Big news since I last posted….which I’m embarrassed to admit has been way too long. AGAIN. I’ve really been slacking in keeping up with the weekly blogs. The last few weeks have been really busy…which you’ll hear about some of the “busy-ness” below…but November has just been a lazy month of writing for me
Back to the big news…Friday, 11/11/11, marked my one year anniversary from finishing chemo!! It’s so strange to hear those words come out of my mouth. I can’t believe how quickly a year flew by…crazy how that happens when you get back to living a life that doesn’t revolve around cancer. Needless to say, I feel incredibly grateful to be able to say it’s been one year already! I wrote a ridiculously long blog back at the 6 month mark on chemo FAQs if you want to check that out here…warning, it’s wordy.
The past year has been such a whirlwind for me. I look a whole lot different on the outside. Well not really a whole lot, primarily just from the neck up. And more importantly, I’ve changed a lot as a person. I don’t sweat the small stuff as much as I used to. I don’t worry as much about what other people think of me. I don’t waste as much time trying to make other people happy, while sacrificing my own happiness. Steve Jobs said it best, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life”.
So much in my life has changed, and I feel more and more blessed every day for having such a great support system surrounding me. I like to go back from time to time and read the blogs I posted from earlier this year….I don’t like to brag, but I’ve come a long way baby!!
What does one do to celebrate a full year chemo free? They run a ½ marathon!! Or at least I did. A year ago I could barely run a ½ mile, so being able to run 13 now feels great. My goal for the race was to finish under 1:50:00, so I was very happy squeaking in right under that at 1:49:43. It helped having people there to cheer me on. Thank you Andrew, Amanda, and Ryan for being there are the finish line to cheer me on, and for all the messages of encouragement I received before the race.
And to toot my own horn a little, I cut off over 11 minutes from my ½ marathon time 2 years ago, and over 24 minutes from my first ½ marathon back in 2004. I’m like a fine wine….I keep getting better with age!!
Races in Charlotte are challenging because of the hilly nature of the courses….anyone who lives here knows what I’m talking about. I run outside 99% of the time, so I am accustomed to the hills to some extent, but to hit EVERY hill in Charlotte on one run was pretty brutal. Not to mention I started out a pace that was about a full minute faster then I typically run.
Call me crazy, but I really wanted to see the race clock in the 1:40’s when I crossed the finish line, not just my chip time. Because I’d been sick the 2 weeks leading up to the race, and only ran once the week of, I knew I would be cutting it close to make my goal. So instead of starting a little bit further back with the people who run an 8-8:30 minute pace…like I do…I placed myself with the people running at a 7-7:30 minute pace. Big mistake.
The race started, and I’m trying to keep up with runners who are far superior to me. I was fine through the first 6 miles, then tanked at mile 7 when it was all uphill for what felt like another 6 miles, but in reality was probably only a mile. I was significantly slower during the second half of the race then I was during the first, but fortunately was able to meet my goal.
Biggest lesson learned…..run my own race. Anyone that knows me knows that I am what you could call competitive. Doesn’t matter what the situation may be….I really like to win :) I’m no spring chicken, nor do I think I’m in supreme physical shape, but to continuously be passed by runners who were 1) older or 2) more out of shape then me was frustrating to say the least. Each time that would happen, I’d speed up a little…and ultimately caused myself to hit the figurative “wall” much too soon during the run. Thank goodness it wasn’t my full marathon, because I don’t know if I would have had it in me to finish!
SO, heading into my marathon….less then 2 weeks away now!!….my primary focus is keeping my own pace. Not everyone else’s around me. I have a goal for my marathon…well actually I have 2 goals. One that I think is realistic and one that is really a hell-has-frozen-over-if-I-actually-hit-it goal. I’ll share the goals with you all after my race is over.
The second contributing factor into my writing laziness is that my kitchen remodel finally finished about two weeks ago!! And granted this shouldn’t impact my time to write, but it does when half your house was still in boxes because you couldn’t put away your belongings. I spent any free time I would normally have to put a blog together, working tirelessly at putting my house together. That may be a slight exaggeration, but you get the point. Before and after photos are below….I’m VERY happy with the finished product!!
And finally, I place a little blame on the Thanksgiving holiday and the subsequent tryptophan induced haze that hung over me like a cloud for a few days thanks to eating too much on Thursday, and continuing to eat leftovers the days following. I did manage to squeeze in my training runs. Thursday morning…along with 8000 other people who wanted to justify the exorbitant amount of calories they were going to consume in a matter of hours…I ran in the Charlotte Turkey Trot 8K. This was my first time doing the race, and it was a lot of fun! My goal was to finish under 40 minutes…and (again, not to brag) but I blew that away and finished in 37:38…15th of 386 in my age group!
Now my entire focus is directed at my marathon, 12 short days away! I’ve officially started my “taper”. Anyone who’s ever trained for a race can relate, life is good. Gone are the days of 20 mile runs on Saturday morning….at least until race day. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…training for a marathon is a completely different way of life.
Your social life takes a serious hit. Well, I didn’t really go out much before, so mine hasn’t really been impacted all that much. But it could be an issue for some people. Friday’s night are spent on the couch, typically crawling into bed by 10pm because you know the alarm clock will be off in a few short hours. Every time you consider having a drink, you find yourself questioning if it’s really worth it. You know the impact one drink will have on your ability to feel good running vs. feeling like a pile of you know what the next morning. And gone are the days of sleeping in! I did all my training in the mornings, even my weekend runs, so I’m reeeeally looking forward to having the option to roll over and shut the alarm clock off without feeling guilty if I so choose.
I have 7 more training runs, the longest of which is 8 miles….piece of cake! Looking forward to hopefully a great race on the 10th!!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I was in such a sorry state at this time last year, it was hard for me to see through the haze of self-pity I’d created for myself to truly appreciate and be thankful everything. I have a great family who would do anything for me, including weeding my overgrown yard. I have amazing friends who support me through all of life’s challenges. And most importantly, I have my health.
Because I’ve been suck a slacker, I have 3 weeks of photos to post…..even in my laziest of times, I still do manage to take photos Photos from 52 weeks post chemo are below….
Photos from 53 weeks post chemo….
And finally…photos from 54 weeks post chemo….