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Tuesday, February 9, 2010


As if there needed to be another reason to run this marathon. This week, my husband's first cousin was diagnosed with what they believe to be lymphoma. What they know is that it is cancer. He is undergoing tests this week and next to find out what type. He's 6 years younger than we are (in his early 30s) and is married with two very young children. What was believed to be chronic sinus infections has turned out to be cancer. Last week at this time, he was going about his life as usual. Probably waiting for a prescription for antibiotics or some simple fix to a nagging illness. Now his vocabulary includes words like biopsy, chemotherapy, treatment plan, stage, CT, and bone marrow. And those are the easy words to pronounce. In the span of one short week, the world has become a different place. Really, the change comes down to a matter of moments. Before diagnosis and after. Then you have your new "normal."

Getting out for training runs this week has been an easy choice. Runners are often encouraged to have a mantra or a phrase that they can repeat while they are running, often during times when you'd like to pack it in and walk off. Mine has been "you don't get to quit" which I chant in my head over and over, especially while going up hills. It is reminder that running is a choice. Getting treatment for cancer isn't a choice. You really don't have the option to quit. My sister, Mary, is tolerating a treatment right now that is terribly painful and exhausting. She takes this medication every single day, and she doesn't get to quit. My husband's cousin....he doesn't get to quit either. My brother, John, and sister, Molly. They never quit. Ever. This is what I think about at mile 16. And 20. And 26. And sometimes even at mile 3.

I run because I don't want to hear about any more reasons to run.


  1. Jennie - what a powerful post. Thank you so much for running with our family, and especially Boyd, in mind. Thanks for never, ever quitting - you inspire us to do the very same.

  2. Hi Jennie,
    Just getting to this after seeing your awesome article in the wickedlocal. Thank you so much for including me in the group of incredible people you're running for. I have it easy compared to most, but it's still an inspiration and keeps the spirits up to see your dedication to this cause!
    You're too strong to quit!