Running: the rubber is hitting the road

Jul 16

Late summer/fall 2015 shall henceforth be known as the season of running.  (At least, I pray it is: I pray for the strength and endurance to carry on with these big hairy scary goals I have set for myself!)  Below are the three upcoming races I am participating in, along with my thoughts for each.

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Greater Cincinnati: Friday August 28, 2015 6:45pm/7:00pm

The director of Komen Cincinnati reads my blog, and after my recent running posts, she reached out to me.  She asked me for three things:

1) Would I be the “survivor runner” representative at this year’s race and the recipient of sponsors’ (New Balance and Fleet Feet) free swag?

Um, yes please and thank you.  I’m a survivor runner and now I’ll look the part.  Woo!  Such a fun gift!

2) Would I speak just before the start of the event at this year’s race for 3-5 minutes about being a “survivor runner” and what that means to me?

Whoa.  This one is intimidating.  Lucky for me I have some time to think about my words for this platform.  I am honored to be asked, and I’m thrilled that a Stage IV survivor is being given such a visible space in the breast cancer community.

3) Komen affiliates, and Cincinnati specifically, are changing the language of some of the language/events/signage to be more inclusive of the Stage IV Breast Cancer community, and could I give insight and share thoughts about how to help achieve that goal?

Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  The Stage IV Breast Cancer community is oddly overlooked at a lot of traditional breast cancer events.  Emphasis on “survivorship” and “years cancer-free” don’t work for us Stage IV girls, and the prevalence of such language is bizarre given that we’re the ones who are arguably most affected by breast cancer and are battling for our life!  I’m grateful that Komen Cincinnati is making a greater effort to acknowledge, honor and celebrate the Stage IV community.  “Living with cancer” is something to be celebrate at least as much as “cancer free”.

I was so impressed with the director and her personal effort to me and the Stage IV community that I immediately wanted to say yes.  I talked to Brad about it and he enthusiastically agreed that this is something we want to support.  So, Brad, Maren, Greta, and I are all signed up as race participants.

To donate to our fundraising effort associated with the race for the Susan G. Komen organization, click the link here.  Type in “Anderson” in participant last name, and you can select to donate to “Jen”, “Brad”, “Maren” or “Greta”.

Back2Back Ministries Not Forgotten Virtual 5k: Friday September 4, 2015 – Monday September 7, 2015

Back2Back Ministries is an international Christian non-profit organization dedicated to being a voice for orphans. They exist to love and care for orphans and vulnerable children, by meeting their spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and social needs that they might overcome their life circumstances and break free from the cycle of generational poverty.  Brad and I have the privilege of knowing folks who serve this organization, and it is on our 2016 bucket list to make a trip to a Back2Back-supported orphanage with Maren and Greta.  I chose this 5k because we have some personal connections and I know they do good work, and also because I need to get outside myself and keep perspective that my problems are not the worst problems.  Children without parents make my heart ache.  The four of us will be doing this race together, and we’ll be counting the blessings in our lives and hoping to pay it forward to raise funds to feed orphans.

To donate to our fundraising effort associated with the race for the Back2Back organization, click the link here.  Click “Donate to a Runner.”  From the “Select a Fundraiser” drop-down list, choose “Anderson, Jen” or “Anderson, Brad” or “Anderson, Maren” or “Anderson, Greta.” 

Queen Bee Half Marathon: Saturday October 10, 2015 7:30am

This one is my big hairy scary goal from a physical standpoint: a half marathon.  I still can’t quite believe I’m officially signed up.  13.1 miles is a distance I have never run before in my life.  I’m very afraid that I won’t be able to do it for a myriad of reasons: injury, energy, priorities or declining health.  There are about five fifteen fifty reasons why I can’t do it.  I’m afraid I will fail, and, indeed, I might fail.  So this is me, staring down a big “I can’t” and believing “I can.”  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.  This whole running thing is a giant metaphor for my life with metastatic cancer.  It’s me putting one foot in front of the other in the very best way possible.  It’s hard and it’s living.

