Support- I have learned that if I want to achieve anything in life it will require the support of the people around me. On the personal side you have to be disciplined, determined, and focused; however, we aren’t islands onto ourselves and we need support, emotional and otherwise, to reach our full potential. The picture above is of my sister and myself just after I finished a half marathon for the first time. Even though you can’t see our faces, it is one of my favorite images. After I crossed the finish line you would have thought it was my sister, not myself, that finished the run. I felt her and my family’s support from my initial diagnosis in 2007 until crossing the finish line in 2009. I still feel it today.
Today is the first day of real training for the big-run I’m planning prior to next year’s MS Bike Tour. The date isn’t official yet, but as of today I think the run will go May 30th, 2015 starting at 6:00am and ending when I either fall over or cross the finish line (hopefully the two coincide). That gives me roughly 9 and 1/2 months to get my 225lbs frame down to around 200lbs (which would be extremely light for me) and my cardio to a ultra-marathon type standard. In order to accomplish this feat, I’ll need all the support I can get. However, the way things have gone since last Thursday, I don’t think it will be a problem.
Last Thursday morning I had my annual checkup with my neurologist. It is fairly routine; he checks me over and fills out my prescription. I mentioned my plan to him about running 90kms in advance of the MS Bike Tour next year as I wanted to know if running that far (and the training associated) would pose any significant risks to me as a person living with MS. Not only did he say that I could do it, he offered his full support and offered to run with me! I was quite taken back by this gesture.
It gets better.
My wife was waiting outside with our kids in the car as we were headed to Kamloops for my 20 high-school re-union over the weekend. We spent Thursday night (sans children who were with their Grand Parents) on a remote beach on the Kicking Horse River near Golden, British Columbia. We drove to Kamloops Friday and that evening there was an informal cocktail event. I ran into people I hadn’t seen in more than 10 years and in some cases 20 years. It was unreal. The amazing part is how you can fall right back into friendships so quickly and have it almost seem as no time had past. What does this have to do with support?
On Saturday a few of us organized a softball game on the field of our old high-school. The game had absolutely nothing to do with MS and I’m sure not everyone knew of my diagnosis. I had an ulterior motive for wanting to play a baseball game. I’m not a baseball fan, but my childhood friend Blaine, who was part of our graduating class, passed away in May. He was really excited to go to the reunion and I thought it would be fitting to play a game. I didn’t really announce it to the group either, but just felt it would be something he would have loved to do. I even wore a Yankees cap in his honor. We ended up getting 17 people out to play and it was a blast, even though I didn’t stretch and managed to pull my hamstring during my first run to first base.
On Saturday night I had a chance to sit down with two old friends. These two girls (ladies) have been besties since forever and during high-school I was really close to both of them. We caught up and shared a few laughs. I floated the idea of them joining me for the last 10 kms of the run. They didn’t even hesitate. I was floored; two people I have barely spoken to in 15 years just said, “yes.” Pretty humbling.
Between my wife, sister, parents, and friends (thanks Kurt & Mon for letting us stay at your place) I feel incredibly supported which gives me the confidence that I will be able to complete the most difficult physical challenge of my life.
Now hopefully my body doesn’t fall apart in the process…………