BENEFITING: MASSACHUSETTS AMATEUR SPORTS
ORGANIZER: MASSACHUSETTS AMATEUR SPORTS
EVENT: 2015 Boston Marathon
Mileage Tracker: 655
First off I want to say that I hate running. Maybe that’s a little strong but I seriously dislike it. I’m not a spring chicken, it takes me way too long to get from point A to point B (Oh, and did I mention Point A and B are usually at the same place, it can just takes 26 miles to get back to it.), and it hurts. So you could say this is an abnormal behavior for just one of us normal people. Of the 24+ years that I was in the Navy I ran the bare minimum 3 miles a year. We called it the 3 mile a year club and I wasn’t just a member, I was the president.
So why do I run? (Mileage Tracker above are my training miles ran since December 1st)
In the spring of 2013 my racquetball partner started playing golf and since I had a 12 month gym membership, I started running on the treadmill. At first I could run maybe a quarter of a mile before I started walking but I increased it a little every day and I eventually progressed from running a handful of local 5Ks to running 3 half marathons in September/October 2013 and I culminated this unnatural act by running the Disney World Marathon in January 2014 with one of my sons (Casey). I planned on retiring my running shoes at that point. In April we stood on Boylston Street, watching my stepson Mike in the final stretch of his first Boston Marathon. We cheered all the participants about 150 yards from the finish line and as the race went on, I was amazed and heartbroken at the number of runners that just ran 26 miles only to collapse from exhaustion within sight of the finish line. To see it repeatedly happen right in front of me was heartbreaking since I now understood the time, physical pain, commitment, and dedication it took to get to that point. Throughout the day I kept hearing how trying the Boston course was and that it was the hardest marathon many participants had ever run.
To better explain the true source of my inspiration for wanting to run the Boston Marathon though I probably need to back up a little bit.
I used to be oblivious to the effects of cancer. While I had seen it in the news and have had relatives that were directly affected, I somehow lived 35 years without acknowledging the havoc that cancer wreaks on the lives it affects.
In January of 2002 while I was in the Navy, I received a call that my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given 6 months to live. As a result of commitments that were already in motion and could not be changed with the Navy, I was unable to return home to see my dad right away. I was able to speak with him and as was his nature, he thought that my being where I was, was more important than coming home right away and that we would see each other when I got back from the remainder of the submarine's deployment.
We both had our own burdens to bear, mine palling in comparison, and over the next few months my dad went through operations and chemotherapy while I felt helpless halfway around the world at times.
As soon as I returned back to the US, I was able to take time off to see him in Colorado. By that time, he was very frail and just a shell of his prior self. Before that day, I had always pictured my dad as a man with the strength of an ox; even though he was not big in stature, he constantly was a man tending to the needs of others and never needing or wanting tending to himself. He was now bedridden, had lost a good chunk of his body weight, was heavily sedated, and drifted in and out of consciousness. Even during his conscious moments, he would spend the majority of that time hallucinating.
As life goes on after his passing, I often feel remorse as I live with the reality that he is no longer around to share in family achievements, sympathize with in times of sorrow, or just talk to about everyday happenings. So many random things stir vivid memories from my past that I shared with my dad. Unfortunately, no matter how the memories begin, they eventually transition to those last moments we spent together where he was sitting up in his bed with his hands out in front of him grasping at feathers in the air that weren’t really there. After all this time, the lasting memory that I have of him, that I am unable to shake, is of the battle he lost to cancer.
Early in 2014, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. Through public awareness, education, and routine checkups, she was fortunate to detect the cancer in its early stages. She was very aggressive in her treatment and made decisions I don’t know if I could make. She is much braver and mentally stronger than I am.
In the weeks following the 2014 Boston Marathon I started contemplating the possibility of trying to run the 2105 marathon as a gesture of solidarity for what my sister was going through. Shortly thereafter I started running again and I now have 6 more half marathons and another marathon under my belt. I still hold the Boston Marathon as my true dedication and I view the other races as just preparation to get me there.
While the Disney Marathon was an accomplishment for myself (bucket list thing), I will run the 2015 Boston Marathon in memory of my dad and my Uncle Jim, in support of my sister and Uncle Kirk (survivors), and to the benefit of Bay State Games who is graciously providing me with a bib and afforded me the opportunity to run this historic event. I cannot take away the mental and physical pain my dad, Uncles, and sister personally have had to go through, but in my own small way, I want to show my continued support for the battle that they had to endure.
And that is why I run.
Although they did not have a choice, I want them to know that I am more than willing to face the mental and physical challenges that come from training for and competing in the 2015 Boston Marathon and take the opportunity to fundraise for such an amazing organization as Bay State Games in support of their mission to promote personal development, education, physical fitness, teamwork, and sportsmanship.
Not only is Bay State Games providing this "Average Joe" with the opportunity to run one of the worlds six great marathons but it also provides countless others the opportunity to compete in organized sports to challenge themselves, realize life long goals, or to compete on a highly organized level enroute to national and international competitions.
I humbly ask for your donation in my fundraising efforts for Bay State Games.