No Air

I felt secure in my health. Invincible. I knew I was not immortal but I pictured a long, active, healthy life surrounded by people I love. I had a follow-up appointment scheduled with my doctor on a day when my husband had training for his job. He offered to change his training days, but I was so confident all would be fine that I told him not to bother. I would go alone. It would be fine. I would be fine.

As I  waited in the oncologist’s office, I had some mild pre-report jitters, which is normal.. The doctor came in and we engaged in a couple of minutes of idle chit-chat. I was waiting for the words, “Everything is fine. I will see you in three months.” But, instead, he opened his mouth and told me there was a lymph node near the celiac plexus that needed to be biopsied. As we looked through my scans together, he showed me another spot, this one on my liver. He emphasize that both could be nothing. However, he was recommending further testing to be sure.

As I listened to him, I kept a half-smile on my face, because I don’t want to show that I am rattled. But, I can feel the air leaving the room. I have a deja vu. I am back in 2013  when I first heard bad news about a tumor in my body that needed to be checked out further. I feel the same half-smile on my face, nodding in agreement to a voice that sounds a million miles away. No air. I hear the tumor board will discuss my case and let me know what will happen next. I think: I am alone. WHY did I come alone? Because I thought I was fine. I AM fine. But I thought I was fine in 2013, also. I don’t know what is real. I cannot trust my own instincts. I am afraid and so very alone.

I think, ‘What am I going to tell my daughters?’ I cannot tell them everything is fine, but I don’t want them to worry needlessly. After all,  I am going to be fine.

I leave and am, fortunately, able to speak to my husband. He sounds like I feel. A punch to the stomach. Fear. Disbelief. We are both desperate to be together, but are over 100 miles apart. I cry on a bench by the hospital elevator and I don’t care who sees me. I can’t drive. I can’t breathe. He has to return to class. I drag myself downstairs for the ride home but I just can’t do it yet. I sit on another bench and cry for 20 minutes, watching the rain pouring down outside. What am I going to tell my daughters?

Eventually, I pull it together enough to drive home. I talk to my parents. I talk with a couple of very close friends. I get home and sit on the floor, unable to move for 20 minutes. I am so thankful for Sadie, my Boston Terrier, who is licking my face. When my daughters come home, I tell them I need another test, but I do not elaborate. We have too little information. I am scared but I do not want to cause them unnecessary stress. There is no point. It seems cruel. They will know as soon as we know for sure one way or the other, good news or bad.

Sadie on my lap

The doctor calls the next day and says a biopsy is recommended. I vacillate between thinking I am totally fine and feeling fear that comes from seemingly nowhere. It consumes me on a visceral level. It does not seem to be triggered by anything in particular. I can only assume it is a response to the old wounds and fears coming back. One minute I am fine and the next I feel like the earth is swallowing me whole.

I cannot think about possible treatments. In fact, I don’t. I think about the test and just want to get through that. But when Stephen and I start discussing plans we have…races we have signed up for and trips we will take to see family, I become choked up. “But I have PLANS,” I think. “I have so much stuff that I want to do!”

The waiting is the hardest. Neither of us sleep well. We walk around, distracted zombies, trying to go through the motions and fulfill our daily duties and obligations. There is no time to emotionally deal with our personal crisis. We are so busy, we wish we had time to just sit and hold each other. When there is a moment of down time, our thoughts become our own worst enemies.

Steve & Tonia Santa Fe

I have the test. They biopsy enlarged lymph nodes. I go home and I wait and wait and wait. i try to figure out what it means. Why haven’t I heard anything? Is no news good news or does he not want to deliver bad news over the phone? I over analyze.

I actually think that I am healthy and fine. The logical side thinks I will be OK, but since I thought I was fine prior to my initial diagnosis, that leaves the door slightly open. Wednesday comes and I am supposed to see the doctor. A blizzard arrives, shutting down essentially every major road on the Colorado Front Range and I am stuck at home waiting to see if I will learn any news. I work and play games with my kids, but I am anxious and distracted. Finally, my phone rings and I get the news: I am fine. There is no sign of cancer in the lymph nodes.

