Life ain’t livin’ if you don’t breathe the air…
October 2007… While most of our classmates were having their senior audits done, planning senior carry-outs and date parties, ordering caps and gowns, and waiting in line at Rick’s, Drew was preparing to undergo chemotherapy for Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder (PTLD), a form of B-cell lymphoma specific to organ transplant patients.
Mondays were treatment days. After going to the farm/lab and my early class, I would drive to the hospital to sit with Drew and do my reading while nurses bustled about the Pediatric Oncology unit, checking in on Drew each time the pump on his IV stand went off signaling the addition of another drug cocktail or the need for another bag of saline.
We carried on this way through the winter and into spring, until finally, in the last week of April, Drew turned 22, graduated from the University of Michigan, and received a clean bill of health. No cancer.
This all serves as a reminder to me of what I am running for – of who I’m running for. I’m running for patients, and families, and friends who have been saddled with a cancer diagnosis and those who need the hope, support, and the strength. I’m running for Drew, who has been by my side and a huge part of my life for the past 5 years. He’s been my library buddy, my formal date, my photographer, my cheerleader, my roommate and my absolute best friend. He inspires me to be a better person and to do and achieve the things I want most. It is an absolute honor to be running in his name tomorrow.* I can assure you, there will be tears when I cross that finish line.
Good luck and happy running to everyone running tomorrow, whether it’s the NYC Half Marathon, the LA Marathon or a training run. I can’t wait to read your race reports!
"Running is not, as it so often seems, only about what you did in your last race or about how many miles you ran last week. It is, in a much more important way, about community, about appreciating all the miles run by other runners, too." -Richard O’Brien
*Drew isn’t the only one I’m running for tomorrow. I’m running for blood cancer patients everywhere, but I also have the distinct honor of wearing the name of Jim Francis. Jim was a runner who died of lymphoma at age 42. Jim’s daughter Melissa, also a runner, said that her father was her motivation and that he had always wanted to run a race in New York. I feel so honored to give Jim his race in New York. A fitting tribute. Thank you Melissa for sharing your dad’s legacy.
This morning’s run took a sleepy me all the way up to just a few blocks north of where I work, across the Hudson on the George Washington Bridge, and northward along the Hudson in Palisades State Park.
I wore my new jacket and a few layers underneath. I ended up ditching the fleece before getting under way because the sun was shining and it was a gorgeous, but still a little chilly this morning. It was waiting for me to throw back on after the run and I was happy to have it while I was on the train.
I started the run with the 10 minute pace group and we made our way - single file - across the GWB toward New Jersey. It was pretty chilly up on the bridge with the cars whipping past and the wind picking up. This portion of the run kind of solidified my love affair with the jacket Drew got me.
When we got to Palisades State Park I was thrilled with the scenery! It was a gorgeous morning for a run and the paved paths certainly didn’t disappoint. There were a few slick spots where ice hadn’t quite melted, but it was mostly dry. The path winds north right along the Hudson, and it is very pretty.
With the exception of a few packs of cyclists, there weren’t many other people who weren’t with our group out there. I ran without headphones and at first, the silence was deafening. (I forget what quiet is with the constant woosh of cars, honking and sirens in the city. It’s become white noise.) I could hear the swish of my arms against my coat, my steady breath and my shoes hitting the pavement beneath me. I settled into it and was thankful to be able to enjoy the quiet.
Before we set out, I had planned to run 11 miles. I haven’t been good about running this week and I thought it would be good to tack on an extra mile or two if I was feeling up to it on today’s long run. The coaches cautioned us when we set out though, that those of us who were scheduled to be running 10 miles would feel like we had run 12. The course was quite hilly. I ended up running 11.25 miles and I’m really feeling that last one. I have a gross blister that Drew insisted I should not take a picture of to post and I had some Achilles tenderness that I had to stop and stretch out once or twice. It was a great undertaking, but it was an incredibly enjoyable run.
*My apologies for blurry/grainy photos. I snapped the pictures on my blackberry as I ran along (like a complete n00b) and while I love my little phone, it doesn’t take the most stunning pictures… I just wanted to document my foray into Jersey.
Today we’re taking the George Washington bridge over the Hudson and to New Jersey. We’ll run our 10 miles around Palisades Park and then head back.
It’s a lot of subway riding for me, but I’m looking forward to getting a run in. It has been far too long since my last long run. I’ll provide a more lengthy report when I get back and maybe I’ll snap a few pictures!
A huge thank you to those of you who participated in Super Bowl Squares. I am so fortunate to have so many generous and enthusiastic friends. You all are my heroes!
Thank you for making a difference!
It’s all about that Woo Woooooo!
Laura and Davio win… again.
My sister and her boyfriend win the first quarter… Packers 14 - Steelers 0