FINISHED!!!!!

Me racing mannequins at the expo :)

Me racing mannequins at the expo 🙂

I DID IT!!!  WOO HOO!!!  What an amazing day!  From the weather, to the course, to my incredible friends and family that came to support, to my encouraging running buddy, Ryan, this was as close to perfect of a day as you get.

Finished – I’ve been waiting to say that.  Finished with this race, finished with the grueling months of recovery, finished with fear, finished with doubt, finished wondering when I’ll get my life back – I’m here and it feels amazing.  It might sound kind of cliche to say, but I feel like a different person today.  My spirits are higher, my body feels lighter and healthier and my mind is at ease – it’s true.  I am so happy with this accomplishment I feel on top of the world.  When I started the journey of taking on this race I was so scared I couldn’t do it, so sad about where my life was and what I went through that I wasn’t sure if or when I could move forward.  I was unhappy, scared and felt very alone.  After 2 short months of training my world is so different.  I am inspired and refreshed by what I have endured the last few months.  I am no longer ashamed or saddened by the tumor or surgery.  I am inspired and ignited when I think of what I have been through, what I can accomplish and where I have been.  I am happy – so happy you really can’t wipe this smile off my face.  I am blessed with an amazing body, a strong mind and a crew of the most supportive family and friends a girl could ever ask for.  I am complete.  I am living in my skin and loving it.

I realized 2 very important things as I paced along yesterday 1. I have an incredibly strong mind 2. I have an amazing support system.  Lucky for me these are 2 vital things you need when taking on a race like I did.  It was about mile 10 when I realized both of these truths.  My legs hurt, they wanted to give up – my feet were burning, I swear I was stepping on hot coals each time my foot landed and my mind was starting to give out….until Ryan threw a few choice words my way after I said, “I think I just want to walk for a minute.”  He responded first with “SNYDER” his signature calling for me since we met 4 years ago and then followed with a few choice words (that I will not offend you all with) and ending with, basically, no way, you’ve come too far and too many people are counting on you – we are not walking.

Thats when I did a mind check – what hurt, Sera? – legs, not really, knee, nope, feet, yes, but not so bad, stomach, NO :), was I tired, yes, sore, yes, but my body was FINE.  Thats when the mantra came, “get out of your body and into your mind.  you can do this.”  I repeated that for about a mile and out of my body I was.  See, for anyone who has run a race before you know the last 3 miles (at least) are all mind – body is long gone by here.  If you can do 10, you can do 13 – your mind is the difference.  Well, my mind took over and I began to think about December 5th, 2009 when they told me to get on the stretcher and get ready to be cut open and how much I didn’t want to and December 15th when I woke up after my second surgery in pain so excruciating I thought I would stop breathing right there – 4 days later when my Mother laced my sneakers as we attempted my first walk to the corner of my block and how painful and how slow that was – and the many nights I cried myself to sleep holding my swelled stomach wondering why, and I thought about all my training runs when I wanted to quit and I didn’t let myself no matter how painful it was.

I wasn’t quitting now – 1. because my mind wouldn’t let me and 2. because Ryan was having none of it.  I’m not sure if I would have continued as strong as I did if he wasn’t there – thats the perfect example of what this entire journey has been for me – I’m not sure how far I would have gotten with any of this – the surgery, the recovery, the race without ALL of the amazing support I received from friends, family and strangers over the last year.  Its amazing, truly astonishing, the out pouring of support I have received – from friends visiting while I was home resting after both surgeries, to incredible girlfriends that literally waited for me to call crying over the last few months to give me words of encouragement, to runners that believed in me enough to patiently run with me when I wasn’t exactly running an invigorating pace, to family that were just there and let me work through my emotions, to donors that believed in me and the Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation enough to help me raise over $5,000!!!!  I AM SO BLESSED to have each and every one of you in my life.

This race and the training that went with it reassured me that I can accomplish anything in life – anything I put my mind to.  I have a lot of exciting goals I am working towards now – some of which I shared with you in my last post and some that are yet to be disclosed.  I am ready to tackle these feats with strength, faith and a whole lot of energy.  I am excited about the next year and all I plan to accomplish.  I have decided to keep blogging during this journey, so check back for updates on where I am and where I am going.

Thank you for being a part of this amazing journey and all the ups and downs it provided.  I know now, for sure, I wouldn’t be me without each and every one of you.

In parting, I say again as I have said several times since yesterday – Dear Zelda (my tumor), I ran PDR 2009 faster than the last 2 pre-surgeries half marathons of 2008.  Take that, Zelda – you only made me stronger!

With gratitude,

SFS

Ryan & I just before the race.  Love this shot!

Ryan & I just before the race. Love this shot!

My "entourage" -  as Ryan and I liked to refer to it as during the race :)

My "entourage" - as Ryan and I liked to refer to it as during the race 🙂

We're finished!!!  Couldn't have done it without him!!

We're finished!!! Couldn't have done it without him!!

Proud moment - My Mom and I - she laced up my sneakers just 9 months ago when I couldn't even walk.  Felt amazing to be with her at this moment.

Proud moment - My Mom and I - she laced up my sneakers just 9 months ago when I couldn't even walk. Felt amazing to be with her at this moment.

Dad and I - he always wears this hat to the race so I can find him as I run :)

Dad and I - he always wears this hat to the race so I can find him as I run 🙂

FINISHED!!!!!!

FINISHED!!!!!!

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