I had some good news this week. First, my chemo port is officially scheduled to come out October 7th. I am looking forward to getting this foreign object removed from my chest. I am grateful that I had it, because it saved my veins, but it really is time for it to go. I also discovered that my hair is starting to fill back in where it had thinned out during treatment. My receding hairline will hopefully blend in with the rest of my hair in a few months.
Life is pretty full and I am enjoying getting back to my regularly scheduled activities. Last weekend, I spent a good portion of my time volunteering with my family for the American Discovery Trail marathon. This was our second year volunteering for this race. Chatting with other athletes about our mutual passion for the sport brings me joy. The energy and enthusiasm found at races is infectious and I love interacting with runners, whether they are out to win, they are first time participants or they fall somewhere in between.
I worked packet pick up all day Sunday with my daughters, and some other fabulous volunteers, which made it extra fun.
Then the next day, my family and friend Tracey ran aid station #4 at Baptist Rd.
I had to be out every night this week. I had a board meeting on Tuesday, followed by meetings at both girls’ schools Wednesday and Thursday evenings. I put in a few hours volunteering at school. I also supported the youngest runner in our family at her first cross country meet.
These are all things that I both needed and wanted to do. But as my energy level fell off a cliff this week, and I thought about this race that I had signed up for, I wondered why I had not signed up for a race of a shorter distance. My doubts took the form of a question, “What the hell was I thinking signing up for a 50 mile race that takes place three months after the end of my cancer treatments?” My training has not at all gone according to plan. I am getting miles in, but I haven’t been able to follow any sort of program. My long runs are not as long nor as hilly as I would like. I hurt my hamstring in NY and the injury continues to inhibit my ability to attempt any sort of speed workouts. My long runs have left my feet and legs throbbing and I have felt completely drained after finishing them. As the doubts crept in this week, I wondered can I really do this? Why do I want to do this?
Then I thought back over everything I have been through, from the surgery and recovey to the chemotherapy. I remember wondering when I went in for surgery if I would ever be able to run long again. Through chemotherapy, it was always my goal to come back and train for an ultra. I thought about it every single week during treatment. I wanted to come back to as close to my former self as possible, and that is exactly why I signed up for an ultra. I have nothing to prove to anyone but I have a lot I still want to prove to myself. Maybe I bit off more than I could chew at this point in time. But for now, I am glad I signed up for another ultra. I am glad I tackled something that was a goal through my cancer treatments, because I know I would have been disappointed in myself if I had not at least made the attempt. So while nothing has gone optimally, and I have still been so very tired, and I am nowhere near as fit as I once was, I have not let my doubts or fears dictate whether I at least attempt to reach my goals. Maybe I will be successful. Maybe this time around I will fail. Either way, I learn something new about myself through the process of training and daring to toe the line despite my fears.