Sunday, June 12, 2011

Komen Race for the Cure

Well, it's over. The Komen Race for the Cure was yesterday here in downtown St Louis! Last year I was getting an MRI for the first of two lumpectomies so it was strange to think how much has happened in the 12 months since then. Since I was named one of the top 10 Fundraisers this year (thank to my fabulous friends and family members!), I was able to usher in a new year by helping to carry the banner in the survivor procession.

Because of this VIP status, Jim and I got to hang out at the VIP tent and munch on some free breakfast (provided by Bread Company) and by 7 AM I had to meet up with the other top fundraisers so we could walk together as a group over to where the other 4,000 survivors were already assembled. The only bad thing was that Karen, the women in charge of us 10, walked us over and then gave us the banner, sort of pushing back a front line of women who, I am guessing, thought that they were going to be carrying the banner. I felt bad and a short woman edged next to me, muttering under her breath how unfair it was that we got to take "their spot" -- one of the other top fundraisers said something about raising a lot of money but it didn't seem to make a difference unfortunately. So I was standing there thinking about how to make this situation better when wham! The procession started moving and I am not talking about a snail's pace! The procession was fast! We went around a corner and within a minute were standing in front of the main stage. Now, by this point, a lot of survivors around me were crying -- but I think I felt stunned more than anything. Partly, I was still feeling weird about being pushed to the front of the line and partly I was trying to put my head around the fact that I was indeed a "survivor." And it was at that moment that I realized that breast cancer was just one part of who I am now -- and not the biggest part. I am not sure if Komen will be something that I will do every year -- I just know that now I want to go on with the rest of my life and be strong, happy, and brave about taking on scary tasks (i.e. writing a dissertation that I feel like I can't do).

After the procession, I was "stuck" in front of the stage and watched all the action (i.e. Mayor Slay and some guy from American Idol) and then managed to slip through the crowd and rejoin Jim. The 5K started about 30 minutes later and me and my tutu took off as fast as I could! Thankfully, the really hot weather we have been experiencing this past week took a break and it was in the 70's with a nice breeze. But because I took off too fast, I struggled by about the second mile and came in at a time that I am not happy with: 30 minutes and 24 seconds. i was hoping for something closer to 25 minutes but oh, well. I guess I am still working hard at getting my running mojo back.

And now this morning I really do feel like a new chapter of my life has started. I had the energy to do some errands around the house and I have opened some dissertation notes and will work on that today and tomorrow (I have a Tuesday deadline in my head for a certain section I am working on). Later this afternoon, Jim and I will start a new volunteer opportunity (just a few hours a week at the most) -- walking dogs at the Stray Rescue facility near our house (this is the great organization that we adopted our dear Stella from!).

So I guess I better get to work!

PS: This video from KSDK shows the Survivor Procession -- it's hard to see me but I am at the right end of the banner (purple tights, blue hat) -- and the announcer mentions my tutu!)

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