Personally, my summer pretty much sucked (how was yours!). The fact is amazing considering I wrote that last (2014) summer was the happiest of my life. As Victor Frankl wrote in Mans Search for Meaning (good one BTW), we do not get to pick our challenges, though we can pick how we respond to our challenges.
Besides cooking, I also began running. A lot. For anyone. Anyone from Pittsburgh, anyways.
After a few consecutive 50 mile weeks, it was gently pointed out to me I was training for a marathon, without having actually entered one. I quickly amended that error and entered on behalf of the MMRF in the NYC Marathon. I was stunned by the amount of support generated in just a few weeks: $5k worth. As for the running itself, I teamed with Donal C., an ultra marathoner from SF who had never done New York. We completed the first 15 miles at 8:00 clips, 52:00 minutes ahead of pace. Then Donal hit me with this banter: I was running away from something, as I had done all summer. Why not run toward something from here to the finish. Indeed, it was part of a major catharsis for me (I also lost 30 pounds, without really trying to do so). As I approached the bridge to Manhattan, I focussed on two immutable truths: 1) we would not win- the Kenyans had already had their lunch and a nap. and 2) I wanted to enjoy it and finish strong for the last 10 miles. Seeing my kids- having them thrown into my arms, at the 20th mile gave me all the strength I needed: we did the rest of the course at my normal pace and finished the last mile in 8:00 as people collapsed in puddles beside me on 5th Avenue. We were 30:00 ahead of our time.
And like so many of the 50,000 people (many finished well before me), we had a reason for all the effort. I guess it is quite like many of the people I ran for: MM and related blood disorders are nothing anyone expects to be dealing with. When I speak with MM families, they talk about their painful journey through five stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness and Acceptance. And while my life was not at risk, my soul needed to work through of each stage. Marathons are great for that.