My dad is one of eight children, 4 boys and 4 girls. His mom, my grandmother Theresa, died shortly after I was born. She had cancer. She apparently knew she had lumps in her breasts, but she never went to the doctor to have them checked. By the time she was diagnosed with cancer it was too late. My dad’s oldest sister, Theresa, died of cancer when I was a teenager. My Aunt Joanne was diagnosed with leukemia years ago, but thankfully it’s in remission. My Uncle Joe also has leukemia. My Auntie Mag died of pancreatic cancer.
This left my dad and his younger siblings my Uncle Kenny, Uncle Billy and Auntie Nancy. Two years ago my Auntie Nancy, the youngest of all my dad’s siblings, went to the ER for nausea and vomiting. She was sent home only to return a day later as the symptoms had intensified.
I’m not sure of the exact course of events, but she came home with a diagnosis of stage 4 breast cancer with metastases. She did one round of chemotherapy I believe. The cancer was ravaging her spirit, energy and will to live. She chose to forego treatment at that point and for the last 6 months or so she has been quietly and painfully dying.
Of all my aunts and uncles on my dad’s side Auntie Nancy had the most stable, picture perfect life. She married her high school sweetheart and together they had 3 children. Whenever I saw them it was evident they were still as much in love as they were when they were young. My cousins are successful and all three settled locally to raise their families. My aunt was one of the sweetest people. However, like her mother before her, Auntie Nancy did not see a doctor for over 20 years despite knowing her family medical history.
On Sunday, July 12, 2015 my aunt passed away at home surrounded by her family. She will be missed by so many. Yet another reminder that life is too short and we really must embrace each day as though it is our last.
“Learn to appreciate what you have before time makes you appreciate what you had.”
My training is broken up into blocks. Phase 2 is a 5 week block and is also preparation for the Bridge of Flowers 10K on August 8th. For Phase 2 of training I’m following these pace recommendations:
Recovery runs: 10:00-11:00 pace
Easy runs: 9:45-10:30 pace
Steady state runs: 9:15-9:45 pace (or moderate effort up Skinner Mountain)
Stride workouts: 25 seconds at 8:30 pace building to 7:30 pace
Speed workouts: 7:00-7:30 pace (just go for hard effort)
- Monday, 7/13– 40 to 50 minute Easy Run with 10 by 10-20 second sprints on an incline at the end
I woke up super late at 6:50AM. Carlos did too. These busy weekends and late Sunday nights need to settle down. My friend came over around 11:30 and we ran 3.08 miles in 44:36. I had loose intentions of doing my planned training run in the evening when Orlando got home, but he worked on a side job until after 8PM and by the time he got home I had made the executive decision to just go to bed.
- Tuesday, 7/14 – 45-60 minute Recovery Run
I did yesterday’s missed 40-50 minute Easy Run with 10 by 20 second sprints on an incline at the end. I found a great incline near the end of my run and I gave it my all 10 times up. I ran 5.04 miles in 52:12 (avg pace 10:22 min/mile).
- Wednesday, 7/15 – Hill work: warm up 10 minutes, run up a steep hill (30 seconds to 1 minute) 5-8 times, jog back down, cool down 10 minutes
I was planning to run the Recovery Run I missed on Tuesday, but I inadvertently came across a perfect hill for hill repeats so I switched gears and ended up doing 10 hill repeats. My warm up and cool down were both about 17 minutes. I ran 5.06 miles in 52:49 (avg pace 10:26 min/mile). It was super hot and humid. The hill repeats were kind of fun!
- Thursday, 7/16 – Off or Yoga
I wrote in my gratitude journal for this day that I am grateful for the strength to see me through this difficult day. I worked Wednesday night. I got home around 6:45am and immediately started up my computer for my other job while preparing breakfast for Carlos. I zipped off some emails and faxed a few requests for medical information to doctor’s offices. I took a shower and then hopped onto our Thursday morning 8AM webex meeting. It ran a bit longer than usual and we finished just before 9. I spent the next half hour working. At 9:40 I had to take a power nap. Up at 10 to get ready to go.
