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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.

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The Race Instead of the Long Run

Today I was scheduled to run 20 miles per my training plan. Although the radiologist who did my biopsy did not think that a 20 mile run this soon after a breast biopsy was a good idea due to potential risk of bleeding into the biopsy site and then potentially causing a delay in surgery, she thought a 5 mile run should be safe. I usually run alone. But on this day, I felt a strong desire to run with others. Almost as if the universe read my mind, information about a local 8K popped up in my facebook feed. Perfect! This race would provide the milage approved by my radiologist, a chance to run with others, and also an opportunity to put my training to the test in a race situation. I thought this could be my last chance to race before treatment started. With that in mind, I gave it my all on that morning. Although I have not run this race distance many times, this day turned out to be a PR for me by over 1 minute and finished 2nd in my age group! What a gift! I have never placed 2nd in my age group prior to this. I later discovered that I missed 1st place by 3 seconds! Dang, if I had only pushed a little harder up one of those hills….

Woohoo! 2nd Place in my age group!

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