I ran a 5k and . . . my apologies for the “F” word . . .

24 Apr
Angry Talk (Comic Style)

Beware: bleeping needed for this blog post . . .

Hello all,

Yesterday I ran my first 5k post cancer. I walked some of it, but, ran most of it and made a point of running the hilly portions. The game I played was: “If I can make it to the top of that hill without stopping then my scans will be clear.” Or, “If I can make it to the top of the next hill without stopping, then, even if I don’t get good news from my scans, I will survive.”

Is that a bit sick? I don’t know, but, it is what was running through my head (no pun intended) while I was running.

The run was really tough for me. It was a on a dirt trail that was pretty uneven. So I jarred myself around a bit. Also, the last time I ran (at all) was two months ago. I know, kind of stupid to think you can run a 5k without having run at all in some time. But, the pre-cancer Lisa could do that no problem. Still, I planned on walking.

So I lined up at the very back of the race start (elite runners go to the front, walkers go to the back of the starting line). I waited for the walkers to start walking – the crowd in front of us had to move ahead before we could start. But, when it was our turn to start, it didn’t feel right to walk. So I ran.

I ran the first mile without stopping. There were just a few small hills. But, it was tough. My body did not want to do what my mind wanted to do. It was painful. My chest hurt, it hurt to breathe. The muscles that were moved from my back and wrapped around to my front to create new “breasts” hurt, hurt, hurt. My ribs hurt a lot (and it is this pain that is the reason for tomorrow’s scans). Fuck. It feels like I have broken ribs. That is what it has felt like for over a month. That can’t be good, can it? I don’t know.

But, I ran. I ran out of anger. I ran out of fear and I ran to try to run through this fucking cancer. But, it doesn’t work that way. You can’t just run from it.

I did a lot of thinking during the run. I had fits of anger and moments where I fought to hold back tears. What have I become? A ball of emotions, out of control. That is where the anger comes from and why it sets in. I get angry to keep from crying. I get angry to try to stop making sense of things. I get angry as a feeble attempt to regain some control over my life, over my future . . . as if throwing something (across the room or a fit) will change something.

Anger is not a healthy state for me and so I have to let it go. I ran some of that anger off yesterday. So that is good.

I am both proud of myself and disappointed: disappointed that my body doesn’t work the way it used too, disappointed that I felt so much pain, but, proud, really proud, that I ran in spite of that pain. This cancer trip is full of dichotomies and oxymorons.

I used to feel invincible. I used to think I had good genes (my paternal grandmother lived to 101 and was in excellent health throughout her life). I was proud to be the one that could run towards the front, go farther than many, hike longer, faster, swim far, climb, run. I felt strong and it made me feel safe.

The loss of that physical strength and endurance has changed my perception of myself. Case in point: I ran out of gas the other day (chemo brain be damned, or, just plain forgetfulness).

I ran out of gas at the exit of a shopping center parking lot. It was not very convenient for drivers wanting to exit the lot. But, it wasn’t a big deal either to simply drive around me. Yet, I was repeatedly yelled at (yes, I had my blinkers on. And, I waved people around me). But, several drivers honked their horns, aggressively backed up (as if my being in their way was the worst thing to happen to them that day) and drove around me. Some even proceeded to either give me a dirty look as they passed by me or make gestures and one even rolled down their window to yell at me. Not a single person asked to see if I needed any help. It is a crazy world these days. Sad.

Triple A came to my rescue. But, it was intimidating to wait there. I felt vulnerable.

In the past I would not have found this frightening or intimidating. Whether it was true or not, I really believed that I could physically defend myself. I really believed that I could outrun an attacker if necessary. And, with the history of my family, the murder and rape of my maternal grandmother, I am very aware of the real need that one might have to outrun someone. I felt safer thinking that I could physically defend myself. But, that was the pre-cancer, pre-surgeries-Lisa. Those days seem very far away.

Still, I did run that dang 5K. It was my “fuck cancer” 5k. I hope there will be a “fuck cancer” 10k and a “fuck cancer half marathon” (I have one in mind for this fall). I want to be here. I want to live. I hope I get to do that half marathon cancer free.

I appreciate your continued prayers and the positive vibes sent my way!

Much love and peace,


7 Responses to “I ran a 5k and . . . my apologies for the “F” word . . .”

  1. Sally April 24, 2011 at 8:16 PM #

    You go, girl! I mean you went 5 miles! and in spite of the pain. That’s huge, no little thing. But I hear you about the differences from pre-cancer days and how it changes your perception of yourself. All my love and prayers,
    Aunt Sally

    • cancerfree2b April 25, 2011 at 7:32 AM #

      Happy Easter Aunt Sally!

      I hope you had a very nice Easter yesterday. I spent the day with Mom and Dad. I took them to see my new place (I will be moving to very soon) and then on to Paul and Marcella’s house. We had a nice day.

      The run was actually three miles (3.1) as it was a 5 kilometer race. I wish I could run five miles! But, perhaps some day soon I will be able to run that far 🙂

      Thank you for your continued prayers. I greatly appreciate it.

      Much love,

  2. nancyspoint April 25, 2011 at 5:38 AM #

    Lisa, This post really speaks to me since I am walking a 10k in a few weeks. I’m a bit worried since right now I’m only walking a mile and a half. You are so right about the anger and the dichotomies of cancer!! And that anger, sometimes I get so disgusted with it all and my new physical weakness. I hate that! I know exactly what you mean. Actually, I think you deserve to feel angry now and then, we all do. I think anger is underrated, as long as you don’t stay there too long. Congrats on completing the race and good luck with the scans. And no apologies needed for the “f” word. Sometimes it is appropriate!

    • cancerfree2b April 26, 2011 at 8:31 AM #

      Nancy, Thank you for your message 🙂 Wow, good for you on your upcoming 10k! You can do it, just take it easy . . . and maybe don’t try running parts of it 🙂 As much as I am glad that I did the 5k last weekend, I am still feeling the repercussions from it . . . very sore. But, sometimes to move forward takes some pain I guess. I am dressed right now to go to the gym, even so, I am not sure if I will go. I don’t know why I am so unmotivated right now. I know some of my lack of motivation is simply because of the pain. But, I have to snap out of it and get going!

      Good luck on your upcoming 10k! I look forward to reading about it in your blog! Something I tried to focus on during my run was to appreciate the fact that I can move my legs forward and that I can run . . . even if it is so much harder to do these things . . . the fact that I can do them is something. Anger helped me get up a few hills, but, it also is something that I have to let go of . . . I need to move past dwelling on what I have lost and focus on what I can gain and have gained. Hmm . . . sometimes that is easier said than done 🙂

  3. Stacey April 26, 2011 at 9:51 AM #

    Lisa, great job! Congrats on running most of the way. I walk a pretty fast treadmill, but have yet to run. Something is holding me back and I’ll figure it out one of these days, but like you I yell at cancer in my head, knowing I can’t outrun it. But it feels good trying. Good luck with the scans. Sending hugs and wishes for good news.

    • cancerfree2b April 26, 2011 at 3:00 PM #

      Thank you Stacey! I like your “yelling” at cancer description . . . that is great! 🙂

      Thank you for your good wishes and hugs! It is very much appreciated!



  1. A 10K And A Whole Lot More @ Nancy's Point - May 19, 2011

    […] Finally, Cancer Free 2 B also 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! […]

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