Building blocks….

8.23.2009

Mile after mile I continue to be reminded of what a fortunate girl I am and how lucky I am to have an AMAZING life. In what has become my typical PDR training fashion, this week closes as another great, great week. Where to start??….I had a hot and sweaty 4 mile run through center city on Tuesday evening when I learned that if you are going to run in the early evening during a heat wave in the city, even though running through crowded streets like Walnut St. and Chestnut St. is annoying – do it anyway – BECAUSE the brief seconds of feeling air conditioning out of the stores and businesses that have their doors open as you pass by is just enough to cool you down and spur your legs forward!!

Tuesday was followed with another exciting 6 miles on Wednesday with my good friend R. Kenney who I am so happy to announce will be running PDR along with me. I have to say thank you so much to Ryan for not only deciding to run this with me, but also taking the time to share my story with his friends and family to raise their awareness for my campaign. So, thank you Ryan for being so generous and just for being an awesome friend and thank you so much to his friends and family that have already donated!

I also must say a big thank you to Miss Nicole who decided 3 weeks ago to run PDR along with me. Nicole ventured out of her comfort zone a few months ago as she did not used to be a runner – (she actually hates running) and ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon in FL in my honor because she knew how much running meant to me and was willing to train and run for me while I recovered. She was determined to run my first race back with me, so watch out PDR here she comes and she is armed with a slew of new running skirts – so, like always, she is sure to be super cute 🙂 Read her decision to run this race and follow her hilarious training progress on her blog http://28thyearplan.blogspot.com/ Thanks, Nicole for everything the past few months. Running PDR together is just icing on the cake at this point!

I am humbled by the donations continuing to come in for my campaign with a little over 4 weeks left in fund raising I am at $1,850!! I hope to blow past my goal of $2,500 and boost desmoid tumor research to get some great answers as to how and why these darn things grow in our bodies and how to stop it!

For more great news…..I finished my 2nd eight mile training run yesterday in pouring rain, which actually, felt quite amazing following the hot, humid 2 weeks we’ve had in Philly – until of course my pants we so heavy and dragging on the ground I wasn’t quite sure if I could pick up my legs by the end 🙂 It was about mile 4 when I began thinking about how great it felt to finally be hitting my runners high and pushing through longer, quicker miles. I reflected back to 8 months ago when I couldn’t even bend over to tie my own shoes, and then 6 months ago when I couldn’t walk to work and 4 months ago when I couldn’t even run 1.5 miles. This rebuilding process has been so enlightening to me. To put it lightly, yet be completely honest to all, when this process started I was not the most patient person by any stretch of the means. In my mind, I was going to have the surgery, get over the pain in a week (without pain pills), and move on with my life by week 2, back to training, running, working out and swirling around like a top from work to meetings to my social life like I love to do. It didn’t happen that way – not even close.

As frustrating as those months were for me I learned a ton from this process and I have become, I believe, a better, stronger, more complete person. Some how (believe it or not for those who haven’t been around me lately) I am a more patient person – willing to take just a little more time to accept changes and see results, willing to believe in the power of persistence and having to take small steps to see big results sometimes, and (drum roll please) willing to accept that everything is not going to go my way or the way I might have planned, but with patience, persistence and a belief in my soul that it will all work out – it does.

5 weeks ago I struggled to get through 3 miles (SM will be sure to tell you as she witnessed the frustration first hand on the trains of Valley Green). There were many of mornings that I winced with each stride I took, thinking I was stupid to be doing this race and that I was too out of shape to move forward, but I was patient and I allowed myself to take slow steps, take it literally mile by mile, feeling the pain and frustration (why did this happen, I was in such good shape and then this….whine…..will I ever run again….whine….) and fast forward 5 weeks, here I am running more than double that distance – 8 miles in the pouring rain. I have rebuilt my legs, my lungs, my heart, my hope, slowly, mile by mile and its amazing, truly amazing.

Reflecting on this process as I splashed through the puddles, rain dripping off my hat and drenching my clothes I realized that you know what, I’m a pretty strong girl. This isn’t the first time I have rebuilt myself – matter of fact – my life is a series of “rebuilding stages” – after all, isn’t that the entirety of human life – moving through different stages of your life, growing and rebuilding or burning out and failing? It was just 2 1/2 short years ago that I was at a completely different stage in my life. I remembered this so clearly when I was flipping through photos with one of my friends this month and we came across a photo of me with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth and a beer in my hand – what?!? It seems like a world away from the healthy, fitness obsessed woman I am today. It was a tough stage that I was going through at that time (and while luckily it didn’t last for long) it was a stage in my life that I believe I had to go through to get where I am now and one I chose to rebuild from and worked hard to reverse. At that time it was much easier to go grab a drink (or 5) with my friends and forget about everything that was not going in my life then facing my life head on, recognize the things I was doing that didn’t fit with my life goals and make changes. I am happy to look back and see what I have rebuilt from that stage of my life, honestly, I am living a life now that I only dreamed about then. If you would have asked me 2 1/2 years ago if I could run a half marathon I would have laughed in your face and told you you were crazy probably while exhaling the smoke from my cigarette in your face, if you would have told me I would have be cooking healthy, delicious, meals that my friends loved I would have laughed harder and only believed you if by cooking you meant heating up a lean pocket, additionally if you would have told me that some of the most inspiring, influential people in my life would become a group of homeless men and women I would have told you were flat crazy, but to my fortune – all of these things are true in my life and I couldn’t be happier. I am training for my 5th half marathon in a year in a half and probably 20th or so race of my life, I love to cook and make amazing, delicious and interesting meals that my friends love and I wake up at 5:30 am 3 mornings a week to run with homeless women and men that are pure inspiration to my soul and have taught me so much about life.

Would I have appreciated all of this as much as I do now if I would not have lived my previous stage? Probably not. Would I be appreciating running and training for PDR as much as I am now if I wouldn’t have lived through this surgery? Absolutely not. Running quickly became a way a life for me something I did and took for granted way too quickly. Something I will never take for granted again – same as my life, my health and the people that surround me – like Ryan and Nicole. I am a lucky, lucky girl and a I am proud to say, a strong woman that is willing to admit her fears, her mistakes and rebuild.

Here’s to another week of good friends, great strides, and building blocks!

With gratitude,

SFS

My friend Lindsay and I after my wet, 8 mile run this Saturday, 8.22.09, in front of the Rocky statue at the Art Museum!

john legend 027

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