Sometimes we work really hard pursuing things we think are important. For my first marathon back in 2007 I put in many miles and hours of training pushing myself to new limits on a weekly basis and getting better, faster and a little closer to my goal. During that first marathon, I pushed myself hard never losing sight of the goal. I wanted to run a Boston Marathon Qualifying time. In my mind this was the gold standard for running. This would mean that I had accomplished something. I wanted to feel like a real runner, like I had a reason for running, like I had a purpose. I kept my eye on the prize and wouldn't settle for anything less than achieving the goal. The sense of accomplishment I felt as I crossed the finish line with a BQ easily in hand was like nothing I had experienced. It was an amazing feeling that I thought would never be topped. Seems silly now as I look back.
I have recounted the reasons why I got involved with the fight against cancer many times but will do so again for anybody that is late to the party. In December of 2009 as my Dad was minding his own business and not bothering anyone, the phone rang. It was bad news. Esophageal cancer. Chaos ensued for the next couple of months and the road to recovery for my Dad began. Good news. Except the part where my Mom's phone rang in early March. More bad news. Colo-rectal cancer. More chaos. More questions. More anger. More of that helpless, sick feeling you get when someone you love is hurting and you can't do anything about it.
One way that I chose to deal with the emotional stress was to run. Clearing my head for 3, 5 or 10 miles at a time. It was during these runs that the Honor Scroll idea was born and while I still had my "eye on the prize" it was very clear to me that the "prize" was much different. It was no longer about a self-centered personal goal. It was so much bigger, more important and no longer something that I would ever achieve on my own. It takes a combined effort from passionate people that have the same burning desire to eliminate the evil that is cancer from our future. In times of great despair and uncertainty, it helps to know you’re not alone and that there is an answer–hope.
It really was the race of my life. I have never felt better in a long distance race than I did that day. Never bonked, hit the wall or felt like quitting. It could have been pure luck but I believe it had more to do with the power within the Scroll. Coming down the final 2 mile stretch I grabbed the Scroll and carried it in my hand. Thinking about all the positive energy the Scroll represented brought tears down my cheeks and goosebumps to my body. This lifted my spirits and allowed to pick it up a little more allowing me to run the FASTEST mile of the race –
This is what I experienced on that April day back in 2010 as I completed my first 50 miler. I had no idea at the time just how significant this day was. No idea how much of an impact it would have on me. No idea that it was just the beginning. I was exhausted both physically and emotionally. I couldn't distinguish sweat from tears. Sometime during this experience I realized just how lucky I was to have the opportunity to represent and honor the nearly 200 names I carried that day. It was a moment of enlightenment. I was not special. I was not talented. I was not a rock star. I was simply another weapon in the fight. I thought that I had kept my eye on the prize throughout this process but.....
Running became different for me that day. It had nothing to do with finishing times, overall positioning, personal accomplishments or trophies. It seemed much simpler. Running is a gift. You can keep it for yourself or you can give it to others. In the past, I was selfish and always kept it for myself but that day as I basked in the glow of a third place finish, it was easy to understand what had happened. Through the emotional journey of the past 6 months, I had unknowingly given my running to a cause much bigger and more important than myself. It wasn't me that finished so well that day. It was the passion, desire and drive to fight a beast that indiscriminately attacks and destroys lives. It was the combined goal of so many that brought me across the finish line that day.
On April 20th, I will run 50 miles in the Ouachita Trail Race. For the 4th consecutive year I will be carrying an Honor Scroll with the names of people that have had or been diagnosed with Cancer. If you have been or you know somebody that has been affected by this terrible disease then PLEASE allow me the honor of bringing them along on this challenge. If you will send their name and status- I will add them to the Honor Scroll. You can send the names via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Of course, awareness only goes so far and I am also taking donations for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life. The donations are secondary and are NOT mandatory, I will carry the names REGARDLESS. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DONATE in order for their name to be listed on the scroll. Please allow me this opportunity to help in my very small way (I don't have much else to offer but I CAN run).
If you do choose to donate, checks can be made out to the American Cancer Society and mailed to my address:
212 Murphy Lane
Wasola, MO 65773
Donate online by clicking here -----> Relay for Life
Paypal users can donate here.....
Please just take a minute to think about it. Remember- I will be honored to carry the names with me even if you do not make a donation.