Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Little Anniversary Perspective

It's officially been a year since I joined Team in Training. I didn't realize it until last night when, as I looked around the room at Info Night, I realized that the group was weighing their options between the same races I'd been considering at my Info Night.

I almost didn't go to last night's Info Night -- but after a twinge of guilt about blowing off the team run and Dave's team party this weekend, I decided I should.

And I'm really glad I did.

I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed during the past couple of weeks. (Here are the highlights:)

I signed a lease on a new condo and have been busy switching utitilies, get flooring estimates, picking paint colors, cleaning carpets. Not to mention the weekend of painting that kept me away from the team activities.

I close on my house in a couple of weeks after a much-too-long and emotionally draining process of moving forward with my life. It's involved a lot of calls back and forth with realtors, lawyers and visits to my therapist.

Needless to say, it's been a rough road and I'm just glad I can see the light at the end of the tunnel -- I just wonder why the bumpiest part of the road seems to be the end. And I have a feeling it's going to get worse before it gets better.

And packing up and moving? Yikes, it's going to be a lot of work. Moving is tough under the best of circumstances, but when you're unsure what even goes in 'your' boxes (and you have to go through a lawyer to ask what goes in 'his'), it's even harder.

I thought a vacation would be a great way to get away from some of these things, to take a break from reality for a week. My vacation, which was the first full week I've taken off from work in four years, was good -- until the accident on the last day (see my last post).

Granted, it could have been a lot worse. But the relatively minor accident has added phone calls to and from insurance companies, paperwork, a round of physical therapy and put a temporary delay in my training.

Lastly, my relationship with my Charming Friend seems to be a little 'off' since we returned from vacation, maybe a bit before. Things are just different. I can't quite pinpoint it and I might be worrying a lot about nothing (at least I hope so), but it's been on my mind. To be honest, I know I need to talk to him about it, but with everything else going on, I'm just not sure I'm ready for a talk like that. Just not with everything else going on. Maybe I'm afraid of what I'll hear.

Yep, I thought Iwas enduring a lot. I started to question why the heck I chose this time in my life to train for a marathon. I must be nuts. Was I just testing to see how much one person could take?

That's what I thought -- until last night.

I was prepared to hear a mentor, coach and TnT staff speak at Info Night. They'd say the same things I'd heard several times before -- it will change your life, people will donate, you'll make a difference, you can run that far. (All are true, by the way.)

I don't think I was prepared to hear the inspiring and tear-jerking story of Julie, a woman who completed the Maine Half Marathon last year. Julie wasn't the typical TnT runner. Well, she was 'typical' in the sense that she didn't come from a life of running and quesitoned whether she could do it.

What was different about her was her personal connection to the TnT cause. In a quiet and calm voice, which sometimes cracked on the verge of tears, she shared her story of being diagnosed with lymphoma at the age of 22, right after graduating from UNH and moving to North Carolina for her first real job.

The doctors were unsure of her prognosis and told her she wouldn't be able to continue working while going through vigorous treatment. She quit her job and returned to New Hampshire to start chemotherapy, determined to battle her illness.

Not long into her treatment, Julie suddenly lost her vision. She hoped it was temporary, but it turns out that it wasn't. Doctors weren't sure whether it was the cancer or the chemotherapy causing the vision problems. She debated heavily whether to continue treatment, knowing that stopping it would allow the cancer to spread. It was likely she wouldn't make it.

But she continued on, dealing with her her vision problems that left her with only about 1 percent of her vision and only able to see shadows and differences in light.

For 18 years, Julie lived as a cancer survivor. But she still felt a need to do something.

When she received a postcard for TnT, she found the answer. She'd run a half marathon and raise money in hopes that no one else would have to go through what she'd gone through.

The thought of anyone training for a half marathon is impressive. Raising money for a good cause while you're doing it is even better. But a cancer survivor with minimal vision signing up? It's almost unbelievable.

A few days later she ran into an old high school friend, who'd trained for a few long-distance running events, and the two began chatting about TnT. They decided to do it together.

Together, the pair ran all of the training runs -- and eventually across the finish line at the Maine Half Marathon. Her friend 'became my eyes,' guiding her along the running route, Julie told us last night.

When the two crossed the finish line, Julie told us, she finally felt back in control of her life. Getting control of mine doesn't seem nearly as difficult anymore... at least for the moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You can post a comment here by selecting any of the options below. If you do not have a gmail account, choose "Other User" or "Anonymous." All fields are optional.