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TIaRT: The Biggest Transition of My Life.

Normally, I don’t post on the Runner’s Lounge, Take it and Run Thursday accounts, but this one really struck a chord.

I share a story that I never though would be my life. I never imagined any of the things in my life would happen to me, and that I would be ‘that girl’, but through it all running has helped me grow and reflect on so many different aspects of my life, that without it, I don’t even know where I would be today. I begin with a background.

My sophomore year of high school, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was on and off treatment including chemotherapy and radiation all throughout my high school and beginning of my college years. She was never horribly sick, but she was tired, and took many more naps and cut back on her 40 hour work weeks volunteering at the Christian school I went to growing up. If any of you met my mom, you would know instantly that she was a fighter. She was so stubborn and she bullied the cancer to have her life stay as consistent as it was before she was diagnosed.

I went to many doctor appointments with her, and once I moved away to college, we became very close. This time really allowed me to see the core of my mom, the person she was, her beliefs, her thoughts, and her wishes and it made me see who I wanted to become.

In March of 2006, the doctor came back after some testing and told her and my father that she had three to six months to live. Three weeks later she passed away. I spent those last three weeks in an abyss of artificial smiles and complete confusion. I had no idea what was happening, or how I would handle everything, and once the reality hit, she was already gone.

I was exhaustively lost after that happened. I had been running every year in high school and off and on in college. I completely stopped running. I stopped functioning. I couldn’t get one foot to go in front of the other, none the less make my legs follow. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. Everything had lost flavor and I had lost interest in life.

One day, I decided that it was time that I stop wallowing in my confused state, and get my life back together. I was still going to school at the time, and decided that I had to finish out the semester, after dropping one class. I finished my 18 units, but I was still very lost.

I felt like I didn’t want to run because it was something I did when my mom was alive. Though I absolutely hated her at my cross country races, and I hated her watching me run track, and even hated her watching me sit the bench while on the soccer team, I wanted her there for me. I wanted to know she would be there when I got home from my run. I wanted to see her again and I felt like running was something that I couldn’t do again, it wasn’t apart of me anymore.

It came to me one morning. I needed it. I wanted it still. I wanted the consistency, and I wanted the control. This was when I went out once again, and found the comfort of the road under my feet. The first run I completed after she passed was a short three miler, and once I got under the cover of the brush around me, I broke down and just cried as I ran, but nothing had ever felt so good. I had consistency again, I had a path in front of me, and I had something that no one could ever take away from me.

I had breath in my lungs and with tears streaming down my cheeks, I just ran. I allowed myself to hurt, and to feel again, and I allowed myself to think. To think about the changes, about the future. It was a time of thinking. After that run, I didn’t run again for a while, life got in the way, but since then, I have realized that running through the hardest times in your life, gives you something that you control. You can do it. You can come back to it. You can make a change, but you have to choose too.

So granted, I also went to counseling, and did a lot of prayer during this time, obviously, but I know, without running the biggest transition of my life wouldn’t have led me to the story I have today, to the outlook I have today, or the attitude I have today. So many people tell me they are so sorry, and I am sorry too, but I can’t change that, and I am lucky that I got to see a great example of what I want to become one day, and learn so many life lessons at such a young age.

Sometimes I look back at my short life thus far, and think about things that could have changed, or could be different, but I know that God had this all happen for a reason, so I got it to take it and run with it. :)


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  • Reply Nicole M.

    What a beautiful and brave tribute to your mom. I lost my dad to Cancer when I was 18 and know how much it can tear you apart. However, as you have shown there is always a way to rebuild and go on. I am sure your mother is so happy you decided to run again. Best wishes.

    December 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm
  • Reply #whyiwrite | Chic Runner

    […] 4 hours? I can read that and still tear up. It was my “Boston” moment. The post about losing my mom, my new job, getting engaged, and maybe one day when the show airs (in Feb, they said today :( ) I […]

    May 21, 2012 at 11:54 pm
  • Reply Christin

    I just found this and absolutely loved it.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm
  • Reply Bobby Valentine

    Losing a parent is such a difficult thing. Even if you are somewhat prepared for it. My dad and I had a great relationship, we’d go to hockey games all the time. Similar to your experience with running I never thought I could go to another hockey game without him being there. I tried it one time and cried like crazy when I saw his empty seat. The next few games it became easier but even now, five years later it is still tough. I realize though that he’s still with me…the memories…the lessons…Now I have my own son and am mindful of what seemingly little things can mean when our time is up.

    October 24, 2012 at 6:23 pm
  • Reply Stefanie

    Wow…. Love this story. I started running in 2010 just to get in shape. My mom was at that time going thru cancer treatment for stage IV colon cancer. Her 6-12 months to live was shortened to 2 weeks. i dedicated my first half marathon to her in her memory. It was the most powerful thing i have done… I still wear her picture for the halfs I do.
    This is bringing tears to my eyes reading it because I can feel your pain and what you experience….

    January 28, 2013 at 8:20 am
  • Reply Sunshine

    I felt so connected to you as I read this. I lost my mother to leukemia. I had never ran a step in my life until more than three years after she died. I just was not recovering as I should from her death. An acquaintance mentioned the Leukemia & Lymphoma Team in Training program to me. There I was, 51-years-old, never had been athletic, training for a full marathon! (A policy I am against, by the way. Beginners should never start with a full marathon. I cherish my experience but beginners should not be allowed or encouraged to take on a full marathon as a first event.) I found my way back to living through running. I am not very fast (yet) but I love it. The only thing missing is that my greatest cheerleader, the person who always believed in me, will never see me cross a finish line. I wonder if there were ever a race just for daughters who lost their mothers… how many would sign up? Can you imagine the incredible bond of sisterhood as we ran?

    March 30, 2013 at 11:04 pm
  • Reply Alice

    This is so beautiful and brave. Thank you for sharing your story. Although I’ve never experienced anything like this, this post moved me and reminded me that out of death comes life. I’m so blessed and will share this with my friends.

    May 31, 2013 at 8:53 pm
  • Reply Joy

    Thanks for sharing this. I lost my dad to stage IV lung cancer. He was a non-smoker! He was my hero and a runner. It was a bond we shared, running! Since his death late last year I found it impossible to lace up and go for a run. This year, I decided to run a marathon is his memory and to raise awareness, on the six month anniversary of his death, I broke my ankle. I am still recovering and not able to put weight on it. Cést la vie!

    I hope to find my way up and out of this fog! Thanks.

    June 22, 2013 at 3:29 am
  • Reply Kim W

    Looking for a runners blog this morning hoping to find it helpful! It was more then helpful. It was very inspiring!

    Over this last summer I ran/walked my very first 5k in honor of my mother inlaw. She was diagnosed 2 years ago with pancreatic cancer. Of course I wasn’t near ready for the complete run but I finished within 40 minutes. After that I started trying to get serious and found that I love to run. I signed up for another one for the fall and set a goal for my time. That morning during my drive to the town I was nervous wreck and so excited to complete my 2nd one!

    I injuried my foot during the run and keep on going. I prayed just about the entire race for God to let me finish. I didn’t want to quit. After crossing the finish line I received horrible news. My mother inlaw was in a tragic accident and lost her life while I was running. After lossing someone that I was so very close to and blessed to have in my life for 25 years I was lost! I felt so guilty to want to run once my foot was healed. I felt that I was running while she was lossing her life. I have then decided to get back on track and be ready to run in her memory at the next pancreatic 5k this summer.

    It gives me a time to have my time to do something good for myself and lets my mind clear. I miss her every minute of everyday.

    January 1, 2015 at 10:49 am
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