Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A special guest race report

This is the first 5k race report that has been on my blog, and I think it is better than any tri race report that I'll ever publish. That's because it's a survivor story.

My friend Steve, who was diagnosed with stage 2 non-Hodgkins Lymphoma the week I started training for my Ironman, did his first post-chemo race last weekend. It has been a really difficult road for Steve the past 10 months with multiple (I think six) rounds of chemotherapy and an emergency surgery. It was also a really empty time for our lab. Work just wasn't the same without Steve's smiling face and goofy humor. His boss had to institute daily meetings with the lab to keep morale up. Things just seemed so empty. The day he came back was absolutely wonderful. And it was a lot of fun to have someone to talk training with, because he jumped right back into running as soon as it was physically possible.

It was really frustrating for him at first. Last year his running progress was nothing short of amazing. Every 5k was a PR. When his progress finally plateaued it wasn't due to his athletic limitations, it was when he was diagnosed with cancer.

When he started, a slow 2 mile run was a chore. Just felt so hard- and having a Garmin didn't help either. But he kept at it. Day in and day out he ran.

My last day in the lab was Friday, and his first race was Saturday. I just got his race report in the mail and thought I would share. As of today, I've raised more than $2000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, thanks in large part to all of you. Thanks for being such a great supporter of both me and Steve!

My last chemo was Feb 15th. I had surgery on March 9th to reverse the ostomy. My first 'training run' was April 20th.

As you know I was at times not happy with my progress, but I was also being too hard on myself. I would try to remember that Lisa said 'be thankful you are running again and don't worry about your time'. My training was just to run 3-5 miles a day when I could and try to get a long run in on the weekend. I didn't do any tempo runs or intervals. My pace averaged around 8 min per mile. I did 15-20 miles per week. My longest run before the race was 7.5 miles.

The race started at 7 pm. As the time approached I got very nervous; I really can't say why. The kids ran with me to warm up and with a final kiss to from Lisa I line up at the start. My goal was to be under 24 (my first 5K ever was this very race three years ago in which I ran a 24:30; the following year I did 20:25 and placed 2nd in my age group).

I started out a good pace, not too fast, but not so slow. I felt I was just training. At the 1 mile mark my time was 6:52- a lot faster than I thought. I felt really good and thought I would try to maintain the pace. At the 2 mile mark I was 14:12. I thought I slowed down a little but still felt good so just keep up the pace. In the last mile as I was getting tired I just kept thinking what i had been through and the little pain and discomfort I was felling was feeling was nothing compared to what I had bee through. Sprinting to the finish I saw and heard Lisa, Emma and Ian cheering me as I turned to make the final yards to the line. When I turned the corner I saw the time at 21 something, but couldn't see seconds because some spectators were in the way. I saw it turn to 22 just as I crossed the line.

The kids and Lisa ran up to me and we had a big family hug.

That is it in a nut shell. Lisa didn't get any pictures...she was too busy watching to think about it. My next race will be 4 miles on June 22.


And here are some pics. Steve a couple months ago:

Steve last week!


Curly Su said...

coming off of chemo, he's doing so much more than most! wow. thanks so much for the inspiration.

DaisyDuc said...

What a remarkable person! Wishing Steve all the best! It sounds like quite a nice comeback!

Mallie said...

Thanks for sharing, Jodi. Would you please tell Steve that I'll be adding hiim to my "people to think of" while I'm pedaling for 24 Hours at Booty. I'm going to be papering my feedzone area with photos and stories of folks who are triumphing through cancer.

Bob V said...

Funny, Steve's post tx time is better than my current PR for the 5k...Sounds like one of the proverbial tough guys of running. Go Steve!

TriSonq said...

What an amazing person. He is an inspiration for us all. Next time I question wether or not I should train because I "just don't have it in me today," I'll think how much harder it is for him and suck it up.

Thanks for sharing JT.

BTW, when do you leave for IMCdA?

erichollins said...

Way to go, Steve! Keep fighting it!

Wes said...

Let Steve know we are all so proud and amazed by him and his recovery. It's easy for us to "throw money" at a problem, but for those who are in the trenches every day... Congratulations, Steve, and thanks for keeping us up to date, Jodi. Oh, and your welcome :-)

Margaret said...

Thanks for sharing Jodi! That is an amazing story! When I am out running and suffering, I have to realize that many out there would love to be in my shoes. Inspiring!

See you in a week!

Margaret aka Rambo

Charlie said...

Congratulations Steve.
That is a great time. What you have overcome puts all of my struggles into perspective. May you have many more 5ks to run.

Anonymous said...

Why to go Steve, you are an inspiration. - Dan (a Zanesville admirer of your Mother)

PS - My father was cured of cancer in the late 60's. He had less than a 30% one year survival rate. Cleveland Clinic saved the life of this wonderful father of four. He is still alive today. You helped me remember my blessings and that people do survive.