Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Just When You Least Expect It

I didn't think I was going to blog again before leaving for D.C. and The Nation's Tri. But then I received the swift kick of "get over yourself" that I needed. And it came from out of the blue.

I had a friend in high school that, until about three years ago, I hadn't spoken to in years; literally since graduation. I'll call him Running P. I'm not sure how we got back in touch but, when we did, Running P and I discovered we both enjoyed training and competing in marathons, triathlons, what-have-you. This was of great surprise to Running P because, in high school, I smoked (yes mom & dad, the full admission you've been waiting for all these years) and was the farthest thing from an "athlete" you could imagine.

Running P and I touch base every now and again. But it can be months between e-mails. And wouldn't you know I heard from him today. We FB messaged back and forth and I invited him to read my blog. I got a message back from him about my feelings of not being ready to race. His message reminded me why I started doing all this endurance stuff to begin with. He said:

I just read your blog and yes I have felt that way many times prior to many races. I often think to myself why do I do this? And one day the answer came to me that I do these races because I can. It's a blessing to have one's health. I've taken my health for granted until my wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It just kind of put everything in perspective. Here I am complaining about (or feeling stressed about) race results when there are people all over the world who either aren't physically able to race or live in areas too dangerous to race. We should be grateful for the opportunity/responsiblity we have to physically perform to the best of our abilities.

WHAM! There it is.   

Three years ago I started this endeavor to raise money for cancer research and patient services. Every morning I get up and can make a choice of what I'm going to do that day (Ha! See? Choice. Decision. Outcome.) I have the option, the luxury, of testing and strengthening my body to do something I love. I can choose to workout. Or not. I can choose to quit when it gets hard. Or not.

I am lucky. Others are not so fortunate. They wake up in the morning and the only choice they have is have their body pumped full of chemo in hopes of killing the cancer that's eating them from the inside. Or to watch as doctor's poke and prod and stick needles in their child, all the while praying it's worth it, that they'll get more time with their little one.

So no more complaining. No more feeling sorry for myself. No more worrying about whether I'll set a personal record. Instead I will wake up on Sunday grateful that I can be there. Thankful my body is well enough and strong enough to swim a mile, bike 26 miles, and run 6.2 miles. It may suck. It may not be my best. But I'm going to give it everything I have. I owe it to those that can't.

The world works in mysterious ways. It brings you answers to questions you didn't even know you had. Keep your ears alert and your mind open. Because you never know what can happen just when you least expect it.

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