Accomplishing the Extraordinary

Achieve (from Dictionary.com)
Part of Speech:verb
Definition:bring to successful conclusion; reach a goal


accomplish, acquireactualize, attain, bring about, bring off, bring to pass, cap, carry out, carry through, close, complete, conclude, consummate, deliver, discharge, dispatch, do,earn, earn wings, effect, effectuate, enact, end, execute, finish, follow through, fulfill, gain, get, get done, manage, negotiateobtain, perfect, perform, procure, produce, rack up, reach, realize, resolve, score, seal, see through, settle, signsolve, win, wind up, work out


fail, losemiss

I have a bit of trouble finishing things. This has been a recurring theme throughout my life. I am an excellent and highly experienced starter however. I've started hundreds, if not thousands of endeavors throughout my life, most of them like gangbusters. I always look good starting. I invoke good feelings in those around me. I inspire, I encourage, I lead by example. I work hard, I work smart, and I make plans like the best and brightest. But something always happens along the way. I fizzle. I loose my gumption. But most of the time I find I just plain quit. I don't know why this happens, it just does. I'll call it a character flaw for lack of a better explanation. It's a source of endless consternation for all who know and love me. I fail brilliantly! Most of my life I've been the master of the "Epic Fail."

Of course, there's always an excuse. Something happens or doesn't happen, gets in the way, or my favorite "it just wasn't meant to be." I even got a tattoo to represent this on-going theme in my life. I have a brilliantly designed traditional Japanese back-piece. It's a Dragon (to represent the ever-present destructive force) and a Phoenix (to represent the ability to rise from the ashes stronger and more beautiful then before), and of course, it's unfinished. Oh, I have the outline (6 hours) and 12 hours of shading done, yet I have at least 36 more hours of work to be done on it. I've just had one reason after another to not go and sit for more work in the past 3 years (money, time, circumstances).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I fail at everything, or that I don't finish anything. In fact there are several things in my life (my current marriage, fatherhood, paramedic school, the fire academy) that I've accomplished, even succeeded, and continue to excel at. It's just that the failures and incomplete endeavors are the ones that stick with me because they are often the most lingering, painful, or biggest learning experiences. My friend Tracey just put-up a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson on her facebook page that I think is appropriate here: "Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail." When I started out on this quest, this is what it was about. It was about me, proving to myself that I could accomplish something huge, something that I never thought in a million years I would be physically able to do. Somewhere along the line I realized that all of the biggest things that I had accomplished in my life, I did so because I was able to make them about something more than myself.

Running for charity is one of the best reason's I can think of to put myself through the rigor of daily torture called a marathon training schedule. Honoring Brenya's memory by running for Children's Hospital has been the crucial decision that has carried me through the toughest parts of my training. I just hope that my story and my life can have even a fraction of the impact the Brenya's short and beautiful life had on so many people. I am more in awe of her every day as donations come in with the stories of how she touched my donor's lives. I recently received my largest donation to date (thank you Sara and Sean) from friend's of Shannah's (Brenya's Mom) who decided that instead of party favors at her wedding she would make a donation to my run, inform their guests of the donation and ask them all to do the same. What can I say? I was moved to tears. A simply amazing gesture! These are the kinds of things I think about when I'm out on a 12 mile run in the pre-dawn hours and sub-zero temperatures or wind chill. I've often called on Brenya to carry me through when I hit a wall of pain and don't think I can go on. But I also think of my own family when things get tough out there as they often do trining in the middle of Winter in New England.

Lex asked me the other day what I was going to do after the marathon. I've given this question a lot of thought lately, and I'm going to continue to run for charity. I'm not sure how many marathons, or races even that I will run (because after all, I'm really not a runner), but I will run and I will do it for charity because it gives me what I need to get through. Because when I run for charity I feel like I'm carrying he hopes, dreams, and memories of so much more than myself with me out there on the course. I know that James and Shannah are going to have friends and family all along the course rooting for me (they've told me as much), I only hope I don't turn into a blubbering mess by the time I cross the finish line. Crossing the finish line and seeing Lex, Isabelle, James and Shanna is bound to be the biggest emotional release of my life. Because I haven't done any of this alone. All of them, and Brenya, have been with me the whole way. Nobody who trains for a marathon does it alone, their families and friends all make sacrifices along the way. Those sacrifices are not lost on me.

Speaking of charity... My next fundraising deadline is quickly approaching and I am only a little over 20% to my goal (I need 50% by March 15). If you would like to donate and help me get to the starting line, you can click on the Children's Hospital "Miles for Miracles" logo/link on the side of the page----> Or, you can use this link to donate via credit card on their secure site: http://howtohelp.childrenshospital.org/bostonmarathon/pfp/?ID=wd0030

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