Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Choosing To Suffer

Every single day at work I am surrounded by people who are being bombarded with UNINTENTIONAL suffering. They have kidney failure and are faced with a life on dialysis. Some have cancer. Some are old and have to depend on other people for everything. The thought of facing those challenges scares me. A lot. They don't have a choice. There is no escape from their suffering.

But with running, I am in control of my suffering. Even when I am most miserable - when my legs are cramping like crazy, or when I'm dehydrated and sick, or when I'm so exhausted that I start talking to Care Bears - one thought keeps me going: I CHOSE THIS! Nobody is making me do this. It is my choice.

And all those people who are drowning in unintentional suffering would LOVE to be able to be out on a trail running 50 miles even if it meant they were cramping like crazy, and dehydrated, and exhausted, and talking to Care Bears. They would trade places with me in a heart beat.

I have a sweet high school friend named Alisa who is in the middle of a hard-fought battle with cancer. Alisa is one of the kindest, happiest, most courageous people you could ever hope to meet. I couldn't get out of my mind that before she got really sick, she was training for her first half marathon. It made me really, really mad that cancer took her race away from her. I have felt helpless wishing there was something I could do.

The night before the Buffalo Run 50 miler I told Alisa I was going to run it for her. If she couldn't be out there running, I'd try to do it for her. I wrote Alisa's name on my hand to remind me of her when things got hard. Because no matter how difficult my race became, it was absolutely nothing compared to the race she was facing.
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I hope I am able to continue running for a long time. I hope I don't take running for granted. I hope that when I am suffering, I remember that it was my choice, and there are countless people who didn't choose their suffering. I hope I can be there when Alisa runs her first half marathon.

19 comments:

  1. I am so sorry for your friend Alisa. You have chosen a great way to help her and you will be there for her first 1/2 marathon!

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  2. Wow. This post is perfect. Well said. I have been thinking about that lately when I want to quit..."all I have to do is run for 5 more minutes...you can do that...its a small price to pay" It works for the most part but I think I will keep your post in mind to really solidify it for myself...that I am choosing this and CAN do it.

    Thinking of your friend Alisa. She sounds like an amazing person...a fighter!

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    1. She definitely is amazing. It certainly puts into perspective what is really important.

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  3. Thank you so much for this post Cory. It is something I really needed to hear before I tackle Boston. We are so blessed that we are able to run and every single step is truly a blessing. Very inspirational story and I have faith that Alisa will get to run that half marathon someday.

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  4. I love this. I do the same thing, often, my 5yr old has leukemia, and one of my routes takes me past the ER where we first found out, and without fail, it pushes me harder.

    We ARE lucky to chose this. SO lucky.

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    1. Wow. I can't imagine a 5 year old facing something like that. I think I might have a hard time running past the ER. Hang in there and good luck!

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  5. You are an amazing man, Cory. Alisa is very lucky to have a friend like you. This was very inspiring to me and I'm so grateful for it. Thank you.

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  6. I love every word of this post :)

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  7. Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering - and it's all over much too soon. -- Woody Allen

    Good luck to Alisa!

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  8. Ahhh, this made me get tears in my eyes. What a wonderful thing to do for a friend!

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  9. this a really inspiring post. I was in an accident from which a head injury has me caused constant pain (for almost 4 years now) and when people compliment my endurance I have to correct them - I have no choice. I would have quit YEARS ago if I could have. But when I read about people who press on willingly. People like you who keep going when they could throw in the towel - that what gives me a lot of encouragement. so thank you - for running on

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    1. It's no fun to be running when you've hit the wall and feel like you got run over by a Greyhound. But at least we know the pain will end eventually. I really admire people like you that aren't running for a finish line. I admire your endurance.

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  10. Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing! So many people suffer so much. Even in our suffering we can be unbelieveavly blessed by those around us who care as you do.

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  11. Cory, Thanks so much for your amazing thoughts. We ran the Moab Half without Alisa and Josh. I was hot and miserable and wanted to quit and kept thinking -- she can't do this, I must keep going even when it is so very hard. Thanks again for your support! (Josh's mom)

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    1. I admire Josh and Alisa so much. I really feel lucky to know them. It is going to be an incredible day when all of you can run that race together!

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  12. Cory! Sweetest post ever. I agree with e-orbin here, it is your kind that is inspiring us. I hope you can run for a very, very long time. I am glad that you don't take it for granted. That is the one lesson I wish I could teach. And YES to you being there when I get back in my running shoes!!!

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  13. You are truly in touch with people and their challenges, their highs and lows. Alisa is one lucky lady to have your family as her friend.

    I lost a super close dear friend 5 years ago to cancer and it hurts something fierce. I also lost my own son 2 years ago from a hiking accident which hurts even worse. He knew the power of exercise and the benefits of running. I didn't start running until after he passed away and I know I'll someday get to run with him.

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  14. This is such a great reminder not to take things for granted. I hope you get to run with Alisa for her first half marathon.

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