Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Woah, life updates are in order

Sitting in a coffee shop, sipping chai and munching on a chocolate chip cookie, I am neither running nor cross-training at the moment.  In fact, my body decided it would be a great idea to go and find a cold and hold on to it for a few days, so I am taking it as easy as possible to expedite the recovery process.  Because, I have embarked on yet another crazy adventure....

In FIVE MONTHS!!, I am going to run a marathon.  Run, finish, and rock a marathon.  I began training last week, which, for me, means getting in the mindset of running more regularly and running with a purpose.  No excuses, no injuries, no turning back now.  I am doing this for First Descents, a non-profit based here in Denver.  Their mission, as taken directly from the website: "First Descents offers young adult cancer fighters and survivors (ages 18 to 39) a free week-long outdoor adventure experience designed to enable them to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same."  A succinct way of saying, basically, we do awesome things for awesome people.  FD changes lives and perspectives and gives YA survivors the opportunity to push themselves past boundaries they didn't even know they'd established.

My first experience with FD was at a rock climbing camp in Jackson, Wyoming.  Climbing and rappelling from cliffs in the Tetons, my world expanded far beyond the limits I had unintentionally set for myself as a young adult survivor.  I met other young survivors who believed in me even when I didn't have much faith left in myself.  From there, my entire perspective changed.  Two years later, and I am living in Denver, CO.  I never imagined I'd be living here, and honestly, five years ago when I was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, I don't know if I fully believed I'd still be alive today.  Yet here we are: I've rock climbed in Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, all with FD; I packed up my life and moved to a brand new city with only a handful of contacts; I finished the Chicago Marathon; I ran an 18-mile road race in Canada!  Shoot, who does that?  Actually, I know a lot of people who have done similar things, and most of them I know through FD.  An FD camp gives survivors confidence; it instills in them the belief that they can do anything.  Camp also establishes a network of friends who are there to bolster that belief whenever it starts to lag.  A friend I met through camp in Utah was actually waiting for me at mile 25 of the Chicago Marathon, and she gave me a cinnamon roll when I stumbled across the finish line.  It was amazing (both her support and the cinnamon roll).

I want to give back to this group, want to do whatever I possibly can to help other survivors have the same experiences I've had.  So, the opportunity has arisen for me to fundraise for FD with the goal of ultimately running (and rocking!) a marathon this coming April.  I'm not exactly sure which one yet, but I'll be sure to update as soon as I know which one.  I haven't been posting regularly on this thing, but all that is about to change.  Writing about my running gives me a little bit more accountability.  So, follow along as I train through a Denver winter!  Please, please, if you can donate to my cause, do!  If you're unable to donate monetarily right now, I'd love some positive vibes.  Tell your friends about my quest!  Tell your friends about FD!  And definitely check out some cool events I'm planning for the near future.  Thank you so much, and I'll see you at the finish line.  Keep on plugging away!

My FD Fundraising Page:

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