Lucy, Paul, Running & Life

I finished the book “When Breath Becomes Air” last night which was written by Paul Kalanithi.  Paul wrote this book because he found out he had terminal cancer and he wanted to document his journey as he faced his own mortality.  He wrote his journey from brilliant Neurosurgeon to Cancer patient.  Paul was quite interested in diving into looking death in the eyes and analyzing what death means and looking at it as a process instead of running away from it.  It is an honest book that I don’t know as if I could have written in the midst of suffering  from Cancer and watching myself wither from health to having people on my death watch just waiting for me to pass to move on.  It’s a good read and something that will not leave my mind.  You should read it.  THIS Ted talk by Lucy Kalanithi is what prompted me to read the book.

I thought about Paul this morning as I headed out to run and I thought about Lucy his widow and Cady his infant daughter who most likely won’t remember her father except in the things her family and her mother share with her.  I thought about my own life and thought about how I read and cried through this book and as my legs carried me over my three miles I confirmed with myself that if I face this same kind of decision in my life, I do NOT want to spend time chasing time if the outcome is sure to be finality.  I would rather spend my time simply talking to my family, and running,  having cookouts and creating memories and laughter than living in a hospital bed.  Everyone dies we just don’t know when we’ll die or how.  Why worry about it?  Every day and moment should be lived to the best of our ability being the best people we can be don’t you think?

I run because I want to be more healthy.  I want to be more healthy because I want to live as long of a life free from canes or adult diapers and medications as I can.  I started off running to run away from life’s problems.  I ran to save myself from deep dark places that the anti-depression commercials talk about.  I ran not to look forward but to not look back.  Things are much better now for me and I am probably the happiest I’ve ever been since getting married.  I now appreciate meaning in life and the joys that my family brings me, especially my children as they head into adulthood.  I now run to be able to have as many tomorrows as I can and to “experience” every day rather than just living every day.  Lucy and Paul “experienced” life and looked at life in a really analytical way both in life and through and during death.  Running saved me and has taught me to really appreciate and experience most everything.  Running has become the glue that keeps me sane, lets me analyze things so I can better understand them more like Paul and Lucy do.  Running lets me reflect on things that have happened and what my takeaways are a lot like Lucy and Paul did as they applied the lessons they were learning through their difficult journey through Paul’s illness.

It’s books like this that make me a better human who appreciates the important things in life over skimming through each day blindly, and it’s running that has allowed me to take all those moments and push them forward to tomorrow and the next days to come.  Life, like running has good days and bad, joy and pain, frustrations and memories, positives and negatives. We should know what we want from both, have goals for both, give mindful thought to the moments and milestones that we experience during both.

HAPPY RUNNING!

 

What I’ve Learned

learnI’m just about finished with my latest read Onward by Brooke Kreder.  I loved this book because it was about the experience not the actual training for the marathon.  This was exactly what I needed to read about.  I am beginning to fill my brain with knowledge to support my argument for or against running “THE BIG ONE”.  Of course if you are my friend Brian, the big one is just a warm up but I have learned to say that’s him and not me.  He’s amazing and I love reading all about his adventures as an Ultra Marathoner.  You can check him out if you like:  http://briansrunningadventures.com/.  It will blow your mind!

There are a few things I have learned from reading this book.

  • I absolutely can run a marathon
  • It’s not about time it’s about finishing.  I had to re-learn this one since having finished not one but 4 half marathons it’s been about beating my own time.  Now I would have to go back to the just focus on finishing mentality.  That’s not so hard but I had to dig it out of the mental closet I had packed it away in.  I’m there.
  • If Brooke can get ready for a marathon sort of alone then I can do it alone too.  It’s more that I don’t want to versus can’t.
  • I go back to something I learned from someone last fall who has run many marathons: “you have to break it down”.  I know I could break that baby down into 5 mile increments and mentally make it in thought anyway, easier to wrap my brain, heart and stamina around.
  • I sorted out a few things that I will look for in a race should I make that commitment this year.
  • I will not quit once I cross that line and I’m getting there.

So I will take some time to educate myself and learn about other peoples experiences and mentally take my own hand as we shove off into 2015 with some pretty defined ideas of what we want the year to be.  Stay tuned.

HAPPY RUNNING!