I started running again. I’m what you call a seasonal runner, so I start running again each June, and typically call it quits as soon as it gets cold. And I always start back up at the shore. There’s something about that long stretch of beach that calls to me (I get all Chariots of Fire about running). 

On my second day out — while the boys were at basketball camp for a few hours — I ran three miles. Three.  I had done two miles my first day, and then…I knocked off that third mile like it was no big thing. According to my Nike Run app, my pace was roughly 10 min miles. Now, I realize that hard-core runners might scoff — I never claimed to be super-dedicated (a measly three miles) nor fast…but considering the fact that I literally ran the entire thing barefoot on the beach (see above Chariots of Fire reference)…I’ll take it.

Running, these last few years, has been something I’ve done out of desperation rather than enjoyment. Running was just…something that connected me to the girl I once was. The girl before the chemo and the surgery and the Tamoxifen…heck, the girl I was before all the babies. I had always been a runner. I had always been able to dash off miles (yes, more than three you snobs), one foot in front of the other, lungs burning, mind spinning. I would run with my thoughts racing and racing and racing until the relentless pounding of my feet, one foot, then another, calmed them down, cleared them out. Running, once upon a time, was breath and insight and sanity.  

Until it wasn’t.

Babies made it hard to run (anyone else fill with rage trying to push a double stroller while running? Just me?)…but the chemo almost killed the joy completely. I wrote about the experience of trying to run after chemo, here, but suffice to say it was awful  I described it in that article as plodding, but…plodding-then-walking-defeatedly-while-crying is a truer description. Eventually the chemo burn wore off…but that eventually was measured in years, not months. And even last summer — my last summer on Tamoxifen — I struggled to get to three miles.

It’s hard to explain the difference between last summer and now. I remember running one mile a day, weeks on end. I remember the day I forced myself to run two miles, not because I was feeling particularly good that day, but because I knew one mile was ridiculous. I remember feeling oddly disconnected from that girl who once ran — did she ever actually exist? — but stubbornly chasing after her anyway.

Last summer I was chasing someone I could barely remember. This summer…it’s like she’s suddenly come home.

I’ve been off of Tamoxifen since January. Which means that I was first was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago. Re-reading that old article, it feels like coming full circle. The girl who wrote that article doesn’t feel so different from the one I am now. The surgery and the chemo and the Tamoxifen had aged me both physically and — even worse, mentally — but slowly, over the last six years, I’ve managed to find my way back. 

I suspect that girl — the one I’ve been chasing down the beach — always knew I would.

Gray tees. Gimme. I don’t know if it’s the texture, the extra-long sleeves, or the wide neckline…but this thermal top is a pretty perfect end-of-summer sweatshirt stand-in. Too hot? I’m also coveting this gray Free People tee. Cool neckline, cool sleeves, awesome back cut-out.

Not on sale but no one cares. One of my fav tops from the Nordstrom Anniversary sale sold out before I could mention it. It’s just been re-stocked, and even at full price ($35) it’s a steal. I’m talking about Halogen’s square-neck tee in stripe. The square neckline is a huge trend for fall, and the vibe is a cross between nonchalant French girl and “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?” Good stuff. (Actually, I’m wearing it in this video if you want to see it on.)

I’m starving. All I want to be eating right now are Emily’s crispy skin salmon bowls (with pickled carrots; it’s like she can see right into my soul) and Smitten Kitchen’s watermelon mojitos. She figured out a way to skip the simple syrup step and I am ALL FOR IT.

Before I forget…we’re going to be publishing my mom’s blueberry crisp recipe here soon (it’s epic, I promise)…but if you really can’t wait, it’s up on our IG, here. (And YES: that is coarse-cut salt.)

Team Obsession.  As/Is is currently doing a video series called “Hair Flicks” where they shoot a hairstyle tutorial…in the style of different movies. There’s Alfred Hitchcock, A League of their Own, Black Panther to name a few…and they’re really well done.

Well…that’s it for now! We’re off to Sicily for the week (like typing-this-in-the-airport off). We’ll be staying in Syracuse…has anyone been?  We’d love some recommendations…

xo
S

11 COMMENTS

  1. Holy crap your thoughts on running through and post cancer resonates with me so much I could cry. Especially the line about it keeping you in touch with who you were before. I just feel so…understood. Thank you so much for writing that.

    I’m still in the plodding phase, feeling like I’ll never feel like I did before. Is she gone? But your post gives me hope. Thank you.

  2. Annie, I have no idea what you are going through, my frame of reference is incredibly small. But I wanted to tell you that I think you are AMAZING. Thank God I haven’t been personally exposed to the realities of cancer, but even more so, I am in awe of your perseverance. Your willingness to share your personal story. Bravo.

    And you’ve got this!!

  3. I totally agree. The part about it keeping you, you essentially. I’ll never get the post tamoxifen run. I’ve just been diagnosed with a recurrence but damn it I won’t stop running.

  4. I just started the tamoxifen in April, and while I’ve finally finally finally gotten over the radiation therapy exhaustion (they say it will stick around about 2-4 weeks after radiation–ha! For me it was 3+ months), I’m still doing 3 minutes running/2 minutes walking alternating for five miles total (which takes me an hour). I have a long ways to go with the tamoxifen so I’m assuming this situation will be my reality for awhile, but that’s OK. I’m alive, and I’m here to mother my two teen girls, so it’s all good.

  5. Christa, thank you so much for the kind and encouraging reply. Kindness of strangers is the internet at its best. I am grateful to overall be doing very very well. It’s been a long haul, lots of chemo and radiation at stage III, but I know I’m lucky. I hope you have a beautiful week?

  6. Oh Kate, I’m so sorry you’ve had a recurrence. What a nightmare. Will you be doing the Lupron/anastrozole combo instead of tamoxifen? If so, it’s really not that bad once you get past the first few shots. It definitely makes running difficult but of course so worth it. Best best wishes to you.

  7. So sorry you’re in this terrible club too Shan. It does provide a whole new gratitude to motherhood though doesn’t it? I feel like I am much more aware of enjoying my children as they are and want them to know every day how proud I am of them and how loved they are. Best wishes to you and your girls.

  8. I was stage iii initially and was on tamoxifen, then moved to arimidex ( anastrozole) and it still came back. I’m not sure what’s next yet. Radiation for sure -easy!- ( it’s in my spine) and injections sound fine too as long as it’s not that evil chemo yet. Just-keep-running.

  9. It is too bad that no one is able to have the change of perspective that cancer gives you without, you know, having cancer. I wish for everyone to have the perspective, but for NO ONE to have the cancer.

    Shana, I empathize with you about the running/walking/crying. I love you. I hate it when a fashion weekend sale blog post makes me cry…. 😉 haha.

  10. Thank you, Annie! Yes–a club none of us wants to be a member of, right?? But knowing others going through or who have gone through it is comforting. Stay strong. 🙂

  11. In regards to your Sicily trip, you are very close to Sunset Beach…it is beautiful, warm, and great for swimming, your kids will love it.

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