Sunday, October 16, 2011

inspiration - pt. 2

Catch up with 'inspiration - pt. 1', here.

My other inspiration to reach my goal, and reach it in Californ-I-A, is my recipient. I chose this particular race in L.A., for an opportunity to visit my kidney. My right kidney is feeling lonely and needs a hug, so, I decided to reach out to my recipient and ask her if she would be open to meeting me. I got an enthusiastic text message reply from her... "Yes, yes, yes!"

Visiting California, participating in my first half marathon and giving myself a much overdue vacation were all part of my plan. As joyful and exciting as it would be to meet my recipient for the first time, I didn't want that possibility to interfere with my goal. It had crossed my mind that Julia would not be receptive to me throwing myself at her (now who could deny me?) and cashing in on my visitation right. I didn't want to plan my trip to L.A. contingent upon her acceptance or rejection of my request to meet her.  So, I waited 2 days after I registered to reach out to her, and I'm glad I did. For the last 3 months my focus has been on my training, not on meeting her. It's not healthy for me emotionally, to have expectations in my life that I have no control over.

There's still a chance that Julia will not want to, or be able, to meet me. Many donors never get this opportunity. Some simply don't want to know or connect with their recipients. Some are promised a contact and then the recipient never follows through with the connection. Others still just can't make it happen because of the distance between them. I decided that it's now or never for me. As much as I love to travel, I don't have available vacation time, and my income is tied up in wine, Starbucks and athletic wear. I mean, a girl's gotta live, right? I need this time, for me. Plus, I love my job so much I know I won't want to take another vacation for at least 3 years.

My training has been going so well, I almost feel like I'm jinxing myself saying this out loud. I'm not denying that it has been hard, damn hard, but I feel so good about my progress. I think that following my plan precisely and maintaining some discipline with my nutrition has led me to successful preparation. I haven't been logging my pace - honestly, I could care less how long it takes me to finish. I've never been competitive, and my goal is to finish with a smile on my face. I fight my fatigue daily, and there have been times that I came so close to going straight home after work instead of hitting the park to run, but I can't let my fatigue beat me.

Simmer down, it's a temp. 

There's no doubt that my recipient has been a significant inspiration to me. Some might think that it's absurd to have someone you don't know be such a motivator for an accomplishment. Every run I take, thoughts of her come to my mind. I think of how amazing it is that the human body is capable of giving up a functioning organ, and yet still able to function. I am more fit now that I was in the weeks leading up to my donation. I remember feeling so focused on my health prior to that surgery and now I feel like it's even more important to maintain that.

I was running for my recipient before my kidney was gone, and now I'm running for all recipients that have yet to find a donor. I'm living proof to everyone capable of donating their kidney, that you will continue to live a full life and thrive in your fitness goals. I couldn't run more than 5 miles before I donated. I ran 10 miles yesterday. If there are skeptics that doubt the well-being of donors, I hope they can see the reality of not only maintaining their health, but improving upon it, after donation.

I'm not nervous for October 30th - I'm excited! I've enjoyed my journey in preparation of my big day. I've learned a lot about myself and I've learned that you don't really have to know someone to be inspired by them. I hope I can inspire others to take the initiative to entertain the option to be a donor, and register to give the gift of life.

Until next time... I'll be putting in my final miles, and still giving lots of smiles!