Tomorrow marks the start of an adventure for me....a soul searching journey. Or maybe the conclusion of a journey?
What is so special about tomorrow? I am headed to Las Vegas to run the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon. The first race in my "2011 Coast to Coast LiveSTRONG Tour" - a half marathon each month (with the exception of March and November when I'll run the LA & NYC Marathons - hence the coast to coast). The two marathons and my May race - the Dick's Pittsburgh Half - will be as a participant on Team LiveSTRONG. The rest will be solo, but all for the 28 million worldwide that are suffering from cancer, to honor those that have survived their battle and those that have not. Cancer sucks....there no other way to state that, and this is my way of kicking cancer's ass. Every step I take, every mile I run while training and racing will be to kick cancer's ass, all while raising funds for LiveSTRONG so they can continue to reach out to the 28 million fighting cancer each and every day. I hate cancer; hate that it kept my children from having a lifetime with their father, that it kept him and I from fulfilling all the dreams we had together, that I grew up without my own mother, that my niece and nephew lost their beautiful mom much too early in life, that I occasionally still reach for the phone to call my sister or father but can't. Cancer took all these wonderful people from our lives. This is my motivation to take on this challenge.....I don't want others to endure what my family has endured. Vegas will be the first of 13 consecutive races I will run for LiveSTRONG over the next 12 months.....what better way to start an adventure?
An adventure no doubt but also a soul searching journey. One that began on October 25th in the Austin airport while waiting for my flight home from the Ride for the Roses LiveSTRONG Challenge Weekend. At some point I was asked what was next on my agenda. My response was "not a thing." But that was really not the case. I did have something. I was scheduled to run a half marathon in Las Vegas with friends in December. But, as is typical in life, conflicts arose and suddenly I was the only one available to go. So, it was assumed - by both myself and my friends - that I was not going to run in Vegas.
As I waited for my flight, I began to think.....why wasn't I going to Las Vegas? Because I was going alone? I just went to Austin alone and had a great experience. Yes, I went alone but I met fantastic people and reconnected with others. It was a weekend that rejuvenated and inspired me. So, why can't I do that again? Why not keep this momentum going? It was at that point the light bulb went off. If I want to really live life, I need to make plans for myself....and welcome the company of anyone that wants to join me, but no more waiting. What exactly was I waiting for? As I experienced with the unfortunate deaths - that damn cancer again - of my sister and husband, life can be taken from you without much notice.
I don't want a life full of regrets so right then and there I decided I was going to Vegas.....by myself.....to run a race....by myself. Of course, if anyone wanted to join me, they were more than welcome, but I wasn't waiting for anyone else to make my arrangements. The next day (after making sure Grandma and Grandpa were still available to spend the weekend - by the way, I have amazing in-laws who provide unbelievable support) I booked my flight and hotel. Once all the arrangements were in place, then and only then, did I share my plans with others. Of course, the first question always asked is "who else is going?" My response is always "I have no idea....but I'm going." Most were surprised....although I've taken weekend trips to Chicago alone....my running friends know I don't like to run alone, or at least arrive at the start line alone. Half marathons have always been something of a "group" event.
So, yes, a conclusion to a journey - one of deciding to make decisions for me....to live life to it's fullest.....to take each day as it comes to me and make the most of it.....all because I was sitting in an airport with time to think.
My last trip alone I boarded the plane with trepidation. This time I'm boarding it with excitement. I can't wait to enjoy the company we most likely forget about - ourselves! This trip to Vegas is all about me, myself and I.....along with putting cancer on notice of my ass-kicking I'll be giving it throughout 2011 for those 28 million that can't go run 13.1 or 26.2 miles.
Stayed tuned! I am sure I'll have stories to share....well, maybe....what happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas.
P.S. If you want to join me in supporting LiveSTRONG and those 28 million fighting cancer, please consider making a donation on-line using the link below: