I love proverbs. Never use to. I heard them all the time when I was growing up as my parents, grandmother and sometimes teachers would pass along their tidbits of wisdom in a form that was totally lost on me. Asking simple questions like “why do I have to wash the car today” might get me a cryptic “A stitch in time saves nine”. What’s that got to do with a car. I don’t even sew. Whenever my older brother and I were the target of these pearls of wisdom we would create our own translations. “A Penny saved is a Penny earned” became “a Penny saved is Penny candy tomorrow”. “Two wrongs don’t make a right…but three lefts do”. “Don’t judge a book by its cover…read the cliff notes”.
As I got older I realized proverbs could be useful when communicating with my children, driving home in a few words concepts and wisdom that normally might take paragraphs. Suddenly I was my parents, spouting my own wisdom that I’m sure was as frustrating to my them as it had been to me (getting the eye roll is a dead giveaway). Even if it didn’t mean anything to them it certainly made me feel better. If nothing else, I just created a new legacy that they would someday pass on to their children.
What’s this got to do with this weekend’s Boston Marathon? For a number of years (11 to be exact) I’ve written about what it’s like to be getting ready to run “The Marathon”. Those of you who have followed me during that journey know that I started with the desire to make something good out of Nick’s death by raising funds for people in need. It’s been a journey of healing, full of joy and sadness as well as ecstasy and pain (lots of pain). Somewhere along the way I decided my goal was to complete 10 Boston Marathons in a row, a goal that assures you of getting into future Boston Marathons as long as you can meet the qualifying time. It was a goal that at times seemed impossible. How could a weekend warrior stay healthy and trained at a level to qualify to run Boston for 10 years in a row? But as each year went by and I managed to finish (and my sanity slipped a little more), the goal looked more achievable. Qualifying and being accepted to run last year turned a decade of effort from a goal to a reality. In my arrogance, nothing would stop me from finishing my 10th in a row. Except maybe something life threatening like, oh I don’t know, say….Leukemia?
It was a year ago this week that I got out of the hospital from my first 5 weeks of chemo treatment. As I stand on the starting line Monday it will be 8 months since my last chemo treatment and 1 month from my last bone marrow biopsy. Unlike other years I’m not running to beat a qualifying time (not a prayer of that happening), and I’m not running to reach a goal of 10 in a row (my sanity hasn’t slipped that much, although there is a man this year planning to be the first to do 50 Boston Marathons in a row. Beyond amazing). This year in addition to raising funds to help children with cancer, I’m running to thank all the people who helped me through a difficult year. The doctors who saved my life; the angel nurses who sat by me on the bad nights; the friends who sent words of support, visited, and donated to Help in the Nick of Time; and the friends who helped me get officially back to the starting line of the marathon. Most of all to thank my family who were there for me every day. Believe me, that is no small task.
Oh yeah, let’s not forget I’m running to give the finger to Leukemia. While the battle continues, the disease hasn’t won yet.
For those of you that might find yourself curious about my progress on Monday (or maybe just plain bored), you can check it online (my number is 22239). There will be four waves of approximately 7500 runners each. I’m in the 4th wave which starts at 11:15 (by then the leaders who go off at 10AM will be at 16+ miles).
I’m a man with plan for Monday…hoping God is laughing with me this time.