Saturday, March 11, 2017

Call Me Mr. Melancholy

Sometimes no truth is more powerful 
Than one expressed in anger 
By a melancholy man...
- Pete Hamill 

2017 shall be the final year for me running marathons.  Truth be told, it is not a distance that my body handles particularly well.  While I enjoy very much the feeling of satisfaction when the finish line is reached, the preparation that goes into getting to that point in the road (both the metaphysical road and the actual road), is something I enjoy quite a bit less.   Having taken up this lunacy when I was forty-four years old, I have decided that fifty is the age at which I shall alight from the marathon pain train and run more manageable distances. 

I had hoped to get into the lottery for this year's New York City Marathon so that it would be my final marathon.  Unfortunately, the good fortune that shined upon me in 2015 did not do so this year.  

Last year, after not winning entry through the lottery, I ran for Team Stomp the Monster, a charity team.  As a member of a charity team, the trade-off is simple:  In exchange for a guaranteed spot in the Marathon, you have to raise a predetermined amount of money.  Quid pro quo reduced to its simplest form.  Through the generosity of a lot of terrific people, I not only fulfilled my fundraising commitment last year, I exceeded it

There are many things that I do poorly but not as poorly as ask for help when help is necessary.  It is a flaw that is further exacerbated when the help required is financial.  I loathe asking anyone for money.  It makes me extremely uncomfortable.  This is so even when the financial assistance I seek is not actually for me but for another - in this case, Stomp The Monster, which is an excellent, Jersey-based 501(c)(3) not-for-profit whose mission is to assist cancer patients and their families by providing them support, financial and otherwise.  

Therefore, while it was not my intention to run the 2017 New York City Marathon as a member of a charity team, again, that is precisely what I shall do.  Once again, I shall lace up my running shoes and make my way from the Staten Island side of the Verrazano Bridge through the five boroughs to the finish line in Central Park.  

I am doing it, this one final time, because I am pissed off.  I am pissed off at the blood lust with which cancer pursues families, including my own.  I am pissed off at my own impotence.  I earn my living solving problems.  I fix things.  Yet, I am powerless to keep cancer from doing what is has done - and what it continues to do - to those I love, including my family.  My inability to protect any of them from it infuriates me.  It humiliates me too.  Possessing the ability to fix things is not worth a fucking damn when you lack the ability to fix THE most important thing.  

This November, one final time at this great race, I shall put my anger to good use.  If you are able to lend a hand and are inclined to do so, then you can do so simply by accessing my 2017 Team Stomp The Monster fundraising page, the link to which is here.   If you are not positioned where you can make a financial contribution, then simply keep a good thought.  Not for me but for those fighting the fight and those doing everything within their power to help them do so.  

-AK 




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