before the event. The panic/adrenalin rush feeling that accompanies waiting. I wonder what anticipation my ribbon buddies felt in the doctor’s office when they heard the diagnosis, before the first round of treatment, each morning before they awoke. . .
Hand in hand with anticipation must come fear, just like mile 2 follows mile one. I have not been able to imagine the fear of hearing the words, “You have Cancer.” Like everyone else, I have faced my own mountains, and over the past three years I’ve learned to face those fears and decide that I WILL NOT GIVE IN. Fear for the future can debilitate you, but it doesn’t need to. Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as saying, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
I have a confession to make. I hate running; at least until mile 3. But when the running is hard I hear Michael’s voice in my head telling me his reason for wanting to run. It’s been over ten years, but I vividly remember the night Michael (my best friend who passed away from Leukemia in 1999) told me he wanted to jump off the balcony we were on and run. He wanted to run until all the hurt, pain, anger, frustration and failure had been burned out of him. And when it was all gone, he could stop, turn around, and come home to be filled up with the good. Kristin Richard (used to
be Armstrong) talked about how running her marathon after divorcing Lance accomplished the same thing that Michael craved. Running these last three years has lightened my load tremendously, and that’s why today I am strong enough to take on my ribbon buddies and carry them with me. They may not be able to run for themselves today, but I can; I will.
Mile 4 flew by, so here’s a thought on happiness from William Butler Yeats: “Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simple growth. We are happy when we are growing.”
A teammate, Melanie, and I were talking about parenting around mile 5. I told her how I feel like a better mother since TNT because through my running I’m teaching my girls about exercise, healthy eating, charity, budgeting, wants vs. needs, endurance, will-power, personal time, and creative problem solving! Who knew running would do more then just help me get fit?
At mile 6 we were still talking about how TNT has made us better people. Meeting other people who are passionate about helping others and about living life has been refreshing. Also seeing survivors who are out here training with us gives me hope. I’ve learned so much for each person on all four teams I’ve been with, and some of the “lifers” are my best friends. A Buddhist proverb states, “My parents gave me life. My comrades raised me.” So true.
Just an observation here at mile 7. My running partner pulled off and I kept going. I need someone to talk to, and everyone has their headphones in! There are live bands, over 21,000 people, and headphones! We live in a society of disconnect. Pull the plug and meet someone!
Around mile 8 I was talking to a new friend I met on the course. I’m not sure how the topic came up, but we were talking about adversity and how it changes you. My grandma once told me that all people are like a potato, a carrot, or an egg. Once they are put under pressure (boiling water) it changes them. Potatoes become soft and fall apart at a touch. Carrots become tender, but remain firm. Eggs become hardened. It’s all in the perspective and what you do with it!
I’m missing my kids and wishing they would suddenly show up in the crowd right not at mile 9. Then I see Coach Waddee and John (family of teammates) who scream and yell for me. Tears come to my eyes. They aren’t my kids, but they are part of my family.
Here at mile 10 there are crazy male TNT staffers out here dressed as women runners — they make me laugh! And that reminds me that laughter is inner jogging.
“Stay Sexy, Jana” one guy said at the water station just after mile 11. It was the boost I needed. Thank heavens for modern angels!
Mile 12 just hurt. Sometimeslife, like a marathon, just is what it is.
I think that a half marathon (13.1 miles) is the perfect length! There was a guy I used to work with who would always reply that he was perfect when asked how he was doing because being perfect is the state of “bringing to final form.”

A little past half way at mile 14, and I’m beginning to feel it! Time to find someone new to talk with and keep on moving! According to Benjamin Franklin, there are three types of people: “those that are immovable, those that are movable , and those that move.” Hang on! I’m in the class that MOVES!
I run past John and Coach Waddee again around mile 15, and I remember how yesterday morning my kids decided who on the team got to be whose “buddy”. My teammates are my kids heroes, and I am thankful they are such worthy ones.
Mile 16 and I’m feeling drained. Mother Teresa said, “Love, to be real, must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self.” Marathoning with TNT is love.
By mile 17 I’ve had more then a few people ask about the TNT and what we do. I’ve been able to talk about how running with TNT is such a wonderful opportunity and how great it is that I get to be a part of curing cancer! Reminds me of a quote I saw in one of my log books: “People are not excellent because they do great things; they achieve great things because they choose to be excellent.”
I decided to think about enjoying life at mile 18. This thought came to mind, “I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life. He gave me life that I might enjoy all things.”
Up to mile 19 I have been at my target time. But I’m losing it, and I’m okay with it. Baron Pierre de Coubertin said, “the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”
Only six more miles to go here at mile 20, and I’ve decided to think about beauty. The age-old saying about beauty being in the eye of the beholder comes to mind. Looking around I see a bunch of tired, sweaty, hurting people, and the beauty of being a member of TNT strikes me. We started as strangers who were touched somehow in life by a blood cancer. With the memory of that touch we have worked to get here today with the hope that later on someone else will not have that experience.
It’s mile 21 and I’m starting to hurt when I spot a shirt that has the word COURAGE then the dictionary definition and the second definition reads, “Melody fighting Leukemia.” Tears well up and I have to chase the wearer down to hear his story.
Mile 22 was a HUGE milestone for me in my first marathon. It was here that I realized I had almost made it to the finish line, had finished fundraising, and was so much closer to calling myself a Mathoner! Strength is the attribute I tend to think about here each marathon. REAL strength manifests itself through the little things in life like standing up for what you believe in or doing something you never thought was possible.
Around mile 23, I was talking to Robb (the COURAGE guy) about getting to the finish line. I explained that for me running marathons is so much more emotional and mental then it is physical. Even though I run with a team and am constantly talking to other people, my running time is a chance I have to be alone to conquer my demons and come to terms with my angels. After the race I stumbled across this quote from Buddha and fell in love with it: “It is better to conquer yourself then to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. I t cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.” Crossing marathon finish lines is something that nobody can take away from me. I think about my cancer friends who had to face Chemotherapy, Radiation, PET scans, and Doctor appointments. They may have had friends and family with them, but they had to do it alone. I hope they celebrated each treatment as small, personal victory.
Here’s a short though on endurance by Edmund Burke for mile 24: “Patience will achieve more then force.”
By mile 25 I’m doubting my sanity. My feet are tired, I have a blister, I’m pretty sure I have a few more black nails, my legs are tight, and I’m having a BLAST!!! I would do it again (hence the reason it’s my third marathon). I’m reminded of the quote from George Carlin who said, “Those who dance are considered insane by those who can’t hear the music.” There has been a lot of music today, but I think the tune I’ve heard the strongest is the song of my own heart. The melody is pure and strong, and a beautiful thing to hear pounding through my veins. A toast to being considered insane!
Coming into the finish line at 26.2 miles, I’m again overwhelmed with a powerfully strong emotion. It’s a bit of pride, a bit of knowing I can do it, realizing again how strong (physically and emotionally) I’ve become, relief at finishing strong, and knowing I’ve helped make a difference in my life and the life of families and people who are battling cancer. I guess the best word to describe what I’m feeling would be accomplishment.

Thanks for all of you who helped to make this happen for me!