April 18, 2011

Mantra Monday - In the Footsteps of a Remarkable Man

My heart still aches despite everything in my head telling me to get over it - its just a silly little race after all.  My head keeps telling me how proud I should be of him. And I am. Deep down under the hurt and self doubt. The awe at my remarkable husband is there.

Mantra Monday
When he was little, he chronically got injured.  Every picture his mother has shown me of him as a little feller he has a big red bump on his head.  He would fall into the fireplace or something and get a giant knot.  The knot took forever to go away.  At one point the doctors thought it was a clot or a tumor - surgery to remove it would be necessary.
I thank God (literally - I don't say that casually) that he was tested and diagnosed with hemophilia before the surgery ever occurred.  Thankfully we only have to guess if he would have made it through the operation - cutting open someone with a blood condition, especially an undiagnosed blood condition, could be fatal.
His mother has told me that in the days that followed, she forced him to sit on the couch and do nothing - her fear of him being injured was to great to allow him to live life.  She sat opposite of him on the couch, crying and eating her favorite comfort foods.  How could they possibly make it through this?
The hard times for him came when he was in middle/high school.  His natural athleticism drove him to competitive sports, but he couldn't find a doctor to sign his medical release form.  There would be no football, basketball, or baseball in his future.  If he wanted to compete, they'd only allow him to join the swim team.
In college, he finally talked them into allowing him to compete in crew - some yuppy rowing sport - surely he couldn't injure himself too badly sitting in a boat rowing? 
Only he did.  The yuppy in him calls it his iliopsoas, we regular folks just call it a hip flexor.  Not one to whine or complain, he never brought it up.  His mom, however, told me of all the painful rehab they did to aid in healing and range of motion.
As with any injury, scar tissue can build.  They were told that he'd probably walk with a limp for the rest of his life.
Stop and think about that for a moment.
He's supposed to be walking with a limp right now.  A decade ago a doctor told him his gate would forever be marred by this injury.
My husband is a walking miracle.  Quite literally.
There is no reason he should have been able to finish a sub 30 5K, much less the difficult 26.2 mile trek we completed Saturday.
Life hasn't been fair to my husband.  He has blood condition that's supposed to be hereditary, yet no one in his family has it.  He's a product of a genetic mutation. 
He shouldn't be walking with ease, much less competing in marathons.
He shouldn't be able to beat me in a race of any distance, but he does.  Every time.  Except that time he had to poop and had to walk for 2 miles of the race.
He could have went into a bubble upon diagnosis, but didn't.

He has every reason to not get out there and live life, after all life will eventually kill ya.
Yet he refuses.  "Don't tell me what I can't do!"   A popular quote from the TV show Lost, but the mantra my sky-diving husband lives by. 
When life knocks him down, tries to dictate his course - he spits in its face and pushes the obstacle out of his way. 
My lack of athleticism isn't fair, but it only wins if I give in.  If I succumb to the temptation to sit on the couch and eat Cheetos.  Damn my lack of athleticism AND the horse it road in on.  I'm going to prove to myself that I'm better than this.
I'm going to train these next few week (after the blisters allow me to wear trainers again) with all my heart so that I can shoot for a new 5K PR on May 7th.
Then I'm going to hop in the pool and on my antique mountain bike to prove that I can conquer the hills of West Knoxville, crappy bike or no.
After that I'll race in two half marathons in back to back months.  Come winter, I'll start my marathon training.  Because the only way to conquer fear is to look it straight in the face.  Training on the hills of Gatlinburg will prepare for the brutal Knoxville Marathon.
I refuse to let fear tell me what I can't do.  I refuse to let it limit me. 
I refuse to allow myself to believe the lie that I'm not good enough.  If this race has taught me anything its that hard work and determination can take you far - especially when you have someone taunting you telling you that you can't do it.  Be it a wife or that hateful voice inside your head.


  1. He's pretty amazing! Great tribute.

  2. Wow. that really is an amazing story for him, and you're right, this was a really big milestone for him.

    i still say you rock no matter where your husband came in in the lineup.

    My favorite line in your post today: I refuse to let fear tell me what I can't do.


  3. I'm proud of you for writing this post! You are BOTH pretty awesome!! What you said about fear made me sit down on the inside. Good words, my friend! I needed to read them today.

  4. Amazing tribute, Brooke ~ what a wonderful view you both have of his life! This is such a great and inspiring post.

  5. Good for you, Brooke! Sometimes it's easier just to sit and wallow in our self-pity but you are being the bigger person and you aren't allowing it to get you down! You are AMAZING, girl and I think you are awesome!!

  6. Congratulating both of you on a job well done.

  7. you are a rock star whether you know it or not.

    that is all :)

  8. This is a lovely tribute to your husband; beautifully done, Brooke! Makes me think that perhaps they should rename it the "Mutant Man (& His Great-hearted Wife) March?" ;-)


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