“I think that there is something beautiful about mortality. It makes our decisions mean more.” Brandon Boyd
Last year I ran BC100k with nothing but a goal to finish. I was coming back from injury…basically a two year hiatus from competitive running….I had some attempts to come back, but all were fails. After starting to work with Rivs and always having a loose hand when it comes to races, I signed up for BC100k to see where I was at starting the 2015 season. I ran that day relaxed and really only wanting to finish to get a baseline. I crossed the line in 5th overall after getting lost for a couple miles in the last section. I’ll blame my faulty headlamp It was a shocker given my lack of training to that point and kicked off a remarkable season. Kicking off the 2016 season after NF50…well, I’m heading into BC100k with a completely different mindset.
I venture to guess many people will think this about a golden ticket finish…it’s not. I could tell you all about training and nutrition and strategy, but not for this race. Yes, I absolutely have a goal set to podium this year and get a golden ticket, but my ultimate intention is different. I always have to run with intention, and this year, it’s for my dad. It’s amazing what can happen in one years time, but it’s even more amazing what can happen in a minutes time. All motivation can change.
I got a call from my mom a couple weeks ago and it’s never fun to hear, “we’re going to the hospital.” I’m one of those persons that believes in medical attention but also dismisses any potential problem that there might be. “Oh you have pain; no biggie, they will take care of it” is typically how I sound in order to make it all go away. To make a long story short, after multiple tests and procedures, it was determined my dads “pain” was maybe a gallstone; and while searching for a stone, the doctors happened to find a tumor in the liver. Basically, by chance, my dad was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma. Ahhhh, what?
So my immediate response….”oh no big deal, just take it out.” Well, that wasn’t the case. The options were resection his liver or transplant. It was starting to click that maybe this was something to not avoid. The prognosis for this rare cancer is not great…1 in 5 make it to the 1 year mark. I know many people have experienced these scares in life, whether it’s a loved one, child, or parent. For me, it’s my second time and just as scary. That emotion does not fade; there is no habituation to fears of someone’s mortality. It’s an emotion you don’t wish on anyone. I was ready and willing to be a live liver donor, and after conversations with the surgical team at Froedtert Hospital, they decided a resection would be what it takes to eliminate the Cholangiocarcinoma. Thank goodness!! Surgery TBA.
Again, this might just be new to me, but questioning mortality and purpose in life really can make a person think. Anything can happen at any moment so the quote above hits home hard…decisions do truly mean so much more than we probably think. I decided after my dads diagnosis to run BC100k for him. No matter how I finish, my goal is to finish for him. He’s a strong man that sees the good in everything…even the horrible parts of life…and if he’s beating Cholangiocarcinoma, then I can beat the physical and mental struggles of an ultra. (They usually start in the first mile ).
Life is about living and pushing your limits…BC100k is about proving that, whether you run or not, you can overcome any obstacle put in your path. #ZeroLimits