A special message from Megan Gavin

Megan sends the following well-wishes and thoughts from Minnesota before the marathon: Dear PPTCers,

Today, at work in my new office in Saint Paul, MN, I read the blog about Jessica Bari’s first marathon and I am listening to the ear buds of Keith Williams. I am thinking of you all as you gear up mentally for the marathon this weekend.

Exactly a year ago I was at Mt. Sinai having a staging surgery for the cancer that was discovered during what was thought to be a routine surgery on a fibroid on Oct. 18, 2012. The Halloween morning cab ride with my sister, Eileen, from Windsor Terrace to the Upper East Side was certainly scary. The traffic was incredible as the trains were not running. Lower Manhattan looked like a scene from a movie: power out, traffic lights weren’t working, cops were everyone, no one was going to work- or so it seemed. Eileen was trying to make jokes, and was like, “hey where are Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum?” The two surgeries were difficult and frightening. It didn’t help that they happened against the backdrop of a storm-shocked city. Eileen and I spent days barricaded in our apartment with my roommate Nicole Importico, and we watched in sadness as the 2012 NY Marathon was cancelled.

That week I was diagnosed with clear cell carcinoma –an especially aggressive form of ovarian cancer. I decided that it would be best to return home to have chemotherapy in Minnesota, so my family could drag me to and from treatment. I didn’t think I’d manage well trying to ride the F train post-chemo! Over those 8 months of chemotherapy I thought about my previous year as a PPTC runner. I came to think differently of those races as I tried to hit my 9 +1. Instead of an attempt at getting into the 2013 NY marathon, they became for me the endurance training I began, albeit quite unknowingly, for cancer treatment. Thanks to many a NYRR/PPTC race and those amazing speed training workouts with Coach Tony and Charlene, I was strong, and able physically and mentally to run this next, most daunting race. I was healthy going into those surgeries in October, and I had mental stamina for the months of chemo ahead.

As runners we live in our bodies differently than do the non-runners of our species. To run those long miles our minds and bodies must work together. We feel muscles that others have no idea exist. But there are also places in the mind few people discover, the place that tells you to keep going, to endure, to live with pain and to listen to our bodies at the same time. That’s a very good message, who has ever heard of a life free from suffering?

Whether you are running the marathon this weekend, or recuperating from an injury, or running a 5k, I hope you all feel wonderfully alive in your bodies. While I will not be out running with you in person this year, I’ll be along 4th Ave. in Brooklyn in spirit, ringing Nicole’s cowbell. You will all be in my thoughts and I hope you enjoy every minute of the race. Enjoy the parts that feel great and the parts that feel terrible Love every mile, especially the hard ones. A life with no pain is a life bereft of the euphoria that comes as you cross an important finish line.

Love, Megan Gavin

Keith Williams