At 11 I met my family outside of Holy Name Church for a private memorial mass for my Auntie Nancy. She did not want a wake or public funeral. In keeping with her wishes it was just immediate family and a few close friends gathered for a full Catholic mass followed by a luncheon. My sister and her husband came and my dad had flown in the day before. It’s always nice to see everyone, but not under these circumstances.
The rest of the afternoon was busy. I picked up Carlos from camp and then had two of his friends over for a sleep over. By the time I went to bed around 9:45PM I had been up for an ungodly number of hours. Needless to say this was a completely OFF day!
- Friday, 7/17 – 40 to 50 minute Easy Run with 8 by 100 meter (or 20 second) striders in the last mile
It was really tough getting out of bed this morning, but I’m glad I did because the weather was perfect running weather. It was cool like a fall morning. It was such a welcome respite from the humidity we’ve had lately. I ended up doing the 45-60 minute Recovery Run I missed on Tuesday. I ran 6.16 miles in 1:00:34 (avg pace 9:49 min/mile). I have to say I was really surprised by my pace on this run. I have felt really weighed down the last few days both mentally and physically. This pace was a little faster than my pace goal, but my splits were very consistent.
- Saturday, 7/18 – 120 minutes long run
I ran 11.50 miles in 2:00:56 (avg pace 10:30 min/mile). Typically I get my long runs done early in the morning, but since Friday was a long day and night I decided to take my time in the morning. My dad came by around 8:30 to pick up Carlos. He stayed and chatted for a while. Then Orlando took my car to run a few errands. While he was gone I cranked some music and cleaned all of the downstairs windows, vacuumed and did laundry.
I decided to head to the bike trail for my run. The sky was grim and the forecast was calling for thunderstorms. I hit the trail around 11:50. The skies opened before mile 2 and within minutes I was completely soaked. I really never contemplated turning back. If it were race day I wouldn’t quit.
The sun broke out around mile 4 giving way to a steamy sauna. I veered off the trail for a few miles and during mile 7 a car nailed a huge puddle as I jumped on the curb sending a substantial wave of water into my right side. I didn’t think it was possible to get more wet than I already felt. The remaining miles were slow. My running pants and shoes were heavy, filled with water. My hat kept dripping water down my face. It was awesome!!
- Sunday, 7/19 – Cross train or yoga
Aside from a few sun salutations I haven’t been doing yoga. I can’t make it to classes right now and despite all the free classes online I haven’t committed to in home yoga. I don’t enjoy it as much. After meeting with my health coach she took me on a fantastic trail run. At the end we added the 8 by 100 meter (or 20 second) striders I missed on Friday. We ran 4.06 miles in 54 minutes. It was incredibly hot and humid, but this was by far one of the best runs. I managed not to trip over any roots although I did get knocked down by a dog and scraped up my right elbow pretty good. I do love trail running and wish I could do it more often.
Despite the ups and downs of the week I squeaked out just about 35 miles.
I’m so sorry for your loss. That quote that you put up is so true. One to remember all the time…to be grateful for each day, to be seen by a professional when you are not well, to have new goals, to attack life each day.
Good week of getting the miles in!
Thank you so much Kaye. Let’s please try to get together soon. I cannot believe how quickly this summer is flying by.
Sorry about your aunt, and the unfortunate cancer plague that seems to have caught that generation of that side of your family. It’s nice that you were all together for the service she wanted.
Impressive weekly total! You made me laugh about enjoying the hill repeats — I only love them after I’m done! And I smiled thinking about your soaking run — too funny about the car, but it’s 100% attitude. You easily could have been miserable in those conditions, hating every moment, but your mind is obviously in the right place which made it just a memorable run!
Thank you Carina. It was nice to be together as a family. I’m definitely in a different mental place this training. I’m really enjoying it.
Aimee – just catching up after being on vacation, so sorry to hear about your Aunt. It makes you wonder knowing the family history why she wouldn’t have been proactive about her health, but I guess you’ll never know. Sending huge hugs your way!!
Thanks Biz. We are all left with a bit of a mystery. I assume it was fear as it was for my grandmother, but you’re right we won’t know. My Dad, who never shows any sort of emotion for my sister and me, actually asked if we go for our check-ups. He seemed relieved to know that we do take care of ourselves.