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|cancer sharpen perspective for elite runner
After a remarkable run before throngs of marathon spectators on the streets of the ING New York City Marathon, Serena Burla relishes her return to more familiar and quieter routes, the wooded paths near her family home in Waukesha.
Joining friends and family back home this week, she has much to celebrate: a 2nd place finish in the USATF half marathon championship to start the year, the confidence boost of a 19th place finish in her first marathon, and most importantly, the successful recovery from a cancerous tumor that threatened her career and her life.
was just so grateful and filled with joy, the whole time I was , even when I totally hit the wall, Burla said in a phone interview late last week. enjoyed all the pain and all the things that came with the marathon.
than a year ago, I wouldn have dreamed that I would be out there on the streets of New York. So much had Women UGG Boots Clearance been in question. It was more than I dreamed about in February and March. It was an exciting, exciting moment. Wisconsin, many will remember her as Serena Ramsey, the sprite of a girl who ran on the state champion Waukesha West High School cross country team coached by her father, Chris.
Serena Burla visits patients at the Memorial Sloan Kettering
She moved on from Waukesha after graduating in 2001 and became an All American the 10,000 meters at the University of Missouri. More importantly, she married her college sweetheart, Adam Burla, and started a family in suburban St. Louis. Their son, Boyd, is 21 months old.
The determination and drive to compete didn end with her collegiate career, or the transition to a more domestic life. In November 2006, she joined Team Riadha, a group of post collegiate athletes coached by Isaya Okwiya.
She credits Okwiya for providing the opportunity and training guidance to pursue at an elite level.
The inspiration, though, resonated from her father, who coached the West girls to 11 state championships in track and cross country.
people ask me who my idols were growing up, it was my Dad teams, she said. was the world that I knew. I had Cabbage Patch dolls with warm up outfits from his teams.
just got that passion from him, that lifelong passion for the sport and being competitive. At the end of the day, regardless how a race or workout has gone, I still love . she pushed herself onto the list of the country best runners and those in the hunt for Olympic berths, she couldn shake the worsening pain in her right hamstring.
There were times the 28 year old could barely move about the house. She kept up the training regimen, noticing that the pain actually eased in the Men UGG Boots Clearance effort.
Her Olympic hopes sharpened into a realistic goal, especially with the personal best 1:10:08 and the second place run in the half marathon in Houston, in January.
After that race, Okwiya, insisted that Burla have an MRI to determine the cause of the lump and pain in her leg.
The diagnosis, synovial sarcoma, was Buy UGG Bailey Button 5803 Chestnut Boots Clearance Sale stunning.
went from thinking it was something related to cancer, Burla said. this is impacting my to my goodness, cancer can be fatal. was the scariest part. I didn want my time to be up for my son or or anything. Patrick Boland, a surgical oncologist at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, removed the tumor and roughly 10 centimeters of her femoris biceps muscle on Feb. 26.
Scans later showed the cancer had not spread and Burla has not undergone radiation treatment or chemotherapy.
She slowly returned to , testing the limits of a leg without a significant portion of hamstring.
didn have any idea she would be able to do this, Boland said. told her we couldn guarantee she would be able to get back to performing at a high athletic level. She proved us wrong. were doubts. Burla on the course and her father on the street worried how her altered leg would hold up to the strain of a fast paced run over 26.2 hilly miles.
Putting aside whatever fears she had, the rookie put herself into UGG Bailey Button Triplet Clearance the mix with the lead pack from the gun, and hung in through 15 miles before falling off the pace in New York. She finished in 2:37:06, nine minutes back of the winner, Edna Kiplagat.
After wearing the stars and stripes for the World IAAF World Half Marathon Championship last year, the former Wolverine wants to don a uniform emblazoned with USA again.
think I have to improve in every area, being able to run faster for longer, she said. every area of training, I could make improvements and be better at mental preparation.