Weekly Posting of the Conservative Cow Doctor


Heroes: Rob’s Story

A few years back the trophy wife and I decided to run a marathon in all 50 states (57 if you let President Obama do the counting.) In May, after studying the rate we were marathoning, we wouldn’t cross the 50th finish line until 2052; the year of my 95th birthday. This appeared problematic, so we stepped up plans to run five per year and last Saturday we ran the challenging Mid Mountain Marathon in Park City, Utah.

Astute athletes would have realized the risky nature of any run requiring participant’s signatures on three separate liability releases, but there were none around when Druann and I signed the registration forms. We scribbled our names, paid $170 in entry fees, stuffed our Camelbaks with gels, and with the crack of the start gun, charged up the mountain. (For non-runners, gels are 100 calorie packets of chemically flavored sludge and like my mother-in-law’s holiday prune meatloaf, it is best to just swallow without tasting them.) After a one mile run through a series of parking lots, the route narrows into a single-file trail for the remaining 25.2 miles. Due to the broken timber and multiple canyon crossings, visibility is limited and you soon forget there are 400 other nuts running through the mountains in their underwear.

Safely maneuvering the treacherous path either captured every second of your attention, or you tripped and crashed onto the razor sharp rocks of the trail. Over the six hour course, I watched Druann smash to the ground 11 times. She was bleeding from both knees, both elbows and the heel of both hands. In addition to granite pebbles, the fine black mountain dirt ground into her sweat and tear streaked face accentuated the whites of her eyes and her teeth. I had seen her in “cowboy makeup” before and had learned reminding her to “pickup your feet” would not be warmly received. Each time I helped her up I said nothing.

So the truth is known, the split-second I took my eye off the trail to toss a banana peel I too tripped over a tree root. Fortunately for me, it was in a soft part of the timber, so I somersaulted over the dirt and rolled back onto my feet barely breaking my stride. However, I was sporting the tell-tale black dirt on my shirt, face and straw hat like many others. Blood and black dirt became a badge of honor to finishers of this marathon.

Around mile 16 we caught up to Rob, a friend we hadn’t met yet. His white hat, hip and shoulders were stained black from previous falls and the many miles were sapping his strength. He matched our pace a short while before asking, “Have you done this race before?” (This question is usually followed with inquiries as to what lies ahead.)

“No, this is our first time for this one.” I shot back. “We are doing the 50 state thing, so this is our Utah marathon—how about you?”

“No, this is my first marathon.” Rob fired back.

If it is possible to freeze in position and run at the same time, both Druann and I froze in place. “You chose this as your first marathon?” I asked incredulously. Over the next hour we learned Rob’s story.

Rob is in his early thirties and one year ago, he was a sedentary, overweight, type two diabetic, Idaho banker. Last fall, by the grace of God, a one-in-a-million mosquito infected him with West Nile Virus and he lost 50 pounds while spending three weeks in ICU. He walked out of the hospital realizing his life was at the crossroads. He asked his doctor if he was healthy enough to run and was told, “Certainly. It’s not like you are going to do a marathon or anything.” Rob began running and dieting in December of 2010 and by the time he stepped to the start line of the Mid Mountain Marathon, he had lost 160 pounds. Just like everyone who crosses the finish line of their first marathon, his life is forever changed—Rob is now a runner.

Consider Rob’s story as a red-flag warning from a good friend. We elected officials may never have the votes to repeal Obamacare and thus healthcare will be rationed just like it is in every country infected with socialized medicine. Whether you need life saving surgeries or long term medications matters not; immediate access to such items will be things of the past. Rob’s story teaches us God designed the human body to sustain and recover from enormous physical hardship—it is the mind which must be trained to ignore excuses. Rob nearly died before he made the decision to really live. What say you?

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