Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bucket List

I spent last weekend in the mountains of New Hampshire with 11 people crazy enough to join me on "The Situation"; my team for the 2010 Reach the Beach Relay.  To know what this event is like, first stay awake for 30 hours, run anywhere from 4 - 8 miles every six hours while awake and make sure the last 1/4 mile is on a nice sandy beach. Throw in 5000 other runners, more porta-potties than you ever want to see,  and there - doesn't it sound like fun???

Actually it was and I have to say we laughed - a lot! (What else do you do at 3am when you are awake and wearing a headlamp?)  Upon crossing the finish line I thought to myself - "there, another thing on my list - complete!".  It wasn't until later this week when reading a magazine article about Randy Pausch that the whole "bucket list" concept really impacted me.  You may recall Randy's very poignant "Last Lecture" as he was a professor at Carnegie Mellon who became a YouTube sensation for giving his students the lecture of a lifetime just prior to his death. Anyway, like I said, I was reading an article where Dr. Oz was recalling a conversation he had with Randy when they spoke about taking a trip to swim with the dolphins.  Randy stated it took a terminal diagnosis for him to take his family on this trip they had always dreamed of.  Dr. Oz, hearing Randy's message loud and clear, booked the same trip for his family that very day for he realized how quickly life can change and why not do those things on our "lists" for if we do not - will we ever?

For me that is what it was all about - just doing something many consider outside the norm. For those who have done it (even though we may groan and complain during every one of those 30 hours) holding that medal can be pretty satisfying.  The past 3 years have been full of teachable moments and if I have learned anything it has been that my list will always get longer but as long as I can continually cross things off of it, then I am truly living.

Hmm, not sure why I am feeling somewhat so  introspective at 5:30am.  I suppose the fact that I am getting ready for a 20 mile training run with my brother may have something to do with it.  Running a marathon with my brother - yes, another item off my list.  What is on yours and what are you doing to make sure you get to cross those things off as "completed"?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Life lessons

Wow - September arrived and is rushing by...we are just about at the mid-point of the month already.  This past weekend was a busy one.  We attended "Lobsterfest" 2010 with some of my "BFFs" on a day that was picture perfect.  So picture perfect you could not help but compare it the day 9 years earlier that changed all of us forever.  The sky was that same picture perfect blue; not a cloud in sight.  We reflected on our lives and toasted to the fact we were together and we were healthy: it was a wonderful day. 

Today, I walked 3.1 miles in Central Park with 24,000 other people all somehow impacted by breast cancer.  I was one of 1,600 survivors.  Unfortunately I was "alone" - my husband had to work and my mom was off on a long planned vacation.  Since I was team captain for my employer's corporate team, I needed to get into the city early so got up in the dark, ate breakfast, donned my best pink finery and hit the road.  I admit to feeling very sad as a drove in to NYC.  Sure, I was going to be walking with  my co-workers and seeing a post from my friend Lauren in the early morning hours made me smile; but I could not kick the blues even though surrounded by a sea of pink. 

I gathered with other folks from the team and it was then I started to feel a bit better.  Two co-workers were walking "just because" and both of them were fairly new to the company.  I  walked with a small group and I enjoyed talking to all of them.  The rain held out until the end and only lasted a few minutes. I decided to stop of at the survivor village.   Out of the blue a fellow survivor walked up to me and asked if I was by myself.  When I said, yes, I was there by myself, she said, "So am I" - she hugged me and said, "Aren't we lucky?" 

Those few words snapped me out of my funk and I realized, yes, we were lucky.  We were there, we were walking, we had made it through and were able to say we were survivors.  As I looked out at the sea of people walking past me - so many with the words "In Memory of..." scribed on their shirt along with a name it caused me to take pause.  I was in the park today- pink hair and all -  thanks to those who may have not been with me today but were with me when I needed them most.  Lucky indeed.