Angie during training
Angie: I know what you are thinking. . . what on earth would possess a person to train for a marathon! There are times, while running, when I ask myself “why the hell am I doing this again???” It’s simple really. When I was 25, I lost my mom to breast cancer. Since then, I’ve been running and raising funds to help find a cure for this awful disease. Odds are you know someone who has also had to go head-to-head with this monster. I’m stoked to be training for the 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon as a member of Team Lynn Sage. I was drawn to The Lynn Sage Foundation, because of their focus on research and, like me, the founding sisters lost their mother to breast cancer.
I have logged over 596 miles in training, which has required 5 pairs of shoes. I’ve learned to love port-a-potties and my foam roller. My playlist has 74 songs and includes tunes from Beyonce, Papa Roach, RuPaul, Disturbed, Rick James, Bassnectar, Michael Jackson, Panic at the Disco, Cardi B and more. I’ve shaved minutes off my pace and can’t wait for the race!
In March 2019, a strong, funny, 29-year-old woman died from breast cancer, leaving an irreplaceable hole in the lives of her friends, family, and loved ones. She was a mother, wife, sister, friend, and so much more to the many lives that she touched. Not a single run of my Chicago Marathon 2019 training has gone by that I haven’t been motivated by my memories of her spunk and quick-wit.
Making the choice to run my first marathon and to raise money for breast cancer research was easy. Continually making the choice to put in the work necessary to make it happen, week after week, has been anything but. On the mornings that I struggle to lace up my shoes and get out the door, when I’m on an especially tough run and it feels nearly impossible to keep putting one foot in front of another, or when self-doubt tries to creep its way into my thoughts, I remind myself “yes, you can!” and keep it moving. Cheers to Team Lynn Sage and the 26.2 ahead!
I decided to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, almost on a whim, after learning some running friends were participating. It will be my first marathon. After training in the high heat and humidity of the Dallas summer, I’ve had second thoughts about this decision. But after completing a 22 mile run, I am feeling more confident with each day. Even if I’m short a couple of toenails.
I am supporting Team Lynn Sage and breast cancer research in memory of my mom, Lynn Dee Nelson. She was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in 2009 and we lost her in 2012. I am happy to support the Lynn Sage Scholars, like Dr. Horiuchi, whose research is focused on reducing the mortality rate for triple-negative breast cancer.
Malika and Malina
We’re excited to run in a major world marathon! It’s Malina’s second. She crushed the New York marathon in 2018. Training, fundraising, and racing are really hard. But, not near as difficult as facing a breast cancer diagnosis.
As friends, we feel lucky to be on this adventure together. Our runs have taken us across the Brooklyn Bridge, gateway to our home, and all over New York City. We can’t wait to visit Chicago for the first time and tackle our goal of sub-six hour marathons. When we cross the finish-line, we’re going to celebrate like crazy in honor of Malina’s birthday!! Chicago, here we come!
Annika: My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2018. Her courage throughout her diagnosis and fight was other-worldly; she displayed reliance on God and thankfulness for His mercy through it all. She is now cancer-free! I am running with Team Lynn Sage to share my mom’s story and to improve the outcomes for those diagnosed with breast cancer in the future. I have lived in Chicago for almost five years, and I am thrilled to help fund innovative research at two outstanding local hospitals where several of my friends work.
While it is challenging, most of all, marathon training has taught me to be thankful for the many good gifts God has given me—a healthy body that can run (following several weeks of PT after I was hit by a car in March), time to train despite an often challenging work schedule as an attorney, a loving husband who slows himself down to stay by my side through it all…and CARBS!
Christine: I’m really proud to be a member of Team Lynn Sage. As an author and journalist, my days tend to be both sedentary and somewhat unstructured. When I mentioned to my friend how eager I was to find meaningful activities outside of work –and that I craved a consistent, realistic-yet-challenging framework of exercise–she said she felt the same way. We found Team Lynn Sage and signed up immediately for the 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. In many ways, we couldn’t be more different. She lives in Michigan, and I’m in Chicago. She’s a runner and I’m a walker. She lost a mother to breast cancer, whereas I had a breast cancer *scare* which turned out to be benign. And yet, Team Lynn Sage has been an ideal place for both of us.
We’ve been able to support one another through our personal training plans, encouraging one another to stay on track. I feel great knowing I’m raising money to help eradicate the disease that claimed my friend’s mom. And I’ve been grateful to connect with so many people and learn the impact breast cancer has had on them. Hearing and sharing their stories has given my work as a journalist even more meaning and purpose.
The training has been rigorous. I go to sleep most nights feeling tired yet empowered. More than once, my strength and resilience have surprised me — and that’s where I feel I most connected with people battling this disease. Unlike me, they didn’t sign up for their marathon. Yet, they continue to push ahead, even when tired, dejected and feeling uncertain about finish lines. Training with Team Lynn Sage has helped me to live in the present moment, to breathe deeply, to focus on taking one step at a time, and to tune out the noisy chatter of daily life. My walks have taken me along the beauty of Chicago’s lakefront and on many paths I’d have never explored. I’ve learned to ask for and accept support. And, I’ve discovered how many people have been touched by this horrific disease.
When I cross the finish line on October 13th, I plan to hug my friend, knowing that we gave our best do something good in this world.
Leesa has been the backbone of Team Lynn Sage for the last four years. Her incredible story is best told here.