...as I often do around New Year's about the year that has just passed and those before. I have been doing most of this thinking during my training runs in this freezing, damp weather. I know it is hard to take the plunge into a cold day for a heart pounding, even exhausting run or walk. But, we each do it for whatever reason drove us to Team In Training.
My partner of 19 years, Kelley, and I just celebrated our third Christmas with our beautiful son, Connor. I was entertained and awed by his level of excitement this year. When I asked him what he liked best about Christmas, he said "our tree". A tree he helped decorate for two hours and took great pride in. We all have these wonderful memories with family and friends this time of year.
As I thought about this during a training run the other night, tears came to my eyes. When I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2002, I wasn't sure I would ever be celebrating Christmas with my three year old child. I realized what a gift it was to enjoy each moment with him, my family, my friends, and you.
I think about all of you as I run too. When I was training for Marine Corps last summer; my team was an important key to my success. Whether they were running beside me or waiting for me at the finish. I never felt alone. It's exactly the kind of support that not only let me survive cancer, but let me thrive enough to be running with you now.
I watched the link that Jenn sent to us about Ethan, from Survivor. It showed that he just got a call about his cancer in remission. I remember that moment vividly as I do the moment I was diagnosed. I was sitting in a room waiting to be called for my radiation treatment after seven long months of chemotherapy and radiation when the physician called me to his office. After reviewing my PET scan, the treatment was no longer necessary. I was in remission. I didn't have cancer anymore. That was six years ago.
It is because of every step you take that I survive; that others survive-your friends, your family members, your coworkers-whoever brought you to Team In Training. Please know that I am right there with you, thanking you, thrilled that you are taking every step.
Hear my footsteps next to yours when you can hardly pick up your feet. Hear my footsteps next to yours when you take that first step into the cold. Hear my footsteps next to you each time you have a doubt...You are my hero.
Tricia Hernandez is the Honored Hero for the 2010 Country Music Marathon & 1/2 Marathon TEAM. In the photo above, that's Tricia in the middle at the 2009 Marine Corps Marathon along with fellow alumnus, Elizabeth Lester and TNT coach, Barb Stinson.