My oncologist thinks I’m crazy, but he’s cleared me to train for a marathon. He’s not a runner, so he just doesn’t understand. “Look”, I said, ” I was diagnosed ten days before I was supposed to run my first marathon, and I have unfinished business.” He offered to just buy me the 26.2 sticker to put on my car, but when I asked if there were any medical reason why I couldn’t or SHOULDN’T train for a marathon, he couldn’t give me one.
Check out the date – April 30, 2011. I had such a cool number! Even though my first surgery was on the 25th, I still toyed with perhaps walking the marathon, but I still had drainage tubes attached to me, so I thought it might not be the best idea. Little did I know exactly what I was going to endure in the coming months, but when I look back on it now, I think that finishing a marathon will be a piece of cake in comparison.
At one point, I could barely walk. The chemotherapy left me with lingering neuropathy in my legs, giving me the lumbering gait of the Frankenstein monster. But I’ve come a long way since then. Just a month after I finished chemo, I walked a half marathon and barely finished within the 4 hour time limit, an 18 minute pace. Now, I’m able to maintain a hobbling pace of between 13 and 14 minutes per mile.
Too often non-runners tell me that I’m crazy, and I don’t even consider myself that much of an athlete. Runners are a different breed, as summed up in this great article from Shut Up + Run:
1. Run 40 miles per week, but still need to find the parking space closest to the door at the grocery store.
2. Talk out loud to yourself while running.
3. Hold up your Garmin to the sky because you swear you get satellites faster that way.
4. Sleep in your running clothes so you don’t have to change clothes for an early morning run.
5. Assume when someone passes you while you’re running that they are going a shorter distance than you are.
6. See the word “marathon” on the TV guide and get all excited before you realize it’s not related to running, but is related to a consecutive showing of episodes in a TV series.
7. Look at the clock and get a rush of excitement when your PR time comes up.
8. Keep checking behind yourself while running alone – either for the boogeyman or someone who you are leaving in the dust even though you didn’t pass anyone for miles.
9. Apologize to the nail tech every single time you get a pedicure (I know my feet or gross, I’m so sorry, I run a lot…) – like he/she really cares. You know they’ve seen worse. Maybe.
10. Carry an odd assortment of things in your fuel belt: jelly beans, toilet paper, body glide and a dollar bill (in case you need in emergency Gatorade or quick visit to the strip joint).
11. Talk in acronyms: I got a PR at the RNR. I didn’t BQ but at least it wasn’t a DNF.
12. Fart in front of others on a regular basis (mostly this is done in running groups and is typically beyond one’s control)
13. Blow your nose in your running shirt because you suck at snot rockets and forgot Kleenex.
14. Race the person next to you on the treadmill even though they don’t know it.
15. Get insanely excited when a surprise porta potty appears on your run.
The point is that I need to run. I need to finish this goal that I had set for myself over two years ago. What is life without goals is just a whole lot of TV.
Dare to be crazy. I consider life wasted if I don’t get crazy once in a while. If others don’t like it that’s their problem.