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Dry Martini: Meaningful Miles

The weather in the great state of New York has done that thing it always does. We spend nearly all of June wondering if this will be the year that it will stay 60 degrees and rainy until October, which is when it will start snowing. As surely as the swallows always return to Capistrano, the last week of June is when the sun and humidity arrives.

Hooray for consistency, I guess. But, dang, it’s sticky and gross right now.

red-faced woman with hat
Even my eyeballs were sweaty.

The sticky grossness could be avoided if I could remember where I put my discipline and use it to get my run in before I have to go to work, rather than squeezing it in after I leave the office. The early mornings are just about tolerable right now, which should be the only incentive I need. And yet, I keep finding myself doing the post-workday Clark-Kent-into-Super-Runner routine and hitting the sidewalks right when you could fry eggs on them.

I mean, hooray for consistency?

This summer I have two pieces of extra motivation to get out there and git’r'done. One is significantly more profound than the other, mind. The less weighty reason is simply because I want to run the fastest 5K I can on July 20 at the Right to Run in Seneca Falls, NY. Even though I generally don’t care about my race times, every now and again, it’s fun to shake it up. Plus, I’ve been feeling zippy lately and want to take advantage of my newfound fleet-footedness while it lasts.

Coincidentally, my summer of shorter runs dovetails with a larger reason to run, even when it's hot and I really don’t want to. Before I can tell you about that, though, I need to introduce you to Heidi.

About a million years ago (or, like, five years ago), I went to the first AMR retreat in Little Rock, Arkansas. The good things that came out of that trip are too numerous to mention. The best thing were the mother runners who took the trip to Austin to run a race in Austin the next year. While individual BAMRs have come and gone and come back again and fresh faces have been added, we’ve stayed tight over the years.

Three women on a swing.
Heidi's the goober in the middle.

When we can, we run races together. Sometimes, we hang out at other AMR retreats or relay races. We show up at each other’s houses from time to time. Usually, we text first but it wouldn’t be a big deal if it was a surprise visit. The group chat on my phone with these wonderful women is an example of how humans can lift each other up and/or talk each other down. But not, like, in a sappy way. There is a lot of cursing and NSFW memes.

Heidi is one of those women. A couple of months ago, she mentioned that she was going for a mammogram and that we should all remember to schedule ours as well, which I will now remind you to do, too, dear reader. Heidi, a cancer researcher and a doctor, wasn’t at all stressed the test, as most women tend to be. A couple of quick squishes and you can forget about it for another year.

Only it didn’t work out that way this time. A clump of cells in one of Heidi’s boobs went rogue. She had the cancerous lump removed and started chemo in early May. It wasn’t the result anyone expected. Heidi’s in amazing shape, watches her diet, and is still fairly young, all things considered. Shit happens.

We’ve all kept up with her health via the group chat. We were all with her when she tried on wigs — and when she shaved her head. Heidi’s positive nature has remained pretty dang positive, even when a given point of time is lousy.

Which brings us back to running.

Heidi has eight chemo treatments on her schedule and should finish up in mid-August. Natalie, who some of you met in Eau Claire, came up with the "Heidi’s Chemo Marathon: 8 5Ks for the Win!!" plan. Each treatment is worth 3.275 miles (a smidgen more than a 5K). We’ve each picked weeks where we run on the day when Heidi is being infused; then send end-of-run selfies around the text chain. While only one of us is “assigned” the miles, usually half of us wind up running that day, too. BAMRs gotta BAM.

woman running
Heidi ran some miles in Gabe's honor this week. Because BAMR.

My leg of the chemo marathon was last week. I carried Heidi with me during the heat of the afternoon for 3-and-some miles while hoping the drugs she was getting did their job (but didn’t kick her butt too much).

I hope my sweaty face (pictured above) gave her a good laugh later — and that the laughs continue for years to come.

15 responses to “Dry Martini: Meaningful Miles

  1. Wow, Heidi’s story puts life into perspective. Way to go BAMR!!! You are both an inspiration and certainly embody the “Brave like Gabe” spirit. Thank you for sharing and I will keep Heidi in my prayers.

  2. This is what fellow runners do best – we lift each other on our shoulders and carry each other across the finish line. Mother runners or not! What a great story!!

  3. What a fantastic idea! 3.275 reasons not to think about ourselves…. I’d love to be a part of that!!!

  4. Prayers for Heidi. Very proud of this group and they way that they support others. May be one day all of you will come back to Arkansas 🙂

  5. As someone that dealt with those rogue cells a little over a year ago, this tugged at my heart. What an amazing thing to do to show your support!

  6. I have a friend battling an aggressive group of crappy rogue cells too right now. Will be thinking of Heidi when I run for my friend as well. Somehow it makes the miles lighter 🙂

  7. A wonderful show of support even from ‘miles’ away! Love the Downtown Mall pic Heidi from a fellow C-villian! Sending blessings your way for recovery!

  8. I have a friend that just finished her second bout with chemo (second boob too)- she’s a rock star at 62 and continues to fight the good fight. Yay for Heidi and all her runner friends.

  9. What a wonderful community you have a created. Please let us know when her next treatment is. I would love to run as well.

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