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  • Birthday Run – It’s Not About Chicago Marathon

    Posted on October 10th, 2014 Michele Sun No comments

    Standing in the cold air at 2:00am outside of Chicago O’Hare Airport was very surreal and sad, and I wondered how I ended up standing here alone after a torturous and sucky flight? Well, I knew how, but it’s just beyond my wildest imagination, and the image of me crying at Vinh’s floor before leaving for Tokyo popped into my head. But no time for self-pity and before I became popsicle in Chicago, I should go meet up with Albert. I called and texted Venkat and he answered the phone after my crazy chain calling, and he came to rescue. He took me to West Loop our home away from home during this marathon weekend, and I found warmth, comfort and friendship! And most importantly I got toast, juice, banana..etc. :-p

    So let the race weekend begin!!

    I didn’t think I would be excited about running Chicago Marathon, but I am getting stoked once seeing the city, Lake Michigan, very fit runners from all over the world, and the course preview film at the Expo.

    My “The Race” this year is New York Marathon, because it’s like a shattered dream from last year, and I so wanted to make that dream come true this time. This year has been like running a very long and tough ultra race, and it’s very personal. Chicago Marathon happened to be the week that I am supposed to do a 22ml long run, so in my mind it has always been “a training run” and I wasn’t particularly excited about the race. However, couple weeks ago I noticed Oct 11 is marked with a “C” on my calendar.

    Oh yea, I was diagnosed with cancer on Oct 11 last year, and I walked out my oncologist office at 1:00pm feeling so scared and alone. That short elevator ride was cold like a freezer, and when the door opened I saw Albert walking up to me asking “how is everything?” I couldn’t find the right word to say, and I couldn’t say the “C” word to him. Albert gave me a ride home and he surprised me with a human size Hello Kitty balloon; he knew I have lost the one he gave me on my birthday. Well actually someone threw it away and I got another one from nice Albert on the C day.

    As a runner, we all have our pre-race ritual and check list to go through before a big race, but I don’t know who else will need blood test, going to radiologist and have doctor giving an OK before a race. I started looking at Chicago Marathon as a “birthday run” since it falls on Oct 12th. One year has gone by, and certainly this has been one very emotional and scary journey. But one that makes me mentally stronger, and treasure every moment and everyone in my life even more!

    I was telling a friend that this is going to be my one year birthday, and he said “yes, for 2nd life”; I was truly looking forward to this trip and have a cake to celebrate it together. Very sarcastically though, an unexpected twist occurred and this trip didn’t go as planned, and it’s like Turkey Trot replay again and only much worse. What a bummer!! But I will not allow that to ruin my “birthday run” experience though, thankfully I have the most wonderful friends here with me!!!

    Cancer has struck me very unexpectedly, and it has impacted me in so many ways. We never know how close we are to the end of my life, do we? In the past 12 months, I’ve openly shared my fear & tears, and each milestone of my journey. I wish someone out there that’s fighting similar battle like I do, or facing any other challenges in life, would get some strength or comfort knowing that he/she is not alone. I am very fortunate to receive so much encouragement and supports from friends far and near, and some of them I have never met. So on the eve of “my birthday”, I want you to know that I will enjoy the race, every moment of it, and this is my first marathon in this 2nd life, that shall set an automatic PR 🙂

    Go Michele! Go Chicago!


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