Cancer? What cancer?Beth Schield isn’t in denial. She just refuses to let an illness define her. “I did not have cancer, and cancer did not have me,” she said. “There’s so much fear and negativity that we associate with that word,” Schield said. It’s important to her to stay positive.
By: Sonja Peterson, Lake County News Chronicle
Beth Schield isn’t in denial. She just refuses to let an illness define her. “I did not have cancer, and cancer did not have me,” she said.
“There’s so much fear and negativity that we associate with that word,” Schield said. It’s important to her to stay positive.
And it’s working. She had a good one-year checkup in January and some urging from her daughter inspired her to enter Saturday’s Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon.
A year and a half ago, Schield found a lump on her breast. “It was a blessing from God that I found it, because it didn’t show up on the mammogram,” she said.
It turned out to be malignant and removal would require two surgeries. The second left her flat on her back for a full week.
As soon as she was able to get up and walk, she was determined to get back to running. She’s been a lifelong runner and is surrounded by the sport. She’s an assistant coach of the Two Harbors-Cook County cross country team and the mother of four track and cross country athletes.
Schield was racing again three months after her second surgery last year. “I had the best racing year of my life,” she said. She finished 2009 by breaking 24 minutes in a 5K, a longtime goal.
Early this year, her 16-year-old daughter, Anna, suggested they sign up for the half marathon. Entry is granted through a lottery, so they didn’t know right away whether they’d get to run.
“When Anna said, ‘Mom, we’re in,’ I thought, shoot, now I’ve got to train,” Schield said. She hadn’t run more than eight miles since high school. “I ran seven miles once, but that was because I and the moms of some other cross country runners got lost on a trail run,” Schield said with a laugh.
She began increasing her long run by a mile each week. Her husband, Kirk, biked alongside her when runs were longer than five miles. She’s now run the 13-mile distance twice and knows she can finish. Her goal is to run it in two hours and 10 minutes, maybe lower if all goes well.
At least one of her children have been in the race since 2005. This year, Schield is glad to shed her role as a mere spectator.
Throughout her training, she found that the steps she’d taken to improve her health as she was fighting the cancer were making her a faster runner.
Before she’d found the tumor, she had been making changes to her diet. She avoids meat and dairy, begins each day with a “green energy drink” made of juiced kale, parsley and celery, and eats lots of whole grains like quinoa. She also used visualization, prayer and massage.
She chose to skip chemotherapy after surgery, hoping that if she took better care of her body, it would be strong enough to fight off the cancer without the drugs.
Schield gets excited as she talks about her improvements over the last year. “I did some mile repeats in around 8:12, which is smoking for me, and I started thinking, well, this is as fast as I was running before,” Schield said.
At the Summer Solstice run in Knife River last year, just three months after her second surgery, she improved on her year-before time by two minutes.
After the race, a friend was impressed by her fast time. “I told her, this wasn’t about time,” Schield said. “This was about beating the damn cancer.”