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Oakland Half Marathon, prelude March 27, 2012

Posted by Merrilee in Uncategorized.

I’d like to take MerrileeIAm readers back in time, not to the beginning of this blog, but to the beginning of blogging about running. It was 2010, and I was training for the Oakland Half Marathon. Shortly after I started training, people asked me if I was raising money for a cause, so I decided to dedicate my training to raising money for cancer research. I did so in honor of two women who were very dear to me, my friend and colleague Nancy and Keith’s aunt Phyllis. Shortly after that, I was injured, and dropped out of training. I also dropped out of fundraising (having never really started), but held on to the idea.

The following year, I returned to training, and renewed my vow to raise money for cancer research. By then, Nancy had cancer in her rearview mirror, but Phyllis had lost her battle. On many long training runs I would think about Nancy and Phyllis, grateful for my own health. Thinking about the challenges faced by those with serious and life threatening illness… well, it puts a challenging workout into perspective. I’m privileged to be able to do it. In 2011, I successfully raised funds for cancer (thanks to many of YOU who donated), but was unsuccessful in running the Oakland half – due to injuries, I once again had to drop out. My disappointment was double-edged – I wasn’t accomplishing my own goal, AND I was failing to honor those I had trained for.

Fast forward to last Sunday. At 8:50, I was in the corral, ready to start the race at 9:15. The forecast had been for rain, but despite predictions, the conditions were good. (My friend Elaine told me the night before, “it never rains for 48 hours in the bay area.” Elaine, you are a genius.) I had trained with so many people, this year, last year, the year before that, but just before the start I was on my own (in a crowd of 4000 runners, more than 300 women in my own 5 year age bracket). I had no one to nervously chatter with. So I had time to think. What a miracle to be able to run. What good fortune to be able to finally run this race, in my hometown. There were times I didn’t think I would ever be on that line, for that race. It seemed jinxed. But I was in one piece. I made it. We made it.

Thank you, Nancy and Phyllis, for inspiring me, and getting me to the start. You’ve been with me more than you’ll ever know.



1. Elaine - March 28, 2012

You rock. You looked so happy and so fast on Sunday!

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