An Emotionally Uplifting Day

I caught sight of my shadow on Friday while walking Brody.  And I saw the shadow of a balding man with a bad combover trying to hide what was going on.  And I saw the wind taking chunks of my hair and sending it flying everywhere.  I went home and made another call to Christine at Depascal, it’s time to buzz the rest of my head.  Not totally bald yet, we left just a bit of stubble — sort of a Sinead O’Connor look.  I’ve found this step actually feels good.  It’s over and done, my hair is gone and I don’t have to wonder will it happen, when will it happen, how will I look?  I like it, and that’s a good thing because it’s going to be a while before I have hair again.

Version 2

The big happening for this weekend was the Spring Lake 5 on Saturday, a hallmark of the start of summer here at the Jersey Shore.  For those of you not from this area — the Spring Lake Five is a 5-mile run held on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend in the town of Spring Lake, New Jersey.  It brings over 12,000 runners to this shore town with about 3,000 residents.  Spring Lake is only about 2 square miles so it’s really quite an event for the town.  I’ve been running it since the early 90s and it wasn’t until Saturday morning that I remembered what an important place this race has in my running and triathlon history.

I was a swimmer from an early age, and continued to swim through high school.  Well, until some of the parents on the team decided I wasn’t a good influence and I was kicked off the team.  It was twenty years before I started swimming again.  I certainly wasn’t a runner — I thought it was actually a pretty dumb thing to do.  Somewhere along the way I started smoking and would smoke up to two packs a day.  I did finally quit for the last time a few years after our daughter, Mary was born.  The last time I quit Bryan suggested I join a gym.  I was happily working out with weights but walking on the treadmill was getting a bit boring.

I remembered that there was some sort of running event connected with my favorite party of the summer at Peter and Diana Smith’s house.

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Peter Smith and me at the “Spring Lake 503” annual party.

Running seemed like a good idea, I could run before the party!  Well — the rest, as they say, is history.  I’ve run fast and I’ve run slow at this race.  I’ve had many goals for the race.  I’ve worked hard to be among the top 100 women finishers and earn a mug.  I’ve worked just as hard to be among the next group of female finishers and hoped for a rose when I crossed the finish line.  My all-time most prized accomplishment at the Spring Lake Five was to be the first female finisher at the Smith’s party and win the “Spring Lake 503” trophy, which I did in 1996.

The unwritten rule was that once you won you weren’t eligible to win again.

I still find that I have a certain amount of disconnect with what’s going on.  Bryan dropped Tricia, Karen, Nancy, Heather and me off at the race in the morning.  My hands were full walking towards Ocean Avenue.  I had a sweatshirt, my race belt with my number, my trucker hat and my phone in my hands.  I thought maybe I should just put the hat on.  But I stopped myself — I wanted a picture at the start line, and I didn’t want to have “hat head”.  Oh yea, I don’t have any hair.

And now I’ve walked the five miles.  I was blessed to have the company of my niece, Heather.  We walked and talked, and ended the day with over 14,000 steps each.  And I guess the competitor in both of us is still there, we were proud of the fact that we negative split.   And I’m grateful for the opportunity to have gotten to know her a little bit better.

All in all, a good day, a good weekend, and a good life.

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4 Replies to “An Emotionally Uplifting Day”

  1. Moira, you personify the experience of all of the cancer survivors I have worked with over the last 6+ years in our LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program –particularly the women. I have had women move through the program who never thought about completing a triathlon until they experienced the confidence booster of regaining their strength in the company of other cancer survivors. They crossed that finish line before, during and after treatment — The power of SHE!

    Your “hair” reflection above reminded me of a very powerful documentary, Mondays at Racine — check it out.

    Al the best!

    Laura

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