A dear friend of mine recently asked me "Why are you embarking on this challenge for 2011?" Huh? Seriously, you don't know?
He understood the LIVESTRONG (LAF) connection....that was no surprise as I've been a LIVESTRONG advocate for several years. Fundraising for LAF has been a no-brainer for me.
"No, that wasn't the question. I understand that part if it." he said. He wondered if I was doing this for other reasons. My initial response was "No, just an idea for my fundraising this year."
However, his question continues to haunt me.....I have thought it over several times and I think he is on to something. Yes, LIVESTRONG is my reason for this venture. But, I've come to realize that I'd be lying if I told you it's the only reason. I'm also doing it for me. After losing the love of my life to this dreaded disease 6 years ago, there are still days when I have a hard time being upbeat and positive....and have invited myself to a pity party or two (sorry, your invitations must have been lost in the mail). The original turning point for me was New Year's Day 2006. I finally decided it was time to make a change or my life would be miserable. So, what started out as just a hit or miss trip to the gym turned into 15 half marathons, 2 full marathons, numerous 5 & 10Ks, and a Muddy Buddy thrown in for good measure.
Running saved me. It saved me from a life of sadness and loneliness. I have built great relationships out on the trail - amazing how much you can learn about people when you meet at the crack of dawn. Those of you that know me well, know how I hate to run alone. There are days when I feel like the easier option is to pull the blanket over my head and just stay in bed. As a mother of three, there is always another load of laundry, another trip to grocery store, another school project, etc. on my to do list. Plus, I am ALWAYS alone without other adults. I love my kids dearly and I love their company, but it doesn't replace adult conversation and friendship.
Having a race lined up always keeps me focused on my training. There have been races in the past that I haven't been able to train 100% for (unlike other runners) because life's "to do list" gets in the way. Having a goal always allows me to make time for me, no matter how little extra time I have.
I am not a cyclist, as most LIVESTRONG fundraisers are. I am a runner that owns a bike....a bike that gets dusted off once or twice a year to attend a LIVESTRONG Challenge. My running gear on the other hand is warn out....new shoes are always in the back of my mind....so why not use my running to help others, since running has helped me so much?
Oh, and not only has running saved me, it has saved my children. Being a happy parent and raising my children in a positive atmosphere gives me strength. Who wants a household filled with depression. If I am happy, they are happy. What goes around, comes around.
So, yes, I am doing this for reasons other than LIVESTRONG.....I'm doing this for me because even though Brian, my parents and my sister Janet, are not survivors......my kids and I am! We survive together!