Friday, May 14, 2010

Endure to Do More!

Things are super busy in my house today! Tonight is Relay for Life...where my sister and I will be walking all night for the Endurance Relay Raffle. I wrote an article for Alamance Woman, hoping though they don't really run essays that they'd say "Yes!" I will say the editor had me sweating, but I found out a couple of days before it hit stands that it had made the May issue. I mentioned it before, but decided since I've gotten the most response from it than almost any of my peices that I'd share it with you today. It just seems...right!

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Moans and groans still echo from my high school memories…when I recall my tennis coach announcing a run around the walking track beside the courts. In short, I hated to run. Sprints were a gray area, but long distance weren’t my thing. Maybe because I always ended up last…in hindsight likely due to my mind set. I didn’t want to run, so I didn’t strive to do it well.

My how things change. Now I’m a runner, and like most I find an excuse to run even when I don’t need to—to the mailbox, to get to my car faster, to get out of the rain. So how did a non-runner become a runner? I let my sister talk me into a race.

Sure I’d huffed and puffed through a mile while losing thirty pounds, but never a 5K. As they say, there’s always a first time. Enter Mebane on the Move 2008. I sprinted over the finish line to cheers and wild clapping…dead last. The tail car hot on my heels, likely tired of following me at a snail’s pace. Afterwards, among the other runners at the Fitness Festival something magical happened. Instead of throwing the towel in on running, I decided to do better next time.

My twin and I seem to always bite off more than we expect. School projects, hobbies…so the Relay for Life at Burlington City Park shouldn’t have come as a surprise. We’d heard of the momentous event, and decided to search out a team to honor our family and friends who’d battled cancer and some who’d succumbed after a long, hard fight. Like our dad who’d lived the last month of his life in a hospital and fallen to lung cancer just after moving to Hospice.

Now you know the why, so we’ll move on to how we came up to the point of no return, a.k.a the gut check moment. We’d joined a young team, picking them from the roster because they had a single member. We partook in the fundraisers, and then on Relay night we arrived eager to help set up our little camp site. Even the sprinkle couldn’t banish our good cheer as we waited to do our part to keep someone on the track at all times. Especially since the sponsor was adding to our team total for staying true to the Relay rule. Following in the footsteps of survivors, we continued on our endless loop of laps around the ball field. For almost ten hours straight.


In the midnight hour another magical moment happened. The energy slacked, the field’s crowd thinned and only the long haulers were left…trying to last all night along with their MP3 players. Exhausted and hobbled by blisters, my sister and I dug deep. I found the will to continue by thinking about my father and those last moments we’d shared. I remembered my grandfather who’d died from heart disease, and the way he’d always hung strong to go on another day. As I walked alongside a sea of luminaries I looked for names I recognized, reflecting on the computer wallpaper I’d made with a similar scene that bore the names of everyone I knew who deserved to be honored or remembered. The image filled up my screen…a sad testament. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?

In the past few months, I’ve logged more than 250 miles to prep for the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon. I’d planned to run with my sister in February, though she’d signed up for the marathon…26.2 miles. Surgery and recovery made her bump the goal down to the half. I’d opted for the half after having to rehab a hip injury. When the freak Valentine’s Day snowstorm sailed through and coated the beach with five inches, we knew it looked bad. About midnight, we learned the event had been cancelled. Sure we were bummed, but we got up, geared up and earned our medals by doing 13.2 miles along Ocean Boulevard. Why? Because we’d come to run, to see if all our hours of training would pay off…to prove to ourselves how strong we were. Yet we feel cheated since we didn’t cross the official finish line.

So this May we’re upping the stakes. Walking the Relay for Life event last year helped us realize we had the mental and physical endurance to do a marathon. This year how can we do less? To up the ante, literally, we’re helping One More Day, a brand new team, with an Endurance Relay Raffle. We’ll walk wearing our trusty pedometers, and the person who picks the number closest to the total of combined steps without going over wins part of the pot. The rest goes to Relay for Life to aid in the fight against cancer…and to spare families the pain we’ve known.


Though our hearts still ache for our loss, we’re channeling what we’ve learned to help others. If you’re enduring a battle with illness, trying to find a way to fit in fitness, or want to test yourself, consider doing a race. As I like to say “If you can only walk, then do so with purpose. You don’t have to walk for anyone but yourself.” However, walking for others, even a one mile Fun Run, can give you a sense of accomplishment you’ll be proud to share. By being more confidant and secure with yourself, you can shine your light upon the world and pay your newfound worth forward.

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If you'd like to know more about what I and my team will be up to tonight, check out http://www.relayforlife.org/alamancenc. And my page is at: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/kristy.mabe






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