I want the excitement and terror of signing up for a marathon, not knowing what I’ve gotten myself into.
I want the shaking knees and uneasy stomach of coming to the first practice, what to wear, where to park, what to bring.
I want the warm ups and cool downs, the stretches afterwards, the going out too fast or walking (what seems to be) too often.
I want the subscriptions to running magazines, the endless Googling of questions, the marathon training plans.
I want to meet people, to swap running stories and learn about their lives, to hear why they’re running with Team In Training and how cancer has touched (and perhaps devastated) their lives.
I want the green juices, the peanut butter and toast for breakfast, the feasts of pancakes and eggs each Saturday around noon afterwards.
I want running to be a requirement, not an option; for there to be no doubt in my mind that I’m running today; to go without thinking and love myself afterward for doing it.
I want to sit in traffic at rush hour to get to practice and belting out country music alone in my car in bumper-to-bumper on the freeway.
I want to run with the group and by myself, to do something together and alone.
I want “farther than I’ve ever run before” feelings and pictures of my epic, if sweaty, success.
I want hill runs and fartleks, track workouts and easy days.
I want to hear the sound of my feet hitting the pavement, the one-two-three-four of quick steps down the road, the in and out of my breath for the oxygen that fuels the burn.
I want the “How’re you doing?” from the coaches and the momentum of my teammates to keep me going when I want to stop.
I want the hobble that comes with sore muscles, the murmurs of “long run this weekend” to my coworkers when they ask why I’m walking funny.
I want ice baths and hot showers.
I want to wake up when the sun does, to throw off the covers and run before work if I have to, or to squeeze it in between work and whatever comes next.
I want the crazy new gear, things I hadn’t heard of before: foam rollers, handheld water bottles, compression pants, running headphones, secret pockets.
I want packets of Gu during the run and Nuun tablets afterward.
I want the challenge of fundraising more than I ever have before, telling any- and everyone that I’m running for a cure, I’m running to help, would you please help me by donating?
I want to stretch awkwardly whenever I’m sitting on the ground.
I want the long afternoon naps and early bedtimes, the “sorry to leave early, guys, I have to run tomorrow.”
I want the hot of summer, the sweat pouring down my face, the self-discipline to put sunscreen on before I leave to save my skin.
I want the excited travel to the race, the chatter, the snacks, the selfies.
I want the jitters of standing at the starting line, when the same “what did I get myself into?” questions pummel my head just like they did in the beginning.
I want twenty-six point two miles of pure exhilaration and torture.
I want to cross the finish line to sounds of people cheering, with my arms up high and an exhausted smile on my face, I did it.
I want the post-race blanket and banana, the inability to walk downstairs afterwards, the fears that my legs will never move again that will inevitably overtake me when it’s over.
But then I want to want to do it again.
Because in the end, more than any of this I want cancer to end. I want to win this fight against it, to save our friends and families from it, to stop the mutations, to see a day with more marathons, more birthdays, more smiles.
Will you help me get there?
(To learn more and to help me in my race to cure cancer, visit http://pages.teamintraining.org/wa/victoria14/scarlin)