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, April 19, 2012

Kate's Story

Sometimes fundraising can be mentally draining and I question whether or not it matters. Then I get an email like this. Thanks Kate. You are an inspiration.

-----Original message-----
From: Kate Themel 
Fri, Apr 6, 2012 19:37:51 GMT+00:00
Honor Scroll
Hi David,
I would be thrilled to be added to the honor scroll. Is it okay to put my own name? I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2003 at age 32.  (Fully recovered now).

But a year of surgery, chemo, radiation and steroids left my lungs & body a total mess.  I once spent a week in the hospital for a pulmonary embolism and later for a toxic reaction to the chemo drug bleomycin.  By the time I was done with treatment in 2004 I could barely walk up the stairs without being out of breath, my muscles had atrophied to the point where I needed to hold onto something to get from kneeling to standing.  This was me at 33 years old – I felt like I was 90!

The first big step toward reclaiming my health was “running” a 5K with my sister in 2005.  We came in dead-last and second-from-dead-last.  Oh well, guess that’s why they call it a starting point!  We didn’t even make it onto the results board that year. The following year we finished in just over 45 minutes, mostly walking.  We’ve done races every year and have steadily improved our finish times.  My biggest problem has been learning to control my breathing and staying mentally focused. 
When I first started running I would get a little out of breath (big surprise) but then I’d start to panic.  It reminded me of those treatment days when my Oxygen level was so low I’d get dizzy and my skin would literally look bluish gray. Not a good look.

Good news:  My lungs are now functioning at 100% and I’m so much stronger than I was before. But it was hard to get past that fear & lack of trust in my own body.

I may not be the fastest runner out there but I think I’m at a turning point right now.  This year I hit 2 big milestones – finished a regulation 5K in 37:45 (first time under 40 min).  And the 2nd milestone was even better; I finished with a smile on my face!  That had never happened before.  I didn’t get panicky, mentally yell at myself, freak out or sabotage myself with excuses.  I switched those voices in my head to “This is easy. Your legs are strong. Your lungs are fine. Just look around. It’s a nice day to run.”  It really was a beautiful day.

I don’t know if you need all this kind of back story, but I wanted to share it with you because I’ve read your blog for a while and it has inspired me in a lot of ways.   
Even if my name doesn’t get on it, I’d like to send you a donation for the Honor Scroll. I can do PayPal if you have that.  Let me know what works for you. 
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on running & life in general.  

Wishing you MANY years of good health and fun trails,
~Kate Themel
(Twitter alter ego: KatesOwnRants)

Kate Themel, artist

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