There is relief and joy when I tell people, but after two-and-a-half weeks of living in some alternate universe, my own personal little time in hell, I am mentally exhausted. The news comes to me not as a surprise, but as a confirmation. I am fine. I knew it.

Today, as everything sinks in, I celebrate a new day of continued good health with a run. There is air. I can breathe again.





Race Report: PPRR Winter Series 3 & Brewer’s Cup

At the end of last year, my friend Vanessa Shawver came up with the idea for the Inaugural 2016 Pikes Peak Road Runner’s Brewer’s Cup. She got 19 local breweries and distilleries to sign on as team sponsors. Each team has 15 runners. The breweries and distilleries provide a team shirt which the runners wear at all of the local Pikes Peak Road Runner events. There are post-race, weekly and monthly gatherings at the business so it is a win-win for all involved. All of the races on our club calendar, plus the charity 5k for Project Purple, are on the Brewer’s Cup list. Points are awarded for participation, overall wins and age group awards. Because Vanessa’s goal in her running life is to encourage all runners, she wanted to make sure that runners who finish at the back of the pack would be earning points and thus contributing to their teams.

In theory, we want to make every single race, but we know that life gets in the way and not everyone will attend every race. Steve and I made it to the first couple of races and had a blast. Then we have missed a few due to illness, work and our parenting responsibilities.. But that’s just life. We do what we can and we make as many races as we are able.

After what has felt like weeks of very cold weather, we had 20 inches of snow fall in our neighborhood last Sunday through Tuesday. It has taken our area a long time to dig out. The local trails are all pretty much a complete icy, sloppy, muddy mess. There are many places that are simply not runnable right now.

The temperatures warmed up nicely over the past couple of days and Saturday was slated to top out in the 60s. We couldn’t have asked for nicer mid-winter weather. The course was moved back north this year to its old location at Baptist Road on the Santa Fe trail. The course is an out-and-back featuring 5 and 10 mile options. Even though I had missed the first two Winter Series races, I had signed up for the long series and planned to stick with the ten-mile option. Pictures from the trail taken a day earlier had showed a sloppy mess, but local runner John Volhand went out and plowed the entire course. I think I have mentioned before what an amazing running community we have. This is the kind of thing I am talking about: we have an incredible number of people here who are willing to give of their time an talents to make races come together.

WS3 friends

I carpooled to the start with three members of my Pikes Peak Brewery team, Shannon, Halcy and Debby. None of us felt motivated to run. In the five days leading up to the race I had done a 20 mile run and a one hour hard run. I was not feeling particularly rested and ready to race 10 miles, but the weather was perfect and I wanted to hang with my team.


Pikes Peak Brewery getting photobombed by Fieldhouse members

There really isn’t much to say about my race. We lined up and started running at 10 am. I chatted with a few friends as we started. It was sloppy and got sloppier, muddier and icier the farther north we went. It was kind of difficult footing, but I cannot imagine how it would have been if John had not plowed the trail. We ran north for five miles, then turned around and ran south. Early in the race, Brianne and I chatted. I watched her pass me, and then caught up at the turn-around. She caught back up to me and we pushed each other to the finish. I appreciate the friendly nudges that runners can give each other and since I had kind of been in cruise-control mode, Brianne helped make this more of a race and speed workout for me. I love our our running community! Thanks again, Brianne.

I finished in 1:27:08, which made me 14th female OA and third in my AG for the day. This gave me an extra point for my team, which made me happy. I have missed points for some races but if I can show up and get an AG, then hopefully that helps make up for some of the absences.

WS3 mud

Muddy Legs after the race!

The larger point that I want to make from this report has nothing to do with MY race. It has to do with the Brewer’s Cup and PPRR. At Winter Series 3 and the other races I have attended, I have been blown away by the sense of camaraderie that the Brewer’s Cup has fostered. It is so fun to see teams taking pre-race photos together. It is hilarious to see teams photobombing other team pictures. During the race, as we pass by one another on the out-and-back, we cheer for our team members as well as for other team members. I may not know everyone’s name, but I tried to always say, “Nice job Triple S!” or whichever team shirt I saw. I also had plenty of runners say, “Nice job Pikes Peak!” It is fun to be a part of a friendly and supportive competition that is much larger than one’s self.


Smiling Toads at the Post-Race festivities at Pikes Peak Brewery.

It is also really fun to go to the social gatherings. I love runners. I love talking to runners and meeting new runners. Under any circumstances, going to a race is a fun experience. The Brewer’s Cup has added tremendously to that experience by fostering friendship, teamwork and friendly competition.

PPB and friends

Our fearless leader, Vanessa Shawver, on the right, with teammates and friends and family at Pikes Peak Brewery.

Hope to see you all at the upcoming races and please do not forget to sign up for the Run to Beat Pancreatic Cancer. Registration is open and we have lots of wonderful prizes for winners and raffle items, thanks for our wonderful sponsors. Find more information here:



Rescue Run Race Report

Happy New Year 2016! Here is a brief report on this morning’s 10k Rescue Run. I have run this race for a few years now. A couple of times I jogged the 5k with Peyton. Last year, I came back after an injury and placed second in my age group (you can read last year’s Race report here: ). Coming back from an injury seems to be a theme for me at this race. Following a whole lot of racing in 2015, I ended up experiencing some heel pain. I have been running over the past couple of months, but have done no speed workouts, no hill workouts and no long runs. Up until a couple of days before the race, I was not even sure if I would be able to run or not. The Rescue Run is only 6.2 miles long, but it is a very hilly course and the first and final miles are on pavement. Every time I run on pavement my heel pain flares up, so I am trying to avoid it as much as possible.

Nevertheless, I enjoy starting off the New Year with this race. It feels like the best way to start a brand new year and the Rescue Run is a special event because so many local runners come out to do it. It also benefits El Paso County Search & Rescue, and they do a lot of great work rescuing people who get in way over their heads on the trails in the Pikes Peak Region. So many familiar faces come to the race that it feels like a New Year’s party without any alcohol. Adding to the appeal this year is the Inaugural Brewer’s Cup. The brain child of Vanessa Shawver, the Brewer’s Cup features teams that are running for local brew pubs. We have nearly 20 teams of 15 runners each competing in a variety of local races. The Rescue Run was first on the list for 2016.

Steve and I volunteered to work packet pick-up prior to the race. As we drove over, the thermometer showed us this:


It was very cold, but at least it wasn’t snowing sideways like it had been in 2015.  We handed out race bibs and numbers for an hour-and-a-half and then got ready to go.

As much as I wanted to run the race, I had been dealing with a sore throat for two days that seemed to be sapping my energy and enthusiasm. But, I signed up and said I would work, so I figured I might as well go ahead and run. At 10 a.m. sharp, we were off. The first mile is a long, winding uphill. Even when I am in shape to run hills, this hill hurts. Conditions on the roads and trails were marginally better than last year. I seem to remember more snow and ice in 2015. Despite the frigid cold we have been having, the road was fairly clear and there were only spots of ice on the trails.

Since I was not feeling well, have had no real training and I have gained weight, I had no goals for this race other than “I hope I don’t embarrass myself too badly.” I felt pretty good going up the first long hill. At the top of the hill, we wound around some ups and downs over a combination of roads and trails. At mile 3, the foot warmers in my shoes felt like they were burning my feet. This is a case of ‘don’t try something in a race that you haven’t tried in training.’ I had to go with a new brand of foot warmers and they had me feeling like I was on fire. At least I wouldn’t get frostbite.

I enjoyed seeing lots of familiar faces along the course. I also liked seeing all of the various brew team shirts out there. It was fun seeing who was on what team. It also took my mind off of my side cramp and my hot feet. The last mile is a screaming downhill. I hammered as fast as I could without falling on my face. I had no idea what I ran in 2015, so I wasn’t sure if I would PR or not. I crossed the finish line in 50:51, which was good for first in the 45-49  female age group. I crossed the finish line, threw myself down on the ground and yanked off my shoes so I could get my foot warmers off. When they chill set in post-race, I shoved them down my shirt to keep my core warm.

