Sunday, March 6, 2011
Need for Speed
This the text of what I said (um, read) at our Coffeehouse for a Cure to benefit the NF Endurance Team last night...sans weird ad libbing and the random "ding...dong" sound that came out of nowhere halfway through...
I am fast at a lot of things.
My students (and most of humanity) can attest to the fact that I talk really, really fast.
I can polish off a bag of Cadbury Mini-Eggs lightning fast.
Give me a word or situation and I will burst into an obscure show tune or commercial of the 80s or odd protest music from the 60s Super Fast!
I can spend $100 at Target alarmingly fast.
Make a mess in any part of my house? Fast.
Misplace my shoes? Crazy fast.
Lose my temper? Yeah, too fast.
I type uber-fast, and read crazy fast, and get through Costco on a milk/cheese/eggs
run scary fast.
So there’s a lot of things I do insanely fast. I like fast. Fast is how I roll.
But ironically, in light of what our Coffeehouse is about, there’s one thing I am embarrassingly slow at.
I am a pathetically slow runner.
Global warming happens faster than I complete a 5k. People on jazzy scooters pass me when I run. I go out for a mile jog and I have to make sure nobody sends out a search party for me when night falls and I have not returned.
I am really, really slow.
And honestly, I kind of hate running. I hate the way I look in running clothes –to quote a friend, “spandex is a privilege, not a right”, I hate the funky smell that follows any kind of running, I hate the feeling of having run 87 miles and then seeing a measly ½ mile marker. I am fluent in Whinese when it comes to running. I am REALLY fast at making up annoying little songs about running…running running is annoying/running is the thing I loathe…moving quickly getting stinky wearing stupid spandex clothes!
So why the heck do I keep running? I mean, there are a lot of things in life I’ve made peace with stinking at. I simply don’t DO those things anymore, and the world is a better place. I will never be a great Ukrainian Dancer…or Scottish Dancer…or Hebrew Dancer…or Irish step Dancer—and that is truly ok. I will never be a champion in any sport that involves being outside in the cold (I like having feeling in my extremities, once I lose that things literally go downhill). I get full fast (add that to the fast list) so I will never be a competitive eater. One hotdog is fine for me. I am perfectly ok with NOT doing these things.
I’m probably NOT going to grow up to be Aretha Franklin either…that I’m less peaceful about. But I digress…
… why the heck do I keep running when I am slow, and awkward, and really have not earned the privilege of wearing spandex?
It’s pretty simple, really. In fact, it would make a great t-shirt…
I run for a reason.
I run for a lot of reasons, really. My reasons include, but are not limited to, Dave, Genna, Rosie, MJ, Emma & Amie, Gabbie & Ori & David, Maddie, Ann, Siobhan, Jennifer & Patrick, Jaxon, Meadow, Ryan, Jenna with a J, Preston, Jerry, Katsie and Carly and Genna’s new friend Tommy and Drew and Joey and Nora and our beloved Sandra.
Frankly, I think my reasons to run are better than my reasons NOT to.
Still, I am only able to run because of the NF Endurance Team…and not just because they gave me a snazzy neon singlet to wear with my ill advised spandex. Being with the team has shown me that the ability to do this is IN ME. I can do it, because the first rule of the NF Endurance Team is that we never run alone. There is a community of runners and supporters all over the country, all running for the same goal.
There’s crazy power in that.
It’s an odd thing, the NF Endurance Team. A few minutes with the families and friends and organizers of the team and you just WANT to get out and run. I can’t explain it. Even I felt that, and really, I am the Poster Gal for Sedentary is Super!
This team is just that amazing; the runners are just that inspiring; this cause is just that important; this reason to run, a cure for Neurofibromatosis, is just too compelling to ignore.
Standing on the sidelines at the Philly Rock n’ Roll ½ marathon in September, seeing over 100 runners with “NF” on their singlets running collectively for all our our loved ones…there is CRAZY power in that.
I will never be an ultramarathoner like my brother, who is once again running the Leadville 100 mile trail run in August for the Team. I may never actually get through a ½ marathon like my sister, Emily, is going to do in Seattle this spring. I may not even actually join Dave except as a cheering squad leader in Philly at the ½ in September. But my 4.5 miles at the Jersey Shore Relay are the way I can oh so slowly do something proactive for my family in the face of NF.
I may be slower than beach erosion in Point Pleasant where I’ll be running—in the broadest sense of the word-- on April 16, but I run for a reason.
You can too. Even if you are slow. Even if you hate moving fast. Even if spandex is not an inalienable right for you either. Come be slow with me. You won’t regret it.
There’s a famous quote by the runner Dean Karnazes that keeps me going when I’m training or when I’m discouraged in our long trek with NF. Run when you can; walk when you have to; crawl if you must, just never give up.
My girls face a marathon every day. Their battle with NF is involuntary and unending, and the fact is, we really don’t know what kind of roadblocks we are going to face in the future. This past year was a tough one. We faced the real prospect of restarting chemotherapy with Genna. Rosie started having hearing issues related to her tumor. To try to encapsulate the fear and despair and helplessness of the second half of 2010 in those 3 sentences is almost ludicrous. 2010 was a tough year. And in the last week alone, two of our dear friends in the NF community got really bad news…two children at a crossroads, again…
What more reason do I need to run?
So with NF Endurance I run against NF. I run for my children and my spouse and my friends and their kids. I run for a reason… and for that reason, I will Run when I can, walk when I have to, crawl if I must: but I will never give up. And I thank you for joining us in this race. Thank you.
Now the remnant of our old Smile Crew is going to sing…a song about being there for each other, a song, as always, dedicated to Sandra Blumberg, who showed us with endurance with a smile was all about….