- Posted October 18, 2012 by
Cary, NC, North Carolina
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Lance Armstrong speaks out
"The Pain Is Only Temporary"
The grass was still dusted with luminous particles of ice that frigid morning when I went for my run. Five miles in my legs were already burning. My face was scorched red from the tearing ice wind. My breath escaped in bursts. But I pay no heed to my aliments: Lance Armstrong taught me how to do that. How to push through the pain.
By mile seven my legs did not hurt anymore. In fact, I barely noticed they were still working. I glided along through the morning. Cars passed me and I am sure most of the drivers were commenting on that “crazy,” “obsessive” runner racing shadows on the side of the road. But I work hard and do not care what the skeptics say: Lance Armstrong taught me how to do that. How to ignore the doubters.
Mile nine hit me like a brick in the face. My legs suddenly questioned my mind and ask, “Why are you still running?” And they slowed at first. For a stride or two, my conscience succumbed to my body’s desires. But then the moment passed and I forged on. I answered, “Because I can.” I do not quit, I cannot quit: Lance Armstrong taught me how to do that. How to talk myself out of stopping.
Nine and a half miles. I was working harder than ever before. I checked my time and saw that my pace was on target. Every ligament and muscle in my body was working, doing the job required of it. Even with no competitor racing beside me I give 100%: Lance Armstrong taught me how to do that. How to give my all in everything I do.
Ten miles. I stopped. My breath was hard. But the pain was gone.
Four months later I found myself standing at the starting line of my first race. I was shaking. My nerves were getting the best of me. I had never raced anyone but my own shadow on the side of the road. Now I was standing amid a swelling crowd.
Three miles. That’s all it was. I knew it would be fast. And it would be painful, especially with that mile long hill right after the start. But I tell myself, “‘Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.’” Lance Armstrong taught me that. How to never, ever give up.
Roughly twenty minutes later I crossed the finish line. Completely spent. Weary. Stumbling on rubber legs. The pain was there, I told myself. But in an hour’s time it subsided, just like Lance said it would. Soon I heard my name announced and hands clapping. I had won.
Yesterday morning, I sat and read the news with a cup of coffee in hand. The headline read: “Lance Armstrong’s tarnished legacy.” Tarnished? His records may be tarnished, his racing image may be tarnished, and his trophies may now be tarnished. But his legacy? Never. His legacy lives on in the cancer survivors, and their families, whose lives were saved because of the Livestrong Foundation. And it lives on in people like me who get up and run – no matter what. We will all "Livestrong" forever, together, bonded by a simple yellow band and a common mentality.
It is frigidly cold outside and my legs are weary. I sigh, pull on my worn running sneakers and slip my Livestrong band onto my left wrist. I run. Five miles in, my legs are burning. But Lance and I have been there before. And we know that the pain is only temporary.