No One Gets Here Alone

I'm having one of those rare mornings where I can take a moment and reflect upon a few things that have recently happened in my life. There is a stillness to this day, perhaps it is because of the weather, all rain and grey clouds, or just that I find myself sipping a cup of coffee listening to jazz being piped through the coffee house's speakers. By this point in the day I've been up for six hours, have run or biked anywhere between 4 to 10 miles, and have multi-tasked away a good portion of the morning.

And actually that's what I'm reflecting on. The taken for "grantedness" of my life. The very fact that in a six hour period I can accomplish a great many things without thinking twice of my ability to do so is actually very impressive. For at any given moment at any point things could just simply stop. But through some sense of grace, they go on. And while not always gracefully, there is a fulfillment in the fact that a something was accomplished. That whatever else happens in the course of my day, I did a something that made a difference.

And the truth is that we are all capable of doing a something because we all have talents and a drive to reach our goals and make our possibilities into probabilities.

And no one does it alone.

Let me expand on that thought. As a runner, there are times when I find myself on the road in a moment of solitude. Just me and the space that I am passing through. There is no loneliness, for truthfully at any given time I can turn the corner and find that I wasn't alone-other people might be navigating the same space. We nod or wave to each other as we cross paths, and for that brief moment we are connected in our purpose and goals, then we part ways again and our own individual journey continues.

For some of us, our vision of what our lives should be, or where our path will lead us, is fairly secure. There are no roadblocks, no obstacles to overcome, no major upheavals that cause us to regroup and redress the map we have lovingly crafted.

But for others, it isn't that simple. The who they thought they would be tilts and they have to readjust to a new way of thinking, being, living. I've spent a good portion of the last two years of my life readjusting to the who I thought I was to the idea of the who I am as well as the who I will be. Along this journey I have realized that as alone as I felt I was, I am not alone.

I am part of a rich tapestry that enfolds my life. I am lovingly supported by family and friends who cheer me on when I run a half marathon in 2:02:51 and then challenge me to run my next in under 2 hours, telling me that they know I can do it. And you know what? I will. But here's why. For me running is about finding my moxie and making magic happen for a greater purpose than just earning a medal that will gather dust on my shelf.

  • It's running with Charity Miles as a part of Team Fox for the Michael J. Fox Foundation to honor my step-father Donald who passed away from complications due to Parkinson's;
  • It's running for my friend Ruth. Although we just met we have slipped quickly and wonderfully into a great friendship and I run for her on the days where she probably doesn't feel like running due to her Parkinson's (even though she runs anyway);
  • It's running for someone I've never met named Ann and her father who live in England. Ann's dad has been in the hospital because of his Parkinson's, and if my few miles can help raise money for research, then I'll do my best to get those miles managed;
  • It's running for my friend Annika whose mother has Parkinson's.
And it's running for Bernard, who I don't know, and who may never know that I run for him. While standing in the store looking at running shoes a woman commented that I look like a runner and could I suggest a shoe for her. I laughed and said I'm so new to running I wouldn't know where to start and suggested she actually go to one of our local running stores to ask of their expertise. As we talked I mentioned how I use Charity Miles and dedicate my miles to MJFF. There was a pause. She took a deep breath and as she started crying she said, "My father-in-law has Parkinson's. He's in a nursing home. He wasn't very active and when diagnosed just couldn't handle it. Then his wife died and he spiraled into a depression. It has been so terrible to watch and I've felt so helpless. Thank you." Then she hugged me. I asked for his name. Bernard. 

I want Bernard, his family, and all who have been impacted by Parkinson's to know that they are not alone. That so many others are dedicating their time, talent, energy, and effort to making sure there is a greater awareness and understanding of this disease, and they are spending their days walking, running, and bikes those miles for a cure. 

So to Susan, Jeff, Matt, Stephanie, John, Gwen, and Missy who are running as part of Team Fox this upcoming NYC Marathon, thank you. Thank you for months of training that has no doubt left you feeling spent and exhausted, but yet you dig deep and get up and do it the next day. I will be cheering you on every step of the way and next year we will run together. Thank you to Gene of Charity Miles who knows that every mile matters and for providing a way for us to do so. Thank you to friends Grove and Paula who always send words of support and encouragement as I plod along my path. Thank you to my friends Jen and Cindy who will wear superhero costumes and fairy wings to prove that despite being serious advocates and runners, they know that being super silly makes life worth the living. 

For all of us, no matter what our cause is, no matter what path we are walking on, know you are not alone. Ever. You have the resources, the relationships, the resolve to make it all make a difference. And always remember, as Dean Karnazes said "Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up."

Republic Bank Big Hit 1/2 Marathon, October 26, 2013
Net time 2:02:51 with a pace of 9:23

If you would like to read more about some of the fantastic Team Fox runners, my friend Matt Mitchell has written some incredible stories about some pretty inspirational people. Definitely worth a read as well as a shout out next Sunday as they run the NYC Marathon. 

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