Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm A Hero Too! by Elizabeth Kalifeh

I can't believe its all over. I ran 26.2 miles. I raised almost $5000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. A year ago I would have told you neither was possible. I had originally signed up with Team In Training to run the Seattle Rock n Roll 1/2 marathon to have new people to run with and to get involved with a charity. I got way more than I signed up for...

After only a few weeks of group runs and getting to know my new "team" I knew I had found friends for life as well as the courage to switch from my 1/2 marathon to a full marathon. The fundraising it turned out, was the easy part. When I had signed up to run, I didn't think I knew anyone that had battled a blood cancer-most of my family members who have been affected by cancer were usually fighting a different type. Throughout the several months of training I quickly realized how wrong I was and that I knew several people that were my new honored heroes that were battling, have battled, or lost their battle to a blood cancer. I was also really touched by another survivor, one of my new teammates, Ryan Watton.

I knew that once I got to Seattle and began my 26.2 mile adventure that things would be emotional. Seeing the many other TNT'ers from across the country dressed in their purple and hearing "Go Team" cheers along the way really helped get me through my run. I also knew my knee and foot pain wasn't nearly as bad as a chemo treatment and thinking about my honored heroes and what they have been through, or what they are currently going through didn't compare. I knew that all of my training, hard work, and fundraising was for them. Crossing the finish line was an amazing experience that brought me to tears, but what really moved me came later that night.

After the race our team went out to celebrate. We got into the conversation of honored heroes and why we do what we do. Throughout training (and my race) I was asked why I was running and who I was running for. I was doing this for a cause greater than me and didn't think much more about it. Ryan brought it all into perspective. I quickly came to realize that I am a hero too. Our heroes think we are heroes. They are so thankful that we would spend our time and be so dedicated to running for them and are inspired that we would do this in their honor. Throughout the whole experience I never really looked at it this way. I never thought what I did could compare to what they were going through. I was wrong. We both inspire each other, but in different ways.

Team In Training has been a life changing experience that I will never forget. Not only did I make great friends, I learned a lot about myself, my capabilities, and the fight against cancer. I can't wait to do it all again. Big Sur anyone??

Elizabeth Kalifeh is a first time Team In Training participant and we are very proud of her accomplishment. Congratulations Elizabeth! Thank you for your commitment to Team In Training and sharing your story.

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