There are a lot of races and events that people look forward to running in. For me the races are few and far between. A grand total of 6 races is all I made it to last year. This year I have cut down on my mileage due to two things, a newborn and a knee injury. But there was one event that I wanted to make this year and that was the Rely for Life event in Gainesville, MO on June 15th and 16th.
I have seven family members that battled cancer. One of those seven is my step-dad who is currently battling prostate cancer and three out of the seven lost the battle. The three were at very different stages in their life. My cousin was in his mid 30’s in great health, married with two beautiful daughters, my uncle was in his 60’s with tons of little grandkids running around and my grandmother was in her mid 90’s, she left a great legacy for us all. Included in the seven are my dad, great-aunt and grandfather.
Last year I bought a purple jersey and had all seven names embroidered on the back of it and ran 31 miles in honor of them. This year I pulled out the same jersey with the same seven names to try and run 25 miles at the Relay. I wasn’t near as conditioned to run 25 miles as I was to run 31 last year. I was way under trained only having 15 miles for the month of June before the event. I also new that my knee would be a factor since the longest run I had in the past month was 10 miles and the last time I went over 20 miles was in March.
Despite the lack of training off I went leaving the house around 10:45pm arriving at the track around 11:15pm and finished 25.47 miles in a little over four and a half hours. It goes without saying and I’ve heard it said before but the pain I felt in those 25 miles was far less than those that fight cancer on a daily basis for weeks, months or even years at time. It was a great feeling to finish and felt surprisingly good in the days after. So, I accomplished my goal but it seemed easy in knowing why I was doing it.
Part of the reason why I went was to run with David Murphy who has been a good friend to give encouragement especially when I under rate what I think I can do. (P.S. He was even a little worried about my knee;) He also really hates cancer so being there to run and support him was a huge privilege. We also had a little gang of IRC peeps running together racking up the miles while at one point taking up all lanes of the track. In the end I couldn’t think of a better way to spend four and a half hours on an asphalt track in the middle of the night. Running with friends, fighting cancer, honoring those that fought the battle and remembering those that lost the battle.