Defeated!

When it comes to running, I’m like a cheetah. More specifically, I am like a cheetah that is missing three and a half legs. To me speed was always something I was supposed to “just say no” to. So you can imagine my dismay when my wife heard that I was doing a half marathon and suggested, “You should try to break 2 hours for Delaney.”
What??? Has she even seen my love handles??? Way to take a low-key, relaxed, supposedly fun run, and suck the joy right out of it Count Wifeula! The worst part about it was that she gave me so much time to train for this feat by sharing her words of wisdom… yesterday. Oh well, in my ironman days it wouldn’t have been a problem, so how much slower could an extra 20 lbs. really make me? I was about to find out!
I started the day with my thinking cap pulled down firmly over my fat skull, as I was just going to outsmart them. When they had us find the person that was holding a sign with our expected pace, I just found the guy holding the 1:50 sign. It was the perfect plan…until we actually had to start running. He pulled away from me about two minutes into the race and then the woman holding the 1:55 sign passed me at mile 2. That was not a good sign, but I had no delusions about posting a 1:50 or 1:55 anyways, so I did my best Forest Gump impression, and just kept running.
At mile 8, a woman holding the 2:00 sign was running next to me. “Crap!” She heard me say a little too loudly. “You are already past the half-way mark, just keep up with us and you’ll be fine,” she assured me. I wasn’t about to fall for that, so I quickened my pace.
At about mile 9.5 she caught me again, but this time she started to pull away. I only had one choice, so I jumped for her legs and tackled her. Okay, not really, but the thought briefly crossed my mind. As I saw my dreams of having a proud wife and kids move further and further away from me one step at a time, I just felt defeated.
I wallowed in my self-pity for about ten seconds, and then I prayed. I didn’t pray for something dumb like having the grit and toughness to push on and still finish in under two hours. That would have been just selfish. Instead I prayed for a magical cape that would allow me to fly the rest of the way and shoot lasers at my arch-enemy carrying the two hour sign. Again, not really. I prayed for my own kids including Delaney, but I still had 3.5 miles to go. So I prayed for Savannah, and Joshua (who has already had his 4th bday party postponed twice because of cancer), I prayed for Macayla and Brecken’s grandpa, and Luca, and Logan from the clinic, and Super Jace, and Hunter, and Caleb, and the leukemia slayer, and Tonja’s dad, and Emma, and Taylor Tornado, and Neomi, and John, and all of the other cancer warriors my oxygen deprived brain could think of… and then I crossed the finish line at just under 2:05… and again felt defeated.
But this time it wasn’t because of my race time or morbid obesity, it was just the realization (again) that cancer affects soooo many people. As I walked through the post race exhibit, I was thinking about the fact that for every cancer warrior, there is an entire army of loved ones who are also affected. There are moms, dads, sisters, brothers, grandparents, grand kids, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, spouses, co-workers, followers of blogs and Facebook pages, and many others that ride the roller coaster with them. Instead of sulking and allowing myself to just feel helpless, I decided to do whatever I could, and just encourage others. Since I didn’t want to wait and wasn’t at a hospital or any place like that, I was grateful for the fact that we can almost always find people that can use some encouragement. For me today, it sounded like this, “Good job Marie! Almost there Joe! The finish line is right there Susie! Keep it up runners!”
Thank you to all of Delaney’s army of supporters as we are so grateful for each and every one of you. Heck, thank you for even bearing with this pathetic “race report.” Yep, I was like a god out there today… Unfortunately for me it was Buddha.

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3 thoughts on “Defeated!

  1. A valiant effort Tom! I had to go to the medical tent after the walk for the cure in 85 degree weather! Proud of you for being able to cheer others on!! I could barely breath! Xoxoxo

    Sent from my iPad

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