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I’m Alive, I Promise

November 16, 2012

Most of you Rogues, and even my teammates on Rogue AC, are probably wondering if I am a figment of their imagination.  Trust me, I’m trying desperately to dis spell this thought, which has even crept into my own mind at times.  Since moving down to Austin in mid-August it seems I’ve been able to do just about everything but run.  It would be easy to doubt our decision to move down here to run because the obstacles seem to be endless.  But, maybe, there’s a reason I’ve been humbled to my current fitness, which, I can assure you, isn’t much.  The calendar is moving faster than I am right now but I still find myself as happy as ever about the prospect of training here.  When things aren’t going well it’s easy to just ship and say, “well, I tried, time to move on.”  Not me.  The Olympics are 4 years away, nearly an eternity in running years, but after experiencing the trials this summer I can’t wait for another shot.  Things could not be more different than I expected moving down here.  But that’s okay, my journey will just look a little different than I expected.  I have lofty goals that almost make me laugh when I really think about them but what I’ve learned is that you’ve got to do what it takes to get there.   It’s one thing to make lofty goals but a altogether different one to take steps to make it happen.  Sure, it would be great to get paid a handsome salary to just run but that’s not the reality of the situation.  The reality is I’ve got to work a full time job to make it work.  If that’s what I’ve got to do, then so be it.  And that’s what I’ve been doing since October 1.  Another reality is the health problems I’ve had over the past few months.  I’ve been diagnosed with mild Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, it’s still being determined.  These things aren’t excuses, they’re simply turns along the path of life.  Not turns I expected, but they don’t change my goals, just what I’ve got to do to get there.

Arthur Ashe was one of the greatest tennis players of all time and I should probably know more about him than I do.  But, my mom told me a story about him when I was in high school and it’s stuck with me and really been huge for me in light of what I’ve gone through the last couple months.  You see, Arthur Ashe died of AIDS. But before you rush to judgement keep reading.  He contracted the HIV virus from a blood transfusion he received during heart surgery.  This guy had every excuse in the world to feel down because things didn’t end up “fair” for him.  But he chose not too.

From world over, he received letters from his fans, one of which conveyed: “Why does GOD have to select you for such a bad disease”?

To this, Arthur Ashe replied:
“The world over — 50 million children start playing tennis, 5 million learn to play tennis,
500,000 learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit, 5000 reach the grand slam,
50 reach Wimbledon, 4 to semi final, 2 to the finals,
when I was holding a cup I never asked GOD ‘Why me?’.
And today in pain I should not be asking GOD ‘Why me?’”

I certainly don’t claim to know the horrors of what Mr. Ashe experienced or compare myself to him in that way, but I do understand the decision he made to not be bitter on another level.  It’s been quite the Thanksgiving lesson for me.  I hope you all enjoy your time with friends and family next weekend, I know I sure will!

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