I began running marathons in 2009 at the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. I ran the NYC marathon in 2011. I was supposed to run the NYC marathon in 2012, the year it was canceled because of Hurricane Sandy.
The Friday before Sandy hit, my mom was told that she had a tumor in her pancreas. Before receiving an official diagnosis, my mom must have known that the diagnosis would not be good. My mom asked me if I was ready to run the marathon the next weekend. As I've said and felt with each marathon I've run, I did not think I was adequately trained. My mom proceeded to tell me that she hoped I would run because it would be the last marathon she would see me run. (She had traveled to see me run 2 of the previous marathons and came to see NY the year before.)
I'm a NYC school teacher and we had the week off from school. We had to go back to work on the Friday before the marathon. That was the day that the generators in Central Park were on the front page of the newspapers. Coworkers that I had for years and were always super supportive of my running were different that day. I was asked if I was actually going to run the race and when I said yes I was given disapproving looks. As a runner who had trained to run the race it was a hard enough decision whether or not to run that marathon, add in everything going on with my mother it became so much more personal. I went home from work that afternoon and took a nap instead of picking up my race stuff from the expo. I woke up to the news of the marathon being canceled. I was thankful. I was thankful because it was the right thing to do. I went to bed early that night and woke up early on Saturday to go for a long run. I live on the Upper East Side so I ran the end of the marathon and then ran over to the expo to pick up my race stuff (I wanted it as a memento). I cried for much of this run. I cried for the fear of what would happen to my mom and the missed opportunity for her to see me run another marathon.
My mom had surgery November 14, 2012 and was officially diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She began chemotherapy in December and then started radiation the following May. She was told that she was cancer free in June but by mid-July the cancer was back with a vengeance. It was back and it spread. She tried to fight it with chemo but the cancer won. My mom passed away on November 13, 2013. One day less than a year after she underwent surgery.
I was signed up to run the 2013 NYC marathon but I just couldn't get into the training. My mother's words to me before the 2012 marathon had a huge impact on me. My mom was the strongest woman I knew. Even before the official diagnosis of the cancer's return and spread,I knew that she wasn't well. I was home with her all summer, helping to run the small business my parents own, watching her having difficulty getting through a day. I couldn't imagine running a marathon and not having my mom, my cheerleader there to watch.
Before my mom was sick I loved running. As I said earlier, I felt under-prepared for each marathon I ran but I bettered my time each time. My ultimate goal was to qualify for Boston. Since deciding not to run the marathon in 2013 I've pretty much given up running. I think this has a lot to do with my mom. But I want to run again this year in honor of my mom.
I'm going to run NYC in 2014.
I'm going to raise money for the Lustgarten Foundation in the process. Just like in the past I'm behind in my training. I'm hoping by seeing your donations I will feel the push to go out and do that training run that will get me closer to the start line.