Half Marathon Happiness
For the last three seasons, I’ve trained for a marathon and two half-marathons with Team in Training. We raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in exchange for the training. Losing my mom-in law to Leukemia in 2009 was the catalyst.
Over the years we’ve formed long-lasting relationships and solidified existing ones. It’s been an amazing journey of love, laughter, grieving, healing, and growing.
Saturday evening, we attended an inspiration dinner and learn that collectively we raised nine million dollars through this race alone! We would hear from John “The Penguin” Bingham who would proceed to share hilarious stories about his journey in running. We would also hear from a father who shared a very moving story about his daughter’s battle with leukemia. Kimberly Joy Costa lost her battle at the age of nineteen, but left behind a legacy and wisdom far beyond her years. During her speech as high school Valedictorian, she shared ten life lessons. One of my favorites is the following:
“Touch as many lives as you can. Every time you meet someone new, you leave a little bit of yourself with them. They are affected by you. The more people you meet, the more complete both their and your lives are because of how you have been affected by each other. Think of the possibilities” It’s a philosophy I already embrace.
Sunday morning the alarm went off at 3:10 a.m. and my routine began. I put on Moms Tiffany heart necklace and Smoky Topaz pendant. In my hair were four green ribbons. The green represented our team color and each ribbon had the name of a person I was running for. Mom, my reason for joining, Craig, my friend’s son who was just declared cancer-free from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Della, my friend and former co-worker who lost her battle with leukemia in 2009, and George, a good friend’s father who was just diagnosed with leukemia two weeks ago.
I carried the thoughts of several more people with me. Each week we shared “Mission Moments” where we shared our stories. They ranged from heart-breaking to inspiring. Our team mates included survivors as well as people undergoing treatment.
My husband and biggest supporter was our race day chauffer. I piled into the car with him and our youngest son who would also be racing and we headed off to pick up two other friends. By 6:15 in the morning, we would hear the gun go off and we would cross the start line corral by corral. Our son being sixteen, much faster, and a member of his High School’s Cross Country and Track Team would be in corral number three. I in contrast, would be in corral twenty-two.
I took a puff of my inhaler trying to ignore the fact that my asthma had been trying to rear its ugly head this weekend. I swallowed a salt packet, consumed an energy gel and took a long drink of water. A new friend and team mate was to one side of me, another friend from season one on another and a friend from last also nearby. She was injured and unable to run last year, so this would be her first half-marathon. I received a text from my long-time friend and recent running partner wishing me luck. She was in a different corral.
13.1 miles later we would all cross the finish line at various times. Along the way, the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon and Half Marathon would be filled with live bands, my favorite Kodo Drummers, and cheering crowds. We would run over a freeway and end in the parking lot of SeaWorld.
At the end of the day, we shared an amazing journey with friends while helping an incredible organization. As I was falling asleep Sunday night, I couldn’t help but remember Kimberly’s words “Touch as many lives as you can”. I think each of us in our own way, did just that. I know that my own life has been touched profoundly and I will always try to live up to Kimberly’s words.by