|Kalamazoo 1/2 Spring 2012|
The tagline for the race is "Who are you running for?" I believe we all have a few heros that not only inspire us with their fortitude but that also carry us through when we ourselves feel weak. For me this usually happens around the 10mile mark - it's where the race becomes more about mental strength than muscle. It's at that time that I usually send my thoughts up to heaven and ask my dear friend Steve to run with me. I ask him to be at my side and channel some of the strength that he showed throughout his battle. His name is always written on me somewhere for each race - normally on the leg that he lost in his battle. He is just one of the heros who I carry with me. This year I will also have my grandmother in my heart who we lost this spring after living many years with Alzheimers. I'm hoping that the strength that the two of them showed in life can carry me through a few miles. As always, Emma is my training inspiration - my adorable little niece Emma who, before her second birthday, was already undergoing Leukemia treatments just months after losing her father unexpectedly. She fought like a trooper through all the needles and spinal picks, losing her hair and being sick. When I think about going out for a run and not feeling it, I remember that other people's battles are a lot longer. I think of my friends parents who have fought the fight like Jessica's mom or who are still fighting like Gavin's dad and I count my every blessing for parents in good heath. I think of my Nanna who battled cancer multiple times and always with the mentality that better her than a little child suffering. This is what I think of when I hit that mark in the race when I want to stop, when I think I can't do it even though deep down I know I can. It may not always be pretty (ok it's usually not even close to pretty!) but I've never quit yet. I can't imagine ever quitting though there were a few races where I have been close. I won't quit because there have been too many fighters that haven't quit before me. If we all were to dig deep enough we could find that strength to keep moving forward, to quiet the voice that says "stop", to keep fighting the fight. It's part of the reason I love to race - not because I'll ever win but because every time I'm reminded of that depth within me where the fighter lies. Because we have to keep moving forward.
In honour of my race and the heroes I run for, I am trying to collect 35 pledges of $35 or more in support of both the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and The Alzheimer Society of Windsor Essex. Your support would be greatly appreciated - please link to my giving page here and give what you can. I thank you in advance and I hope that you find your own heroes who inspire you.