Last Saturday I found myself up in Park City running in the chill, high altitude air of spring in Utah, 18 long miles with the dozen members of Team in Training. I was able to start out pretty strong, but somewhere around my 11th mile, things started to suck. My legs started to hurt and started to loose energy, and I really started to struggle.Some runners like the phrase “Embrace the Suck” meaning that no matter how tired you are, or how discouraged, or how sore you grab hold of all of that and push forward. Relentless Forward Momentum, they sometimes call it. Well, the embrace wasn’t happening for me, and as I was pushing forward to the finish, well into my 18th mile… I was done. The “Giving Up” kind of done. I was the last of the group still running, and had just been passed by Dianna (a team mate) with a mile left to go.
As I was cresting the final hill, and could see the finish a paltry half mile away, I could see Dianna running back toward me.“Did you lose something?” I asked.
“Nope,” she said, “I just thought that I’d run in with you. You know… the whole team thing.”I almost cried, we started running again, I was able to match her pace (or she was matching mine.) and together we finished the 18.5 miles in some 3 hours 50 minutes.
What’s my point in telling you this?When I started this journey with Team in Training, I thought that I’d just be raising a little money for something I really feel passionate about and at the same time that I’m becoming a bit of a better runner. But, I began to learn some things.
When I’m running, I can stop and rest if my shins hurt, or if I’m tired, discouraged… or whatever. Cancer Patients can’t. They can’t just say “I don’t want to do this anymore.” They don’t have a choice but to “Embrace the Suck.”I’m constantly thinking of a friend of mine who is going through Chemo right now, and how positive she is, and seems to always be. I know that I don’t see those times when she’s tired, scared, sick, or just “Done.” It makes my little struggles seem so trivial.
I know that the money I’m trying to raise will really be of little comfort to those who are battling right now. Maybe some of it can ease some of their financial pressures. But in the end… it’s just money. But if any of the money that is going to research, can save even one child, one Mom, one Dad, one brother or sister… one person. Then it will all be worth it to me.This has been a long journey for me, but it is but a moment for those who will still be fighting the good fight when I’ve crossed the finish line, and I hope that we all can be that team mate who is willing to run back to help the others cross that finish line marked “cured.”