Last week our team received an email from the mom of our honored patient, a four year old boy who is fighting Leukemia. He has been telling people "There are people running for me". He was so proud of the fact that people were running for him. I ran with his picture on my back yesterday, thinking of him many times when the going got rough.
I completed my marathon. My knee decided to have some issues yesterday during the run. There was a stretch of seven miles where I had to mostly do speed walking. I knew there would be some pain involved in this experience, but this was more than aches and pains. My knee would buckle and there wasn't anything I could do about it.
Right at the time where I knew I was going to have to walk, we met up with the four other members of our group (we got separated at a bathroom stop). Of those four, two of them were having the same knee issues. The three of us that were injured were encouraging the others to go ahead. They would not go. They were part of a team and they were sticking it out with us. It makes me cry to write about it. They didn't have to stay with us. They could have left the three of us to finish and they could have gone ahead to get a better time. They are the definition of team members.
Due to my injury and having to walk, I was able to enjoy the sights of San Diego. There are so many things I would have missed had I been running. We met other runners, we listened (really listened) to the bands playing, were encouraged by the cheerleaders and spectators cheering us on. We laughed, we joked, we told stories, we cried, we encouraged each other, and we had some fun.
As we approached the last 1.2 miles, a man that we run with who is a lymphoma survivor said we started this as a team we are finishing as a team. So we ran, in a line of six, for the last part of the race and across the finish line. I think that was one of the most memorable things for me -having those teammates that stuck with the three of us who were dealing with injuries and then crossing that finish line as a team.
This was about the journey not the destination. As we ran and saw the people fighting cancer or the cancer survivors with signs thanking us or calling us heros, it was crystal clear what this was all about. It was about raising money to find a cure for cancer. It was about giving of yourself for others. It wasn't about a time. It wasn't about being fast.
This has been an incredible journey. One I am sad to see end. It is definitely a journey that will live with me forever.