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A 10K And A Whole Lot More

This weekend, Dear Hubby and I are participating in the Fargo, ND Marathon. No, we aren’t doing the marathon, (my amazing daughter is though!) but we are walking in the 10K event. We participated last year as well.

Initially, we decided we were not going to take part this year. Back in January when we first started discussing the possibility of participating again, I said, “No, I don’t want to do it. It will bring back too many painful memories. I’m not interested. I’m not ready.”

You see, last year I walked in this same event mere days before my bilateral mastectomy –  less than a month after my diagnosis.

Well, that was then and this, as they say, is now.

A couple of months ago, I changed my mind. I want to participate again. I want to prove to myself I can still walk a 10K, but more than that I want to complete another circle, and it’s not a physical ability type of circle. It’s not about this particular event or this particular distance.

Sure, I want to prove to myself that I am still physically able to walk a 10K despite my recent surgery, despite the neuropathy in my feet, despite my Arimidex induced achiness, despite challenges from reconstruction, despite my slower pace, despite cancer, despite a lot of things.

But it’s more than that. I want to prove I am mentally up to the challenge as well. I want need mental closure here. I’m not even sure if that makes sense.

Last year at this time, my mind was not in a good place. My bilateral was looming. I didn’t know if I would need chemo or fully understand the reconstruction process. I was terrified about many things, too many to  mention here, but still, I managed to walk that 10K.

If I did it then, with all that heavy baggage weighing on my mind, surely I can do it now, right?

I even discussed participating in this event before scheduling my last surgery. “Will I still be able to walk in the 10K?” I asked my surgeon more than once. He understood and assured me I would be able to if I felt up to it when the time came.

I do feel up to it, I think. I hope.

I know this 10K is only one tiny component of my emotional recovery, but it is an important one. I also know I must be ready to accept, if in fact, I find I cannot finish the walk. I will need to be okay with that as well.

It’s more about the goal, the effort, the trying.

How many times have I said stuff like that to my students and my own kids over the years?

A fellow blogger, Julie Goodale, recently participated in a race called the North Face Bear Mountain 50-Mile Endurance Challenge. Julie is a ten-year breast cancer survivor. She wanted to do something really big to mark her ten year anniversary as a survivor. I think she did!

Even the name of the race sounds daunting. I cannot fathom walking such a distance.

Chemobabe wrote a post about adapting, adjusting and accepting called “A View From the Back of the Pack.”

Actually, that’s pretty much been my vantage point my whole life in this kind of thing, so the view from the back of the pack is not new to me.

Another blogging pal, Cancer Free 2 B, recently wrote about running a 5K and the challenges doing so presented to her. She persevered her way through various aches, pains, doubts and actual hills to contend with – in Fargo, ND there aren’t so many any hills! Yay!

I will think of these women and others this Saturday when Dear Hubby and I put on our walking shoes, when we are asking ourselves, what were we thinking? and when we hopefully cross that finish line.

I will also think about the women (and men) too sick from cancer to walk anywhere and about those no longer here at all – those like my mother.

Mostly, I will be thankful I am here to participate in such an event, no matter how it turns out.

I am hoping it doesn’t rain AGAIN this year though, and the forecast isn’t sounding too good. Oh well.

I’ll let you know how it all turns out…

Have you participated in a 5K, 10K or marathon?

How do you challenge yourself mentally or physically?

A 10K and a whole lot more #marathon #!)K 



Friday 29th of January 2021

I loved walking in the American Cancer Society relay. I could walk all day or just a while, friend’s would join me throughout the day. I did a 2 mile hike on the American River last year and that was super hard for me when six years ago I’d hike all day no problem. Goals must shift with my hope. My goal is to dance 3 days a week for an hour while its cold out. I find it’s joyous and fun and I work up a huge sweat. But Craig thinks I’m nuts. I think I’m probably nuts too but that’s another story - I do know what you mean about closing the mental circle. I cannot imagine how you feel after reconstruction and hauling the memories with you along your 10k. Safe walking. I know you’ll meet the challenge I cannot imagine you won’t. Thank you again for sharing something so personal - you inspire me to keep going.... Keep on dancing... ❤️


Wednesday 3rd of February 2021

Ilene, Yes, goals certainly do shift. I don't think I'd dare to dance as you do in front of anyone. That's just not me. Good for you though! And yes, closing that mental circle was important the year I did the 10K. It was quite the experience and those memories certainly surfaced. Then again, that baggage is always there. Yet, we keep on keepin' on. Do keep on dancing! xx

Beth L. Gainer

Tuesday 24th of May 2011

Good luck at the event, and kudos to you and your family for tackling physical challenges!!

I used to be a runner (a slow one, but a runner nonetheless). I used to run a 5K every week for about three years; I ran one 10K. Always came in at the end of the pack, but I didn't care. Like you said, it's amazing how many people do not have the energy to do this, and I thought of this often.

After my double mastectomy with reconstruction, the pain associated with it didn't allow me to run. I cried a lot when I realized -- after years of attempts -- that running could no longer be my sport.

So now I'm an avid walker and swimmer. I swim an hour a few times per week and walk -- like speed walk -- and find the same endorphins as I did when running.

I enjoy staying active....


Tuesday 24th of May 2011

Beth, Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Wow, you were and still are an athlete in my book! I'm sorry you had to give up running, but walking and swimming are great ways to exercise too. I envy capable swimmers. I'm sure you get lots of exercise keeping up with your daughter too!


Monday 23rd of May 2011

Nancy, I can't wait to hear how it turned out. I hate being on the treadmill, but find inspiration thinking of others that can't walk as fast or I think about proving to myself I'm still capable despite, as you said, cancer. I also like to think cancer can't win over fitness. I know of course, that's not necessarily true, but I like to imagine cancer running scared.

How did it go???


Monday 23rd of May 2011

Stacey, Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have a treadmill too, but prefer to walk outdoors this time of year. I like the image of cancer "running scared."

Being Sarah

Monday 23rd of May 2011

Nancy, I hope this went well for you and I can completely understand why you want to do this particular 'challenge' - physical activity is important to me too... something about feeling well enough to take on the challenge both mentally AND physically after all the stuff you've been through.


Monday 23rd of May 2011

Sarah, Thank for your good wishes. It did go pretty well, I'll be posting about it tomorrow. There definitely is a need to set both physical and mental challenges, as long as we also stay realistic and don't expect too much. I guess that's true, cancer or not!

Cheryl Radford

Sunday 22nd of May 2011

Nancy you have every right to feel chuffed about the preparation and your willinginess to participate. Everything begins with just one small step and you have done so much more. Congratulations and my best wishes for your success on the day.


Monday 23rd of May 2011

Chez, Thank you reading and for commenting when you have so much going on yourself. I appreciate your support and hope you are getting the answers you need.

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