I finished the race.
In 2005, at age 78 (or was it 79) Dad was diagnosed with cancer. He did not want to receive treatment. He wanted to be finished.
At mile 6.5 of the half marathon I fell. I tripped and fell on my knees, my chin, my palms, my wrist – my impossibly slowly healing wrist.
At the age of 78, I couldn’t blame my dad for not wanting to get chemotherapy. Dad was diagnosed with nasal pharyngeal cancer (or maybe not..it wasn’t clear what it was…it was around his nasal passages). Dad witnessed his friend’s very agonizing fight against cancer in the 80’s. Dad did not want to go through that.
Ever the medical advocate, Francisca took Dad to consultations and eventually Dad decided he would do the radiation treatment. He wasn’t finished yet.
The first six miles of my half marathon were good (my goal was 13 minute miles): 10:48, 11:28, 10:58, 12:16, 12:56, 12:56….and then I fell. I was looking to my side, towards someone who was preparing to accept the handoff at the half point relay marker. I saw her wearing a World Vision jersey and wanted to encourage her and ran straight into an huge, tall, orange pylon in the middle of the road. It caught me off guard. It came out of nowhere.
I popped myself up and kept going. As my senses resumed, I took inventory of my body parts. When I realized that my right wrist took most of the hit, I just about started crying. Well,… I did start crying. I was embarrassed, tired, hurt, scared, and I really wanted to pull over to the curb, curl up, and be finished.
The second half of the run was much harder. Mile 7…14:24. Then a spurt of stubbornness that said, “I won’t quit! I won’t give up! I can DO this!” 12:42. Then, “Uh, gee, my left knee kind of hurts. Ugh, my palm is bleeding. And I think my knees are skinned.” 14:04.
Then I darn right just started walking. “Darn it! Why did I have to fall halfway through? Why when everything was going so well did I have to fall and ruin my pace? But look at me. I’m still going. But my pace….it’s ruined.” At that point the embarrassment of having fallen changed to desire for EVERYONE to know I fell and got back up. “Look everyone…look at me…I fell, and I got back up. Look, see?!” 15:17.
That 10th mile was the worst.
I thought about life, my life, the lives of so many people in this world. We have falls and most people don’t know. We have falls and often times we keep going. No one knows we are aching. A part of us wants others to know what we are going through so they will recognize how hard it is to just get up and keep going.
Halfway through life I was divorced.
It caught me off guard. It came out of nowhere.
I was embarrassed, tired, hurt, scared.
Look everyone…look at me…I fell, and I got back up. Look, see?!
At mile 10 I refocused on finishing the race. My knee was feeling wobbly, like it would give out and I would just collapse. My mental state was a bit impaired. Yet,…I was doing well. My typical stomach/colon/unspeakable discomforts were not happening. I kept going. 14:17, 14:38, 14:25….and at the very end I managed to run across the finish line in ….let me see if I can find that finish time for you….
Thanks all for all the support everyone. My goal was under three hours. I did it.
Crossing the finish line was well earned.
This song rumbled through my head for the days that it took me to complete this post.
What do YOU see when you look through the telescope?