Thursday, November 7, 2013

It's the Journey ... Not the Finish Line

November 17, 2013 is fast approaching. It is the date of the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. My amazing brother Barry and my awesome sister Colleen and I have been training to run in it. Barry is running the full marathon, Colleen is running the half. I have been training for the half as well. I admit to not being as diligent as Barry or Colleen in my training, but I was rearing to go. And then this happened:

My friend Mel and I were hit from behind on October 10. (I do have to say, if you have to get in a car accident, do it with Mel! She is a rock star!) So Lola, my car, got a new bumper. Mel and I ... well we were a little worse off than Lola. Admission: I am angry.

Set aside the concussion, the ankles, the whiplash, the bruised ribs, and the torn rotator cuff/Labrums injury. Set aside the numerous phone calls and hours spent fighting with insurance. Set aside the sleepless nights because of pain. Set it all aside. I am angry because I cannot run the half marathon that I have been working so hard for. 

I posted this status update on facebook:

I have used facebook to help raise awareness and money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and my Las Vegas 1/2 marathon that is 4 weeks away. Sadly because of the car accident that was last week I am not going to be able to particiate in the race. ... I want to tell everyone who donated their time, yard sale items, and money how very grateful I am for all of it. I especially want to thank everyone who encouraged this fat girl to run and did not give up on me. It means the world. I will still be in Vegas cheering my team on and screaming my loudest for my siblings who have worked so hard for this. GO team Johnson!! GO MMRF Power Team. Cancer still sucks, and frankly car accidents do as well. Thanks again for everyone who has supported me! There will be another race. 

I felt like a failure posting that. I felt like I had let everyone down, including me. I felt like the world was ending and I was a disappointment to my family, my mother, and myself. I cried typing the facebook status. Not the "oh I am sad" cry but the "this is the ugliest cry in the world" cry. I wanted to ignore the 'likes' and comments for my update because I was sure they were going to make me feel worse as people expressed their disappointment in my failure. That they would make me feel like the failure I felt like. True story!

Nothing could have been further from the truth. I was overwhelmed with encouragement and love. One of the comments, from a lady I admire and respect, said: Remember that it's the journey, not the destination. Look what you've gained along the way. The last 13 miles matters not.

It was exactly what I needed to hear. I realize that the race and the medal are kind of like a grand prize. But it is not the finish line on November 17 that is the goal or the ultimate finish line I am working toward. 

My main goal in participating in this race was to raise funds and awareness for Multiple Myeloma cancer research. I've raised $1,500 so far on my page and my siblings and I are so close to collectively raising $4500. This cancer has turned our lives upside down and will one day take the life of my dear mother. Until that day (which is hope and pray is many years away) she lives in pretty constant pain because her bones are so fragile. There is currently no cure for Multiple Myeloma. So the funds we raise for a cure are vital. Will they save the life of my mother? Probably not, but they will one day have a cure for this cancer and our efforts will save the life of someone else's mother. It will save someone else the same heartache my siblings and I feel for our mother. When Mom was diagnosed the life expectancy of myeloma patients was 3-5 years. That was 6 years ago. The life expectancy now of myeloma patients is upwards of 10 years. That increase is due to people raising funds for research. That race is much more important than 13.1 miles in Las Vegas in 10 days. That is a race that has no finish line until there is a cure. 

My secondary goal was for me to lose weight and get healthy. I am not anywhere close to my goal weight, but if you told me 2 years ago and I would run ... and enjoy running a little ... I would have said you were on crack. I have not been able to run for a few weeks and I miss it. I miss feeling like my lungs were on fire and I just cannot go one more step. I miss the sweat after a 4 mile run. I miss the sore muscles post run. I miss the solitude of just being in my own world. I miss the exhilaration of knowing that this fat girl ran 4 miles. I love buying new pants because the old ones no longer fit. The race to lose weight is not over because I cannot run on November 17. That race has no finish line until I feel healthy.

There were other benefits that I had no clue would come with training for a race. I can never again say I cannot run. I can run. I can never again say I can't do hard things. I can. If my mom can fight like hell to beat cancer, not once, but twice in the last 5 years, then I can do hard things too. I have more self confidence and care less what others think of me in regard to how I look. Now I cannot say that I do not care at all what others' opinion of me is ... I do care ... but I care less than I did a year ago. 

The journey to this marathon as been incredible. I am still mad that I cannot participate in the run next week. I am mad that someone else's careless actions have robbed me of certain joys in life and made things much harder for a short time. But my journey has been amazing. And lucky for me there are more finish lines to look forward to. There are many more miles to run and a lot more money to raise for The MMRF. I am looking forward to continuing this journey. And finding a finish line of a half marathon one day. For now, I will slow down and heal from the accident. I will do what I can to continue to lose weight. I will enjoy spending time with my family in 10 days. I no longer feel like a failure because I can't participate. I have had a 2 year journey getting ready for a race and will just keep racing. Keep fighting. Keep working. Keep laughing. And keep loving. I am imperfect, and I am enough. 


miss kristen said...

Hell yes you are enough! I for one would be LOST without you.

You are enough, you are rad, and the piss-poor actions of someone else does NOT make you a failure. You are allowed to be angry and sad, but you are NOT allowed to feel like a failure.

I could pontificate (see, I can use big words) more about your amazingness, but I will refrain. Not because it isn't true but because it would be long. And rambling. And people would be like "seriously, who is this girl and why won't she just shut up already?"

You showed up ready to kick cancer's ass, and you have. $1500 is no small feat!! You go girl. I love your face. More than you can ever comprehend.

Sara Walker said...

So cool that you have taken the running plunge. It infects you, grabs on to you and wont let you go. Its the best kind of addiction. You are awesome for all that you have accomplished. There are other races to be run and your desire will be fulfilled!

Sara Walker said...

pshh..i just posted an awesome long comment and blogger lost it! just know you are awesome, and i think its totally awesome that you are now infected with the running bug. keep it up!

grandma glo said...

Here I sit in the office next to yours with tears running down my cheeks. You always make me cry when you write about Multiple Myeloma and me. I love you and your passion about this race and your continued journey. You have truly been an inspiration to our entire family. You are the one who started this whole thing, well no, I guess I did, but you chose your path, I didn't choose mine. You have taught me much as I have endured this battle, have been a tower of strength and support the entire way, you even taught me to say "cancer sucks" as it surely does. There are many things that make it tolerable though and you are one of them. You are enough and I am glad you are mine.