My dad was diagnosed with Stage 3 Melanoma only a few months ago in September. To say that I was planning on running every step of my 10k race for him would be an understatement. I can't begin to put into words what it feels like to learn that a loved one has cancer, but I'm hoping this blog will help me to start to form those words.
The morning of the race my dad woke up with a bad cold and we all knew that standing in the cold and the rain to watch me cross the finish line would be out of the question. His second surgery was just a week away and he couldn't risk not being healthy. Healthy is such a relative term when it comes to cancer, isn't it? Although I was dissappointed, I completely understood and knew I would still have the smiles from my mom at the finish line.
The race started well and I felt strong, determined, persistent. Mile one always proves to be the hardest for me, but once I hit mile two I had found my stride. Miles three through five were kind of a blur, but I kept pushing through. It wasn't until mile six that I was struck with not only fatique, but emotion. The race wasn't raising money for cancer, nor was my dad even in the crowd of spectators, but for some reason I felt his presence and a huge desire to finish strong. I felt that each time my feet hit the pavement I was passing on some kind of strength and support to him.
I finished the race in 65.04 minutes (a time well beyond any expectations of myself) and I got pretty choked up, overcome with emotion. I learned a couple of things during mile six. I learned that I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for, both physically and emotionally. I learned that people you carry in your heart can help you meet goals even when they don't know it. And most of all, I learned that if I can't beat cancer for my dad then I will at least run a million steps if only a fraction of that strength will help him.
Days later, my dad told me that I had inspired him to start running and we are planning on doing a 5k race this spring together. Imagine that....I inspired Him! Maybe its about time since he's being inspiring me my whole life. :)