This is how it works-
I love to run but there are times when I would rather not. This is when the voices start. Chants, name calling, guilt and reverse psychology is how they get me up and out the door. I don't really mind the voices and have actually started looking forward to their daily calls. Together we have formed a running club that supports, encourages and competes with each other. I love these peeps. They are much more experienced, talented and tougher than I am. Pushing me out the door, through the hard miles and up the monster hills when I am feeling lazy or want to give up. Some people have "real" training partners, coaches and support crews. My team is ALWAYS with me and helps me to keep my eye on the prize and not veer off the track. Sounds crazy- Yeah, probably is.........

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Will Not Cry......

I will not cry. I will not cry. This is what I kept telling myself as I made my way around the track. The Relay was ending and the laps were complete. 212 in all, 53 miles wearing a pink tutu and I was getting emotional. So many people stayed through the night and were walking one final lap together as a symbol of unity in the FIGHT against the monster. I was proud and humbled to be a small part of their awesomeness. This tiny community raised over $75,000 this year and that blows me away.

$10 per mile. That is what I asked for. The hope was to raise $600 and run 60 miles in the pink tutu. The totals ended up at over $1000 and 53 miles in 9 hours 40 minutes of "track time". Here is how the night played out.....

I don't usually put a lot of planning into a run/race/event. Just kind of show up and run and this was no exception. It was necessary to set up my own "aid station" for hydration and nourishment. A smart person would have everything prepared and ready to roll, especially if their event didn't start until 7 p.m. I am not smart. Nor was I prepared. I waited until about 6 p.m. to start gathering my gear, loading a table, chairs and water/Gatorade coolers in to my truck. A last minute stop to get ice and I made it to the high school with 10 minutes to spare. Perfect. No problems.

My dad had called me earlier and surprised me by saying that he and my step-mom were coming over to the Relay. While this was very cool and made me happy, it also added to the 'pre-race' nerves that always seem to show up. After an AWESOME performance of our National Anthem by a very talented little girl, it was time to start.

My dad and I walked together during the Survivor Lap. This one lap was an unbelievable experience. In a way, it was like telling cancer to F-OFF. It had tried to steal my dad but here we were, a year and a half later, laughing and walking the track together, me in my pink tutu and him in a purple survivor shirt. Believe me, no where in my wildest dreams did this scenario ever come up, but I am glad we had this opportunity.

From here the night is kind of a blur for a couple of reasons. One, I waited to long to write about it. Two, I waited to long to write about it. Okay, that's only one but you get the picture. Usually I like to write about an event within a few hours of completion while the memories and emotions are still fresh. This was different and I had to wait.

The first few hours were filled with very slow running and walking because of the crowd and I wanted to soak it all in. There were some people that have inspired and supported me through all my efforts that I wanted to walk with and there were some that wanted to run a lap with me. My 3 year old wanted to tag along and run. When he tired of running, I carried him as I ran. This combined with track clearing ceremonies and fireworks kept the number of miles to a minimum for a while.

So many cool friends showed up to run laps with me. I refuse to go down the list because I guarantee that I would leave somebody out. It really means a lot when people show up at different hours of the night/morning just to run with a dude in a pink tutu. Some came for just a mile or two and others for many more. Some would come out for a few laps, take a break and come back for more. A few that I will mention ran several miles. Jerry ran at least 10 through the night, Tom ran 12 and Jared threw down 31. Yep. 31. Why? Because, like everyone else, he hates cancer. I am lucky to have such good friends in my life.

After the final lap, and a couple of cartwheels, I turned around and walked back through the crowd throwing high fives and smiles. Half a lap later, I came to the last person. The one I was looking for. A little old lady that had stayed through the entire night and clapped or yelled some encouragement EVERY single time I came around the track. Not most laps but EVERY single lap. 212 times. The least I could do was walk her in on the final lap.

Anybody that has participated in a Relay For Life event knows how overwhelming it can be. Anybody that has ran long distances knows how overwhelming that can be. Add the two together and...... I will not cry. I will not cry.