The 2016 Team & Dell’s Children Survivor Challenge: Week 5

Coach Amber caused quite the ruckus today when she announced that this week’s worlout was called a fartlek. A fartlek, besides being a completely professional and unhilarious running term, is a training technique that intersperses fast and slow running paces. A fartlek is by no means a combination of funny words that middle schoolers, let alone college-goers with apartments who pay rent and take midterms, would find hilarious. In other news, A was not at practice tonight, much to the dismay of N, who had made her an adorable homemade bunny from a conglomorate of egg cartons, cotton balls and feathers collected from around the lake, becasue he knows she likes bunnies. I guess the bunnies, much like the rest of us, will have to wait an entire week to see A’s smiling face.


After the fartlek-induced hilarity died down, L and I started off around the lake at a slow jog. L took this opportunity to really open up about his cancer experience. He shared with me that he found out he had leukemia when he was in fourth grade. We got on the subject because L was kind enough to listen to this overenthusiastic architecture major nerd out while we ran past the Thinkery building. L said, if that building could talk, it would have a terrible British accent. I asked L what other talkitive buildings he’s encountered, which funnily enough is not the first time I’ve spoken those words in that order. We sped up our pace and mused about how much history all those famous old buildings like the Florentine Duomo have seen, and wouldn’t it be crazy to have a conversation with the Pantheon? L brought up that Machu Picchu would have a lot to say, and I agreed. It turns out that L started feeling poorly on a family trip to Machu Picchu three years ago. His family rushed home and was greeted by a leukemia diagnosis. Treatment began quickly, and L’s leukemia is now thankfully in remission. L is a champ, there’s no doubt about that. But even though I was glad L felt comfortable enough to share his cancer journey with me, in my mind that one exchange isn’t the conversation that defines him. If you asked me about L, I’d say he’s the guy who will wax eloquent on the merits of modular origami, give a twelve point presentation on the hopelessness of the 2017 presidential election, insightfully warn you about how easy it would be for trees to turn against humans and begin emitting posionous gas instead of CO2, citing the ents of Lord of the Rings as a precedent study. He’s the guy with a smile on his face and Star Wars quote ready on his brain, who upholds a sacred Christmas tradition of a three day LotR marathon with his dad every winter break. He’s the guy who speaks and holds himself with a maturity and good humor I have rarely seen in kids his age, who gets along with his parents so well that you’d think they were all just really close roommates. And he’s the guy who won’t let a slightly strained muscle stop him from completing both the suggested laps around Mueller Lake. That’s what defines L in my mind, and I think Machu Picchu would agree.

Written by 2016 Rider: Dana Moore