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July 2007
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January 2008

Running Through it all

For some reason running gives me clarity on everything that happened over the past 10 months.  Last weekend we went to Arizona for a wedding and I found myself jogging up this hill/mountain in the middle of Tempe near ASU.  Maybe it was the fact that I was not prepared (I had no water with me, and this was pretty stupid given the temperature and the dry heat) but when I reached the top and looked out over Tempe and over to Phoenix I found myself becoming very emotional.  I thought back onto what I went through, and I how lucky I was (I am).  It is when I think about all of the "almosts" when the tears start to come and breathing becomes a little more difficult.  But then I think about how things are, and not about the almosts anymore, but about how things are:  To be running again, up a hill, sprinting, by myself, this time with no cell phone, and standing at the top.  I still take the time to reflect on everything, to realize how lucky I am.

Yeah - it felt pretty good.

Tufts 10K

On Monday I ran the 10K.  I have run a marathon (Chicago, 1998) and 2 other 10Ks before (the Crescent City Classics in New Orleans) but this one felt different.  First off, this was in Boston.  I have never run a race in my home town.  Second, this was the first race I had run since my stroke and heart surgery.  Moreover I was doing this with the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.  That made it very different.

I was asked to show up at 10:30, the race started at noon.  I meet some people by the press tent and then GO!  I was literally pulled in three different directions at once.  I gave three or four interviews, people asked me to wear a different kind of shirt (advertising) a baseball cap (advertising) they held my stuff, they told me how to stand, where to look, and in some cases what to say to the camera.  I went along for the ride.  It is not as if I minded it.  I believed in what I said, and I was not lying by any means, it was just a surreal experience by all accounts.  While I did kind of like it, the whole thing also felt odd.  I was getting all of this press because I had a near death experience.  When you think about it, that is sick.  I mean, I am the one who is bringing attention to it - I guess that is kind of sick and a bit demented as well.  But I supposed I am doing it because I want people to understand that if it can happen to me - someone who is healthy, takes care of themselves, does not smoke etc - then it really can happen to anyone.

So I ran the race and as my foot hit the finish line my name was called out:  "Lily Burns, Boston!"  "Lily, over here!"  I turned my head and one of the photographers who had interviewed me earlier snapped my photo.  I felt a bit sick.  It was the hardest I had run in about a year.  "That means you ran hard enough." My friend Cory told me.

Ok, so I ran hard enough.  Well, I would not have been able to do it with out her.  It was drizzling, at one point we ran by my house, that would have been nice to kind of stop, and crawl into bed right then and there, but Cory was there by my side pushing me on the entire way.

So I ran. And I finished.  And as I watched the interview films later I felt like I was watching someone else.  Someone I did not know.  I looked at a healthy person.  How could this person have had a stroke and heart surgery?