AG Rescue Run

It was a pleasant surprise to win and AG award, but I felt badly because my husband ran faster than me but did not win anything. This is one of those rare times that it sucks to be a guy.

It was fun running with the Pikes Peak Brewery team.


And it was fun volunteering with my husband and seeing him briefly out on the course.

rescue run 2016I

As it turns out, I beat my time from last year by nearly two minutes. Conditions were better for running this year, but, still, two minutes in a 10k is a lot of time. So, I am happy with how the race went. I am feeling somewhat cautiously optimistic about the upcoming year of racing.

A couple of notes about the end of 2015.

I had the pleasure of working with some amazing people on the 2015 Pikes Peak Road Runners Fall Series.

A very special Thank You to Larry Miller, who served as Race Director for 26 years. Also, a huge thanks to Micky Simpson, who runs the accompanying kids’ series. Thank you to Bethany Garner, who was the club president, and my friend, for the last two years. Also, thank you to Thom Santa Maria, who does so much behind the scenes for the club that it is impossible to sum it all up in one sentence. Thank you to my husband, Stephen, and to my friends Tracey Anderson, Matt Hopper, Dennis Collard, Rick Hessek, Kees Guijt, and everyone who came out to help make the Fall Series 2015 a success. This is a great group of people who puts in an unbelievable number of hours behind the scenes to make these races successful. Essentially, for 9 weekends in the fall, these folks give up their time to bring a great event to area runners. It has been an honor to work as a team with them for the past couple of years and though the composition will be changing a bit for 2016, I look forward to working with them all again going forward.

Also, in November, my daughter, Riley, turned 18.

Riley's birthday

Stephen turned 50 and I surprised him with a birthday party.

Steve's surprise party

Finally, we celebrated Christmas.

steve and tonia Christmas

Xmas 2015

That pretty much wraps up 2015. It was an amazing year for many reasons. I had some incredible racing experiences. I remained cancer-free. I spent a lot of quality time with my family and my friends. I really cannot ask for anything more in life. Now, on to 2016!

Leaps of Faith

We make decisions every day. Some are major decisions that can affect our lives forever, while others are rather insignificant. When we make the potentially life-altering decision, we can never really predict with certainty if we are making the correct decision or not. At some point, we have to let go of the intellectual side of our brains and take a chance. We must make a leap of faith.

How we get to that leap of faith is different for everyone. Some people turn to God and trust that He is guiding them. Some people rely on their gut instincts. Some people defer to fate or some other outside force. We intellectualize and weigh options for as long as we can. Contemplating options is good, but over-thinking can leave us paralyzed and unable to act.

Sometimes these seemingly smaller leaps cause a significant amount of angst. So it was this past week, when I started contemplating when it would be safe to allow Willy to be off-leash. He has caused us significant consternation in the 12 weeks we have had him. The transition has not been easy. He was a stray, after all, and was not used to being with a family. He seemed to like us well enough, but the couple of times he got away from us, he sprinted off. Those moments of him fleeing at a gazelle-like pace felt like an eternity, and I was incredibly lucky that I was able to get him to come back to me. I wondered if he would ever settle in and want to be with us, or if there would always be a part of him that wanted to be a stray.

We had been making so much progress that I was beginning to think he would be off-leash at some point in the near future.  But I was still incredibly terrified of losing Willy. When I adopted him, I was making a promise to protect and care for him to the best of my ability for the rest of his life. As we ran and hiked along a trail on Tuesday, I thought about how much nicer it would be for him to be able to go at his own pace. He could roll in the snow and smell the marvelous odors of the forest. But, I wondered, was this truly the right time? Had we had enough time to really develop enough of a bond or would I possibly never see him again?

After contemplating all of the things that could go wrong over the course of several miles, I dropped his leash. He stayed with me. He flopped and rolled in the snow. I kept walking. I looked back and he watched me quizzically before following me down the trails.

First day off leash!

First day off leash!

Eventually, I took his leash off altogether. He still stayed with me. It was truly an amazing sight to behold. This wild-eyed feral creature WANTED to be with me now. Every single day since then, he has gotten some off-leash time. I am over joyed with how well Willy is doing. Our bond has deepened over this past week, as we have been able to learn to trust one another and fully enjoy our time outside together.


