WARNING: This post is going to be very lengthy and picture heavy!!
The last few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind! A lot has happened, some exciting, some not so exciting….I’m struggling with where to start! Let’s just go chronologically…
In my last post, I talked about the upcoming Fox Rocks for Pink Event at Leroy Fox raising money for Race for the Cure. The event took place on September 29th and was a HUGE success!!! More people then I think anyone anticipated showed up and it appeared that everyone had a really good time. Over $20,000 in prizes were raffled off and more importantly, we raised over $5000 for Team Dolla Dolla Bills and Team London to donate to the Susan G. Komen foundation!!
This was the third year that we held a fundraising event for Team Dolla Dolla Bills and each year it keeps getting better and better. THANK YOU SO MUCH to Jessica Wilfong and Brandii McCoy for being the masterminds behind this awesome event, thank you to all of my other friends who volunteered their time and made donations, and thank you to everyone who came out to support a great cause! I’m so excited to see what next year’s event holds!! Here are some photos from the event:
The following Saturday kicked off an incredibly busy week and a half. I was actually able to participate in Race for the Cure this year along with great friends who graciously got up way too early for a Saturday morning to come and walk / run. It was a beautiful morning in Charlotte, and the race saw record numbers this year!! I decided to run the “competitive” race this year because it started a half hour earlier than the recreational walk/run that the majority of people do….and no, not because I think I’m some super star runner.
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I didn’t actually run the full 3.1 miles. As we were walking to the start line, I heard the gun go off for the competitive race to start. I could see the start line about ¼ of a mile down the street….a street that just so happens to be an uphill slope. Call me crazy, but I wasn’t about to walk a ¼ of a mile downhill just to immediately turn around and run back up the same hill! So I just jumped in with all the runners right about where the street was leveling out to flat ground. Score one for Nicole!
The run itself was actually pretty nice. The weather was perfect, and considering I’d been fighting a sinus cold / respiratory infection for the previous 2 weeks, I didn’t feel too awful. Here are some photos from the morning of Race for the cure:
Immediately after finishing the race, I ran home to shower, finish packing, and hop a flight to Chicago for the Chicago Marathon. Initially, the idea to do both races back to back seemed like a pretty good one. I didn’t plan to get sick two weeks before the marathon, and certainly didn’t plan to only run once in the last two weeks leading up to the race. Unfortunately, allergy season and germs happen :( My lungs felt a little tight after the 5K, so I was definitely a little worried about how I was going to feel on Sunday morning, a mere 24 hours later.
However I’d hoped or imagined I would feel during the marathon wasn’t even close to reality. If I could describe this marathon experience in one word, it would be disappointing. You train so hard and commit 4+ months of your life to this one event, and to get there and only be able to put up a marginal effort was frustrating to say the least. I obviously didn’t plan to get sick, and in an ideal world I would have been healthy heading into the race, but that unfortunately wasn’t in the cards for me this time.
In my first marathon, I hit the proverbial wall around mile 21 / 22. This time around, I hit the wall somewhere between miles 6 and 8. My lungs held up fine the first 5 miles of the race, but went downhill drastically after that. As the next 20 miles progressed, my lungs got more and more tight, and breathing became really difficult. So much so that for a few minutes I thought I was going to have to drop out of the race at mile 14.
I was really struggling to breath at that point. Realizing I still had 12 miles to go in what I’ll fondly remember as the race from hell, I started to panic and freak myself out. I was hyperventilating and unable to regain normal breathing even with a few minutes of walking. It sunk in that my goal of breaking 4 hours was long gone, even finishing within 5 hours was going to be tough at the rate I was going. I was so pissed off about the race, that to top it all off, I started to cry. Thankfully I had my new running sunglasses with me, and no one could actually see that I was crying…because the only thing worse than crying during a race is having millions of people (because millions of people come out to watch the race) know that you’re crying.
