Try as I might to formulate and articulate my experience at the Inaugural 26.2 with Donna: The National Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer, I can't seem to find the words. It was a fabulous event. Donna Hicken Deegan - two time breast cancer survivor - and her foundation have come up with a terrific marathon/half marathon. I NEVER thought I would run a full marathon, now here I have done two within five weeks of each other. Remember the stupid pills I talked about back in October - well I kept taking them right up until that morning. I kept up hope that they would carry me through to the finish line.
I thought it would be just as easy to talk about this run as it was to take you all the way through Disney - twice. But, for what ever reason, I am having a really, really hard time writing about it. I can talk about it all day long: the sea of pink, the route, the flat calm of the beach, the crowds of nearly 8,000 runners, the cheering spectators and their signs, the neighborhood kids with Freezer Pops and orange slices, the most welcome sprinklers, the bands, the Runners' Village, the beautiful stained-glass medals, and of course my GodFriend Steve (below with me during the beach portion of the run)
paced me from mile 19 or so until the finish line. But, when I get right down to it, the written words just don't come like I think they should. I'm sorry. I so want to share it with all of you, truly I do. Perhaps in time the words will come. Maybe it is because I said I'd NEVER do one; maybe it's because this cause is so very personal to me; maybe it's because this was the first time I put my feet to the pavement without "my peeps". Who knows? I am putting in my journal of questions to God - I have a growing list.
I did finish. I finished in what I consider a pretty respectable time (4:24:31 and 347th overall). I am happy with it. Maybe next time it will be better. Maybe next time I won't care. Maybe next time the run will be because there is a cure and not a cause. I think maybe I'll "streak" this event. Meaning that I will run it as long as it exists and I am able to do it. I may eventually have to back off to the Half marathon. But, if I run only one full marathon a year, I think it will be this one. I can't think of a better cause or reason to do it. I think it keeps me close and grounded to the real reason I run.
26.2 is a long way to go no matter what anyone ever tells you. It was doable, but only because I had so many of you carrying me along the way. Doable only because I know what you have endured to get through the trials and tribulations of being a victim of breast cancer (personally or via a loved one). As I look at the ugliest five toes on the planet I remind myself that they will heal, and the toe nails will grow back, and they might resemble "pretty" sometime in the future. I put new band aids on periodically and wonder how this one time I got the blisters to beat all other blisters - and in the same place on both feet. I NEVER blister (do you see a trend...?). Maybe the sand? Maybe the heat? Maybe running through too many sprinklers because I was too hot? Who knows? But, this I do know: I am sure that I got those blisters to keep me real and grounded. To remind me once I was finished that the run was not for me, it was for someone else - mostly for you.
All my love and admiration for what you have endured - it makes 26.2 seem "not so bad afterall." I'll do it again. I NEVER thought I would say that either, but I will if only once a year for many years to come.