How did I get here though? People that run or bike crazy miles don't just wake up one day and say "I'm going to bike 100 miles or run an ultra marathon" The truth is a lot of endurance athletes are former addicts or have had a tragic moment in their life. Running or cycling crazy miles takes them to a place that they know all to well.
We all know about my struggles with diabetes, that was a low point in my life, but maybe not the lowest, which is surprising to most. My first painful memory was when I was eight, my fathers father was very sick and hooked up to all kinds of machines at the hospital. I was able to go in to see him and what I saw brought me to tears. I had a little league game later that day and had one of the best games of my life. Baseball was also present for the next moment, I was 14 and pitching, the game was only a couple of innings deep and I couldn't find my parents. I began to get nervous and as I took the mound for the next inning my mothers car pulled up. She would get out but my father was no where to be found. I pitched one of the best games of my life only to learn that my father had a heart attack earlier in the day. As a sophomore in high school my father was in a Boston hospital for two months with a virus of an unknown source in his brain aka encephalitis. When he returned home he still wasn't himself, things happened that I don't want to share but those are on my mind while running and cycling. I also think about the shot I made in the last seconds of a basketball game which kind of symbolized the end of him being sick. I have had numerous family members in rehab for alcohol and have lost a close friend or family member every year since I was 14. Endurance sports let me know that I'm alive and that life is truly a gift!!
I'm not sharing this so people feel bad for me or because I need hug. The paragraph above explains why I like to beat my body up. I love the pain of running mile after mile, I love the challenge that a 50 mile race brings. I love that I want to run a 50 mile race. I need to prove to myself that I'm alive, I need to feel pain. I have felt a lot of pain and a lot of it hasn't brought me happiness. I feel pain when I run or ride a bike for hours on end but as I'm doing so I'm thinking, crying and smiling. I don't know why I'm here, I don't know what my purpose is, but I do know that the pain of running and cycling has made me a better person. I will have a lot more pain in my life and I pray that I can get out and run or ride my bike to deal with the pain that has yet to come. If I didn't have endurance sports I don't know where I would be.