I’m leaving today for Chicago and will be running the Chicago Marathon Sunday. The photo above is the pretty pink shirt I will be wearing on 10/10/10. I’ve been asked if I’m excited, and I am, but more than anything I had been feeling a little anxious and just ready to have this over. On Sunday I received an email that changed some of this:
I am so excited for your marathon next week. If you get tired running just think of the fact that many of us take for granted what a privilege it is to be able to run. I miss running so much. With my stomach cramps and tumors, I haven’t been able to truly run in years. I miss it so, so much. So enjoy all 26.2 miles because you can! I will be cheering for you from afar and can’t wait to see pictures
This email came from a friend, I’ll call J, who is in bed during her chemo. J is about my age and she’s had chemo before, in fact she’s had it 5 times before I believe. This time is especially tough she’s nauseated and worn out from a recent surgery. She doesn’t complain and never appears anxious. She even has a fantastic website and blog called “You Fearless” where she writes about her life, her real marathon. This email had a huge effect on me, not because my friend has a disease and I do not but because she wasn’t merely wishing me good luck, she was telling me to enjoy it. As if, in my anal (I just printed out a pacing wristband to wear for the race) pre-race mind I had even given enjoyment any airtime. And yet, enjoyment is a choice.
This past Tuesday I had the pleasure taking my son on a play date after school. One of Weston’s best buddies is a little boy, another “J”. Weston and J were in Kindergarten together, they play soccer together and were just starting 1st grade together. Days into the school year, we received an email from J’s father, our friend, that J needed brain surgery for a tumor that had found. They described it as “large” and seemed to be moving very quickly. I worried for J’s mother who had so recently lost her father or “her rock” as she referred to him. I also, as any mother would, spent extra time tucking the boys in that night. More than anything though, I worried for J. Would he be ok? Was he scared?
J’s surgery was 2 weeks ago now and the great news is that the tumor is gone, he is ok. The bonus? He was super brave. The day after surgery he was eating vanilla ice cream, singing his father “happy” birthday and on Tuesday played video games and had snacks with Weston as if nothing had changed. Before the surgery, I would’ve described J as sensitive and sweet. We all learned he’s also very, very strong. How does someone so little have so much courage?
I am beyond inspired by J and J. For this silly race, I plan to enjoy it and to take it all in. I am lucky to be able to train and run and go to Chicago this weekend. And when things hurt, because inevitably in 26 miles they will, I will try to be courageous like little J because I can.
Who inspires you? Do you think it’s silly that many of us test ourselves and stress about running and races when others have far greater non-optional challenges?