The Long Haul

I never really had the desire to run a full marathon until recently.  I never thought I would actually do it until last night.  

For those of you who know me, you know that I’ve been involved in my friend, Krista’s Woman of the Year campaign for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Last night was the LLS mid-point party.  I was brought to tears listening to the parents of the boy of the year, Alec, a leukemia patient.  I thought about how many people there were, just like Alec’s parents, blindsided by diagnosis of their loved ones.  I thought about the time I thought my mother might have had pancreatic cancer.  I thought about what it would be like to lose her.  I thought about what she would feel if the roles were reversed.  She is a single parent and I’m an only child.  I thought about support, I thought about being alone.  And then I looked around and I had zoned out and missed most of whatever speech had just happened.  Completely dazed and holding back tears, consumed by this emotional quicksand.  Then I pulled myself together, but couldn’t stop thinking about what it meant to be a part of this cmapaign.  

Later at dinner, we met up with Kelley and Matt.  Kelley is the LLS campaign honoree and she and Matt (her boyfriend) were talking about team in training.  I have had friends talk about TNT before to me, I’ve donated plenty of times.  I’ve never had the desire to do it myself.  That night changed everything.  Suddenly, I wasn’t scared to fundraise, and I wasn’t scared to run 26.2 miles.  I wasn’t scared of anything in the face of all the other scary things out there, like losing a loved one.  

The mid-point party was an amazing way to honor the campaigns and a reminder of why we are sacrificing our money, social lives, and sanity to compete.  I still couldn’t believe that we are ONLY halfway there.  It feels like forever ago, sitting in Krista’s apartment discussing all of our ideas, coming up with our campaign name and theme, full of enthusiasm and energy.  I look at us now, sleep deprived, cash poor, drama following us around each corner.  You almost want to quit.  Then you get a reminder of what this is all about.  And it somehow makes you feel like whatever grand amount of effort you’re putting into the cause, isn’t good enough. It makes you want to do more.  It gives you energy for the long haul.  It’s like that one point in a race where you hit a wall.  You feel like you can’t go any further, but somehow, you do.  You may be battered and broken down by the end and the pain makes you wonder why or how you managed to continue after feeling like it was impossible.  There are different motivators in life, and sometimes you don’t even know what yours are until they happen to you.

So whether it is 5 more weeks of a fundraising campaign, or 26.2 miles of pavement, an ice bath in a grueling Tough Mudder, or four more hours of work in the office on a Friday afternoon, find a way to get through.  The sacrifice is temporary, the accomplishment is forever.

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