Just five weeks after being told I had Stage IV Colorectal Cancer I ran right towards the first step in my recovery…proving everyone wrong and showing myself that no matter how dismal the news I was not going to let the disease, diagnosis or anyone’s “assumed outcome” get the best of me.
Just before diagnosis I was eleven miles into my Omega Sports ½ Marathon training program. The irony of being in the best shape of my life when I was told you are really in Stage IV…is surreal. I waited 43 years to finally face this challenge. Note to self…don’t wait so long next time. Anyway I was not about to give up after putting in weeks of training! I was way to excited about my trip to Nashville. I knew I could do it!!!
Just two weeks out of Thoracotomy surgery (surgery of the lungs) I ran two miles and then another four after my first chemo treatment. The rest was sheer will power and a chance to show myself, and anyone battling cancer, that statistics and diagnosis isn’t everything…defying the odds is what it’s all about.
Just before I made the commitment to go to Nashville an amazing this happened…Michael Vance wanted to run not one, but two marathons in my honor. I can honestly say I have never been so humbled or taken back by such an incredible act of kindness. (OK maybe when John proposed marriage, but never since then). Michael is a coach and employee for the ever-amazing Omega Sports. He started raising money for the event and the sheer generosity of others completely exceeded my wildest expectations. I can’t wait to share with all of you my plans for those funds. As with any Get Your Rear in Gear related event, 75% of the money will stay in Charlotte to help others and I’ve got something special planned.
OK so back to the race…
My decision to participate came as a shock to all my Omega Nation teammates…Sue was
still going to run in Nashville?!? Maybe they’ve just never met anyone as stubborn…Or perhaps not as crazy or fearless…I’m not sure, but they were all stunned. As quickly as they could process the news, many team members gave up their plans for a PR (personal record for those of you non-runners) and offered to run with me all 13.1 miles. Are you kidding me? Again humbled, but even more excited…there was just one problem…Michael. He would run one marathon while we all rested for our ½ and then he would be on his own for the next 26.1. I wasn’t having it. We met up with Michael after his first marathon, complete with his pink and green tutu, and we all ran together for 13.1 miles…which is the way it should be. The team was all together!
Soooooooo…..how was the race?
OK it’s hard not to enjoy yourself when you are watching your teammate run through the crowds proud as a peacock in his tutu or as I like to call it his Man-Tu. The kids giggled and the men gave him high fives. The ladies just blushed!!! What a joy to watch. The crowd was amazing. It was like one big thirteen-mile party. I personally think the race organizers paid them and gave them free beer so they wouldn’t stop cheering and we wouldn’t stop running. I’ve never seen so many hills in my entire life. Wowzers!!!! Oh, and did I mention the heat…yikes!
With Coach Dan, Dawn and Mike at my side I was in good hands. Dawn kept me on task, hydrated, and mentally in check. Mike was the comic relief and Dan made sure NONE of us missed any of the roadside amusement there was to see. Cousin Jenny, my “sole” sista’ was right
there with me every step of the way. It was her first half…sorry to have over shadowed that a bit, Cousin. She did an amazing job and I am so very proud of her for running her first half. I am so happy we got to experience this race together.
At mile 11 I got a little crazy and had a sip of ice-cold beer. I can still almost taste it now. Wow!!!! Life is good! Celebrate it!!!! That is exactly what I saw coming off the plane when we landed in Nashville and no words but those could truly match up to this race weekend experience.
Thank you to everyone that ran with me in Nashville, my ever-supportive team in Charlotte, family and friends. Thanks for never doubting me and for sending your powerful energy and prayers my way…..You all make me smile.