It's now been a full year since I started half marathon training with Team in Training, and what a year it has been. It feels like the time has slipped through my fingers like sand in a seemingly endless hourglass. Reflecting over the last year is almost like I am stuck behind a pane of glass while watching the activity rush in front of me and not being able to soak it all in like I want. This is precisely why I continue to train and push myself to see what I can do. I want to be able to jump in that activity and pursue it, to be in the middle of the action.
The beautiful thing about Team in Training is that it is about so much more than just me, the participants, or the people who donate. It's about everyone working together as a team for one common goal; to cure blood cancers, and to enhance the quality of life for those affected by them. Having never had a blood cancer or having a direct loved one diagnosed, I know that my empathy is nowhere close to an accurate measure of what those people endure. I read blogs. I hear stories. I see people break down. I cry because their stories break my heart. But i still don't know. I still don't get it. What I can comprehend and grasp is the emotional pain of seeing someone you love suffer and then ultimately lose their battle to cancer. Cancer is an evil, horrible thing.
I've had several people question and even criticize my decision to be with Team in Training for consecutive seasons. It is because of these people that are enduring absolute hell that I do this. I can train for 5 months, raise some money, and walk away. Can you look at child in the eye with leukemia and tell them that they will have treatment for 5 months, take a few pills, and walk away? No, you can't, because the standard treatment for a girl diagnosed with leukemia is 2.5 years, and 3.5 years for boys. Just because my race is over doesn't mean someone's battle is. In fact, every 10 minutes someone dies from a blood cancer. I want to see that number decrease and hopefully one day be completely wiped off. Until then, I will continue to do what I can to raise funds for vital research.
When I started with TNT, I knew a lot of children with leukemia. Now that I've become more involved, it seems like I hear so many stories of people that I know whose lives have been affected by these horrible diseases. Everyone with TNT is here for the same reason; to train for an endurance event and raise funds to help end blood cancer. The Team in Training experience is one of the most memorable experiences I've had in my life, and by far the most memorable as a runner. The feelings are indescribable that you will only realize once you run or walk a race with them and cross the finish line. When people you have never met in your life are cheering so hard for you because you're wearing that purple jersey you know they've been affected.
I'm now signed up to do the adidas Dublin Marathon on October 31, 2011 in Dublin, Ireland. I am excited and privileged to be part of such a great organization that uses endurance sports as a catalyst to raise over $1 billion to date for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. While the fundraising is going to be a new challenge, I can't wait to be able to raise the funds to help save lives. With your help, we can save lives, one mile at a time.