November 3

Half-marathon training
Week twelve, day four

For once, I didn’t have miles on my mind as I drove to the lake this morning. You see, every week before we run we talk about fundraising, we talk about training, and then we have a mission moment where a team member talks about how and why they joined TNT – and I had agreed to do the mission moment today.

I don’t have any problem talking in front of people (duh) but I was a little worried about saying what I wanted to say without crying too hard. This is what I said:

Ten years ago, my friend (Donna Sue Ashley) did a 100 mile bike ride with team in training, and I thought, “That’s really cool. Someday when I get in better shape, I should do something like that.” Five years ago, my other friend (Elisabeth Wilson) did a triathlon with TNT, and I thought, “that’s really cool. Someday when I get in better shape, I should do something like that.”

In the spring of 2011, my dear friend Angi had a bad pain in her side. At first she thought it was her mattress, and then she thought maybe she had kidney stones. She didn’t have health insurance, so she went to the emergency room at Parkland. Within 24 hours, she had been diagnosed with ALL and started 30 days of chemo.

I told the rest of Angi’s story and my running – her chemo, couch to 5k, how I ran my first 5k at the Turkey Trot not long before she got her bone marrow match. I told them how the transplant was successful but then the infection came. I told them how I signed up for the half-marathon around the time she went back in the hospital, and how I was sitting at Subway the day after kick-off when I got the news that she was being taken off the ventilator. I told them that she passed away that afternoon at the age of 42. I took a really deep breath and went on:

Team in training has been a wonderful experience. I’ve met amazing people, learned some terrible jokes, and run farther than I ever thought I could. But it hasn’t been easy. I’ve never been athletic and certainly not a runner. I was always the person who said we didn’t need to run unless the bar is closing. So sometimes it hurts, and sometimes I don’t want to get up early and run 9 or 10 miles.

(And here’s where the tears started to spill over) But I would run to the moon if I could just bring Angi back. I can’t do that, of course, but if I can run a few miles and raise a few dollars, maybe that will help save someone else. And I think Angi would have wanted it that way.

Recovered from my speech, did my nine miles and started to drive home (after a jump start of my car from some teammates – thanks Shorty and Ryan!). All of a sudden, Elton John’s “Your Song” came on the radio, and I sobbed the rest of the way home.

I miss you, Angi. Every. Single. Day.


About Elizabeth

Running and thinking about life one step at a time.
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