On Saturday June 3rd, my children and I woke before dawn, loaded the car not only with a breakfast picnic but enough enthusiasm that could power us through an eventful day in Charlotte, NC. My daughter and I were running the Keep Pounding 5K in cooperation with Levine Cancer Institute, Levine Children's Hospital, and the Carolina Panthers. My two sons would be waiting for us at the finish line, the Carolina Panthers practice field.
It was a beautiful morning in Charlotte. We arrived early enough to watch the sun rise over the city, the boys helped with some of the volunteer set up, and my daughter and I made it to the starting line in plenty of time to warm up and enjoy the pre race festivities.
As the race crowd began to grow so did my emotions. It didn't have anything to do with Sir Purr, the Panthers mascot, dancing around with the participants or the rousing sound of PurrCussion, their drum line. It wasn't the surge of pre race adrenaline that I always get before running in a timed race. In the mix of old and young, I began to see why I was there.
The first thing I noticed was the team shirts worn by groups of ten or more. They did not resemble the race day wear that we had picked up at registration. They were specially designed shirts with the name of a person that they were running for. Team Parker, was one of those teams. Then, weaving in and out of the crowd as any 6 or 7 year old child would be doing on a beautiful Saturday morning, was Parker. In different colors, in different designs, were many other teams.
I had to take a moment to reflect on the meaning of Keep Pounding, words to live by from the late Carolina Panther Sam Mills, Jr.
It is hard to escape the effects of cancer whether it is a family member, friend, coworker, or an acquaintance on social media. Almost daily I read post from a classmate from high school whose husband was recently diagnosed with cancer and is receiving chemotherapy. Through her hard honest writing, the emotional pain of cancer is displayed bravely for everyone to see. Almost daily I am reminded.
As a health coach I am always reading, listening, and watching for breaking news that pertain to my line of work. Research is showing that cancer patients are having higher survival rates when they incorporate exercise along with their treatment. I believe that exercise and self care play an important role for the patient's support team as well.
"Studies suggest that cancer survivors who exercise regularly may feel better, have less fatigue, and experience fewer symptoms after treatment, compared to those who do not get regular exercise. Researchers at Dana-Farber continue to explore just how exercise can benefit cancer patients and survivors, including lowering the risk of a cancer recurrence, but the bottom line is: it helps. Even light activities, such as a daily walk, can provide benefits."
As I ran that last hot hill and across the finish line onto the Carolina Panthers practice field Melissa Etheridge's 'I Run for Life' was playing. I could not have orchestrated a better song to end the race with. There I ran past my two sons who were cheering me on and seven minutes later we cheered on my daughter.
On days that I don't feel like running or working out or going to a yoga class, I am reminded of Team Parker. I am reminded of those who persevere through sickness and pain, the families who support them. It makes lacing up my running shoes a lot easier.
If you need to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine, please contact me for a complimentary consultation. I will be more than happy to help you explore what you want to for a healthier life!
Au Courant Health, LLC will have a team that will run the Keep Pounding 5K in 2018 and contribute financial support in the fight against cancer. Information regarding how to sign up to run or support the team will be available in January 2018. Until then, KEEP POUNDING!