Our 14th annual Seek the Peak race is fast approaching we want to make sure you have all the info you need to rock those race day hills. Stay tuned as we share some helpful training and preparation tips to support your journey, all the way to the Peak!
Fundraising is an important component of Seek the Peak, with every dollar raised going towards the lifesaving work of the BC Cancer Foundation. While tackling Seek the Peak`s 4,100 ft. climb may seem like a daunting task, it pales in comparison to the fight faced by women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. We're honoured to be able to share Nicole's story about her own battle with breast cancer.
You Can And You Will.
This was the mantra I repeated in my mind each morning during my breast cancer treatment. It didn’t matter if I was pulling my cute blonde wig over my bare head as I got ready for a day at the office, sitting down in a comfy chair on the 6th floor of the Cancer Agency and rolling up my sleeve to present my tired veins to the sweet chemo nurse, or if I was staring down the handle of a fork on the end of which a bite of food sat in all of its tasteless glory.
The words I repeated countless times were not ones I sat down and dreamt up; rather, they seemed to have chosen me. They popped into my conscious without warning and they followed me. They follow me still. The same could be said, perhaps, of my cancer itself. I was diagnosed at the age of 32. Newly engaged, in a great place with my career, and in the best shape of my life, I had never been happier or felt healthier. I found the lump myself, of course, since mammogram screening does not begin in the province of BC until the age of 40.
There is a loss of individuality that occurs, I learned, with cancer diagnosis and treatment. It is not that that the doctors, nurses and hospital administrative staff set out to do this intentionally, but the system is massive, complex, and often highly effective—it saves lives. You are given a number, you show up for your appointments, you stay on the couch for a few days, you watch your hair fall through your fingers and are told it is not a necessary part of yourself (I eventually agreed with this). You pick a wig, or maybe a headscarf, or perhaps you rock the bald look…these are the types of decisions you are tasked with. Regardless, you bring that head of yours to your appointments and you stand on that scale, get poked and prodded, and put every other worry out of your mind as you await your test results because nothing else matters. Everything that you planned for, hoped for, wished for lives with you here in this moment. You are being held hostage by your own body.
This is not the relationship that I had nurtured with my body up until this point in my life. Body issues were somehow conspicuously absent from my young adulthood. I had an ‘athletic’ build, very few curves, a long torso that looked funny in certain shirts. I didn’t care. My lack of competitive spirit in team sports led me to more solitary activities. Jogging and hiking became a prominent part of my life in my late 20s and I embraced the calming practice of yoga in my early 30s. I grew up on Vancouver’s North Shore with the mountains and, specifically, Capilano Canyon as an omnipresent backdrop to—and force in—my life. My grandparents walked the canyon trails daily, and instilled in me a deep respect for the forest. To this day it is into the canyon I go when I have a worry that won’t quit, or a problem that seems insurmountable. Maybe it’s the reminder that we are only such a small part of this universe. Life, in all of its glory, is waiting around every corner to be discovered.
I started hiking the Grouse Grind about ten years ago. The exhilaration of reaching the top, turning around, and taking in all of the beauty below was magnetic for me. In 2014, I decided to take my love of the Grouse Grind to the next level and join a relay team for Seek the Peak. I participated in the training leading up to race day and I enjoyed some of the best trail runs of my life. Were they easy for me? No, but they were always worth the effort. To me then, as well as now, there is no greater freedom than setting out on your chosen path, holding your head up high, and reaching the finish line. Race day in June of 2014 went great, and I recall standing in a cloud of mist at the top of the mountain and feeling proud and strong.
I felt a similar sense of accomplishment just over two years later when my oncologist referred to my cancer in the past tense for the first time. It had taken me almost a full year to get to that point, but I had accomplished what I had set out to do. This time, there was no finish line and no medal around my neck. I will admit this troubled me at first. How could I have achieved something so great and have nothing to show for it? It took some time for me to realize that each moment of each day to come is what I now have to show for my cancer journey. No matter how many days unfold in front of me, that profound sense of freedom has joined me again on my path, and that path has never been so beautiful.
For more information on the BC Cancer Foundation, to set up your own fundraising page or to donate, please click here.