Week 3 of marathon training complete! (Only 21 more to go, but who’s counting?) Apparently, this is a crucial point when starting a serious training program; a lot of runners would have bounced by now, so if you too have made it this far WOOHOO! Go ahead, acknowledge your awesomeness.

The hardest part of training for any endurance event is consistency. First, you establish a routine, commit, develop the habit. Then, it’s just putting in the miles — over and over and over. In the weeks ahead no one but you will know all the work you put in: the early mornings, the hours spent in your running shoes (rain or shine), the blisters, the ice baths, the dreaded foam rolling — and is it just me, or does anyone else feel as though you’re perpetually sweaty? Marathon training = FOREVER UNCLEAN!

Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated when you’re accountable to just you. When I was training for my first marathon, I ran those 15-16-17-18-19 mile long runs solo and it was a STRUGGLE. I was constantly editing my training plan to account for slacking off or poor logistics planning. Spotty training lead to a rocky start on race day; if I hadn’t been called out for walking at mile four (mile four!? yes, the shame!), it would’ve been a very different, defeated marathon. Moral of the story: BE CONSISTENT!

So the next time you’re thinking about skipping a day’s run or cutting a long one short, or wondering if it’s all even worth it, remember these words from Muhammad Ali. Because right now no one sees how great you are, but on race day you better believe everyone will!

Psst! Want to be included in the Team Still Easier Than Chemo roundup? Wear your support (snag your official SETC technical race shirt at shop.stilleasierthanchemo.com) and share your running or race day photos! Use the hashtag #StillEasierThanChemo on Twitter or Instagram or email me at briana@stilleasierthanchemo.com

OH LAWDY IT’S HOT.

Summer is officially here. We had a loooooong winter, so I’m not about to complain over a busting thermometer BUT I have some major marathon training to get done through these dog days, and it’s only going to get hotter. So here are three tips to run in the heat and not die:

1. Slow the heck down.

Nothing teaches you humility quite like those first sluggish, gasping runs through gross, muggy air so thick with humidity you may as well be drinking air rather than breathing it. Don’t expect to perform in these devilish conditions the same as you would in ideal running temperatures — and guess what? That’s okay! We’re all suffering here — and so will your pace. It takes approximately two weeks for your body to acclimate, so in the meantime slow down for a bit.

2. Avoid the Inferno

This may seem like an obvious one, but I see you crazies sweating it out in the noonday sun. I never know whether to admire your stamina or shake my head at your obvious insanity. Instead, retreat to the luxury of air conditioning between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and plan your runs for early morning or late evening – in the shade. If you have to run during those ungodly hot hours, slather on the sunscreen!

3. HYDRATE ALL DAY ERRYDAY!

Dehydration is especially dangerous as the heat index rises, so it’s important to hydrate long before you hit the trails. I use the Drink Right app to remind myself to sip on water throughout the day. Remember to carry a sports drink with you during those hot runs because they replenish sodium and electrolytes that water can’t. I prefer Nuun, sugar-free electrolyte tablets that I add to my water bottle.

That’s it! Stay safe, stay sane, and if all else fails fill a kiddie pool with ice water and belly-flop into it post-run.

Got any tips I didn’t mention?

Chasing Life, ABC Family’s new soap opera drama premiered last night. (Did you watch?) The show stars Italia Ricci as April, a 24-year-old aspiring journalist who just as her life was starting to fall into place discovers that she has cancer.

I have, just, so many things to say. Let’s start with the show’s poster:

Is she seriously sitting on a coffin filled with lemons? What is that? Is she supposed to turn them into cancer-kicking lemonade or something? Seriously!? Is noone else outraged by this?

Chasing Life undoubtedly resonates with many viewers, and I can empathize. If done properly, cancer as a storyline on a major television network can provide important education and awareness, and since the show has partnered with StupidCancer.org, a non-profit supporting young adults with cancer, the characters have a real shot at authenticity. The risk is if ABC Family gets it wrong, and the network’s litany of failed attempts at tackling the “tough issues” (like childhood obesity in Huge or teenage pregnancy in The Secret Life of the American Teenager — both cancelled) doesn’t exactly bode confidence that they’ll get this one right.

Ricci said in an interview recently: “It’s a show about a girl with hopes and dreams. It’s a show about a girl who’s confused about what she wants in relationships. It’s a show about a single mother with two daughters. It’s a show that’s about so much more than just a girl with cancer.”

The second her character is slapped with a diagnosis though how can the show be about anything but a girl with cancer? That’s not to say twenty-somethings affected by cancer in real life are defined solely by their illness, but if the show is “so much more” as Ricci claims it’s publicity department doesn’t seem to mind exploiting the girl-with-cancer motif to generate buzz (and judging by last night’s live-tweeting frenzy they felt no shame in trivializing a serious situation with vapid requests to “RT if you agree #cancersucks!”).

So what is Chasing Life’s message exactly?

Although the show seems well-intentioned — chronicling one young woman’s journey through life after diagnosis — I worry it will spew false information, that it will perpetuate the romanticism of the cancer patient with a can-do attitude, the misguided notion that all you have to do to survive cancer is NEVER GIVE UP. What does that say about those who die from cancer? They didn’t try hard enough?

For the millions of cancer survivors, patients, and caregivers tuning in, the show will certainly revolve around how relatable April’s story is to their own. It’s bad enough April is Hollywood standard pretty and thin, but now she’s handling cancer better too? Cancer is complicated, but, so far, the show treats cancer as nothing but a sub-plot easily swept aside in favor of April’s budding career and her hot new love life all the while remaining a pillar for her outrageously stereotypical family.

If Chasing Life means to bring awareness to the fact that young people get cancer too, I just hope StupidCancer’s involvement will lead to real discussions about the unique challenges young adults with cancer face, otherwise the show is in danger of becoming a cancersploitation fluff piece.

Did you tune in last night? How do you feel about making cancer into entertainment? Do you think the show accurately portrays the reality for many young adults with cancer? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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