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  • SV Turkey Trot 2013 Write-up

    Posted on November 29th, 2013 Michele Sun No comments

    Two weeks ago someone asked me what I think if he pushed me on a wheelchair at the annual Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, which is an annual local 5K/10K race sponsored by Applied Material held in downtown San Jose. He knew I have never missed this run, and I always love to spend the Thanksgiving morning with my running friends with a holiday run and a post race breakfast at Flames. But recently I haven’t done much physical activities except some very slow walking to drugstore or at the park behind my house, climbing stairs at radiologist lab doesn’t count much. I actually pictured that image in my head, and was deeply touched by his asking regardless how unpractical to carry out such task.


    So a week before Thanksgiving I signed up the SV Turkey Trot 10K race, and at that point I just got OKed by doctor to do some stretch as post surgery recovery. I also went to some gentle yoga classes, but limited to 40 – 50 minutes. I have also tried running at 12:30 min/ml pace, but was only up to 2 miles. Clearly I wouldn’t be ready for a 10K by Thanksgiving, but my goal was to come back running and start a new mile marker of fighting cancer on Thanksgiving day with my dearest and most special friend. Positive energy!

    The weekend before Thanksgiving, I volunteered at Sport Basement Sunnyvale at the event expo to direct traffic, and surprised me how people refused to park couple hundred meters away while they were here to pick up their bibs! Puzzled me a great deal. I spent two days at the parking lot waving orange flag while working on my vitamin D. Sunny California in fall season is just purely awesome! Getting color back onto my face was also awesome!

    I had an appointment with the oncologist on Wed, right before Thanksgiving, and I lost sleep the night before; nothing is more stressful than the anxiety of not knowing what your doctor would tell you. What did they find from the blood test? What was discovered from the PET Scan? Every doctor visit is becoming a bravery test for me.

    My friend would give me a ride to the race, and he assured me that we could walk if I needed to and he would run the whole 10K with me. The morning came and I put my purple Turkey Trot shirt on, the usual adrenaline wasn’t there though — this isn’t a running race to me, but a race to fight against cancer and celebrate life. Surprised that he came with someone which he didn’t mention before, and I was not going to share my latest condition & discoveries while that person was yapping away cheerfully. I was looking forward to see him and wanted to tell him how I felt lately, but turned out I had to mask my uneasy feeling by saying I was sleepy and just kept myself really quiet around them.

    Good thing was seeing my close friends started showing up at our meeting point, and I felt like being with family. This truly is what Thanksgiving all about!! I got teary when hugging Lori and Kiyoko, and seeing Michael, Vinh and Venkat was like seeing my own brothers. And so sweet to see Loi in her bright green shirt, I joked that “didn’t we just coordinate about the colors yesterday?” These are the people who have supported me during this very difficult journey. These are the people that I am thankful for!


    Knowing me well, Loi must have sensed I was feeling very uncomfortable emotionally as the four of us standing in our corral, so she offered to pace me regardless how slow I would be today. I was so relieved having her as my company during my “come back” race, and it reminded both of us how we have met. I was her mentor when she was training for her first marathon, and throughout the years our friendship continues to grow and we always have each other to lean on. I took my favorite salted caramel GU gel 15 mins before the race start, and I was ready to trot!!


    The first mile was the hardest as my body was very stiff and my legs felt heavy. I wasn’t sure about my pace, but after mile 3 I started feeling more like myself again and my body really liked the freedom of moving again. I saw my friend running ahead of me, and from time to time he would turn his head to see where I was. Looking at two backs ahead of me, I had no plan to catch up with them at all. It’s very obvious that my friend wasn’t here for me; I told myself that’s OK and enjoy the moment of feeling alive without any negativity. I thought about many Turkey Trots I have run in the past, pages and pages of memory going through my head. Before I knew it, the finish line came up and I reached out to Loi and said “let’s cross the finish line together holding hands.” I usually sprint toward the finish line and never done the holding hands thing, but today I needed the buddy support more than ever.

    I cried when crossing the finish line and felt so emotional and strong, my first race since Sept! I felt like I have been running for thousands and thousands of miles since the day I checked into the ER. I can’t believe that I had run the entire course today, and looking down at my phone RunKeeper shown 6.33ml/1:08:44. Woohoo!!!


    This is an extremely emotional day for me, the mixture feeling of living & breathing freely and disappointment of someone so insensitive have me crying out at the finish line. But, one of the things I have learned through this ordeal is not letting trivial thing or people bothering me, my heart and energy has better place to be. So I managed to enjoy our ritual breakfast, and promised to the people that really matter to me that we would keep our Thanksgiving tradition and do this race and breakfast again next year; I am going to kick cancer’s butt and come back running faster and stronger!!

    Be strong, be positive!


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