For the love of running

You’ve been with me during my highest of highs. You’ve been with me during my lowest of lows. You’ve caused me heart ache time and time again.

You’ve taught me to work hard. You’ve taught me that I can reach above what I think I’m capable of achieving. You’ve taught me to eat properly and get at least eight hours of sleep a night. You’ve taught me patience.

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And, above all, you’ve brought me to some of my most valuable people in life and have helped strengthen our relationships. You introduced me to my BFF. You helped bring a childhood friend and I closer together as adults. You’ve kept my high school (cross-country) friends together after all these years. You have given B and I some of the most greatest adventures together.

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All because of my love for running.

But, the love story’s a little different now.

I haven’t been running for now six-and-a-half months. (Darn you, stress fracture of the knee!) Since I wasn’t diagnosed right away, my last good, pain-free run was the last weekend of May. That seems like forever ago.

I’ve always thought that the hardest part about running was back when I ran the Chicago Marathon with an IT band injury. Or, when I missed breaking 4 hours at the Eugene Marathon by one minute and 19 seconds.

Nope.

The hardest part about running is now, when I’m physically unable to run.

I know I’ll eventually be back at it again. But, it’s hard to be sidelined for so long. Running makes me feel strong and calm and happy and alive all at the same time.

Will it remember me when I’m healed? Will it give me that same feeling? Will I want to achieve the same running goals again?

I don’t know.

But, I do know that my love for running goes deep — we have 15 years of history — so I’m not giving up on you now.

 

 

 

 

Overflowing with love

Maybe I should wait until February 14 for this type of post, but I just can’t hold it in.

I am overflowing with love.

I hate asking people for help. I’d rather get things done on my own. Most often, it’s that I don’t want to inconvenience others. (Don’t worry, as I have gotten older, I’ve learned that sometimes you just need to ask for help!)

And, right now, I’m in one of those times.

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I’m about three weeks into fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) as a member of LLS’ Team In Training and will be racing the Anchorage Marathon in June. My friend Joanna (pictured to the right in that photo above) and I are embarking on this journey together.

I am touched by all of the support I have received from friends and family. In the three weeks of fundraising, I am already at 44 percent of my goal! I have been blown away by how many friends have already donated. I have been blown away by the email responses I have received. I have been blown away by my friends’ willingness to help more even after donating money. (Thank you!)

One of my friends even submitted a donation literally five minutes after I had sent her an email inquiring about it. (Thank you!)

I know that many of my friends are not in the position to give a lot, which I completely understand, but have contributed to my fundraising efforts even while in various graduate programs. (Thank you!)

I met up with one friend the other week and she told me her work messed up big time on paperwork and that she hadn’t received her full paycheck last month. (She is not a new hire, by the way! And, has been working her normal full-time hours! Is this even legal?) My response was, “Oh my goodness! Do you want your donation back?” Her reply was, “I’m sorry I can’t donate more! I will donate more once I get paid fully again.”

Every time I receive an email notification from LLS indicating that a new donation has been received, I feel as if I have won something. But, this money isn’t for me. These donations go directly to blood cancer patients and their families as well as for blood cancer research.

Isn’t it kind of sad that we live in a world where there isn’t ample funding for something as significant as cancer research?

I want to live in a world where my children won’t have to ask their peers to donate to such a cause. Because, the cancer research will be all done.

For now though, I’m having trouble putting into words how thankful I am for my friends and family who support me each and every day on this mission to get closer to finding a cure, and to support current patients. And, it’s not just the monetary donations. (Of course, money is great!) Even words of encouragement and running training miles with me mean so much.

Thank you seems so insignificant.

But, thank you all so much.

I’m overflowing with love.

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To learn more about why I’m fundraising and running with Team In Training, read here and/or here! To learn about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, go here

Thoughts, time, loss and love

Broken heart. Thinking of him. Miss him.

These are difficult hashtags to see on my feed.

Sometimes, we can never truly understand one another.

But, we can always be there for each other.

My family has taught me this over the course of the past year.

The holidays are supposed to be a happy, merry time.

They still can be.

We will just have to hold each other closer.

And remember the good memories.

So,

Even when you are at your lowest, know that you are always loved.

And that there is always someone you can turn to.


Not many want to openly discuss depression. But, it is real.

These feelings and emotions are real. This pain is real. These tears are real.

His pain was real.

I’m trying my best to forgive and I know I truly will one day.

 

Uncle, we deeply miss you. Aloha ‘Oe.

 

 

At 93

[A scene from last week]

A 93-year-old man told me that he and his wife have known each other for 72 years.

He had perfect hearing.

He didn’t wear glasses.

His wife sat next to him and did a cute little eye roll when he mentioned that she wore hearing aids and he didn’t.

I’d hope that when I’m that age — I’m going to live until I’m at least 100! — my sense of humor will still be intact and that I have someone to lovingly roll my eyes at.

Picture of the day candidate

I don’t spend a lot of time in B-town since I don’t cover that beat, but when I do get to drop by for a story, I like what I see.

I am documenting the year by taking (at least) one photo a day. This may be today’s photo. We’ll see what the rest of the day brings. TGIF.

A good day to be alive

It’s a good day to be alive. That is what a professor told our mass media law class on the first day my spring quarter senior year. She was pretty ecstatic to be there. The rest of us were sleepy-eyed with minds wandering and thinking about being outside basking in the soon-to-be summer sun. She had just come back from a successful surgery and was thrilled to be back teaching again.

From time to time, her statement comes to mind. Usually it is provoked by the people around me or incidents I witness. Yesterday was no different.

I met a 19-year-old girl who has a tumor in her spinal cord. It’s inoperable. The doctors here all say there is nothing they can do because doing surgery to remove some of it is too much of a risk and could completely paralyze her. Right now, the right side of her body is paralyzed. She cannot sleep lying down because then the fluids cannot flow in her spinal cord, leading her to be in extreme pain. She gets panic attacks and gets tired easily. She is on 13 different medications right now. All her time is spent at home. But, she still does not think about the negatives in her life. She is trying to persevere.

Doing the interview with her and her mom nearly made my heart break. Her mother found a doctor at Johns Hopkins who will do the surgery to try to give her a better quality of life (i.e. to not be in extreme pain) but the cost of it is so much that the mom says she will have to mortgage the house. Friends and family have been organizing countless fundraisers. And, all in the hope that she will get better. This girl will never lead a normal life as she did six years ago before she was diagnosed. Both the girl and her mom said they decided to go through with the surgery next month because there is the chance that things could improve. I can’t just sit and watch my daughter be in pain day after day, the mother said to me.

As I drove away from their secluded house about 15 miles south of S-dale, I couldn’t stop thinking about Natalie. Natalie was a fighter just like this girl. But, more on Nat another time. She deserves her own blog post. Actually, even an entire book for her would not suffice.

Despite living a life of uncertainty, this 19-year-old has high spirits and great support from her family and community. She isn’t scared. The sun was in full force that day. I’m pretty sure somewhere on the university campus, my old professor was thinking that it was a pretty darn good day to be alive.