Somehow, I managed to get my emotions in check and slowed my breathing down enough that I could start running again. The sooner I started the last 12 miles the sooner I’d be done right?! I really don’t know how I finished, but I slowly made my way to the finish line. The memory of those last 12 miles will forever haunt my memories!! Running (if you even want to call it that) for 2 tenths of a mile, and then walking….running 2 more tenths of a mile, and then walking again. It was incredibly long, and incredibly frustrating. My legs felt great and wanted to run faster…but my lungs screamed at me every time I tried to.
I’ve never been so happy to see a finish line in my life. I dragged myself across the finish line in just under 5 hours…but hey, I finished right. So much for this being the last marathon I’ll ever do. I certainly can’t let my performance at Chicago be what I walk away from marathon running with as my last memory. I still get angry, and a little embarrassed, with how poorly I performed at the race. The only way to get rid of that feeling is to run another unfortunately. I don’t know when I’m going to my next, and hopefully my last marathon. But I can tell you it won’t be for a long time!
Thank you so much to my family and Andrew’s family for coming to support all of us who were running the race….and for waiting 5 long hours for me to cross the finish line. Despite my lack luster performance at the race, it was a fun weekend visiting with family. Here are some photos from the weekend:
You’d have to be living under a rock to not know that October is breast cancer awareness month. In support of that, I was asked to be on the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda last week along with Natalie, one of the other Models of Courage!!
I received an email the Friday before the marathon asking if I could be available for Monday. Thinking that I was about to embark on a sub 4 hour marathon resulting in my legs being pretty sore, I said Monday would be tough to make work. Fortunately, the Today Show was able to do the taping on Thursday instead.
Wednesday morning they flew me out to NYC. Andrew had to meet with a co-worker and was able to schedule a work trip the same two days and be there with me. Thursday morning we headed to Rockefeller center for hair and make-up. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something so relaxing about having someone else do your hair and make-up.
As I’m sitting in the chair, Kathie Lee walks by into her dressing room. Then James Denton (who was doing the interview with us) arrives. And finally, Marcia Cross, who also happened to be getting interviewed for the show walks in. I’d like to think that I was calm, cool, and collected and didn’t get star struck, but who knows, my face may have said otherwise.
You’re probably wondering why James Denton was doing the Today Show segment with us….so I’ll tell you :) The interview was set up through Ford Warriors in Pink. The last few years, WIP have worked with a different celebrity to create a special edition t-shirt to sell as part of their apparel line. Last year it was Jennifer Aniston. This year it was James Denton.
James donated his time and effort and designed the grey t-shirt he wears in the segment. Like all other items WIP sells, 100% of the net proceeds go towards fighting the battle against breast cancer.
Once hair and make-up were done, we got dressed and they ushered up to the set to meet Kathie Lee and Hoda, and (after a quick stop in the “green room”) tape our segment. I think the segment turned out really well! I was scared I was going to be nervous, and either fumble words or ramble on. Fortunately, they run the show like a well oiled machine, and there wasn’t time to get nervous. Within a minute or two of stepping onto the set, we were in the chairs and the interview was rolling.
If you weren’t able to catch the segment live, you can watch it here:
Kathie Lee, Hoda, and James were all so nice in person and were gracious enough to take a few photos (which you can see below) with us after the interview had concluded.
After our photo op with the “real stars”, it was off to the airport and back to reality. As quickly as my 15 seconds of fame started…they’re over now and I’m back to the world of cubicles, TPS reports, and 9 to 5! All in all, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and something I’ll remember forever. I’ve been able to do some pretty amazing things with Ford Warriors in Pink, and I’m so grateful and appreciative for all of them!
Well I think that’s all for the time being. Photos from 98 weeks post chemo are below! My curls have loosened so much over the course of this year, and I’m almost to the point where I have to put effort into styling my hair everyday now…so these may be some of the last curly picks you see….it might be straight hair from here on out!!