Saturday, August 27, 2011

Because I Can

I've been holding my cards pretty close to my chest for IMC, unsure if I wanted to share what's been on my mind of late. But they say ironman is a journey, and many of you have followed me and will be following me online tomorrow, so I thought I would give you some insight on the title of the post. Three weeks ago, I learned that a friend was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was even more stunned when a top-notched doctor at Stanford told him rather coldly, "I give you 4-5 months." Jeff didn't like that answer so he hustled over to UCSF, and he is being treated with both chemo and a clinical trial drug. Cancer is my biggest fear. I know cancer all too well, from my mother's death to breast cancer, to my studies as a cellular/molecular biologist, there are a lot of reasons for me to fear cancer.

When I first learned about Jeff's diagnosis, most days were normal with me living life as usual. But on several occasions, my mind would drift to Jeff, and I would empathize. When I put myself in his shoes, this whole IMC thing felt rather frivolous, and it was really hard to put my game face on for the race. Last week, my mind drifted again to Jeff and for some reason, rather than feeling frivolity, I felt gratitude. I was grateful because I can race. Since then, when I think about IMC, I think, "Because I can." And for some reason, I feel strong, and I feel ready to tackle whatever race day brings. It's a good feeling.

So come tomorrow when my arms start to burn during the swim, I will dig a bit deeper to shave off more time...because I can.

If I push it too hard out to and over Richter pass and I bonk, I will dig to get myself through the bonk...because I can.

If my stomach shuts down on me, I will be patient and wait until it comes back...because I can.

If I overheat, I will cool myself down or I will simply sit in the shade and rest until I can make my way to the finish..because I can.

Whatever the day brings tomorrow, I will race to go under 10 hours, race for an opportunity to earn a Kona slot, race to race, and I will enjoy every moment of it good or bad...because I can.

Jeff, you are a champion, I love you.


Libby said...

so awesome kiet and the absolute best way to honor jeff. I love it. this is what its all about :)

mtanner said...

Best post ever Kiet. Keep it real.. Because you can. I am with you every step of the way tomorrow-
you are a champion!

GO 2 JAPAN said...

Dig deep because you can. During my darkest hours of recovery through 2009 until earlier this year it was knowing that I can than empowered me to dig deeper and deeper. It can be a painful journey at times but all I can say is that no matter the outcome of one's efforts it is the eternal power of the energy of life that you have tapped into and will ultimately empower others to shine by your example. I knew from the very moment that I met you that you are a beautiful person and embody the very best in mankind. Hugs to you in everything that you do...I can feel it and so can others. Gregory

Beth said...

That is SUCH a powerful motivator Kiet - "because you can". That absolute best way to honor your friend. I now have no doubt you will be awesome tomorrow!!! Because you can!!

My grandmother passed away from pancreatic cancer 3 years ago. And I work with pancreatic cancer patients on a regular basis at work. Needless to say, cancer is one of my biggest fears too. Get it done tomorrow Kiet - because you can!!

Teresa said...

We will be there cheering deep for you and are so proud of you. My father passed away of cancer sucks!
Big hugs to your buddy.....make him proud!

Charisa said...

Great post!

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Good luck Kiet - lovely post.

marian said...

this is the best way to go into this race, kiet.
i am with you and your friend.

i know.. i have lost several friends to cancer. i run because i can.

GoBigGreen said...

Kiet I just know / follow you thru Libby. A friend of Libby's is a friend of mine. I have been cheering for you today, and had i read this prior i would have been cheering for you AND Jeff today. Ihope your race was all you wished for and then some:)