In the afternoon, my husband and I ran through the Garden of the Gods. In typical Colorado fashion, we had sun, rain, snow, thunder and lightning. We got to view bighorn sheep and deer among the spectacular rock formations.
On Monday, Stephen and I enjoyed our usual pre chemo 10 mile run. I had my treatment and went home for a welcomed nap. This week I had some significant nausea Monday night and Tuesday. The fatigue has been a consistent every day nuisance, but life goes on.
Wednesday morning I enjoyed a group run with some of my favorite runners. I was still dragging, but being surrounded by this great group of people made the run so much fun. I know I am slow and tired, and running is really hard. But the joy has not disappeared, and I appreciate people slowing down and spending time with me right now.
Thursday morning, I had told my friend who is training for a marathon that I would attempt 16 miles with her. I knew right away that I was still not feeling great and my legs felt like led. Still, the weather was nice and the company was fabulous, so I wanted to go for it. I probably should have stopped at 12, because the last four miles felt like the end of an ultra where every part of your body hurts. Still, I finished the distance and 16 miles is now the longest distance I have run since prior to my November surgery. Debby is the first friend I made when I moved to Colorado Springs in 1999. Back then we pushed our kids in the baby joggers together on our runs. Now I want her to push me in the babyjogger but she just won't go for it.
Thursday was also my younger daughter's 11th birthday.
My kids are now 11 and 16. While walking the dog the morning of Peyton's birthday, I was thinking about how in five more years they will be 16 and 21. I want nothing more than to be here with them to celebrate those birthdays in five years. Of course, I plan to be here then but I am well aware of how there are no guarantees in life. I enjoy a close relationship with both of my kids. I hope that the conversations we have shared over the years will always stay with them, whether I am here or not.
Throughout Thursday and on my solo run on Friday, I decided that I need to write down some of the important things I want my daughters to know. This is not because I think I am going to die but because no matter what happens in life, I want them to remember our discussions. What does any of this have to do with running? When I run, I often contemplate the complexities of life. I think about what I have learned through trial and error and I think about what I want to communicate to my kids. From time to time, I will write here about those thoughts.
To my daughters (and any other young woman who may read this): As you grow up, a lot of people will try to define you and tell you who or what you "should" be. Do not listen to them. Listen to yourself. You alone are responsible for defining yourself, not me, not your dad, not your peers, not your future boss or your future spouse. As women, we want people to like us. We become "people pleasers" all too easily. It is important to be a decent human being, of course, but you can be a good person and still take care of yourself. You will never be content with your life if you do not care for your own needs and make your own choices. People may not always like or approve of your decisions, but those other people do not have to live your life. Please do not make choices based upon other people's expectations. Live by your own values, make decisions for yourself and choose your own path.
Now I am heading out the door to run in 16 degree weather prior to chemo #11, because that is what feels like the right thing to do.