Two days after my last blog posted I got a call from my little brother. Mom had been sick, anemic to the point where she had to have a blood transfusion and spend the night in the hospital. She was back in action, but when he called they’d just finished her colonoscopy, and found “a mass that’s bleeding, and too large to remove during the colonoscopy.” They didn’t say the c-word, but we knew what that meant. Mom had cancer.
The following months passed in a blur. Doctor’s appointments- as the former journalist, I was the self-appointed asker-of-questions-no-one-wants-to-ask and note-taker, and the family information officer. And there was a lot of information to give. Stage 4 colon cancer, after surgery, fully resected. At least 12 sessions of chemo starting July 1, 4 hours in a chair and 48 hours wearing a pump every other week. And my mom, my strong, loving mom, who is a victim advocate in the special victim team of prosecutor’s office and holds the hand of people, especially children, who have been through the worst things you can imagine. Doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, and doesn’t eat red meat. Now she’s poisoning herself twice a month.
She would not be happy about me talking about her here, but the fact is, I know I’ve built a wall. Much like the pill bug, or as I knew them growing up, potato bug, I’ve tried to concentrate on what I can, and spend a lot of time in an emotional and mental fetal position.
So I completed my race season, my first Danskin, rode for my friend and team captain in the MS 150, did my second Trek Women’s tri, but all the while, my heart has not been in it.
Danskin was my worst tri ever. There were too many people, it was too hot, and the water was choppy, meaning I struggled through the swim. I was so tired after the swim and thrown off my game, I unclipped and walked in clipless road bike shoes to get up the hills. Almost all of the hills. Got a little good karma for the day by stopping to help a woman whose chain dropped (it was my 1st time I’d ever done it & it worked!) and while watching my heart monitor, never got above a walk on the 5k. Did I mention it was in the 90s by the time I finished? At 11am?
It was here I developed my new motto: I can do anything I set my mind to, as long as I prepare. (Note: for this event, I had NOT prepared)
Just a couple of short weeks later, it was time for the MS 150. I already knew with as much time as I’d spent driving to Oly (and as little time as I’d spent on my bike) there was no way I was going to make 150 miles, even over two days. So we set out on Saturday morning, Sept 11, and my only goal was to make sure I rode up a couple of hills, and maybe get to ride over Deception Pass (which meant the 56 mile loop). 12 miles in, I was feeling great. I’d ridden up all of the hills so far. Did a couple of Facebook posts so my son could see how I was doing along the way, and had been riding up the hills. Although I had the refrain to The Fray’s “Over my Head” stuck in my head, it seems I’d finally figured out how to work those gear deal-y thingers. I may do a fuller recap later, but the gist is: downhill (MOUNT ERIE- REALLY?) was as bad if not worse than uphill because my carpel tunnel kicked in; took the shuttle a couple of times, one time on a big downhill, the other my brakes were locked up; and I ended the day sore, but feeling good. I need to get better about staying hydrated, but there’s a chance I can try to do more on that ride in the future. Once I get out of the mental fetal position.
The weekend after the MS ride was the Trek. It was not my best TIME ever, and the weather was constantly threatening to be crappy, but I ended up feeling great. I cut almost 30 min off my total time with NO additional training. I only dismounted to go up the suicide hill that goes onto I-90, so my gear shifting lessons from the week before were worthwhile. And I would have cut off even more time if I wasn’t trying to post pics to Facebook since I again, told my boys that they didn’t have to come.
So since I’ve been curled up in a little ball with the occasional event to drag me out of the house, why am I back & blogging?
In large part, this blog has been all about me, and for the last few months, I’ve been trying my best to focus on NOT me. My mom’s cancer affects me, but it’s not about me. And my training has been almost non-existent. But the training part is going to change.
March 20th is the Mercer Island ½ Marathon. This one’s for Colon Cancer, so of all of the events that I’ve done, it’s the first that I’ve taken so personally at the time I’m doing it. I’m planning to put together a team, just trying to find out if some of the teammates can do the 5k or 10k if others are doing the 13.1. Because thats what I'M doing. 13.1 miles. In case you’ve missed it in my earlier blogs, I HATE HATE HATE RUNNING. Seriously, just not a fan. But I’m working once a week with a personal trainer, I’ve read Marathoning for Mortals and built out a Walk/Run training plan that starts now, but is based on the mortal wisdom of the Penguin.
But I’m doing it. And again, to keep myself honest, I’m inviting you, my anonymous friends in the cloud, along for the ride. Because at 35, I did my first triathlon, something I’ve always wanted to do. And at 37, I’ll be doing my first half-marathon, something I’ve NEVER had ANY desire to do. But when you’re doing something to raise awareness and funds for research that could save your mom’s life, it’s worth pushing outside yourself.
And since I’m still a Big Girl who can Tri... if I can do this you can too. I’ll see you along the way.