Posts Tagged ‘8k race’


Spring time: A Season of Renewal

April 8, 2013

YYesterday was the running of the 8K Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago, the largest 8K race with about 40,000 runners.  Philip Reid won it for the mens in 23:08 minutes, while Lisa Uhl took it for the female in 25:54 minutes

This race kicks off the running season here in Chicago.  Normally, I would have run it but these are not normal times for me.  In fact, I don’t I will be entering any races this year; much less any walks.  My ascites (build up of fluids in the peritoneal cavity or abdomen) is preventing me from  running or doing long walks.

Last April 1st, I had paracentesis procedure done to remove the fluids and they took out 2.3 liters.  So if you can imagine me carrying two 1.0 liter of Coke while running or walking, after a while it gets pretty heavy.  My exercise is limited to stationary biking at the gym and yoga.

So Spring is upon us.  Spring is also a season of renewal: new flowers blooming, the air is fresh, and you hear the birds chirping again in the morning.  However, each renewal is different from the previous one.  This time last year, my wife and I would have entered in races we would like to run in the coming months, including the finale of a Fall marathon.  This year no races, but I still want to make the most of what is given.  I cannot turn back time, I just have to move forward.

I busy myself with work and Ethan, my grandson.  He will be two-years old this April 25 and has grown big.  He is a bundle of joy with all his gibberish words he spits out which only makes sense to him.  He likes riding his bicycle trailer as he gets pulled along.  Go…go…go, he would shout from behind.  Oh, the simple joys of spring.  Make your renewal and start enjoying spring.  I can only hope that next year will be different for me, nonetheless, I am happy where I am.

Roger Ebert, Film Critic

He passed April 4 after a long battle with cancer.  Somehow I could relate to him and his journey because he refused to give up.  He writes a blog too and on bad days he writes about his struggles and the limitations brought about by cancer.  He is prolific writer while he battles cancer.  His thumbs-up or thumbs-down movie rating can have a significant impact in the box office.  He did not stop working until the very end.  God bless you, Roger.

He inspires me to move forward inspite of setbacks.  Speaking of which, I had an allergic reaction again from my last treatment (5th) March 28th.  More steroids save the day for me but it made me retain more water.  This week is suppose to be chemo week again but I asked my doctor if I can postpone it for next week.  My body needs time to recover and enjoy my time with E-boy.


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Almost but not quite…..

April 10, 2011

almost beat my son today: his time was 51:34, while mine was 54:16.  But, I really have nothing to complaint about. Many of my friends and colleagues are amaze that I am able run or complete a marathon last year inspite of having undergone chemo and still continue to have one on a monthly basis. I just want to out run my cancer and make the most of what is given.

It was my first race of the year and as a habit, I approached it systematically. Up at 5:00 am and short massage of my legs using a roller foam. Then, I meditated (a daily ritual) to center myself for 40 minutes. I really believe that you must first pay homage to your body before doing anything. It is like investing  in yourself first before taking something out.

After a light breakfast of yogurt, green tea, and wheat bagel, I donned my ‘superman’ outfit, my American Cancer Society shirt. Bam! We are ready.  Woohoo!  Weather was an ideal 65F but I would like it a bit cooler. After checking my gear at the ACS tent, we all (wife, son, and me) headed to the starting line. There I was again shoulder-to-shoulder with 40,000 other runners. This 8K race was billed as the largest 8K race in the world and is the unofficial start of the running season in Chicago. This is my third time to run this race and I am still amazed at the attraction it draws.

The mass start never fails to humble and amaze me. It is an awesome and exhilarating experience. I feel so alive standing there. Each runner standing there has their own story or reason for being at the starting line and I am no different. You can tell the first-timers by the anxious look they have. You will survive.

Honk! There goes the start. Running the first 2 miles was a blur. Powered by adrenaline, I was pacing at 9:00 min/mile, 1 minute above my target. I am going to pay for this at the end. Running is such an exact science that each second is accounted for. It is about spending your energy (glycogen) evenly along the race, you cannot waste energy so can still have enough kick to finish. I came prepared with my own water bottle to save on the stop. At the last mile, I tried picking up my speed but I was close to being spent and fatigue. Times like this they advise you to have a mantra: Cancer sucks! Somehow, that powered me home and when I saw the finish line it was just all adrenaline again. Ah….catharsis. A cleansing of my thirsty spirit.  Life is good.

For my first race, I have dedicated it to my dear friend DebbieD who passed away from liver cancer this January. I am sure she was cheering me on.


P.S.  Tuesday, April 12, is chemo maintenance day again.  But tomorrow (April 11), I have an early ultra-sound of the abdomen appointment.  During my checkup with my oncologist, he noticed the elevated and upward trending results of my liver function test since December.  Gulp, no more tumors please.  I am hoping for a clear result.

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Cancer-free for a day

March 22, 2010

Yesterday, my family and I ran the Chicago 8K Shamrock Shuffle (dubbed as the world’s largest 8K race) along with 36,000 runners. It was a cold start (31F) again, but compared to last year there was no 3” inches of snow on the ground. But who cares if there was. When you have cancer everyday is a beautiful day. Everyday is a gift.

As I stood there shoulder-to-shoulder with the multitude of runners, I could not help but think that for a moment in the cold, surrounded by my family, I am cancer-free. I was cancer-free for a day and I was racing again. I was dressed like a runner, wearing my Garmin, got D-tag timing sensor on my shoes, and have my bib number C 13145.

I was assigned in the first wave, or seeded, in C corral (I had a good finish last year, see my post ‘2009 Shamrock Shuffle’) but I decided I decided to move to the second wave start in the open corral to be with my family. It is the first-time for my family to run so I want to be with them. Besides, I am not even chasing personal records this time. I wanted to share the experience of a mass start similar to that of a major marathon. Your adrenaline is flowing, you forget it is cold, you hear the noise of the crowd in front as they cheer the start of the race.  Then the cheers reverberate like an echo, moving towards the back. It hits you and you cheer as well.

“Woohoo! Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s break some world records!” I shouted. My kids cowered in embarrassment, trying to disown me. Kenya in the house!

The crowd was so huge it took us about 31 minutes to cross the starting line. By the time I get to the starting line, the winner (a Kenyan at 23:29 minutes) of the race should have crossed the finish line. Crossing the starting line, I saw the two boys bolt ahead. Rookies! I stay back. My wife and two girls were just up ahead trying to keep a steady pace. I catch up with Nat at mile marker 1, then Abby at mile marker 2, but where’s the wife?

I get to mile marker 3, still no wife. I increased my pace. I see the last water station up ahead.  It is “Kenyan-time!”  Ah…eeh…yah!.  I am a “Kenyan” powered with chemo juice.  Kawabanga! I grab the two water cups , crimp their tops, and downed it without stopping. Let’s go, Kenyan Bo! After passing mile marker 4, and nearing the finish line.  I see her. ‘Darr she blows.  Puff…puff…puff, her struggled breath sounded, then pausing to a stop.  I moved beside her and patted her familiar butt.

Let’s cross the finish line together.” I said.

Let’s do it.  It renewed her energy.  With one last effort and in full view of the finish line, we picked up our stride.  We can do this.  We can fight this cancer.  I was not going to be alone this time.  Holding hands, we raised it, and together we crossed the finish line.

Life is good.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, I start my sixth chemo cycle.  Life is still good.


PS:  All the family finished.  We all had a great time.  I was thankful for the moment.  Next time I will break the record. 😉

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