Every major decision in life eventually involves taking a leap. At some point, we must throw some caution to the wind and hope that our decision leads us on the best path. With any major decision, we cannot know with 100% certainty how things will work out. I thought about all of the times in my life which involved letting go of a sense of control and hoping for the best: Deciding on a college. Selecting a major. Every job I have taken. Getting married. Moving across the country from my family, twice. Getting divorced. Getting remarried.Sometimes I have made great decisions and sometimes I have not, but I would not be the person I am today if I had not made each and every one of those choices along the way.

Raising children requires constant leaps of faith.From the time they are learning to walk, through the time they are learning to drive, to every time they walk out the door, we have to hope that they will be ok as we learn to let go, to trust, to drop that proverbial parenting leash.

Falling in love may be one of the ultimate examples of taking a leap of faith. Loving someone demands that we place our hearts in another human being’s hands with the hope that they do not abuse or destroy the gift of our emotions. It is human nature to want to protect ourselves from pain, but to truly love someone, we have to learn to let go of our defense mechanisms and completely and implicitly trust another human being.

With the guy who I choose to trust every single day of my life.

With the guy who I choose to trust every single day of my life.

Even going on with  my life after having had pancreatic cancer has required a huge leap of faith. I live with the uncertainty of knowing that my cancer could return with a vengeance at any moment. Yet, I would never move on and attempt new things if I did not actively work to convince myself that I will be fine. I have seen the statistics. I know fully well what could happen, but I have to live my life with assumption that I will be healthy for many years to come.

What is life without risk, without trust, without taking those leaps of faith? Each time I have taken a leap, there has been so much that could potentially be lost. The thing I always try to remember is that there is so much more that could potentially be gained. I appreciate how the newest member of our family has taught me patience all over again, and has reminded me to have faith, even when I feel overwhelmed by my circumstances. I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on how many instances in my life have required letting go and trusting that things will work out.


What was I thinking?

I woke up panic-stricken at 2 am Tuesday morning. I had an overwhelming sense of fear. What on earth had I been thinking the day before? I had been toying around with the idea of signing up for another 100 mile race, which would be my first post-Cancer 100. I had gone back and forth in my mind on which race I really wanted to do, or if I even wanted to do one at all. For the last two months, I had been unable to make a decision on the matter. Monday morning, after yet another run/discussion with my supportive and encouraging husband, I went home and registered for the Bryce Canyon 100.

When I talked about the challenge of the race and the beauty of the area, I became very excited about tackling Bryce. It just felt right. So why did I wake up in a panic less than 24 hours after registering? Why did I choose to take this on in the first place? What the hell was I thinking?

I had wanted to run a 100 mile race since I moved to Colorado in 1999. I had heard of the Leadville 100 and I was intrigued. When Steve and I first met, we had set a goal of running that race together some day. When I got pregnant with Peyton, that goal evaporated as day-to-day life and family obligations took over. We continued running and ran shorter races, but Leadville was no longer important to either of us.

In 2009, I ran my second 50k (Greenland trail race), and then ran the American Discovery Trail marathon in Colorado Springs. I had two great races but ended up injured. For the next nine months, I hit the pool nearly every single day while I could not run. I hate swimming, so this was physically and emotionally challenging. Every single day when I went to the pool, I had a pity party. The thought of getting into the cold water made me feel like crying, but I did it anyway. When I finally got back to running, I was afraid to race. I was afraid I would hurt myself again. Steve forced me to sign up for the local XTERRA half marathon at Cheyenne Mountain state park as a “date run”. I balked, but agreed to run it because it was important to my husband. The weather was horrible, with a snow/rain mix pelting us sideways. However, when I got out there, I rediscovered how much I loved being at the races. It was exhilarating, even though we were just running and not “racing”. Shortly afterwards, we signed up for our first 50 mile race. I figured, if not now, then it might never happen.

