COUNTDOWN: 6 DAYS

Today I was hoping to get in a nice long run, but my mind and body had a different agenda. My head told me I need to run at least an 8-10 miler. My body was telling me “Nope.” So, I managed to compromise and do a fast 4-miler in the heat and humidity. Here is a very attractive (in the “sweat=sexy”) photo post-run.

I’m planning on doing a long run early this week. I’m still trying to figure out my mental game plan here. Running has been mentally boring for me, even with an awesome book on tape that I’ve been listening to for the past few months at the recommendation of a fellow runner, Ed Morrisson. The book is “Born to Run” and I highly recommend it!

On my last long run with my brother, Jon, I admitted something I’ve even been afraid to admit to myself. I quit easily. Just as I near a finish line, my body wants to sit down and quit. If I try to talk myself into a sprint-to-the-finish, my legs give out and I stop. I’ve imagined Jillian Michaels, the famed “Biggest Loser” trainer, screaming in my ear telling me that “trying is failing.” I’ve created monologues that both encourage me (“Look how far you’ve come, Liza! Don’t give up now!”) and challenge my sense of will (“C’mon, quitter! You’re really gonna quit now, seriously??”). It never works.

This time around, with only about a 1/4th of a mile to go, I tried to tap into this place that won’t let me quit. This time, I went for it. I imagined my daughter, Joli, standing at the driveway (my end point). I began to run to her, wanting her to see Mama finish. Then, my mind went somewhere else. Suddenly, without warning, my mind created another character. I saw a dark figure moving towards her, ominous, determined, deadly. I knew this was Cancer. I ran faster. Faster. But, I just couldn’t get there. I felt the chemical burn in my calves, the sting of my fingernails clenching and digging into my palms, and the saltiness of sweat mixed with tears. Before I knew it, I was screaming, crying.

I reached the driveway and collapsed. Not from physical exhaustion but from emotional pain. I heaved from the past, guilty feelings of not being able to save her from enucleation and chemotherapy invaded my chest and found home in my throat. Darkness clothed me, from the insecurity of not knowing whether or not she will be spared my BRCA journey, too. Whether she will choose a goal before her own mastectomy. It’s hard to imagine your 6-year old needing to make these decisions.

While text messaging with a fellow Mb4M’er today, the possibility of running the Boston Marathon came up. I took a deep breath and replied, “I won’t be able to. I’ll be still recovering post-surgery.”

It was the first time I thought about life post-surgery. Different way of life, different choices, experience others do not have to take into account.

I knew these last few days would be tough. I just never knew how much my running journey would force me to deal with guilt, anger, frustration, anxiety, and helplessness.

Peace, love, and sexy sweat,

Liza

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3 Responses to COUNTDOWN: 6 DAYS

  1. Courtney O says:

    hey Liza,
    Keep moving forward. You’re making the choices that are best for you right now and you’ve dealt with so much already. You AND your family are strong.

    And I am a quitter too. I have no problem giving up. Realizing that I am running b/c I CAN run, when so many can’t b/c today they are suffering from cancer, today they are recovering from surgery, today they are getting a diagnosis… that’s the only that’s kept me moving.

    On a lighter note, I read that book and LOVED it but never thought of running while listening to a book… brilliant!
    love you!

    • Liza says:

      Thanks, Courtney, for your encouragement! You inspire me every day with your beautiful family, your activism, and your belief in the human spirit of connectedness. Hope we can see each other again (and, not just online!).

  2. Cheryl Johnson says:

    Liza, when I think of you, “quitter” has NEVER been in my thoughts. You are one of the strongest woman I have ever met. Your courage is an inspiration to so many of us. Thanks for inviting us all along on your journey. HUGS TO ALL.

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