Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What I Learned from a Quadriplegic

I make excuses on how it is too cold, too windy or that I don't like the roads around my house that I have to run on. So I don't run. I am behind in my training because I am too busy and trying to pay off debt and running is always the first thing that I cut out of my schedule.
I was subbing late last week and sat down to lunch with one of the aids for the classroom. She was sharing about how she has to care for her husband because he can't take care of himself. She said it like it was nothing and I wasn't thinking and made a joke about how my wife has to take care of me too. She laughed and said, "But my husband was injured in a work accident 37 years ago and is a quadriplegic." 
I sat there trying to figure out how to get my foot out of the back of my throat. We went on to have a great conversation about the two of them and their relationship. She then shared about how he has good and bad days with his disability, but the one thing he misses the most is running.
Before the accident he ran 6 miles every day. No matter what the weather or what was on his schedule; he ran. She said that not too long ago he went in for blood work and as a part of the test they were doing they had to give him medicine to speed up his heart. She said he sat there and began to smile as the medicine did what it was supposed to. He closed his eyes and the smile grew larger and larger as the medicine continued to get into his system. 
Since he had been injured 37 years ago he hasn't been able to do any aerobic exercise. The medicine was basically giving him the same feeling that he had after a long run. He could feel the blood pumping through his system harder and faster. He could feel his heart beating hard for the first time in years. It was as close to running as he will ever get for the rest of his life.
It changes your mindset when you realize you are capable of doing something that other people wish they could, but are physically unable. The excuses that it is too dark, too cold or i am too busy somehow aren't good enough. I can't think of telling this man how I can run, but choose not too. He would give anything to be in my shoes...literally.
Tonight as I ran down the gravel roads where we live I couldn’t help but think of this man. How my heart was beating harder and pumping blood faster. I don’t think he’d want me to feel pity for him, but I do know that he would want me to run. Every time I run from now until I finish the half marathon in April I will be thinking about this man. Praying for him. And praying for all of us not to take our abilities to run for granted.

1 comment:

  1. Amen, thanks for sharing this. :-) What an inspiring reflection and reminder to all of us who take our ability to run for granted. I'm profoundly moved and have a greater appreciation for running today.