And so began my real love affair with ultras. I ran a couple of 50s and decided I was going to attempt a 100 mile race. I chose Vermont because it is one of the oldest 100s in the country, and has a reputation for being an extremely well-organized race. Also, Steve and I both have family in the area, so we were able to leave the kids with family and make a vacation out of the experience. I trained very hard for the race, and finished in 22:33, as tenth female. More importantly, I had an amazing experience from start to finish in that race. I smiled and had fun the whole way.

Smiling at the beginning of the Vermont 100!

Smiling at the beginning of the Vermont 100!

Still smiling 22 hours and 33 minutes later at the finish!

Still smiling 22 hours and 33 minutes later at the finish!

After I got my Cancer diagnosis, I thought, “Thank goodness I did not put off running a 100 mile race any longer, because I don’t know if I will ever get the chance again!” I was so glad I had fulfilled a long-term goal. All of my memories from that day are good ones. It was at that point, the hardest physical endeavor I had endured, but I enjoyed the experience so much. I will always treasure the memories I have from that event.

Now I look at life a lot differently. I had a discussion with a friend recently about running long distances. I used to want to undertake these events because I wanted to push my limits and see what I was made of. This entire last year presented one challenge after another. I know I can get through difficult times. I do not need to create artificial hurdles in my life. Any doubts I may have had about how mentally tough I am have been erased.

So why on earth did I sign up for another 100 mile race? The answer to that question is complex. I do not feel the need to create artificial obstacles and difficulty in my life. However, I am not ready to rest easy in the rocking chair quite yet. I had a goal before cancer to do a western 100. Goals can change and my life will be no less full if I do not attempt this race. However, I have continued to ask myself, “Will you be disappointed if your cancer comes back and you had not attempted it?” I cannot say for certain how I would feel, but I do not want to look back with regret. My goal now is not to go and kick ass, but to enjoy the training, take in the scenery on the race course, and finish with a smile on my face.This time around, I hope to have my kids greet me at the finish line.

I would be remiss if I did not mention one other significant motivating factor. I have said all along that there must be a purpose for my having survived pancreatic cancer when other equally deserving and wonderful human beings have not. This event will serve a purpose. I will be running for the cause of pancreatic cancer. More details on that will be forthcoming in the future. I do not want to do this for just myself. I want to tackle this for everyone who has been touched by this disease.

So on Tuesday, when I woke up in a panic, I did what made sense.. I went for a run with some significant elevation gain. It was the first time in a long time that I have attempted anything that involved a lot of climbing. I have my work cut out for me. It is going to take everything I have to get in shape for this race. However, when  I was on the single track trails that I used to train on all of the time, I remembered what I loved being out there: the challenge, the tranquility, the beauty and the peace that it all brings me. I hope the training over these next few months will be as fulfilling and gratifying as it was in 2013. My body is forever changed, but I still find joy and the world around me.



November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month!

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month. November holds an additional significance for me because I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on November 18, 2013. I am just a couple of weeks away from my one year anniversary. By making it one year, I will have survived longer than 75% of people who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month. November holds an additional significance for me because I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on November 18, 2013. I am just a couple of weeks away from my one year anniversary. By making it one year, I will have survived longer than 75% of people who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

I bought this shirt to run in:
On the back, it says, “Aiming for the 6%”, which is the overall five year survival rate.  It honestly still feels surreal to think that I had Pancreatic Cancer. A lot of this last year feels surreal. But, I have the scars and the pathology report that can quickly bring me back to the reality of it all.
Last Sunday evening there was an event in Denver called the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Purple Light. This is an event that honors survivors and remembers those who have been lost to Pancreatic Cancer. We met on the capital steps at 5 pm. I got to meet people I had been in communication with via facebook.

