Friday, December 9, 2011

Cancer Rain Check?

Since I was diagnosed with breast Cancer in August 2010, many things have happened.  Likely very few of which I was aware.  I remember when I was pregnant with Ace I tried to stay connected to the world and my running friends the best I could under the circumstances.  I remember I would go out to the races that I would have potentially been running had I not been pregnant, and cheer.  I have memories of living that year.

Now that it has been over a year since I was diagnosed, and a year since treatment was in full swing, my memories of last year are very odd and even distorted.  It is often difficult for me to distinguish memories from the year before as being 2 years ago.  This time last year I was in full blown Chemotherapy with the “Red Devil”.  Unlike the past 5 or so years, my memories of last year do not revolve around running races, or training schedules.  They revolve around phases and stages of treatments, and feelings; both mental and physical.  Phases of weakness, and some nausea, hotflashes, and being cold too.   I remember baldness and certain hats that I wore.    I remember my Mom doing my dishes, and eating lots of Soup that friends would bring over by the gallons. I remember notes that friends wrote me and even certain texts. I remember when I started my blog, and even some of the entries.   I remember very little about work except the little presents or chocolates that my co-worker would leave for me after each treatment and that I wore scarves to keep my neck warm. I remember little about what other people were doing.  I remember nothing about politics or things going on in the world other than anything that had to do with the iphone.  I do however remember the approximate distances that I was calling my “long run” which occurred weekly on Tuesday Mornings before my chemotherapy, with the Team Rogue Group.  I remember people that were in the group at that time.  I remember how people were very nice to me and how some would look at me with a very confused look on their face.   I don’t blame them, of course. Many of them didn’t know why I looked the way I did, and  It’s not every day you see someone at a running group who is ghostly pale, bald, and currently undergoing chemotherapy. 

This past week I was running with one of the women who had been in the group at this time last year.  I’ve known of her for several years.  I’ve seen her around.  She’s much faster than me so we just never really ran together or got to know one another.  Anyway, she ran up behind me and began to run beside me and asked me how my Thanksgiving was.  It was funny to me because I initially had no idea she was talking to me.  I figured she was asking the faster guy to her right.  “Oh, me?”  I said something about how it was good and how happy I was that our kids were good in the car on the 14 hour drive to Alabama, and back. I decided at this point that I would attempt to keep the running up at her pace.  Why not?  It was cool outside… a good running temperature for me.  We began to discuss running, and running marathons, which is an unsurprisingly common topic of discussion on a run such as this.  She asked me what I was training for and I told her about the 50 mile trail run I have scheduled in March. We discussed trail running versus road running.  Neidra, the woman I was talking to, has done some trail running and has considered “going trail” J.  I said something to the effect of… I have very little desire anymore to run road marathons, at this time anyway… except the New York City Marathon.  I mentioned that one bummer about getting Cancer when I did, was that now I may not be able to make it into the New York Marathon.  You see, prior to Cancer, I had qualified for and completed the Boston Marathon.  I had run a 50k trail race and done well in several other trail races.  My next plans were to run a fast ½ marathon in order to qualify myself for guaranteed entry into the NY Marathon (which was the last Marathon I really had the desire to run) with the 3M marathon in January. After that I was going to run the 50 miler in March.  This was to happen in Jan-March 2011.   During cancer treatment (which ended up what happened instead) when I was running, I always had in the back of my mind the 50 mile trail race.  Many days that thought is what kept me going.  When I got back into training again in August/September 2011, I kept my focus on the trail race and decided that this is what I should do because this is what is driving me, AND…I don’t have to worry about running FAST.  Even when I first approached my road coach John Schrup with my 50 mile plan, he said he could support that, based on the same thinking….I would’t have to run fast, or anything. 

Now, I’m mentioning this to Neidra, how I’m a bit disappointed that now I may not ever be able to qualify for New York because they are going to change the qualifying times to be much faster….To be beyond my likely achievable zone.  Her response was…”well, couldn’t you get a Rain Check or something?” I liked that idea very much, and have played it out in my head several times since….

Dear ING NYC Marathon,

I was scheduled to qualify for your marathon in Jan 2011, but got cancer, and did treatment instead.  I feel sure that I would have qualified at that time because I needed to run a 1:44, and I had previously run a 1:48 during a training run, without actually racing.  I hear now that the qualifying times for my age/gender will be changed to 1:30 which is likely beyond my ability.  A friend of mine mentioned that you might be able to give me a rain check for the 1:44 time, so I thought I’d ask. 


Emily H.

One of the difficult things about this is that there is still actually a very small, untimely, window of opportunity.  I could still qualify if I ran the 1:44 by 1/31/12.  There is a fast half marathon in Austin on 1/29/12.

The problem is, I’ve been running trail 4/5 days per week, and running slow for the most part.  
Grist State Park Alabama

 My primary goal is still the 50 miler and I’m supposed to run 35 miles the day before the mentioned half marathon race and 15 miles the day of the race.  But….could I squeeze this qualifying time in? without getting injured? and without derailing my primary running goal?.... if the rain check idea doesn’t pan out?

4 hour 20 minute trail run in the rain completed last weekend.

15 mile trail race/training run this weekend.

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