Monday, July 25, 2016

If I can, I will.

There's been some big progress the last few weeks.

First, with a little bit of planning, we took a family road trip. We spent four days and three nights in a very nice hotel just outside of the middle of nowhere in upstate New York. We enjoyed the southern tips of the Finger Lakes. I have to admit, that I was a little nervous about all the traveling we all did. Everything turned out fine, and I did a few things that I took for granted in my life before acute motor axonal neuropathy.

At Robert Treman State Park in Ithaca I managed to walk barefoot on gravel and then sit with my feet dipping in the natural pool.

Sitting there, there were a few things going through my mind. Mainly,
I was trying to be in the moment. Trying to enjoy the view of my kids playing in the freshwater.

I wasn't thinking about the path I recently took, the uneven surfaces, sharp rocks. Nor was I thinking about the last two years, intensive care, blood transfusions, chemotherapy and wheelchairs and canes.

I wasn't thinking of the fact that I had no idea how I was going to stand up, or even if I could. But I did, and I don't think any of the strangers around me knew how much of a big deal that was.

I was just a guy watching his kids jump off a diving board into a pond in front of a waterfall.
And hang out in the waterfall

The next day, we went to Watkins Glen State Park. Way before the kids were born my wife and I spent half a day there. I knew we weren't far, so I suggested we go back there with the kids. Back in the 90s when it was just the wife and I we parked at the top and walked to town and back along the waterfalls. Here we were, 20 years later with our kids. I thought that was kind of cool. This time we parked at the bottom and were going to walk to the top and back. However, my plan was a little ambitious and I wisely let the rest of the family go to the top and back without me. Yeah, going up was challenging especially because there wasn't a rail to hold onto. You can Google Watkins Glen for tons of great pictures but below is one I took with my shaky hands of the stairs that I managed to get back down with some significant help from my wife.

(By the way, holding a phone and taking a picture is another thing that most of you take for granted. I consider it one of my recent accomplishments.)

Another one of my recent re-accomplishments is the fact that yesterday I managed to go to the Park Slope Food Coop and shop by myself. You might not think that's a big deal, but that place is super crowded on most days but on a Sunday afternoon did sometimes wonder why the fire department doesn't show up and clear the place out. So, getting around the aisles and filling my cart with vegan and politically correct merchandise was a great challenge. And then waiting online to find out how much everything cost, then a second line to pay, and yes a third line just to get out the door was pretty much a big deal.. The fact that I successfully did all this without falling or even dropping anything maked me think they should name that store after me. But there's probably a rule against that.

And on a similar note last week I walked out of my house and then down to the barbershop, got my haircut and came back home. All by myself. Like a grown-up.

Thanks Randy
And I'm racing again, if you want to call it that. Saturday evening I joined some of my old friends from the ultra running community in a six hour race. I first did this race back in 2012. Then, I was very happy to finish 27.44 miles in six hours. I wanted to run more than 26.2 miles that day so that it was count as an ultramarathon. And I did. This time, I really didn't have a special goal. I knew that two months ago it took me 4 hours and 40 minutes to run the 13.1 mile Brooklyn half Marathon. I figured I might be able to do 15 or 16 miles in six hours.  But I didn't figure on the fact that it was 97° when we started the race at 5 PM. The temperature actually got tolerable by 7 PM when the sun got lower. But nothing flattened the hills that we had to go up and down. In the end, I was very pleased with myself. I walked continually for six hours. About halfway through the race I was tempted to take a break on a park bench. Looking back, I'm grateful to all the mosquitoes that were there because they kept me from staying there for more than five seconds.

To the left is a picture that was snapped of me passing the buffet table. I was probably three or four loops into the ten that t that I completed.

I also have to sum it up here by saying how good it felt to be back in the community of ultra marathon runners. Just by being around them I remembered that sometimes goals are very far away and you get there just one step at a time.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats and God bless!
    I relate ... after 9 months of radiation, chemo and 2surgeries for rectal cancer and being cancer free Ian facing the challenge of life with step at a time...can't wait to hold the phone ��


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