My mom, sister and I walked the inaugural Queen Bee Four-Miler last year and thought it was a wonderfully fun event; it’s geared towards women but men are welcome to participate as well.  This year Brad, Maren and Greta will be attending to cheer me on along the course.  Knowing them, they’ll pick a spot near an ice cream store because cheering is hard work too.  Two of my favorite charities are represented in the Queen Bee charities (The Karen Wellington Foundation for LIVING with Breast Cancer (link) and Pink Ribbon Girls (link)), and the full list of charities can be seen in this link here.

There is not a way to donate under my name for this event.  Feel free to donate to one of the charities (send me a message if you do, otherwise I won’t know to thank you), or donate to support my running efforts via one of the above 5k races instead.


Brad just got home from work and I told him I signed “us” up for all of these races that we’ve been talking about.  “Alright,” he said.  “Alright,” nodding slowly.  “Alright.  Cool.”  More nodding.  I think he’s trying to wrap his head around this as much as I am.  Tonight is Thursday, and I haven’t been for a run since last Friday, which means I am in no way starting from a point of confidence as I embark on tonights run.  I’m completely intimidated by this run, this training schedule, this half-marathon dream.  I have a feeling that’s how it’s going to be for the next several months: one day, one run, one step at a time.  Thanks for your well-wishes and encouragement.  This is about living well with cancer, I’m going to need far more than my own little strength for this.  Here goes: time for the rubber to — literally — hit the road!

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  –Hebrews 12:1


  1. Kris S. /

    Running is the best therapy ever! As a currently injured runner forced to walk since April and pending a second surgery, I miss it terribly. But, I’ve decided that walking is better than nothing. The races you have chosen are incredible — not only for the charitable standpoint, but because they are in Cincinnati. And when it comes to running in and around Cincinnati, the running community rocks. And those who don’t run, come out to cheer those that do run. It is AMAZING. Prayers to you as you continue this journey … I am counting my days until the end of September when I can hit the road and hopefully run the relay in the Honor Run in Florence. Another AMAZING charitable race!

  2. Amanda /

    My Livestrong coach told me it isn’t about how many miles you get in at once. So if you have to break the mikes up in a day that is okay (he trains people that do Iron Man’s). Also, I miss yoga and Inthink it really helps with cancer side effects. When I was going through the docetaxol, perjeta, herceptin rounds I would do that and it helped oh so much. Good luck.

  3. Lori6NV /

    I am so inspired. I’m a swimmer and have never run any distance, but keep feeling it as a nagging goal. In so proud of you for seizing the day and going for it!!

  4. Hannah /

    Woo hoo go you!! I’ve also signed up for my first half marathon and it’s a week before yours so we’ll be on the same training road together, having a ‘friend’ to run beside me through this will be amazing. I did my first sprint distance triathlon a few weeks ago and me and my boyfriend have signed up for a half ironman next May – those are my big hairy scary goals after my own cancerific journey – I know you’ve got this, you’re gonna be as awesome as you always are and its known that cancer doesn’t like exercise, it likes everyone around it sitting on the couch watching TV so yet for the cancer fighting runs! Go girl xx

  5. Neecie /

    Love the way you are running your every facet of life.

  6. So excited for you and love the races you’ve chosen. Thrilled to hear about Komen choosing to prioritize stage four and asking you to speak. Amazing !

    I have no doubt you will rock the queen bee race. I know you have a solid stride already so just encourage you to consider the run 3 minute/walk 1 minute approach. It saves joints, feet, and muscles. Please consider it. I know your toes and how much you need them and they need space to breathe.

    Looking forward to seeing how our family or I can run along side you in some fashion.

  7. Marion /

    You are amazing!!! What an inspiration. I just ran my first 5k last month. A friend approached me about the Queen Bee and I chickened out. I will surely cheer you on though!! You rock!

  8. Christy /

    Great news on all fronts, Jen. You are such an inspiration! I hope to see (and hear you) at the Komen event next month. Best of luck with training. I’ll be praying…

  9. Lisa Smith /

    Running with you in spirit every day. Love you.