It’s here… IT’S HERE! Our 18 weeks of training has begun. 18 weeks until I am joined by five other amazing women to run 26.2 miles together, all for one fantastic cause. Thank the Lord I have Bright Pink as my motivation because I’m not going to lie… spontaneously deciding to run my first marathon has started to catch up with me. I had one of those “OH MY FREAKIN GOD KRISTINA WHAT DID YOU DO” moments the other day while I was on my run. We all lead busy lives, but for some reason this year feels particularly… eventful. We sold our condo. We moved in with with my mother-in-law in the midst of a crazy real estate market. And we just bought a home, but haven’t moved in yet. Between Chris’ long hours, one vivacious toddler and a whole lot of moving parts (no pun intended), I could come up with 10 million reasons why this might not be the best time to run a marathon. But really, is there such thing as an easy time? I keep reminding myself this journey has to come from a place deep within. And this overactive mind of mine feels like it never quite turns off. Honestly, what better time to be alone with my thoughts? If I didn’t overthink everything, training would be a good time to reconnect with myself. Instead, training is a time I repeatedly bring self-awareness to just how nuts I really must be. I promised to provide you with raw, real and unapologetic accounts. You always knew I was kind of crazy. I guess now you will know the entirety. Sooooo what’s it like to tell the world you are removing your breasts, but first running a marathon to support the organization that has provided you with indescribable support? In a word, emotional.
Since registering for the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, I have been filled with tons of motivation from countless donations, incredible messages of support and fantastic friends that have also joined my mission. And what happens after you are filled with tons of hope and inspiration? A wake up call… ha ha I actually have to run 26.2 miles and I currently hit the wall at 3 miles. Last week, I was on a 30 minute run and began to figuratively sh*t my pants. Luckily, I didn’t really sh*t my pants. The imagery of this happening during the marathon is a real fear for me and my teammates though ;). On this particular run, those overwhelming thoughts just came creeping in and my mind was all over the place.
Maybe you’ll think I’m a narcissist, but lately I’ve been thinking of my life as a Bravo Reality TV series… and in my opinion, I imagine my show would probably have some decent ratings. Please tell me that when your life gets out of hand you also daydream about the cameras capturing the pure and utter chaos too? I often find myself saying “Seriously? No one else deals with this sh*t in their day to day”. I just have images of a voiceover saying “next week on ‘Kristina’s Bet You Don’t Deal With That'”. And in the clip, I’m training. One minute I’m throwing victorious punches in the air while the “Eye of the Tiger” is blaring in the background and the next I’m doing the Kimmy K ugly cry for no apparent reason while my inevitable cursing is being bleeped out. I don’t actually want cameras to capture ANY of what I’m experiencing. Yet I feel like you would all find it highly entertaining. But back to how I went on a run and figuratively sh*t my pants…
I’ve been using the Run Keeper app during my unofficial training. For those of you who don’t know, Run Keeper sends friendly reminders about my pace, how long I’ve been running for, and the distance I’ve traveled. This little voice pops up in the middle of my playlist and spits out facts about my run. And this little voice I like to refer to as my b*tch. My b*tch can either make my run fantastic or ruin my mood entirely. But lately, I’ve noticed that my b*tch turns me into a crazy woman. I mean I’ve always had a decent dose of crazy, but when I hear my b*tch’s little voice interrupt my run, one of two things happen when the music resumes. I’m either throwing victorious punches to the imaginary tumor standing in my way, while simultaneously talking to myself “woooo hooo. alright alright alright” (in my out of breath, Matthew McConaughey voice) OR I begin cursing at my b*tch. “LIES. She’s just telling me I’m running slow so I burn out my legs and don’t complete my run.”
Last week, I’m pretty sure I terrified a middle aged man on Oak Street in Stoneham. While he innocently watered his lawn, I’m confident he thought I should be put in a straight jacket. About 10 minutes into my run, my b*tch reminds me that I’ve only gone 1.2 miles. And the negativity bomb was dropped, I spiral out of control. She proclaims in the past 5 minutes I have been going significantly slower than my first half mile. In my head I think to myself, “Oh my god, how am I going to do this for 25 more miles?”. And then out loud, I burst out with “F*ck you hills. F*ck youuuuu b*tch and F*ck you cancer!”. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the middle aged man standing there and the water is no longer coming out of the hose; he could catch flies with his dropped jaw. I think to myself, “Sh*t that was out loud”. I pick up my pace. Meanwhile, back in my head, “What if marathon day is hotter than today? What if it’s freezing and my legs wont move? What if it’s raining? What will I wear? What will I pack?”. This type of useless thought vomit happens all the time on my runs. Occasionally I get lost in my playlist, but that is a rarity.
As I ran further away from the middle aged man on Oak Street, Beyonce “Get me Bodied” comes on and instantaneously I’m able to move my feet at the pace of the beat. The Queen makes everything better. I begin to smile, while cheering out loud for myself. “YEAAAHH, here we go guuurl”. As the song carries on, I find my mind begins to reel. A vivid memory of the youtube video of a woman in the operating room dancing with her surgical team to this exact song before her mastectomy invades my mind.
The tears start rolling down my face. This is the reason why I am running. When the race is over, when it’s all said and done… it’s me and my decision to have a mastectomy that I am faced with. (This is the point on the run I figuratively shat my pants… not when I realized I eventually still have 25 miles to go). I imagined the crippling thoughts of what it will be like to cross the finish line. After I cross the finish line… I have to face my real obstacle. And then, I hear my sister saying “Well if you’re running the marathon, I’m running beside you.” And I picture that text from my best friend “You know I’m running with you”. And then from there I thought of Kayla, Liz and Christina. Each of them joining my cause for their own reason. Now it’s our cause. I felt a rush of contentment. I’m not alone on this journey. I never have been. I started to think of how friends and family shared my fundraising page. I thought of Christine, a women I don’t even know, donated to my page twice because she just felt like she had to give more. I thought of my college friends that I haven’t seen in so long. Not only did they donate, but they asked their friends to donate… and their friends actually gave. I thought of those faces. I thought of the faces of friends that have booked their plane tickets to Chicago because “of course they will be there” for me. Suddenly, my b*tch interrupts me. “Time 38 minutes and 30 seconds, Distance 4.1 miles, average pace 9 minutes and 16 seconds.” No punches thrown, no cursing, just me and the pavement.
And then the iPod shuffle God looked down onto my twisted psychotic run and decided to play “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba. I burst into laughter as I sang along in my head. Why is this on my playlist? When did I download this sixth grade throwback? You can’t make this up. “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down”. The laughter overrides the tears.
I’ll get there.
I’m going to be okay.
I’ll be better than okay.
I just have to remind myself this is a journey I’m on and I am truly never alone. Ultimately, on October 11th that finish line will be a reminder I can overcome any obstacle. And I have all the support I need. I mean it when I say, your kind words and donations come with me on my journey. You empower me. You made a difference.