By Guest Blogger and Dream Team Member: Crystal Squires
I think one of the things that made me fall in love with running was its ability to silence all of those personal stresses, worries and insecurities that are normally flowing through my brain in repeat mode on a daily basis. When I’d get out on the trails and those would all disappear. For those few miles, my brain would feel completely free to focus on things outside of the daily grind and onto things that really matter. The typical thoughts of work issues or budget issues and “am I good enough?” or “am I doing enough?” would all be replaced with more confident thoughts or things to motivate me throughout the run. Sometimes there were no thoughts at all, but simply just the enjoyment of hearing my feet pounding the pavement.
When I began to fundraise for children’s cancer charities, the thoughts that ran through my mind … the motivators … the things that matter … well, those shifted quite a bit:
Donna, 4 – Papillary Meningioma
Aiden, 3 – Medulloblastoma
Ronan, 3 – Neuroblastoma
Michael, 6 – DIPG
Lucy, 13 – Glioblastoma Multiforme
Kyler, 3 – unidentified brain cancer
Amy, 13 – Glioblastoma Multiforme
Sam, 13 – Neuroblastoma
Shea, 18 – Hodgkins Lymphoma
Joey, 5 – DIPG
Isaac,7 – Medulloblastoma
Ryan, 6 – Lymphoma
Mason, 1 – Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Imogen, 3 – Neuroblastoma
Isabella, 7 – Neuroblastoma
These are just a small handful of the names that I’ve come to “know” over the last few years. The faces of these sweet children run through my mind as I fight the urge to hit the snooze button at 4:45am. They run through my mind as I think “I’m too tired” or “I’m too sore”. They run through my mind when it’s too hot or it’s too cold or my legs feel like they’re on fire and I just don’t want to go any further. They run through my mind when I’m at mile 20 of a marathon and those last 6.2 miles seem impossible.
On top of this shortened list of the kids that routinely pop into my thoughts pre-, post- and mid-run, there are two more faces that run through my mind:
These are my babies, Chloe (3) and Isabelle (11). They are my motivators because I do not take the privilege of being their Mother for granted for one single second. They are my motivators because I am so incredibly grateful for their health today, but I know that tomorrow is never guaranteed. They are my motivators because I want them to see me running to cure pediatric cancers and realize that there are battles to be won that go way beyond just ourselves.
These are all of the faces that run through my mind. And because of them … I keep running.