About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I did it!

I ran my first 10k race yesterday. It was the 4th of July Scripps Ranch "Old Pros" 10k.

It was tough.

I had been training for several weeks, but it still was hard. My goal was to finish in under one hour. My chip time was 59:21. Just under.  There were times that this evil little voice inside my head kept urging me to just walk, that my goal didn't matter. I'll admit that a few times, I listened to that voice and slowed down to a walk. I would say I didn't walk more than an eighth of a mile. Just enough to let my heart rate come back down. I'm annoyed that I listened to "the voice" though.

It was harder than I thought it would be. I've run 6 miles before, even with hills. This course was pretty flat. I did pretty well the first couple of miles. My second mile was my fastest at a pace of 8:55. After that, I started feeling the sun. Even though it was in the 7 a.m. hour, the course was more inland than where I live and the sun was coming out. By mile 4, I was asking myself...."Why exactly are you doing this again?"  Even more piercing was this question...."And you think you can do twice this (a 1/2 marathon) in January??  Are you nuts?"  Then that evil voice taunting me, telling me that my goal didn't matter and that I should just walk.  I've read runners talk about how much of running is mental, and I definitely experienced that for myself.

My brother, Jared, was in town on leave from the Army and he ran it with me. Of course, his time was like 47 minutes. My race was neat at the end, though. He was there about 100 feet from the finish line looking for me. When he saw me, he jumped back in, urging me on and crossed the finish line for a second time with me. I saw the clock was at 59 minutes. That, along with Jared's "gentle" coaching, I was able to dig into some previously unknown source of energy and sprint to the finish.  My parents signed up as well. They had intended to walk it all, but ended up running some of it as well.  I'm so proud of them!

There was a big party in the park at the finish line. There was a tent where a chiropractor was giving free massages. I had to fill out a little questionnaire about my health first. One of the questions was, "What is your primary health concern?"  Hmmm.  Do you REALLY want to know?  My primary health concern is that my cancer does not come back. I decided not to go there.  I didn't want her messing with my arm, so I listed the lymphedema instead.  It was kind of a painful massage, but I usually kind of like it hard like that. She mainly dealt with my back and was able to give my spine some adjustments that felt good. My shoulders, she said, were incredibly tight and tense. Yup.  I'll believe that. I always store up stress there. She kept going on about it afterwards and asked me when the last time I had any kind of massage or chiropractic treatment was.  My last massage was a few days before my bilateral mastectomy-almost a year ago.  I told her that I understood the shoulder tension, since I had been through a lot in the past year. I didn't explain, but thanked her and went with my brother to get my free T-shirt.  (As well as a free beer!)

I did take the lessons learned from my 5k race last April.  I did not let the other runners get me off of my own pace. My plan was to start slow to conserve my energy. I knew there would be some fast starters. In Carlsbad, I let it influence my own pace. I also ran with my iPod. That helped keep my mind off of some of the pain. Not all of it, but some.  I was smarter about my pre-race food as well. This time, I had a protein packed lunch on Sunday, with a light dinner.  My breakfast was 1/2 whole wheat English muffin with almond butter and a banana. I didn't have that belly of lead feeling that I did in April.  I'm glad I was able to improve my approach. Next time, (did I say that?), I'm not going to have any wine the day before. I had some at lunch on Sunday, and it may have affected me. Maybe not, but next time I'll go dry.

I may not have finished first in my age class, but I was 33rd out of 92 for women 40-44. That's not bad. And considering that I have only been out of cancer treatment less than 5 months, I'm pretty grateful that I was able to do what I did. In fact, my radiation oncologist told me a portion of my left lung was going to get zapped and be permanently damaged.  Take that, cancer!

Yes, I'll do it again. Now I have a PR to beat.
Jared, my dad, and I at the start of the race.

1 comment:

  1. Tonya ~ we are so proud of you. You reflect God's strength in all areas of your life. Thank you for being an inspiration! Blessings to you ~