I did it. I freaking did it.
I ran 13.1 miles today, and I didn’t stop to walk. (I did stop for water breaks, but I’m not counting that.) I’ve been training for this day for months, basically since last October. This time last year, I was still recovering from five surgeries over the period of two years. I was 10 to 15 pounds heavier, and I lacked direction. I didn’t know how to change my life and bounce back from all the crap done to me during breast cancer. I hated what cancer had done to me physically with all my scars, weight gain and the reconstruction.
I’m now in the best freaking shape of my life. I have never looked and felt like this, even before cancer. I have a feeling of purpose with running. During all my treatment, I remember how absurd it felt to hear people say to me, “Oh, you’re so strong. You’re a fighter.” That always struck me as odd because I had never felt so physically weak and just beat up. Like, seriously, who was I fighting and winning? Cancer treatment puts the patient in a very passive role. I didn’t do anything – rather, treatment was done to me.
I feel strong now, and I have realized that I’m not strong nor was I ever strong because I had cancer. I am now strong even though I had cancer.
During the last three or four miles of the race today, I actually started getting flashbacks to my time in the chemo ward. I could see myself in the chair, looking out at the other patient. I remembered that feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. I’d snap out of that flashback and just ran harder. Then I flashed to my hospitalization after my double mastectomy, and how much pain I felt. I’d snap out of that, too, and ran harder. It was like Runner Lara was running like hell away from Sick Lara, like I am finally able to put that period of life behind me (knowing damn well that it can always come back).
Nothing I can do will prevent breast cancer from ever coming back, either local or distant. What I do today, like putting on a pair of shoes and running, is what i can do. That’s the only control I have – this very moment.
This race was such a huge deal to me. It was to see if I could even do it and a big fuck you to cancer. Now it’s done and in the (Lara) record books, it’s time to move on. I’m definitely not cancer girl anymore.
I am a runner.
2 thoughts on “Half marathon…. check”
Congratulations!! You are such an inspiration. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and the following summer after treatment she ran her first half marathon with me.
Congratulations! I hope it’s the first of many happy half marathons to come:)