Journey through time…

Time is a funny thing. Some days it seems to creep along, and other times you wake up and realized years have passed by. That’s where I’m at this week. Eleven years ago, I ran my first half marathon in Las Vegas. After watching Cameron run a bunch of full marathons (26.2 miles), I thought I’d try the half marathon (13.1 miles). It was a “Rock & Roll” marathon at night on the Vegas strip. It was around the same time as the National Finals Rodeo, so we did a multipurpose trip. It was a memorable experience for sure. I finished the race, with Cameron pacing me and keeping my spirits up. Navigating the stairs of the rodeo arena the next day was a bit of a challenge. We had a fun time.

8 years ago this week, I heard the diagnosis of breast cancer. I’m sure there are some people that get annoyed when I bring it up. But, I was 41 and I want people to be aware that it can happen at younger ages, and to be advocates for their own health. 8 years ago I didn’t know where I would be. I hoped I’d be cured and healthy. I didn’t think I’d be in Minnesota. I am healthy and doing well. The diabetes diagnosis isn’t related to cancer (more related to gestational diabetes & genetics).

7 years ago, we went back to Vegas and we were able to go to the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” night at the rodeo. It was an emotional experience to be there as a survivor. I felt guilt for taking a trip, but I was an important part of the healing journey. The guilt is something I’ve wrestled with for 7 years. It’s time to let that go. Because my cancer came in December, and I was healthy before that, we had to pay out of pocket for November & December appointments/procedures to meet our deductible, and then start all over again in January. It was more than we could handle financially, and we needed some help. The school put on a fundraiser for us to help with medical bills. I knew there would be people who judged us for taking a trip the same year we needed financial help. I need to let go of that guilt. They don’t know the full story. Have you heard the saying, “what people think of you is not your concern?” This applies here.

So, this week especially, I’m setting down that guilt. I’m blessing and releasing the fear, shame and anxiety that filled me up for so long. I am putting it down and walking the other way. I’m moving forward in good health and in joy, knowing I am enough. You are too. You don’t need to explain your life or your choices. You need to be happy. I honestly hope you are.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. This time of year we see many signs about peace. I hope you find it. Don’t let the outside expectations steal your joy. You deserve joy, not because of what you do, but because you are here to experience love.

Emotional flood…

6 years ago, we said “I do (again)” in Las Vegas while doing my first half marathon. It was a “run-through” vow renewal. We didn’t know the twists and turns that we’d face in the years to come. We assumed we would grow old together… we felt invincible. I miss the carefree time & how fit I was.

4 years ago, Myles was getting ready for his bell solo at the 1st grade Christmas concert. I really miss the Christmas concerts at our old school. They don’t do them here and it makes me sad. Last year, Myles had a sing along, but it isn’t the same. I miss all of the songs & actions the kids did. I miss some of that magic.

3 years ago, we were also getting ready for a Christmas concert, but it was with a heavy, anxious heart. 3 years ago was my diagnosis of breast cancer. My world would change in so many ways.

So today brings a flood of emotions… Joy, sadness, thankfulness, love, hope, peace, remembrance & fullness.

Joy like the pure joy in Myles’ smile. Sadness for missing out on a Christmas program and the “end” of that kind of magic. Thankfulness for everyone who stood beside me, cheered me on or held my hand. Love of my husband, family and friends. Hope for the future & for a long, healthy life. Peace knowing that I’m a child of God and supported and loved. Remembrance so that I don’t take my birthdays and Christmases for granted. Fullness because my heart is full (& probably somewhat to do with the abundance of cookies too! – see previous post)

So, while the day goes on like any other, it does cause me to pause and be grateful. I’m grateful to be on this journey of enough with you. Thanks for reading – now give someone a hug!

My wish for you…

My wish for you is that you will do something in your life that’s out of your comfort zone. Something that you thought you’d never be able to do (in a good way, not an illegal way 😉) Yesterday, I completed my 4th half marathon, but my first one “post cancer.” I didn’t prepare enough for it, and I knew that. I had started training with a great group in Fargo in January (Faster Stronger Runner.) I soon realized that I’d need to walk more than run. I started skipping the training sessions. My kids had events, it was too cold… Lots of excuses. The problem was, that I don’t feel like a runner. I don’t love it like my husband does. I’m not fast. I cannot talk when I run. I don’t get a runner’s high. I had committed to do the half though, and I wasn’t going to back out. I did most of my training on my own, enjoying the quiet time.

