Saturday, June 26, 2010

PRICELESS: Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Race

2009 Seattle Half Marathon during Chemo? 3:12:45.

2010 Seattle Half Marathon without Chemo? 2:40:41.

Still alive to run a great race with TNT & LIVESTRONG friends today?


Today's race was all about celebrating life and enjoying each moment of running. Last year, I ran the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon while I was doing chemotherapy to treat my cancer. There was a group of friends that stuck by my side to ensure I finished it -- and trust me, they endured some of my most brilliant "bite me" moments, weakness and frustration. As friends, runners and fellow cancer warriors -- they knew I could do it. (And, they actually remained friends with me later, which is cool.)

(Looking back, it makes me realize that it probably wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done -- but it was what I needed to do to fight. Thanks, Coach Bill, for helping me pull it off -- both in getting me through last year's race, and helping me with a year of recovery and training so I could keep on using my running with TNT as a personal way to fight back. Means the world to me.)

Today, I went back to run the Seattle RNR Half Marathon. I couldn't leave unfinished business with that course -- and trust me, it had whopped me good last year. Today's mission was just to enjoy myself, look for bald eagles and look at the lake, -- and, remember that it's not about that finish line, but the journey taking oneself to it. And for that reason alone, it was a special day.

This race was for, and about, all my favorite cancer warriors. Last night, I wrote Ty's name on my bib (a.k.a. Captain Cure artist), as he just finished his 1st chemo of his recurrent cancer. I talked to him on the phone last night, and have to say that I'm honored to have him in my life. He was speaking at the Relay For Life's Luminary event today, so I missed him, but he ran all 13.1 miles with me in spirit. Ty, you are a true warrior, and we're all behind you.

This morning, I was texting and texting...and then texting some more, to ensure I met up with first-time marathoner and a member of Team LIVESTRONG, Amanda H. She's a fellow LIVESTRONG grassroots supporter hailing from Kansas City (Rock Chalk Jayhawks!!). We met at the 2008 LIVESTRONG Summit, but haven't seen each other since! Today, I had the honor to connect up with her at the starting line (and of course, text back and forth after our finishes).

Of course, I couldn't imagine running this race without my San Diego Team in Training teammates. Last year, so many of them got me through this race, so it was emotional, exciting and well, just plain all get together to run it again. From the starting line through the finish line, we had fun telling stories, running in silence, slowing down when I was processing a few rough moments in thinking about last year's chemo race and smiling BIG when we split off from the marathoners (happy with our choice to only run the half this year). Huge thanks to Erin McK & Kim L. for running with me today & sharing such a big celebration! Today's race was just plain ol' fashion FUN.

I also love surprises -- and right as we hit the 26 mile marker, I ran into a personal *surprise* spectator...a dear friend that came to cheer me in. (Thanks, T.) It was like icing on the top of the cupcake! (I love cupcakes, too.)

At the finish line, I met up with my girl, Ensley E. (a.k.a. Enz) who is one of the most amazing Cures Rock! warriors and sweetest folks that I know. She fights like hell to make sure we find a cure for cancer -- which is something I deeply love about her.

I also met up with a fellow blogger, Art R. (Racn 4 A Cure blog) and fellow TNT teammate from Virginia. After a year of blogging about cancer survivorship and running/racing to find a cure, we finally met in person. Art, you are amazing -- keep up the inspiration!!

As you can see -- the race today wasn't about the finish line. Life is short. It truly is not about the "outcomes," but about the race and journey along the way. In fact, as we headed into the finish line chute today, I asked my girlfriends to slow down. I wanted to soak in every last minute of this journey and live in the moment. Who knows what life brings any of us or what the next year holds. However, I can tell you this, if you take the time to live in the moment, to appreciate the souls around you, to do something for someone else -- and to live each day as though it's your last -- life will take on a whole new perspective.

Congrats to everyone that ran in today's race. A special thank you to all cancer warriors raising funds and racing for a cure. CURES ROCK!

1. Bib - running in honor of B & Ty.
2. Coach Bill, the Coach that helped me believe that running a marathon after cancer WAS possible.
3. Meeting up with fellow LIVESTRONG-er and Summit Delegate, Amanda, at the starting line.
4. Me, Kim & Erin running on the freeway overlooking Seattle.
5. Ensley and me at the finish line.
6. Julie (Cures Rock! blogger) & Art (Racn 4 a Cure blogger) meet up at the finish line and show off our fundraising "rock star" jerseys.

1 comment:

  1. Julie - I really enjoyed reading this. It is amazing all you did when you were on chemo, but it must have been great to get a "do-over" on this race and run it healthy and feeling good. It was so great to meet you on after the race at the TNT tent. So cool that we just happened to stumble into each other just before you had to leave. It would have been a big disappointment not getting to meet. Keep rocking those cures! Art


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