Going the Distance

This is the fourth in a series of articles following EC Kelly Carson’s quest to run her first marathon through the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge.

What it’s all aboutÿ
As the time ticks down until the marathon – One month! No, four weeks! No, three weeks! – I can’t help but think about the reasons I’m running for Dana Farber.ÿ Up until the first day of Spring Break, I was sure I had it all figured out – I was running because 1 in 4 deaths are caused by cancer, because I have seen friends and loved ones impacted by the disease, because running for a cause is so much more meaningful than simply running. ÿOn the first Saturday of Spring Break, I attended a Dana Farber Marathon Challenge “poster party” at the Wellesley Boston Sports Club and was lucky enough to meet my patient partner, Chantal. and I saw my fundraising in a whole new light.ÿ

Chantal is a shy, funny 6-year-old little girl with tufts of brown hair and a huge smile. ÿFor the past two years, Chantal has been battling leukemia – and thanks to the excellent care she receives at Dana Farber, her prognosis is now excellent.ÿ Chantal loves the Boston Celtics and lives to play basketball. ÿOnce I drew her out of her shell a bit, she headed straight for the basketball courts – and despite all my training, I could barely keep up! Together with her mother and sister, Chantal and I decorated a poster with markers, stickers, stencils and her name.ÿ Chantal and her family will hold up that poster when they cheer for me (along with dozens of other patient partner families) at the 25-mile marker on Marathon Monday.ÿ That Saturday, I realized that I’m running so that kids like Chantal have access to the latest treatments and the most innovative approaches to a cure – and because it’s the coolest thing ever to be cheered on by a cute little kid.ÿ
Rain, Wind and Temptation

That same day, I attempted my first run in full-out crappy Boston weather.ÿ I hit the road from Wellesley in a light rain and began a 13-mile run home as the weather worsened and the temperature dropped.ÿ The only runners on the road with me were fellow Boston trainees – and they all looked rather ticked off at the three straight days of rain that forced them out into that kind of weather.ÿ At the beginning of the run, I have to admit I had these grand visions of myself – I was a badass, I was out conquering the elements, I was winning a battle with nature . you get the picture.ÿ However, as the miles passed and I got progressively colder and wetter, my visions changed a great deal – I was an idiot for even considering running in this weather, I was a cold and sad drowned rat, and I was getting my butt kicked by Mother Nature.ÿ

Suddenly, about a mile from home, I saw a beacon shining through the rain. There it was, across the street, calling me like a siren, pulling me in – the Brighton House of Pizza.ÿ I would love to say that I resisted, that I grinded out that last mile and arrived at home triumphant over all that Mother Nature and pizzerias everywhere could throw at me. Instead, I stole a few defeated minutes inside the place, drying off and eating some greasy pizza that even my hunger couldn’t make tasty, and then caught a bus home in the rain. As I sat on the bus, I felt deflated – how had my glorious battle with nature turned into a greasy lunch and a cold bus ride?

Later, as I sat in my room, shivering and wringing out my wet clothes, I took a careful look at myself.ÿ I used to be a huge fan of “everything in moderation” – but now, as I trained for a marathon, fundraised for Dana Farber, read cases, searched for a job, sustained a long-distance relationship, and tried my best to have a normal social life, I realized the opposite was true.ÿ I was going overboard, trying to accomplish too much and giving myself too little credit.ÿThat night, I’m proud to say I ate a huge bowl of pasta, caught up on “Project Runway” and went to bed at 9:30 p.m.ÿ Could I have been sending out fundraising emails or applying for jobs?ÿ Sure.ÿ But as I fell asleep, I told myself – I ran 12 miles in the rain today. Stupid? Yes. But totally cool.
Days until Boston: 21
Most miles run: 20ÿÿÿÿÿÿ
Funds raised: $4,241.82

To support Kelly’s run for the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge, visit: //rundfmc.org/2010/kellyc

Kelly Carson is a proud member of Old A from Littleton, Colorado. When not running, you can find her singing with the She-E-O’s, walking backwards while leading campus tours for the admissions office or (most likely!) waiting in the sushi line at Spangler.