So there’s this train I’ve been on my entire life. I think it started down the tracks with my parents mandating I “play outside.” I threw some coals in the engine with track, field hockey and lacrosse through college. An old friend, Angie, pointed out something interesting when she looked at a high school field hockey photo. One in eight women will get breast cancer in their life. There are eight young women in the photo, and I happened to be that one who "took one for the team." Through the military, the train just got faster as I discovered triathlons, Alaska sports and racing. I was in the best shape of my life right before I found out about you. I was the epitome of strong. I remember doing push-ups with my best friend’s little girl on my back, and pumping my body full of good protein multiple times a day. At the time, it was all in an effort to look awesome for when Ryan returned from Afghanistan. It’s ironic how everything happens for a reason. If it wasn’t for gaining muscle and being in shape, chemo would’ve crushed me. I didn’t eat a lot, and it was extremely difficult to find energy to maintain muscle mass. I lost 20 pounds, 3 pants sizes, and got tired walking up stairs in six months.
Today is day two of my new running program. I’m running a marathon in my 30th year. I figured the year I beat you, I might as well do something else crazy hard. So here I am, jumping back on the train from the platform. Only this time, I respect my body so much more.
|Denise Burnham, Megan Issac and me Nov. 8, 2011|
My work out buddies who motivated me to simply just...start.
|PV Seniors 1999|
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime