running/a new year
it’s not january.
but this weekend felt like the start of a new year, a new thing, a new start.
our january started with a breast cancer diagnosis. forgive me, but that’s one of the crappiest starts to a new year, ever. like on the list of Bad Starts to the Year, up there with Shark Attack, Maggots Infesting Your Innards, and Waking Up in the Wrong House (awkward, but probably not the worst?), Surprise Breast Cancer is pretty hideous.
so at the crack of dawn, my family got up, mom and i strapped on running shoes and our grammatically incorrect team shirts (Nats Ninjas, no apostrophe, but the back of the shirt – It’s All About the Natitude – definitely had an apostrophe…), and drove out into the misty hills to run 4 miles with 3500 women.
this race raises money for the program that provided most of my mom’s treatment – and a lot of the funds go to helping provide breast care for women who cannot afford it. which is pretty fabulous, as causes go. a lot of women there were clearly running post-treatment (pro-tip: if you see a woman with VERY short hair, or peach-fuzz all over her scalp, don’t compliment her on the hip new style. it’s like asking a woman when she’s due: odds are super in favor of her not being pregnant, or, in the case of hair, not being a choice). many women ran on teams, supporting friends or family or just saying “hey, we like healthy ladies, let’s do this!” (a lot of entertaining takes on “save the ta-tas”).
mom had pulled a muscle in her ribcage (ow) earlier in the week, so we were not sure if she could run the whole thing – and as she put it, she wanted to run because she did not want anyone giving her pity-cheers. we decided to take it slow, and if i finished before her, i’d come back around to cross the finish at her side.
and yet. we ran the whole thing. together. we crossed the finish line holding hands (tears, trust me, were shed).
we found my dad and my boyfriend, gave them sweaty hugs (you’re welcome), found gatorade, and milled about for a little chatting. the guys left before we did – we had high hopes of winning grab bag prizes, so we stayed for a while, listening to people speak, and watching the speediest ladies ever get their prizes for each age group. props to the 74 and 83 year-old ladies who ran.
so it was a great weekend. running with my mom is a thing i couldn’t do a while back, and now i can run an easy 4 miles and actually think of it as easy. and for us, especially, running this race has so much meaning it would fill a dictionary. we don’t take our ability to run for granted. we don’t take our ability to cross that line together for granted. and to me, with a new school year beginning, and a lot of crap from 2013 behind us, i’m seeing this new month as the start of a new year. 2014 can be new, too. but this feels like a reboot of 2013.
cancer is a beast. but it taught me two very important things: first, life is short, so live it fully, and love hard, and don’t take anything for granted. and second, life goes on. yeah, cancer sucks, but the world keeps on spinning, and so try not to get bogged down in how unfair everything is, because life will go on, even if it seems to have stopped. find things to laugh about, enjoy the moments that are enjoyable, acknowledge the ones that suck, and keep on moving, because the world certainly will.
also, find allergy medicine because developing a sudden and severe dog dander allergy is THE WORST and most depressing. i finally stopped sneezing about 24 hours after getting back to DC.