Yesterday was an amazing day–a heart-feels-so-full kind of day–and I have many people to thank for that. When I got to work in the morning, I was $125 short of meeting my $2,700 fundraising goal to support LLS for my half marathon training. I posted to Twitter and Facebook asking who wanted to be my final $25 donor (my parents were donating the last $100), and headed into a few morning meetings. By the time I came back to my desk, I had more than exceeded my fundraising goal. Friends and family who had meant to donate flooded my fundraising page and gave. That continued to happen throughout the day, so my total grew to $2,820!
It’s not fair to say that I exceeded my fundraising goal. I am the one training to run 13.1 miles, but only $100 of that total is my money. I have all of my donors to thank for going above and beyond. None of you had to give, but you chose to because you believe in the cause, watched my dad and brother crush cancer, and/or support my training. It means the world that you would give to LLS on my behalf, when there are bills, groceries, and tanks of gas to be bought. And for those who didn’t have the financial means to give but have liked or commented on one of my training updates on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, thank you. You can bet that I’ve thought of each and every one of you during my countless training miles in recent months. Thank you for believing in me, when I started this journey only half-heartedly believing in my ability to run.
And aside from thanking you, I have a story to share. First, you need to know that Pumpin Blood has become my half marathon training theme song. It played on my Songza app during a run about a month or two ago, and I fell in love with it. For me, the song is about choosing to constantly move forward. It’s about realizing that you are your greatest influence and have the power to do more than you think you can. A few of my favorite lines are sprinkled throughout this post. I also find it appropriate that the song references “pumping blood,” when leukemia and lymphoma are blood cancers. After the first time I heard it, the song stuck. I put it on during the last mile of every one of my training runs and sometimes when I’m on the way home from classes. Maybe I’ll even run that last .1 miles of my race listening to it.
Last night, I headed to a SoulCycle class after work. Some weeks I switch things around as I realize what the weather looks like, so I can run on warmer days. I was originally signed up for a class on Thursday, but I switched into Emma Zak’s class last night. For those of you who don’t know, SoulCycle is a spin studio that’s very popular in New York. During the ride, the lights are turned low, candles are lit, and the bass hits you in the chest. Instructors ride on a podium in the front and share motivational words throughout the ride. A trip to SoulCycle can be as much a mental release as a physical workout. I clipped into a bike off to the side of the studio and warmed up my legs through the first song. Then, just as I was getting lost in the beat, Emma flipped on a blacklight and the first few notes of Pumpin Blood whistled through the speakers. I thought I was going to start crying because I was so overwhelmed with gratitude for those who have supported my race and for the ability to be training for a half marathon. It was as though Emma had added the song to her playlist just for me. For the next 3:38, I danced along on my bike, somehow smiling and lip-syncing at the same time. I’m not sure my pedals were in time with the beat, which is a SoulCycle must, but I didn’t care. I slipped into my own little world of happiness and silently thanked every one of you. I thought about how lucky I am to be both the daughter and sister of cancer survivors. I thought about how the money that was donated to LLS would contribute to innovations in cancer research and would give families like mine much-deserved hope. And I thought about how I can’t wait to run 13.1 miles in D.C. six weeks from now.
Finally, thank you, Emma. I’m not sure whether you think about who your students are outside the studio, but your song choice gave me a chance to celebrate where I am in life. And I had so much to celebrate yesterday.