Saturday, June 14, 2008

One Year Ago Tomorrow and An American Hero

June 15 is the one-year anniversary of Dori's check-in to the Vanderbilt emergency room. Understandably, it's been on her mind a lot this week (mine, too). She's been emotional the last few days, and who can blame her?

The only thing I can distinctly remember from that day is the feeling "this isn't good," as well as some crazy guy dressed up as a woman in the emergency room. Thankfully, he wasn't staff. Dori remembers he/she kept calling someone on his cell phone and loudly asking that person "to bring him a Snickers!" Three days later, Dr. Greer told Dori she had AML. Life as we knew it was forever changed.

This morning, I joined the Team in Training crew at Fleet Feet in Brentwood. I don't know many folks yet, but met a few at 7 a.m. I ran some with Coach Heather (she's heading up the Half Marathoners for San Francisco) and some with Coach Tilghman (she's heading up the Full Marathoners). The Head Coach, Stephne, is very encouraging. All three are great.

Running the first two miles with Heather went by quickly. She talked about her Mom's bout with stomach cancer and then her Mom's multiple myeloma. I shared how we approached AML and how I had to change my approach with Dori. I believe the smartest thing I did last year was to let Dori work through this on her own and resist the urge to cheerlead. I promised Dori from the outset I would encourage her to sort through things and I would be with her every step of the way. When she cried, which was often, I said, "You have every right to feel that way. Let it out." When she was angry, which wasn't often, I said, "I can certainly understand that feeling." ... Her terms, not mine. Cancer, which I despise, made me a better husband. I listen more, talk less.

I caught up with Tilghman, who I hadn't met until today, at 3 1/2 miles. She had a nice 8:45/mile pace going, so we paired up. Tilghman told me how running has changed her life (health, not wasting time in bars, burning off the negative energy while keeping the positive). That sounds like reasons many of us run. Thankfully, Tilghman has not had to deal with blood cancer in her life in some way. All three coaches mentioned I should consider teaming up with Tilghman's group to run the full on October 19. That's not very likely, though I think I'll train with them some. I promised I'd run like a 16-miler at some point just to venture into new territory.

Total mileage this week, including a four miler yesterday and today's 5 1/2 miler: 18 miles. Total training miles after two weeks: 38 miles. Today's run was nice: rainy and cool, with heavy humidity. I bought some new shoes this morning at Fleet Feet, which should help some developing soreness.

So where do I begin about Tim Russert's death? I was in journalism for several years and still deal with the media. I appreciate the art of his craft. I think the folks you've heard on TV the last day are correct: Tim Russert was the very best in his field. I believe it's because he was a man of liberal politics, but you'd never know it. His political beliefs were never the issue; yours were. He believed in love and compassion, but never entitlement. Hard work and truth defined him.

In his interviewing, he was fair, yes, but his focus was to address inconsistencies or ambiguous information. He never screamed or hollered like some of these cable characters; he asked firm questions and knew how to sound the BS siren. Woe be unto the politician who showed up with horse manure.

You will be missed, Tim Russert. Thank you for your shining example.

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