Leading up to the half marathon, the weather reports showed it being hotter than it has been in this area. 80 degrees is great for spectators, but not great for most runners. You need to take in more water and try to keep your body cool. I started out ahead of the three hour pace group, knowing that they’d eventually pass me. That was ok. My main goal was to finish. I gave lots of high 5’s to kids and adults. I wore a big pink tutu and my “TeamEdith” hat. (I raised over $275 for breast cancer research) I twirled my tutu in the street, told the story behind it to a few people, and smiled big each time someone yelled, “nice tutu!” The temps were much hotter than I would have liked, but you have to deal with the day as it comes. I took water and Powerade at every stop. I ran through each sprinkler, and took advantage of kids with squirt guns. A friend handed me a bag of ice, which made its way around my body – in my bra, under my arms and in my hat. My husband and kids were out to cheer me on. Their cheers, hugs and high fives were wonderful. They walked with me the last mile. One advantage of Cameron being a 6 time finisher of the same race, he knew the last mile would be tough. He was right. They kept me going, and I was able to shuffle/jog into the Fargodome. My sister was in the stands, and husband and kids were right along the finish line. I did it!

I thought for sure I’d cry at the end. I didn’t. Maybe I was too dehydrated. I did almost pass out, but managed to keep it together (despite being clammy and having everything flashing/going spotty.) What did make me cry was when I thought of the people I was thankful for. I texted some of them as I was waking on the course. Not everyone, but some I was able to text as I ran “their mile.” The people towards the end had much shorter notes. At mile 5/6 there was a man in a wheelchair without legs, cheering on the side of the road. His sign said “take a step for me, I’ll be with you..” Something to that effect. I was crying in the street because I could walk/run/jog – it’s all about perspective. It made me think that a year ago, I had a broken foot, was recovering from lumpectomy & radiation and I was getting ready for a hysterectomy. This is why I ran. Because I can. I wanted to show people, and my kids, that you can do anything you put your mind to. My pain is only temporary. A few days from now, stairs won’t hurt as much and I will be able to get up more easily.

I struggled with not being fast enough, good enough, going far enough… But the look on my family’s faces said that I was enough. Peace be with you on your journey of enough & may you take the time to enjoy some high fives and spectators cheers. God put them there for you.

Let us run with perseverance…

The young man on the right is my son, getting ready for a 100m race. It’s a race that he didn’t win, but he did his best and didn’t give up. The verse is one of my favorites. It is also printed on the back of the Fargo Marathon medals.

The Fargo Marathon is coming up this weekend. There are several events leading up to it, but the one I’ll be concerned with is the half marathon. For the past 6 years, my husband has run the Fargo full marathon.  26.2 miles is not on my bucket list. I’m content to be a marathoner’s wife. At some point last year, I decided that when I beat cancer, I’d finish another half marathon. (It didn’t seem like a good idea when it was super cold out though.) Regardless of my finishing time, I plan to complete the race.

“Perseverance”… not giving up. It applies to more than just running. Steady persistence in a course of action is one definition. Don’t give up is a lesson that I hope I’ve taught our boys. Facing cancer head on, broken foot, hysterectomy etc – I didn’t give up. Were there days that I wanted to? Yep. I’m human. We all are. My husband got a stomach bug during his last marathon. He looked longingly at the medical tent, tempted to give up. But he didn’t. He wanted to show our boys perseverance. Will they understand it today? Maybe not. But they will have the memory of him sticking with it.

“The race marked out for us…” Just as the marathon organizers plan out the course and mark it with spray paint, orange cones & traffic directors, God does the same for us. Sometimes we don’t see the signs. We are too busy looking ahead to see what’s next, or looking behind us to see who’s coming, & we don’t pay attention to his signs. We may be tempted to quit or to take a different route. We might be so busy worrying about our feet hurting that we forget to high 5 the little kids on the sidelines, to thank the volunteers or just to soak up all of the positive energy. God puts people in our lives to help direct us. While they may not have orange reflective vests on, they are there to gently guide us down the correct route. Have you ever felt this? That someone was placed in our life for you to learn something or to help you go a certain direction? They were. And there are more signs if we just pay attention.

I hope you take the opportunity to watch a marathon or a half marathon. It’s amazing. I get emotional each time I watch. The things that our bodies can do are simply amazing. All kinds, shapes, sizes and ages will be in the race. For some, their speed and grace is beautiful to see. For others like me, their goal is to finish… to persevere. Cheer them all on!!

Saturday will be an emotional day. Whatever my finish time is, it will be enough. Crossing the finish line will symbolize more than just 13.1 miles. I’ll be the one in the pink tutu. Come out & cheer me on. I’ll be accepting high 5’s also.