A More Personal Reflection

Midlife can be a sobering transitional phase in one’s life about which we receive little preparation or warning.  As I rounded life’s midway mark I found myself facing the unpredictable challenges associated with children growing into adulthood.  At the same time my father was descending into dementia and I watched the toll it took on him and my mother as I was thrust into the role of managing their transitions into an uncertain, difficult and ongoing phase of their lives. It was also a significant transition for me.

I ran my first marathon at roughly the same time, a bit over ten years ago.  I saw it as a one-time event and met my goal of running the whole course and crossing the finish line in one piece. Though I broke no records, I was pleased with the outcome. A few months later I went for a routine annual physical expecting nothing significant. My doctor ran an ekg and noted that it had changed a bit from the previous year's. With no cardiac symptoms or risk factors she said it was probably nothing, but would feel more comfortable if I ran it by a cardiologist.  The cardiologist was not concerned though she followed up.  After successive tests and within days she told me, in a new urgent tone, that I needed to be in the hospital NOW. The next day the surgeon discovered coronary blockage and inserted four stents. He said, "You were the guy who was going to go out running one day, drop dead, and no one would understand why." After digesting it all, I resolved to run the New York City marathon again for two reasons: 1- to test the new plumbing and 2- as an act of defiance and affirmation. The hardware worked well and I shaved 1 hour and 14 minutes off of my previous year's time. Since then I have run 28 more marathons (and counting). Each marathon represents a celebration of life for me. In fact, every time I run any distance I end it with an appreciation for all of life’s moments. It is an appreciation that I would like to share with you and help you find in your own life.

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