Friday, December 26, 2008

Feats of Strength

Yeah, sticking with that Festivus theme. ;)

Following a really nice morning yesterday of watching the husband and kids open their presents, hanging out with the family, and getting Christmas dinner prepped, I hopped on the treadmill for a run. I randomly selected an archived Fdip podcast to listen to that just left me in awe regarding the episode subject's incredible feat of strength, his courage, and selfless actions meant to benefit the lives of others, and couldn't believe I'd never heard the story of Terry Fox before.

My couple of Canadian friends are probably rolling their eyes because I really had no idea how important and unifying his Marathon of Hope was, and honestly hadn't heard of him at all until taking up running. I'm glad that I at least know who he is now, and hope that folks unfamiliar with Terry will go check out this clip on YouTube from ESPN:

I think about how tough my one marathon seemed to me. Then I listened to the podcast about Terry, and watched this, and realized that if you want to talk about strength and overcoming adversity, Terry Fox was the real deal.

Running a marathon? Every day? On a prosthesis in a time when they didn't make artificial limbs conducive to being active, much less for a run across a country? And all to give other kids with a cancer diagnosis the best odds of beating the disease and living long? No entourage, just his friend driving the follow vehicle as he used his step-hop-skip gait for more than 3300 miles before finally stopping and learning his cancer had returned. The amount of money he raised would be incredible by today's standards. Keeping in mind that it was nearly 30 years ago, it is all the more impressive.

He had more maturity and drive at 21 years old than some people ever have in a lifetime. It did get me in the gut as a mom, listening to his story and hearing that yes, he did succumb a year later to the cancer that had returned, this time in his lungs. More than that, though, I'm moved by what this one young guy did in his short life, how proud he made his family and his country, and his legacy of hope for those battling cancer, as he did. I love that he really did live each day like it could be his last, and that if you don't put up artificial boundaries and limits for yourself, the possibilities are limitless. I know I'm probably using every Afterschool Special cliche, but man-as a runner, as a mom, as a person who admires true feats of strength and courage, I can't help but gush about Terry Fox, tip my hat, and say rest in peace-you really left this world a better place.

In the awkward segueway department, I'm in the middle of playing a couple of mileage games on the running forums, and decided to go on a little bit of a running streak myself this week. In the past, I said I'd never be a streaker. I decided, though, that for the Christmas/New Year's holiday week challenge, why should I limit myself and decide ahead of time that I couldn't run every day for a week? I figured that I could add some mileage on my regularly scheduled running days, and use the off days to run comfortably paced recovery runs until I just didn't feel like doing any more running. No worries about hitting a prescribed distance or pace...just freewheeling. Right now I'm on my fifth day in a row, and suddenly I'm realizing that I CAN go on little short streaks from time to time without killing myself.

Sure, it's probably not wise to just start a permanent long streak now, but this is a fun experiment. It helps when everyone else is playing the game-even though it's just for fun, you see how others are doing in the challenge, think "right on," and then say "well, no reason why I can't tack on one mile today or a few easy miles tomorrow!" I remember how challenging this phase of training was for the first marathon, and to be able to do anything extra now is a real confidence booster, and further helps me shake off any need I'd been feeling to over-analyze MCM.

It's not exactly a New Year's resolution, but I really want to go into 2009 living like Terry Fox, make each day count as far as time with my family and friends, and also work toward my running goals NOW, without putting limits on myself or saying "this can't be done." In the words of Wooderson of Dazed and Confused, you just gotta keep livin' man, L-I-V-I-N.


Love2Run said...

Great post and good luck with your goals for 2009. Terry Fox really is a real life legend!

Oz Runner said...

Great post. That video/story about Terry Fox is great. Can't believe I haven't heard of him. Very inspirational. Best of luck with the streak.