Why I walk: To win one against cancer

Published on June 24, 2014

Updated on November 4, 2019

Like nearly every woman I know, my life is chock full of the shoulds.

You know what I mean; “I should make interesting meals after I drag myself home from work every night,” or “I should do a couple more loads of laundry before I go to bed,” and “The dog looks so sad, I should take him for a long walk,” aka good old-fashioned guilt.

Running is on my list of shoulds. I re-started running 10 years ago because I thought I should. My metabolism had become about as peppy as a doorknob and my waistline was paying the price. I’m very challenged when it comes to things like grace and coordination, so I’d already sprained an ankle in zumba class, been bored by yoga and failed at spinning. My exercise bike just wasn’t helping me fit into my clothes anymore. I decided I should run.

Running is not particularly difficult and I had some experience. Back in the day, I ran track in high school. As a matter of fact, I was pretty good at it. For three years, I won every race I ran. My name hung in our high school gym for decades before another woman ran faster than I did. But that was forty plus years ago, and to be honest, I didn’t like running even then.

So why did I run when I was younger? Good question, and it’s really the point of this blog post. My little secret is that there is one thing that plays a bigger role in my personal makeup than guilt. My real driving force is competitiveness. I like winning. I really like winning. And I absolutely detest losing. As you might imagine, I’ve never been much of an “everybody gets a ribbon for participating” kind of gal…I come from a long line of people who like winning and my side of the family is a very competitive bunch.

1185955_10201003956078390_1362377699_nFighting cancer is about both the shoulds and about winning, at least it was for my mother. My mom didn’t fight lung cancer because she wanted to. She battled because she believed she should. And we all desperately hoped she would win.

But when a non-smoker is diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer there aren’t a lot of wins. And sometimes the shoulds are the only things to hold on to. She did everything possible, everything she should, but my mother lost her incredibly brave battle two months ago.

So I’m going to run in the Prevent Cancer 5k Walk/Run because it’s a chance for a win. Win the actual 5k? No way. I’m too old for that and will probably walk more than I run. It’s a win in the fight to prevent cancer; it’s a win for everybody else that is fighting for a victory. It’s a chance to win one against cancer. A victory for my mom. She will enjoy that.


Sandi, I prayed today that you would finish the race. You are honoring your mother’s life and memory and I applaud you. We have both lived long enough to witness the passing of too many family members and friends due to the ravages of cancer. The quest to defeat cancer is a noble cause. Carry on!


Your article was great! You go, Girl! Whenever we have the chance to win at something…now that’s something. Cancer, Alzheimers, ALS….all great excuses to compete and try to beat out disease we have no control over. Anything we can do to raise awareness is the ‘ribbon’ I enjoy wearing. I am happy you got out and did it. I hope it went well for you.


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