Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Marathon

Mettle (mtl) n. - Courage and fortitude; spirit

I've mentioned before that when I was first diagnosed with cancer, I told my running BFF that if I survived, I would run a marathon. It's been almost three years since I told her that and I am lucky if I can make it around the block. I LOVE running and I miss it so much that if I think about it at all, tears flow.

People see me when I have energy. They see me when I'm at my best. They don't see the agonizing moments at home when I don't have enough energy to make it through the day. They don't see the constant disappointment that we feel when I can't go on bike rides or hang out on family night and play games. Sometimes I'm too tired to even sit and have dinner with my family. It is beyond frustrating. Exercise takes a back seat.

I have another running BFF. Yes, I know it is illogical to have more than one BFF, but when you run with people...you become BFFs. It's unavoidable. Danielle's husband is in the Air Force and they moved to Korea two years ago. Since then, she ran NINE marathons in NINE different countries! She is amazing and I love living her adventures vicariously.

She was here this past weekend for a quick visit. Before we parted she showed me one of her medals. It was the medal she earned running a marathon in Laos. She told me about the things she had to overcome to earn that medal.

Then she presented it to me.

I can't run a marathon (yet!), but I ran a race of my own and she wanted to honor my race.

I know how much work and sacrifice goes into training for a marathon. I can only imagine both the agony and the sense of pride in finishing one. And I know how much those medals mean.

I also know how much work and sacrifice it takes to battle cancer. It is difficult and often times feels like a never-ending marathon. It takes endurance...an endurance I never knew I had. To get a medal for that - a marathon medal earned by one of my friends - means more to me than words could ever express. It's overwhelming.

"Medals4Mettle (M4M) is a non-profit organization that facilitates the gifting of marathon, half marathon, and triathlon finishers’ medals. Runners from around the world give their hard earned medals to Medals4Mettle. Our worldwide network of physicians and volunteers then awards these medals attached to a Medals4Mettle ribbon to children and adults fighting debilitating illnesses who might not be able to run a race, but are in a race of their own just to continue to live their life. It is in honor of this mettle and courage in bravely facing these challenges that they are awarded a medal."