Here I am with Karl, who is in charge of media relations in the Denver area. Karl lost his wife to Pancreatic Cancer.
This is Beth, who is in charge of putting together the Purple Stride. Beth was 5 years old when she lost her mother to Pancreatic Cancer. Her mother was only 37 years old when she passed. Beth is frustrated because the survival statistics have barely changed in the time since she lost her mother.
Just prior to the ceremony beginning, we gathered for a survivor’s photo. As you can see, there are only ten of us. We didn’t really know one another, but it was a happy occasion to see, talk with and hug others who were part of this very small club. (Photo credit to Beth Corlett)
People sitting on the steps to honor their loved ones.
I have been lucky enough over the past couple of weeks to get to spend time with others who have been impacted by Pancreatic Cancer. First I spent an afternoon with Elli from Project Purple.
Then I got to spend an evening in Denver at the Purple Light event. I cannot express strongly enough how powerful of an experience it is to meet and talk with others who have a connection to this cancer. We all understand what a devastating diagnosis it is, whether we are survivors or family members who have lost a loved one to the disease.  It is the club that none of us asked to join or wants to belong to, but since we are here, we have a strong bond that unites us against a common enemy.
I hope that November brings as much support and recognition to Pancreatic Cancer that other cancers have received. Too many lives have been lost. Too many families have been torn apart. Too many survivors continue to struggle with guilt for being one of the very few who are fortunate enough to make it. We need more funding, more research dollars and more public support to battle this illness. I will be making a couple of announcements in the coming weeks about things I will be doing to make a difference for the future of Pancreatic Cancer. I am very energized and excited about some upcoming projects that are in the works. Stay tuned and wear your purple!


I am betting that most of my readers lost a lot of sleep this week wondering if I signed up for the 100 or not. So, to end the suspense I will just say, no, I did not sign up.  The day after I wrote that blog post, I woke up early in the morning and decided I would look at other races. I cruised some of the ultrarunning calendars and came across another race that sounded beautiful and challenging. I got excited about this particular race in a way that I had not been feeling about the other race. The way I felt drawn to this race made me wonder if the other event just wasn’t “the one”. Maybe it wasn’t the distance I was uncertain about; maybe it was just that particular race. I almost registered right then and there for possibility #2, but I decided to give it a couple of days. There was no sense of urgency with this second race so I had time to ponder it a bit. I was very intrigued by the possibility of this other race, but thinking about the training involved just seemed daunting. Am I really up for the mileage and time commitment? What I decided is that I just needed to stop thinking about racing for at least a couple of weeks. I forbid myself from “race shopping”. I didn’t want to think about it or talk about it. I just wanted to give it time, to give myself time, to figure out what felt right.

I have never had this issue before. Every time I have signed up for a race, I have been both a little afraid and a lot excited. Right now I feel so uncertain about so many things. I have been through a lot this year, and I am worn out mentally and physically. Running was really hard again this week. I got my port out on Tuesday and have struggled the entire rest of the week with breathing and feeling like my legs are heavy and dead. Is it the anesthesia? Or is it that I am recovering still from running 50 miles four weeks ago? Or is it the trauma of surgery and chemo? Is it just the fact that I cannot seem to get a decent night of sleep? It is likely a combination of everything. I just know that Friday and Saturday, on what should have been very easy runs, I gasped for air and had to walk. Yesterday, I wondered aloud to Steve if maybe I shouldn’t have done chemotherapy. If I hadn’t, it would have been more of a gamble for recurrence, but maybe I wouldn’t feel so crappy right now. I hate to second guess decisions I made months ago, but I can’t help but wonder a little bit how things would look for me right now if I had chosen a different path. For now, I need more time to let my mind, body and soul recover. I am sure I will be racing something come next year, but first and foremost, I want to feel good again. Maybe Race #1 wasn’t “the one”. Maybe Race #2 is…or maybe it is not. Maybe I am just not ready to make a commitment. 

Finally, I want to give a shout out to a special lady I had the pleasure of meeting last weekend. Elli contacted me through my blog several months ago. Elli lost her beloved mother to pancreatic cancer. Elli runs races to raise money for Project Purple. Project Purple is a charity that raises money both for research as well as to help PC patients and their families defray some of the costs associated with this devastating cancer diagnosis. Elli was in Denver last weekend, so we met up for a couple of hours. It was such a gift to meet up with this lovely woman who understands all too well the destruction that comes along with a PC diagnosis. Once again, I am reminded how much good has come out of this crappy diagnosis. I have met some really fabulous people along the way.

You can find out more about Project Purple here: