At last posting I was recovering from a head cold, a pity party and a half marathon. Since then I have run a 10 mile race (new personal best thank you very much) and another half marathon. At the half marathon I made the acquaintance of something I will become closer friends with this summer- a hill - at mile 10. Now part of me would like to leave ole Mr Hill in the past but I can't ... because I have committed to running the Nike Women's Half Marathon in October. Mr Hill has lots of friends on the Nike course which winds through San Francisco, which isn't exactly known for being flat. ;-)
Why exactly am I torturing myself this way? The first answer is well because I am crazy about running at this point. But the second, more important reason is that I will be running Nike with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program. This race is a double win for the society - all proceeds go to the society, regardless of whether participants train with the Team. 2008 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Team in Training program and I have a very special reason to run - to celebrate my friend and mentor Rhonda Radliff's courageous boxing match (her words!) with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). My little battle with a hilly race course is nothing compared to what she goes through every day.
Rhonda's CML was diagnosed a little over 6 months ago and fittingly I found out when I was on my way to another race. Doing another season with the team in her honor was the second thing that popped into my head after the first "it's not fair". Cliche as it may sound Rhonda has a heart bigger than her home state of Texas, an amazingly generous spirit that welcomed her daughter Lili into her life three years ago and impact felt round the world (literally as she has worked for two multi-national investment banks in her career). Even though she was my client, Rhonda became a professional mentor and friend to me as I was learning my way through the institutional equities business. We share a love of dark chocolate, champagne, and have been known to pick out the same pair of shoes in a store. She gives of herself every day - to her daughter, family, friends and faith community - and I can think of nothing more that I would like to do but give back. Some of the drugs she takes are second generation versions of drugs whose clinical trials where funded by the society. When I feel like a run has gone bad - I think it's nothing compared to chemotherapy. So crazy as it may sound - I plan to train for and run 13.1 miles up and down the hills of San Francisco to celebrate life of my friend.