Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What everybody fears

      I have had a lot of thoughts running through my head the last couple days because of another life changing event. Those that know me and I mentioned it in my first blog know that my wife is a five year breast cancer survivor. Last Tuesday she had surgery to adjust her implant from an injury she sustained this winter when she fell on the ice. The surgeon discovered discolored tissue so he sent it off to pathology. Friday Debbie received a call from her oncology surgeon with the news she has cancer again. A different cancer than before in stage one, today we went in for the consult to start the plan to beat cancer again. I have faith that with prayers and support and the caring hands of some very fine Doctors we will win this battle.
      I was trying to find a way to tie this in with another thought that I have been struggling with: the ingredients of a great race. I have found the answer is accountability what we all fear the most. We all have heard the law of physics that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. The training we put in every day/every week and the intensity we do it is a huge factor in the outcome of a race. I believe the amount of heart we put into will make the ultimate difference in a good race and a great race. My accountability comes from my running partner and the firm up bringing of keeping your word. I say I am going to do something and she believes me so I have to do it.
      I guess that I can say the same for the race of life I make promises to my wife and so I must do my very best to make it happen. I read some where and made the comment to a friend that life is terminal we just don't know when. This accountability is probably the strongest that we live life to the best of our abilities that when we make it to heavens gate we are welcomed with open arms. I believe that you not only love everyone but let them know how much you love them. Like running it is what you do when no when is looking that is as important as anything else, because it shows at the end of the race. Treasure everyday as a gift because it is and love every person as a gift because they are.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Slaying Goliath

      We all set goals for many marathoners it is to qualify for the Boston marathon I was fortunate enough to be blessed to achieve that in my first marathon. I backed it up with another marathon a month later for a faster time and better seeding in Boston. I set my next goal as a three hour marathon and committed myself to an elite level twenty week winter training program  for Boston. My race at Boston came up short of the goal and shook my confidence that it was an achieveable goal. I selected Cleveland as the follow up race because of the flat course and chance of good weather not knowing how tough the course at Boston is. I came home from Boston with a plan of recovery, speed work and a good long run then short taper. My life turned upside down Easter night when I lost my sister her twin sons and husband. Running took on a new meaning some times as a release others as an escape but not a priority. I do have to thank running for bringing an amazing group of friends into my life that carried me through this time.
      I went into this race feeling like I owed a great performance to my friends, no plan or strategy like I typically do. I became excited the week before more because I had so many friends running it and many going for BQ times. I didn't give myself much thought until the night before when I questioned if I was good enough to run a three hour marathon. I couldn't get to sleep so I watched "Bucket List" and the seen that stuck with me and changed my focus was when the were sitting on top of the pyrmids and Morgan Freeman said the egyptians believed when you got to the gates you had to answer two questions "has life brought you joy?" and "have you brought joy to others?". I answered yes to both those questions and running was a big part of that. I still didn't sleep well waking every hour then deciding to stay awake at four O'clock. I had everything laid out and packed and planned to wear my Saucony Kinvera but that was foiled by the need to pee. I was in the bag check line taking off sweats and nature called and I forgot to change my shoes so this marathon was my first long run in my new Pearl Izumi Streak II's. I made my way to the start line just behind the three hour pacer the course started up hill so a stuck with a group that was holding back and running the hill not pushing it. The first mile was seven and a half minute, mile two was six minutes twenty seconds I found my pace and passed the pacer at mile four. I hit the half at 1:28:00 feeling like I could hold it and easily get my goal. I went through to mile eighteen and my legs started to get heavy the hill at mile twenty slowed my pace but I was determined to push through and finish strong. The finish was down hill, I put the push on when I had clear sight of the twenty six mile flag and strided to the finish withan official time of 3:03:21. I was 84/13303 overall, 78/5905 men, 7/611 age group I was only twelve minutes behind the age group winner.
      I am very pleased with this race the weather worked to my favor fifty five degrees cloudy and misty made the high humidity bearable. The temparture dropped at the finish but I was done before it started to rain. The three hour bar got sized down today I have my sub 3:10 marathon to qualify for NYC and London as well as front row starting position for my fall marathons. I have not mastered the marathon but I know that I can confidently run anyone.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

      I pose this question: What is real?
      Most have heard about the tragedy in my life last week, I will give a few details so people understand. I come from a family with eight children circumstances had it with economics and careers my parents had two sets of four. My parents both started their careers as teachers and were blessed with four daughters. School districts consolidated and the demand for agriculture teachers went from four area schools to one high school my dad made a career change into the manufacturing field. Seven years passed and they still desired a son my dad had become established so they tried and were blessed with me. I still don't know if I was that much of a hand full but after my birth my mom retired from teaching and stayed at home to keep the order in the house. My sister, brother and youngest sister completed the second four three years after the oldest graduated from high school.
      My sister Paula who died in the Easter Sunday accident along with her husband and twin sons was the youngest of the four older girls. She was there as I was growing up and we had a special bond not to mention she moved back to the area after college. She was the one I could go to with the high school stuff I didn't think my parents would understand. She married and had kids I would baby sit my nieces and nephew and I was the god father for two of them. She separated from her husband about the same time my first marriage failed. She always listened even though she was facing her own giants we saw each other through a lot. She re-married a couple years after I did and the twins were born the same year as my daughter. Now you understand why I was named as her emergency contact and is why the state troopers came to my door.
      The question I posed at the beginning I wish the news that the troopers gave me wasn't real and that I didn't have to be the one to go tell my parents and family. I have touched on it in previous blog that I try to live up to my name (Peter-the rock) that is probably why my wife and close friends were so concerned about me. I mustered my strength and did what had to be done including going to the hospital to identify the bodies.I took one of my older sisters with me knowing that this was like no task I had ever taken on. I reached out to my friends one a co-worker and the other a fellow runner and their prayers must have worked because I found the strength to complete the task. A friendship is real when without hesitation you reach out not thinking of who to call it was an instant decision. The call to Melodie she informed the running community and the love and prayers poured in. I am friends with many on Daily Mile and many I have never met if two weeks ago you asked me if virtual friends are real friends I may not of had an answer. Today with out hesitation I will tell you that these are real friends almost family. Through the bond of running the amount of thoughts and prayers I received were overwhelming. The love I receive from my Daily Mile family is real and God had put it in place when I joined nine months ago not sure I would be as strong without these people. I have a race to win it is the race of life and many friends to do it with. Thank you everyone for all of your love and support.