Saturday was my 51st birthday. I spent much of the day reflecting on how grateful I am for many things in my life. I planned to run the Brenda LaDun Conquer Cancer 8K to celebrate my birthday. This is the longest race I have run to date. I mentioned it to my cousin Jean and she said that she would join me. That made it even more fun. In addition, my cousin Linda told me she was going to run 8K on Saturday in my honor. Linda lives in Denver so she could not join us. That was one of the sweetest gifts I have ever received.
Saturday was a beautiful day in Alabama. At the start of the race it was around 30-32 degrees and sunny. The course was through the Greystone neighborhood in Birmingham, right by St. Vincent’s 119. The course had a few more hills than I thought it would have but it was not too bad. I had prepared for this race both physically and mentally so I felt ready. Jean and I got separated so we did not start the race together and I did not see her again until the end. There were lots of nice people to run with though. As I started running the first mile I began reciting the names of those I knew who are currently battling cancer or who have battled cancer: Nancy, Janet, Lisa, mama, Gail, Emily, Beth, David, Sylvia, daddy, Grandma Bet, Aunt Betty, Aunt Lois…the list got longer each time I began reciting names to myself. I ran for all of them and for the hope for a cure. I felt very grateful that I could run and be part of this event to raise money for cancer treatment. I also recited a few phrases in my mind: you can do this, preparation is what we do, dedication and hope. I knew I could run more than walk on this race and I did. I ran the entire first mile (except for a few steps getting up the first hill) and then I alternated walking and running. I finished the race with the best time I have had so far – about a 14:00 mile pace. That is almost a minute per mile faster than my previous times.
Later in the afternoon I met my friend Erin and her daughter Elizabeth on the Quad. Elizabeth was doing a science experiment and she needed volunteers to run around the Quad four times either listening to music or not listening to music. By the time I met them, it was around 70 degrees and the campus was full of people enjoying the beautiful weather. I made it around the Quad 4 times which means I ran almost 8 miles on Saturday.
A year ago I could barely walk up and down these steps:
I am very happy that I can run at all, let alone run 5 miles. I have many people to thank for helping me get to this point. I’ve mentioned some of them in my blog posts already but I have not mentioned the doctors who I have worked with over the past few years (and some of whom have been very patient with me). Dr. Laubenthal, Dr. Snow, Dr. Morgan and Dr. Hunt have all helped me in one way or another. I am grateful for the assistance that I have received from all of them to help me reach the point I am at this year.
I’ve promised a few people that I will write more about the point where I said enough. I will do that soon. In the meantime here is a gallery of photos from the races I have run so far. I am surprised by the change.