I ran my first 5k at a Livestrong event and received a yellow survivor rose when I crossed the finish line. That single moment changed the way that I would think about setting and meeting goals forever. It took hard work and a determined mind to help me commit to my first organized race and finish and it took a good mental attitude to keep me on the course for the entire 3.1 miles. I learned so much when I crossed the finish line that day.
Today, I retired my Brooks Ravennas. There are so many memories in a pair of shoes. They carried me for over a thousand miles: all around the neighborhoods surrounding my house, through my first marathon, lots of 5k's, two half marathons and, finally, the Goofy Challenge. They also carried me through a lot of frustrations, fears, anger, and joy. I never knew that running could be such an awesome vent and I never knew that a pair of sneakers could mean so much.
The Goofy Challenge took place at Walt Disney World last weekend. I ran back to back half and full marathons, totaling 39.3 miles over the course of two days. I trained for months and ran through a lot of pain, sweat and sometimes even discouragement. I never, ever in a million years thought I would even attempt a distance run at that level. Cancer didn't just change me; cancer challenged me.
I don't know what comes next for me. Originally, my plan was to run a marathon. It had always been a bucket list item and, when cancer came knocking on my door, I thought to myself, "oh man, I have to start doing all the things I always wanted to do." I didn't stop at a marathon, though. I kept going.
It has been almost four years since my diagnosis. My cancer has been stable for all of that time. I am so fortunate and I no longer think that I need to squeeze in all of the things that I want to do in a short period of time. I think I'm going to be on this earth for a very long time and I look forward to life's challenges and new adventures. Bring on the next obstacle. I'm ready to roll.