Seven. The Story of Why I Run.

Today is seven.

Seven years since I lost the woman I never realized was my best friend. The one I called at any hour of the day to ask the most random question. The one who will never be replaced and the one whose place in my heart will always be a little sad because she isn’t here.

For the first time ever, I showed Allie her picture this week and told her it was Gma. Just once. Yesterday she picked up the frame and said, “Mama! Gma!” As if she’d known her all her life.

Dammit.

I figured rather than going on about that, I’d share why I truly became a runner. Or maybe, it’s how I realized I was already a runner.

 

(from my “why I run” page)

**************************

During the summer of 2005, as I was getting ready to take the Texas Bar Exam, my Mom was diagnosed with cancer. At the time she was diagnosed, I didn’t think much of it. It was cancer, but medicine is incredible–surely she’d get better with surgery, chemo and radiation. Right? Well theoretically, yes, but not if the cancer is aggressive and very advanced at the time it is caught.

I passed the bar, had Ave  that December (my Mom’s first grandchild), and life went on. In the winter of 2006, my Mom got worse, and on May 19, 2006 just before lunchtime, my whole world changed forever. As a child (and even as an adult) I honestly never thought it was possible for life to continue without my Mom in it. In retrospect, I honestly think she was my best friend. I talked to her daily–sometimes several times a day. It was almost shocking when life continued without her there. For months I felt like she was just back home in El Paso going on with her life, and I was going on with mine. Certainly she wasn’t gone. She couldn’t be. But she was. {there are still days when I think this isn’t real and get mad when I realize she isn’t there. That I can’t call her and neither can Ave}

In October 2006, I ran Komen Dallas Race for the Cure and raised over a $1,000. To this day, it was my fastest 5k time to this day and it really made me take a different look at running. I’ve always loved running but this took it to the next level. Riding the train to the race that morning, I was so utterly touched by all of the families riding together. All of the survivors in pink–both young and old. Of course I cried as I sat there alone knowing I was doing it for her, but she was gone.  But it was such a reminder of why organizations like Komen exist.

That fall, I signed up to train for a marathon (26.2 miles) with Dallas Team in Training. It was a major task: raising $4,200 and training to run over 26 MILES, but I knew I could do it. I raised all of the money, I trained and trained and almost did it. Three weeks before I was to race in Vancouver, I stress fractured my pelvis and my running days were over for a while. It was definitely disheartening and while in Vancouver to cheer on my teammates, I even thought about walking the race but knew I shouldn’t.

To date, with the help of fantastic people, I have raised over $8,000 (as of April 2010) for cancer research and patient services. But, I won’t stop there. Injuries have sidelined me here and there but I cannot give up running. I ran the Austin Half Marathon with Austin Team in Training on Valentine’s Day morning 2010 (what an inspiration and amazing race). When I wanted to quit, when I was tired, when it hurt, I always thought about my mom and the treatments she endured. I thought of the patients, kids and families who all suffer at the hands of this disgusting disease and I pushed myself further.

I run so that my daughters will hopefully live their lives without worrying about cancer because there will be better treatments for cancer, or better yet, no cancer at all.

***

Sometimes on a hard run, or even a quiet one on my own, I can’t help but look up and think of her.  An amazing sunset, some pretty clouds, they always make me wonder where she is. Sometimes just being out there makes me feel closer to her.

Now though, instead of just training for her, I also run for me.  Running is more than exercise.  It’s a stress reliever. It helps me kick the funk out of depression.

It’s a challenge to myself. I will never settle for the fact that I didn’t run that race.

Running is empowering.

So, yeah, that’s the story of why I run.

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6 thoughts on “Seven. The Story of Why I Run.

  1. When I saw “Seven” I held my breath because I knew before I started running… and I knew that reading those struggles would make me think of mine, and all of that always makes me forget that I am capable of breathing, that oxygen still surrounds me and it’s okay to keep sucking it in and blowing it out. I actually found out that I passed the Bar, on the floor of Mom’s hospital room (2 days after she was diagnosed). Cancer sucks, but running is good. And Moms are good. Sending you hugs and love!

  2. I knew it was close to “the”day. Sorry I forgot it yesterday. I’m always thinking of you. I admire you for all you do to raise money and awareness. xoxo

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