Monday, October 3, 2011

The power of inspiration: together, we can do so much!

This weekend, I participated in the CIBC Run for the Cure in Halifax. It's the fourth or fifth year I've run, and each year I always run for three people: my mom, who beat breast cancer about 12 years ago; her best friend, Lynn, who struggled with breast cancer for years before it spread to her organs and then sadly passed away, leaving behind two young children; all of us - because I'm not sure what the statistics are these days, but I know it's something like one in three women will have breast cancer in their lifetime. I also know that all of us - each and every one of us - knows someone who has been affected by breast cancer. None of us is immune to this disease.

But yesterday, when I woke up, it was grey and raining, as yet another hurricane - this one Ophelia - passed by our small city. I was still recovering from a pretty tough canoe trip into the interior with my dad, and I thought, "heck, I'll show my support in some other way." I had tentatively made plans with another friend to meet her there, but as she ended up being busy, that gave me the out I was looking for.

Until I scrolled through the Facebook posts on my page, and I saw this one from my running bud Nivose:

"Dont feel like doing the Run for the Cure this morning in this weather! Then again, no one ever feels like getting breast cancer... So I'll be there!"

Well that was all the inspiration I needed to kick my lazy butt out of bed, pull on my pink running top and gather the rest of my gear, and head out the door to The Commons, where it brought tears to my eyes to see the literally thousands of men and women of all ages who had braved the rain to come out in support of this cause.

Their pink feather boas and other pink apparel might have been getting drenched in the rain, but none of the people there were complaining about it. Everyone around me had smiles on their faces, was dancing to the music at the start line, and happy to be there.

As the start time approached, we counted down from 10, and then headed out. I told myself I'd just do an easy run, but of course when you're in those situations with thousands of people around you, the adrenaline gets pumping and you can't help but try and race yourself a little bit.

I'm not going to lie: after three weeks of not running (due to the lead-up and after my canoe trip), that 5k on an empty stomach was a little tough. I ran without my Garmin (or my music), so I have no idea what my time was, but that's not this was about. As I crested the hill next to the Halifax Clock Tower, I definitely slowed and my legs were feeling it, but I told myself - "this is for you, mom, Lynn, and all of us..." and I kept going, eventually making it back to the muddy field at the finish, where hundreds of other runners, walkers and on-lookers were gathered and cheering people to the finish.

Walking away from the field, I was so thankful to Nivose for her inspirational post - it meant the difference between me showing up and being part of a great cause on a rainy day, or me laying at home in bed and not contributing.

In the days and weeks to come, as we lead up to the Toronto Marathon, in which I will  not be running but at least a dozen of my friends and colleagues will be, I'll be sharing stories and thoughts of inspiration to help pump up my fellow runners before their big days. Because yesterday was a testimony to the power of inspiration, and the impact that one positive thought or comment can make on other people.

I'd love to hear your inspirational stories too, so please share them here!

Happy Monday, everyone,


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