by Brian D. Meeks
Chapter 21 Day 21
Steve and Jarred got a nice treat from Mom (Lake Michigan), last night. They sat and watched a lightning storm out over the waters. It was a great end to the evening.
Today started out like all the ones before, with some soreness, but it was different somehow. Reaching the half way mark is a huge psychological barrier and with every step Steve would have less than he had done before.
Up until this point Steve has not wanted to talk too much about numbers of days or miles or degrees on the thermometer. It all seemed too daunting. He has even gotten a little bit superstitious, not wanting to say too many good things about a days run, for fear of retribution from the universe.
Perhaps it is a building confidence in himself or just a good feeling, but after today’s twenty six miles, Steve did a bit of math. He has done a fair amount of eating, taking in 120,000 calories, with thanks in large part due to near constant badgering from Jarred. He has run over 500 miles. He estimated that is close to one million times putting his feet up and down (which doesn’t include any foot stomping when he is fussing at Jarred about drinking his shake)
In addition, Steve put the total number of emotional breakdowns at four and then later revised it to five. All told, there were seven deer ticks that have attempted to get a free ride around the lake. All were forced to disembark.
Steve wrote on his Facebook page, “21….Done!!! WE have put another day in the books and honored all in the fight for their lives!! U r all heroes in my book!! #LIVESTRONG” and just reading it got me fired up.
I’ve known Steve for a long time and were he not running, I can imagine he would have been doing what many golf fans were today. I mean, of course, watching the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. Something amazing was happing that Steve would have loved. A seventeen year old amateur, who not only qualified, but at one point yesterday (after 28 holes) was standing alone at the top of the leader board at -2.
Beau Hossler will be a senior in high school next year. He hadn’t played the stretch of six killer holes yet, and had some understandable bogies, but he was still at +3 and in contention when the day started. It was brilliant to watch and I thought about this additional sacrifice Steve was making, missing such an incredible performance.
There wasn’t any chance the young Hossler could stay with the best players in the world, on the hardest set-up imaginable. Heck, the par 5 sixteenth hole would play 670 yards, today. Surely, he would fade. But he didn’t. In fact, when he was done he had shot even par 70 for day three and will be one of the people with a shot of winning tomorrow.
Watching his last 9 holes was amazing and he missed, just barely, four strokes worth of putts. He was literally centimeters from being tied with the leader, but alas, that is golf.
There are amazing things that happen every day. Steve’s run is among them, certainly, but there are also people who wake up, feel like crap, and have to make it to their chemotherapy appointment. To me, this is as impressive as any golf prodigy, because when they are done, they don’t get to walk down the 18th fairway to a massive gallery of people cheering them on. They just get to feel sick.
They fight and endure the pain, because they want to live, but sometimes that isn’t enough. Sometimes they are beyond wanting to live, but do it anyway, because someone who calls them “mommy or daddy,” wants them to carry on.
Where does the drive come from? Are there just some people who have more fight in them? Maybe, or maybe we all do and just need to pay attention to how it is done. The Beau Hosslers and Steve Cannons of the world are giving us a clue; it comes down to a strong belief in self and a willingness to give it a try.
Tomorrow, while Steve is running and Beau is putting, let’s think about what they are doing and then take a moment to consider all the other heroes who are setting out for one more day of hell. Who knows, there may come a day when we need to step up, and perhaps that memory will come in handy.
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