21 October 2009

A "W" for #TeamDanie (ii)

I hadn't given too much thought to inspiration during my training. I had decided to run. I devoted my time to running and raising funds. I was doing what I set out to do simply because I said I was going to do it. But if ever I needed inspiration, it was there. One of my fellow runners celebrated nine months in remission the day of our last run. We were thanked constantly throughout the training for our fund raising. We received emails explaining how our funds were being used. And while curing and treating blood cancers was not always top of mind for me, I knew it was the real reason for the (race) season.

There was an inspiration dinner the night before the race. It was a Team in Training event and it was the first time I realized the magnitude of our group. There were 5,000 walkers / runners there, from across the United States and Canada. We had all done something to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. And for that, the LLS is grateful. I didn't fully realize that until I walked into the convention center that Saturday night:

Since we were arriving one of two at a time, that welcome was overwhelming. I'm rarely at the center of that much attention. I felt as if I had done something significant for these people. It was as if they were there just for me and I almost couldn't handle it. I know most people have thankless jobs and perform thankless tasks knowing they should be appreciated. I went into that convention center proud because I had done something for myself. Seeing, hearing and feeling the appreciation from these strangers was humbling. I admit it; I started to cry.

There were a lot of numbers, statistics, tips, and stories dished out at the dinner. I came away thinking we had raised a lot of money, and that a lot of people had significantly better fund raising strategies than mine. I remember thinking we had made the world a better place for people affected by blood cancers, and that our reward was running a good 13.1 or 26.2 mile race. I remember being confused.

I went home that night and did my homework. I put my name on my shirt, so people would be able to cheer for me. I expected a few cheers, even though seeing my written name confuses most people. I've been called "Day-knee," "Diane" and "Dah-nye-ah." But I figured I had to try. I could have named myself "Dani," but pride refused. I just printed my given nickname and hoped for the best.

Jersey, attached bib, timing chip, and pacer wristband. At the time I was trying to figure out what to do with that extra sticker that contained my bib number.

Other homework included attaching my bib, packing my utility belt, and laying out everything I planned to bring or wear. They say there shouldn't be any changes the morning of the race and I've always been one to do what I'm told. So I got my race gear ready from head to toe. I put it all together, checked it, (rechecked it) and went to bed. As I had no idea what to expect, it was easy to not think about the race and fall asleep.

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