Before Cancer (BC), I was a keen runner. After Cancer (AC), I have struggled to get off the couch. With depression, weight gain, and doctor’s orders to get moving, I needed to find a way to motivate myself beyond “Get Up, It’s Good For You.”
A quick google search led me to the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. The Baltimore-based organization aims to empower cancer survivors by providing support, funding, and free programs. One such program is the Cancer to 5km which provides personal training and running groups to help cancer survivors get back into shape. The program is provided free of charge to survivors, and made possible by wonderful volunteers.
After getting the all clear from my doctor to participate, I was matched with a personal trainer. I was matched with Pat, who is based in Maryland. Although we haven't actually met in person, I can tell you Pat is awesome. Pat’s job is to provide me with a twelve week program to get me running again, and just three weeks in, I'm already seeing results.
Each weekend Pat emails me with the following week’s regimen. Thus far it has consisted of two workouts to be completed within the week (not on consecutive days). Each run is made up of walking and running in timed intervals, with the running time slightly increased each workout and each week.
Three weeks in, I’m up to walking/running for 27 minutes and yesterday reached a landmark two miles. Running not only provides a great way to see my lovely neighborhood, it lifts my mood, and improves my energy levels.
Sometimes BC’s voice whispers in my ear, “Pft. You used to run 10km three times a week. This is nothing.” AC’s voice has to politely bitchslap that mofo into place by reminding her that in the past year her body has been through quite a bit. It’s not easy to been given a month to live, go through three rounds of chemo, four days of full body radiation, and a stem cell transplant. One has to often remember to be gentle with oneself.
My goal is to run in the Dash to the Finish 5km on October 31. On that date last year, I was in hospital undergoing my stem cell transplant. I was totally wiped out from the pre-transplant treatment, and, a few days later I watched wistfully from my hospital window as the runners of the NYC Marathon zipped past. This year, I hope to be running over the finish line in Central Park.
Right now, even though it’s slow and interspersed with a lot of walking, it’s good to be running again.
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