Hanging on to Fitness and a Few Strands of Hair Through Breast Cancer Treatment

I am a Medical Oncologist, a wife, a mother of 4, runner of 12 marathons training to run my 13th with a goal to qualify for Boston when the diagnosis of breast cancer caused a significant detour in my well-planned life. When I asked for guidance on how to continue to stay fit while receiving treatment, I received blank stares and found little data. While I never intended to be in this experiment, I find myself now generating my own data about fitness through the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. I am writing this in hopes to help others who find themselves in this same situation.


Charlottesville Women's 4 Miler

My heart is so filled with joy, gratitude, and love after this wonderful weekend. This was the weekend of the long-anticipated Charlottesville Women's 4 Miler. I look forward to this race every year. I love to run and really love to run races and this one is without a doubt, my favorite race. But I realized more than ever this year, that the reason I love this race is that it is about so much more than just running. It's about mothers, daughters, and grandmothers spending quality time together. It is about celebrating health and the good things that our bodies do for us. And of course, it is about supporting a great cause: The UVA Breast Care Center. Facebook has been reminding me every day for the past few days of Women's 4 milers from years before. Just yesterday I was reminded that 7 years ago was the year when my mom was receiving her treatment for her breast cancer at UVA and how I felt that it was much more meaningful to run that day knowing that the race supported the care she was receiving. Today "more meaningful" seems woefully inadequate to describe how it felt for me to participate in the 4 Miler on Saturday. 

The weekend kicked off Friday night when my good friend Lisa and then my nephew Ethan and his fiance Kelly arrived. We headed out to the race bright and early Saturday morning and were joined by the rest of the Viking Women and about 2000 other girls and women who were there to run the 4 miles. I started the race with Lisa and Kelly but just before the 1-mile mark, Grace joined us. Most recent years I have been focused on trying to achieve some time goal, but this year, the goal was to just fully enjoy the race, not face-plant

on the pavement, or get hauled off by the medics. So we took full advantage of the water stops. One of the best parts of this course is that most of the last mile is downhill. I was feeling really good, so we picked up the pace quite a bit that last mile. We all finished with big smiles on our faces, all goals for the race achieved!

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