The word ‘determination’ has 7 different definitions if you go to the Webster dictionary. I am going to go with definition three which reads (a) the act of deciding definitely and firmly and (b) a firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end. To say all runners are determined is probably an understatment. In order to achieve our ‘desired end,’ we get up at 5 AM, we run in the rain/snow/sleet/heat, train for 18 weeks, run 20 plus miles at a time if you are a marathon runner and then consider an ice bath and a banana the ultimate prize for a job well done. Okay, that last part may be the exception rather than the rule because I sure do like my medals, t-shirts and the straight up feeling of satisfaction of crossing the finish line at a race.
On Thursday, the word determination took on a whole new meaning and a cool new punctuation twist in my world! A little back story is necessary to fully explain why…after qualify for Boston my ‘fan club’ decided that they would come in full force to cheer. I think we are at about 16 adults and 5 children committed to standing on the side of the road and cheering for me as I run by in Boston, which only proves that if you are a runner, your family and friends are likely to be just as nutty as you are, but I digress. My awesome Aunt Linda decided that signs were not enough and such a large group needed to have custom t-shirts to wear on race day. I was flattered and excited particulary because it would make the crowd easier to recognize which can be tough sometimes in a marathon induced haze of confusion, I mean exertion. Aunt Linda contacted a company called Custom Ink (http://www.customink.com/), designed the shirts and placed the order. Custom Ink’s Charity Outreach Coordinater replied back with an email asking where to direct a charitable donation because the shirts looked like they could be part of a fundraiser. I had not really considered running for charity, but when Aunt Linda sent the Custom Ink email it was like lightening struck….why not run for a nobler purpose? Why not run for the American Cancer Society in honor of my Mom whose sheer determination to fight cancer means she will be one of my fans on April 19, 2010??
Suman had run New York for charity and really enjoyed the experience. I had seen a televiasion commercial for DetermiNation, which is the American Cancer Society’s nation of athletes determined to end cancer. This powerful and inspiring movement saves lives by enabling athletes to dedicate their training and participation in marathons, triathlons, cycling races, and other endurance events to a lifesaving effort to fight a disease that has already taken too many lives. DetermiNation is slightly different in the fact that it is a group of endurance athletes already committed to race events so the American Cancer Society is NOT responsible for your race entry fees, your training groups, your transportation to the race city…virtually all the money raised goes directly to the American Cancer Society to help find a cure. So I signed up on Thursday night and started soliciting donations from family and friends which is going unbelievably well and in 48 hours have raised almost $2000!! I am in shock, in awe, humbled and DETERMINED to raise as much money possible over the next 37 days. If you are interested in tracking my progress, please check out my DetermiNation site at http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/DetermiNation/DNFY10National?px=14618891&pg=personal&fr_id=25224
If you are counting, I have probably used the word determined about 50 times in this post, but I am not done quite yet. Now I have my desired end of running (and finishing!) Boston. I have my desired end of a goal time, which I prefer to keep secret at the present time. I have a desired end to be an effective fund raiser for DetermiNation. Most importantly, I have decided ‘definitely and firmly’ on mydefinition of the word determination and cancer patients embody that definition. Determination is my mother, facing chemotherapy for the second time, knowing how bad the side effect are after the first time. Mom exhibits determination every time she walks into the chemo clinic, wears the chemo pump for 48 hours at a time, and goes to work even when she feels like crap (sorry for such an uneloquent word but that is the BEST description). My mother is determined to see my run the Boston Marathon and she will get to do it! I have seen determination in Connie, the woman undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, who is a stay-at-home mom with an austistic son and an infectious laugh that rings through the chemo clinic. She is still laughing!! Determination is the man in the chemo clinic next to Mom a few weeks ago undergoing chemo for the thirdtime for colon cancer who adamently stated that every day the treatment gets better so you go through it repeatedly because there is still a lot of living to do. My Aunt Donna, undergoing treatment for breast cancer, is determined to take better care of herself and be around for years to come. Cancer survivors….no, wait, cancer patients are the most determined group of people I have had the pleasure of knowing. End of story. Period.
Happy running, my friends. Stay determined!