A year ago, my husband and I were asked to be part of a 12 person team for the 24 hour Cancer Run at Sandy Bottom Nature Park. The majority of our team members were strangers to us, some of whom we had only known by their Twitter handle and lauded running escapades. What lacked was not the talent, the drive or the apparent disregard for self-torture, I mean who doesn't think running as many 3.75 mile loops for 24 hours sounds like the best way to spend an April weekend?! What just lacked a team name.
Then it hit me, we were going to bring runners from every walk of life, some elite athletes and some who just wanted to see how far they could push the human within themselves together for 24 hours in the name of beating down something that has affected us all...Cancer. We weren't going to be joining together to mourn those who have fought but to celebrate life still ahead and the fights that have been fought. We were going to run for LIFE! And so team Run4Life was born.
Headed into 2014, I knew I wanted to push myself. I finished 60 miles in 2013 with taking some extensive breaks so I was confident I could pace myself and just keep moving throughout the day to reach 75. Of course, things always sound easier than they actually turn out to be. I was fortunate enough to meet up with a young woman my exact age (minus 1 month) who shared more in common with me than I could have ever have thought at first introduction, but as miles passed by and the pain settled in, it was clear we were both going on a journey we would not soon forget and that we were both determined to finish together. I do not know how I would have made it to the turnaround point that final time without her constant enthusiasm and support. This is just the part of the running family that not every one gets to experience, but once you bond over tree jokes, dangling silk worms, and stomach issues, there is no turning back...you are in it for LIFE.
75 Miles! People ask me why I would do that to myself? After some thought and reflection on this past weekend's run, battling demons during the night at mile 65 and asking myself the same question - WHY? I decided there really is no definitive answer, just another question...Why not?
I run because I can. I run because I am free to run. The only real competitor is the one inside my mind. If I can beat her and show her that no matter what LIFE has in store, it can be overcome, then I have won. Winning against yourself is the greatest satisfaction because all you need to do to keep going is move the finish line.
This year marked 9 years since cancer won a 22 month battle with my Mother, and trust me cancer had a FIGHT! I run for Life because she fought for hers.