Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sharing Brain Tumor Guilt

I visited to my old office yesterday. I did not anticipate the deep need to reconnect with friends and old coworkers and their need to reconnect with me. I arrived at 1 o’clock and left after 7 pm. During my time there we talked about life, running and current creative projects. I met new people who knew my story. I had learned that one good friend there (who is also a running buddy) was instrumental in getting a prayer group organized while I was in the hospital last year.  One fellow he introduced me to is interested in running a half-marathon. We encouraged him to run the Inaugural Rock n Roll Pasadena Half-Marathon. Then my friend caught me off guard when he said, “Sarah is a miracle. Look what she can do and she had a brain tumor. If she can push forward, you can do this too.” I’ve joked over the past months with friends about having a brain tumor and that they can't say they can't do something if I can do that activity with a brain tumor or post surgery.  Most recently, I quipped at one friend (who was lamenting she signed up for the Malibu half marathon and didn't realize it had so many hills) "You have to do it. If I can do it with a two-inch brain tumor, you can do it." Yesterday showed me that my tumor and story are apparently are large enough for friends to share and guilt people they meet into achieving their best.  While I want to inspire and help people reach into their souls and dig down to find what they can do, I did not expect the ripple effect this would have on my friends…  them pointing to me a benchmark for what success and drive can be… what is possible with the power of prayer and grim determination.

The grim determination got me through a lot- it’s why I was adamant to get physical therapy multiple times a day once I was stable enough to have it, and it’s why I needed to get out and run as soon as I did. The half-marathon 6 months post-op was a need. The attempted half in October was an epic failure, but a good lesson. I have been running for fun and getting better about making it a priority and shifting workouts to get them in before a long day of work. I did some research for a new running friend and found a training program for her. After joking around last Saturday and telling her she better get on it and train to do the Pasadena Half Marathon with the running group this February, I realized HOLY SMOKES THE HALF MARATHON IS 12 WEEKS AWAY! While my paradigm has been continually shifting, I must shift it again. I have to stop running for the sake of running and letting heat/cold/time (name the excuse) get the best of me, and I need to TRAIN. The program I found is not too different than what I had laid out for myself, but it’s from running guru HAL HIGDON.  That said, the Sunday after Thanksgiving is exactly 12 weeks from the half-marathon I have already committed to. I want to have the best experience possible while pushing myself physically and mentally. The question of the next marathon still lurks in the distance, but getting to a marathon as in life, I have learned, is about a series of successes and setbacks- it’s all about how you handle them and push forward.

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