#WineglassForWhitey Update: Patience
When I committed to running Wineglass Marathon, and fundraising in honor of Whitey, I had 12 weeks in which to train.
Now two weeks in, I’ve had time to grapple with familiar demons of training: doubt and fear. After not training for two years, even easy runs felt less than. Yet I know the runs will get longer and the paces harder.
Then I remind myself that there’s a plan: four weeks easy base-building; six weeks of hard work; two weeks of taper; race day.
This plan helps keep things in order. I have four weeks to dance with doubt before the real work begins. By then, my head needs to be clear…or at least believe it is within my control.
At some point last week – when I’m sure my body was feeling less than capable on a hot, sweaty run – I told myself that this self-imposed struggle is a privilege. It is a choice, and in many ways, a self-indulgent luxury of good health.
What’s not a choice is being diagnosed with cancer. Ask Whitey. And so, I think about how he needs a liver transplant to beat his liver cancer. I think about his family and the support network he has. I think about the treatments he’s undergoing to save his life.
Over the weekend, I read an article by Shozan Jack Haubner, author of Zen Confidential: Confessions of a Wayward Monk. In the article he recounts his experience with a medical emergency that landed him in the ER. He was initially diagnosed with cancer…a diagnosis which was later found to be inaccurate. There were two excerpts that stuck in my mind:
“Patience is the key to your mental health when you are physically ill. It is the one of the few virtues you can actively cultivate when your body ceases to cooperate. When sick, you must practice the lost art of waiting and seeing, for your life is now on hold. You must slow down to meet the rhythms of a body that is fighting with itself, for you. The problem is, once you do slow down, the demons – the anxieties and fears you were fleeing while you were healthy finally catch up with you.”
“The moment I got sick a light went out, and since then I’d forgotten the most basic principle of Zen meditation: breathe into the place where you ache the most.”
So I’ve been thinking about patience and how it plays into everything. Sure, it’s relevant to marathon training. More so, it’s relevant when we feel we have little or no control over our circumstances, though we very well know our desired outcome. And I’ve thought about how patience must play into Whitey’s situation. Especially Whitey’s situation.
I’ve taken the time this weekend to breathe where I ache the most: my heart. It breaks to see a friend dealing with cancer. Then I see how Whitey is approaching this challenge: with openness, love, and humor. My heart then feels encouraged and swells with this breath of patience for all that is going on around us…all the things we can control and those we cannot.
I can’t control if you will donate. But I can control the patience and determination needed to achieve this goal: $10,000 in 12 weeks in honor of Matt White. I ask again: please support.
Support cancer research so one day, a diagnosis won’t require so much “waiting and seeing”. Support research so we will one day have a cure. Donate here.